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GreenEnergy
Your own energy 'island'? Microgrid could standardize small, self-sustaining electric grids - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Your own energy 'island'? Microgrid could standardize small, self-sustaining electric grids
When researchers talk about "islanding," or isolating, from the grid, they are discussing a fundamental benefit of microgrids -- small systems powered by renewables and energy storage devices. The benefit is that microgrids can disconnect from larger utility grids and continue to provide power locally.
GreenEnergy
Combining 'Tinkertoy' materials with solar cells for increased photovoltaic efficiency - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Combining 'Tinkertoy' materials with solar cells for increased photovoltaic efficiency
Researchers are working to develop a technique that they believe will significantly improve the efficiencies of photovoltaic materials and help make solar electricity cost-competitive with other sources of energy.
GreenEnergy
Horse racing position cuts drag up to 66 per cent - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Horse racing position cuts drag up to 66 per cent
Researchers have revealed precisely how much different slipstreaming tactics reduce drag on a horse during a race.
GreenEnergy
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat
A multidisciplinary engineering team developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.
GreenEnergy
Bringing offshore wind energy on shore to power industry, homes and businesses - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Feeding the world’s energy appetite may take innovative approaches in the future. A new book examines methods to bring offshore wind energy on shore to power industry, homes and businesses.
GreenEnergy
Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms
A balloon-borne acousto-optic tunable filter hyperspectral imager is ideally suited to address numerous outstanding questions in planetary science. Their spectral agility, narrowband wavelength selection, tolerance to the near-space environment, and spectral coverage would enable investigations not feasible from the ground. Example use cases include synoptic observations of clouds on Venus and the giant planets, studies of molecular emissions from cometary comae, the mapping of surface ices on small bodies, and polarimetry.
GreenEnergy
Cheaper silicon means cheaper solar cells - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Cheaper silicon means cheaper solar cells
Researchers have pioneered a new approach to manufacturing solar cells that requires less silicon and can accommodate silicon with more impurities than is currently the standard. Those changes mean that solar cells can be made much more cheaply than at present.
GreenEnergy
Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity
Researchers have developed and patented a nanofluid improving thermal conductivity at temperatures up to 400°C without assuming an increase in costs or a remodeling of the infrastructure. This progress has important applications in sectors such as chemical, petrochemical and energy, thus becoming a useful technology in all industrial applications using heat transfer systems such as solar power plants, nuclear power plants, combined-cycle power plants and heating, among other.
GreenEnergy
Crystallography: Towards controlled dislocations - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Crystallography: Towards controlled dislocations
Scientists have used atomic-resolution Z-contrast imaging and X-ray spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope to explore dislocations in the binary II-VI semiconductor CdTe, commercially used in thin-film photovoltaics. The results may lead to eventual improvement in the conversion efficiency of CdTe solar cells. These novel insights into atomically resolved chemical structure of dislocations have potential for understanding many more defect-based phenomena.
GreenEnergy
Lockheed's Fusion Promise: What We Know So Far - http://www.popsci.com/article...
Fusion at Lockheed Lockheed Martin announced this week a project designed to make nuclear fusion energy, long a dream of scientists and energy policymakers, a viable power source. Their prototype, pictured here, has drawn significant criticism. Eric Schulzinger/Lockheed Martin Researchers at Lockheed Martin made headlines this week with the announcement that they are on the fast track to building a nuclear fusion reactor. But experts responded with skepticism. Fusion promises unlimited clean, renewable energy without the nasty byproducts of the uranium-splitting fission that drives today's nuclear plants. The problem is figuring out how to contain it. For hydrogen atoms to smash together with enough force to fuse, they must jitter and bounce with many times the heat of the sun's core. Tom McGuire, the Lockheed project lead, tells Popular Science their reactor will run at 200 million degrees. Matter that hot leaves the simple world of solids, liquids, and gasses to form a plasma. No...
GreenEnergy
Researchers Make One-Atom-Thin Electrical Generator - http://www.popsci.com/article...
A Sample Of Molybdenum Disulfide Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia Engineering have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Shown is a sample of the material that was tested as part of the research. The material could be the basis for unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and extremely bendable and stretchable. Rob Felt/Georgia Tech How thin can an electrical generator possibly be? Thanks to a study published yesterday in Nature, the answer is about as thin as possible. Using molybdenum disulfide, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia Engineering proved that a layer just an atom thick can generate an electric charge. The key to this charge is piezoelectricity, or the electric generated from pressure, usually from stretching or compressing a material. With...
