31 January 2011

No Comment Necessary

30 January 2011


His method is much cheaper and environmentally friendly than producing ethanol from corn. Daniell's technique involves using plant-derived enzymes to break down orange peels and other waste materials into sugar, which is then fermented into ethanol.

Producing fuel from waste has not only garnered more attention from the media of late, but it is also receiving much more attention from researchers and scientists, as well as politicians and financiers. Daniell and his team have had their research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One of the greatest features of using waste for fuel is that it is an abundant resource that will never be in competition with food resources. According to Daniell discarded orange peels could produce up to 200 million gallons of ethanol annually in Florida alone.

Although Daniell's research and technology requires much more testing before it goes commercial, the professor says, "this could be a turning point where vehicles could use this fuel as the norm for protecting our air and environment for future generations."

29 January 2011

India to produce 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022

The Government of India has set an ambitious target of 20,000 Megawatts of solar power by 2022.

This was revealed by Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, while delivering the keynote address at an International Workshop on The Private Sector and Climate Change: Opportunities and Challenges in the Emerging Economies.

According to the government's solar mission plan, 20 million rural households will be provided solar lighting. It would also produce 20 million square metres of solar thermal area.

"This is an ambitious project. Perhaps, the biggest target in the world", Gupta told the workshop organised by Observer Research Foundation in association with US National Science Foundation, University of California and the University of Maryland.

He said 800 MW target has already been allocated in the current year.

He said the first phase will have a target of 1100 MW and the plants will be allocated through competitive bidding procedure which has already brought down the tariff by an "astonishing 30 per cent".

Gupta said research in the area is going on quite successfully and the feeling is that India can be the low cost solar thermal supplier of the world.

Gupta said under the Rural Village Electrification Scheme, 7000 villages have been provided solar lighting. "The government is planning to provide solar lighting to 10,000 villages more in the next 10 years," he said.

Gupta said the government has plans to plans to produce power from rice husk as well and the pilot projects are going on quite successfully. "If we can produce 1000 MW of power from rice husk, it can save 400 million litres of diesel. I am sure we can reduce use of billion litres of diesel annually," he added.

Stressing on the importance of construction of green buildings, Gupta said the government has decided to go for 3 or 4 star rated buildings in future.

Gupta said while in 2002, the share of renewable energy in total energy production was mere 2.5 per cent, it has risen to 26 percent by the third year of the 11th Five Year Plan. "While the current electrical mix is 4.5 percent, we are trying to make it at least 6 percent by 2022 while our vision is 10 percent. This percentage is much more than in either US or China," he said.

Gupta said the government is promoting a new concept as far as grid power is concerned-that is 500 KW to 3 MW systems which will feed into the distribution grid, reducing transmission losses by 6-7 percent and increasing voltage and frequency performance. "This is an important area for India," he said.

He said the ministry has already approved a special scheme of 100 Mw for 1 or 2 MW solar power plants. "We hope that all this will be commissioned this calendar year itself," he said.

The government is also launching a new policy initiative of small biomass plants of 1 to 2 MW. Another big area is dedicated energy plantations with 1 to 2 MW plants at the tailend.

"We have set a target of 10,000 MW in the next 10 years," he said, adding 2-3 plants have already been commissioned. Besides providing power, this will also promote forests, he said.

Surendra Singh, former Union Cabinet Secretary and now Advisor to ORF, said despite 60 years of development since Independence, 37 percent of Indians have no access to electricity. He said India needs to take a balanced stance while pursuing faster growth which is required to alleviate poverty.

The workshop had in-depth sessions on "energy, growth and climate change", "energy technologies, renewable energy in India, models of technology transfer in emerging countries, solar power", "carbon finance" and "carbon markets in emerging economies". (ANI)

28 January 2011

IBM’s solar cell created from “earth abundant” materials

Researchers at IBM created an inexpensive solar cell from materials that are dirt cheap and easily available. The layer that absorbs sunlight and converts it into electricity is made with copper, tin, zinc, sulfur and selenium. The best part of the solar cell is that it still manages to hit an efficiency of 9.6 percent, which is much higher than earlier attempts to make solar panels using similar materials.

