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Aug 1, 2021

Engineers develop a simple way to desalinate water using solar energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Distillation of water using solar energy is considered one of the most popular desalination methods today.

Power engineers at Ural Federal University (UrFU), together with colleagues from Iraq, have developed a new desalination technology, which is claimed to be much more effective than others, by incorporating a rotating cylinder. The method proposed by the UrFU power engineers will significantly reduce the cost of desalination and will increase production volumes by four times.

The experimental new solar distiller incorporates a rectangular basin, inside of which is a horizontally oriented black steel cylinder. The basin is filled with undrinkable water, and the cylinder is slowly rotated by a solar-powered DC motor.

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Aug 1, 2021

World’s first home hydrogen battery powers an average home for two days

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

The Australian company LAVO has developed a hydrogen storage system for domestic solar systems. It is the world’s first integrated hybrid hydrogen battery that combines with rooftop solar to deliver sustainable, reliable, and renewable green energy to your home and business. Developed in partnership with UNSW, Sydney, Australia, and Design + Industry, the Hydrogen Battery System from LAVO consists of an electrolysis system, hydrogen storage array, and fuel cell power system rolled into one attractive cabinet. When the electricity from the solar system on the roof is not needed, it is stored in the form of hydrogen. This then serves as fuel for the fuel cell when the solar system is not supplying electricity.


However, LAVO’s hydrogen hybrid battery delivers a continuous output of 5 kW and stores over 40kWh of electricity – enough to power the average Australian home for two days on a single charge. The system is designed to easily integrate with existing solar panels, creating a significant opportunity for LAVO to have an immediate and notable impact. There are Wi-Fi connectivity and a phone app for monitoring and control, and businesses with higher power needs can run several in parallel to form an intelligent virtual power plant.

Hydrogen is often incorrectly seen as an unsafe fuel, usually due to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. However, the company says any leaks will disperse quickly, though, making it inherently no more dangerous than other conventional fuels such as gasoline or natural gas. This innovation has a lifespan of approximately 30 years, which is three times longer than that of lithium batteries, thanks to its reliance on hydrogen gas rather than the chemicals in a conventional battery.

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Jul 27, 2021

Robots are making progress on space exploration, along with billionaires

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, space travel, sustainability

What i would suggest is landing Atlas robots in waves on the Moon, the first wave builds a solar panel farm for power, the second repairs the first wave, the third joins the first two to begin building large scale runways, the fourth joins the first three to begin building permanent structures.

The Moon is close enough for teleoperations, and in the 2030s, when we actually do Mars, the AI could repeat the whole thing there.

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Jul 25, 2021

Solar cells: Layer of three crystals produces a thousand times more power

Posted by in categories: chemistry, solar power, sustainability

The photovoltaic effect of ferroelectric crystals can be increased by a factor of 1000 if three different materials are arranged periodically in a lattice. This has been revealed in a study by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). They achieved this by creating crystalline layers of barium titanate, strontium titanate and calcium titanate which they alternately placed on top of one another. Their findings, which could significantly increase the efficiency of solar cells, were published in the journal Science Advances.

Most solar cells are currently silicon based; however, their efficiency is limited. This has prompted researchers to examine new materials, such as ferroelectrics like barium , a mixed oxide made of barium and titanium. “Ferroelectric means that the material has spatially separated positive and negative charges,” explains physicist Dr Akash Bhatnagar from MLU’s Centre for Innovation Competence SiLi-nano. “The charge separation leads to an asymmetric structure that enables electricity to be generated from light.” Unlike silicon, ferroelectric crystals do not require a so-called pn junction to create the photovoltaic effect, in other words, no positively and negatively doped layers. This makes it much easier to produce the solar panels.

However, pure barium titanate does not absorb much sunlight and consequently generates a comparatively low photocurrent. The latest research has shown that combining extremely thin layers of different materials significantly increases the solar energy yield. “The important thing here is that a ferroelectric material is alternated with a paraelectric material. Although the latter does not have separated charges, it can become ferroelectric under certain conditions, for example at low temperatures or when its is slightly modified,” explains Bhatnagar.

Jul 23, 2021

Google parent launches new ‘moonshot’ for robotics software

Posted by in categories: business, economics, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Google’s parent Alphabet unveiled a new “moonshot” project to develop software for robotics which could be used in a wide range of industries.

The new unit, dubbed Intrinsic, will “become an independent Alphabet company,” and seek industrial partners to advance their work helping to make everything from to cars, the new unit’s chief, Wendy Tan-White, said in a blog post.

