The world’s biggest logistics company races towards net-zero emissions

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

An interview with Emily Davis, sustainability director at DHL North America, on logistics and Formula-E racing.

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The world’s biggest logistics company races towards net-zero emissions

Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Do you love solar panels , but hate the color blue? You’re in luck – researchers in the Netherlands have developed a process for making conventional solar panels bright green, and they’re working on developing other colors as well. By making the panels more appealing, they hope to entice more people and businesses to invest in clean energy. Researchers at AMOLF devised a method of imprinting solar panels with silicon nanopatterns that make them appear green. Though the process decreases the efficiency by 10 percent, it’s considered to be an acceptable trade-off if the panels are installed on more buildings. Said Verena Neder, lead author of the paper and researcher at AMOLF, “The black appearance of the [conventional] solar panels is not attractive for many people and a reason to not put solar panels on their rooftop. Making solar cells colored makes it possible to integrate them in an architectural design of houses and full cities, but also to merge them in the landscape.” CleanTechnica reports that to turn the panels green , researchers “use soft imprint lithography to apply a dense array of silicon nanotubes onto the surface of solar cells.” At approximately 100 nanometers wide, each nanotube is carefully shaped to scatter a certain wavelength of light. The cells appear green to observers, and the color is constant regardless of where one is standing. “The structure we made is not very sensitive to the angle of observation, so even if you look at it from a wide angle, it still appears green,” said Neder. Related: Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy Because the color can be adjusted by altering the geometry of the nanotubes , the researchers have started planning imprints that create red and blue solar colors. After the three primary colors of light are developed, they will be able to create any color — including white. “You have to combine different nanoparticles, and if they get very close to each other they can interact and that will affect the color,” said Albert Polman, a scientific group leader at AMOLF. “Going to white is a really big step.” The technology could make it possible to create tandem solar cells which are stacked in layers. Each layer would be fine tuned to absorb certain portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Theoretically, this could result in sunlight conversion efficiencies of 30 percent more. Considering commercially available solar cells are about 20 percent efficient, this could be a game-changer for the renewable energy industry. Affirmed Neder, “The new method to change the color of the panels is not only easy to apply but also attractive as an architectural design element and has the potential to widen their use.” + AIP Applied Physics Letters + AMOLF Via Clean Technica Images via Pixabay and Depositphotos

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Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

There’s a new building block in town, and it generates its own clean energy. Researchers from Exeter University developed new glass blocks that are embedded with small solar cells . Not only do the blocks generate energy, but they also provide thermal insulation and allow natural light to enter buildings. Called Solar Squared, the blocks are embedded during the manufacturing process with an array of optical elements that focus sunlight on tiny solar cells . The blocks are made to ensure maximum solar absorption, even in tricky urban areas. “The modular design is completely scalable, and allows for seamless architectural integration,” according to an Exeter press release . “The streamlined nature of the technology enables it to be embedded in conventional construction materials, meaning that its applications are myriad.” Professor Tapas Mallick and Dr Hasan Baig, along with IIB Research Commercialization Manager Jim Williams, hope their patent-pending design will revolutionize the construction industry . Related: Tesla’s new solar roof is actually cheaper than a regular roof “Deployment of standard solar technology is limited by the large area requirement and the negative visual impact,” said Dr Baig from the Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall. “We wanted to overcome these limitations by introducing technologies that become a part of the building’s envelope. We now have the capability to build integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solar technologies as part of the building’s architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and on quality of life.” There are challenges, though. Dr Baig says it’s difficult to communicate how the building product serves a dual purpose, and that expectations of price should reflect the same. “People tend to make comparisons with standard solar panels found on roof tops but it’s necessary to also include the value of the underlying building material in order to quantify the value proposition.” For this reason, the group aims to ensure that Solar Squared will cost less than conventional glass blocks with the added cost of electricity . They are currently seeking test sites and investors – in case you know someone who can take this to the next level. + Solar Squared, Exeter University Via New Atlas

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Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy

Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

August 17, 2017 by  
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Here’s what the big deal means for fuel cells and corporate sustainability.

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Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

In the complex world of sustainability, taxes are still certain

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Countries remaining in the Paris accord may impose energy taxes on U.S.-refined products, which could create a new tracking and reporting nightmare.

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In the complex world of sustainability, taxes are still certain

What is climate gentrification?

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Building greener cities that boost social equity is a priority from coast to coast. But beware of urban resiliency as a ‘land grab.’

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What is climate gentrification?

On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

A vista of volatility surrounds us. Sometimes it helps to see how far we’ve really come.

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On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

What Siemens, Tesla and Philips have in common

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

They rank high among these 200 public companies benefiting from the transition to a low-carbon economy.

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What Siemens, Tesla and Philips have in common

Universities are learning how to accelerate sustainability

August 16, 2017 by  
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How much do we know about how universities pursue sustainability in a whole-systems way? Well, we’re learning.

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Universities are learning how to accelerate sustainability

The death of ‘alternative energy’

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Remembering the days when that term referred to clean coal and fracking.

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The death of ‘alternative energy’

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