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Environment


— Environment

Color matters: GreenSun Energy colored solar technology

One of the most common ways to turn the sun's energy into electricity is by persuading silicon to give up some of its electrons. But it's also quite expensive, so any innovation that helps reduce the cost of solar cell production is welcome. Researchers in Israel have come up with a cell that uses only 20% of the silicon in a standard cell yet yields similar amounts of electricity. It does this by diffusing any light that falls on its surface and sends it off to photovoltaic collector strips on each of its sides. And it doesn't even need bright sunlight to operate. Read More
— Environment

Keeping hybrids cool under the bonnet reaches boiling point

As an increasing number of hybrid-powered vehicles move from concept to completion, technology is battling to keep pace with some of the less-publicized technical challenges found among the complex electronics aboard these land- and air-based vehicles, computers and other devices. For instance, how do you effectively cool the electronics in a high-power electric motor that propels a passenger car from 0-60mph in under 10 seconds and uses regenerative braking to stop? Researchers in the U.S. believe the secret may lie in understanding precisely how fluid boils in tiny ‘microchannels’, which has led them to develop formulas and models that will help engineers design unique systems to cool high-power electronics found in today’s and tomorrow’s devices. Read More
— Environment

Volksgarden is a hi-tech hydroponics ferris wheel

Veggie and flower-lovers who don’t have much garden space, or whose gardens are deprived of necessary available sunlight, can use the Volksgarden to enjoy simple, clean and effective hydroponics gardening indoors. It’s like a never-ending ferris wheel ride for your plants. The Volksgarden unit has space to grow up to 80 plants at once. Herbs, vegetables, fruits and grains can be harvested easily and continuously without the need for a degree in horticulture. The Volksgarden manufacturers say yields from their product are much greater than other hydroponics methods because plants rotate around the growth-optimizing light source – once every 45 minutes, 24 hours a day. Read More
— Environment

Envion Oil Generator turns plastic waste into oil

The ground-breaking Envion Oil Generator (EOG) gave its first public performance at the Montgomery County Solid Waste Transfer Station in Derwood, Maryland recently. The EOG can be fed almost any petroleum-based waste plastic and will convert it into synthetic light to medium oil for less than USD$10 per barrel. As with crude oil, the synthetic oil can then be processed into commercial fuels or even back into plastic. Read More
— Environment

Nanostructure films for more efficient solar cells and better eyeglasses

Nanotechnology applications are increasingly diverse - ranging from being used to acquire fingerprints, to their use in the field of spintronics or even to help in the fight against cancer. Now a team of chemical engineers at Oregon State University has invented new technology that allows them to coat various surfaces with “nanostructure films”, which could be used to make cheaper, more effective eyeglasses and eventually, more efficient solar cells. Read More
— Environment

OpenRide mobile service organizes carpooling on-the-fly

Despite energy costs rising steadily, it's still very common to see people driving their cars alone, particularly in big cities. The OpenRide mobile service recently presented at the IFA exhibit in Berlin is a simple but effective idea that aims to save money while reducing our carbon footprint by providing an open infrastructure for organizing carpooling in a quick and convenient way. Read More
— Environment

World's largest solar power plant to be built in China

In the midst of overwhelming debate over climate change - an issue that seemingly paralyzes politicians - the Chinese government has announced its intention to construct a 2-gigawatt solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. Mike Ahearn, CEO of the Arizona-based company which will construct the plant, describes the unprecedented project as “an encouraging first step forward toward the mass-scale deployment of solar power worldwide to help mitigate climate change concerns.” Read More
— Environment

Solar panel roads to power our homes

Idaho-based Solar Roadways founder Scott Brusaw is excited that his company has a received a USD$100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant to develop further his prototype that turns roads in giant electricity-generating solar panels. Apart from providing energy to power our homes, street lighting and so on, the roads could contain thousands of embedded LEDs to provide better street signage and make driving safer. He also believes the solar panel roads could last up to three times longer than the current petroleum-based asphalt surface and even be heated in winter to discourage dangerous ice build ups. Read More
— Environment

Really green power - running an electric circuit from trees

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have taken the term ‘green power’ literally by running an electric circuit from the power generated by trees. Sure, there isn’t much electrical power to harness, but the researchers say it should be enough to run wireless sensors that could be used to detect environmental conditions or forest fires and could also be used to gauge a tree’s health. Read More
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