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OCT 24

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New Solar Cell Material Offers Both Cheap and jesperoffice.com Efficient Power
Written by Philip Proefrock on 24/10/13   

Another potential path for ever cheaper solar power is now being researched by scientists investigating the use of perovskite minerals to make solar cells. Perovskites are a very cheap material that have good light capturing properties as well as good conductivity. The advantage that perovskites offer is a great combination of inexpensive production combined with good efficiency in energy production.

Current laboratory experiment versions of perovskite-based solar cells have efficiencies of about 15 percent. Although there are other solar cells with greater efficiency, the figure for perovskite cells is higher than other cheap-to-manufacture methods.

The advantages provided with perovskite materials come from requiring a far less intensive manufacturing process. While fabricating silicon-based solar cells requires careful and expensive processing of silicon to a high degree of purity (not to mention the energy intensity of www.roli-guggers.de that manufacturing), cells using perovskites are made by spray applying materials to a glass or metal foil substrate, described as a "solar cell [that] can be fabricated as easily as painting a surface."

Perovskite-based solar cells might eventually be able to be produced for 10 to 20 cents per watt, as compared to present soalr panels which are around 75 cents per watt.

image: by Andrew Silver, USGS via Wikimedia Commons

via: MIT Technology Review

 

OCT 09

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Biomimetic Vascular Solar Cells
Written by Philip Proefrock on 09/10/13   

Researchers at North Carolina State University have come up with a new way of making solar cells with a method that uses circulation much like that in plant leaves to maintain the efficiency of the cells.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are organic cells that use light-sensitive dyes to generate electricity. These cells could eventually make low-cost and more environmentally-friendly collectors for solar energy, but until now, the problem has been that the dyes eventually break down due to ultraviolet rays from the cialis free sample canada sun and lose their efficiency.

The NCSU scientists have created a cell with vascular chanels, much like the veins in a leaf, to allow them to replenish the dye and thereby maintain the efficiency of the cell. Lead author Prof. Orlin Velev describes the process: “We considered how the branched network in a leaf maintains water and nutrient levels throughout the leaf. Our microchannel solar cell design works in a similar way. Photovoltaic cells rendered ineffective by high intensities of ultraviolet rays were regenerated by pumping fresh dye into the channels while cycling the the best site viagra soft tabs 100 mg exhausted dye out of the cell. This process restores the device’s effectiveness in producing electricity over multiple cycles.”

DSSCs are made with "a water-based gel core, electrodes, and inexpensive, light-sensitive, organic dye molecules that capture light and generate electric current." The simpler, non-metallic makeup of these cells could make them less expensive to produce, and could mean less extraction of cheap cialis online rare minerals required in order to continue to provide solar energy.

via: Cleantechnica

 

OCT 05

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Saving a Solar Archive
Written by Philip Proefrock on 05/10/13   

Six decades of collected research and cialis cialis online information about solar energy was nearly lost last month when torrential rains flooded parts of Boulder CO. The American Solar Energy Society, a non-profit organization supporting solar energy research and implementation is based on Boulder. The archives are now sitting in the organization's executive director's garage, but the organization has bigger plans in store.

The ASES is running a Kickstarter to raise funds to digitize 60 years of archives. The fundraiser seeks to raise a relatively modest $118,977 to not just scan the documents, but also to OCR the information and make it more readily useful. "After a page is scanned from a paper format, whether it's a book, magazine, research paper, or pdf, it will be converted to plain text via OCR. The images and diagrams will also become separate entities with their own tagging and categorization methodology that allows searching to be optimized as well as displayed in different contextual formats."

ASES plans to make all of this information freely available. "Similar to the way that the open source code community shares information, where code is open for others to see and build or improve upon, within open systems, creativity and innovation are able to grow exponentially. We want the cialis professional sale same thing to happen with solar and renewable technologies."

 
Solar Decathlon 2013 Is Underway
Written by Philip Proefrock on 03/10/13   

The biennial competition to build attractive, appealing, solar-powered homes is now underway, with the 2013 Solar Decathlon's opening ceremonies being held today. Unlike previous years, when the event has been held on the National Mall in Washington DC, this year the Decathlon is being held in Irvine CA. Nineteen teams from across the US and Canada, as well as teams from Austria and cialis generic the Czech Republic are taking part in this year's event.

The Solar Decathlon is made up of 10 different events judging a range of features of cialis canada these designs, including their energy performance, the livability of each house, and the overall construction budget. This year's entrants are targeting an estimated real-world construction cost of not more than $250,000.

