New quantum tunneling application captures electricity from Earth’s heat

February 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at  King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have learned how to produce electricity from Earth’s excess heat through quantum tunneling. Quantum tunneling is a phenomenon in which particles are able to tunnel through a barrier that, under the rules of classical mechanics, they are usually unable to pass through. First predicted in the early 20th century and generally accepted by mid-century, quantum tunneling plays an important applied role in devices such as the tunnel diode, quantum computing, and the scanning tunneling microscope. Its more recent application, the harvest of electricity from Earth’s radiant heat, involves a specifically designed antenna that can identify this excess heat as high-frequency electromagnetic waves, then transforms the signals into a direct electrical charge. The heat produced by sunlight hitting the Earth results in a constant flow of infrared radiation that, if untapped, is essentially free energy gone to waste. It is estimated that the global output of infrared radiation may be as much as millions of gigawatts per second. Since the infrared wavelengths are so short, scientists at KAUST needed to design micro-antennas suited to catch this heat. “There is no commercial diode in the world that can operate at such high frequency,” said lead researcher Atif Shamim . “That’s why we turned to quantum tunneling.” Related: New double-pane quantum dot solar windows generate power with better efficiency Via a tunneling device known as a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diode, electrons are able to pass through a small barrier, despite lacking the energy classically required to do so. As the electrons pass through this barrier, they are converted into an electrical direct current. The technology could be applied to solar panels , which currently only harvest a small percentage of the potential heat and light energy available for electrical power. While there is work to be done, the potential for how we gather and use energy is huge. “This is just the beginning – a proof of concept,” said Shamim . “We could have millions of such devices connected to boost overall electricity generation,” Via ScienceAlert Images via Depositphotos and  KAUST (1)

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New quantum tunneling application captures electricity from Earth’s heat

Hot electron research could open up greater efficiencies for solar energy

December 26, 2017 by  
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Hot electron research is heating up solar and renewable energy research, according to the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory . Nanoscientists there uncovered quicker ways to convert power from light to energetic or hot electrons – and their methods could allow for higher efficiencies for solar power. Argonne researchers and collaborators created hybrid nanomaterials – smaller than the width of human hair – “to harness the full energy of photons,” according to the laboratory . The result was what are called hot electrons that “carry the same amount of energy as a photon that strikes nanomaterial components” and could lead to large advances in photovoltaics and photocatalytic water splitting — where materials turn solar energy into hydrogen fuel . Related: SunPower’s new solar shingles are 15% more efficient than conventional photovoltaics Senior scientist and study co-author Gary Wiederrecht said in their statement, “In larger particles, you see very few of these energetic electrons with energies near the photon energy. So you need a smaller particle.” The team zeroed in on metals because they absorb a lot of light, key to increasing the amount of energetic electrons in a material that’s been lit up. They simulated the material to determine what conditions would create the biggest number of hot electrons, and settled on silver nanocubes and gold films divided by aluminum oxide spacers. The nanostructure can crank out hot electrons better than others, according to Argonne. Wiederrecht said, “One of the key advances is our ability to produce energetic electrons over a very broad spectral range – from the ultraviolet through the visible and into the near infrared.” The journal Nature Communications published the research online in October. Scientists from Duke University, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and Ohio University contributed. Via Argonne National Laboratory Images courtesy of Matthew Sykes, Argonne National Laboratory, Shutterstock/Triff and Shutterstock/siro46 and via Depositphotos

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Hot electron research could open up greater efficiencies for solar energy

