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China Solar Energy Details and the Possibility of a China-US Collaboration

The solar industry in the United States has slowed dramatically. The increase in other forms of technology, low oil prices, and the fracking boom have stalled sales worldwide. Calls for reform of the already new sector have become widespread as the adoption of the technology didn’t quite reach the highs originally predicted. Researchers have called for the United States to reconsider a wide variety of its solar energy policies to maximize the industry’s long-term benefits to the global climate and to the U.S. economy. One recommendation is that the United States should work with China—which is, with its China solar energy, the major driver of the global solar industry—to build an environmental-friendly energy source.

China Solar Energy Details

According to Stanford, the answer to a widespread solar energy uptake is for governments and the private sector to approach it more economically and efficiently. Stanford solar energy researchers recommend that “the United States and China should work more closely together, with each country capitalizing on its particular strengths” to develop the market worldwide. Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center at Stanford, notes: “The Chinese are not only leading the world in terms of the manufacturing of solar equipment, but they are also the largest deployer of solar energy.” “They are getting increasingly competitive in the research and development area, which the U.S. has historically been dominating. With a new federal administration and a new Congress, this is the time to be thinking about what we want the U.S. role in solar industry to look like five, 10 years from now,” he adds.

a photo of a drawing of a solar panel with written details about solar power supply from the sun in relation to the topic of China solar energy

Other Researcher Statements

According to the International Energy Agency, solar power currently supplies only 1 percent of global electricity. But they predict this number could increase to 16 percent by 2050 if effective measures are implemented. The issues facing the industry are that governments are not embracing it, and are not investing enough to develop it. Stanford researchers say, “the U.S. government should embrace a globalizing solar industry, continue to invest in the deployment—as well as research and development (R&D)—of solar energy, and, above all, prioritize plans that reduce the cost of solar power.” Also in relation to the topic of China solar energy, Stanford researchers recommend booming U.S. spending and encouraging international research collaborations between China and the U.S. However, collaboration raises some concerns, mainly “intellectual-property protection and national security, but cooperating intelligently is crucial to solar power’s growth”.

The researchers also suggest reforming a federal policy that requires those who accept U.S. federal funding for solar research and development to in turn manufacture the resulting technologies “substantially” in the United States.

On the Possibility of a China-United States Collaboration

Notably, research also found that China’s solar companies are tapping international markets and spreading their operations across the globe. The U.S. is encouraged to do the same or to be in collaboration. Aside from the details of the current state of China solar energy, China is also building a healthy reputation as an R&D hub—supplying its own research and development teams, rather than just the manufacturing side. The United States is also renowned for delivering market-leading research and development in this field, so for the sector to grow and for an international uptake to become mainstream a collaboration between the two superpowers makes sense.

Utility-scale Renewable Energy Gains Traction In The US

Washington state has become one of the first states in America to champion the use of renewable energy. Businesses including Starbucks, Microsoft, and REI are a handful of companies making considerable commitments to using solar and wind energy to drive their operations.

Sixty-five firms have signed the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers Principles, a collaboration of companies who have come together to deliver more affordable clean energy and are committed to achieving cleaner energy production.

Washington’s large energy buyers “have found it difficult to access renewable energy because nearly all buyers must go through their utilities to buy energy”

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), more than a dozen businesses use substantial energy in the state, and public sector energy users like King County and the Port of Seattle have also committed to renewable power.

Renewable energy is fast becoming a viable and reliable energy source across the United States. It’s an energy that has low production costs and is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as rain, wind, sunlight, waves, tides, and geothermal heat.

However, according to the WRI, Washington’s large energy buyers “have found it difficult to access renewable energy because nearly all buyers must go through their utilities to buy energy. Those utilities still use at least some fossil fuel-based sources.”

Utility-scale renewable energy is considered on a scale equal to 10 megawatts (MW) or larger, and powers sites using substantial amounts of energy output. This is the scale where businesses are finding it difficult to get approvals for total renewable energy.

“While some companies have added on-site renewables like solar photovoltaics (PV), it’s rarely enough to meet their total electricity needs. Companies, therefore, look to the grid and their electricity utilities, which are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission,” WRI writes.

utility scale storage renewable energyPuget Sound Energy (PSE) announced that it would meet some of those needs with Green Direct, by implementing a new renewable energy program, or green tariff. Green Direct’s first subscribers include “commercial customers (REI, Starbucks, Target), local governments (Anacortes, Bellevue, King County, Mercer Island, and Snoqualmie) and local institutions (Western Washington University and Sound Transit).”

