VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

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Forget the flying cars you’ve seen in sci-fi movies because the air transportation of the future is going to be way better than we imagined – at least, if Lilium Aviation has anything to do with it. The aviation company recently unveiled their all-electric, self-flying car. And while there are quite a few flying car prototypes driving, er, flying around right now, Lilium sets itself apart with its electric engine and vertical takeoff, which the company successfully tested for the first time this week. The vehicle is powered by 36 electric jet engines. Electric powered-flight is just developing, but Lilium has figured out how to make it work in its prototype. “It’s the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” co-founder Patrick Nathen told The Verge . The battery consumes 90 percent less than current drone aircraft. The craft has a flight speed of 186 mph with a range of 186 miles per charge. Related: AeroMobil is launching a flying car that you can actually buy this year Lilium’s prototype is a two-seater, but the company plans to eventually make a 5-seat vehicle that can be used as an air taxi. For the maiden voyage, the craft was remotely piloted from the ground, but the company is shooting for manned flight night. The final version will be piloted autonomously and you will be able to book a flight using your smartphone, just like a Lyft in the sky. Via The Verge

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VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

Biomimetic Vascular Solar Cells

October 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

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Researchers at North Carolina State University have come up with a new way of making solar cells with a method that uses circulation much like that in plant leaves to maintain the efficiency of the cells. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are organic cells that use light-sensitive dyes to generate electricity. These cells could eventually make low-cost and more environmentally-friendly collectors for solar energy, but until now, the problem has been that the dyes eventually break down due to ultraviolet rays from the sun and lose their efficiency. The NCSU scientists have created a cell with vascular chanels, much like the veins in a leaf, to allow them to replenish the dye and thereby maintain the efficiency of the cell. Lead author Prof. Orlin Velev describes the process : “We considered how the branched network in a leaf maintains water and nutrient levels throughout the leaf. Our microchannel solar cell design works in a similar way. Photovoltaic cells rendered ineffective by high intensities of ultraviolet rays were regenerated by pumping fresh dye into the channels while cycling the exhausted dye out of the cell. This process restores the device’s effectiveness in producing electricity over multiple cycles.” DSSCs are made with “a water-based gel core, electrodes, and inexpensive, light-sensitive, organic dye molecules that capture light and generate electric current.” The simpler, non-metallic makeup of these cells could make them less expensive to produce, and could mean less extraction of rare minerals required in order to continue to provide solar energy. via: Cleantechnica

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Biomimetic Vascular Solar Cells

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