Thursday, May 30, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Solar energy sounds like a dream, but buying and installing the equipment necessary to harness the power of the Sun can be expensive.
But what if you could print your own solar panels?The researchers at Australia's Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) — a collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Melbourne, Monash University and industry partners — have managed to print photovoltaic cells the size of an A3 sheet of paper. "There are so many things we can do with cells this size. We can set them into advertising signage, powering lights and other interactive elements. We can even embed them into laptop cases to provide backup power for the machine inside," said CSIRO materials scientist, Dr. Scott Watkins.
These cells produce 10-50 watts of power per m2, and could be used to laminate the windows of skyscrapers, giving them an additional source of power. Or they could be printed onto materials such as steel, meaning they could be embedded into roofs of buildings. Photovoltaic cells — the building blocks of solar panels — have been printed before, but the printing process was different.
For their printable solar cells, the VICOSC team used photovoltaic ink, a $200,000 printer, and techniques similar to those you'd use "if you were screen printing an image on to a t-shirt." One of the most important aspects of this approach, claims Watkins, is accessibility. "We're developing our processes to be able to use these existing printing technologies so that the barrier to entry for manufacturing these new printed solar cells is as low as possible," he said. More
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
You don’t have to go too far into a document prepared by the US-based Edison Electric Institute (EEI) to realise what is at stake for centralised utilities from the threat of rooftop solar.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
As governments all over the globe continue inching towardrenewable energy sources, there continue to be a few sticking points. One company out of Minnesota claims to have a new wind power generation technology that can alleviate most of the world’s concerns. SheerWind says its Invelox system can operate in a wider variety of conditions and is up to 600% more efficient than traditional wind turbines.
Those large wind turbines you’re used to see dotting the skyline in rural areas rely on fairly swift winds to function. Invelox can generate power from winds as gentle as 1-2 MPH. It does this by capturing passing breezes in large scoops at the top of its 40-50 foot tower. The wind is funneled down toward the ground through an increasingly narrow space. When the air is compressed, it speeds up and is used to power a small turbine generator.
The claim that Invelox is six-times more efficient than a turbine is more than a little shocking, so SheerWind is trying to prove its case, but it’s currently doing so with internal testing (so keep that in mind). The company tested its turbine both with and without the Invelox cowling. When it compared the values over time, that works out to energy production improvements anywhere from 81-660%. The average was 314%, but it should be noted this is actually the advantage SheerWind’s turbine gets from being inside the Invelox system. It’s not quite a comparison with “real” wind power turbines.
Fuzzy math aside, the company says it has been able to produce wind power at a cost of $750 per kilowatt, including installation. This brings it in-line with the final cost of energy from natural gas and hydropower. The energy industry is all about value, so if the Invelox technology is legit, it’s going to be huge. Invelox takes up much less space than traditional windmills, and it poses little to no risk to birds or curious children. More
Thursday, May 2, 2013
So it seems that global carbon dioxide levels will likely reach 400 parts per million within days.
And it didn’t even make the news here. This will be a level unprecedented in human history since our atmosphere has probably not contained so much C02 since the Pliocene Epoch which precedes any people by about 2 million years.
This forecast is based on data from the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in Hawaii, a highly institution in such things.
How quickly we have changed things and how little action we are taking
Trying to get real action at a Federal level in the US seems to be about as plausible and sensible as trying to get some gun control.Seems we much prefer our own destruction.
So why are we so stupid ?
Is it the same reason that gun control just simply does not take root in the US. That vested , strong, moneyed interests have got control of the political process and we are but mere puppets to their greed?
Or have we got some fundamental evolutionary flaw that means that we simply can’t see beyond the end of this month ?
Bad news guys- Governments are not going to fix this. In the case of the US Government it seems powerless despite the rhetoric. China actually seems to be pushing into a position of leadership.
But either way it comes down to each one of us. What is it that we love more than our kids, and grandkids? Is there anything ?
Well if not….you have no choice but to act. More