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M.I.T. Energy: From Algae to Wind Turbines [Slide Show]

The 2009 M.I.T. Energy Conference included solar, small wind, cellulosic biofuels and, oh my... better batteries, fuel cells, nukes and algae!

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WHITHER THE WIND?:

Electricity produced from wind turbines is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the world today. Turbine designs have been optimized for size and generation, from the massive three-megawatt turbines produced by Vestas and GE to the small-scale windmills suitable for a streetlight offered by Deerpath Energy .....[ More ]

SOLAR SHINES:

Photovoltaics (PV) are getting cheaper and more rugged, like the Genasun system pictured here, which can deliver electricity from the sun in remote locations. But, as U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has noted, PV panels that convert a larger portion of the sunlight that falls onto them into electricity remain a critical technology breakthrough.....[ More ]

NEW NUCLEAR:

Nuclear power may play a role in delivering electricity relatively free of the climate-altering greenhouse gases emitted by burning coal. In fact, Mujid Kazimi, director of M.I.T.'s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems, notes that nuclear power produces one ten-thousandth of the solid waste of coal (although nuclear waste is more "radiotoxic") and requires one one-thousandth the amount of land compared with renewables like solar or wind per given unit of electricity produced.....[ More ]

LITTLE LIGHT:

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are already in use on buildings from New York City to San Francisco and could save some $280 billion in energy costs over their lifetimes, according to Philips Electronics, their manufacturer.....[ More ]

LET THE LIGHT IN:

Redesigning windows and partitions to let daylight penetrate deeper into buildings—so-called daylighting—could cut energy use significantly, thereby saving greenhouse gas emissions. The M.I.T.....[ More ]

ELECTRIC CAR:

M.I.T. students have converted a 1976 Porsche 914 to run on 18 lithium phosphate batteries from Valence Technology.....[ More ]

BIG BELLY:

By incorporating solar cells into the top of a trash compactor, Big Belly Solar has created a new urban garbage solution that has already survived four years on the mean streets of Flushing in Queens, N.Y.....[ More ]

BETTER BIOFUEL:

Biofuels from plants not already grown as crops—such as the switchgrass shown here—offer a superior alternative to corn. Even better: biofuels made from lignin and cellulose, the waste materials of harvested crops, which were the focus of much research on display (or presented) at M.I.T.'s 2009 Energy Conference.....[ More ]

BETTER BATTERY:

A123Systems —a Watertown, Mass., company created in 2001 from technology developed at M.I.T.—offers improved lithium ion batteries, the same chemistry used to power a laptop, to run cars. ....[ More ]

ALGAE POWER:

GreenFuel Technologies —a company created by M.I.T. researchers—proposes to use carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants to grow algae that can be turned into biodiesel or even food.....[ More ]

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