New 3D solar cells capture sunlight from every angle

July 20, 2016 by  
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Georgia Tech scientists developed three-dimensional solar cells which just hitched a ride to space this week on a SpaceX rocket. At the International Space Station , the solar cells will be tested to see how well they function and how they respond to space conditions. The solar cells have been designed to capture the sun’s rays from every angle, which could enable spacecraft to gain more power from a limited surface area. The experimental module blasted into space includes four different types of solar cells. One type is a “traditional planar” solar cell, and a second is a planar cell based on a formulation of low-cost materials: copper-zinc-tin-sulfide (CZTS). These materials cost about ” a thousand times less than the rare-earth elements ” like selenium and indium used in some solar cells. There are also two types of 3-D solar cells: one “based on CZTS” and the other “based on conventional cadmium telluride.” There are 18 solar cells total, and they will be tested in space for six months. Related: 2,500 orbiting solar “flying carpets” could power the planet 3-D solar cells could forever alter the way spacecrafts receive power. The Georgia Tech solar cells are described as miniature “towers” coated with a “photo-absorber.” Instead of requiring the sun to be right above them to work, the innovative 3-D solar cells can capture sunlight over longer periods of time. Georgia Tech Research Institute principal research engineer Jud Ready said in a press release , “We want to see both the light-trapping performance of our 3-D solar cells and how they are going to respond to the harshness of space.” After six months, the solar cells will return to Earth so scientists can study how they held up in space. According to Ready, “If it can survive in space, which is the harshest of environments from the standpoint of wide temperature swings, radiation, and numerous other factors, then we can be confident it will work well down on Earth.” Via Phys.org Images via Gary Meek, Georgia Tech

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New 3D solar cells capture sunlight from every angle

Giant gold spot draped over this building will catch the eye of anyone flying into Seoul

July 20, 2016 by  
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Created in partnership with Gansam Architects , Paradise City will comprise two buildings: the 3,600-square-meter Sandbox retail complex and the 6,200-square-meter Nightclub. The project will serve as the centerpiece of a new tourist hub for the Korean capital. Rather than insert two conventionally styled buildings, the architects designed two concrete monolithic forms that are distorted and manipulated to respond to the surrounding environment and take on a more fluid, rippled form. Related: South Korea Unveils Plans for Sustainable Mini-City in World’s Best Airport “The project takes two simple volumes, which create a new urban space. These masses then take an imprint of the facades around the site, stretching over the two buildings. Thus adapting themselves to the given environment, accepting these conditions as a sine qua non,” says MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas . “The buildings are opened by lifting them like a curtain, unravelling their interior. Then, to top it off is the golden spot, marking the entrance like a sunbeam, making its presence known even from the air and the landing planes at Incheon airport.” The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2018 winter Olympic games and will have a direct mono-rail connection to Incheon airport. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Giant gold spot draped over this building will catch the eye of anyone flying into Seoul

Flame-colored NOAA map paints a picture of this week’s toasty heat wave

July 20, 2016 by  
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Nobody needs a news report to know that summer is hot, but we’re in the midst of a particular scorcher. Scientists like to create visualizations to convey the full impact of natural phenomenon, such as heat waves, and this one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals—in bright, flaming hues—what may be in store for the continental United States this week. The heat map was created using predicted high temperatures across the country , painting one toasty picture for the days ahead. Data from NOAA’s HRRR Model was compiled to create a map that shows the predicted high temperatures on July 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. EDT. The map is essentially a snapshot of the dawn of the  heat wave that is expected to last through the week. The heat wave is expected to be severe, as a “heat dome” created by a high pressure ridge and extreme temperatures will trap and intensify heat in several places across the U.S. Related: Lethal extreme heat and wildfires scorch the American Southwest The forecast calls for heat index values to reach 110 degrees or higher in some areas of the country. The National Weather Service issued heat alerts for more than a dozen cities in light of the soaring temps . A quick glance at this brightly colored heat map is slightly terrifying, but a slightly longer gaze will allow enough time for the realization that this is only the beginning, and there is a great deal of summer left to endure before temperatures will ease back to more comfortable levels. Via Gizmodo Images via NOAA and Shutterstock

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Flame-colored NOAA map paints a picture of this week’s toasty heat wave

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