MIT’s Concentrated Solar Funnel

A group of researchers at MIT devised a way to collect solar energy 100 times more concentrated than a traditional photovoltaic cell. The system could drastically alter how solar energy is collected in the near future as there will no longer be a need to build massive solar arrays to generate large amounts of power. The research work conducted has determined that carbon nanotubes will be the primary instrument used in capturing and focusing light energy, allowing for not just smaller, but more powerful solar arrays.

27 January 2011

Wake Forest University’s Light Pipes

Researchers at the Wake Forest University in North Carolina made a breakthrough by developing organic solar cells with a layer of optical fiber bristles that doubles the performance of the cells in tests. The prototype solar cell has been developed by David Carroll, who is the chief scientist at a spin-off company called FiberCell. The problem with standard flat panels is that some sunlight is lost through reflection. To reduce this effect, the research team took a dramatic approach by stamping optical fibers onto a polymer substrate that forms the foundation of the cell. These fibers, dubbed the “Light Pipes,” are surrounded by thin organic solar cells applied using a dip-coating process, and a light absorbing dye or polymer is also sprayed onto the surface. Light can enter the tip of a fiber at any angle. Photons then bounce around inside the fiber until they are absorbed by the surrounding organic cell.

26 January 2011

Louisiana Tech University’s CNF-PZT Cantilever

Created by a research team at Louisiana Tech University, the CNF-PZT Cantilever is a breakthrough energy harvesting device, which utilizes waste heat energy from electronic gadgets to power them. The device features the use of a carbon nanotube on a cantilever base of piezoelectric materials. The carbon nanotube film absorbs heat and forces the piezoelectric cantilever to bend, which then generates an electric current in the material. The device is so small that thousands of small CNF-PZT Cantilever devices can be designed into devices, allowing them to harvest their own wasted energy.

25 January 2011

New Energy Technologies’ see-through glass SolarWindow

New Energy Technologies developed a working prototype of the world’s first glass window capable of generating electricity. Until now, solar panels have remained opaque, with the prospect of creating a see-through glass window capable of generating electricity limited by the use of metals and other expensive processes, which block visibility and prevent light from passing through glass surfaces. The technology has been made possible by making use of the world’s smallest working organic solar cells, developed by Dr. Xiaomei Jiang at the University of South Florida. Unlike conventional solar systems, New Energy’s solar cells generate electricity from both natural and artificial light sources, outperforming today’s commercial solar and thin-film technologies by as much as 10-fold.

24 January 2011

Purdue University’s system to harvest heat from car’s exhaust

Researchers at Purdue University created a system that harvests heat from a car’s exhaust in order to generate electricity and reduce the vehicle’s fuel consumption. The system converts waste heat into electricity, which is then fed into the vehicle’s onboard batteries to reduce engine load and fuel consumption.

23 January 2011

Innowattech’s Piezoelectric IPEG PAD

Innowattech recently created piezoelectric generators that can be used as normal rail pads, but generate renewable energy whenever trains pass on them. The company tested the technology by replacing 32 railway pads with new IPEG PADs, where the pads were able to generate enough renewable electricity to determine the number of wheels, weight of each wheel and the wheel’s position. In addition the speed of the train and wheel diameter could also be calculated. The company states that areas of railway track that get between 10 and 20 ten-car trains an hour can be used to produce up to 120KWh of renewable electricity per hour, which can be used by the railways or transferred to the grid.

22 January 2011

CSIRO’s Brayton Cycle Project

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, developed a technology that requires only sunlight and air to generate electricity. The system is ideal for areas that face acute water shortages. The solar Brayton Cycle project replaces use of concentrated sun rays to heat water into high-pressure steam to drive a turbine with solar energy to create a solar thermal field. The technology focuses the sun’s rays projected onto a field of mirrors knows as heliostats onto a 30-meter (98 ft) high solar tower to heat compressed air, which subsequently expands to through a 200kW turbine to generate electricity.

21 January 2011

A LED Lamp for the Two Billion with No Electricity

A number of companies are thinking about how to provide lighting to the two billion people on the planet who still have no electricity to read at night or do homework. Solar power and LED could be the answer.

In the third world, people rely on kerosene lamps and heavy fuel for lighting at night, but it damages the health of people breathing it, and is increasingly expensive, and is a greenhouse gas problem.Here’s one that can be hung up at night to provide light, and can be left out during the day to soak up the sun’s rays on its four solar panels.

