The coming electric vehicle (EV) revolution has a not-so-secret dirty secret – coal. About half of the nation's grid energy comes from coal. And while EVs charging up on current from coal-fired power plants still have smaller carbon footprints than equivalent gasoline-powered vehicles, we're pretty sure our readers agree when we say that coal-fired EVs are a two-steps-forward, one step back strategy.

Luckily, the Department of Energy (DOE) is betting on, if not a completely green energy future, at least a greener one. The DOE has approved up to $62 Million in funding for concentrating solar power (CSP) research and development. CSP technologies work like this: the sun's energy is concentrated and captured as heat – the heat then drives a turbine to produce electrical power the same way a coal or nuclear plant would. Some CSP plants include energy storage devices, allowing them to provide electricity even when the sun isn't shining – i.e., nighttime – which is when a lot of PEVs will likely be charging.

The DOE has selected 13 projects that will seek to improve CSP component and system designs to bring them to a level of energy production on par with coal-fired plants, about 18 hours a day.

[Source: Green Car Congress | Image: stantoncady – C.C. 2.0]

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