Stanford’s new accelerator on a chip could revolutionize medical care

October 31, 2017 by  
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Researchers at Stanford University are developing a linear accelerator that is the size of a chip — instead of two miles long — and it could herald a medical breakthrough. Linear accelerators are commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer . However, only a handful have been constructed as they are very expensive to build, maintain and operate. Stanford’s accelerator on a chip could provide every hospital with access to this life-saving technology. Standford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory houses a linear accelerator that measures 3.2 kilometers in length. Because it emits radiation , it’s buried 25 feet under the hills of northern California. Dubbed LINAC, it relies on klystrons to generate high-energy electron beams. At one end of the line, electrons are generated. They are then accelerated to 99.99999 percent of the speed of light and zip down the 2-mile long instrument. The setup is expensive, however – which is why scientists in the same lab are working to create an accelerator small enough to fit in a large shoebox. After receiving a $13.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2015, the “accelerator on a chip” (ACHIP) project was born. When the project launched in 2013, SLAC physicist Joel England said: “Making them much smaller and cheaper would democratize accelerators , potentially making them available to millions of people. We can’t even imagine the creative applications they would find for this technology .” The minuscule device would work similarly to the LINAC. However instead of shooting electrons down a copper vacuum tube, they would be pushed along with microwaves. Engadget reports, “The AoaC will shove electrons through a precisely-engineered silica chip, smaller than a grain of rice, and excite them with laser beams.” Related: Japanese ‘mutant’ chickens are laying eggs with cancer-fighting drugs By adjusting the width of the ridges in the channel, with respect to the wavelength of the laser, the chip’s acceleration gradient could be tuned to a whopping 700 megavolts per meter (MeV/m). That’s ten times what the LINAC can generate. The inexpensive device could replace multimillion-dollar radiotherapy machines in hospitals – and it could be paired with a simple fiber laser power source to “burn out” tumors faster than traditional radiation therapy — and without the need for anesthesia. Said Joel England, SLAC’s lead researcher for this program, “Once you get into a million electron volts or more then you’re sort of in the regime of where you can have practical applications; where something like a medical accelerator is more viable. So typically for cancer treatment, you’re using particles with between one and 20 million electron volts of energy.” He explained in 2013, “We still have a number of challenges before this technology becomes practical for real-world use, but eventually it would substantially reduce the size and cost of future high-energy particle colliders for exploring the world of fundamental particles and forces.” + SLAC Via Engadget Images via Stanford University

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Stanford’s new accelerator on a chip could revolutionize medical care

High House lets you enjoy the outdoors even in the middle of winter in Quebec

October 31, 2017 by  
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As if built out of snow, this discrete house on stilts blends perfectly into the white winter landscape of Quebec, Canada . Parisian architecture studio Delordinaire raised the house above the ground to capture expansive views of Mont Saint Anne, soak up as much natural light as possible and form a heated outdoor space beneath the volume, all while blending in with the wintry landscape. The building, named High House, has painted white concrete panel cladding and corrugated steel roof panels in order to blend into the landscape during winter, and stand out against green hills in summer. A warming stove allows the underside to function as an outdoor space that can be used throughout the year. Related: This cozy cottage sits on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes This unusual space is where residents can be in direct contact with nature and the snowy exterior while still enjoying a level of protection from the elements. The volume above provides uninterrupted views of the Mont Saint Anne from the lounge room. Large windows allow natural light to directly enter the house at all hours of the day. + Delordinaire Via Fubiz

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High House lets you enjoy the outdoors even in the middle of winter in Quebec

Colorado Team Find Star Trek-Like Invisible Shield 7,200 Miles Above the Earth

November 28, 2014 by  
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Shields up! A team from the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered an “invisible shield” approximately 7,200 miles above Earth. The shield reportedly blocks so-called “killer electrons” that travel around the planet at near-light speed and can potentially threaten astronauts, fry satellites and damage electrical systems during solar storms. Read the rest of Colorado Team Find Star Trek-Like Invisible Shield 7,200 Miles Above the Earth Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electrons , killer electrons , light speed , radiation belt , radiation shield , star trek , Star Trek invisible belt , University of Colorado Boulder , Van Allen radiation belt

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Colorado Team Find Star Trek-Like Invisible Shield 7,200 Miles Above the Earth