The Nokero (from “no kerosene”) light has four small solar panels and is about the size of a light bulb, and provides four hours of light after dark. It has a circuit to prevent it from turning on in the daytime. It’s durable and rain can’t damage it.
It sells for about $15 for one, $10 for 48 or more, and they hope to get it down to $6 once they can make thousands at a time for NGOs and other non-profits to distribute throughout the third world.

20 January 2011

19 January 2011

Tea Party Activists Used As Polluter Props

Reposted from The Green Miles

She isn't a global warming denier. She understands that clean energy & energy efficiency can make America more energy independent.

But as the Washington Post reports, a Tea Party activist was used as a prop at recent climate treaty negotiations by a front group funded by big polluters:
The caravan stopped along a dusty shoulder, opposite a large convention center housing exhibits related to the conference. Bell and her fellow activists got out, stood along the side of the road and posed for pictures. They had all been given Americans for Prosperity T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Bureaucrats Gone Wild." They held a giant novelty check made out for $100 billion, mocking a proposal to give that much money to developing nations to combat climate change.

In front of them stood Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, waiting for his cue to begin speaking into a video camera.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants to give $100 billion of American taxpayer money to developing nations through the United Nations," he began. "We think that with a $1.3 trillion deficit, we don't need to be doing something like that, especially for a bogus ideology that Al Gore is pushing."

And cut. Everyone back into the vans.
It's no surprise that Koch Industries continues to fund front groups that fight regulations designed to protect our public health & natural resources. But why do Tea Party activists who should know better keep going along for the ride, in this case literally?

18 January 2011

This is Great!

17 January 2011

School Textbook Is A Travesty

The state of Virginia has been an important part of American history since before the United States was even conceived of as a country, and it has been the home of some of our biggest American heroes -- like Founding Fathers George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. With this kind of rich historical heritage, one would think the state's school system would take teaching history very seriously. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Ted McLaughlin @ jobsanger posted back in October about a grievous error in the state's new history book. Here is his follow up. The book said, "Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson." The book's inference was that the Civil War couldn't have been fought over slavery since thousands of blacks fought for the South. The problem with the claim (and the inference) is that it simply is not true.

After receiving a firestorm of criticism about the fraudulent claim in the school history book, the state had a panel of historians examine the book for accuracy. What they found is troubling. The historians said they found an "appalling" number of factual mistakes in the book (not to mention a large number of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors). They said over 140 errors needed to be corrected in the book. Here are a few of the worst errors:

• The War of Independence began in 1775, not 1776.
• George Washington did not preside over a Continental Congress in 1785, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
• Eleven states joined the Confederacy, not 12.
• There wasn't a Battle of Richmond in the Civil War.
• The number of casualties in the two battles at Bull Run was more like 30,000 - not 6,000.
• America joined World War I in 1917, not 1916.

Many of the state's school districts have already spent millions of dollars to buy the book and are now trying to figure out what to do. Some districts are saying they may use the textbook and depend on teachers to correct the errors for students (with a supplemental guide pointing out the mistakes).

I know we are in the middle of a recession and school money is precious, but how can they condone using such a book? Perhaps they should go back to the old books they were using before purchasing these ridiculous textbooks -- at least until they can afford a copy without so many mistakes (and the publisher claims they have no obligation to replace the books without further pay).

I have to wonder how this book slipped through the review process. Surely they have someone checking the books they buy. Obviously the process of reviewing textbooks needs to be fixed. And maybe the publisher should be sued for producing such a shoddy product.

16 January 2011

Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy It Consumes

Although net-zero projects have been creating a lot of buzz lately in the field of green building, the Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy -- but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!

The project started out as a vision for an entire community — the medium-density project balances size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. In all, 52 homes make up a neighborhood anchored to Sonnenschiff, a mixed-use residential and commercial building that emphasizes livability with a minimal footprint. Advanced technologies like phase-change materials and vacuum insulation significantly boost the thermal performance of the building’s wall system.

The homes are designed to the Passivhaus standard and have great access to passive solar heating and daylight. Each home features a very simple shed roof with deep overhangs that allows winter sun in while shading the building from the summer sun. The penthouses on top of the Sonnenschiff have access to rooftop gardens that make full use of the site’s solar resources. The rooftops feature rainwater recycling systems that irrigate the gardens and while supplying the toilets with greywater. The buildings also make use of wood chip boilers for heat in the winter, further decreasing their environmental footprint.

