Sol-Gel Capacitor Dielectric Offers Record-High Energy Storage

Using a hybrid silica sol-gel material and self-assembled monolayers of a common fatty acid, researchers have developed a new capacitor dielectric material that provides an electrical energy storage capacity rivaling certain batteries, with both a high energy density and high power density.

If the material can be scaled up from laboratory samples, devices made from it could surpass traditional electrolytic capacitors for applications in electromagnetic propulsion, electric vehicles and defibrillators. Capacitors often complement batteries in these applications because they can provide large amounts of current quickly.

Vox: What Impact Will Obama's Clean Power Plan Have? It Depends

The EPA's Clean Power Plan has finally been released. It is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. electric sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. There will be a great deal of talk about the CPP this week, much of it about the mechanisms and timetables in the final rule, but the questions that matter most -- what effect the CPP will have on America's transition to clean energy and the larger fight against climate change -- simply cannot be answered yet.

It's not a matter of modeling the numbers in the plan. Politics, law, and psychology will determine the program's fate more than economics or technology, which makes predictions an even dicier undertaking than usual. The plan's future is, in short, clouded in uncertainty.

UPI: Japan Installs World's Largest Floating Wind Turbine

Japanese engineers have installed a 344-foot floating wind turbine, the world's largest, that can withstand tsunamis and waves up to 65 feet high.

The 7-megawatt turbine was placed about 12 miles off the coast of Fukushima, where a tsunami in 2011 devastated the coast and caused a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The turbine is fastened to the seabed by four 20-ton anchors. Installation was previously delayed four times due to consecutive typhoons. 

SNL: Another Coal Producer Files for Bankruptcy

Alpha Natural Resources Inc. became the largest U.S. coal company yet to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 3, and while the executives hold a bleak outlook for the near-term market, the company says it still sees a future for the industry.

In a company news release on the restructuring, Alpha Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield warned the public not to think of coal -- or Alpha for that matter -- in the "past tense." In declarations filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Crutchfield and Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer Philip Cavatoni spelled out their support for certain first-day requests of the bankruptcy court and explained the events of recent years leading to Alpha's downfall.

Politico: German Winds Make Central Europe Shiver

Germany’s shift to renewable energy has been hailed as a historic policy move -- but its neighbors don’t like it.

The country’s move away from nuclear power and increase in production of wind or solar energy has pushed it to the point where its existing power grids can’t always cope. And it’s the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France that have taken the brunt.