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Renewable Energy

Environment

Advanced solar-powered cars gear up for grueling World Solar Challenge

If you're looking to bring together the world's brightest budding engineers to push solar technology to its very limits, then there may be no better backdrop than the dusty, sun-drenched expanses of central Australia. The biennial World Solar Challenge will kick off this Sunday, with competitors set to cover a monster 3,000 km (1,864 mi) journey from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia in cars powered purely by the sun. As hopefuls from all over the globe ready their rides for the ultimate in solar-powered endurance racing, here's a quick look at some of the interesting vehicle designs, who's new to the party and a few that have been around the block before.Read More

Environment

Hybrid solar roofing system uses heat pipes to boost efficiency

You would think that the more sunlight that hits a solar panel, the better. When it comes to efficiency though, that's not the case – as photovoltaic cells heat up their efficiency decreases. To capture that heat and put it to good use, a team of scientists from Brunel University London has created a hybrid system that turns the whole roof into a solar generator.
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Electronics

Breakthrough rectenna converts light into DC current

Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting. Read More

Environment

Scientists use new catalysis method to boost biodiesel yields

Biofuels can be made from various source materials such as waste from the winemaking industry and woody biomass. Reseachers are also looking for new methods to improve its environmental credentials as there is still controversy as to how green biofuels really are. Now, a team at the Catalysis Institute at Cardiff University is hoping to make biofuel production more efficient and sustainable by recycling the leftovers from the process.Read More

Could a hydrogen-powered iPhone be in the works?

For decades we've been promised that hydrogen fuel cells will revolutionize our lives, but it always seems to be around the next corner. But that hasn't stopped one UK company from pursuing a near future in which iPhones and other devices are completely disconnected from the electrical grid and instead use embedded fuel cells to power themselves for a full week between recharges.Read More

Environment

India's Cochin International to become world's first completely solar-powered airport

It may not be the first airport to fit solar panels to its terminals, but India's Cochin International Airport is set to become the first in the world powered entirely by solar. Situated in Kochi, the airport handled 6.8 million passengers in the 2014-15 financial year and forecasts a 300,000-tonne (330,700-ton) reduction in carbon emissions over the next 25 years as a result of the switch to solar.Read More

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