Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category: Page 519

Apr 28, 2016

At last: Non-toxic and cheap thin-film solar cells for ‘zero-energy’ buildings

Posted by in categories: engineering, entertainment, solar power, sustainability

‘Zero-energy’ buildings — which generate as much power as they consume — are now much closer after a team at Australia’s University of New South Wales achieved the world’s highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make.

Until now, the promise of ‘zero-energy’ buildings been held back by two hurdles: the cost of the thin-film solar cells (used in façades, roofs and windows), and the fact they’re made from scarce, and highly toxic, materials.

That’s about to change: the UNSW team, led by Dr Xiaojing Hao of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, have achieved the world’s highest efficiency rating for a full-sized thin-film solar cell using a competing thin-film technology, known as CZTS.

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Apr 27, 2016

Biology May Hold Key to Better Computer Memory

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, engineering, nuclear energy, sustainability

Of course bio technology holds the key for better memory.

Newswise — A group of Boise State researchers, led by associate professor of materials science and engineering and associate dean of the College of Innovation and Design Will Hughes, is working toward a better way to store digital information using nucleic acid memory (NAM).

It’s no secret that as a society we generate vast amounts of data each year. So much so that the 30 billion watts of electricity used annually by server farms today is roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.

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Apr 26, 2016

Chinese Billionaire Taking on Tesla With Cars He Hopes One Day Will Be Free

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Tomorrow’s cars will be all-electric, self-driving, connected to high-speed communications networks … and free.

And probably Chinese.

That, at least, is the vision of Jia Yueting, a billionaire entrepreneur and one of a new breed of Chinese who see their technology expertise re-engineering the automobile industry, and usurping Tesla Motors, a U.S. pioneer in premium electric vehicle (EV) making.

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Apr 26, 2016

Photosynthesis Phone Charger

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

Turn your house plants into living solar panels!

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Apr 26, 2016

Micro-sized, Liquid-metal Particles for Heat-free Soldering Developed

Posted by in categories: electronics, engineering, particle physics, sustainability

His lab is dedicated to an idea called frugal innovation: “How do you do very high-level science or engineering with very little?” said Thuo, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Iowa State University and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. “How can you solve a problem with the least amount of resources?”

That goal has Thuo and his research group using their materials expertise to study soft matter, single-molecule electronics and renewable energy production. A guiding principle is that, whenever possible, nature should do part of the work.

“Nature has a beautiful way of working for us,” he said. “Self-assembly and ambient oxidation are great tools in our designs.”

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Apr 25, 2016

Flipping a chemical switch helps perovskite solar cells beat the heat

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Thin films of crystalline materials called perovskites provide a promising new way of making inexpensive and efficient solar cells. Now, an international team of researchers has shown a way of flipping a chemical switch that converts one type of perovskite into another—a type that has better thermal stability and is a better light absorber.

The study, by researchers from Brown University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could be one more step toward bringing to the mass market.

“We’ve demonstrated a new procedure for making solar cells that can be more stable at moderate temperatures than the perovskite solar cells that most people are making currently,” said Nitin Padture, professor in Brown’s School of Engineering, director of Brown’s Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation, and the senior co-author of the new paper. “The technique is simple and has the potential to be scaled up, which overcomes a real bottleneck in perovskite research at the moment.”

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Apr 24, 2016

Solar cell mystery solved, expected to greatly increase efficiency

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability

(—For the past 17 years, spiro-OMeTAD, has been keeping a secret. Despite intense research efforts, its performance as the most commonly used hole-transporting material in perovskite and dye-sensitized solar cells has remained stagnant, creating a major bottleneck for improving solar cell efficiency. Thinking that the material has given all it has to offer, many researchers have begun investigating alternative materials to replace spiro-OMeTAD in future solar cells.

But in a new study published in Science Advances, Dong Shi et al. have taken a closer look at spiro-OMeTAD and found that it still has a great deal of untapped potential. For the first time, they have grown single crystals of the pure material, and in doing so, they have made the surprising discovery that spiro-OMeTAD’s single-crystal structure has a hole mobility that is three orders of magnitude greater than that of its thin-film form (which is currently used in solar cells).

“This paper reports a major breakthrough for the fields of perovskite and solid-state by finally clarifying the potential performance of the material and showing that improving the crystallinity of the hole transport layer is the key strategy for further breakthroughs in device engineering of these solar cells,” Osman Bakr, a professor of engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and leader of the study, told

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Apr 24, 2016

Elon Musk says Tesla is working on a secret new vehicle that could replace public transport

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

While speaking at a transport conference in Norway this week, Elon Musk articulated that Tesla’s plan to revolutionize the transportation industry is much broader and more ambitious than initially assumed. In other words, if you thought Tesla’s master plan to usher in an EV revolution was going to end once the Model 3 hit mass production, think again.

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Far from it, Tesla is just getting started. Not only have we heard reports that Tesla is eyeing a crossover vehicle based on the Model 3, Musk has also suggested that a Tesla pickup truck might also be a possibility later on down the line.

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Apr 21, 2016

San Francisco adopts law requiring solar panels on all new buildings

Posted by in categories: business, law, solar power, sustainability

Tech capital is first major US city to require all new buildings of 10 storeys or under to have solar panels, reports BusinessGreen.

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Apr 21, 2016

Plastic Eating Mushrooms!

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

These mushrooms EAT PLASTIC! Could this be a solution to our plastic problem?

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