Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

October 31, 2017 by  
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The United States could obtain 40 percent of its energy solely from rooftop solar (with sufficient political will). But what if solar panels could also boost architectural aesthetics? Dubai -based Emirates Insolaire hoped to do just that with their Kromatix technology, providing an alternative to the blue or black panels that adorn many roofs. Plus, their solar products aren’t limited to rooftops — they can also be integrated in balconies or facades. Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture of Dubai Investments PJSC and SwissINSO , is changing our vision of solar with their Kromatix technology, developed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology . Emirates Insolaire offers Kromatix solar glass in gold, green, or terracotta, with an opaque finish that hides the power-generating technology inside. Solar transmittance varies among colors, but Emirates Insolaire said it is always greater than 85 percent. They also offer Kromatix modules manufactured with their solar glass that have an average efficiency of above 15 percent. Related: Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment The company doesn’t use pigments to color their solar glass, but rather “a complex nano-scale multilayer deposition by plasma process,” and say the color will remain stable as time passes. According to Emirates Insolaire’s website, “The colored appearance results from the reflection of a narrow spectral band in the visible part of the solar spectrum. The rest of the solar radiation is transmitted to the solar panel to be converted into energy .” The thickness of the solar glass is between 3.2 and eight millimeters. SwissINSO says the Kromatix colored solar panels can be integrated on facades and rooftops of all sorts of structures, from private homes to high-rise buildings. Electrek also reported the Kromatix products are affordable; they estimated a 5.5 kilowatt solar system would cost between $1,300 and $1,500 per home. They said not counting tax credits or incentives, the system would cover the cost of coloring in a little over one and a half years. Emirates Insolaire’s products have been installed across Europe, including at this school in Copenhagen . + Emirates Insolaire Via Electrek Images via Emirates Insolaire

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Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer

October 31, 2017 by  
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Scientists warn that if climate change continues at its current pace, oceans may lose their ability to reduce atmospheric effects from volcanic sulfur and aerosols as they have done in the past. This means that volcanic eruptions in the future may lead to “years without summer,” as occurred in 1815 after the April eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia . New research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the US both confirms that specific eruption’s role in altering the global climate and the role that future eruptions might play if the ocean’s temperature continues to be affected by melting sea ice and rising global temperatures. The researchers used data from Community Earth System Model’s (CESM) Last Millennium Ensemble Project, which provides simulations of Earth’s climate based on the geological record from 850 through 2005, to determine that the Mount Tambora eruption caused a notable cooling event on the global climate. Sulfur dioxide sent into the atmosphere became sulfate particles known as aerosols and reflected light away from the Earth. This resulted in a so-called “year without summer,” in which crops across North America and Europe suffered tremendous losses due to cold temperatures and blocked sunlight. Related: Two giant volcanic eruptions formed Yellowstone’s iconic caldera The oceans played an important role in returning the climate to relative normalcy through a process in which the colder water of the ocean sinks while warmer water rises to the surface, helping to warm the surrounding land and atmosphere . However, due to changing ocean temperatures resulting from climate change, if an eruption similar to Mount Tambora were to occur in 2085, the ocean would be less able to bring about climate stabilization. Study author Otto-Bliesner wrote, “The response of the climate system to the 1815 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora gives us a perspective on potential surprises for the future, but with the twist that our climate system may respond much differently”. + Nature Communications Via Alphr Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer

Italy seeks to phase out coal power plants by 2025

October 25, 2017 by  
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Nation by nation, Europe is going green. The latest country to prove its commitment to sustainable solutions is Italy . On Tuesday, the Italian Industry Minister announced that by 2025, the country plans to phase out coal power plants. Additionally, the country plans to meet 27 percent of “gross overall energy consumption” with renewable sources by the year 2030. During a parliamentary hearing, Minister Carlo Calenda asked the national grid company to identify the infrastructure needed to make the transition. Shortly after, the country’s biggest utility, Enel, said it will not invest in new coal-fired power plants. Unlike other countries in Europe, Italy’s renewable sector is constantly growing. In 2015, for instance, renewable energy sources generated just under 38 percent of the country’s electricity. Hydro-electrical plants remain the biggest contributor (15.5 percent), and solar and wind sources have reached nearly 13 percent, according to ZME Science. The country has no nuclear plants, as they were banned through a referendum in 1987 . Related: Supervolcano in Italy is “becoming more dangerous” as magma builds beneath the surface Chris Littlecott, who heads a fossil fuel transition program at think tank E3G , applauded the development. “Italy’s positive commitment to phase out coal by 2025 demonstrates real international leadership as it completes its year holding the G7 Presidency,” he said in a statement. “Italy now joins its G7 peers in Canada, France, and the UK in taking action to phase out coal power generation over the next decade. Together, they can lead a growing coalition of countries and regions that are now acting on coal,” he said. Though this development is commendable, nothing has been confirmed just yet. The strategy should receive governmental and parliamentary approval at the beginning of November. If it passes, the measure will also speed up the introduction of vehicles powered by alternative fuels , and it will raise the number of EV charging stations to 19,000 by 2020. Via ZME Science Images via Public Domain Pictures, Pixabay

