World’s largest artificial sun (original source)- Its purpose is to test ways to generate hydrogen from water using sunlight. There is a lot of thought about what we could do with hydrogen storing excess intermittent energy – though lithium ion is taking the early lead. Personally, I’m starting to lean toward lithium+solar because of the solid state nature of the two technologies (this picture really got to me), however, there could be places where liquid fuels make sense.

Hundreds of Clean Energy Bills Have Been Introduced in States Nationwide This Year – Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent by utilities in a concerted effort across the country to influence the political process against. Concurrently though, especially when you check out the RPS map in the linked article – there are many people pushing upwards. Get into your local area.

Solar power generated $154B in US economic activity in 2016 – The US GDP is roughly $20T – so this number is roughly 0.77% of the total. Feels bigger when you eat and sleep it.

German company to transform aluminium smelters into ‘virtual battery’ – An efficiency rate of 90 to 95 percent – relies on adjustable heat exchangers, developed with help from the University of Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia, that can maintain the energy balance in each electrolysis cell irrespective of changing power inputs – that’s some space age demand response stuff there. Creating metals uses significant energy, and produces much CO2. Have there been any studies on how much industry can consume during peak production periods? Smelting steel is expensive – takes a lot of energy – would there ever be a point where we’d use electricity?

Today in ‘Research that is far, far away from my rooftop’ – Solar cells and photodetectors could soon be made from new types of materials based on semiconductor quantum dots – Short version: scientists are getting better at mapping the movement of electrons through tiny structures. If we can map these electrons, then we can collect them better – collecting electrons increases broader system efficiency.

Tesla exec explains vision: ‘You have solar, battery pack, EV and you control everything on your phone’ – Quick article recap: making your electricity smarter means it fits on your phone. Weird. More interesting to me than this – since we’ve actually been expecting this to happen – is what might happen when we all have a collection of ‘energy’ at our beck and call. I’ve always imagined that electricity itself would turn into a medium of exchange – you paying energy directly to another for a service. Fundamentally, we all are passing around energy – but making it turn into money would be cool.

Historically, California has taken 50% of all solar power installations – while having fewer than 12% of the population. It is only in recent years that this number has lowered before last year’s ‘plunge’ to 35%. Many states are picking up the volume.

 

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