WTO Members Open Trade Talks to End Tariffs on Environmental Products
The U.S., European Union and 12 other members in the World Trade Organization have opened talks on a trade deal directed towards ending tariffs on environmental products such as solar panels, wind turbines and wastewater filters. According to the U.S. trade office, duties on environmental products can reach as high as 35 percent of the value of the products. In addition to the U.S., E.U. and China, the WTO members in talks are Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Hong King, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.
Apple Adds Third Solar Farm In North Carolina
Apple recently announced that it is building a third solar farm for its Maiden, N.C. data center. Expected to be completed by 2020, the 17.5 MW solar project is expected to cost around $55 million and create at least 75 jobs. The new solar farm will join the ranks of two 20 MW farms built in the last two years, which uses SunPower technology. Apple says that it now completely powers all of its power-hungry data centers from renewable sources.
Silicon Sponge Developed to Boost Lithium-Ion Batteries
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a porous, sponge-like nano-material made of silicon that could help lithium-ion batteries run longer on a single charge by giving electrodes the space they need to expand without breaking. The development is aimed to replace the graphite traditionally used in one of the battery’s electrodes, as silicon has more than 10 times the energy storage capacity of graphite. A lithium-ion battery with a silicon electrode could last about 30 percent longer than one with a graphite electrode.
More California Gas Stations Can Supply Hydrogen Than Previously Thought
A new study by Sandia National Laboratories concludes that a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen. The report looked at 70 commercial gas stations and the study determined that 14 stations could readily accept hydrogen fuel and that 17 more will have the same ability with property expansions. Under previous NFPA code protocols from 2005, none of the existing gas stations could readily accept hydrogen. The new findings suggest that a larger network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach.