Monthly Archives: February 2012
Researchers at Stanford University have created photovoltaic nanoshell structures inside of which light resonates, allowing the solar cells to absorb more light. The inspiration for the cell structure came from whispering galleries – specially designed round rooms that allows a whisper from a person on one end to be carried around and heard clearly by a person on the other end. The researchers made the nanoshells from tiny balls of silica coated with a layer of silicon. They hollowed out the centre with acid, creating an optical shell design that lets light in and causes it to circulate around and … Continue Reading
Scientists at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles have produced a cheap plastic capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air. The material has the potential to be used in large-scale batteries as well as "artificial trees" to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The researchers, led by the Nobel Prize winning chemist, George Olah, started with polyethylenimine, a cheap polymer that attracts carbon dioxide to its surface. They dissolved the polymer in a methanol solvent and spread it on fumed silica, a cheap, porous solid made from microscopic droplets … Continue Reading
This video from www.everythingisaremix.info/ explains it all: .
Dutch scientists from Utrecht University and the Dow Chemical Company have found a way of turning plant matter into the building blocks of common plastics using a catalyst made from iron nanoparticles, that offers an alternative to oil-based production. Existing bioplastics, which are made from crops such as corn and sugar, have only limited use because they are not exact substitutes for oil-based products. However, the Dutch team has produced ethylene and propylene which are the same as those made in petrochemical works, allowing them to be used in a wide range of industries. The downside is that, like oil-based … Continue Reading
A team of researchers from Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology and Suntech have developed what they clain to be the world’s most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic thin-film solar cells. The researchers initially improved silicon based thin film cell efficiency by embedding gold and silver nanoparticles into the cells. This increases the wavelength range of the absorbed light. The team then incorporated nucleated or ‘bumpy’ nanoparticles. These scatter light even further into a broadband wavelength range, leading to greater absorption and improved cell efficiency. The researchers claim an absolute efficiency of 8.1%, and expect to achieve 10% within the next months, using … Continue Reading
A British company,Highview Power Storage has developed what it claims is a way of storing surplus wind energy which can then be released during periods of calm. The energy storage system uses liquid air as the storage medium. Liquid air is hundreds of times more energy dense than water and can easily be stored in the same low pressure tanks as used for liquefued natural gas. When energy is needed, the liquefied air is exposed to ambient temperature, leading to rapid expansion to 700 times its volume, driving a turbine to turn the energy back into electricity. The system can … Continue Reading
U.S. scientists using satellite data have established a more accurate figure of the amount of annual sea level rise from melting glaciers and ice caps. There are more than 160,000 glaciers and ice caps worldwide but annual changes in mass have been directly measured for only 120 of them and, in most cases, only within the last 30 years. For the first time, researchers used the GRACE (for "Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment") satellite system, operated by NASA and Germany, to look at loss of ice by all glaciers and ice caps around the world. Data, collected for the years … Continue Reading
Biolite has developed a portable camp stove that uses the heat from the fire to also generate electricity for charging batteries. The company has another model under development designed to provide electricity, as well as a clean-burning cooking stove, for developing countries.
In the video below, MIT researcher Andreas Mershin describes advances in producing photovoltaic cells based on waste plant material, such as grass clippings. The work is an extension of a project begun eight years ago by Shuguang Zhang, associate director at MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering. Zhang extracted the tiny structures within plant cells that carry out photosynthesis from plants, stabilized them chemically and formed a layer on a glass substrate that could produce an electric current when exposed to light. But assembling and stabilizing the material required expensive chemicals and sophisticated lab equipment and the efficiency of the solar … Continue Reading
Parking bicycles in “corrals” at right anges to the curb is not only more efficient but can be safer for car drivers and pedestrians.