The Elements of Innovation Discovered

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  • Hydrogen symbol over a satellite view of North America at night.

    Is geological hydrogen dead or alive?

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    With $20 million in DOE funding, MIT and 15 others are carrying out research that will open Schrödinger's box of potentially low-cost source of abundant green energy fuel. Hydrogen is the Schrödinger's Cat of clean energy fuels – it is both an abundant and affordable clean burning gas that fuels the dreams of a green energy future and a scarce element that comes with a carbon footprint that does not justify the cost to produce it. The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Res... Full story

  • Blue-gloved hand holding a solar cell prototype.

    Selenium solar may hit 40% efficiency

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    Researchers in Denmark are experimenting with a selenium–silicon tandem solar cell. While an increasingly common clean energy resource for individual homes and grid-scale production alike, solar cells are shockingly inefficient – at best capturing less than 30% of the energy from the sunlight that strikes them. Rasmus Nielsen and his team of physicists and engineers at the Technical University of Denmark have found a possible method to boost that efficiency to 40% by cre... Full story

  • Swiss scientist holds artificial photosynthesis device for making hydrogen fuel.

    Leaf creates hydrogen out of thin air

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 3, 2024

    Swiss scientists create device that makes green fuel from water vapor and sunshine. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have created a device that can harvest water from the atmosphere and turn it into hydrogen fuel – a process powered entirely with solar energy. While inspired by the natural mechanisms of photosynthesis, the scientists devised something more akin to an electrochemical sponge. Such a device that can extract water from the air a...

  • Professors Ukar and Larson in front of a University of Texas building.

    Squeezing hydrogen out of iron-rich rocks

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    University of Texas researchers are exploring the potential to catalyze geological hydrogen with nickel or PGMs. Hydrogen is a highly combustible gas that only emits water into the atmosphere when it is burned, making it an ideal fuel for the clean energy future. This green fuel, however, has the paradoxical distinction of being the most abundant element in the universe but extremely scarce in its pure form here on Earth. Hydrogen's abundance enigma that stems from the gas'... Full story

  • The western hemisphere aglow at night.

    Will your home run on enhanced geothermal?

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Mar 6, 2024

    The Biden administration's Investing in America Agenda will fund three projects to scale enhanced geothermal systems to power the equivalent of 65 million U.S. homes. The U.S. Department of Energy has high hopes for enhanced geothermal, a process by which manmade hydrothermal power is produced by using hydraulic fracturing techniques to split rock at depths much greater than naturally occurring geothermal wells and injecting water to generate steam, subsequently driving...

  • A sunset paints the sky orange behind large offshore wind turbines.

    Wind energy lives up to its potential

    Rose Ragsdale, For Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 21, 2024

    Spurred by government and private incentives, innovators and engineers overcome obstacles to proliferation of green technology. Wind energy – long considered by many, including some environmentalists, as a viable alternative to fossil fuels – is living up to its promise, thanks to government initiatives and technological innovations. Despite the technology's promise to deliver clean and cheap energy that reduces the United States' dependence on fossil fuels with minimal imp...

  • A semi-truck pulls a tanker marked hydrogen with wind turbine in the background.

    Silver catalyzes hydrogen for cheap

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    In 1806, Swiss engineer François Isaac de Rivaz invented an internal combustion engine that used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen as fuel. The first electric car came some 25 years later, long before the modern gas engine in 1885. But then Henry Ford built the inexpensive Model T in 1908, with an internal combustion engine that ran on gasoline at an impressively low $280, while electric cars at their peak in 1912 sold for over $1,000. Considering that hydrogen is the most...

  • Artist’s rendering of a flying vehicle, solar and wind power.

    Hawaii says aloha to greener energy grid

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    The Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) facility run by Plus Power has begun operations in Oahu, Hawaii, touted as the most advanced grid-scale standalone battery energy storage system in the world. The facility replaces a defunct coal power plant and will support roughly one-fifth of the population's energy needs, including moderating renewables, reducing electricity bills, and protecting against blackouts. Hawaii's infamous island prices for imported goods were never so alarmingly...

  • Finger flips die from “Fossil” to “H2” in front of dice spelling fuel.