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Italy seeks to phase out coal power plants by 2025

Italy seeks to phase out coal power plants by 2025

October 25, 2017 by  
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Nation by nation, Europe is going green. The latest country to prove its commitment to sustainable solutions is Italy . On Tuesday, the Italian Industry Minister announced that by 2025, the country plans to phase out coal power plants. Additionally, the country plans to meet 27 percent of “gross overall energy consumption” with renewable sources by the year 2030. During a parliamentary hearing, Minister Carlo Calenda asked the national grid company to identify the infrastructure needed to make the transition. Shortly after, the country’s biggest utility, Enel, said it will not invest in new coal-fired power plants. Unlike other countries in Europe, Italy’s renewable sector is constantly growing. In 2015, for instance, renewable energy sources generated just under 38 percent of the country’s electricity. Hydro-electrical plants remain the biggest contributor (15.5 percent), and solar and wind sources have reached nearly 13 percent, according to ZME Science. The country has no nuclear plants, as they were banned through a referendum in 1987 . Related: Supervolcano in Italy is “becoming more dangerous” as magma builds beneath the surface Chris Littlecott, who heads a fossil fuel transition program at think tank E3G , applauded the development. “Italy’s positive commitment to phase out coal by 2025 demonstrates real international leadership as it completes its year holding the G7 Presidency,” he said in a statement. “Italy now joins its G7 peers in Canada, France, and the UK in taking action to phase out coal power generation over the next decade. Together, they can lead a growing coalition of countries and regions that are now acting on coal,” he said. Though this development is commendable, nothing has been confirmed just yet. The strategy should receive governmental and parliamentary approval at the beginning of November. If it passes, the measure will also speed up the introduction of vehicles powered by alternative fuels , and it will raise the number of EV charging stations to 19,000 by 2020. Via ZME Science Images via Public Domain Pictures, Pixabay

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Italy seeks to phase out coal power plants by 2025

70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

October 6, 2017 by  
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“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a flock of migrating butterflies!” After spotting a colored mass flitting over Denver and nearby counties, weather scientists at the National Weather Service supposed the phenomenon was just a group of birds. With the help of social media users, however, they later realized that the group of loosely spaced insects with big wings comprised thousands of butterflies. It turns out, there are so many butterflies migrating across central U.S., they showed up on the radar . Look at what's flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind? #ornithology pic.twitter.com/EAqzdMwpFU — NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 3, 2017 Weather scientists at the Boulder meteorology office posted the images to social media with the caption, “Look at what’s flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind?” After confirming that avians “rarely produce such a coherent radar signature” and taking into account social media users’ answers, the Boulder meteorology office realized they were actually butterflies. Related: 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies “Migrating butterflies in high quantities explains it,” the group posted afterward. The Denverite reports that it is presently migration season for the painted lady butterfly. Orange-and-black in color, the butterflies are making their way from north to south, in time with the changing seasons. According to The Prairie Ecologies , thousands of the painted ladies butterflies travel between the southwest part of the United States/northern Mexico and the central U.S. every year. Because butterflies migrate with the wind, they were able to cover an area about 70-miles-wide. Birds, on the other hand, fly straight toward their destination. This was a big clue in differentiating the mass of flying objects. Said Sarah Garrett, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado , people as far away as North and South Dakota have spotted the butterflies , whose populations typically surge when flowers are abundant. Scientists believe the painted lady butterflies migrate to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in the fall. Using radio tracking , studies have shown they also travel south from Europe to Africa in the fall, and return in the spring. Via Denverite Images via National Weather Service ,  Pixabay

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70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

Scientists warn CO2 from warming soils could lead to uncontrollable temperature rise

October 6, 2017 by  
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There’s a lot scientists don’t know about how global warming could impact Earth’s natural systems. Now, a 26-year-study of soil in Massachusetts’ Harvard Forest provides new insight. Researchers discovered warming soils are releasing more carbon than once thought, with the potential to lead to a tipping point , kicking off an uncontrollable increase in temperature . The scientists started the Harvard Forest experiments back in 1991. They scrutinized plots of soil, heating some to five degrees Celsius higher than normal levels with underground cables. Microbes played a role in the greater production of carbon. In the first 10 years, the scientists saw a spike in the carbon the heated plots released, and then there was a seven-year period when the release lessened – scientists think soil microbes were adjusting to the warmer conditions. But then the release of carbon increased again. The past three years has seen carbon release slow again, with researchers thinking microbes might be reorganizing. Related: Tipping points accelerated climate change in the last Ice Age, new research shows The heated plots lost around 17 percent of the carbon stored in the soil’s top 60 centimeters. Study lead author Jerry Melillo, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, said in a statement , “Each year, mostly from fossil fuel burning, we are releasing about 10 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere …The world’s soils contain about 3,500 billion tons of carbon. If a significant amount of that is added to the atmosphere, due to microbial activity in warmer soils, that will accelerate the global warming process. And once this self-reinforcing feedback begins, there is no easy way to turn it off.” Daniel Meltcalfe of Lund University, who was not a part of the study, told The Guardian if the findings hold across other terrestrial ecosystems, a larger amount of soil carbon might be vulnerable to decomposition than we thought. The journal Science published the study today. Scientists from institutions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire contributed to the research. Via The Guardian Images via Daniel Spiess on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Making Solar Sweeter: Pollinator-Friendly Arrays

