One in, two out: Simulating more efficient solar cells

Read the full story from the University of California-Davis. Using an exotic form of silicon could substantially improve the efficiency of solar cells, according to computer simulations by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in Hungary. The work was published Jan. 25 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Contractors See Growth in Green Schools Market

Read the full story in Engineering News-Record. Research recently conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction among contractors working on school projects demonstrates strong growth in green education projects. To qualify for the study, contractors had to have completed new construction or major renovation or improvement projects at K–12 schools or higher-education institutions.

RinkWatch: How backyard skaters are monitoring climate change

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network. People in Canada and some northern U.S. states have a long tradition of turning their backyards and parks into homemade ice-skating rinks, where everyone can skate or play hockey to their heart's content. But how will these homemade rinks fare in a warming world? Will people need …

Corn Cobs On Deck for Cellulosic Feedstock

Read the full story in Agricultural Research. When energy officials proposed using crop residues to produce cellulosic ethanol, concerned soil scientists took to the fields to learn more about how these residues protect soil from erosion and enhance soil quality. Agricultural Research Service soil scientist Brian Wienhold focused on a single component of residue—the corncob.

Energy Department Announces New SunShot Projects to Harness the Power of Big Data

As part of the Energy Department's SunShot Initiative, the Department today announced seven data-driven projects to unearth new opportunities for reducing costs and accelerating solar energy deployment in the United States. These projects—located in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas—will result in viable methods for dramatically transforming the operations of solar researchers, manufacturers, …

Warmer Soils Release Additional CO2 Into Atmosphere

Read the full story from the University of New Hampshire. Warmer temperatures due to climate change could cause soils to release additional carbon into the atmosphere, thereby enhancing climate change – but that effect diminishes over the long term, finds a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study, from University of New …