In a Twist, Kentucky’s Coal Museum Will Now Be Powered By Solar

Read the full story at CityLab.

In Kentucky, where voters are still hanging on to President Donald Trump’s promise to bring back mining jobs, the museum that celebrates the founding of the coal industry is making the switch to clean, renewable power. The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is currently installing 80 rooftop solar panels to cut down on energy costs amid budget cuts to the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, which owns the museum.

Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Local entrepreneurs want to replace disappearing coal jobs with employment in solar – but that’s a tough move in a state that lacks the solar-friendly regulations of places like California.

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future

Read the full story from CalTech.

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.

They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Solar fuels, a dream of clean-energy research, are created using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers are exploring a range of target fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons, and producing any of these fuels involves splitting water…

The study is titled “Solar fuels photoanode materials discovery by integrating high-throughput theory and experiment.” Other authors from Caltech include JCAP research engineers Santosh Suram, Lan Zhou, Aniketa Shinde, and Paul Newhouse. This research was funded by the DOE. JCAP is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub focused on developing a cost-effective method of turning sunlight, water, and CO2 into fuel. It is led by Caltech with Berkeley Lab as a major partner. The Materials Project is a DOE program based at Berkeley Lab that aims to remove the guesswork from materials design in a variety of applications. The Molecular Foundry and NERSC are both DOE Office of Science User Facilities located at Berkeley Lab.

Trump’s energy plan doesn’t mention solar, an industry that just added 51,000 jobs

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The White House website may not even mention it as part of Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” — but the U.S. solar industry continues to post dramatic job growth numbers.

According to a new annual report by the nonprofit Solar Foundation, more than 51,000 solar industry jobs were added in 2016, a 24.5 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the foundation finds, some 260,000 Americans now work in the solar industry.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Fluorescent Ruby Red Roofs Stay as Cool as White

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found an exception: Scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light.

The researchers tested this concept by coloring cool roof coatings with ruby red (aluminum oxide doped with chromium). Led by Berkeley Lab scientist Paul Berdahl, they first found that white paint overlaid with a layer of ruby crystals stayed as cool as a commercial white coating. Next, they synthesized ruby pigment to mix into coatings. Their results were published recently in the journal Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, in an article titled “Fluorescent cooling of objects exposed to sunlight—The ruby example.”

Solar stove research team wins $100,000 award for innovation

Read the full story from the UIUC Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment.

Researchers in the iSEE-funded Stored Solar Stove Project are the recipients of The Ocean Exchange’s 2016 Gulfstream® Navigator Award.

Presented each year at The Ocean Exchange’s Annual Event, this $100,000 award honors an outstanding innovation that demonstrates positive impact on the environment, economies, and health while respecting cultures around the world and has applications across multiple industries.

Created by the project team, Sun Buckets are portable, stored solar energy cookstoves that allow users to cook without fire, fuel, or emissions. The cooking vessel design maintains local cooking traditions by emulating the temperature of fire and allowing users to cook where and when they wish, even when the sun isn’t shining. Watch how it works.