Volume 3, Issue 4
February 27, 2017 – March 5, 2017
Jason Mulderrig | Will Atkinson | Rohit Dilip | Anushka Dasgupta

Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player

February 26, 2017 | New York Times | Clifford Krauss
As the coal industry struggles, several companies have sought to contribute to clean energy, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions via carbon capture and storage, or CCS (see last week’s article for case study). Arguing that renewable energy cannot be implemented fast enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change, coal is asking for more subsidies to help with the costs of CCS, which have decreased but are still high. -WA

Energy Storage:
3D printed Graphene Based Energy Storage Devices

March 3, 2017 | Scientific Reports | Foster et al.
As 3D printing expands, it offers low-cost solutions for prototyping energy storage systems. This paper demonstrates the ability to 3D print graphene-based conductive filaments, which has substantial implications for the creation of low-cost, efficient energy storage devices. The potential impact is magnified given graphene’s other properties, such as recently demonstrated p-wave superconductivity. -RD

Batteries: Just a spoonful of LIPF6
March 1, 2017 | Nature Energy | Zheng & Wei
Due to a variety of electrical properties, lithium metal batteries are an attractive option for applications requiring high energy density, such as electric vehicles. Recent studies have brought substantial steps forward towards commercial lithium metal batteries, but fast charging of lithium metal batteries remains unobtained. This paper reports the ability to substantially improve lithium battery performance by changing the electrolyte composition. -RD

Solar Energy:
How drones are helping design the solar power plants of the future

February 26, 2017 | The Guardian | Katie Fehrenbacher
Many solar energy companies in America today have been recently implementing drones and advanced computer algorithms in their operations. Drones are used to collect information about the physical environment of a solar farm (before it is built), and monitor the operation of solar panels. Algorithms are used to produce the most efficient solar farm design before construction begins. The technology has helped various companies cut costs in designing and maintaining their solar farms. This shift in the solar energy sector towards technology parallels a similar shift in the oil and gas industry, as highlighted in this article last week – JPM