Future Perfect: Using bacteria to produce hydrogen fuel from water

September 28, 2011 by  
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Shyamal Chitale: Bacteria Make Hydrogen Fuel From Water Studies have proved that Bacteria can Make Hydrogen Fuel From Water Hydrogen fuel is considered as a more eco friendly option than the use of the conventional fuel. These sources are not abundantly available and hence need to be conserved. Hydrogen fuel can store more energy as compared to the conventional fuels and it does not produce any environmentally dangerous by-products in the form of carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. Hydrogen is a very light gas and it rises up, and hence it is not found in our atmosphere. It has to be manufactured using process like electrolysis which breaks the oxygen and hydrogen molecules present in water. But this process requires a huge amount of energy and hence researchers have started looking at other options, like bacteria, to make this fuel. 2009 was the year when some researchers discovered that there was a special kind of bacteria that could separate out oxygen and hydrogen molecules present in water. They would require an electric charge to activate them to do so. But this would again require a huge amount of energy. Then there was another method found that makes use of an electrochemical reaction to activate these bacteria. This reaction is caused between saltwater and freshwater. In this electrochemical process, there is a membrane used. Saltwater is placed on one side of the membrane and seawater is placed on the other side. The function of this membrane is to allow the ions to flow through it but, at the same time, prevent the water molecules from doing so. These ions flow to the freshwater and balance out the osmotic forces. Thus a charge difference is created that can be used for various purposes. This is a very small charge but it is sufficient to activate the bacteria required to split the oxygen and hydrogen molecules. Now these bacteria, through oxidation of carbon, harvest their electrons. If they do not find a good electron acceptor, they pass on their electrons to any acceptor that is available. But if they are given a proper electrode they move all their electrons to that electrode. Using this principle, cells placed in series are used and the anode is used to enable the bacteria to deposit their electrons onto it. These cells are linked with the bacterial system which is continuously supplied with a feed or organic chemical like acetate. With this in place, the cells are able to produce sufficient hydrogen, whenever they are supplied with water. This provides an unlimited source of hydrogen but only as long as the acetate is provided to them. The only major requirements for this process are cathodes, either made from platinum or from other cheaper substitutes and the organic feed. Production of hydrogen in this manner has its own advantages. The main advantage is that this process can ensure continuous production of hydrogen. This hydrogen can be turned into fuel and used for various purposes. The fuel is eco-friendly and does not emit any kinds of harmful chemicals and gases. This is a very clean manner in which the fuel is manufactured, as, most of the raw material used is water. With the help of acetate, you can easily measure the amount of energy which is provided to the system. But if you want to use other bio-degradable sources of energy, you can do so, provided you put in the right species of bacteria in the system. Most of the energy required from this process comes from the organic matter and the difference between the saltwater and freshwater. As such a lot of energy is conserved when hydrogen fuel is made using this process. The traditional method of producing hydrogen fuel, i.e. by electrolysis of water, requires considerable energy and is quite expensive. With so many advantages, production of hydrogen fuel with the help of this method, is considered more appropriate. It has a good impact on our future as well. Natural resources are depleting continuously. As a result there has always been a need to find alternatives to these resources and fossil fuels. Hydrogen, produced in this manner, is the ideal fuel which does not make use of any natural resources and is made from the most exhaustive resource available on earth i.e. water. It can be manufactured using biodegradable wastes and therefore helps in the proper disposal of wastes, thereby reducing land pollution. Using this fuel does not release an greenhouse gases and hence it is a fuel that is used in many industries all over the world. Also it can be produced on a large scale, which ensures its long-term availability.

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Future Perfect: Using bacteria to produce hydrogen fuel from water

Seven eco friendly building materials that are sourced from nature

September 28, 2011 by  
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Sreejan Guha Niyogi: With the rapid rise in urbanization through out the world, there is also a growing need for building materials. However, there exists many building materials which are not only environment friendly but are also found in abundance. These ecofriendly building materials also come with a lot of added advantages which make them perfect to replace the conventional materials. The best thing is that all these building materials are found in nature and hence are available in abundance. Let us have a look at the seven ecofriendly building materials that are sourced from nature. 1. Bamboo One of the important and highly reliable natural resource is Bamboo. Moreover it’s already in fashion, Earlier people used to have center tables made of bamboos, sheds and small huts in courtyards made of bamboos. But now, for last decade a fast trend is following and catching people’s eyes and vows is Bamboo. Now in American and African countries, not only in urban areas but in suburbs and villages you can easily find houses wholly made of bamboo. It’s now used in homes and as a piece of decorative interior designing. It might startle you to learn that Bamboo is now being used in some Asian countries to construct highways and bridges. In terms of renewability, it’s better than many other plants for example timber. It grows in a shorter cycle. Just make sure when we are using bamboo for construction it is treated with some chemicals which protect it from getting bugged with insects and becoming waterproof. And nevertheless its durability is of respectable amount of time. 2. Cob The massive or monumental building system established on a concoction of sand, clay and straw is defined by the term Cob. Since ages this form of infrastructure building is taking place where mud building which uses no conformity, no wooden framework takes place. In different methods of building houses with natural resources, Cob-like mixes are also used as plaster or filler, such as earth bags, adobe, timber frames, straw bales and cordwood. So once you start experimenting, you realise that earth is primary constituent in House Building. 3. Rammed Earth Nature is not biased. There is a good population of people who can’t afford bamboo or to them other material like timber, cob is unavailable. So the builders who have the resources use what they possess. They can build a rammed earth home. In this type of house building in a temporary wall form a mixture of soils mixture of soils is packed down and that gives shape to the mixture. The form has to be wooden and it should be firm enough to hold onto the rambling’s densification. There are some important factors one needs to hold reserve while making a rammed earth home. Rammed earth walls are made with different type of soils but too much of clay may result into cracks on the surface of the wall and they may intensify with time and end up annihilating the wall. 4. Earth bags If you ever pass through an army cantonment area you will find bunkers carved out of stacked sandbags. It shows how potent these sandbags are that they are used by Army people. They are treated as equally strong as Brick buildings. The question arises can we make a house of dirt and sand bags. The soil in the bags presses down each layer of bags heaped earlier. We don’t need to mortar for that. These houses are generally domed roof. The sand bags are gradually stepped min until they meet up and a domed shape roof is obtained. And the durability, the densification makes these bags so tightly knit that even a rove won’t affect its durability. 5. Earth sheltered Earth sheltered homes such as underground dwelling are soundproof, energy sufficient and fire-resistant. We can also raise them above the ground. The earth helter homes have windows for sunlight and ventilation. They basically have their walls or the roof made of earth like Hobbits. There are some challenges, one is that drainage system has to be figured out. So it’s advised to build earth sheltered homes where earth is soft and soil is permeable, so that it allows the water to drain or gets absorbed. 6. Adobe One of the oldest methods of building, Adobes are the houses built with earth. Adobe is made by using a mixture which is made by clay, water, sand, and sometimes straw in the form of a brick. After they are put in mould they are kept in sun to get dried and then the, moulds are removed. This process may take sometime and after they are dried the brick shrinks and you can check its strength so that they don’t crack once after they are installed in the wall. This process needs dry climate. Adobe bricks are laid like common masonry and are stacked. We need mud mortar to affix bricks. The adobe houses are highly vulnerable and it’s not suggested to have adobe houses in earthquake prone areas. 7. Rocks No doubt that it’s convenient for everyone to make houses with shaped bricks and concrete slabs, but it’s also possible to construct stylist homes using rocks which are naturally available. Rock walls are better in having thermal mass as they can absorb the outside temperature, store it in and then radiate it through the house. These rocks can be plastered with earthen plasters using sand, clay, and lime.

