Supervolcanoes could be the key to our battery-powered future

In order to rely on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, the world is going to have to find efficient ways to store electricity, saving it up for times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

One of the leading contenders for large-scale storage at the moment is the lithium ion battery. Elon Musk has promised to build a 100MW batteryin Australia, and energy company AES is constructing a facility of the same size in LA.

Currently, most of the lithium used in these batteries comes from Australia and Chile. But the lithium supply needed to provide large-scale battery storage could come from an unexpected place, according to a new study. Supervolcanoes

Read more in WIRED

Solar power explained: How do solar panels work?

Life on Earth could not survive without the sun. It provides light and heat, the seasons and the day and night cycle necessary for life to have evolved. Today, we’re exploiting the energy from the sun to power our lives and experts say one day, this source of energy may be all we need. But, behind the headlines what exactly is solar power and how do we harness it?

What is solar power?

There are two main types of solar energy: photovoltaics and concentrated solar power (CSP), also known as concentrated solar thermal.

Read more on Alphr

What is quantum computing and why does the future of Earth depend on it?

Computing power is reaching a crisis point. If we continue to follow a trend in place since computers were introduced, by 2040 we will not have the capability to power all of the machines in the world. Unless we can crack quantum computing.

Quantum computers promise faster speeds and stronger security than their classical counterpart and scientists have been striving to create a quantum computer for decades. But what is quantum computing and why have we not achieved it yet?

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This ultrahot Jupiter-like exoplanet has a glowing stratosphere

For the first time, a glowing giant exoplanet has been found surrounded by an atmosphere similar to Earth’s.

The planet WASP-121b, which lies 270 light years away from Earth, is the first exoplanet found with a stratosphere – an upper layer in its atmosphere.

WASP-121b is what is known as a ‘hot Jupiter’ – a gas giant like Jupiter but much hotter, with an orbit that takes it feverishly close to its star.

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What is the meaning of life? WIRED (tries to) explain

Whether you are on your way to work on a rainy morning, lying awake at night unable to sleep, or just gazing up at the stars, you might sometimes find yourself contemplating the meaning of life. It is one of humanity’s biggest questions, and there is no simple answer, but WIRED has spoken to a philosopher and a physicist to try and get closer to one…

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Google is now setting its sights on nuclear fusion

Google has teamed up with nuclear fusion experts to develop an algorithm for solving complex energy problems.

Working with Tri Alpha Energy, which calls itself “the world’s largest private fusion company”, and its giant ionised plasma machine C2-U, Google has built an algorithm designed to speed up experiments in plasma physics. Tri Alpha Energy’s ultimate aim is to build the first fusion-based commercial power plant and the faster they can complete experiments, the faster and cheaper they can achieve this goal and move the world towards a more sustainable, clean energy source.

Read more on Alphr

Tiny beads found all over the Moon could supply astronauts with water

The Moon holds more water than we thought in its interior, according to research published today, meaning humans could one day make the most of it as a space resource.

The study looked at a substance found on the Moon called pyroclastic deposits, which are made mostly of volcanic glass beads formed during ancient explosive eruptions. In the past, these have been thought of as potentially useful sources for elements like iron and titanium.

Now we have reason to believe they also contain water, that could be extracted by astronauts on the Moon.

Read more on WIRED

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