Apple Gets Patent for Solar Powered Gear

The sun may be in your iPhone battery's future. Yesterday, Apple received Patent No. 7,868,582 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for powering electronics partially with solar power. The patent, which was originally filed in 2009, describes a system of using a solar panel for charging different portable devices, including a notebook computer, tablet, phone, or other handheld gadget. It specifically deals with converting the power from a solar panel to meet the power requirements of electronics. The system includes a voltage converter that ensures the available solar power can be converted and used to recharge batteries. The solar panel could either be embedded in the device or be removable, according to the patent. Although Apple has not yet released any solar-powered gadgets, it's clear that the company is interested in letting people use sunlight to charge when they can't get to an AC outlet. It's the fourth patent that Apple has received related to solar power, according to Patently Apple.

Dow to showcase energy-savings at International Builders Show

Dow Chemical Co. is set to showcase its most recent energy-saving innovations at the International Builders' Show in Florida. The company's Building Solutions team will be displaying a range of insulation, air sealing and renewable energy solutions for homeowners. "Building a high performance home starts with sealing the building envelope," said Dale Winger, residential market manager, Dow Building Solutions, in a Jan. 5 news release. He added that the products on display would reflect the growing demand for more energy-efficient homes. Latest developments include a variety of spray polyurethane foam products to reduce air and moisture infiltration causes by gaps and cracks in buildings, as well a selection of rigid foam insulation designed to meet the needs of specific above-grade wall applications. As well as polyurethane and other foam solutions, the company will be showcasing its Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles, a solar-power product for residential homes expected to be commercially available in the US market by mid-2011. IBS 2011 is one of the largest annual light construction shows in the world and will take place Jan. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.

Chevrolet Volt wins 2011 North American Car of the Year

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt got another marketing jolt Monday, when it received the North American Car of the Year. The car that runs on electricity for 40 miles (65 kilometers) before a backup gas engine kicks in beat out the Nissan Leaf, another electric, and Hyundai Sonata in the annual ceremony on the first day of media previews for the Detroit auto show. Forty-nine auto journalists from the U.S. and Canada made the picks. The vehicles are judged on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. It's the latest in a string of accolades for the Volt, which went on sale in limited markets in December and costs $40,280. It was named the Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine named the Volt the 2011 car of the year the same month. General Motors Co. Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said the Volt "represents the soul" of the new GM, on the rebound after enduring a government-led bankruptcy in 2009. GM sold between 250 and 350 Chevy Volts in December and Nissan's sales totaled less than 10 Leaf sedans in the past two weeks. Production for both is slowly ramping up. It will be well into 2012 before both the Volt and Leaf, which costs $32,780, are available nationwide. Early demand is strong: About 50,000 people already are on waiting lists. The Volts are being assembled in Detroit. GM predicts it will sell 10,000 of them in 2011 and between 35,000 and 45,000 in 2012. By way of comparison, Chevrolet sold 187,250 Malibu sedans in the first 11 months of 2010 with sticker prices that start at $21,975.

'Self-repairing' solar cells described

U.S. researchers say they've produced a new class of solar cells that can repair themselves much like plants do through photosynthesis. By using carbon nanotubes and DNA, scientists at Purdue University have developed solar technology aimed at increasing service life and reducing cost, a university release said Tuesday. "We've created artificial photosystems using optical nanomaterials to harvest solar energy that is converted to electrical power," Jong Hyun Choi, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, said. Photoelectrochemical cells that convert sunlight into electricity contain light-absorbing dyes called chromophores, similar to chlorophyll molecules in plants, that degrade due to exposure to sunlight. "The critical disadvantage of conventional photoelectrochemical cells is this degradation," Choi said. The new technology gets around this problem in the same way nature does, by continuously replacing the photo-damaged dyes with new ones. "This sort of self-regeneration is done in plants every hour," Choi said.

Renewable Energy Education

Educational programs from colleges, universities and other institutions should be at least compliant with ISPQ Standard 01022. In regions where there is a body licensed to perform accreditation, such as the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in North America.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IN INDIA: SCOPE FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT

The 11th year Plan (2007-2012) of the Government of India has indicated the importance of energy in the following words: ‘Availability and access to energy are considered as catalysts for economic growth. The envisaged growth of the economy at 9% in the Eleventh Plan cannot be achieved without a commensurate increase in the availability of energy.

