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JUN 14

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New Design for Efficient Concentrating Solar Power
Written by Sarah Rich on 14/06/13   

Scaling up solar energy collection means addressing a critical problem. While additions like anti-reflective coatings can boost efficiency on solar panels, the more solar energy a collector gathers, the hotter it gets--and if temperatures rise too high the heat could damage the device.

A group at IBM Research - Zurich is addressing this problem and announced on Earth Day 2013 that they are developing a High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system. IBM says the collector will be able to generate significantly more electrical power from the we choice levitra dosage sun’s rays than comparable systems while staying cool enough to function.

According to IBM, the proposed HCPVT system’s dish contains hundreds of photovoltaic chips, and the rate at which it can generate electrical power is about 25kW. With the help of a microchannel water cooling system, the system is capable of how does viagra work concentrating the power of 2,000 suns, on average, and converting 80 percent of the radiation collected.

In a video, a research scientist at Zurich explains the solar radiation concentration methods that will be used in the proposed system.

The design offers other efficiency boosts: the hot water produced in the microchannels can be used for air conditioning or filtered for drinking. More electrical power and a useful hot water byproduct aren’t the only boons; as with many systems designed to increase efficiency, it promises to be more cost effective as well. Although IBM’s press release on the buy levitra pill proposed system doesn’t mention any market plans, it does claim that the design is suitable for mass production. If they do go beyond prototype stages, IBM states these systems could be built at a cost three times lower than comparable systems, and may help deliver electricity, fresh water, and cool air to remote locations.

via: Engadget

screencaptured image via IBM Social Media


JUN 03

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First US Floating Turbine Launched
Written by Philip Proefrock on 03/06/13   

The first grid-connected floating wind turbine has been launched off the coast of Maine, moving the US forward in its deployment of offshore wind power. Offshore wind has been well developed, particularly in Europe. But, despite having extensive wind resources, the US has done very little until now in the way of establishing offshore wind power.

The VolturnUS turbine is actually only a 1:8 scale development model from the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Nonetheless, the structure is a 65 foot (19.8 meters) tall, and produces enough power that it can be tied to the grid.

This turbine will serve primarily for design study and data collection. According to the Department of the best choice cialis non prescription Energy, the VolturUS "will collect data to validate and improve floating wind turbine designs, while helping to address technical barriers to greater offshore wind cost reductions."


MAY 30

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"Variations in the earth’s climate is not new, the variation in clima..."

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SciShow: A History of Earth's Climate
Written by Philip Proefrock on 30/05/13   

Is variability in the Earth's climate something new or has the climate always been changing? And, is it something that we should be concerned about?

In this week's Sci Show, Hank goes through a history of Earth's climate and finds a variety of factors that have influenced climate over time.

"Temperatures are increasing faster than they ever have. In the past 100 years, temperatures have risen so dramatically that thay have cancelled out all of the cooling that took place over the past 6,000 years."


MAY 29

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"Nice little project. Thanks for sharing. :)..."

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A Small Wind Turbine You Can Make Yourself
Written by Sarah Rich on 29/05/13   

As the June 17 deadline to the Instructables Green Design Contest fast approaches, Jaymi Heimbuch at TreeHugger has highlighted one particular entry: a small DIY wind power generator that can sit in your backyard.

The wind generator’s designer, out-of-the-box, offers demo videos and text instructions accompanied by photos. As the designer notes, the amount of electricity the generator can produce depends on the steper motor you choose to use when constructing it yourself. The one shown in the instructions tops out at 8 volts, but on a still day outputs around 4. Modifying the turbine to increase efficiency, out-of-the-box is posting updates after the last step in the instructions, like removing a cup off of each arm to reduce wind resistance and lowest prices for professional cialis adding unobtrusive solar panels.

This contest’s accessibility stands out among some other green design competitions. It doesn’t involve prototypes that use obscure materials or require years of experience in aerospace engineering. Instead, each entry must provide step by step instructions to show others how to make the project themselves.

via: TreeHugger

image via out-of-the-box


MAY 28

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Project Better Place Closing Up Shop
Written by Philip Proefrock on 28/05/13   

Project Better Place, the electric vehicle company that planned to revolutionize electric vehicles and the automobile market with swapable, leased batteries for EVs, is closing down and liquidating its assets. The company was based in Silicaon Valley, but its main markets were in Denmark and Israel.

Shai Agassi, the company's founder, had a plan to make electric vehicles accessible by making the batteries swappable. Like exchanging propane bottles for your grill, you would pull in to a service station and have the batteries swapped on your EV in about the rx generic cialis time it would take to fill a conventional gas tank. Fresh batteries and you're ready to roll.

