Science Daily: Researchers Use Bacteria to Convert Solar Energy Into Liquid Fuel

Scientists have figured out how to harness solar energy, using electricity from photovoltaic cells to yield hydrogen that can be later used in fuel cells. But hydrogen has failed to catch on as a practical fuel for cars or for power generation in a world designed around liquid fuels.

Now scientists from a team spanning Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a system that uses bacteria to convert solar energy into a liquid fuel. Their work integrates an "artificial leaf," which uses a catalyst to make sunlight split water into hydrogen and oxygen, with a bacterium engineered to convert carbon dioxide plus hydrogen into the liquid fuel isopropanol.

Guardian: Germany Leads Record Wind Power Growth in Europe

The British wind power industry installed 1.7 GW of new capacity last year, coming second only to Germany, which built a massive 5.2 GW of new capacity during 2014.

New figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) on Tuesday reveal nearly 11.8 GW of wind power was added to the grid across the European Union in 2014, accounting for 43.7% of all new electricity generation.

Bloomberg: Tesla Plans Battery for Household Energy-Storage Market

Tesla Motors Inc., best known for making the all-electric Model S sedan, is using its lithium-ion battery technology to position itself as a front-runner in the emerging energy-storage market that supplements and may ultimately threaten the traditional electric grid.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said during an earnings conference call with analysts Wednesday. New Jersey Approves $6.8 Billion Merger Between Pepco and Exelon

The state Board of Public Utilities approved a $6.8 billion merger between Atlantic City Electric's parent company and Exelon Corporation Wednesday, according to an announcement by the board.

Jobs for Atlantic City Electric will be protected, according to the announcement, and customer reliability will improve due to the merger.

The agreement brings together Exelon and its three electric and gas utility companies -- Baltimore Gas and Electric, ComEd and PECO -- with Pepco Holdings Inc.'s three utilities -- Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco.

Green Car Reports: A Challenge to Automakers on How to Test Hydrogen vs. Electric Cars

The amount of animus between some proponents of plug-in electric cars and those who support hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is remarkable, and sometimes disturbing.

Each side marshals studies of everything from wells-to-wheels carbon footprint (electric cars win) to "refueling time" to full range (hydrogen vehicles win).

What's needed, we would suggest, is a test in the open market, in which identical zero-emission vehicles could be sold: one powered solely by a battery, the other by a fuel-cell fed from compressed hydrogen.

Energy & Commodities: Global Oil Layoffs Top 100,000 as Job Pilgrims' Dreams Shatter

The promise of plentiful jobs and salaries as high as a quarter-million dollars a year lured Colombia native Clara Correa Zappa and her British husband to Perth, Australia, at the height of the continent's oil and gas frenzy.

Engineers were in high demand in 2012, when oil prices exceeded $100 a barrel, making the move across the world a no- brainer. Within two years, though, oil plunged to less than half the 2012 price and Zappa lost her job as a safety analyst. Now she's worried her husband, who also works in the commodities industry, could also lose his job.