Green tariff subscriber programs have advantages that appeal to organizations right across America, from Fortune 500 companies and other large buyers because the utility subscribers projects are on a much larger-scale.

The WRI states that “customers of utility-scale renewable energy do not accrue a large bill credit for the power the project generates. In a subscriber program, customers pay for the power they use each month – at the cost of the renewable project – like customers accessing electricity from traditional power plants. This means that non-participating customers do not subsidize these projects.”

As to how renewable energy is delivered to customers diversifies and improves, there can only be gains made from renewable energy up and down the country. Renewable energy uptake is becoming widespread across the United States and spreading further afield right around the globe. The costs are low, and the resources are always available.

How Secure Are Fingerprint Sensors?

Fingerprint sensors are a big security risk. Researchers from New York and Michigan State University recently made the bold pronouncement after successfully creating “Master Prints” – digital fingerprint templates – which fooled mobile finger print scanners 65 percent of the time. With this findings, we should be asking on how safe are fingerprint scanners and what are the bold actions to address this issue?

“If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds”

The digitally manufactured prints were tested in computer simulations and were able to “unlock” countless pass codes. In the real world, this could mean millions of unlocked phones, purchases, and access to sensitive information and supposedly secure transactions.

The “master prints” were created by combining common features of human finger prints, but they didn’t push through with testing on actual mobile devices and live accounts. However, the results of the study already raised red flags on how secure fingerprint sensors are.

“It’s almost certainly not as worrisome as presented, but it’s almost certainly pretty darn bad,”  Andy Adler, a professor of systems and computer engineering at Carleton University in Canada, who studies biometric security systems was quoted in a New York Times interview, adding: “If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds.”

While it would be difficult to fake a full human fingerprint, scanners on mobile phones and biometric systems only read partial prints. A finger swipe matches any one of the stored images needed to unlock your phone, but this leaves it dangerously vulnerable to false matches.

Improving security of fingerprint sensors and readersThis development leaves phone companies with plenty of room to improve by implementing newer biometric security options. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 phone will feature an iris scanner, and there are talks of incorporating newer and larger fingerprint sensors on future phone iterations.

In the meantime, users who are concerned about security can switch off the functionality when it comes to sensitive financial transactions. While we’re all for convenience, it would not hurt to be a bit more careful and not just jump on the bandwagon of fingerprint scans and tie all of your phone’s security features to it. Remember that phones are still prone to theft and cloning. There are companies developing a self-destruct feature in the event that phones are lost or stolen.

Earlier this week, Mastercard announced that it will be rolling out cards equipped with both a security chip and fingerprint sensor. This is a promising development and a bold idea that could help answer the problem of financial security. Having two security systems instead of just one may be redundant but it is a necessary measure to keep financial and personal information secure.

Can Vaccines End Cancer?

The battle against cancer has been an ongoing struggle, but a recent development in the field of immunotherapy has given newfound hope to researchers. Advancements documented in Genome have opened the door for a new era of cancer treatment – with treatment vaccines!

Vaccines work by training the body’s own immune system to fight the problem. Immunotherapy is not a new concept. In fact, impressive results have already been observed when using it to target specific cancerous cells.

The difference between treatment vaccines and preventative vaccines

There is an important difference between treatment vaccines and preventative vaccines though. Preventative vaccines for cancer such as the HPV shot have been around for years and are being constantly improved. They aim at training the body to fight signs of infection, thus helping to prevent the emergence of an environment in which certain types of cancer might arise.

Killer T cells to target cancer - treatment vaccines
Extracting RNA from a patient’s cancer cells, and convincing “killer” T-cells to attack tumors

The new vaccine approach being discussed is a treatment vaccine which teaches the body to attack and kill already live cancer cells.

By extracting pieces of RNA from a patient’s cancer cells, researchers have found a way to cater to specific individuals, convincing “killer” T-cells into launching an attack on tumors that a patient has been afflicted with.

Ongoing research has suggested that this innovative approach can be wielded against any type of tumor, anywhere within the body. According to a team of researchers at Johannes Gutneyberg University of Mainz, Germany, these “vaccines are fast and inexpensive to produce, and virtually any tumor antigen can be encoded by RNA.”

This means the vaccine is not only capable of encouraging the immune system to defend itself, but would serve as an easy and readily accessible option to patients in need.

In a field where genetic diversity can impact the effectiveness of treatments from patient to patient, the ability to craft customized treatment vaccines is a valuable improvement in comparison to current methods.

Although this technique is in need of further testing and development, the results have been promising and inspired hope about the future of cancer treatments. This bold idea is only the beginning of what researchers intend to achieve in coming years.