“Intrinsic is working to unlock the creative and economic potential of industrial robotics for millions more businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers,” she said.

Jul 22, 2021

Making clean hydrogen is hard, but researchers just solved a major hurdle

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, solar power, sustainability

For decades, researchers around the world have searched for ways to use solar power to generate the key reaction for producing hydrogen as a clean energy source—splitting water molecules to form hydrogen and oxygen. However, such efforts have mostly failed because doing it well was too costly, and trying to do it at a low cost led to poor performance.

Now, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found a low-cost way to solve one half of the equation, using sunlight to efficiently split off oxygen molecules from water. The finding, published recently in Nature Communications, represents a step forward toward greater adoption of hydrogen as a key part of our energy infrastructure.

As early as the 1970s, researchers were investigating the possibility of using solar energy to generate hydrogen. But the inability to find materials with the combination of properties needed for a device that can perform the key chemical reactions efficiently has kept it from becoming a mainstream method.

Jul 19, 2021

China unveils design for first waterless nuclear reactor

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

CHINA’S NEW THORIUM-BASED NUCLEAR REACTOR is well situated for being adopted for Space applications.

China is slowly but steadily positioning itself to leap ahead of the US Space program. It is doing this without pomp and fanfare, and without the idea of a “space race,” simply based upon what it requires for its future.

1) Recent noteworthy progress on molten salt thorium reactors could be a key component of future Chinese space-worthiness. Originally designed by the USA’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960’s, they were planned to be used for nuclear powered strategic bomber planes, before the nuclear submarine concept became adopted as more feasible. They were chosen because they can be miniaturized to the size of an aircraft. By the same token, they could conceivably be used in advanced atmospheric or space propulsion.

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Jul 17, 2021

Scientists Are Now Transforming Saltwater Into Hydrogen Fuel

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Circa 2019


Thanks to Stanford researchers, there might be a new recipe for hydrogen fuel: saltwater, electrodes and solar power. The researchers have developed a proof-of-concept for separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity. It’s far cheaper than the current methods, which rely on creating hydrogen fuel from purified water.

Breaking up a substance like water to create hydrogen and oxygen is called electrolysis and is a scientific technique centuries old. It was first codified by British scientific legend Michael Faraday, whose two laws of electrolysis from 1834 still guide scientists today. With a power source connecting to two water-based electrodes, scientists can get hydrogen bubbles to come out of an end called an cathode, while oxygen comes out of an end called an anode.

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Jul 13, 2021

How ‘unusable’ capped landfill can gain a second life as a solar farm

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Landfill, aka garbage dumps or tips, can, under the right conditions, be converted into solar farms once they’re capped.

Jul 11, 2021

This tiny home on wheels is solar powered net-zero solution designed by an actual architect!

Posted by in categories: habitats, solar power, space travel, sustainability

Transportable tiny homes are complex operations, to say the least. Designing them to be sustainable makes building them that much more of an intricate process. First Light Studio, a New Zealand-based architecture group built their own tiny home with help from a local company Build Tiny, Ohariu, checking all of the above boxes. Built to be net-zero through several sustainable features and compact enough to meet all NZTA regulations for mobile homes.

Ohariu was built by First Light Studio and Build Tiny from a client’s brief calling for, “a refined tramping lodge on wheels.” That’s code for hiking, for all us Americans. Since the tiny home would primarily be used for hiking trips and traveling throughout the outdoors, Ohariu was built to be adaptable and versatile above all else. Inside, the living spaces are described by the architects at First Light Studio as being, “more a large and very detailed piece of furniture than a traditional house build, the fit-out [focusing] on the things that are important and necessary.”

Catering to the necessities and casual family pastimes, the tiny home is doused in modular and multifunctional design that’s surrounded by creamy poplar plywood walls and silvery fittings that add a touch of refinement to an otherwise bare interior. Each furniture piece inside Ohariu doubles as storage to maintain an open, clutter-free interior where the tiny home’s family would bond over pastimes like cooking, playing card games, and enjoying the surrounding landscape. Featuring a chef’s kitchen, Ohariu comes with plenty of prep space for cooking and integrates tilt-up tabletops to make even more for when there’s company. Outside, Ohariu is coated in a stealthy ebony corrugate to match its lightweight mobility, supported by aluminum joinery, lights, and utilities that were given the same ebony finish. Ohariu’s roof is asymmetrical with six solar panels lined up on its longer side and a mezzanine bedroom cozying up beneath its sloped short side.

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