Defense contractor Lockheed Martin was recently awarded a patent for a novel design of compact nuclear fusion reactor, a device presumably small enough to be housed in a standard shipping container. According to earlier promotional material released by the company, the reactor’s compact design could be used not only for commercial energy-generating applications, but also incorporated into ocean-going ships and aircraft to vastly extend the vehicles’ ranges. In terms of generating electricity for commercial use, the device could also be used to replace not only nuclear waste-producing fission reactors, but also fossil fuel-based electrical generators, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of our civilization’s thirst for energy.
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An engineering research team in Japan has developed a new solar cell that may be able to raise the efficiency of photovoltaic cells above 50 percent, and theoretically as high as 63 percent under certain conditions. This is important as consumer-grade cells are hindered by a lower maximum efficiency of around 26 percent, with most cells on the market only boasting an efficiency of 12 to 18 percent. If that value can be improved, it will make for greater accessibility for consumers looking toward renewable energy sources, and drastically improve the output of commercial solar farms.
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Scientists have discovered a reliable way to extract renewable energy from ordinary seawater. The research team, from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology in Switzerland, employed a natural process called osmosis, where a fluid permeates through a membrane from one side to another.
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