Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MIT Scientists Burn Dr. Dan

I don’t actually care whether Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo’s defense of mountain-top removal mining is proof of corruption, sociopathic lying, early-onset dementia or deeply deluded political calculation.

I only care that he be immediately, publicly and thoroughly proven dead wrong.

One of Dr. Destruction’s defenses, made to a constituent at a public event, was that we need coal to replace oil. To the dirty fucking hippie challenging him, Mongiardo smirked and said condescendingly:

"You can’t run cars on wind power, you know."

You can’t run them on coal, either, asshole.

But you CAN run them on solar power, and it’s about to get easier, cheaper and far more efficient to do so.

(More after the jump)

Solar-power skeptic Blue Girl explores a grid-killing discovery at MIT.

The problem with solar power has always been that it only works when the sun is shining, so the time it isn't generating power, cloudy days and sunset to sunrise means that for more than half the time it doesn't work.

I have been one of those wet blankets that has been saying for ages that we have gone about as far as we can with solar and wind until storage gets better because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient.

Well, it just got better! Researchers at MIT, using plant photosynthesis as their model, have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun.

"This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Read the whole thing, complete with illustrations of how the new process could run your whole house.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.