The project’s simple envelope design is brightened by a colorful and dynamic façade. Gardens and paths cross through the development as well, linking the inhabitants. Offices and stores expand the livability of the community while contributing a sense of communal purpose.

15 January 2011

No Comment Necessary

14 January 2011

Wall Street Shines While Americans Hurt

An excellent commentary by Ted McLaughlin @ Jobsanger

While many millions of Americans are out of a job, foreclosure of homes is at record levels, and 14% of the total population has to get food stamps to feed their families, the rich in this country are doing great. We've already heard about record-breaking profits for many American corporations and larger than ever bonuses for management of the Wall Street financial giants. Now the Wall Street stock market is announcing they are up double-digits for the year.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average finished the year with a gain of 11%. The S&P 500 did even better, finishing the year up by 13%. And the NASDAQ topped that with a 17% gain for the year. And the financial pundits expect the stock markets to do just as well in 2011.

If there was any doubt remaining, this should convince us that the stack markets are not indicators of how well the United States economy is doing -- but only how the richest Americans are doing. Instead of an indicator of long-term growth where investment is sunk into expansion and the creation of new jobs, as it used to be, the stock markets have just become the preferred gambling casino for the rich -- where rich investors and corporations think only of short-term profits from driving stock prices up (whether deserved or not). Little to no real investment in company and job growth is done anymore.

But this is what happens in a country ruled by corporate interests. The rich get richer and everyone else is left out. They tell us that some of that money will trickle down to everyone else, but it never does. The only thing trickling down right now is a few minimum-wage jobs to help the rich get even richer (and that's only the few jobs that can't be outsourced).

We might as well get used to it because this is the new economic reality. And the American voters are too stupid to do anything about it. After all, it would be "socialistic" to make the rich and the corporations pay their fair share or give back to this country by creating good jobs here.

13 January 2011

If you thought that manure was just for spreading on fields or in the garden, or just to provide an interesting smell during a drive through the country, it’s time to learn a thing or two. For years progressive farmers have been harnessing a byproduct of their animals’ manure, methane, and turning it into electricity. Some farms with several hundred cows have even been known to power small communities. But what about our, ahem, byproducts, our own human manure? It is little different from that of a cow’s, save for perhaps a little less hay, and will produce methane in the right conditions, ripe for harvesting to be burned and used to generate power through natural gas plants. Several small projects already exist in the US, but the city of San Antonio, Texas, is the first to take on a project of commercial scale to do just that.

The process is quite simple, and we’re surprised that existing sewage treatment plants have not already adopted the practice as it would not only save them money, but also create an additional revenue stream, but it has now begun, and the city is planning on using the 140,000 tons of human waste to produce fuel to send to the open market. They estimate that this amount of waste will yield a massive 1.5 million cubic feet of natural gas (processed methane) daily. That’s a lot of gas, and one that will be an arguably close to carbon neutral, when burned in a natural gas power plant. Either way the combustion of the methane is a great thing for the environment. Instead of just letting the gas escape as it might do if unharnessed, it wil be used to provide electricity, offsetting the fossil-based natural gas that would otherwise take its place. Also, since methane is a much more dangerous emission than CO2 when it comes to retaining heat in the atmosphere, there’s another plus for cooling down the planet.

The city also expects to recycle about 90% of the material that goes down the drain in its bathrooms, the liquids being used for irrigation and solids into compost.

12 January 2011

Geothermal energy bubbling its way to the surface in Paris

Less than 5 miles from the Eiffel tower, a 120 foot cylinder rises into the air, not unlike the Egyptian obelisk a little further down the street. This is not a new art installation or a simple flag pole, however, but rather a modified piece of machinery more familiar with the drilling of oil, rather than the task at hand. The equipment is being used, in fact, for the purpose of harnessing the geothermal energy under the streets of Paris, a innovative undertaking considering it’s happening right in the middle of a major metropolitan city.

We’re no strangers to geothermal projects, however this one is a bit unique in that unlike most geothermal stations which utilize the subterranean heat to product electricity, this one will be used to frankly just recirculate hot water. While that might not sound terribly high-tech or sexy, looking at the details makes it a lot more appealing.

