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Energy

— Environment

Panasonic's HIT solar cell hits record 25.6 percent conversion efficiency

By - April 9, 2014 1 Picture
Panasonic is reporting a 25.6 percent conversion efficiency for its HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cells. This is an improvement of 0.9 percentage points over the 24.7 percent conversion efficiency Panasonic achieved in February 2013, with the company claiming it as a world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a "practical size." Read More
— Marine

New eco-hybrid fuel could help to reduce shipping pollution

By - March 31, 2014 7 Pictures
The EPA has identified pollution from ships as a contributing factor to respiratory problems and premature deaths suffered by residents of the US and Canada. As such, it is in the process of implementing stricter emissions standards for ships operating within 200 miles (321.9 km) of shore with the aim of significantly reducing emissions by the year 2020. In a development that could play into these environmental initiatives, the SeaChange Group, a US-based start-up that converts agricultural by-products into clean-burning fuel, has been awarded a patent for an eco-hybrid fuel technology shown to reduce NOx, particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions. Read More
— Good Thinking

Panasonic's Power Supply Container: A solar power plant in a box

By - March 25, 2014 5 Pictures
In an effort to bring reliable electricity supplies to emerging regions and remote island communities, Panasonic has developed an expandable, portable, self-contained photovoltaic system. The "Power Supply Container" comes equipped with 12 of Panasonic's HIT240 solar modules on the roof and generates approximately 3 kW of electricity, with 24 lead-acid batteries capable of storing 17.2 kWh of energy used to store excess electricity. Read More
— Environment

Nano technique boosts plant energy production and creates plant biosensors

By - March 17, 2014 4 Pictures
In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities. Read More

Eiffel Tower's first floor to receive sustainable makeover

Landmarks don't come much more iconic than the Eiffel Tower, but if you've ever visited it in person you may have found the first floor mildly underwhelming. Architectural firm Moatti-Rivière aims to change this, and add some sustainable technology to the mix, during a redevelopment of the tower's first floor that's currently underway. Read More
— Architecture

Solar-panel skin could make Dutch homes energy neutral

By - March 5, 2014 8 Pictures
Around 60 percent of the homes in the Netherlands are row house terraces, with around a quarter of those built in the post-war period. While these constructions characterize much of the Dutch urban landscape, they weren't exactly built with energy efficiency as their first priority. A team of Delft University students has developed a concept for a solar-powered skin designed to optimize energy usage, while also preserving this classic Dutch architecture. Read More
— Architecture

Flavours Orchard concept envisions eco-friendly, energy-producing community

By - March 3, 2014 75 Pictures
Architect Vincent Callebaut has unveiled ambitious plans to create an energy-producing community comprising 45 futuristic villas in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming. Though likely to remain on the drawing board for the foreseeable future, the Flavours Orchard concept offers plenty of food for thought and some interesting renders to pore over. Read More
— Environment

Seafloor carpet mimics muddy seabed to harness wave power

By - February 23, 2014 3 Pictures
Many organizations around the world are looking at ways to harness the power of waves as a renewable energy source, but none are covering quite the same ground as a team of engineers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The seafloor carpet, a system inspired by the wave absorbing abilities of a muddy seabed, has taken exploring the potential of wave power to some intriguing new depths. Read More
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