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Five eco friendly inventions dreamed up by young minds

September 28, 2011 by  
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Sandeep Sangwan: Eco-friendly nature for a greener world Eco-Friendly Inventions are made keeping in mind the better future of our environment and a healthy surrounding. Green is the latest trend and there is no stopping to this Eco-friendly technology. The Green technology products are a rage all over the world and people love this green change. Usually, these cool products are designed by some creative minds from across the world. There is always an interesting concept behind these inventions made by young minds. Each idea was designed keeping in mind the concept of sustainability. So here is a list of few such Eco-friendly inventions that were dreamed up by some young minds and are considered to be completely awesome. 1. Solar-powered Device The Solar-powered device which was aimed at providing lighting and electricity to household was an awesome concept by Shahnoor Amin. It was awarded as the best concept submitted for “1000 Pitches” competition organized by University of Michigan. Students were given a topic and were asked to make a video regarding that and the video made by the designer was stunning. He used all creative ideas to deliver the perfect way of utilizing the solar energy using a solar-powered device that would generate electricity and can provide lighting to household in developing countries. You can YouTube the video titled “1000 Pitches”. 2. You Renew Next up is an awesome concept by duo Bob and Rich. This is actually an idea to renew the old products and you will be paid for it. Is not it awesome? This website created by the duo focuses on various gadgets that can be renewed easily and can be used for various purposes. This website aims at providing you cash in return of your old product. It is a kind of way to recycle products and they pay you for that. As said by the duo on their website, it is the one of the easiest and fastest way to turn your old electronic device into cash. Their idea is to pay you for a greener world as these old electronics when left in environment; they start degrading it and pollute it in a large extent. All they want to do is to cut down the waste by recycling such products/devices. 3. Greensulate This creative concept was designed by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both graduates from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They are known worldwide for their stunning creation of Greensulate. This Greensulate is actually an Eco-friendly insulation made completely out of recycled products and is considered to be one of the best creations for the green world. This particular Eco-friendly insulation is made of mushroom and offers good durability. In this concept insulation, the composite materials are grown which later are used to harness the efficiency of nature. This concept is just awesome and the fact that it is completely Eco-friendly makes it even more popular. 4. EcoCradle There is nothing stopping to green technology and the duo Eben and Gavin who created another cool concept device named EcoCradle. After the huge success of their Greensulate product, they worked on for a new unique Eco-friendly idea and came up with this awesome EcoCradle. This EcoCradle is actually a packaging material grown using agricultural by-products. Usually, the packaging materials consist of plastic or other non-biodegradable things that affect our environment. But this packaging is completely Eco-friendly and is aimed at providing a greener environment and a better tomorrow. As the packaging is made out of agricultural products, it is quite simple to dispose it instead of throwing it into trash. The packaging decomposes quickly and is harmless to environment and human beings. This EcoCradle is an awesome creative invention that can be used as an alternative to your packaging. 5. GenShock The GenShock created by five students of MIT is a remarkable invention and is known to be an awesome energy-producing shock absorber. This idea came out when they were actually having a nigh bull session and then they worked on it to produce this unique and complete Eco-friendly device. They called it GenShock and was used as an energy-producing shock absorber. They not only developed this concept device but also published a novel regarding ways a vehicle’s fuel economy can be made efficient by adopting different options and improving efficiency by harvesting wasted energy in the suspension. It is claimed that these GenShock can improve the efficiency of a particular car in range of 2-10%. Such devices should always be appreciated as they are Eco-friendly and offers a lot to save our money.

