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JAN 22

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More Efficient Flight in Formation
Written by Philip Proefrock on 22/01/14   

Many people are very familiar with the V formation used by migrating flocks of birds, and scientists have determined that this is an efficient mode of travel which helps the birds conserve energy, especially on long migratory journeys. But the same concept is being considered to improve the efficiency of only here cialis attorneys commercial jetliners.

Among aircraft manufacturers, Airbus is one of the companies looking at the advantages of commercial flocking. "In a V formation of 25 birds, each can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65 per cent and viagra cheapest price generic increase their range by 7 per cent. While efficiencies for commercial aircraft are not as great, they remain significant."

It is possible that, in the future, commercial flights might flock together in this way to save fuel. The initial tests of this approach might be carried out with trans-ocreanic flights originating in separate Australian cities which would coordinate their schedules and meet up in order to buy viagra from canada cross the viagra online switzerland Pacific together, before they "peel off and head to their separate destinations."

image credit: Airbus

via: Quirks & Quarks


JAN 15

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Auto Show - Less Green in 2014
Written by Philip Proefrock on 15/01/14   

As we've done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year's North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year's displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years. In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show.

Green isn't gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of 50mg viagra uk a major automaker having a complete line.

Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year's display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the herbal levitra display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline.

The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It's not that it hasn't been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of "here's what the engine looks like," and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it's not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year.

The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and generic viagra canadian pharmacies hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the canadian rx levitra show.

Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers' lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year's show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of best way to use viagra these.


JAN 13

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​Cheap, Efficient Organic Flow Battery Materials
Written by Philip Proefrock on 13/01/14   

The science of power storage has a new variety of options and new materials to investigate thanks to some recent developments in the chemistry of materials used in flow batteries. Until now, flow batteries have largely relied on metallic compounds for the active chemicals they use. But new materials have been found that are cheaper and more effective than the chemicals which have been most used in flow batteries until now.

The research undertaken by scientists at Harvard University has identified a range of organic compounds known as quinones, which are have the potential to be especially useful for flow batteries. Initial research indicates they are inexpensive and efficient materials well suited for use in power storage. A recently published paper in the journal Nature discusses the use of 9,10-anthraquinone-2,7-disulphonic acid (AQDS), a compound found in rhubarb, in a flow battery.

Large-scale energy storage is an area where flow batteries can excel, because the equipment needed to build a large energy storage system is basic, industrial gear, rather than highly specialized equipment. To increase storage capacity, a flow battery just needs a couple of larger storage tanks.

The AQDS materials are naturally abundant and very stable. They are potentially safer than metal-based flow batteries because the materials are "less likely to react violently if they accidentally come in contact with each other." When used in a flow battery, they show very good cycle efficiency and "[represent] a new and promising direction for realizing massive electrical energy storage at greatly reduced cost." The chemicals needed to store a kilowatt-hour of professional cialis online energy would cost $27, which is roughly one-third the cost of other systems.

via: Business Insider


DEC 05

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Copenhagen Wheel Hits the Streets
Written by Philip Proefrock on 05/12/13   

A few years back, the 'Copenhagen Wheel' was one of a few innovations in cycling that were being proposed to try to make bicycle commuting easier. While it was just a concept in 2010, it is now a real product, with pre-orders being offered by manufacturer Superpedestrian.

The Copenhagen Wheel is a combination battery and motor that is installed on a Single Speed or 9/10 Speed Free Hub bicycle, converting it into an electric bike with a range of up to 50 km (31 mi) and a top speed of 25 mph (in the US; 25 km/h in the EU). It also provides regenerative braking and Bluetooth connectivity and iOS and Android integration.

For now, Superpedestrian is only selling the Copenhagen Wheel alone, so you'll need to provide your own bike to mount it on. However, the company says that they will soon be selling bikes already equipped with the Copenhagen Wheel. The early-bird pricing for the Copenhagen Wheel is $699 (regular price will be $799 according to the website).

Also previously on EcoGeek: Rubbee Turns Regular Bicycles into Electric Vehicles


NOV 21

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Making Tractor Trailers More Fuel Efficient
Written by Sarah Rich on 21/11/13   

Sixty-eight percent of all goods in the United States spend some of their journey across the country stored on tractor trailers attached to a tractor. With the average semi-trailer truck getting about 5.6 miles per gallon of diesel, however, tractor trailers take an immense amount of fuel to transport. It’s not simply the weight of the materials on board causing this low MPG, either--the boxy tractor trailer isn’t exactly areodynamic.

Addressing this problem, Advanced Transit Dynamics (ATDynamics) produces TrailerTails, which are designed to make the bulky tractor trailer more areodynamic and thus more fuel efficient when pulled by the tractor. Attached to the back of a trailer, they fold out, almost like extensions of the trailer’s walls. Saving about 3 cents profit per mile when deployed, most trucking companies make back their investment in under a year, according to the company. The environmental boon seems sizable, too: each TrailerTail, when used at highway speeds for 50,000 miles for a year, is effectively like removing an average passenger car from the road for a year.

With that much CO2 reduction possible, this statistic reveals more about the immense inefficiency of trailer trucks than the net environmental-boost TrailerTails provide. But given that tractor trailers are such a mainstay of goods transportation in the U.S., this technology seems a step in the right direction in an area that demands significant improvement.

image credit: ATDYNAMICS, INC.


NOV 08

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Grid-Tied Renewables Savings Outweigh Costs
Written by Philip Proefrock on 08/11/13   

The additional costs associated with adopting renewable energy are frequently used to argue that it is too expensive to adopt renewables. However, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has taken a look at the costs and offsets from renewable energy use and finds "The answer: the cost is a tiny fraction of the ultimate savings."

Although the costs for the equipment needed to integrate renewables into the existing grid are not insignificant, the associated savings in reduced fuel costs are far greater. Cycling fossil power plants to generate power intermittently also increases wear on the equipment, which leads to increased maintenance costs. But overall, the savings are far more than the increases.

The other key finding is that, as renewables continue to be integrated into the grid, the continuing costs will become smaller. Making the systems able to work with renewables connected to the grid is something that gets easier and order levitra less expensive. So, in a way, the early adopters have made an even bigger contribution to improving the energy infrastructure.

via: Ars Technica


OCT 24

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New Solar Cell Material Offers Both Cheap and 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 levitra next day 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 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 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 exhausted dye out of the cell. This process restores the levitra 20 mg with overnight delivery 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 viagra pharmacy in india generate electric current." The simpler, non-metallic makeup of click now natural viagra pills these cells could make them less expensive to produce, and could mean less extraction of 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 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 same thing to happen with solar and next day cialis 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 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 for daily use 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 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 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


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