Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

August 17, 2017 by  
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Do you love solar panels , but hate the color blue? You’re in luck – researchers in the Netherlands have developed a process for making conventional solar panels bright green, and they’re working on developing other colors as well. By making the panels more appealing, they hope to entice more people and businesses to invest in clean energy. Researchers at AMOLF devised a method of imprinting solar panels with silicon nanopatterns that make them appear green. Though the process decreases the efficiency by 10 percent, it’s considered to be an acceptable trade-off if the panels are installed on more buildings. Said Verena Neder, lead author of the paper and researcher at AMOLF, “The black appearance of the [conventional] solar panels is not attractive for many people and a reason to not put solar panels on their rooftop. Making solar cells colored makes it possible to integrate them in an architectural design of houses and full cities, but also to merge them in the landscape.” CleanTechnica reports that to turn the panels green , researchers “use soft imprint lithography to apply a dense array of silicon nanotubes onto the surface of solar cells.” At approximately 100 nanometers wide, each nanotube is carefully shaped to scatter a certain wavelength of light. The cells appear green to observers, and the color is constant regardless of where one is standing. “The structure we made is not very sensitive to the angle of observation, so even if you look at it from a wide angle, it still appears green,” said Neder. Related: Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy Because the color can be adjusted by altering the geometry of the nanotubes , the researchers have started planning imprints that create red and blue solar colors. After the three primary colors of light are developed, they will be able to create any color — including white. “You have to combine different nanoparticles, and if they get very close to each other they can interact and that will affect the color,” said Albert Polman, a scientific group leader at AMOLF. “Going to white is a really big step.” The technology could make it possible to create tandem solar cells which are stacked in layers. Each layer would be fine tuned to absorb certain portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Theoretically, this could result in sunlight conversion efficiencies of 30 percent more. Considering commercially available solar cells are about 20 percent efficient, this could be a game-changer for the renewable energy industry. Affirmed Neder, “The new method to change the color of the panels is not only easy to apply but also attractive as an architectural design element and has the potential to widen their use.” + AIP Applied Physics Letters + AMOLF Via Clean Technica Images via Pixabay and Depositphotos

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Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

August 17, 2017 by  
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Here’s what the big deal means for fuel cells and corporate sustainability.

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Why datacenter giant Equinix is buying a bevy of Bloom fuel cells

On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

August 17, 2017 by  
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A vista of volatility surrounds us. Sometimes it helps to see how far we’ve really come.

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On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble

What Siemens, Tesla and Philips have in common

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

They rank high among these 200 public companies benefiting from the transition to a low-carbon economy.

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What Siemens, Tesla and Philips have in common

The death of ‘alternative energy’

August 16, 2017 by  
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Remembering the days when that term referred to clean coal and fracking.

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The death of ‘alternative energy’

IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

You now have one more reason to love IKEA . By 2020, the Swedish company plans to cut food waste by 50% at its stores — including its restaurants and smaller bistros. To accomplish this, employees will use digital scales to record the type and weight of food sent to the bin. In turn, they will learn the cost of the discarded food and its carbon footprint . Over time, the data will help the company make big changes. In the US and UK, between 30 and 40 percent of all food is tossed into landfills . This conundrum persists, despite the fact that 795 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each evening. IKEA’s new initiative will not only reduce the amount of methane pumped into the atmosphere as a result of rotting produce, it will hopefully encourage other corporations to tackle food waste in their own spheres. Said Ylva Magnusson, communications manager for IKEA Food. “Our ambition is to work together to create positive change together with other organizations and companies.” The new food waste system was launched in 2015 and rolled out to stores in December of 2016. By May 2017, 20 percent of IKEA stores had it installed. As a result, there has been a reduction in nearly 80,000 pounds of food waste. IKEA is now in the process of implementing the system in all of its 400 stores, which serve 650 million customers a year. When an employee enters the type and weight of a food into the new system, they are also required to record why it was discarded. Options include overproduced, expired, spoiled or trimmings (such as the top of a tomato). The process takes seconds, but it will ultimately help the company’s restaurants become much more efficient. As a result of the recorded data, IKEA’s menu is likely to change. If a certain part of an entree is regularly documented to be untouched, IKEA will take this into account to reduce food waste . Said Peter Ho, IKEA U.S. food sales leader, “If we do see a significant amount of waste over a specific period of time–let’s say at 2:00 every day we’re wasting so many meatballs–then that says for us that we’re overproducing, and if we’re overproducing , then we can train our co-workers to minimize that waste.” For the initiative, IKEA partnered with LeanPath – the company that produces the digital scale. The company’s CEO, Andrew Shakman, said, “The moment you start measuring with technology you begin to change awareness levels and you cause people to start to think differently. Whereas in the past they could just throw something in the garbage , now they have to stop and for a moment; they have to record something about it. In that moment, you’re not just collecting data, you’re communicating your values.” Related: IKEA is now selling solar panels and home batteries in the UK “What you’re doing is really engaging your front line and enlisting them as the change makers on this hugely important global issue ,” he added. “They are uniquely positioned to resolve it.” In addition to reducing food waste in its own kitchens, the company will also encourage consumers to waste less. This is critical, as the Swedish company estimates that “plate waste” makes up about 50 percent of total food waste. At a later date, IKEA will also work with suppliers to reduce waste upstream. As Fast Company reports, both plans fit in with IKEA’s larger vision to produce more renewable energy than it uses by 2020 and to offer more vegetarian products that have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional options. + Ikea Via Fast Company Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay , IKEA

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IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

Feeling the pulse of the renewables transition

August 14, 2017 by  
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An interview with Ethan Zindler, head of Americas at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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Feeling the pulse of the renewables transition

Innovation is the key to unlocking clean energy

August 14, 2017 by  
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Harness the fact that change is constant to create jobs, bolster our economy and improve our lives.

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Innovation is the key to unlocking clean energy

Episode 88: Salesforce opts into SuperGreen; RE100 surfs change

August 11, 2017 by  
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In this week’s episode: Climate change’s $535 trillion debt; connecting health and human capital; does “An Inconvenient Sequel” live up to the hype?

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Episode 88: Salesforce opts into SuperGreen; RE100 surfs change

How far would you run to change a polluting industry?

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Graham Ross, CEO and co-founder of Kusaga Athletic, has run the world from Brisbane to the Great Wall in China in a quest to disrupt the sports apparel industry.

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How far would you run to change a polluting industry?

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