These days, crude oil can be purchased at low prices, so why discuss solar energy? Part of the issue is that the oil market is very volatile and today’s “cheapest” prices could become tomorrow’s “most expensive” prices. Additionally, companies would do well to invest in solar energy because it is more often used to generate electricity than anything else. In fact, oil use accounts for only one percent of U.S. electricity generation and so continued discussion and investment in solar energy is essential for a sustainable society. Research efforts should continue to determine how best to transform sunlight into usable chemical fuels.
Each day, approximately 1 million tons of waste products are produced in our landfills due to the decomposition of organic materials. Methane is the most prevalent compound in the mixture of gases known as landfill gas (LFG), though carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen are present as well. Perhaps most interesting are the many ways in which landfill gas can be used productively to generate electricity, heat appliances or create a variety of other chemical compounds. Instead of having these gases escape off into the air, materials scientists are harnessing the potential energy in LFG to create “green fuels” that benefit both the environment and our lives.
Capacitors are everywhere: they are inside our televisions, phones and almost any other electronic devices we use. Like a battery, capacitors store large amounts of energy in the form of electrical potential energy. Structurally, a charge gradient is established between two plate conductors and then an insulator is sandwiched between […]
The oil and gas industry faces a major issue in the near future. No, I’m not talking about market volatility or plummeting crude oil prices. Sure, those are still concerns in the current uncertain environment, but what I’m referencing is something that’s gone overlooked in recent years. What is it? […]
The Industrial Revolution heralded an age of scientific and technological advancement. However, as the number of factories expanded across the world, so too did the extent of industrial pollution.1 Industrial pollution is a major contributor to environmental degradation and thus, reducing pollution is of utmost importance to many governments, companies, […]
Almost ninety-three million miles away, nuclear fission is occurring at the center of our solar system as hydrogen nuclei fuse together to form helium1 and release millions of joules in energy in the process. Each second, 1.7 x 10^17 J of that energy will strike Earth’s surface.2 Harvesting this energy […]
With climate change on everyone’s minds, millions of dollars are being funneled into research looking at ways to minimize mankind’s impact on the planet. One focal point of these efforts has, been discovering ways to harness renewable energy sources. It’s a tall order. Many hurdles currently exist that prevent widespread […]
Humans consume vast amounts of energy. In 2011, expenditures on energy reached over six trillion dollars, while certain regions of the world (i.e. China, India, Africa) saw dramatic increases in energy use from 1990 to 2008.1 Though most of our energy still comes from oil, gas and coal, issues of sustainability […]
When consumers think of oil recovery, they often exclusively think of the first phase known as primary recovery. During this step, the natural pressure of the oil reservoir or gravity is used to “drive oil into the wellbore”1 which, when combined with airlift technologies, such as pumps, transports the oil […]