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Rice University graduate student Oara Neumann, left, and scientist Naomi Halas with their ...

Last year, researchers at Rice University revealed a new way to convert solar energy directly into steam using light-absorbing nanoparticles. At that time, the technology had already been used to create a solar steam-powered autoclave for sterilizing medical and dental equipment and the project had been awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to turn the technology to the task of sanitizing human waste. The researchers have now put both applications to the test.  Read More

The SunSocket uses mono-crystalline solar panels

To get the most out of solar panels they need to be facing the right way. Systems that track the sun are often used in large solar power stations and some larger home installations, but most flat panels for portable applications just lie there. Colorado-based Aspect Solar has come up with the SunSocket Solar Generator, a lightweight, portable, self-contained solar power system consisting of a battery and solar panels that brings the advantages of automatically tracking the Sun to small applications.  Read More

This is what you do when you're testing solar-powered gadgets in a tree-filled neighborhoo...

Introduced early last year, the Waka Waka lamp is a solar-powered LED light designed for use both in first-world campsites and third-world homes. Towards the end of the year, the Waka Waka Foundation followed up on the lamp’s success with a similar product, known as Waka Waka Power. It not only provides light, but can also be used to charge up your electronic gadgets. We recently had a chance to try one out ... during sunny breaks in an otherwise very wet and cloudy June.  Read More

A newly-developed roof panel both reflects sunlight, and emits heat drawn from the buildin...

Studies have already shown us how white-painted roofs can help cool buildings by reflecting sunlight, while "green" roofs beat the heat by blocking sunlight and providing a source of evaporative cooling. Now, a team of scientists from Stanford University have created a panel that not only reflects sunlight, but it also draws heat from within the building and emits it into outer space.  Read More

Close-up look of PNNL’s concentrating solar power system

Solar power holds the promise of clean, limitless energy, but it currently suffers from high costs and an inherent disadvantage of not working when the sun isn't shining. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is taking a best-of-both-worlds approach by developing a hybrid solar/gas system that increases the efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of natural gas power plants.  Read More

The Velux Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylight

Skylights are a nice way of letting daylight into your house, and if they can be opened, they’re also effective at letting out the hot, stuffy air that rises to the ceiling. Depending on their location, however, they can be difficult to open without running electrical wiring up to them. That’s why Velux has introduced its no-wiring-required Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylight.  Read More

Researchers at University of Texas at Arlington have developed a novel means of creating m...

Most previous methods of producing methanol from carbon dioxide have involved lots of electricity, high pressures and high temperatures, and used toxic chemicals or rare earth elements like cadmium or tellurium. A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has developed a new method they claim is safer, less expensive, and simpler than current approaches and can be scaled up to an industrial scale to allow some of the CO2 emitted from electrical power plants to be captured and converted into a useful fuel.  Read More

The UVeBand is a UVA and UVB-measuring wrist band, that vibrates when it's time to apply m...

If you spend much time outdoors in the summer, then you doubtless know how important it is to wear sunscreen. That said, you probably also know that just applying it once before you first go outside isn’t good enough – for sufficient protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, periodic reapplications are also necessary. The UVeBand is a new wearable device, that’s designed to let you know when it’s time for those reapplications.  Read More

The 20-meter (65.6-ft) solar sail and boom system, developed by L'Garde Inc. of Tustin, Ca...

NASA is getting ready to ride the “winds” of space on sails lighter than gossamer, yet large enough to cover a small field. The space agency’s Solar Sail Demonstration, also known as the Sunjammer Project, may launch as early as 2014 when it will send the largest solar sail yet built into orbit, to demonstrate the technical viability of the device.  Read More

Toyota's F 'Ciel' Vitz is one of the models using Asahi's new tempered glass, that offers ...

As prolonged exposure to sunlight increasingly becomes a health hazard, causing skin problems and even cancer, automakers have started to incorporate glass that blocks harmful ultraviolet light. Japan's Asahi Glass Co (AGC) has added to its portfolio a new line of tempered front window glass called UV Verre Premium Cool on, which it says is the first of its kind to block about 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation, along with infrared (IR) rays.  Read More

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