In addition to the competition itself, there is an exposition called XPO being held adjacent to the Decathlon. This program contains a number of clean, renewable, and energy efficient products and demonstrations. According to the Department of Energy, "The winner of the overall competition is the cialis online without prescription team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. "

The competition and exhibition of these projects continues through Sunday, October 13, 2013. The overall winner of this year's Decathlon is scheduled to be announced on Saturday, October 12.

image credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy

 

SEP 30

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Recycling CDs for Wastewater Treatment
Written by Philip Proefrock on 30/09/13   

Someone has finally come up with an upcycling use for old CD discs. Din Ping Tsai, a physicist at National Taiwan University, has developed a small, low-power method for treating wastewater using UV light and zinc oxide applied to the CDs. Using old CDs as a substrate to coat with zinc oxide provides a low cost layer which can be spun as water is applied, creating a thin film of http://www.americanfoods.com/viagra-generic water which more effectively interacts with the photocatalytic layer of zinc oxide nanorods. In tests, the device was able to break down over 95% of the contaminants after an hour of treatment.

Though this could be a wonderful application for old CDs, it's unlikely to solve the waste accumulation from billions of old CDs. The number used for this treatment system, even if it becomes widely adopted, is going to be a tiny fraction of the total production of CDs (which, at present is about 20 billion CDs per year).

"The spinning disk reactor is small, consumes little power, and processes contaminated water more efficiently than other photocatalytic wastewater treatment methods, Tsai says. The device could be used on a small scale to clean water contaminated with domestic sewage, urban run-off, industrial effluents, and farm waste. Going forward, the team is also working on ways to increase the efficiency of the reactor, and Tsai estimates that the system could soon be improved to work even faster, perhaps by creating layers of stacked disks."

While the system seems best suited to small installations, rather than big, municipal facilities, it is nevertheless an interesting system, and the ability to also deal with an e-waste issue at the same time as creating equipment for effective wastewater treatemt is a positive synergy.

via: Treehugger

 

SEP 26

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Bird Groups and Wind Turbines Getting Along
Written by Philip Proefrock on 26/09/13   

It has been widely assumed for years that two groups that don't get along are wind power advocates and bird protection groups. But, in a move that shows how far things have come, the Royal Society for the Protection of cialis for less 20 mg Birds (RSPB) is looking at installing a wind turbine at its headquarters. The Society has applied to install a 100 meter (328 foot) tower for a wind turbine near its headquarters in Bedfordshire.

This is not a complete reversal on the part of the RSPB, and there have been cases where the RSPB has objected to wind farms. But it shows how wrong the old stereotype is. The Society's perspective is that "renewable energy is an essential tool in the fight against climate change, which poses the http://www.omroepgroesbeek.nl/generic-viagra-pill largest threat to the long-term survival of birds and wildlife." Furthermore, they believe that, "so long as proper due diligence is conducted and viagra in australia for sale potential wildlife impacts mitigated, ... developing wind power is a smart move."

More advanced understanding of bird migration patterns and habits has helped with the placement of wind farms in places where bird fatalaties can be reduced. Other technologies that monitor bats and birds, and intermittent disabling of wind farms during migration periods also help to further reduce the numbers of animals killed by wind turbines. And, in terms of numbers killed, buildings still remain a far greater threat to birds than wind turbines.

image: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Brian Robert Marshall/Wikimedia Commons

via: NA Windpower

 

SEP 24

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Wind Ship “Vindskip” Would Use Its Hull As a Sail
Written by Sarah Rich on 24/09/13   

In another approach to improve cargo ship design using wind power, Lade AS has developed plans to construct a hybrid cargo ship. The Vindskip, (“wind ship” in Norwegian) would use its own hull to channel wind as a sail or airplane wing does. Powered partially by a natural-gas fired engine, the external design of the ship would generate lift to assist its forward movement. In order to travel in the most optimal conditions possible, Vindskip's systems would constantly calculate both the direction and speed of the wind. Using the “apparent wind” (the wind as moving objects experience it), Lade AS claims, these systems would allow Vindskip to have a positive pull at a minimum of 45 percent of its time en route, traveling at speeds of +16 knots.

The company estimates this design would reduce emissions by 80 percent and fuel costs by 60 percent. While a small model was tested at Cranfield University's wind tunnel with success, the projected efficiencies have yet to be tested at full scale.

hat tip: @TobiasBuckell

image via Lade AS

 
EV-Sharing in Paris - Update
Written by Sarah Rich on 23/09/13   

A few years ago, we covered Paris’s plans to initiate an electric car sharing program. Through the Autolib car sharing program, which boasts over 1800 vehicles and 800 charging stations, the French capital now ranks among the world’s leaders in EV presence and charging locations.