The hot water well they are drilling will dive down 1.7km, just over a mile, into the earth, where things are at a constantly balmy 57ºC. They will pump the water up from the depths which will heat a water reservoir at the surface, and then return it to the bottom to be heated once again. The surface reservoir will in turn pump hot water to nearby apartment buildings, most of which are heated with radiators. They plan to heat an impressive 12,000 apartments with this single well, including those of some buildings which will be completed in 2011.

11 January 2011

Egypt in Top 22 Nations for Renewable Investment Potential

Despite Israel’s innovative green tech sector, and Abu Dhabi’s green building commitment at Masdar, the highest-ranking nation in the Middle East for renewable investment potential turns out to be Egypt, according to new rankings from Ernst & Young.

Egypt beat out the other MENA countries in renewable investment attractiveness, to claim the number 22 spot, right above Mexico. Its good renewable energy policy is the reason for the high ranking, along with having started it early: in the 1980s.

Egypt set up the New & Renewable Energy Authority in 1986, accompanied it with the establishment of testing & certification laboratories and personnel training, and has set a series of renewable energy milestones. To date, it is on course to meet its cumulative targets, although not without some upsets along the way.

Egypt requires 20% of renewable energy on the grid by 2020, and it has excellent resources for both solar and wind power generation.

Its solar insolation is better than that of Spain and Greece, with 9 to 11 sunshine hours daily on mostly clear days, but till now, solar energy has been mainly used for water heating, industrial process heat applications and agricultural drying. But it is steadily adding 100 MW solar and wind projects.

Of the 20% renewable energy Egypt expects to get on the grid by 2020, 12% is to come from wind. By 2020 it is expected that wind will contribute 7,200 MW, with 550 MW to be added per year to reach that goal.

A 140MW wind farm has already been installed in El Zaafarana1 and El Zaafarana2, and Germany is working with Egypt to develop new wind farms. The Suez region, where winds average 7-10 m/s is the region under consideration, and because Egypt also needs to receive revenue from tourism in the Suez region, the wind farms are to be placed off-shore.

To fund its ambitious goals, Egypt has been one of the first countries worldwide to tap into the $5.2bn Clean Technology Fund that is managed by the World Bank.

Congratulations to Egypt!

10 January 2011

Wind Turbine Elec. Tower

I’m sure many environmentalists have passed power line towers while cruising in vehicles and wondered aloud, “Why can’t we just throw some wind turbines up there?” In fact, earlier last year, Ericsson unveiled the first-ever cell phone tower with a vertical-axis wind turbine integrated. If we can do it in cell phone towers, why not transmission towers?

09 January 2011

And the Republican pandering to the rich shows they'd like to add a whole bunch of new pages to that book. From the site of Pundit Kitchen.

08 January 2011

Reposted from Jobsanger

While the super-rich celebrate their massive tax cuts and enormous bonuses in this holiday season, many other Americans are still in the throes of the continuing recession. They are jobless and having trouble just putting food on the table for their families. The Department of Agriculture recently announced that nearly 43 million Americans are currently receiving food stamps -- about 14% of the total population in this country (and the number is rising each month).

And you can be sure that is only a part of the families that are having difficulty these days. There are others whose pride will not let them ask for help -- at least not yet. This new recession-born economic reality is altering the gift-giving habits of many Americans. Instead of some kind of entertaining or luxury gift (or some ugly reindeer sweater), a lot of Americans are giving their family members or friends a gift born of necessity this year -- groceries. Read this excerpt from the Los Angeles Times:

"With the nation's unemployment rate still high and the economy sluggish, a growing number of people are giving food this holiday season. But it's not fruitcake, eggnog or Christmas cookies. Instead, the quiet voice of frugality is prompting consumers to wrap up baskets of kitchen staples, boxes of meat and grocery store gift cards to help loved ones stock dwindling pantries."

It seems that for many the grocery store has become the place to shop for gifts for loved ones. It could be a gift basket of staples or a grocery store gift cards. In fact, industry analysts say grocery stores will rank fourth in gift cards this year (behind only discount, department and drug stores). With the unemployment situation not expected to get better anytime soon, maybe for years, they could keep moving up that list in coming years.

