In a discovery sure to help the development of solar panel and display technology, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have engineered transistors that they can airbrush onto a surface like spray paint.
The future of community bike systems may not require much pedaling at all; Sanyo has just installed two "Solar Parking Lots" that serve as solar charging stations for 100 Eneloop electric hybrid bicycles in Setagaya, Tokyo.
Leave it to Japanese designers to turn technology into something both stylish and functional -- and then keep it all to themselves. The SolarFold and SolarFan portable solar chargers unfold into surface-area-utilizing solar collectors when needed, supplying enough power to make a three-minute iPhone call after just ten minutes in the sun.
If you fall into the niche category of eco-conscious boating enthusiast with a desire to circumnavigate the globe on a 100-feet-long catamaran, your long wait is finally over. PlanetSolar – the dream of skipper Roaphael Domjan since 2004 and under construction since 2008 – was unveiled yesterday in Germany.
While IBM is primarily known for its information technology products, the company has recently begun expanding into the alternative energy market. So far, that change has mainly taken the form of a new ad campaign. But IBM is now backing those words up with action, by unveiling a groundbreaking solar cell, 40 percent more efficient than any similar cells.
Scientistsu, engineers, and doctors yearn for tiny sensors to record a vast array of events in the world's many hard-to-reach places. And so far, the tradeoff between battery life and size has prevented sensors from becoming small enough to fit unobtrusively in the human body, or inside very small machines. Now, University of Michigan researchers seem to have solved that puzzle by creating a chip that draws energy through solar power, heat, or movement.
If sustainability is key to the new energy economy, a team of University of Pennsylvania researchers has just taken a big step toward the future by developing the first photovoltaic circuit that powers itself. The circuits could eventually be packed into touchscreens and other consumer devices that would run without a battery or any other source of power, as long as they have a beam of sunlight to harvest.
President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union Address last week that he fears the American economy is on the brink of missing out on a green tech boom that could propel us out of our current financial mess and into the coming century, and it appears his concern is well-placed. China leapfrogged Denmark, Germany, Spain and the U.S. to become the world's largest maker of wind turbines last year, and 2010 is shaping up to be another banner year.
When it comes to energy efficiency, there’s still no substitute for millions upon millions of years of evolution. Scientists at UC Berkeley have found a way to hack common tobacco plants to grow synthetic photovoltaic and photochemical cells that can be extracted, dissolved in solution and sprayed onto a glass or plastic substrate to create solar panels. That’s the idea, anyhow.
Today's solar power plants work either through photovoltaics or heated steam. If Enviromission gets its way, tomorrow's plants will combine wind and solar, with acre-sized mirrors and multi-thousand-foot-tall chimneys generating turbine-spinning gusts. The technology's called solar updraft, and a $750 million, 200-megawatt project may just bring Enviromission's future into the present.