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Archive for the ‘solar power’ category

Apr 17, 2017

This New Graphene-Based Electrode Could Boost Solar Storage

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

Drawing inspiration from the plant world, researchers have invented a new electrode that could boost our current solar energy storage by an astonishing 3,000 percent.

The technology is flexible and can be attached directly to solar cells — which means we could finally be one step closer to smartphones and laptops that draw their power from the Sun, and never run out.

A major problem with reliably using solar energy as a power source is finding an efficient way to store it for later use without leakage over time.

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Apr 15, 2017

Ray Kurzweil interviews the Father of Nanotechnology Eric Drexler

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil, solar power, sustainability

Unimaginable Radical Abundance:

Yesterday I took the time to read chapter 11 of Eric Drexler’s book Radical Abundance as to get a glimpse of what might be possible with Atomically Precise Manufacturing (APM). I highly recommend the book.

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Apr 8, 2017

California is getting so much power from solar that wholesale electricity prices are turning negative

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The spikes also have a big effect on wholesale energy prices, which dipped to zero or even to negative territory this spring during certain hours in California, the EIA said.


The extraordinary success of solar power in some pockets of the world that combine sunshine with high investment in the technology mean that governments and energy companies are having radically to rethink the way they manage—and charge for—electricity.

California is one such a place.

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Apr 5, 2017

Inside the plan to replace Trump’s border wall with a high-tech ecotopia

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, privacy, solar power, sustainability, transportation

The year is 2030. Former president Donald Trump’s border wall, once considered a political inevitability, was never built. Instead, its billions of dollars of funding were poured into something the world had never seen: a strip of shared territory spanning the border between the United States and Mexico. Otra Nation, as the state is called, is a high-tech ecotopia, powered by vast solar farms and connected with a hyperloop transportation system. Biometric checks identify citizens and visitors, and relaxed trade rules have turned Otra Nation into a booming economic hub. Environmental conservation policies have maximized potable water and ameliorated a new Dust Bowl to the north. This is the future envisioned by the Made Collective, a group of architects, urban planners, and others who are proposing what they call a “shared co-nation” as a new kind of state.

Many people have imagined their own alternatives to Trump’s planned border wall, from the plausible — like a bi-national irrigation initiative — to the absurd — like an “inflatoborder” made of plastic bubbles. Made’s members insist that they’re serious about Otra Nation, though, and that they’ve got the skills to make it work. That’s almost certainly not true — but it’s also beside the point. At a time when policy proposals should be taken “seriously but not literally,” and facts are up for grabs, Otra Nation turns the slippery Trump playbook around to offer a counter-fantasy. In the words of collective member Marina Muñoz, “We can really make the complete American continent great again.”

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Apr 4, 2017

The factories of the future could float in space

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, solar power, space, sustainability

Orbital manufacturing is already paving the way for better solar panels, faster internet, cleaner computer chips, and lab-grown human hearts.

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Mar 31, 2017

Transparent Solar Panels Could Charge Your Phone and Home

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

The future is here, and it’s transparent tech.

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Mar 30, 2017

This fully transparent solar cell could make every window and screen a power source

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

Back in August 2014, researchers at Michigan State University created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which could turn any window or sheet of glass (like your smartphone’s screen) into a photovoltaic solar cell. Unlike other “transparent” solar cells that we’ve reported on in the past, this one really is transparent, as you can see in the photos throughout this story. According to Richard Lunt, who led the research at the time, the team was confident the transparent solar panels can be efficiently deployed in a wide range of settings, from “tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader.”

Now Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup we first reported on in 2013, is getting closer to bringing its transparent solar panels to market. Lunt cofounded the company and remains assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University. Essentially, what they’re doing is instead of shrinking the components, they’re changing the way the cell absorbs light. The cell selectively harvests the part of the solar spectrum we can’t see with our eye, while letting regular visible light pass through.

Scientifically, a transparent solar panel is something of an oxymoron. Solar cells, specifically the photovoltaic kind, make energy by absorbing photons (sunlight) and converting them into electrons (electricity). If a material is transparent, however, by definition it means that all of the light passes through the medium to strike the back of your eye. This is why previous transparent solar cells have actually only been partially transparent — and, to add insult to injury, they usually they cast a colorful shadow too.

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Mar 28, 2017

Physicist Wants To Beam Solar Energy Back From Moon’s Surface

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

The Moon as a collecting point for solar energy for use on Earth and maybe even into the outer solar system.


One man’s decades-long dream of harnessing sunlight from the lunar surface.

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Mar 25, 2017

Liquid energy storage system gets the “MOST” out of the Sun

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

Solar power is potentially the greatest single energy source outside of controlled nuclear fusion, but the Sun is literally a fair weather source that relies on daytime and clear skies. To make solar energy a reliable, 24-hour source of energy, a team of scientists at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg is developing a liquid energy storage medium that can not only release energy from the Sun on demand, but is also transportable.

The Chalmers team has been working on variants of its system, called a MOlecular Solar Thermal (MOST), for over six years, with a conceptual demonstration in 2013. It differs from other attempts to store solar energy in things like heated salts and reversing exothermic reactions in that the MOST system stores the energy directly in the bonds of an organic chemical.

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Mar 25, 2017

Here Is One Powerful Way the U.S. Could Boost Solar Adoption — By Jamie Condliffe | MIT Technology Review

Posted by in categories: energy, governance, government, policy, solar power

“Harnessing the Sun’s power may require concerted international coöperation.”

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