PV Magazine: SMA Founder Günther Cramer, 62, Dies

Günther Cramer, SMA Solar Technology AG’s founder and longstanding CEO of the inverter company, has died at age 62 after battling a long and difficult illness.

The company released a press statement this morning paying homage to Cramer’s work and positive influence on the clean energy landscape.

Current SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon spoke of Cramer’s "courage, passion and commitment to energy transition," while cdw Stiftungsverbund managing director Volker Wasgindt called Cramer an "exceptional person" who would "always have a lasting place in our hearts."

Günther Cramer was an early pioneer in the world of decentralized, renewable energy and foresaw great potential in the sector long before many of his peers did. Alongside his trusted partners Peter Drews and Reiner Wettlaufer, Cramer transformed SMA from a small engineering firm to a globally admired technology leader.

Air & Space: In the Airline Business, Innovation Takes a Back Seat to Fuel Efficiency

We’ve all seen the stories: “Future airliners will be _____!” You can fill in the blank with anything from transparent to made of carbon nanotubes to powered by lasers. The predictions are largely based on academic studies or patent filings by major manufacturers. Many such claims are actually technically feasible today, albeit with plenty of applied engineering still to be done. Despite that, it seems every new airplane looks a lot like what it replaces.

SciTech Daily: Floating Nuclear Power Plants Could Enhance Safety

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation that followed caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects -- specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station -- that caused most of the harm.

A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future. Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically cooled by the surrounding seawater in a worst-case scenario, which would indefinitely prevent any melting of fuel rods or escape of radioactive material.

Scientific American: Where in the World Are the Fossil Fuels That Cannot Be Burned?

Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. cannot burn much of the coal, oil and gas located within their national territories if the world wants to restrain global warming. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis aimed at determining what it will take to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius this century -- a goal adopted during ongoing negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"If we want to reach the 2-degree limit in the most cost-effective manner, over 80 percent of current coal, half of gas and one-third of oil need to be classified as unburnable," said Christophe McGlade, a research associate at University College London's Institute for Sustainable Resources (and lead author of the report published in Nature on January 8, during a press conference.

Bloomberg: EPA to Delay U.S. Carbon Rule for Power Plants Until Summer

The Environmental Protection Agency said it will delay carbon rules for power plants, missing a deadline set by President Barack Obama in one of the centerpieces of his climate-change agenda.

Janet McCabe, the EPA’s top official for air pollution, said the agency will miss this week’s legal deadline to issue a final rule for new power plants. A more contentious rule to cut emissions from modified or existing plants will come out “mid-summer,” and not as scheduled in early June, she said.