Volume 3, Issue 3
February 20, 2017 – February 26, 2017
Jason Mulderrig | Will Atkinson | Rohit Dilip | Anushka Dasgupta

Energy Policy:
President Trump’s Energy Policy Remains a Work in Progress
The President has been quick to slash environmental regulations, and his former aide says funding for renewable energy research will see cuts. However, oil and gas companies are still waiting on the specifics: how he will approach tax policy and international regulations, and how much he will defer to his Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, who approved rapid wind and solar deployment in his home state of Texas. -AD

Carbon Capture and Storage:
Revolutionary Power Plant Captures All Its Carbon, At No Extra Cost
A power plant in Houston is trying out a promising new method of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Using the so-called Allam cycle, the plant uses its own CO2 emissions to power its turbine instead of steam, heating the CO2 to its supercritical liquid state to cycle it. While construction is still somewhat expensive, this method could bypass typical CCS concerns about prohibitive costs and long-term carbon stability. -WA

Organic photovoltaics: Pushing the knowledge of interfaces
(February 20, 2017, Nature Energy, Natalie Banerji)
The electronic behavior of interfaces, the boundaries between two materials, is of crucial importance in energy storage and solar cell performance. This paper uses a technique called pump-push-probe electro-absorption to probe the behavior of charges near an interface and provide insight into molecular electrical properties. This knowledge could, in the long term, be used to create more efficient energy transmission and storage.

Demonstrating the potential of yttrium-doped barium zirconate electrolyte for high-performance fuel cells
(February 23, 2017, Nature Communications, Bae et al.)
Solid oxide fuel cells, which produce electricity by directly oxidizing a fuel, are attractive energy sources due to their high efficiency and low cost and emissions. Their primary barrier to effective use is their generally high operating temperature; however, materials called protonic ceramics can be used in lower temperature regimes. One of these materials, yttrium-doped barium zirconate, is particularly appealing due to its chemical stability (a problem associated with most protonic ceramics), but is difficult to compact into a solid and use in a fuel cell. This paper demonstrates a way to use yttrium-doped barium zirconate in a fuel cell, which has substantial implications for the future of solid oxide fuel cells.