But the idea never caught on the way it needed to, and Project Better Place is now pulling the plug and cialis delivered overnight entering liquidation. We had some skepticism about the economic model for the company when it was first being rolled out, though we would have been delighted to be proved wrong.

via: Marketplace


MAY 27

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Arctic Research Station Evacuated Due to Melting
Written by Philip Proefrock on 27/05/13   

A floating Russian research station on an ice floe in the Arctic is being evacuated far earlier than planned due to the breakup of the floe it is sitting on. A Russian icebreaker has been dispatched to pick up the scientists and their equipment from the ice floe that has housed the North Pole-40 research base since last October.

The station is the latest in a series of floating research stations that the Russians have operated dating back to the late 1930s. It was intended to remain occupied and in operation until September of this year, but the ice floe it is situated on has begun to break up. The floating research station is out of helicopter range, and the floe is too unstable to enable an airstrip to be created.

Finding a suitable ice floe for these research stations is becoming increasingly difficult. The team for this mission spent considerable time trying to locate a suitable floe to set up on last autumn. The Russian government has budgeted 1.7 billion rubles (about US$ 54 million ) to create a "self-propelled, ice- strengthened floating platform to replace the natural ice floes for future research stations."

Hat tip: @HotTopicNZ


MAY 17

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Wireless Maintenance Robots Ascend Wind Turbines
Written by Sarah Rich on 17/05/13   

With a 13.1 inch tall mid-sized model, Helical Robotics’s HR-MP series robots can scale immense wind turbines to inspect them for damage. Unlike the similar tethered prototype GE and International Climbing Machines began developing last year, these wheeled robots are wireless. Controlled by a radio signal and equipped with digital cameras, the climbing robots may serve to replace high powered telescopes used to inspect wind turbines from the ground, which grow less effective as towers get taller and blades get longer. Remote controlled climbing robots also offer a safer, more practical alternative to inspectors climbing up themselves.

Weighing 42 pounds, the HR-MP20 model (pictured above) can carry up to 20 pounds of sensors and other equipment, has a top climbing speed of best way to use cialis 43.6 feet per minute, and, according to Helical Robotics, offers a radio control range of 2500 feet. Using five neodymium magnets, the robot is capable of clinging to curved metal surfaces ranging from 7 feet in diameter to flat planes. Controlled by a technician on the ground, once the HR-MP20 scales a tower, it can navigate onto the blades for inspection.

via: TreeHugger

image via Helical Robotics


MAY 06

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More Efficient Solar Power with Gallium Arsenide Nanowires
Written by Sarah Rich on 06/05/13   

Nanowires, needle-like crystals about the diameter of a virus, can’t be seen with a light microscope, but can give solar energy a massive boost. Led by Anna Fontcuberta i Morral, researchers in the semiconductor lab at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland are developing flat solar panels covered with nanowires that can collect up to 12 times more light than standard flat solar cells.

Propped up on the panel like bristles, the nanowires concentrate light, capturing even more than Fontcuberta’s team expected; their prototype already captures 10 percent more light, and uses 1,000 times less material, than traditional models.

Nano-scale filaments are not a new development in solar technologies; researchers have been working on this kind of technology for years, like the researchers in UC San Diego, Harvard, and the German universities Jena, Gottingen, and Bremen did in 2008. Unlike some earlier applications of the technology, however, these sun-lit nanowires are made with gallium arsenide, which converts light into power better than silicon.

While gallium arsenide is notoriously expensive, its high conversion efficiency is why the cialisis in canada material appears in solar panels on spacecraft like the Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit *. Make the gallium arsenide components into upright nanowires, though, and the amount of the pricey compound needed reduces immensely as compared to flat panels of the material.

Fontcuberta’s team are experimenting with additional efficiency boosters as well; they have also dotted the nanowires with indium arsenide, to act as stimulants to increase light absorbtion even further. Although Fontcuberta says, "It might take ten more years before nanowires can be found on the market." The EPFL’s School of Engineering website reports making this technology available on the market remains the team’s goal.

via: VentureBeat

image via EPFL School of Engineering News

[ * Ed note: as a reader pointed out, while Opportunity and Spirit had gallium arsenide solar panels, the current Mars rover Curiosity is nuclear powered]

Soccket Soccer Ball Generator, and Its Critiques
Written by Sarah Rich on 27/04/13   

Soccket is a soccer ball that harnesses energy with every kick and volley it gets. Developed by Harvard grads, the toy boasts a successful Kickstarter campaign, surpassing a funding goal of cheap viagra pills $75,000 by over $17,000 last month. A pendulum inside the Soccket ball swings when the ball moves, generating clean energy for a rechargeable battery stored inside. According to Uncharted Play, Soccket’s makers, thirty minutes of play translates into three hours of light from its companion LED lamp. Pictured above, the little lamp is currently the only appliance it can charge, by being plugged directly into the indian viagra ball. The ball itself seems relatively unencumbered by its tech features; according to the campaign’s Kickstarter video, Soccket is only about an ounce heavier than a standard soccer ball, and it's filled with specialized foam, so it won’t deflate.

