Although we’ve seen sunlight to electricity conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, most mass-produced cells can only boast a conversion rate of around 15 percent. Now SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar power systems, has claimed a new world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent. Read More
First things first – yes, with a name like the Stealth Toilet, it should be matte black, not glossy white. It gets its name, however, from the fact that it flushes very quietly. More importantly, it could also be considered stealthy because conventional radar will barely be able to detect the amount of water it uses - at just 0.8 gallons per flush, it is touted as the world’s most efficient toilet. Read More
When scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tried to apply their expertise in solar cell technology to build a green LED light from the ground up, they surprisingly centered the objective at their very first try. In doing so they solved a long-standing technological problem and paved the way for the large-scale employment of white LEDs for public and domestic illumination over the course of the next few years. Read More
For some programs, the arrival of multi-core processing power has made little difference to how they operate. Some applications, such as word processors and web browsers, are unable to split process operation over a number of cores and instead pile everything onto just one. Researchers from North Carolina's State University have come up with a way to break up such programs into different threads, resulting in a 20 percent increase in run speed. Read More
Although great strides have been made recently to make offices more energy efficient, fluorescent office lighting is still great cause for concern. Installing controllers which automatically switch off lighting when no movement is detected is one method of saving energy but Solaroad Technologies proposes recycling otherwise wasted light energy by placing cylindrical photovoltaic harvesting and storage devices on top of workstation cubicle walls. Read More
Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, a team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a new type of flexible solar cell. Promising enhanced sunlight absorption and efficient conversion of photons into electrons, the new solar cell uses only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells, and because they are flexible, they will be cheaper to manufacture. Read More
Madrid will host the first European version of the Solar Decathlon competition this summer which sees teams from universities throughout the world designing, building and displaying efficient and sustainable solar homes. The overall competition winner being decided after the completion of ten trials aimed at gauging each entry's energy efficiency and sustainability credentials. Read More
In the age of green energy we are seeing interesting new developments that marry building materials with the capacity to harness renewable power sources. Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) or concentrating PV technologies aren't new, but the ability to concentrate and maximize the capture of energy by tracking sunlight from dawn to dusk is. The Center for Architectural Science and Ecology CASE has unveiled a new Integrated Concentrating (IC) Dynamic Solar Facade which does just that - and it looks great! Read More
If you were a hybrid vehicle manufacturer, and you wanted to lower the world’s CO2 emissions, would you first...
- a) Try to replace all the privately-owned gas vehicles, that mostly just drive to and from workplaces, one vehicle at a time, or...
- b) Replace entire corporate fleets of gas delivery vehicles, that typically spend all day, every day, on the road?
In a world that largely relies on elevators to ferry people from one floor of a building to the next, it is remarkable how inefficient current systems are in terms of favoring passenger convenience over the increasingly important aspect of reducing energy consumption. Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric looks set to buck the trend with the announcement of its development of multi–elevator smart control technology that can not only reduce energy use by up to ten percent, but do so while adding a mere few seconds to passenger waiting times. Read More