Wind Powering America and Southwest Windpower Partner to Bring First Wind Turbine to Idaho Town

Wind for Schools program implemented at Pocatello Community Charter School

Exploring Thermal Energy Storage

Greg Glatzmaier, Senior Engineer/ CPS Project Leader for Thermal Energy Storage at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) explains that working to make the thermal energy storage aspect of concentrated solar power (CSP) more attractive to utilities by lowering the cost overall is a main area of focus.

Shouting From the Rooftops: The Importance of Promoting Technological Innovations in Solar Energy

The success of new and emerging PV technologies can have a profound effect on our economy, providing a much-needed shot in the arm for various industrial sectors, while also paving the way for future technological advancements.

Understanding the Impact of the New Lisbon Treaty on EU Energy Policy and the Opps for Scotland

"If projects are to succeed, their technologies must be aligned with those set out in the Strategic Energy Technology (SET-) Plan"; Bioenergy, CCS, Grids, Fuel Cells & Hydrogen, Nuclear, Energy Efficiency, Solar and Wind.

Solders and fluxes for soldering PV panels

Our R&D department currently is working and will continue to work on new, innovative products for the photovoltaic industry. Already this year, we have introduced new alloys and fluxes. We will launch even more new products in the coming months.

PV Front Sheet Systems

A pre-laminate that combines ETFE frontsheet and EVA encapsulant, features all the performance benefits of both with improved production efficiencies, including reduced wrinkles and precise alignment. In addition, it can help module manufacturers achieve lower systems cost with reduced packaging and shipping costs.

Florida Algae-preneurs - Making Fuel from Algae

Some Florida businesses are squeezing a trickle of fuel from algae, claiming they can help power the world. But right now, a few expensive drops in the bucket are all they have to show. On 1,000 acres on the northwest shores of Lake Apopka, Orlando businessman Nick VandenBrekel touts a new crop for Florida that he says can help boost the state's economy as it provides another source of alternative energy. His company, Agrisys, has raised more than $25 million from investors and plans to break ground this quarter on ponds and a small refinery where VandenBrekel says Agrisys will be able to grow algae, process it into an oil, and refine the oil into jet fuel, diesel or gasoline. The operation, he says, will be "the world's first large-scale, vertically integrated algae-to-biofuels facility."

Green Design Spree Aims to Trim U.S. Government's Big Energy Bill

Sure, you've heard about Big Government. But have you seen its energy bill? With $25 billion in annual power and fuel costs, the U.S. government is the largest single energy consumer in the nation's economy, and among the largest in the world. Of course, the 500,000 buildings the government leases or owns include not only office space, but supercomputers, hospitals, and aviation safety radar facilities. And the 600,000 vehicles that Uncle Sam has to tank up include those conveying troops engaged in active combat. For years, it has been clear that there's a big opportunity in the sheer size of this energy footprint. The U.S. Congress has been setting federal efficiency goals since 1978—in hope not only of cutting costs and foreign oil dependence, but also of leading the way for energy savings in the private sector. The Obama administration now is seeking to ramp up that effort dramatically—with the help of an unprecedented $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to be spent by next September entirely for federal green building and renovation projects. By executive order, the federal government is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020.

Fuel cells popping up in California

An office park in Alhambra is about to start drawing a quarter of its electricity from the devices. It joins commercial properties in more than 40 cities statewide. Behind a chain-link fence next to a parking structure at an office park in the San Gabriel Valley sit five softly humming gray boxes that could change the way homes and offices are powered. On Tuesday, the boxes — each somewhat bigger than an SUV — will begin generating enough electricity to power about a quarter of the complex, saving the property owner about $500,000 a year in electricity bills. The Energy Servers use fuel-cell technology to create low-emission electricity. The product, developed by Bloom Energy, a Sunnyvale, Calif., start-up, has been hailed as an innovation that could change the power industry. "We were convinced that this was a technology that was extraordinarily good," said Wayne Ratkovich, chief executive of Ratkovich Co., which owns the Alhambra office park. "And we're not paying as high of an electric bill, so we'll save a lot of money."

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