As a follow up to the Science Progress article I co-authored with Dr. Adam Briggle earlier this July, we have written another short piece that again explains the subject of our study, Technology and Society: Fracking Ideology, and requests reader participation. You can find the article linked here and above.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for natural gas plays an important role in the debate about our energy future. As an energy consumer, you may have beliefs about, or beliefs that relate to, the use of hydraulic fracturing technology. Given the prominence of natural gas in today’s energy discourse, I am using my Master’s thesis at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy to study the political and ideological dimensions of hydraulic fracturing. My goal is to develop a more thorough understanding of the relationships between socioeconomics, political alignments, philosophical beliefs, and support or lack thereof for the use of hydraulic fracturing technology – but my research depends on your participation. Here and below you will find a link that directs you to a survey with questions related to the current debate about hydraulic fracturing and natural gas:
To help me with my research, I ask that you complete the survey and then share this message and link with your friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, and other contacts so that they might do the same. If you have any questions please email them to email@example.com and I will answer you promptly. Thank you for your participation.
Welcome news from the editors at real clear energy, here’s one of their “charticles” tracking US solar installations. Megawatts of solar technology installed went from 100 MW in 2006 to 1000 MW in 2010! Of course that number must be qualified by the efficiency of solar tech, as the editors explain, but this is expected to improve over time. Will we see infinite linear progress in solar energy technology? No. But we can certainly get the cost per kWh down from Forbes’ calculation of 7.7 cents/kWh so that solar is cost competitive with other energy sources.
While Sagoway is working on solar power’s storage problem at MIT, physicists in Gainsville, Florida, are working to improve the efficiency of graphene solar cells. Recently they were able to get 8.6% efficiency in converting light energy to electricity, a new record up from 2.9% with this particular technology. Below is a link to the University of Florida’s news bulletin that got me looking into this. Cheers!
The Sun’s energy contribution to the Earth is more than enough than what would be necessary to power the modern world. But there are two technological hurdles to solar society. On one hand, solar panels need to be more efficient. On the other, solar energy is intermittent and human demand is not, which means that we need good batteries to store solar power when its available. But so far, our batteries aren’t so good.
Donald Sadoway and a group at MIT are currently working to fix the latter problem with liquid metal battery technology. Sadoway’s presentation is so impressive I couldn’t not share it. Can his team find the missing link to alternative energy?