Solar Novus Today: Ultralow-Power Converter Chip for Tiny Solar-Powered Sensors

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. have developed an ultralow-power converter chip that captures more than 80% of energy. What's more, the chip assumes additional functions. It can use a solar cell to either charge a battery or directly power a device.

“The ultralow-power circuit can interface with a solar cell and provide a regulated output voltage supply to power ultralow-power sensors and charge a battery with any excess power that is not required by the load,” says Dina Reda El-Damak, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and first author of the corresponding paper.

Fortune: Fracking Is Bringing U.S. Manufacturing Costs Close to China's

You don’t need to win a Nobel Prize in economics to know that the fracking revolution has been good for the U.S. What’s not so well known is just how competitive cheap oil and gas has made American manufacturing.

BCG, the Boston consultancy, estimates the average cost to manufacture goods in the U.S. is now only 5% higher than in China and is actually 10% to 20% lower than in major European economies. Even more striking: BCG projects that by 2018, it will be 2% to 3% cheaper to make stuff here than in China.

New York Times: Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules

As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states.

The resistance threatens to ignite a fierce clash between federal and state authorities, miring the climate rules in red tape for years. The fight could also undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to urge other nations to enact similar plans this year as part of a major United Nations climate change accord.

Associated Press: Solar Plane Lands in Hawaii After Record-Breaking Flight

A plane powered by the sun's rays landed in Hawaii Friday after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

Pilot Andre Borschberg and his single-seat aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu. His nearly 118-hour voyage from Nagoya broke the record for the world's longest nonstop solo flight, his team said. The late U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett set the previous record of 76 hours when he flew a specially designed jet around the globe in 2006.

Guardian: Google to Convert Alabama Coal Plant Into Renewable-Powered Data Center

Google will convert an old coal-fired power plant in rural Alabama into a data center powered by renewable power, expanding the company’s move into the energy world.

The technology giant said on Wednesday that it would open its 14th data center inside the grounds of the old coal plant, and had reached a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the region’s power company, to supply the project with renewable sources of electricity. With the coal plant rehab, Google solidifies a reputation among tech companies for promoting clean energy.