Efficient Thin-Film Solar Cells

Researchers at MIT have unveiled a new type of silicon solar cell that could be much more efficient and cost less than currently used solar cells. The design combines a highly effective reflector on the back of a solar cell with an antireflective coating on the front. This helps trap red and near-infrared light, which can be used to make electricity, in the silicon. The researchers applied their light-trapping scheme on thin silicon cells that are about five micrometers thick. Their prototype solar cell is 15 percent more efficient at converting light into electricity than commercial thin-film solar cells. Read More.

Why Combined Heat and Power?

Also known as cogeneration, CHP is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. According to a report from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, boosting the use of combined heat and power, or CHP, to 20 percent of generating capacity in the U.S. by 2030 would save 5.3 quadrillion British thermal units of fuel annually, the equivalent of nearly half the total energy currently consumed by U.S. households. The lab said there would also be a 60 percent reduction of the projected increase in carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 154 million cars off the road. Read More.

Solar car makes it around the world!

The first solar-powered car to travel around the world ended its journey at the U.N. climate talks, arriving with the message that clean technologies are available now to stop global warming."This is the first time in history that a solar-powered car has traveled all the way around the world without using a single drop of petrol," said Louis Palmer, the 36-year-old Swiss schoolteacher and adventurer who made the trip. The car, which runs noiselessly, can travel up to 55 mph and covers 185 miles on a fully charged battery. Read More.

Piezoelectrics Promise To Create Energy from Everything

What if your house could generate electricity from the noise of the cars on the road? Or if the waste heat generated by your air conditioner could help put a dent in that expensive summer electric bill? As the demand for cheaper and more renewable energy sources increases, piezoelectrics - a class of material that produces an electric potential when mechanically deformed - may hold the key to unlocking the energy flowing all around us. There are applications of this technology already in place - certain dance clubs in Europe utilize dance floors with piezoelectrics to help power the lights. What would really be useful to the consumer, however, would be small piezoelectric systems that could assist in powering personal electronic devices. Read More.

Christmas tree uses alternative energy

The Embassy Festival of Trees, in Fort Wayne, Ind., features a new attraction this year: a tree powered by, possibly, you. The alternative-energy tree won't be sucking up electricity from Indiana Michigan's power grid. Rather, visitors to the Festival of Trees will be allowed to hop on a bike connected to a generator and pedal away. The generator creates energy that goes into a power pack that lights the tree. Because the power pack can store energy, the strand of lights will stay on for a while even when no one is pedaling. When the power starts running low, an alarm will sound indicating it's time to start pedaling again. Read more.

Using Slow River Currents to Generate Power

Scientists have found a very promising and clean source for energy that uses the slow movement of the currents under the rivers, oceans and streams to generate power. The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs. As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity. Read More.

A DAY AT SOLAR POWER 2008

After several weeks of economic doom and gloom in the news we walked into a room full of squeeky new booths full of optimistic and excited people showing and talking about a new world where responsible companies lead the way to a renewable energy future. How refreshing is that!

A SOLAR OPTION FOR HOME COMFORT

The single solar panel provides dc power to assist the fan that moves air across the outdoor coil, a key part of any home comfort system. The fan has an ac motor for normal operation and a special dc motor that assists whenever sufficient sunlight is available.

ALTERNATIVE FUEL FOR AVIATION

The aviation industry produces only about one-ninth as much carbon dioxide as motor vehicles do. However, environmentalists are vocal about emissions from aviation, because they tend to go into the upper atmosphere, where some scientists say the impact is greater.

BRAND MESSAGING

There is a rule in communications: If you don't manage your message, someone else will. Each day people throughout your organization have conversations with a variety of people outside the organization.

DATA LOGGERS FOR GREEN BUILDING PROJECTS

Data loggers can provide valuable information for nearly every aspect and scale of green design. For example, a facilities manager can monitor temperature in a fifteen-story office building over the summer to check whether the fans in the building's cooling tower need adjustment.

MARC GOTTSCHALK - CLEAN TECH OPEN

Our core activity is a series of annual regional business plan competitions for cleantech startups looking for a jump-start in bringing their products to market.

MR. OBAMA - PLEASE MEET MR. PIGOU

Basically, Pigouvian taxes would tax the things we do not want in our society, like toxins and greenhouse gases, and NOT tax things we like in society, like employment and housing. For example, when coal power plants emit traces of mercury, we should not tax the power produced, but the harmful mercury emitted.

NATIONAL AFV DAY ODYSSEY

With a total of 90 special events held throughout the U.S. and Canada, National AFV Day Odyssey events served as a voice to deliver the message about the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to a populace feeling the crunch of higher pump prices and worrying about the impacts of traditional fuel sources on the environment.

PIERRE-PASCAL URBON - SMA

The U.S. housing crisis is the main cause of the global financial crisis. Therefore, the availability of loans for green field installations seems to be limited. However, financing for residential and commercial PV applications is still available.

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