Is it any wonder that many Americans are very angry with both political parties? Instead of concentrating on creating jobs to help ordinary Americans, the politicians would rather waste time arguing over how much money they will give away to the rich and how they can help corporations to continue to export good American jobs. And now they want to cut the few programs that actually help people, like Social Security.

It looks like the politicians have forgotten why they were elected.

07 January 2011

Radical Thoughts from James Madison

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."

"America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts."

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

"Commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive, and impolitic."

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government."

"Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations."

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

"I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital punishment."

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

"In no instance have... the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."

"In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority."

"It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."

"Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect."

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."

"The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy."

"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

06 January 2011

New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'

A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun's energy into fuel.

By Neil Bowdler
Science reporter, BBC News

The machine uses the Sun's rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported.

Conventional photovoltaic panels must use the electricity they generate in situ, and cannot deliver power at night.

Details are published in the journal Science.

The prototype, which was devised by researchers in the US and Switzerland, uses a quartz window and cavity to concentrate sunlight into a cylinder lined with cerium oxide, also known as ceria.

Ceria has a natural propensity to exhale oxygen as it heats up and inhale it as it cools down.

If as in the prototype, carbon dioxide and/or water are pumped into the vessel, the ceria will rapidly strip the oxygen from them as it cools, creating hydrogen and/or carbon monoxide.

Hydrogen produced could be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells in cars, for example, while a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be used to create "syngas" for fuel.

It is this harnessing of ceria's properties in the solar reactor which represents the major breakthrough, say the inventors of the device. They also say the metal is readily available, being the most abundant of the "rare-earth" metals.

Methane can be produced using the same machine, they say.

Refinements needed
The prototype is grossly inefficient, the fuel created harnessing only between 0.7% and 0.8% of the solar energy taken into the vessel.

Most of the energy is lost through heat loss through the reactor's wall or through the re-radiation of sunlight back through the device's aperture.

But the researchers are confident that efficiency rates of up to 19% can be achieved through better insulation and smaller apertures. Such efficiency rates, they say, could make for a viable commercial device.

"The chemistry of the material is really well suited to this process," says Professor Sossina Haile of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). "This is the first demonstration of doing the full shebang, running it under (light) photons in a reactor."

She says the reactor could be used to create transportation fuels or be adopted in large-scale energy plants, where solar-sourced power could be available throughout the day and night.

However, she admits the fate of this and other devices in development is tied to whether states adopt a low-carbon policy.

"It's very much tied to policy. If we had a carbon policy, something like this would move forward a lot more quickly," she told the BBC.

It has been suggested that the device mimics plants, which also use carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to create energy as part of the process of photosynthesis. But Professor Haile thinks the analogy is over-simplistic.

"Yes, the reactor takes in sunlight, we take in carbon dioxide and water and we produce a chemical compound, so in the most generic sense there are these similarities, but I think that's pretty much where the analogy ends."

05 January 2011

Keeping tabs on dangerous terrorist

From: NSA HQ, Ft. Meade
To: All operatives
Re: New terrorist threat to monitor

It has come to our attention that there is a new terrorist leader at large. This terrorist leader calls for opposition to war, redistributing wealth, and tolerance of deviancy. His birthday is celebrated today, so expect terrorist babble on all channels. Please keep an eye out for any indication of terrorist attacks.

This terrorist: "Jesus H. Christ" -- is to be considered armed and dangerous. Please do not confuse him with his distant relative, "Jesus $ Christ", who is a patriotic American who supports our nation's military and believes that being rich is a sign of godliness.

There are rumors that Jesus H. Christ has been executed by a foreign government. Currently we consider those rumors spurious, given that terrorist organizations are still sharing missives authored by this terror leader.

04 January 2011

03 January 2011

How many times do I have to say it, we just don't get how far behind we are!!

Developed through a partnership of the China North Vehicle Yongji Electric Motor Corporation and the Southwest Jiaotong University, the new energy fuel cell light-rail train combines hydrogen fuel cells and an advanced permanent-magnet synchronous motor/frequency converter to achieve top speeds approaching 220 miles an hour.

According to CNN, the completion of China's $300 billion high-speed train system will make the world's largest, fastest, and most technologically sophisticated.

The permanent-magnet synchronous motor offers the high speed rail system immense power, high efficiency, remarkable energy conservation, low vibration and minimal noise, as well as enabling passengers to travel between Beijing and Shanghai in four hours instead of 10.

