Engineers develop more efficient, cheaper “solar concentrator”
By Holly OtterbeinPosted 07.15.2008 at 5:01 pm 10 Comments
When I was eight years old, my uncle told me that I’d get a solar-powered car for my sixteenth birthday – and that it would be affordable. When I turned 16 in 2002, though, solar power was still inefficient and expensive, and I landed a bike instead. It's taken impossibly high fuel costs, global warming, and some serious engineering developments, but six years later, solar power is finally becoming a viable alternative to oil.
A new Federal initiative has development of solar power plants slowing to a standstill
By Matt RansfordPosted 06.30.2008 at 10:19 am 9 Comments
Few would begrudge an environmental impact study in advance of new power plant construction, least of all proponents of alternative energy. But with the Bureau of Land Management's recent decision to put a freeze on any new solar projects on the land it oversees in order to study the potential environmental effects, those same proponents are now looking skeptically at the federal government.
Thanks to inkjet printing, clothes embedded with solar cells are just around the corner
By Matt RansfordPosted 03.26.2008 at 5:03 pm 3 Comments
Back to the Future II was a bit of a disappointment in the face of the original. Granted, it was hamstrung by the throw-away ending of the first, but it did have that brilliant opening sequence with the hoverboards. How much did you want a hoverboard after seeing that? Not to mention, the computerized, self-drying jacket Marty puts on to blend in. The stuff of fantasy, right? At least for the latter, not for much longer.
The complex eye of a moth may be the key to cheaper, more efficient solar panels
By Matt RansfordPosted 02.27.2008 at 11:38 am 0 Comments
One of the problems plaguing solar cells is their inability to absorb all of the light they receive. Currently, the bluish anti-reflective coating you see on most cells is 60 or 65 percent efficient, meaning nearly a third of the light is bounced back into the sky. That's because the coating is only able to absorb a narrow range of wavelengths from the sun's rays. Now, however, researchers at the University of Florida and Portland State University think they may have found a better way and their inspiration comes from an unlikely source: moth eyes.