Get Prepared Now is NOT Just a Slogan

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New insights into power-generating windows

Researchers have calculated how much electricity can be generated using power-generating windows, so-called luminescent solar concentrators. These are windows which have been fitted with a thin film of material that absorbs sunlight and directs it to narrow solar cells at the perimeter of the window. New research shows the relationship between the color of the material used and the maximum amount of power that can be generated. Such power-generating windows offer potential as a cheap source of solar energy.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Catching some rays: Organic solar cells make a leap forward

Organic solar cells are becoming more efficient thanks to a new set of discoveries that alter their behaviors at the electronic level.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Making 'Renewable' viable: New technology for grid-level electrical energy storage developed

Researchers have developed a new method for quickly and efficiently storing and discharging large amounts of energy. Their "electrochemical flow capacitor," which is fully scalable, could be the key to a more efficient integration of renewable resources into the energy grid.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Smart wirelessly controlled power outlets

Many homeowners dream of being able to wash a load of laundry when the photovoltaic panels on the roof are delivering a maximum of electricity, even when they are not at home. A new Internet-enabled power outlet will soon allow users to control household appliances via their smartphone, and reduce their energy costs into the bargain.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Minimally invasive building renovations with prefabricated window modules

Renovation projects to improve the energy performance of residential buildings involve a lot of messy construction work. Researchers have come up with a new modernization concept that reduces on-site installation times. Prefabricated multifunctional window modules offer a more convenient alternative to the usual renovation methods.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

New processes for cost-efficient solar cell production

The competition in the photovoltaics market is fierce. When it comes to price, Asian manufacturers are frequently ahead of the competition by a nose. Now, researchers are designing new coating processes and thin layer systems that, if used, could help to reduce the price of solar cells significantly.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No matter the drilling method, natural gas is a much-needed tool to battle global warming

No matter how you drill it, using natural gas as an energy source is a smart move in the battle against global climate change and a good transition step on the road toward low-carbon energy from wind, solar and nuclear power according to a new study.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Solar cells made from black silicon

Solar cells convert three-quarters of the energy contained in the Sun's spectrum into electricity -- yet the infrared spectrum is entirely lost in standard solar cells. In contrast, black silicon solar cells are specifically designed to absorb this part of the Sun's spectrum -- and researchers have recently succeeded in doubling their overall efficiency.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

NASA mission to study magnetic explosions passes major review

On August 31, 2012, NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission proved it was ready for its next steps by passing what's called a Systems Integration Review (SIR), which deems a mission ready to integrate instruments onto the spacecraft.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Breaking the barriers for low-cost energy storage: Battery could help transition to renewable energy sources

Scientists have developed an air-breathing battery that uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates that are exposed to the oxygen in the air -- a process similar to rusting.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Solar cell degradation research to have impact on solar panel industry

Researchers in Luxembourg have established a method to observe and prevent solar cell degradation before solar cell production is finished, which has implications for the solar cell manufacturing industry since chemical damage to solar cells can occur quickly.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Scientists find new primitive mineral in meteorite

In 1969, an exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua. More than 40 years later, the Allende meteorite is still serving the scientific community as a rich source of information about the early stages of our solar system's evolution. Recently, scientists discovered a new mineral embedded in the space rock -- one they believe to be among the oldest minerals formed in the solar system.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

A new route to dissipationless electronics

A team of researchers has demonstrated a new material that promises to eliminate loss in electrical power transmission. The surprise is that their methodology for solving this classic energy problem is based upon the first realization of a highly exotic type of magnetic semiconductor first theorized less than a decade ago - a magnetic topological insulator.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bio-inspired nanoantennas for light emission

Just as radio antennas amplify the signals of our mobile phones and televisions, the same principle can apply to light. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in producing a nanoantenna from short strands of DNA, two gold nanoparticles and a small fluorescent molecule that captures and emits light. This work could in the longer term lead to the development of more efficient light-emitting diodes, more compact solar cells or even be used in quantum cryptography.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Scientists use microbes to make 'clean' methane

Microbes that convert electricity into methane gas could become an important source of renewable energy, according to scientists. Researchers are raising colonies of microorganisms, called methanogens, which have the remarkable ability to turn electrical energy into pure methane -- the key ingredient in natural gas. The scientists' goal is to create large microbial factories that will transform clean electricity from solar, wind or nuclear power into renewable methane fuel and other valuable chemical compounds for industry.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nano-sandwich technique slims down solar cells, improves efficiency

Researchers have found a way to create much slimmer thin-film solar cells without sacrificing the cells' ability to absorb solar energy. Making the cells thinner should significantly decrease manufacturing costs for the technology.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lotus leaf inspires fog-free finish for transparent surfaces

Chinese scientists use silica nanoparticles resembling raspberries to create a water-repellent, fog-free, self-cleaning finish for glass and other transparent surfaces.

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