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Solar Power

​White House Gets Solar Panels (Again)

The White House is being outfitted with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels this week to once again make the residence of the President of the United States capable of producing some of the energy it consumes.

The White House has had solar panels before. The first solar panels on the White House were solar hot water panels that were installed in 1979, during Jimmy Carter's presidency. Those panels were subsequently ordered removed by Ronald Reagan. Some solar panels, both PV and water heating, were again installed on the grounds of the White House during the George W Bush administration, providing electricity for the entire White House complex, as well as water heating for the White House pool.

The new panels being installed this week are, once more, directly on the White House itself. The manufacturer and levitra now online exact number of cheap cialis online prescription the panels has not been identified, although they are reported to be from an American company. The White House PV panels are expected to cialis wholesale prices generate 19,700 kWh annually.


Solar Impulse Plane Completes Across America Mission

While a flyby of the Statue of Liberty had to be canceled due to a rip in the left wing, the solar-powered Solar Impulse plane has successfully finished its journey across the United States, landing at JFK International Airport in New York City on July 6.

The coast to coast series of flights kicked off in San Francisco in May, with stopovers in Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, DC. During the transcontinental mission, the single-seat HB-SIA prototype plane was piloted by CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse, André Borschberg, and at other times by Bertrand Piccard, the company's president and initiator.

The 11,628 solar cells that cover HB-SIA charge its 900 lb (400 kg) of lithium-ion batteries, which allow the plane to fly night. During the Phoenix to Dallas leg of the mission, the plane set a new world record for absolute distance traveled during a solar-powered flight--958 miles (1,541km).

Across America marks the last mission for the HB-SIA craft. This particular prototype has made great strides over the past few years, from a 24-hour flight in 2010 to an intercontinental journey in 2012. Solar Impulse's future plans involve finishing a larger, two-seat prototype to complete a flight around the world, currently scheduled between April and July 2015.

via: BBC News

image CC BY 2.0 by Charles Barilleaux


More Efficient Solar Power with Gallium Arsenide Nanowires

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 levitra professional sale 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 try it buy viagra uk 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 cialis discounted 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]


Cooling Semiconductors with Lasers

Is there anything that lasers can't do? The latest breakthrough comes from a team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who have developed a method for cooling semiconductor material (cadmium sulfide) with lasers. In an article published in Nature, NTU reserachers report on cooling a semiconductor from 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) to -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F) as an initial proof of concept.

Heat is an unwanted side effect of most energy-using devices. In many cases, ranging from portable electronics to medical magnetic resonance imagery equipment to scientific research equipment, the need for keeping the equipment cooled is viagra buying online vital to continued function. At present, equipment such as MRI systems require liquid helium for cooling, but with laser cooling, the system could be made smaller and would not require the extensive cooling hardware that is currently needed.

Cooling gasses with lasers is a known technology, but cooling a solid has not been done previously, although the theory behind it is decades old. "Our initial results published in Nature, have shown that it is possible to laser-cool a semiconductor to look there levitra rx liquid nitrogen temperature, so we are aiming to reach an even lower temperature, such as that of liquid helium," said Prof Xiong Qihua, a member of the NTU team.

Other cooling technologies for computers have been proposed which could lead to significant energy savings. But if laser cooling eventually became widely used for other applications, it would make this even more beneficial. Laser cooled equipment could be more energy efficient, and portable electronic equipment with this technology would also potentially prolong battery life.

In addition to the best price cialis without prescription energy benefits, wide-scale development and application of this technology would also drastically reduce the amount of refrigerants needed in industry and technology. Many of the chemicals used in refrigeration equipment are harmful to the Earth's ozone layer or have a significant global warming potential (and many are both). Reducing the need for these chemicals would be an added benefit laser cooling might someday offer.

image: CC BY 2.0 by Jeff Keyzer/Wikimedia Commons

via: Science Daily


Improved Solar Cells with Light Trapping Nano Holes

Another development to improve the efficiency of solar panels has been announced by researchers from Princeton University led by professor Stephen Chou. By using a nanostructured "sandwich" of metal and plastic, the efficiency of thin film solar collectors was improved by 175 percent.

The nanoscale lattice on top of the sandwich is able to trap light with openings called a "plasmonic cavity with subwavelength hole array" or PlaCSH. The layer is made of canada cialis generic gold and is only 30 nanometers thick. Each hole is where to get viagra cheap 175 nanometers in diameter and spaced 25 nanometers apart. The opening is smaller than the wavelength of light, which traps it rather than allowing it to buy viagra germany canadian meds reflect off the collector, which leads to improved conversion of light to electricity.

The mesh layer also replaces the indium-tin-oxide (ITO) layer which is typically on top of thin-film solar cells, which is one of the most expensive parts of these cells. The ITO layer is also more brittle, while the generic pack levitra PlaCSH is extremely bendable.

image credit: Chou lab

via: Phys Org

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