New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells

October 4, 2017 by  
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Hydrogen can be obtained from seawater to power fuel cells , but the process is typically costly because of the electricity required. Researchers created a nanomaterial that can do the job more efficiently. According to the University of Central Florida (UCF), the advance “could someday lead to a new source of the clean-burning fuel .” UCF assistant professor Yang Yang has been working on solar hydrogen splitting for almost a decade. In the process, a photocatalyst sets off a chemical reaction with energy from light . But the photocatalysts don’t work as well in seawater – they don’t stand up well to salt and seawater’s biomass. Yang’s research team came up with a new catalyst that’s not only good for splitting purified water in a laboratory, but can better endure seawater and even harvest light from a broader spectrum. Related: Scientists develop new way to generate electricity via seawater Yang said, “We can absorb much more solar energy from the light than the conventional material. Eventually, if it is commercialized, it would be good for Florida’s economy. We have a lot of seawater around Florida and a lot of really good sunshine.” He said in many cases it’s better to use the sun’s energy to create a chemical fuel than to generate electricity with solar panels . Hydrogen gas can be transported and stored easily. UCF said it’s relatively cheap and easy to make the catalyst, which is comprised of a hybrid material. The journal Energy & Environmental Science published the research the end of September. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington and Tsinghua University in China collaborated on the study. Yang and his team plan to continue researching how to scale up the catalyst fabrication, and to work on splitting hydrogen from wastewater with the catalyst. Via the University of Central Florida Images via the University of Central Florida

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New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells

The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

October 4, 2017 by  
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Solar power is helping flower grower Hector Santiago get back on his feet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated much of the United States territory’s electricity grid . Six years ago, he sank $300,000 into 244 solar panels , and said everyone told him he was crazy because of the cost. Today, he has power and is rebuilding his nursery. Santiago’s Cali Nurseries , which sells decorative plants and poinsettias to firms like Cosco and Walmart, suffered tremendous losses during the storm. Hurricane Maria damaged plants and greenhouses , ripping off roofs and flattening trees. Santiago told The Washington Post his losses amounted to an estimated $1.5 million. Related: Puerto Rico electricity crisis sparks interest in renewable energy But he’s been able to begin rebuilding his Barranquitas farm with the help of electricity thanks his investment in solar energy. The storm damaged 25 percent of the photovoltaic panels, but there’s still enough energy to start rebuilding his operation. The power allowed him to keep pumping water from wells, as the business’ 19 employees cleaned up and repotted plants. Santiago was unable to get back to his farm for five days following the hurricane, and when he finally returned he found his employees hard at work, as they had been since the first day. He told The Washington Post, “I just started crying, I choked up, when I saw them working like nothing had happened. They give me the strength to not give up and to do whatever I have to do to continue with my business.” The devastation in Puerto Rico has resulted in an increased interest in renewable energy . Solar installation firm owner Henry Pichardo, who works out of Bayamon, said Hurricane Maria could boost his business by 20 percent per year. He said he’s been flooded with inquiries after the storm. He told Reuters, “People are going to become more conscious of how they are living, and invest more in solar.” Via Reuters and The Washington Post Images via Hector Alejandro Santiago Rodriguez on Facebook and Cali Nurseries on Facebook

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The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

LEED-seeking illumina i3 campus lets workers work anywhere

August 17, 2017 by  
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San Diego’s new BioMed Realty i3 campus is raising the bar for corporate research parks everywhere. Perkins+Will recently designed the iconic science and research campus that’s on track for LEED Platinum certification and exemplifies the “work anywhere” culture. Filled with natural light and topped with green roofs, this environmentally progressive design features a wide variety of energy saving measures and reduces energy and water use by 30 and 20 percent. Located off Interstate 805, the Biotech Hub is the new home of leading genomics research and life sciences company illumina . The campus comprises three trapezoidal, all-white concrete buildings punctuated with landscaped gathering spaces, as well as a 33,500-square-foot outdoor courtyard at the campus heart that includes a performance stage, bocce ball court, herb garden, fitness area, restaurant, and cafe. Parking is hidden underground. Connectivity and collaboration are major themes of the campus design—i3 is 100 percent wireless—and employees are encouraged to work anywhere on campus they feel most comfortable at any time of the day. “The campus turns the stereotypical concept of a suburban research park right on its head, and makes it infinitely better,” said Ryan Bussard, principal at Perkins+Will. “Instead of a trove of uninviting office buildings surrounding a sea of asphalt parking lots, the i3 campus empowers people to connect, engage, collaborate, innovate, and—perhaps most important—be inspired.” Floor-to-ceiling glass lets in ample natural light and frames views of the surrounding mountains. Collaborative areas, such as the lounges and conference rooms, are connected directly to outdoor terraces . A variety of workspaces can accommodate different work styles and preferences. Related: World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C. The i3 campus is on track to earn LEED Platinum certification for the core and shell, while LEED Gold is expected for the interiors. The campus’ on-site fuel cells generate clean energy, while energy usage is minimized thanks to access to natural light, motorized and fixed sunshades, and energy-efficient fixtures. Responsible water management is a big part of the campus design. Recycled water sourced from a local utility irrigates the site and is used for cooling towers. Green roofs planted with heat- and drought-tolerated native plants filter and reduce stormwater runoff in conjunction with the on-site bio-filtration system and permeable pavers. Site-water mitigation tucked beneath the courtyard also helps reduce burden on the city’s local infrastructure. + Perkins+Will

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LEED-seeking illumina i3 campus lets workers work anywhere

Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

August 17, 2017 by  
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Here’s what the big deal means for fuel cells and corporate sustainability.

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Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

In the complex world of sustainability, taxes are still certain

August 17, 2017 by  
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Countries remaining in the Paris accord may impose energy taxes on U.S.-refined products, which could create a new tracking and reporting nightmare.

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In the complex world of sustainability, taxes are still certain

What is climate gentrification?

August 17, 2017 by  
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Building greener cities that boost social equity is a priority from coast to coast. But beware of urban resiliency as a ‘land grab.’

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What is climate gentrification?

On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

August 17, 2017 by  
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A vista of volatility surrounds us. Sometimes it helps to see how far we’ve really come.

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On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

Hydrogen fuel finds a home in Hawaii

June 7, 2017 by  
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Hydrogen fuel cells are making a come back in the renewable energy field. And in Hawaii, we’ll soon see hydrogen fuel cells in cars, fleets and microgrids.

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Hydrogen fuel finds a home in Hawaii

Why sustainability reporting is all over the map

June 7, 2017 by  
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International investors are increasingly clamoring for standard frameworks.

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Why sustainability reporting is all over the map

Are fuel cells worth the investment?

May 2, 2016 by  
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Technology finds comfy niche at companies such as Microsoft, Morgan Stanley and Legrand.

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Are fuel cells worth the investment?

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