Blog

Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Feb 26, 2017

MIT spinout Sistine Solar can print any image on photovoltaic cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Nice.


MIT researchers have done even better. MIT has spunout a company called Sistine Solar that has developed a technology to print any kind of image on a skin that can be applied on solar panels, which change the appearance of the photovoltaic cells from all angles, without compromising on their capacity to generate electricity. Founded by the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Sistine Solar hopes to increase the adoption of clean energy with solar panels that mimic the surroundings or environment.

Continue reading “MIT spinout Sistine Solar can print any image on photovoltaic cells” »

Feb 26, 2017

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.

The researchers developed technology to embed the nanoparticles into what they call efficient (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.

The research is published today in Nature Photonics.

Continue reading “Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality” »

Feb 26, 2017

Tesla Model X P100D is the stuff of dreams

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The falcon-wing doors sealed shut and the boy studied the moonroof above his seat. His eyes trailed forward to the panoramic front windshield. The 17-inch touch screen in the center stack arrested his attention, like headlights to a deer, causing the boy to mutter, as if in a trance, “This is how I imagine cars of the future.”

Then I floored it and the kid erupted in a fit of giggles as the all-electric performance SUV rocketed to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

Read more

Feb 25, 2017

Mechanical engineers leading effort to detect defects that reduce efficiency

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, government, solar power, sustainability

Gets too advanced for me, but still interesting.


As the world transitions to a low-carbon energy future, near-term, large-scale deployment of solar power will be critical to mitigating climate change by midcentury. Climate scientists estimate that the world will need 10 terawatts (TW) or more of solar power by 2030—at least 50 times the level deployed today. At the MIT Photovoltaics Research Laboratory (PVLab), teams are working both to define what’s needed to get there and to help make it happen. “Our job is to figure out how to reach a minimum of 10 TW in an economically and environmentally sustainable way through technology innovation,” says Tonio Buonassisi, associate professor of mechanical engineering and lab director.

Their analyses outline a daunting challenge. First they calculated the growth rate of solar required to achieve 10 TW by 2030 and the minimum sustainable price that would elicit that growth without help from subsidies. Current technology is clearly not up to the task. “It would take between $1 trillion and $4 trillion of additional debt to just push current technology into the marketplace to do the job, and that’d be hard,” says Buonassisi. So what needs to change?

Continue reading “Mechanical engineers leading effort to detect defects that reduce efficiency” »

Feb 25, 2017

Precision Agriculture Makes Farming More Sustainable, Profitable

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

Farmers have numerous sources of technology and data available to use in their operations, but many producers struggle with what kind and how much technology they need, according to an article on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources website.

Understanding which technologies and data sets are important and how to best use them is the focus of Joe Luck’s work as Nebraska Extension precision agriculture engineer.

“To me, precision ag has become a catchall term, but basically it refers to hardware and software systems that improve knowledge and decision support to make farming more manageable, sustainable and profitable,” said Luck, who also is an assistant professor of biological systems engineering.

Continue reading “Precision Agriculture Makes Farming More Sustainable, Profitable” »

Feb 22, 2017

Solar photovoltaic windows rely on inexpensive silicon quantum dots

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), which are flat panes of mostly transparent material that take sunlight (both diffuse and directed) and concentrate it at the panes’ edges, can be used as “photovoltaic windows,” which, as the name makes clear, collect solar energy while serving as ordinary windows. Now, researchers at the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca and Glass to Power Srl (both of Milano, Italy) and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) are lowering the potential cost of such windows by using silicon nanoparticles as the fluorescent absorber/emitter in the LSC windows.

Read more

Feb 18, 2017

2017 (Buckminster) Fuller Challenge Prize

Posted by in categories: complex systems, energy, engineering, environmental, futurism, innovation, science, sustainability

“Launched in 2007, the Fuller Challenge has defined an emerging field of practice: the whole systems approach to understanding and intervening in complex and interrelated crises for wide-scale social and environmental impact. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges. The rigorous selection process has set a unique standard, gaining renown as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.”

The Fuller Challenge attracts bold, visionary, tangible initiatives focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world’s complex problems.”

Deadline is March 31, 2017

Feb 16, 2017

Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity—all at once

Posted by in categories: privacy, solar power, sustainability, wearables

Many forms of energy surround you: sunlight, the heat in your room and even your own movements. All that energy—normally wasted—can potentially help power your portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.

Perovskites are a family of minerals, many of which have shown promise for harvesting one or two types of at a time—but not simultaneously. One family member may be good for solar cells, with the right properties for efficiently converting solar energy into electricity. Meanwhile, another is adept at harnessing energy from changes in temperature and pressure, which can arise from motion, making them so-called pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials, respectively.

Sometimes, however, just one type of energy isn’t enough. A given form of energy isn’t always available—maybe it’s cloudy or you’re in a meeting and can’t get up to move around. Other researchers have developed devices that can harness multiple forms of energy, but they require multiple materials, adding bulk to what’s supposed to be a small and portable device.

Continue reading “Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity—all at once” »

Feb 14, 2017

Nuclear Reactors to Power Space Exploration

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, space travel, sustainability

For the past five decades—from the Apollo-era lunar science experiments to the Mars Curiosity and the New Horizons missions—Pu-238 Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTG) have served as a power source. While some of the NASA’s forays will continue to rely on these RTGs, others will require larger power sources to enable human space and planetary exploration and establish reliable high bandwidth deep-space communications. Solar power cannot handle this goal. A larger nuclear-based power source is required.

In a recent Washington Post article, Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com and creator of Blue Origin space project said, “I think NASA should work on a space-rated nuclear reactor. If you had a nuclear reactor in space—especially if you want to go anywhere beyond Mars­—you really need nuclear power. Solar power just gets progressively difficult as you get further way from the sun. And that’s a completely doable thing to have a safe, space-qualified nuclear reactor.”

Calls for space nuclear power are not new. In fact, numerous reactor concepts have been proposed in the past. Their development is often dampened by the perception that nuclear is too hard, takes too long and costs too much.

Continue reading “Nuclear Reactors to Power Space Exploration” »

Feb 13, 2017

Creating computers that use 10,000 times less energy

Posted by in categories: computing, cosmology, mobile phones, sustainability

Quest to settle riddle over Einstein’s dark energy theory may soon be over

Saving energy is just as important as finding new and sustainable sources. By reducing the demand we reduce the energy and storage needed in the first place.

This is a first step in creating the tools needed to design and engineer low energy electronics. Cell Phones that last for weeks on a single charge and computers and servers using micro watts. However you will still need a lot of energy to drive screens and interface devices.

Continue reading “Creating computers that use 10,000 times less energy” »

Page 1 of 6412345678Last