Massachusetts

Badly-sited solar parks affect house prices

Researchers at the University of Rhode Island have suggested US homeowners are prepared to pay $279 per year to avoid living within a mile of a solar plant.

The ‘rubber-band effect’ on renewable energy project margins

David Riester of Lacuna Sustainable Investments, looks at how, on the journey from concept to monetized power plant, renewables and energy storage projects tend to get tugged toward ‘zero’ margin, from either direction. The further the rubber band is stretched, the stronger the pull back toward zero.

There’s something fishy about this flow battery innovation

Scientists led by MIT have suggested chitin, a carbon and nitrogen-rich material made from waste shrimp shells, could produce sustainable electrodes for vanadium redox flow batteries and other energy storage technologies.

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Used EV batteries for large scale solar energy storage

MIT scientists have suggested used electric vehicle batteries could offer a more viable business case than purpose-built systems for the storage of grid scale solar power in California. Such ‘second life’ EV batteries, may cost only 60% of their original purchase price to deploy and can be effectively aggregated for industrial scale storage even if they have declined to 80% of their original capacity.

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Perovskites thrive under pressure

Scientists in the U.S. and Nigeria have studied the effects of pressure on perovskite solar cell production and found the correct application could improve cell efficiency by as much as 40% (relative). Push them too hard though, and they crack.

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Quebec as a big battery for the northeastern US

Researchers at MIT say the immense hydropower resources of the Canadian province could be used as storage to even out the supply of intermittent renewables generation in New England and New York state.

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The path to market for perovskites

MIT scientists have taken a deep dive into solar technology markets in search of an economically sustainable path to commercialization for perovskites. The group estimates $1 billion of capital expenditure would be required to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete with rival solar module technologies. However, several alternative suggestions for scaling up with lower investment costs were also considered.

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Recycling heat for a ‘385% efficient’ solar desalinator

MIT scientists have developed a solar desalinator which transports heat from the sun through a ten-stage process of evaporation and condensation. The group estimates a $100 device employing their innovation could provide the daily drinking water needs of a family.

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MIT researchers say PV innovations should be deployed in niche markets first

Solar module manufacturers should begin testing new technologies in higher-value niche markets, say scientists at the U.S. institution. For example, bringing perovskite technology directly to the mainstream market remains prohibitive in terms of initial investment but segments such as building-integrated PV or microelectronics devices may offer better routes to commercial maturity.

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The year in solar, part III: Battery breakthroughs, inverter trouble, sustainable role models and new tech

Storage has long been expected to be the handmaiden of a renewable energy world and its long awaited advances started to finally emerge in the third quarter as researchers posited R&D achievements ranging from potentially potent tungsten disulfide nanotubes to the business case for 10-year solar panels.

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