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Solar Powered

For the vast majority of those looking to harvest energy from the sun to satisfy domestic or business electricity needs, the photovoltaic world is a static and flat one. Even many large scale solar farms feature row upon row of rigid panels, although there may at least be some movement as the panels follow the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. V3Solar's Spin Cell is a little different. It's claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics. Read More
The Romanian Solar Decathlon team has presented its innovative solar-powered prefab home ... and it looks good enough to move into. Dubbed Prispa, it blends comfortable living zones with an abundance of natural light. The prototype uses wood as its primary material, while clay has been used to finish the interior walls, and the photovoltaic system has been mounted onto the roof’s metallic boarding. Read More
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Concerned about the lack of fresh water in the developing world, designer Gabriele Diamanti wanted a solution to desalinate water that was available to households rather than relying on giant centralized plants. He also wanted it to be something inexpensive that could be made by local craftsman. The result is a ceramic solar still called the Eliodomestico that operates like an “upside-down coffee percolator”. Read More
If a storm rolls in while you’re at work, and you’re wondering if you left your bedroom window open, you can tell via an internet connection – if that window is equipped with a contact sensor. Ordinarily, such sensors require electrical wiring, and a battery or mains power. A new window system developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, however, works without wires, and draws its power from the environment around it. Read More
In an effort to improve conditions for the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide with no access to safe sanitation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year awarded grants totaling US$3 million to eight universities to reinvent the toilet. At the two-day “Reinventing the Toilet” fair held in Seattle this week, where Bill Gates was on hand with 50 gallons (189 l) of fake feces made from soybeans and rice to put the various designs through their paces, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) team claimed first place for their solar-powered toilet. Read More
UAVs have become increasingly common in everything from carrying out missile strikes against terrorists to helping map archaeological sites. They come in all sizes from jet-powered behemoths to ones so small that they can sit in your hand. On Monday, Silent Falcon UAS Technologies of Alburquerque, New Mexico rolled out the latest in the small UAV class with the unveiling of its solar-powered Silent Falcon at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference in Las Vegas. Read More
A collaboration between Philips and the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority will see the streets of capital city Nairobi being lit up with solar-powered LED lighting. The pilot project is the first of its kind in East Africa and and was launched during the 40th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is headquartered in that city. Read More
As anticipated, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA experimental solar-powered aircraft completed the first ever solar-powered intercontinental roundtrip journey between Europe and Africa today. The roughly 6,000 km (3,728 mile) trip commenced on May 24 and consisted of a total of eight legs averaging 800 km (497 miles) before reaching its conclusion with a landing back where it all began in Payerne, Switzerland at 8:30 pm on July 24, local time. Read More
Back in June, the Solar Impulse became the first solar-powered aircraft to achieve intercontinental flight, when it flew from Madrid to Morroco. That flight was part of a larger 6,000-kilometer (3,728-mile) journey which started on May 24th, and ends this Tuesday when the aircraft returns to its starting point of Payerne, Switzerland. Read More
On July 15th, the world’s first SolarKiosk was officially opened near Lake Langano, Ethiopia. The portable solar shop was designed in Germany by Graft architects and provides an “autonomous business unit” that sells energy, products, tools and services. With approximately 1.5 billion people around the globe who remain without access to a stable source of light, the SolarKiosk is intended to provide a safe and affordable solution for inhabitants in off-the-grid areas. Read More
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