New stacked solar cell absorbs energy from almost the entire solar spectrum

July 13, 2017 by  
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Most traditional solar cells aren’t able to convert long-wavelength photons into electricity . A team of researchers led by Matthew Lumb at The George Washington University is hoping to change that in order to capture more power. They’ve designed a solar cell that can harvest just about all of the energy in the solar spectrum – and could become the world’s most efficient solar cell with an efficiency of 44.5 percent. The scientists created a prototype of their solar cell that differs from most others: they stacked multiple solar cells to create a single device that can capture nearly all the solar spectrum’s energy. And as opposed to the solar panels that adorn many rooftops , this new solar cell utilizes concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) panels that concentrate sunlight onto micro-scale cells using lenses. Related: SunPower nabs record for world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel The cell works something like a sieve for sunlight, as each layer absorbs a certain set of wavelengths, to capture nearly half of available energy – most traditional cells only capture around one quarter. Efficiency is one of the main goals of any researcher working on solar cells, and these scientists obtained what could be the highest efficiency in the world using materials based on gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates. A technique called transfer-printing allows the tiny cells to be constructed with great precision. But this groundbreaking solar cell wasn’t cheap. Still, though the materials utilized were expensive, the scientists think the technique to build the cells is promising to show how efficient a solar cell could be. In the future they think a similar product could hit markets “enabled by cost reductions from very high solar concentration levels and technology to recycle the expensive growth susbtrates.” The journal Advanced Energy Materials published the research this week. 12 scientists from the United States Naval Research Laboratory and other American institutions collaborated with Lumb on the paper. Via Newswise Images via Matthew Lumb and Pixabay

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New stacked solar cell absorbs energy from almost the entire solar spectrum

American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

April 3, 2017 by  
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Energy storage has been a leading obstacle to widespread adoption of solar energy , but that may be about to change. A new nature-inspired electrode developed by two scientists at RMIT University in Australia could hold the key to drastically improved storage. Their electrode, which is based on patterns in the western swordfern, could boost the capacity of storage technologies by a staggering 3,000 percent. The groundbreaking electrode is made with graphene , and according to the university, could open the door to flexible, thin solar capture and storage technology. This would allow us to place a thin film on smartphones, cars, or buildings – enabling them to power themselves with solar energy. Related: Pocket-sized HeLi-on charger uses flexible, printed solar cells to power your phone The two researchers found inspiration for their prototype in the veins of the Polystichum munitum , a native western North American fern. Researcher Min Gu said in a statement, “The leaves of the western swordfern are densely crammed with veins, making them extremely efficient for storing energy and transporting water around the plant. Our electrode is based on these fractal shapes – which are self-replicating, like the mini structures within snowflakes – and we’ve used this naturally efficient design to improve solar energy storage at a nano level.” The electrode could be combined with supercapacitors , which have been combined with solar already but haven’t been widely utilized for storage due to limited capacity. But the scientists’ prototype can increase their capacity 30 times greater than current limits, according to Gu. The journal Scientific Reports published the research online the end of March. Paper lead author Litty Thekkekara said by using their electrode with a solar cell, we could develop flexible thin film solar, replacing the rigid, bulky solar cells that are limited in use. Smartphone batteries would become a thing of the past, and hybrid cars wouldn’t need charging stations, if scientists could build on this research to develop thin film solar. Via RMIT University Images via RMIT University

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American fern inspires groundbreaking new solar storage solution

NYC community gardens may wither under Trump’s proposed budget cuts

April 3, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts could mean the kiss of death for New York City’s community gardens . More than 500 of the communal spaces across all five boroughs depend on a program called GreenThumb , which is administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation . Initiated in the wake of the 1970s fiscal crisis, which resulted in the widespread abandonment of both private and public land, GreenThumb has turned hundreds of derelict lots into tillage. Most of its funding comes from federal Community Development Block Grants—the same ones the budget blueprint seeks to eliminate. Should the budget pass, GreenThumb risks losing $1 million a year out of a $2.4 million budget, according to WNYC . Related: Detroit nonprofit seeks crowdfunding for new East Side community garden “It would be devastating to GreenThumb, it would mean laying off a dozen workers or more, and it would be less money for supplies, for bulbs, for tools,” said New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee. Levine, WNYC adds, is working on securing more money for community gardens, as well as the restoration of jobs for 150 Parks department gardeners and maintenance workers. Via WNYC Photos by Unsplash

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NYC community gardens may wither under Trump’s proposed budget cuts

Manatees taken off the endangered species list – but that may not be good

April 3, 2017 by  
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Manatees are found in Florida yet beloved around the world for their plodding, languid behavior and slightly dopey appearance. Since the 1970s, clubs and groups have raised awareness and funds to protect these so-ugly-they-are-cute “sea cows”, which reside in shallow, slow-moving bodies of water. Citing a consistently growing population and successful regulations and efforts by the government and local community, the US Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed West Indian manatees from the endangered species list last week. But that may not be a good thing. While “downlisting” these manatees from endangered to “threatened” might seem like a cause for celebration, some animal and environmental groups aren’t quite ready to break out the algae, grass, or mangrove leaves (preferred snacks of the species). The Save the Manatee Club, for example, is concerned about habitat destruction for the manatees and motorboat accidents and deaths as well as as a loosening or reversal of environmental regulations under the current administration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service purports that federal and state protections for manatees won’t change, but certain manatee-minded parties are pushing for a long-term manatee recovery plan that would address the boat- and habitat-related problems. Effects of climate change and chemical runoff ( leading, in the past, to toxic algal blooms ) are also continuing causes for concern. Related| How Climate Change is Killing Hundreds of Endangered Florida Manatees Manatees were put on the endangered species list in 1967. While manatee numbers dipped to a population of only a few hundred in the 1970s, their population has increased dramatically with more than 6,000 manatees counted for the past three years. A survey this year found a preliminary total of 6,620 manatees. Efforts including river habitat restoration and regulations targeting speeders in manatee zones are among the reasons for the manatee population’s recovery. Via CNN Lead image © Carlton Ward Jr. for Visit Florida , Wikimedia , flickr user USFWS Endangered Species

