World’s largest solar power plant planned for Chernobyl nuclear wasteland  

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Electrek has a post on a plan to build a solar power plant at Chernobyl - World’s largest solar power plant planned for Chernobyl nuclear wasteland.

The proposed 1GW solar plant, if built today, would be the world’s largest. There are several plans for 1GW solar plants in development (Egypt, India, UAE, China, etc) – but none of them have been completed yet. One financial benefit of the site is that transmission lines for Chernobyl’s 4GW nuclear reactor are still in place.

Doubling the battery power of consumer electronics using lithium metal batteries  

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MIT News has a report on "new lithium metal batteries could make smartphones, drones, and electric cars last twice as long" - Doubling battery power of consumer electronics.

Founded in 2012 by MIT alumnus and former postdoc Qichao Hu ’07, SolidEnergy Systems has developed an “anode-free” lithium metal battery with several material advances that make it twice as energy-dense, yet just as safe and long-lasting as the lithium ion batteries used in smartphones, electric cars, wearables, drones, and other devices.

“With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium ion battery. Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium ion battery, but now it will last twice as long,” says Hu, who co-invented the battery at MIT and is now CEO of SolidEnergy.

The battery essentially swaps out a common battery anode material, graphite, for very thin, high-energy lithium-metal foil, which can hold more ions — and, therefore, provide more energy capacity. Chemical modifications to the electrolyte also make the typically short-lived and volatile lithium metal batteries rechargeable and safer to use. Moreover, the batteries are made using existing lithium ion manufacturing equipment, which makes them scalable.

July is World’s Hottest Month on Record  

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Climate Central has a report on the latest global temperature records - Scorching July is World’s Hottest Month on Record.

By NASA’s reckoning, July 2016 was 1.27˚F (0.84˚C) hotter than the 1951-1980 average. It was 0.2˚F (0.11˚C) above July 2015, the next warmest July in records that go back to 1880. The record July heat also means this was the hottest month the planet has seen over the course of NASA's records. That's because July is also generally the hottest month of the year due the fact that it's summer in the northern hemisphere where there's more land.

Schmidt said he expects July will be the last record hot month of this year as the residual heat from an exceptionally strong El Niño dies away. Though El Niño itself was declared over in June, global temperatures tend to lag by about two to three months.

While El Niño provided a boost to global temperatures this year, the bulk of the heat is what has been trapped by accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

ANU team cracks solar thermal efficiency of 97% – a world record  

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ReNew Economy has an article on a new efficiency record for solar thermal power - ANU team cracks solar thermal efficiency of 97% – a world record

The ANU team, whose CST technology harnesses the power of the sun using a 500 square meter solar concentrator dish, made the breakthrough by redesigning the system’s receiver in a way that halved its convection losses and boosted its conversion of sunlight into steam from 93 per cent to 97 per cent.

According to the ANU’s Dr John Pye, the new design could result in a 10 per cent reduction in the cost of solar thermal electricity. “Ultimately the work in this project is all about reducing the cost of concentrating solar thermal energy,” he said. “Our aim is to get costs down to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, so that this technology will be competitive.

Saul Griffith Shows How All The Energy In The U.S. Is Used  

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Saul Griffith has produced a Sankey diagram showing how energy is used in the United States - This Very, Very Detailed Chart Shows How All The Energy In The U.S. Is Used.

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