EERE Network News

December 06, 2006

News and Events

New Solar Cell Breaks 40 Percent Efficiency Barrier

A new solar cell, developed by Spectrolab, Inc. with DOE funding, has a sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, a new world record that could lead to more affordable solar power systems.

Solar-Powered Ship Begins Transatlantic Voyage

Crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran seems difficult enough, but a Swiss team is attempting to do so entirely under solar power. Next year, a separate team plans to circumnavigate the world in a biodiesel-fueled boat, while efforts are gearing up for a round-the-world alternative-fuel car race in 2008.

Four Western States to Cooperate on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New Mexico has joined with the coastal states of California, Oregon, and Washington in a joint effort to combat climate change. The states will cooperate to develop and deploy low-carbon and renewable energy technologies while promoting energy efficiency, conservation, and demand response.

DOE-Industry Partnership Produces Efficient Window Prototype

A collaboration between DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Sage Electrochromics, Inc. has produced a window prototype that integrates several energy efficient technologies.

Automakers Emphasize Fuel Economy at the L.A. Auto Show

General Motors is the main newsmaker at the Los Angeles Auto Show, unveiling plans to produce a plug-in hybrid and detailing its near-term effort to roll out a number of new hybrid models. Ford is also in the game with a fuel-cell-powered Explorer and a redesigned Escape Hybrid.

DuPont Joint Venture Begins Producing Major Chemical from Corn

A joint venture of DuPont and Tate & Lyle has begun producing 1,3-propanediol (PDO) from corn in Tennessee. Manufacturing the new bioproduct, called Bio-PDO, consumes 40 percent less energy than petroleum-based PDO. Bio-PDO will be used to make a DuPont polymer and other products.

Energy Connections

EIA: U.S. to Shift Away from Petroleum, Toward Coal by 2030

The latest long-term energy outlook from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a rapid growth in ethanol and biodiesel fuels, as well as flex-fuel vehicles, hybrids, and advanced diesels. It also projects a huge growth in our use of coal.