October 2, 2017 by  
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Introduced at VERGE 2015, and highlighted recently in training by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, the practice of using the land under and around U.S. solar arrays to benefit pollinators is on the cusp of becoming a standard practice — as it is in Europe. Benefitting pollinators at scale, and producing “Solar Honey,” are new ways to increase support for large-scale solar.

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Making Solar Sweeter: Pollinator-Friendly Arrays

Dubai to expand massive solar park to include world’s tallest solar tower

September 19, 2017 by  
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There are 2.3 million photovoltaic panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park near Dubai . And now the massive solar farm is about to get a 700 megawatt (MW) extension, which will include the addition of an 853-foot solar tower , the world’s tallest. The first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park became operational in 2013 with 13 MW. It now has a capacity of 200 MW, after the second phase was launched in March this year. But the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has big plans for the solar park : by 2020, they plan to increase capacity to 1,000 MW, with the aim to increase that number to 5,000 MW by 2030. The solar park is the world’s biggest single-site concentrated solar power (CSP) project. Related: Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month DEWA recently awarded the 14.2 billion AED fourth phase of the solar park to a consortium including ACWA Power in Saudi Arabia and Shanghai Electric in China. They won the contract with a bid of 7.3 US cents per kilowatt-hour. DEWA CEO HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said in a statement, “Our focus on renewable energy generation has led to a drop in prices worldwide and has lowered the price of solar power bids in Europe and the Middle East. This was evident today when we received the lowest CSP project cost in the world.” CSP has been more expensive than traditional solar power in the past, which is one of its downsides. But CSP projects also have the ability to store some of the power as heat for later use. In 2030, the solar park could cover 83 square miles, and slash carbon emissions by 6.5 million metric tons a year. Via New Atlas and Business Wire Images via AETOS Wire and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook

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Dubai to expand massive solar park to include world’s tallest solar tower

NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

August 21, 2017 by  
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Devastating wildfires have blazed through Portugal, Canada, and Siberia this summer – with some people beginning to wonder if climate change will make such destructive fires normal. Maps with data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) reveal a world filled with red. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Kevin Trenberth told DW, “A lot of these things are happening locally, but people don’t always connect them to climate change. But there is a real climate change component to this and the risk is going up because of climate change.” NASA’s FIRMS Web Fire Mapper data from the last seven days, from August 14 to August 21, shown in the map above, reveals a world on fire. DW said Europe has experienced three times the average number of wildfires in summer 2017. Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece suffered from fire as heatwaves incited dry, hot conditions. Related: This is how hot it will be in your neck of the woods if we don’t slow climate change 894,941 hectares have burned in Canada this season, according to the British Columbia Wildfire Service – in the worst season for fires since we started keeping records. People in Portugal have especially suffered: earlier in the season 64 people perished and around 2,000 people were cut off by a recent blaze surrounding Macao. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by wildfire in Siberia , and even Greenland saw a fire described as unprecedented. Some scientists are connecting these blazes to climate change, saying as temperatures rise , fires could occur more often. Trenberth told DW, “What’s really happening is that there is extra heat available. That heat has to go somewhere and some of it goes into raising temperatures. But the first thing that happens is that it goes into drying – it dries out plants and increases the risk of wildfires.” Via DW Images via FIRMS Web Fire Mapper and NASA Earthdata Facebook

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NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

August 21, 2017 by  
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Mercedes-Benz decided to go back to the 1930s for its latest concept car, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept. With its imposing grille and long, sensuous curves, this stunning car may be inspired by the art deco movement dating back to France before World War I, but it has a 21st century powertrain with four electric motors. At 20-feet-long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet is over five feet longer than the Nissan Leaf . At the front there’s a grille that’s inspired by a pinstripe suit, while as you move back, the extremely long hood and flowing lines are definitive of the art deco era. At the rear, Mercedes-Benz drew inspiration from a luxury yacht for the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet’s round “boat tail.” Related: Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ “The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury, and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy,” explains Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. He adds, “Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience.” Inside, there’s only room for two passengers, but the yacht theme continues with an open-pore wood floor with inlaid aluminum. The spacious interior features a flowing aesthetic that brings exterior and interior together, a holistic design that highlights a floating, transparent center tunnel visualizing the drive system’s electrical energy flow with blue fiber optics. While the design of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept may recall the best of the art deco era, its powertrain looks to the future. The concept is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 750 horsepower. With that much power, it could reach 60 mph in four seconds, and it has a driving range over 200 miles. Images @Mercedes-Benz + Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

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