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November 27th, 2005
A growing number of scientists in labs from Berkeley to Boulder to Rochester are working to plug into a source that delivers more energy in an hour than the world's population uses in a year — the sun.
For now, its energy is among the most expensive on the planet, more than four times the cost of electricity from coal, gas and nuclear sources.
But an eclectic bunch of physicists, biologists and materials scientists suggest they can deliver multiple breakthroughs in cost and technology for solar energy, if only the government would muster the will and the money to set them loose. This solar revolution, if it comes at all, would come from the microscopic world. Scientists say two advances — nanotechnology and genetic modification — make breakthroughs in harvesting energy from the sun likelier.
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