Open Questions: Alternative Energy Technologies

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See also: Controlled fusion

Introduction

Photovoltaics

Fuel cells


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction

Renewable energy technologies: wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal


Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Open Directory Project: Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Categorized and annotated links. A version of this list is at Google, with entries sorted in "page rank" order. May also be found at Netscape.
Yahoo News Full Coverage: Alternative Energy
Links to recent news stories from various sources. Also includes links to sites dealing with alternative energy.
Galaxy: Fuel Cells
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.
National Hydrogen Association: Useful Links
Links are mostly to organizations and governmental units, and a few portals dealing with fuel cells and hydrogen.

Sites with general resources

Fuel Cells 2000
Good portal to anything and everything having to do with fuel cells, including descriptions of different types of fuel cells, explanations of how they work, and external links.
The Fuel Cell Network
"A UK-based network to promote and encourage the exchange of information and ideas within the fuel cell community, both industrial and academic." Site includes news, calendar of events, articles, and a bibliography.
National Hydrogen Association
The site aims to promote "the transition role of hydrogen in the energy field." Site includes news, articles, documents, and external links.

Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Fuel cell
Article from Wikipedia.
Solar cell
Article from Wikipedia.
How Fuel Cells Work
Informative article at Howstuffworks.com.
Driving the hydrogen economy
Summary of July 2007 article from Physics World, by Michael Eikerling, Alexei Kornyshev, and Anthony Kucernak. "Fuel cells could power homes, cars and portable devices efficiently without releasing greenhouse gases." The authors "explain how progress in understanding the physics of fuel cells will help make them cheaper and more efficient."
Hydrogen fuel far from ready for prime time
May 2006 feature article from the San Francisco Chronicle about several of the difficult problems that must be solved before hydrogen can be used as fuel.
As solar gets smaller, its future gets brighter
July 2005 feature article from the San Francisco Chronicle. Discusses how nanotechnology may make generation of electricity from solar energy more practical.
Carbon nanotubes boost hydrogen storage
February 2005 article from Nanotechweb.org, by Liz Kalaugher. "Researchers ... have used single-walled carbon nanotubes to improve the hydrogen storage capabilities of catalyzed sodium alanates. The tubes improved the sorption kinetics of the material by a factor of four."
Bright outlook for solar cells
July 2007 article from Physics World, by Edwin Cartlidge. "Nanotechnology could transform solar cells from niche products to devices that provide a significant fraction of the world's energy."
Energy challenges
July 2002 article from Physics World, by Valerie Jamieson. "Environmental concerns are fuelling the search for alternatives to oil, coal and gas."
The hydrogen economy blasts off
July 2002 article from Physics World, by Tim Chapman. "As fuel-cell buses take to the streets in Iceland, the idea of an economy based on hydrogen rather than fossil fuels is being taken more seriously."
Fuel cells: power for the future
Summary of August 1998 article from Physics World, by Gregor Hoogers. "The internal combustion engine has dominated the transport industry and small-scale energy generation for over 100 years. But concerns about the environmental impact of exhaust emissions may make car makers look to a new type of power unit: the fuel cell."
Bringing fuel cells down to earth
March 24, 2000 article from Nature concerning a new type of fuel cell that uses methane.
Engineering Silicon Solar Cells to Make Photovoltaic Power Affordable
Brief July 2008 Scientific American article, subtitled "Baby steps for making solar as cheap as coal power."
Farming Solar Energy in Space
Brief July 2008 Scientific American article, subtitled "Shrugging off massive costs, Japan pursues space-based solar arrays."
Solar Power Lightens Up with Thin-Film Technology
April 2008 Scientific American article, subtitled "Cheap, durable, efficient devices are needed to generate a significant amount of electricity from the sun. So-called thin-film photovoltaic cells may be just the ticket."
Solid (State) Progress
June 2005 Scientific American In Focus article about hydrogen-fuel storage for cars.
Cutting the Cord
April 2001 Scientific American In Focus article on photovoltaic energy production, subtitled "For billions of years the sun has steadily provided vast amounts of energy. Are we ready to tap into this resource?"
Beyond Batteries
December 1996 Scientific American In Focus article on the devloping technology of fuel cells and possible applications.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

The incredible shrinking solar cell
Janet Raloff
Science News, July 31, 2010
With lilliputian collectors, almost anything could be sun-powered.
A Solar Grand Plan
Ken Zweibel; James Mason; Vasilis Fthenakis
Scientific American, December 2007
Reaching for Rays
Aimee Cunningham
Science News, May 26, 2007
Scientists work toward a solar-based energy system.
Quantum-Dot Leap
Peter Weiss
Science News, June 3, 2006
Tapping tiny crystals' inexplicable light-harvesting talent.
Solar Hydrogen
Alexandra Goho
Science News, October 30, 2004
The search for water-splitting materials brightens up.
Hydrogen: The Next Generation
Jessica Gorman
Science News, October 12, 2002, pp. 235-236
Before widespread use of fuel cells in vehicles is practical, better methods of producing hydrogen that don't involve fossil fuels are required.
Pocket Sockets
Peter Weiss
Science Week, September 7, 2002, pp. 155-156
The first fuel cells to see widespread use may be the smallest, which will be replacements for batteries to run portable electonic devices like cell phones and laptop computers. They may provide continuous power for about 10 hours, yet be lighter and smaller than the batteries they replace.
Fuel Cells vs. the Grid
David H. Freedman
Technology Review, January/February 2002, pp. 40-47
Fuel cells have been known since 1839. They can be scaled in size from a unit that can power a radio to one that can power an office building. The main problem is that for larger applications the cost of a unit per kilowatt of capacity is far higher than conventional alternatives.
Solar on the Cheap
Peter Fairley
Technology Review, January/February 2002, pp. 48-53
Organic polymers -- plastics -- have been discovered which can convert solar energy to electricity far more cheaply than silicon-based devices, even of the "thin film" variety. The problem, at present, is that such organic materials are too fragile for practical applications.
A Fuel Cell in Your Phone
David Voss
Technology Review, November 2001, pp. 68-75
Large fuel cells for powering automobiles and providing backup electricity to homes and offices have received the most attention. But much smaller cells -- capable of replacing batteries in cell phones and laptop computers and operating for much longer before recharge/refuel -- may have an impact sooner.
Fill 'er Up With Hydrogen
Peter Fairley
Technology Review, November-December 2000, pp. 54-62
Engineers developing fuel cell technology for use in cars are targeting 2004 for first commercial production. Many challenges remain. The main issue is -- what will be the "fuel" in fuel cells: gasoline, methanol, or pure hydrogen?
Connect the Dots
Peter Weiss
Science News, June 17, 2000
Transforming sunlight into electricity by means of quantum dust.


Recommended references: Books


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