The People's Daily Online reports:

It can achieve a level of performance that traditional motors cannot achieve and also can be developed into a special motor and highly-efficient energy-conservation motor to meet specific operational requirements. It can conserve 10 percent to 20 percent of integrated energy on average and has been successfully applied in many fields. It will also aid China's motor industry to adjust its industrial structure toward a new developmental direction.

Just another notch in China's belt as they pursue a position of dominance in the renewable energy industry.

02 January 2011

We Just Don't Get It,.... STILL!

"We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy--sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
— Thomas A. Edison

01 January 2011

See through solar panel

Test Results Show New Energy’s See-Thru SolarWindow™ Cells Surpass Thin-Film and Solar in Artificial Light

Company’s ultra-small solar cells for use in its transparent SolarWindow™ capable of generating electricity, outperform today’s commercial solar and thin-film technologies by as much as 10-fold in generating electricity from artificial light.

Burtonsville, MD - June 24 2009 - New Energy Technologies, Inc. (Symbol: NENE), a next-generation alternative and renewable energy developer, today announced that new tests of the Company’s ultra-small solar cells for use in its transparent SolarWindow™ have demonstrated substantially superior performance over current thin-film and solar photovoltaic technologies at generating electricity from artificial light - an important advantage over conventional solar technologies which are limited by their capacity to function well where exposure to direct sunlight is available. “One of the biggest issues with today’s solar products is their dependency on direct sunlight, which our cells have demonstrated the potential capacity to overcome,” explained Mr. Meetesh V. Patel, Esq., President and CEO of New Energy Technologies, Inc.

“We’re now actively working to coat these cells onto transparent glass in order to fabricate our SolarWindows™, which generate electricity and have the potential to be installed virtually anywhere that either direct sunlight or artificial lighting such as fluorescent systems emit visible light. In contrast, today’s building-integrated solar and photovoltaic products are limited to installation on south-facing surfaces, as is the case with currently-available solar materials tested in these newest experiments”.

In a series of new experiments, researchers repeatedly tested New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells on a 1”x1” substrate against today’s popular solar materials for their capacity to produce electricity under varying artificial light conditions, mimicking the levels of light exposure in homes and commercial offices. In every case, New Energy’s solar cells, the smallest reported organic solar cells of their kind in the world, exponentially outperformed all of the conventional materials tested.

Under normal office lighting conditions, without the benefit of outside natural light from windows, New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells produced:

Almost 2-fold greater output power density than monocrystalline silicon, an established commercial solar cell material;
More than 8-fold greater output power density than copper-indium-selenide, known for its high optical absorption coefficients and versatile optical and electrical characteristics; and
More than 10-fold greater output power density than flexible thin-film amorphous-silicon, a popular ‘second-generation’ solar thin-film material.
New Energy's solar cells generate electricity not only from the visible radiation found in sunlight but also by using the visible light found in artificial illumination, such as the fluorescent lighting typically installed in offices and commercial buildings. While the majority of today's solar cells can only be installed where direct sunlight is available, New Energy's cells could be installed close to any source of visible light.

Researchers Apply Coating to Commercial Glass, Demonstrating Transparency of New Energy's SolarWindow™ Capable of Generating Electricity, Currently Under Development.

Source: New Energy Technologies, Inc. New Energy’s SolarWindow™ technology makes use of an organic solar array, which has the same desirable electrical properties as silicon, yet has a considerably better capacity to ‘optically absorb’ photons from light to generate electricity and achieves transparency through the innovative use of conducting polymers. Each solar array is composed of a series of twenty ultra-small solar cells measuring less than ¼ the size of a grain of rice each. The organic solar cells are fabricated using environmentally-friendly hydrogen-carbon based materials, and successfully produce electricity, as demonstrated in a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Renewable and sustainable Energy of the American Institute of Physics.

(Click here to view the study.)

The superior optical absorption properties of New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells enables development of an ultra-thin film (only 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair, or 1/10th of a micrometer) that can be utilized to produce a transparent solar window. In photovoltaic applications such as see-thru windows, where transparency is a primary concern, today’s thin film solar cells simply cannot be utilized to produce a transparent solar window for application in homes, offices, and commercial buildings.