Newly-revealed Tesla solar roof patent shows the secrets behind the technology

May 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Tesla’s solar roof tiles stand apart from other integrated solar roofing options in part because they’re camouflaged – you can’t even tell the tiles are collecting solar power. But have you ever wondered what kind of tech it took to make that happen? A new Tesla patent released this week shows how they did it. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t easy. Tesla worked with Panasonic to create a grid of solar panels that could link together without taking forever to install. On top of that, they had to create the tiles in such a way that they appeared opaque from the street but remained transparent to the sun above – all while still being as efficient as possible. To solve this problem, they created a new kind of glass with small louvers, which make the glass look opaque when viewed from below while keeping it open to sunlight. Related: Tesla starts installing solar roofs in California The patent application says that each solar tile “includes a backsheet layer, a bottom encapsulant layer adjacent the backsheet layer, a plurality of photovoltaic cells adjacent the bottom encapsulant layer, a top encapsulant layer adjacent the plurality of photovoltaic cells having a plurality of louvers constructed therein to block side view of the plurality of photovoltaic cells, and a top layer adjacent the top encapsulant layer.” If that doesn’t clear things up for you, here’s a picture: If you want to dive into all the technicalities, you can find the full patent here . + Tesla Solar Roof Via Elektrek Images via Tesla

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Newly-revealed Tesla solar roof patent shows the secrets behind the technology

Global tourism’s carbon footprint is four times bigger than we thought

May 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For the first time, researchers have quantified the  carbon footprint of global  tourism around the world – and their findings show that tourism’s impact is roughly four times greater than previously thought. The research, led by the Integrated Sustainability Analysis supply-chain research group at the University of Sydney , accounted for all components of the tourism industry, from travel to souvenirs. The group found global tourist activity is growing faster than international trade and already accounts for one-tenth of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The impact analysis took a year and a half to finish and included approximately one billion global supply chains. “Our analysis is a world-first look at the true cost of tourism—including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs—it’s a complete life-cycle assessment of global tourism, ensuring we don’t miss any impacts,” study co-author Dr. Arunima Malik told Phys.org . Not surprisingly, the researchers identified air travel as the major contributor to the overall emissions from global tourism. Related: 7 exotic off-grid Airbnb rental homes for adventurous travelers As much of the world experiences a period of strong economic growth, there is concern that this will result in greater greenhouse gas emissions. “We found the per-capita carbon footprint increases strongly with increased affluence and does not appear to satiate as incomes grow,” lead researcher Manfred Lenzen told Phys.org . The researchers recognize that high-level actions must be taken to counteract the ever-increasing emissions trend in tourism. “Given that tourism is set to grow faster than many other economic sectors, the international community may consider its inclusion in the future in climate commitments, such as the Paris Accord , by tying international flights to specific nations,” co-author Ya-Yen Sun told Phys.org . “ Carbon taxes or carbon trading schemes—in particular for aviation—may be required to curtail unchecked future growth in tourism-related emissions.” All this, however, will most certainly result in increased costs for air travelers. + University of Sydney Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos 1, 2

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Global tourism’s carbon footprint is four times bigger than we thought

Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

May 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have created a highly efficient device that uses sunlight and black carbon-dipped paper to clean water . The paper is placed in a triangular arrangement, which enables it to vaporize and absorb water with nearly 100 percent efficiency. The simple, inexpensive technology could be deployed in regions where clean drinking water is chronically unavailable or areas that have been acutely affected by natural disasters. “Our technique is able to produce drinking water at a faster pace than is theoretically calculated under natural sunlight,” said lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan in a statement . The solar still concept, which uses sunlight to purify water, is ancient; Aristotle described a similar technique more than 2,000 years ago. The difference is the new device’s ability to achieve ultra-high efficiency. “Usually, when solar energy is used to evaporate water, some of the energy is wasted as heat is lost to the surrounding environment,” Gan explained. “This makes the process less than 100 percent efficient. Our system has a way of drawing heat in from the surrounding environment, allowing us to achieve near-perfect efficiency.” The carbon -dipped paper’s sloped orientation is key in achieving this efficiency, allowing the bottom edges to soak up water while the outer coating absorbs solar heat to be used in evaporation. Related: This moss can naturally eliminate arsenic from water The research team prioritized simplicity and accessibility in its design. “Most groups working on solar evaporation technologies are trying to develop advanced materials, such as metallic plasmonic and carbon-based nanomaterials,” Gan said. “We focused on using extremely low-cost materials and were still able to realize record-breaking performance.” Through their recently launched start-up, Sunny Clean Water, the team hopes to increase access to their device for areas in need. “When you talk to government officials or nonprofits working in disaster zones, they want to know: ‘How much water can you generate every day?’ We have a strategy to boost daily performance,” said Haomin Song, an electrical engineering PhD graduate, in a statement . “With a solar still the size of a mini fridge, we estimate that we can generate 10 to 20 liters of clean water every single day.” + University at Buffalo Via Futurity Images via Huaxiu Chen and Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

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Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

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