Solar energy stored for winter and the mining industry going green

The scientists from Lancaster University have discovered a material that is capable of storing solar energy gathered during the summer and release it as heat during winter. They came to the discovery while studying a type of crystalline, often used in desalination and water filtering. The material can be used in buildings’ coating or car windshields – in the latter case for quick defrosting. The researchers stored solar energy for four months at room temperature, but they think the material can hold it even for four and a half years.

Around three hundred homes in the Scottish Fife area will get new boilers, heaters, and cooking appliances – all of them using zero-emission hydrogen. The initiative will last at least four years and comes as a part of a test intended to establish the importance of hydrogen (made with water and renewable energy) in meeting Britain’s climate goals. Eco-friendly hydrogen could be a key part of the U.K. government’s plan to diverge from fossil fuels as it can be used the same way as fossil fuel gas and even rely on the same infrastructure but without carbon emissions.

Mining and processing rare earth metals and minerals, crucial for the renewable energy sector, are undergoing major changes. Nickel, cobalt, copper, lithium, and gold are extensively used in wind turbines, electric grids, and cars. Now, some of the companies supplying those materials want to make innovations, so they become equally friendly to the environment as the green energy industry they work with.