GreenEnergy
Impact of offshore wind farms on marine species - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Offshore wind power is a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed in deeper water, but there is still much unknown about the effects on the environment. Scientists have now reviewed the potential impacts of offshore wind developments on marine species and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world.
GreenEnergy
Balancing renewable energy costs and optimizing energy mix - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Increasing reliance on renewable energies is the way to achieve greater carbon dioxide emission sustainability and energy independence. As such energies are yet only available intermittently and energy cannot be stored easily, most countries aim to combine several energy sources. Scientists have now come up with an open source simulation method to calculate the actual cost of relying on a combination of electricity sources.
GreenEnergy
America's Rooftop Solar Panels Are Probably Facing The Wrong Direction - http://www.popsci.com/article...
Rooftop solar panels Wikimedia Commons The direction of your rooftop solar panels benefits your wallet more than the environment, according to multiple energy officials interviewed by The New York Times. Virtually all homes point their solar panels south, where they can best capture rays from the sun when it rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest. That way, residents collect the most power possible throughout the day, which they can use in their own homes or sell to the grid (if they have any power leftover). But critics say the panels would actually do more good facing west, where they could capture sunlight during the midday and afternoon when energy is most needed. While south-facing solar panels are the most profitable for panel owners, they actually raise the demand for other power sources that they simultaneously put out of business. Relying on morning and evening sunlight means that solar panels aren’t producing as much as they could during the middle of the day, when...
GreenEnergy
Visionary Ideas From The South by Southwest Eco Awards - http://www.popsci.com/article...
Drinkwell Winner of the For-Profit Social Impact award The annual South by Southwest Eco conference held its climactic event Tuesday night, announcing the winners of its Startup Showcase competition and Place by Design awards. Now in its fourth year, SXSW Eco has entered a sweet spot in its growth, with a lot of big thinkers and promising startups in attendance but a less overwhelming crowd than the March music, film, and interactive SXSW conferences. We were there to meet the award winners. There were two main categories of awards, with a few awards in each category. Place by Design awards honor visionary sustainable design work on public spaces, with a goal of getting people to engage in their environment. The Startup Showcase is a Shark Tank-style competition in which competitors pitch a panel of expert judges (venture capitalists, industry leaders, and, ahem, PopSci Editor in Chief Cliff Ransom), on their concepts, and then endure a rapid-fire grilling. Winners are the startups...
GreenEnergy
Giant Clams Are Greenhouses For Algae - http://www.popsci.com/article...
Giant Clam James Heilman, MD, via Wikimedia Commons Giant clams loom large on coral reefs, their gaping maws filled with bright lights. On other mollusks, this iridescence is a camouflage, guiding the eye away from the creature’s body. Recent research published in the Royal Society of Science’s journal Interface reveals that these patches of iridescence filter and distribute light for algae that grows inside the clams. Algae and giant clams have a symbiotic relationship. Algae are the engine of the sea, turning sunlight into useful nutritional value for almost everything else. Clams host the algae so that they may consume the by-products of the algae's photosynthesis. Algae need sunlight to grow, but too much is harmful, so clams, which have tiny iridescent cells inside their mantles, offer the best of both worlds. In the paper, called “Photosymbiotic giant clams are transformers of solar flux", Amanda L. Holt and her team show that the iridocytes filter light, sending the wavelengths...
GreenEnergy
2014 Nobel Prize in Physics: Invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
2014 Nobel Prize in Physics: Invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, of Meijo University in Nagoya and Nagoya University, Japan; Hiroshi Amano, of Nagoya University, Japan; and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."
GreenEnergy
Low-carbon energy future is clean, feasible - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
A future where electricity comes mostly from low-carbon sources is not only feasible in terms of material demand, but will significantly reduce air pollution, a study says.
GreenEnergy
Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power
Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery? Actually, the patent-pending device is both: the world’s first solar battery. Scientists have succeeding in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.
GreenEnergy
Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells
Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team has taken a major step in developing long-sought polymer architecture to boost power-conversion efficiency of light to electricity for use in electronic devices.
GreenEnergy
Climate Week 2014: The Wrap-Up - http://www.popsci.com/article...
