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Update: There's been quite a bit of pushback about the actual scientific merits of Dwyer's experiment. We've followed up with a roundup of the criticisms . Original: Aidan Dwyer did a much better job on his 7th grade science project than any of us. While on a wintertime hike in the Catskills, he noticed the branches of trees held a spiral pattern as they ascended.
MIT researchers have created an origami-like solar structure that is much more efficient than current flat panels. The three-dimensional solar structure could, at least in principle, absorb a lot more light and generate more power than a flat panel containing the same area footprint. The hope is that all unused light which has been reflected off one panel would be captured by other panels. Panels of this type would be most ideal in circumstances with limited space. "This was a fully 'bio-inspired' idea," said researcher Jeffrey Grossman, a theoretical physicist at MIT. "I was hiking up at Lake Tahoe in California and noticing the shapes of trees, and wondering, 'Why do they have a given shape over another?'"
One of the major drawbacks of most renewable energy sources is high cost. In order to see a huge rise in the use of renewable energy sources, prices must come down. In the world of solar there have recently been some major breakthroughs in cost advantages and efficiency increases. Scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada have come up with a way to reduce colloidal quantum dot solar cell prices by up to 80% , by swapping out costly conductive gold for cheap nickel.
Want more facts about solar energy? The best thing about it is that there are no rising and annoying importation costs of gas, oil or coal, which are by the way, increasing almost half the time. For more earthy figures and facts about solar energy, here they are:
AUSTIN, TX — Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a method to create photovoltaic panels at one-tenth the cost of existing technologies using nanoparticle "inks" to generate electricity from the sun. The group, lead by Brian Korgel in the University's chemical engineering department, predicts that the technology, which would allow solar panels to be painted on rooftops or the sides of buildings, could be market-ready in three to five years. "The sun provides a nearly unlimited energy resource," Korgel said in a statement, "but existing solar energy harvesting technologies are prohibitively expensive and cannot compete with fossil fuels." The technology has been in development for the past two years, with Korgel collaborating with professors Al Bard and Paul Barbara, both of the University of Texas's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Professor Ananth Dodabalapur of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
Researchers have designed a product that its inventors claim could easily produce between 15 and 20 times the total electricity the world uses today. Not only that, it could also be used as a desalination device and may be able to reverse the effects of global warming. Those are pretty big claims, but the researchers from the Technion - Israel Institute of Science seem confident that the "Energy Tower" could be a major solution to the world's problems. They've been working on the concept since 1983, and together have spent more than 150 man-years researching, designing, testing, and analyzing.
Helen Knight, technology reporter (Image: Adam Mørk/SunMast) The humble street light is joining the ranks of wind turbines and solar power plants in supplying renewable energy to the electricity grid.
It's about damn time, don't you think? Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced Wednesday that they have been able to confirm a new high-efficiency solar cell design that utilizes nearly the entire solar spectrum. Translation: They figured out a way to make solar panels generate electricity in the dark. CleanTechnica says ,
M ike Strizki says he's figured out how to store solar energy in a way that could provide the world with an infinite source of year-round, emissions-free power, but also says no one is listening to him. For more news and information on the rapidly evolving energy industry, please sign up for the AOL Energy newsletter . For the quickest updates, follow us on Twitter @AOLEnergy . At his house in the woods of western New Jersey, the civil engineer turned green energy evangelist uses fuel cells to convert the power generated by about 150 solar panels so that it can be stored in 11 hydrogen tanks about 100 yards from the house.
PUMPING water through micro-channels on the surface of a solar panel not only makes it more efficient but can also make seawater drinkable. Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) cells use lenses to focus large areas of solar energy onto a relatively small section of photovoltaic material, so it is not surprising that they can reach temperatures of 120 °C. These high temperatures make the cells less efficient, reducing the amount of electricity they can produce.
No, it's not a joke or a crazy awesome futuristic concept . It's real. Tata Steel Europe (formerly Corus) and Swansea University in Wales, UK are collaborating to develop a spray-on technology that would transform steel sheets into solar panels. Earth and Industry says , The technology has significant applications since it is highly efficient even in diffused sunlight. Therefore, countries at higher latitudes or those with limited solar energy resource can generate significant amounts of solar-powered electricity with going for large-scale power plants.
first image render of the exterior of 'solar serpent' all images courtesy of mans tham the project 'solar serpent' by swedish architect and urban strategist mans tham , explores how architectural design could change both the function and the narrative of motopia's most symbolic structures. urban oil wells have made the link between energy and daily life unusually apparent in los angeles. but oil is not the only apparent energy source in these places. there is also an abundance of sun. render of interior of 'solar serpent'
Image: Enviromission 2625 Feet Tall! Solar towers, which are kind of big funnels that generate electricity by using the fact that hot air rises, are too often forgotten when we discuss solar energy. Solar PV and CSP get all the press, but solar towers have attractive power-generating characteristics and I wish more companies were working on perfecting them. EnviroMission is an Australian company working on that very thing, and they've announced that they want to build a gigantic 2625 feet/800 meters solar tower in the Arizona desert that would produce about 200 MW, enough to power 150,000 US homes.
Photo by Burb.tv Designer Neville Mars has designed a charging station that keeps your car both cool and charged. Called the Solar Forest , the panels actually follow the sun throughout the day for maximum efficiency. And that canopy provides some much needed shade for the cars below, hopefully while keeping the overlap to a minimum.The tree trunks are like a giant power strips for electric vehicles. Cars can just plug in and cool off.
As the U.S. government continues to heap billions in subsidies to the world's wealthiest coal and oil companies, the solar industry has been struggling to make it in the United States. This is sad for many reasons, not the least of which is that we're missing out on one of the biggest growth industries in the world. Currently there are 16 gigawatts of installed solar power globally. That number will grow to about 1,800 gigawatts in the next 20 years, making it one of the best job creators.