Research team finds way to make solar cells thin, efficient and flexible

Converting sunshine into electricity is not difficult, but doing so efficiently and on a large scale is one of the reasons why people still rely on the electric grid and not a national solar cell network.

Hitachi touts renewable friendly battery

Who knows how economical it might be, but the Japanese electronics and industrial giant Hitachi is moving toward marketing an energy storage system that could be a companion piece to renewable power generation – another sign of the growing interest in such products.

Report: Toyota Prius convertible spotted in Japan

How up would you be for buying a Toyota Prius convertible? That was one of the primary under the radar surprises Toyota showcased at the recent Tokyo Motor Show in the form of the Aqua Air concept.

Can wind power and wildlife get along?

One of the funny things about the wind-power-and-birds controversy is that the folks who most frequently raise the issue are political conservatives who otherwise show little regard for the state of wildlife or the environment.

Astronomers discover planet that shouldn't be there

An international team of astronomers, led by a University of Arizona graduate student, has discovered the most distantly orbiting planet found to date around a single, sun-like star. It is the first exoplanet – a planet outside of our solar system – discovered at the UA.

Kawasaki J is a slick electric motorcycle

The Tokyo Motor Show, as we’ve been noticing from various stories of late, was a hotbed this year for electric vehicle ideas. Another one in this vein came from Kawasaki, which used the event to showcase its futuristic J concept personal transportation concept vehicle.

Obama touts renewable energy commitment

There’s no national renewable portfolio standard for the whole of the United States of America, but the U.S. government has one, sort of, and President Obama is upping the ante on it.

Sea-level rise to drive coastal flooding, regardless of changes in hurricane activity

Clamor about whether climate change will cause increasingly destructive tropical storms may be overshadowing a more unrelenting threat to coastal property — sea-level rise — according to a team of researchers writing in the journal Nature this week.

Honda touts new fuel cell vehicle concept

Hyundai and Honda are slightly divergent of one another at this point with regards to fuel cell vehicles.

Lexus teases 2014 CT 200H hybrid

Lexus chose an auto show in China to showcase the 2014 version of its sporty CT 200h hybrid. There’s a number of new features to take note of, including a new grille, better styling, an upgraded interior, better driving performance and, perhaps most appealing of all, a new trim level that aims to be even more impressive.

When will solar close the gap with gas?

It’s just one energy sector watcher weighing in, but Lux Research does have pretty good credentials, so we’ll run with it, leading with their headline: “Solar to Become Competitive with Natural Gas by 2025.”

Yamaha EV hits 100 mile range

Yamaha, besides showcasing at the recent Tokyo Motor Show five electric, two-wheeled vehicles described as reference/prototype models, also unveiled it is working with noted car designer Gordon Murray on an ultra compact electric vehicle concept known as MOTIV.e.

Concerns raised over invasive biofuel species

Instead of making biofuel from newly planted crops like Arundo donax – one of the main feedstocks at a big new cellulosic ethanol facility in Italy, and a plant that some environmentalists fear – why not harvest the invasive species that are already causing problems?

Toyota Highlander goes third-gen

Toyota, from the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show, has unveiled the third generation of itsHighlander Hybrid. It has bumped up in starting price for the 2014 model from the previous year significantly, reflecting what seems to be the new design and technology touches going into this latest iteration.

Illuminating office spaces, sans bulbs

It won’t keep the milk cold in the office refrigerator, but University of Cincinnati researchers say their concept for using the sun to light interior spaces is way more efficient than turning solar irradiance into electricity and then using that to power light bulbs.

How wind power can help the poor

Vestas is leading an effort to bring hybrid power generation – systems that combine factory-refurbished wind turbines and what the company calls “advanced diesel power generation” – to the poor, beginning with as many as 13 projects in Kenya that could serve 200,000 people with electricity at 30 percent below the current cost of diesel-only power production.

Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid hits 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds

The Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid, which debuted back in September, is said to be beating its own benchmark values as the first vehicles head into delivery. Based upon some final tuning measures, it is said to now be the fastest ever road-going automobile from this auto manufacturer.

800+ miles on a single EV battery charge?!

Records are meant to be broken, no doubt about that. This includes electric vehicle records, and word out of Japan is the world record for distance traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge may now have been broken (though there’s a little confusion on this at first glance – see below), courtesy of a team which includes a noted Japanese rally driver who was the first from his country to win the world’s most famous endurance race known as the Dakar Rally.

Tapping volcanos for geothermal power

Costa Rica and geothermal power make obvious sense – the country is teeming with geological activity, a fact apparent to anyone who has visited active volcanoes like Arenal or Poás.

Hyundai's fuel cell vehicle to hit US roads in 2014

We’ve talked at length here before about how Hyundai seemingly has the lead in the race to bring mass production fuel cell vehicles to market. Already effectively doing this in Europe, the South Korean automaker has now dropped a bombshell of an announcement in the United States with plans to make a limited offering available to retail customers starting next spring.