The Department of Energy just gave $100,000 to upstart company Solar Roadways, to develop 12-by-12-foot solar panels, dubbed "Solar Roads," that can be embedded into roads, pumping power into the grid. The panels may also feature LED road warnings and built-in heating elements that could prevent roads from freezing.
Fifteen of these flower-shaped solar panels were installed last month in an open space between a highway and a retail lot in Austin, Texas. They not only provide a green source of energy, but also bring a fresh look to solar panel design. Unfortunately, I can't help but think of those fake-tree cellphone towers when I see these things.
In what could very well become the auto industry's greatest comeback story, a trio of German companies is hoping to introduce a revamped version of the pride of DDR auto engineering: the Soviet-era Trabant.
According to the prototype the three companies plan to unveil at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the Trabant nT (as in Neu Trabant!) will be powered by an all-electric drive train, sport solar panels on the roof for juicing the AC and have a range of up to 150 miles.
The M/V Auriga Leader is the world's first solar powered cargo ship, which uses solar panels to provide up to 10 percent of the ship's power. Working alongside Toyota and NYK Line, the ship will be used to transport 6,400 cars while using less diesel fuel.
Solar power is an exciting source of renewable energy, but has so far mostly been used to power little things like homes, cars and small villages. But what if solar energy was used on a scale that would power the majority of Europe?
A small kibbutz in Israel has installed the world's first solar-hybrid power plant to fulfill all their energy needs. Composed of 30 solar reflectors and one kooky-looking "flower" tower, the plant can switch to gas-powered turbines after dark to keep the system producing power 24-hours a day. The best part is that the plant takes up a relatively small amount of space for its output and can power remote areas that are not connected to larger grids.
Harnessing the terawatts of energy we get from the sun
By David RobertsPosted 06.11.2009 at 12:10 am 5 Comments
The Big Picture: "Solar power" no longer refers just to chunky photovoltaic panels. A variety of tools for turning sunlight into usable energy — thin-film solar, solar thermal, solar heating, and more — are undergoing a burst of technological acceleration. Whether it's powering an entire housing development or simply heating your house, taken together, their potential is huge
The University of Michigan--America's solar-racing powerhouse--will compete on the world stage with Infinium, crossing Australia in the World Solar Challenge
By Sally YoungerPosted 06.08.2009 at 6:05 pm 8 Comments
University of Michigan
In the shadow of the state’s struggling automakers, the University of Michigan solar engineering team—one of the most advanced in the country--unveiled its newest solar-powered race car, Infinium. With the $1 million racer they hope to vanquish the competition at the World Solar Challenge, a six-day 1,800 mile sprint across Australia using only the southern hemisphere sunlight. Needless to say, it looks fast.
This fall, Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard and his team will begin test flights of a prototype of Solar Impulse, a sun-powered plane designed to circumnavigate the globe without burning a drop of oil. Piccard wants the project to demonstrate the potential of green technology, and he's feeling the pressure. "We still have to prove that this plane will fly," he says.