    Dumping diesel – GM, Honda go hydrogen

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    In the next move toward zero-emissions solutions beyond battery-electric vehicles, General Motors and Honda Motor Co. announced their switch to a co-developed system producing hydrogen fuel cells commercially. Both manufacturers announced their intention to shift away from diesel and focus on hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), marking this as the first time they have been produced at scale. Honda and GM engineers focused on lowering costs by advancing the cell...

  • Graphic of drill fracturing a rock for an enhanced geothermal system.

    Have enhanced geothermal, will travel

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 24, 2024

    Naturally occurring hydrothermal systems have always been a limited, localized energy source, offering steady production that doesn't vary with the weather or time of day – as long as there are very specific conditions of heat, water, and permeable rock. These specific conditions do not always occur where energy is needed, which is a primary reason why geothermal power provides less than 1% of global renewable energy capacity. Recent advances in the emerging technology of e...

  • Georgia Power’s Vogtle 4 nuclear power reactor in Waynesboro, Georgia.

    DOE reports exciting nuclear watch list

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 16, 2024

    After successful incentives and mobilization, federal agency says to keep eyes peeled for more development. With a resurgence of nuclear energy in 2022 marking possibly the most significant year for nuclear energy since its inception, 2023 was the year to see if legislation put forth by the Biden administration to reinvigorate this stigmatized power supply would lift off. And according to the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, it appears to have been a...

  • Rendering of an eVinci installed at an industrial site during the winter.

    Canada's first eVinci microreactor coming

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 13, 2023

    Saskatchewan is investing C$80M to build a 5 MW "eVinci battery" demo in province. Saskatchewan is investing C$80 million to become the home to Canada's first eVinci, a microreactor the province considers to be ideally suited for delivering zero-carbon electricity to communities, mines, and other off-grid industries. Designed and built by Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, eVinci is essentially a 5-megawatt battery that can deliver electricity and heat for around eight years...

  • Aerial view of the Red Dog camp and mill facilities during the winter.

    Microreactors are the future of mining

    Idaho National Laboratory|Updated Nov 25, 2023

    Powering a remote zinc mine located roughly 600 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska, is a Herculean task. Governments and industry have taken a particular interest in remote arctic mining locations, not only because of the region's vast mineral resources but also because of shipping routes that are opening through the ice due to climate change. Still, getting energy to those locations is extremely difficult. First, a tanker must transport diesel fuel to a port on the Arctic... Full story

  • Artist rendering of pumped thermal energy storage to be demonstrated in Alaska.

    DOE backs Alaska thermal energy storage

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Oct 5, 2023

    Westinghouse to build demo plant that stores excess grid electricity as heat; providing secure, low-cost energy storage in cold climates. To help commercialize a renewable energy storage solution that overcomes some of the drawbacks associated with lithium-ion batteries and other traditional storage technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Westinghouse Electric Company funding for a pumped thermal energy storage system in Alaska. This 1.2 gigawatt-hour...

  • Shower of sparks emits from an EAF furnace at a Nucor steelmaking plant.

    A nuclear option for zero-carbon steel

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 8, 2023

    Fueling the furnaces that turn iron ore and scrap metal into new steel is an energy-intensive business that accounts for roughly 7% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Two North American companies are exploring a nuclear option for decarbonizing steel needed to build the clean energy future. Under a preliminary agreement reached on May 16, Nucor is taking a closer look at the use of NuScale Power's VOYGR small modular reactors (SMR) to provide reliable zero-carbon baseload... Full story

  • Two technicians inside the NIF ignition chamber for cleaning and maintenance.

    Fusion energy technology gets DOE funding

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 9, 2023

    Forever scribed in the annals of scientific achievement, the U.S. Inertial Confinement Fusion program supported by the National Nuclear Security Administration has produced not one but two significant breakthroughs – the burning of plasma with a yield of 1.3 megajoules, then the legendary breakeven for nuclear fusion. With these results, the Department of Energy has announced a $45 million grant to continue this potentially utopia-creating work. "The exciting results from NIF...

  • Executives posing for three-way memorandum of understanding.

    Companies sign agreement for future fuel

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 25, 2023

    In an interesting turn, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. has signed a three-way memorandum of understanding with SK ecoplant Co., Ltd. and Hyundai Engineering Co. to conduct research and development for carbon-free hydrogen production. Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear is a leader in vertical integration of nuclear technologies and services, including its micro modular reactor (MMR), fully ceramic micro-encapsulated nuclear fuel, and nuclear power and propulsion for space exploration....

