Dramatically lower prices for raw silicon (Si) have reduced the cost of solar power modules (panels). For total power system cost to continue to fall, however, new methods are required to produce high efficiency silicon solar cells that minimize material costs and processing complexity. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy recently demonstrated a method for high-efficiency silicon that may do just this.
Alex Felson discusses examples of ecological land use planning and site-level green infrastructure in seaside Connecticut communities that represent mitigation and adaptation strategies in anticipation of climate change. Dr. Felson has joint appointments with Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the School of Architecture.
Connecticut-born Marion McFadden, Chief Operating Officer of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task describes the history of the task force and how it’s helping the region rebuild “smarter and stronger than before” with science as the foundation of the world. Her presentation was part of a YCEI-sponsored town hall meeting entitled, “Climate Change in New England: What’s Next?” which explored how global warming will affect New England in the 21st century and how the region is preparing for the coming changes.
IPCC Chairman and YCEI Director Rajendra Pachauri provides context for the 2011 Conference dedicated to Technological Innovations for a Secure Energy Future.
By Elizabeth Tellman
Densely populated, and with 80% of its area located on a floodplain within 8 meters of sea-level1, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most flood-prone nations. As such it’s an appropriate setting for a series of two United Nations University Resilience Academies that convene experts in research, policy and practical applications to help developing nations deal with the effects of climate change.
Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-lattitude climate.
Emily Grubert studies electricity fuel cycles, focusing on integrating knowledge about various environmental and social impacts of fuel extraction, use, and disposal to aid decision makers at a local level using life cycle assessment, textual analysis, and multi-criteria decision analysis. Her particular focus is on fuel extraction and water resources. This talk, based on a recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters (Grubert, Beach, and Webber 2012), addresses freshwater consumption for the natural gas- and coal-fired electricity fuel cycles in Texas. Specifically, I will focus on fuel extraction, power plant cooling, and power plant emissions controls, which account for an estimated 95% of the freshwater consumption associated with electricity production. Most of this water consumption (~80%) is for power plant cooling, but fuel extraction and emissions controls have become increasingly important with the advent of unconventional natural gas production that requires hydraulic fracturing and stricter sulfur dioxide control standards for power plants.
Annie Harper discusses Yale’s Community Carbon Fund, a joint project of the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale to support local carbon mitigation projects that go beyond Yale’s immediate campus. When money is donated, the Yale Community Carbon Fund staff invests it in ways that enable low income people or organizations in New Haven to become more energy efficient and save money.
Diego Angarita, Board Member at Co-Op Power, talks about community-based movements from alternative energy to community gardening in New England.