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Tuesday, May 05th

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Pilots attempt to fly solar-powered plane around the world without fossil fuels

Solar powered planeBeam them up, sunshine!  Two Swiss explorers set off early Monday from Abu Dhabi aboard a solar-powered plane they’ll try to steer around the world without a single drop of fuel.

Andre Borschberg first took the wheel of the single-seat Solar Impulse 2 on a leg to Muscat, Oman, before a journey across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad, India, on the first day of the 21,700-mile journey.

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North Dakota oil boom deflating

North Dakota oil boom deflatingLow oil prices haven't yet dimmed confidence in North Dakota, though there may be concerns lingering over the mid-term horizon, those on the ground said.

Oil prices have remained above what some consider the floor price for the recent downturn, trading in recent sessions above the $50 per barrel mark for West Texas Intermediate crude oil. That's more than 18 percent above late January lows, but still 50 percent less than June prices, forcing many in the industry to lay off staff and cut spending on exploration and production.

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Explosion at Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, injures four

Exxon explosionAn explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel.

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Japan now has more car charging points than gas stations

Japanese charging pointsNissan Motor Co. has reported that Japan now has more places to charge electric vehicles than gas stations. The country has roughly 34,000 gas stations, compared to 40,000 charging points. The charging points range from stations to home setups.

"An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure," Nissan Chief Financial Officer Joseph G. Peter told analysts on a conference call, according to Bloomberg Business.

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Researchers turn solar energy into liquid fuel

Solar energy to liquid fuelA small number of vehicles on U.S. roads are already indirectly powered by the sun. Ostensibly, some of America's electric cars use power derived from solar panels. And the fuel cells that bolster a growing fleet of hybrid cars and buses rely on hydrogen converted by photovoltaic cells.

But America is a liquid fuel kind of nation. To help wean American's off their love of gasoline, researchers at Harvard have found a way to turn solar energy into liquid fuel. It's like gas -- only good for the environment.

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Halliburton to cut up to 6,400 jobs as oil price falls

Halliburton to cut 6500 jobsUS oilfield services firm Halliburton has said it will cut up to 8% of its global workforce of 80,000, citing a "challenging market environment" as the oil price continues to tumble.

Halliburton says the cuts will be across all operations of the company.  Shares in Halliburton - the world's second-largest oilfield services company - fell nearly 3%.  The oil price has nearly halved since June as a global supply glut and weak demand push prices down.

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PlayStation 4 And Xbox One Are Energy Hogs

playstation and XboxFor all their graphical improvements and multimedia functionality, there's one place where Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 are sorely lacking: energy efficiency.

This is according to a report released on Thursday from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which found that both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 consume two to three times more electricity than the previous generation of consoles. The Nintendo Wii U is the only next-gen console that consumes less energy than the Wii that came before it, the NRDC found.

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