There is a hopeful report out this week that the cost of solar energy has dropped so dramatically that it is not cheaper than wind power in emerging markets like China and India. Indeed, Popular Mechanics is now calling solar energy the “cheapest energy” option. In Chile, electricity is being produced by solar power for $29.10 per megawatt hour–half the price of power produced by coal. These countries are seeing the benefits in the investment into alternative energy sources in both cost and the environment. The pledge of the Trump Administration to expand drilling and “clean coal” use runs against the trend in other countries.
Germany has introduced the hydrogen-based Coradia iLint which will be the world’s first zero-emission passenger train. It will only release steam and represents another towering victory for the Germans in reducing pollution and fighting climate change.
In a discovery that should have been the lead story on most networks this week, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered an incredible chemical reaction that not only turns CO2 into ethanol but does so with few contaminants and using common materials. It could prove a critical means for combatting climate change. For those who resist new pollution curbs, this type of technology is the type of advance that should warrant bipartisan support.
There is a fascinating study out this week where scientists at the University of Sydney in Australia have found that Tasmanian devil milk contains a remarkable collection of antimicrobial compounds. These compounds can kill some of the most deadly bacterial and fungal infections known to science including golden staph. While I would not want the job of milking Tasmanian devils down under at the farm, scientists are hopefully isolating these powerful compounds.