  • A row of First Solar cadmium-tellurium thin film PV panels.

    DOE eyes mine sites for clean energy hubs

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    The White House has allotted $500 million for a program that aims to transform old and current mine sites into renewable energy hubs. Being administered by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Clean Energy Demonstrations on Current and Former Mine Land Program aims to validate innovative approaches to converting mine lands to clean energy projects, with a goal of replication across the nation. DOE says the repurposing of mine land for energy projects that lower carbon dioxide... Full story

  • Close-up of a stovetop burner with red-tipped flames.

    Toyota explores tastier hydrogen cooking

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Oct 4, 2022

    Looking beyond the carbon dioxide emitted from tailpipes, Toyota Motor Corp. is investigating hydrogen as a cleaner and tastier fuel for the stoves and ovens that cook the food for millions of households around the globe. Teaming up with Rinnai, a Japanese manufacturer of gas appliances, Toyota plans to demonstrate the potential advantages of hydrogen-fueled cooking and home heating in Woven City – a living laboratory that Toyota's human-centered mobility and technology subsid...

  • A precision laser to be used in potential nuclear fusion of hydrogen-boron.

    Australia invests in laser fusion industry

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 12, 2022

    As Australia's first laser fusion energy company, HB11 Energy has been awarded A$22 million (US$15.5) to develop next-generation high-power lasers needed to create a multi-billion-dollar nuclear energy industry in the land down under. This forms a part of the A$50 million (US$35.1 million) Trailblazer grant awarded to the universities of Adelaide and New South Wales under the "Defence Trailblazer for Concept to Sovereign Capability" bid. It comprises A$6 million (US$4.2...

  • Rendering of Energy Dome CO2 storage system at a large photovoltaic solar farm.

    Ironic dome stores clean energy with CO2

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    What if the very carbon dioxide being blamed for global warming was the secret ingredient of massive batteries for the storage of renewable energy meant to prevent additional CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the first place? Italy-based startup Energy Dome has created such a battery that could help fully utilize low-carbon energy while also helping to stabilize electrical grids. The primary problem with renewable energy sources like wind and solar is the electricity they... Full story

  • An image of the Mars rover that could potentially benefit from PhosEnergy GenX.

    Innovator develops long-life power units

    Rose Ragsdale, For Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    A small Australia-based energy technology company is hot on the trail of building a prototype of a long-lived power generation system that could open the path to extended space travel, as well as a reliable and low-cost source of electricity for remote defense sites. But the revolutionary GenX units – which can provide power for decades without a continuous fuel source nor any human intervention or maintenance – is just one of several barrier-breaking technologies that Pho...

  • Ferrocene is orange in its powdered form and has many technology uses.

    Ink printed solar cells may replace silicon

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Paper-thin and inexpensive solar cells printed from ink may one day replace the cumbersome traditional solar cells made from silicon thanks to a material created at Imperial College London called ferrocene. "Silicon cells are efficient but expensive, and we urgently need new solar energy devices to accelerate the transition to renewable energy," said Nicholas Long, a professor from the department of chemistry at Imperial College London and a co-lead author of a scientific...

  • First Solar photovoltaic PV Origis Energy Silicon Ranch thin-film modules US

    First Solar doubles up module agreements

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    In two back-to-back deals, First Solar Inc. has secured contracts for the installation of 4.75 gigawatts of responsibly produced thin-film photovoltaic solar modules. Origis Energy, one of America's largest solar and energy storage developers, placed an order for 750 megawatts of the cadmium telluride thin film photovoltaic modules produced by First Solar. "This 750 MW solar agreement builds on a long-term alliance between the First Solar and Origis teams," said Samir Verstyn,...

  • DOE Department Energy Office Fossil Energy Carbon Management novel energy

    DOE invests in novel energy storage tech

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    From hot sand in Alabama to hydrogen storage at Tennessee coal mines, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is investing $2.4 million into projects that could increase the duration, reliability, and affordability of novel energy storage technologies. "The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is investing in projects that will advance thermal and hydrogen energy storage technologies for use during and beyond the electricity...

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