March for climate action Two days before the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon (right) joined over 300,000 people to march in New York City for action on climate change. United Nations As Climate Week NYC slips into the rearview mirror, what can we take away? Did anything, you know, happen? Yes ... sort of. From the sci-tech perspective, important energy and conservation agreements were announced. Now the hard work of putting them into action begins for the pledgers and signers, as well as those watchdogging that process. It may not sound like much, but intent must exist for action to ensue, right? So if you're into environmental conservation -- particularly, curbing climate change -- these agreements are worthy of some renewed optimism. Here are some developments that blipped our tree-friendly radars: New York Declaration on Forests It's impressive: 32 national and 20 local or regional governments, 40 companies, 16 indigenous peoples groups, and 49...
GreenEnergy
How to make a 'perfect' solar absorber - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
How to make a 'perfect' solar absorber
Researchers have developed a solar cell that can tap the sun's full radiation spectrum. The material is a two-dimensional metallic dielectric photonic crystal, and has the additional benefits of absorbing sunlight from a wide range of angles and withstanding extremely high temperatures. Perhaps most importantly, the material can also be made cheaply at large scales.
GreenEnergy
Nitrogen fingerprint in biomolecules could be from early sun - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Nitrogen fingerprint in biomolecules could be from early sun
The pattern of nitrogen in biomolecules like proteins, which differ greatly from that seen in other parts of the solar system, could have been generated by the interactions of light from the early sun with nitrogen gas in the nebula, long before Earth formed.
GreenEnergy
The Turbine Tweak That Could Save Battered Bats - http://www.popsci.com/article...
Spectacled Fruit Bat In A Tree. Shek Graham via Flickr CC By 2.0 Wind turbines kill upwards of 600,000 bats each year. (As if bats didn’t have enough problems already…) But the good news is that there may be something we can do to cut down on turbine-related deaths. Paul Cryan, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the lead author of a new study, says that raising the “cut-in threshold”—the wind speed at which turbine blades start to spin—could reduce the number of fatal bat collisions at wind farms. Cryan's research, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that certain species of tree-roosting bats are more likely to be killed by wind turbines when the blades are moving at low speeds. By tracking the bats with thermal surveillance cameras, near-infrared video, acoustic detectors, and radar, the researchers discovered that bats tend to approach turbines from downwind, particularly when the turbines spin slowly relative to the wind speeds...
GreenEnergy
Efficiently harvesting hydrogen fuel from Sun using Earth-abundant materials - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Efficiently harvesting hydrogen fuel from Sun using Earth-abundant materials
Scientists have a new efficient way of producing hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water. By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained a 12.3 percent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using Earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare metals.
GreenEnergy
World's smallest reference material is big plus for nanotechnology - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
World's smallest reference material is big plus for nanotechnology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently issued Reference Material 8027, the smallest known reference material ever created for validating measurements of these human-made, ultrafine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers -- billionths of a meter -- in size.
GreenEnergy
New organic semiconductor material: Organic tin in polymers increases their light absorption - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
New organic semiconductor material: Organic tin in polymers increases their light absorption
Researchers have integrated organic tin into semiconducting polymers (plastics) for the first time. Semiconducting polymers can be used, for example, for the absorption of sun light in solar cells. By incorporating organic tin into the plastic, light can be absorbed over a wide range of the solar spectrum.
GreenEnergy
Natural gas usage will have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions, researchers find - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Natural gas usage will have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions, researchers find
Abundant supplies of natural gas will do little to reduce harmful U.S. emissions causing climate change, according to researchers. They found that inexpensive gas boosts electricity consumption and hinders expansion of cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar.
GreenEnergy
New mobile solar unit is designed to save lives when the power goes out - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
New mobile solar unit is designed to save lives when the power goes out
Brooke Ellison draws her own power from will, but the ventilator that keeps her alive requires uninterrupted electricity. Dr. Ellison is allowing scientists to field-test, at her home, the Nextek Power Systems STAR, a mobile solar generator.
GreenEnergy
Solar cells cheap enough to quickly cover for their cost: Could double as semi-transparent blinds for windows - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Solar cells cheap enough to quickly cover for their cost: Could double as semi-transparent blinds for windows
One of the most common complaints about solar power is solar panels are still too expensive to be worth the investment. Many researchers have responded by making solar cells, the tile-like components of solar panels that absorb and transfer energy, more efficient and longer lasting. But even the longest living solar cells that most effectively convert sunlight to energy will not become common if they are prohibitively expensive.
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