Before you head off into the weekend for some fall fun, I have a roundup of the top cleantech and climate tech news in the nation’s middle section, starting with a solar breakthrough from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Perovskite-based window technology. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL
The NREL scientists devised a next-generation thermochromic window. Thermochromic items are temperature sensitive and change color when the temperature changes. The window generates electricity while reducing the need for air conditioning.
The thermochromic photovoltaic window can change color to block glare and unwanted heat from entering buildings on hot, sunny days.
Researchers’ breakthrough combines form and function: The color change can now occur at a variety of temperatures and in a lot of different hues, meaning architects and developers could choose which window colors to incorporate into their building design. An earlier thermochromic window version darkened to a reddish-brown color and had to reach 150-175 degrees Fahrenheit to trigger the transformation.
The technology creates electricity with embedded perovskites, crystalline structures that are highly efficient at harvesting solar energy.
Researchers say a prototype window could be developed within a year.
Minnesota’s Xcel Energy will use a $10.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to build a pilot hydrogen plant at one of its nuclear facilities, reports the Star Tribune. The utility could produce zero-emissions hydrogen if the test program reaches commercialization, rather than the typical hydrogen production model of using natural gas.
St. Louis-based power company Ameren and the Electric Power Research Institute hosted a demo day for 10 startups that aim to overcome grid challenges in areas such as power system resiliency, electric mobility, and energy efficiency.
🥤 PLASTICS: A team of scientists led by Ames Laboratory developed a first-of-its kind catalyst that can break down polyolefin plastics — such as commonly used container components polyethylene and polypropylene — into high-quality components that can be reused for products including fuel.
Eight of the 12 recipients of a collective $27 million in DOE funding for projects to develop advanced plastics recycling technologies went to Midwest businesses or research institutions, including the University of Akron, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Skokie, Illinois-based LanzaTech.
🏃 ACCELERATOR: The Water Council in Milwaukee is accepting applications through November 29 for its BREW 2.0 accelerator for market-ready water technology innovators. The program is different from previous iterations in that it focuses on late-stage innovations and is virtual with a less intensive time commitment.
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