Hilary Boudet explores our contentious relationship with the energy industry
Advanced materials extend battery life
A Cheaper Cell
Faster, cheaper, better. The conventional wisdom says you can’t get all three at the same time. But researchers at Oregon State say otherwise — at least when it comes to new materials for making solar cells.
For researchers at Oregon State and Portland State, this black box is a microbial fuel cell, a renewable energy source that uses bacteria to convert biodegradable materials, like wastewater, into electricity.
With support from the University Venture Development Fund, Alex Chang and a student research team envision electricity-generating solar collectors built into windows, roofs and other building parts.
As wind turbines and solar arrays sprout up across the landscape, an urgent challenge arises: How to capture all that alternative energy for the electrical grid. Wind velocity and solar intensity vary wildly as weather changes and as seasons shift — fluctuations that are often out of sync with power demand.