Monthly Archives: August 2011
Researchers at Kyushu University, led by Professor Yuji Ohya, say that they have discovered a simple way to make wind turbines much more efficient. By placing a ‘wind lens’ around the turbine blades, they claim that the power output of wind turbines could be increased up to three times.
Researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated a technique for printing solar cells onto a variety of cheap materials including untreated paper, cloth, plastic and even newsprint that has already been printed, The paper can be repeatedly folded and unfolded, or printed on, and the solar cells still work. The paper photovoltaic arrays are created through an oxidative chemical vapor deposition process at temperatures less than 120°C. Multiple layers and a paper mask are used to print the cells in a vacuum chamber. The researchers say the procedure is nearly as cheap and easy as inkjet printing. Currently, … Continue Reading
It is estimated that the copper-based power grid leaks electricity at 3% per 100 kilometres of transmission. The Nobel Prize winning nanotechnology pioneer, Richard Smalley, showed that a weave of metallic nanotubes known as "armchair quantum wire" could carry electricity over long distances with negligible loss. It would be far stronger, lighter and, potentially, cheaper than copper wires. He argued that the solution to the world’s energy needs would be a grid of these wires connecting cities to solar plants in the dessert, wind and wave power farms in remote locationa and nuclear power plants well away from populated areas. … Continue Reading
A study commissioned by the International Energy Agency has concluded that combining energy production from biomass with carbon capture and storage has the potential to reduce annual CO2 emissions by almost a third. According to Joris Koornneef from Ecofys, who conducted the study, "The combination actually removes CO2 from the atmosphere, The biomass extracts CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and the CCS takes out the CO2 released in the energy conversion process." Currently, about 31 gigatonnes of CO2 is emitted from energy-related processes each year. According to the study, using biomass to produce energy and capturing and storing the … Continue Reading
The Japanese company, TIS & Partners, has developed a construction material called CO2 Structure, which is claims hardens quickly, delivers 2.5 times the tensile strength of concrete, is made from cheap materials and sequesters carbon dioxide. High silicon content sand is put into an air tight mould that can be virtually any shape. CO2 is pumped into the mould and bonds with the silica to make a solid material, as hard as a brick, in less than a minute. However, while this material is very strong under lateral loads it crumbles under tensile pressure. The company then bathes the bricks … Continue Reading
The conventional wisdom is that it takes as much as 10 units of grain to produce one unit of meat with the equivalent nutritional value. George Monbiot has recently pointed out that we should be comparing the amount of land and water required to grow meat with the land and required to grow plant products of the same nutritional value. And that when you do that you come up with radically different results. Many of the world’s animals are fed on products which humans don’t eat and could not eat. These include residues and waste and straw and grass which … Continue Reading
Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a technique to greatly improve the efficiency of nano-scale solar panels, or "quantum dots", which can be sprayed onto almost any surface to generate solar power. To date, solar cells based on this technology have been too inefficient to be practical. Conventional solar cells are tuned to convert light of only one wavelength into electricity. Quantum dots can be tuned to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum by varying their size. The Toronto researchers have created the first two-layer solar cell made up of light-absorbing nanoparticles. By combining two different types … Continue Reading