Popular Science: HyperSciences Wants to Drill Into the Ground With a Huge Gun

It’s no secret -- there’s a lot of energy held just a few thousand feet under Earth’s surface. To harness any sizable amount of our planet’s underlying geothermal energy for steam power, we would have to bore more than 2 miles into the crust. Unfortunately, the current drilling process is prohibitively expensive for most interested parties, ranging from $5 million to $20 million depending on the depth desired.

Mark Russell, CEO of HyperSciences, wants to change that. His method? Repeatedly firing projectiles into the Earth’s crust, which Russell claims is 10 times faster than traditional drilling. He received a patent last year for his projectile-based system, and was recently funded about $1 million by Shell’s GameChanger program to continue his research.

UCR Today: Reshaping the Solar Spectrum to Turn Light to Electricity

A huge gain in this direction has now been made by a team of chemists at the University of California, Riverside that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers report in Nano Letters that by combining inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules, they have succeeded in “upconverting” photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.

“The infrared region of the solar spectrum passes right through the photovoltaic materials that make up today’s solar cells,” explained Christopher Bardeen, a professor of chemistry.

Wall Street Journal: Prefab Nuclear Plants Prove Just as Expensive

Building nuclear reactors out of factory-produced modules was supposed to make their construction swifter and cheaper, leading to a new boom in nuclear energy.

But two U.S. sites where nuclear reactors are under construction have been hit with costly delays that have shaken faith in the new construction method and created problems concerning who will bear the added expense.

“Modular construction has not worked out to be the solution that the utilities promised,” said Robert B. Baker, an energy lawyer at Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP in Atlanta and former member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, the state utility authority.

The Scotsman: Donald Trump Owns Shares in Large Wind Power Firm

Donald Trump, who claims wind turbines are destroying the Scottish landscape, has revealed he has shares in a wind power company.

The billionaire businessman’s stake in NextEra Energy has been made public as he bids to become the next U.S. president. The tycoon, worth around £6.5 billion, whose mother was from the Isle of Lewis, is famed for being an outspoken critic of wind energy.

Crain's: Chicago Sending City Households Back to ComEd

The city of Chicago is ending its two-year adventure with buying electricity on behalf of its residents.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has concluded that it won't be able to save households money on their electric bills and will send all customers participating in the city's contract with Constellation back to Commonwealth Edison this fall.

When the city negotiated an agreement with Integrys Energy Services in late 2012 to supply electricity to the city's residences and small businesses, it was the largest such municipal pact in the country.