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5 Ways for building construction to reduce greenhouse emissions

September 28, 2011 by  
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Pratik Basu: If you are really worried about the atmosphere around you, then you have to pay attention to the increasing quantity of green house gas emissions during building constructions. During any building construction there are number of gases which are produced in vast amount and are harmful for the environment. So, are you aware of this fact? If yes, then you have to do something about it. Every architect and engineer knows exactly what they have to do to slash greenhouse gases considerably. But people just don’t want to compromise, either in lifestyle changes or in cash. We are presenting some of the easiest ways for building construction to reduce the greenhouse gases discharge. Here are the few things we might do to reduce the overall emissions: 1. Natural ventilation Many years ago, even the small apartment building in New York had an air shaft. In that time, you were not permitted to construct washrooms and kitchens without windows. The reason behind this is, natural ventilation through windows helps in reducing the effects of green house gases. After some time mechanical fans were approved for the same reason. Now, it is time to bring the old policy back. Natural ventilation and light should be accessible to every room. 2. Net zero energy for housing by 2016 Getting to net zero means locating as much energy reverse into the network as one takes from it. It is a complementary act of designing to diminish waste, equalize by adequate photovoltaics to balance the little bit of gas or of power that is required. The Net-zero energy is accomplished through considerate design to detain submissive solar heat, straw bale and a remarkable 33.8 kilowatt array of solar photovoltaics. 3. Plan for people, not cars Cars are the superb means of transportation. They give us freedom to go where we desire and when we want. But that doesn’t mean we have to utilize them in all the occasions. They emit many harmful gases in atmosphere, so we should try to minimize its use. For instance, in London or New York, people regularly possess cars but they just use them on the weekends. So try to learn something from them, how much they are concerned about the environment and aware of reducing the means which can harm it. You can also do the same and saves your environment. 4. Reoccupy the rust belt For making your atmosphere clean and free from harmful gases, if have to reoccupy the corrosion belt of the areas. There are lots of infrastructure, i.e., lots of water, moderate climate, canals, hydroelectric power and elegant buildings are waiting to be fixed. So, number of people followed the sun to place with none of the above . What would it take to bring people back? You can do certain things like if sufficient people of a certain industrious potential move to Detroit, then Detroit will start exercising a striking power. In response to the mounting population of people, helpful infrastructure will grow up. Employers will follow from among the migrants. Utilization alternatives reflecting migrant feel will emerge. And finally the whole show will become successful. 5. Design heat or cold proof houses Do you know that air conditioners raise the load of harmful gases in the environment? These gases, mostly CFC’s are the main cause for global warming. During the hottest days of the year when the electrical load is at its peak, our atmosphere suffers a lot due to the electrical air-conditioning of the building. But we have some good options to protect the environment from its hazards. The first thing we can do is, plant the tress as they are the natural source of oxygen therefore they help in absorbing the harmful gases. Second, we can get the natural conditioning by painting our roofs. So, by adopting these techniques you can reduce the emissions of harmful gases during the construction of buildings.

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5 Ways for building construction to reduce greenhouse emissions

Oerlikon Solar produces silicon thin film solar modules for under $0.70 cents per watt

October 18, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Solar equipment enables thin film silicon solar modules production at lower costs. After First Solar broke the $1.00 a Watt price barrier last year with its non-silicon based thin film, which cost $0.76 cents a Watt, it’s now Swiss solar equipment manufacturing giant Oerlikon Solar creating waves.

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Oerlikon Solar produces silicon thin film solar modules for under $0.70 cents per watt

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