Autolib’s system was built by a subsidiary of Bolloré, the company that helped create the wow look it viagra tablets for sale compact Bluecar. This system focus on being extremely user-friendly, by monitoring the relative location and viagra order battery charge of each vehicle. Members of the program can simply swipe their cards at a charging station and use a nearby car with the best charge. Only cars with a 40 percent or higher charge are released to members, and an agent will even contact drivers who’ve ventured past the last charging locations in the suburbs or drive with a battery that has a charge lower than 20 percent.

As IEEE Spectrum reports, more EVs on the road means more familiarity with seeing and driving them--and less local air pollution should they have been fossil fuel powered instead. With ample charging locations and shorter distances, in an urban environment, shared EVs can also shine well within their range. That being said, the convenience of personal vehicle ownership, for those who can afford it and even when space is at a premium, is a challenge all car sharing programs will continue to combat. The Autolib program in particular has its share of critics among EV car sharing supporters, who say the program’s focus on being flexible means its members are more likely to have their own personal cars as well, and that programs that allow the reservation of vehicles have much more success in reducing personal automobile ownership. The Autolib program has also not yet generated profits, although general director Morald Chibout believes the program will become profitable sometime in 2014.

via: IEEE Spectrum

image CC BY 2.0 by Francisco Gonzalez

 

SEP 20

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VW Announces Production of Two Electric Cars
Written by Sarah Rich on 20/09/13   

Following up on expectations, Volkswagen announced the generic cialis from canada production of two new electric vehicles last week. The 2015 e-up! (exclamation mark included) and the 2015 e-Golf were unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. While both hatchback vehicles contain lithium-ion batteries and electric motors, they have different specs. The smaller of the two, the e-up! runs on a 18.7-kWh lithium-ion battery and contains a 60 kW / 82 PS electric motor capable of 210 Nm of torque. The e-up! has a driving range of up to 99 miles (159 km), and uses a mere 11.7 kWh per 61 miles.

One of our writers test drove a pilot vehicle of the other EV announced for production: an all-electric version of the Golf. The e-Golf has a 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, and a 85 kW/ 115 PS electric motor with a max torque of 270 Nm. It also has a driving range of up to 118 miles (190 km), and uses 12.7 kWh of energy per 62 miles. While the e-Golf will appear in the U.S. market, production numbers have not yet been released and it is unknown whether the e-up! will follow. In addition to announcing production of these new cars, Volkswagen claims that, by 2018, it wants to produce the most electric vehicles worldwide.

 

SEP 19

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EPA Labels for Used Cars
Written by Philip Proefrock on 19/09/13   

The new car market has had labels to inform prospective buyers of the relative efficiencies of different vehicles. Now, the EPA is making that same information more readily available to used car buyers and levitra generic from india sellers.  Cars dating back to 1984 will be able to be identified through this system.

The used car labels are based on the original new car data, so declines that have occurred over time will not be reflected. But the baseline for comparison should still be valid. According to the EPA, "As a vehicle's fuel economy changes very little over a typical 15-year life with proper maintenance, the original EPA fuel economy estimate remains the best indicator of a used vehicle's average gas mileage."

The many millions of buyers who do not buy new cars directly from the manufacturer will now have an easier time as they consider the fuel efficiency and the carbon emissions of the vehicles they are looking at. Even if a particular seller doesn't offer the drug levitra information themselves, the EPA fuel economy website is simple enough that a buyer could quickly look up the information about a particular model of car they were considering.

via: EERE News

 

SEP 11

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KAIST Bus Charges Itself En Route
Written by Sarah Rich on 11/09/13   

There are many solutions, proposed or in development, to address the “range anxiety” EVs produce, from implementing fuel cells to self-propelled trailers. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed another solution to tackle the problem. The system, called OLEV (online electric vehicle), lets vehicles charge themselves while on the road or even when stationary.

Last month, two self-charging buses outfitted with OLEV took to the road in Gumi, a city in central South Korea, carrying commuters along a 15-mile roundtrip route. These buses are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, charged by electric cables under the road. These cables create a magnetic field, which a receiving device under the OLEV converts into electricity, wirelessly charging the batteries on board.

While range anxiety is a major challenge for the EV industry at large, unfortunately this solution isn’t one that’s easily transferred to all EVs--unless many, many more roads were equipped with the technology, too--and overhead cables still remain easier to install. Nevertheless, this system application already has plans to expand, with 10 more buses set to hit the road in Gumi by 2015.

via: IEEE Spectrum

image via KAIST

 


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