The Soccket is one item among an extensive group of "eco" products that takes an activity usually independent of producing energy (in this case, a fun one) and turns it into an opportunity for clean energy generation. Recalling other kinetic energy devices, like the nPower PEG, which powers handheld electronics while you walk or ride a bike, there’s something immediately appealing about turning play into power. If I want to play soccer anyway during the day, why not get a ball that’ll power a light to read by at night?

However, the primary purpose of the Soccket -- and the main way it’s being marketed, to help poor communities around the world -- has generated some important critiques. There are much more efficiently powered LED lamps available, including these designed and built by a former EcoGeek writer. Is a soccer ball that powers a little lamp truly helpful aid to communities in need, or does it simply sound cool to well-intentioned, privileged individuals?

Aaron Ausland, of the blog Staying for Tea, argues that framing a soccer ball as an eco-friendly "solution" for poor communities "grossly overplays the potential of the ball and misleads investors and buyers about the social impact they get for their money." Ausland, in addition to his thought-provoking list of problems with the Soccket, points out that the Soccket’s generative powers are roughly the equivalent of "four weakly-rechargeable AA batteries." The conversation doesn’t end at his critiques, as Ausland posted a response from Julia C. Silverman, co-founder of Uncharted Play, who emphasized the company’s intent to work with communities, continue their evaluation of the Soccket’s impact, and focus on fun for children, noting that they capped the cialis soft tabs 10 mg Soccket’s power so play for kids doesn’t become work for power.

image via Soccket Kickstarter

via: Inhabitat


APR 26

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Open Pit Mine to Be Reused for Pumped Storage
Written by Philip Proefrock on 26/04/13   

An abandoned open-pit mine in Canada is being proposed to be made useful once more as a pumped storage facility. The Northland Power Marmora Pumped Storage facility offers the possibility of turning a blighted, destroyed piece of land into something with value for advancing renewable power systems.

The pumped storage would be "five times the height of Niagara Falls,"according to the Globe and Mail, though the fact that it would have far less volume than Niagara gets far less attention. Nevertheless, the proposed facility would have the capacity to provide up to 400 megawatts to the grid for up to 5 hours.

Because of their relatively low cost, pumped storage facilities can have the capacity to provide much more power than more technical power storage methods like batteries or flywheels. Pumped storage facilities have both a rated capacity (like the proposed facility's 400 MW), which determines the peak power they are able to deliver, as well as the number of hours they are able to produce power at that level, which is determined by the size of the reservoir.

The location of the proposed facility is well situated in the midst of Ontario's heavily populated southeast, between Ottawa and Toronto, where there is high demand for power. Surplus power from both renewable and conventional sources can be used to pump water up into the upper reservoir during periods of low demand, and then that power can be used in place of viagra in india costlier peaker power plants during periods of high demand.

Pumped storage is not for power production, but instead provides storage for power from other sources. It makes renewable power generation more effective by allowing surplus production to be stored for later use, rather than being lost at times when demand is low.

link: Northland Power (video)


APR 23

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New Mitsubishi EV Has Improved Range and how you get pfizer viagra Style
Written by Philip Proefrock on 23/04/13   

Mitsubishi, which was one of the first mainline automakers to build a production electric vehicle, has unveiled a concept vehicle, the CA-MiEV, which has twice the range of the Nissan LEAF, and three times the range of its own predecessor, the I-MiEV, and it may do so at a lower price.

The CA-MiEV is supplied with a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery and is driven by an 80 kW (107 horsepower) electric motor. It will have a driving range of 300 kilometers (186 miles). It also has a wireless charging system that will allow the i recommend levitra canadian pharmacy vehicle to recharge when parked in its spot, without having to be physically connected to an outlet.

Like many other EVs and hybrids, this also has the ability to connect with a smartphone or tablet so its cabin can be pre-conditioned before the driver arrives, and charging can be managed remotely. Regenerative braking, improved lightweight materials, and a very aerodynamic shape are also all factors in the improved efficiency of the new vehicle.

It's a better looking car than its predecessor, as well, although that is often the case with concept cars. With its far greater range, Mitsubishi is promoting this as a viable suburban EV, rather than just a city vehicle. There is not yet information about when, or if the CA-MiEV will begin production.

link: Mitsubishi Press Release (PDF)


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