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Manatees taken off the endangered species list – but that may not be good

Best concept cellphones that get powered by solar energy

August 30, 2011 by  
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Payal Chatterjee: LG 3D mobile 3D solar powered concept cell phone An electrical device which directly converts the light energy into electricity through the photovoltaic effect is known as a solar cell or photovoltaic cell. Assemblies of cells known as solar panels are used for making solar modules which capture the solar energy from the sunlight and then generate the solar power. This is an example of solar energy. Aeolus phone concept recharges with solar energy Aeolus solar powered concept phone Cyrene Quiamco has created the Aeolus Phone which can be charged at any place and time. An inbuilt power generating fan captures even the slightest of breeze and produces energy and when there is lack of wind, the on board solar panels helps to recharge. The phone comes in one simple color with a LCD screen, which is energy efficient and can be built from renewable materials. It is accompanied by a special tripod with which it can be attached to a cycle or on a car’s window in order to enable the fan to generate more energy. 2. Nokia E10, a foldable phone with MeeGo and solar batteries Nokia E10 solar powered foldable concept cellphone Chris Wang has designed this folding Nokia E10. Unlike other solar powered phones, Nokia E10 is supported by 3 solar powered batteries along with a Lithium battery, for stronger and steady power supply. 3. Solar powered cell phone concept with a transparent OLED display concept solar phone solar powered OLED concept cellphone This is a recent development in the field of concept phones: a combination of the transparent OLED and solar technology. The phone has a futuristic design with a concealed keyboard and screen, running on 80 percent solar energy. This sleek phone has a solar panel attached at its back which makes it both fashionable and ecofriendly at the same time. 4. LG 3D mobile phone with photovoltaic cells and expandable touch display LG 3D mobile 3D solar powered concept cell phone Petr Kubik designed this futuristic 3D mobile phone for LG. The phone has solar cells at the back of each slide panel and with the help of the 3D glasses and an interactive stylus, the user can enjoy the total 3D experience anywhere and at any time. 5. Concept solar powered cellphone Solar powered concept solar powered cellphone Yana Moskalenko has designed this concept solar powered cellphone. It runs on solar solar energy with the help of the sun battery attached to its back and also gives a detailed description on the kind of specs to be found inside. 6. Siemens Gigaset Eco Visions concept designs, as environmentally friendly as it gets Siemens Gigaset Ecovisions concept cell phone The Siemens Gigaset Eco Visions series have been developed by the Formwelt design studio and it claims to be the greenest phone ever. The solar energy is supplied by the solar cells placed all over the phone. The Gigaset Solar phone is made of ecofriendly materials that are separable and features the OLED technology with a transparent display. 7. Eclipse intuit cell phone concept with solar panel Eclipse Intuit Solar powered concept cell phone The Eclipse Intuit concept phone is a futuristic sliding phone, not only sleek and stylish, but also energy efficient at the same time. The chemical based solar panels placed on the front and rear of the phone, automatically charges the phone when exposed to sunlight. 8. Eclipse phone concept Eclipse Cellphone concept This is a solar powered concept phone and thus the name Eclipse. It is a sleek and the best looking basic phone in the market. 9. LG Eco Solar Power cellphone uses a photovoltaic cell, ecofriendly technologies LG Eco solar powered concept cellphone This LG concept phone has been designed by Aaron Martinez. It is a solar powered cell phone that gets charged with the help of the fluorescent incandescent lights and the solar cell, when exposed to direct or indirect sunlight.

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Everything I need to know about transparent solar panels

June 16, 2011 by  
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Ankita Agarwal: Transparent Solar panels Clean Power Solar panels are photovoltaic devices that are being used to transfer heat energy from the Sun to power electronic machineries like calculators, satellites etc since long.

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Everything I need to know about transparent solar panels

Oriental Hornet Produces Solar Power In Its Stripes

January 4, 2011 by  
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Scientists have made a major discovery about the oriental hornet — it’s the first known species in the animal kingdom that generates electricity from sunlight.

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Oriental Hornet Produces Solar Power In Its Stripes

LG Electronics unveils first solar hybrid air conditioner

June 17, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Hybrid air conditioner equipped with a solar cell module. LG Electronics has announced the development of the first solar hybrid air conditioner in Korea. The eco-friendly air conditioning unit harvest solar energy via a solar cell module attached to the top of the outdoor unit, which will be able to produce up to 70W of power per hour.

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Solar Powered Dog Sweater Gathers Power From Your Pooch (Video)

January 12, 2010 by  
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Screenshot via YouTube How can you make your dog earn it’s keep?

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GOP ‘Expert’ Witness Testifies that He’d Eat Coal Ash on Cereal (Video)

January 12, 2010 by  
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Somebody get the man a spoon. If you ever wondered what a crooked ‘expert’ witness looks like, look no further, friends.

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GOP ‘Expert’ Witness Testifies that He’d Eat Coal Ash on Cereal (Video)

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