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Solar Panel Breakthrough April 1, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, In The News, Science & Technology.
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A novel fabrication technique developed by a University of Connecticut engineering professor could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to vastly improve the efficiency of today’s solar energy systems.

Silicon solar panels have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

The nano-antennas – known as “rectennas” because of their ability to both absorb and rectify solar energy from alternating current to direct current – must be capable of operating at the speed of visible light and be built in such a way that their core pair of electrodes is a mere 1 or 2 nanometers apart, a distance of approximately one millionth of a millimeter, or 30,000 times smaller than the diameter of human hair.

The potential breakthrough lies in a novel fabrication process called selective area atomic layer deposition (ALD) that was developed by Brian Willis, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Connecticut and the former director of UConn’s Chemical Engineering Program.

The atomic layer deposition process is favored by science and industry because it is simple, easily reproducible, and scalable for mass production. Willis says the chemical process is particularly applicable for precise, homogenous coatings for nanostructures, nanowires, nanotubes, and for use in the next generation of high-performing semi-conductors and transistors.

“Until the advent of selective atomic layer deposition (ALD), it has not been possible to fabricate practical and reproducible rectenna arrays that can harness solar energy from the infrared through the visible

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

“Until the advent of selective atomic layer deposition (ALD), it has not been possible to fabricate practical and reproducible rectenna arrays that can harness solar energy from the infrared through the visible

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

Silicon solar panels, by comparison, have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

Silicon solar panels, by comparison, have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

Silicon solar panels, by comparison, have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

Silicon solar panels, by comparison, have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

Silicon solar panels, by comparison, have a single band gap which, loosely speaking, allows the panel to convert electromagnetic radiation efficiently at only one small portion of the solar spectrum. The rectenna devices don’t rely on a band gap and may be tuned to harvest light over the whole solar spectrum, creating maximum efficiency.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-patented-fabrication-technique-key-solar.html#jCp

via New patented fabrication technique key to new solar power technology.

Green Lawn Mower (not a John Deere) April 18, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment, Humor, Lifestyle.
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Cold War Ended Cheap, Safe Energy From Thorium January 2, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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In 1965, Weinberg and his team built a working reactor, one that suspended the byproducts of thorium in a molten salt bath, and he spent the rest of his 18-year tenure trying to make thorium the heart of the nation’s atomic power effort. He failed. Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, de facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs. Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in 1973.

That proved to be “the most pivotal year in energy history,” according to the US Energy Information Administration. It was the year the Arab states cut off oil supplies to the West, setting in motion the petroleum-fueled conflicts that roil the world to this day. The same year, the US nuclear industry signed contracts to build a record 41 nuke plants, all of which used uranium. And 1973 was the year that thorium R&D faded away — and with it the realistic prospect for a golden nuclear age when electricity would be too cheap to meter and clean, safe nuclear plants would dot the green countryside. Click on the link to see the world-wide interest in reviving this technology.

via Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke | Magazine.

16 minute video about Liquid-Flouride Thorium Reactors

http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/

Moon for Sale August 10, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Science & Technology.
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If you have seen the intelligent Sci-Fi movie “Moon”, starring David Bowie’s son, Sam Blackwell, you may have wondered what all of the mining activity was about. Well it was over Helium-3.

moon_movieAfter 40 years, man is preparing to return to the Moon. But this time the astronauts won’t just land on the Moon – they plan to stay.

From his office in Nevada, Dennis Hope has spawned a multi-million dollar business selling lunar real estate.

But scientists believe the real prize is trapped in the Moon’s rocks. It contains large deposits of an extremely rare gas called Helium-3. Could Helium-3 be mined and used as a new source of almost inexhaustible, clean and pollution-free energy on Earth? Whoever succeeds in transporting Helium-3 back to Earth could solve the world’s energy crisis.

Who will win what has been dubbed the second Moon race? And should we be exploiting the Moon’s valuable resources at all?

via BBC – Horizon – Moon for Sale.

The Politics of Lithium For Batteries July 12, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Geopolitics.
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At the moment, China provides a lot of the batteries that go into consumer electronics, and Tibet is known to have a large source of lithium. Additionally, estimates are that Bolivia has the largest reserves of lithium in the world with 36% of the global pie. Currently, the U.S. holds about 3% of world reserves.

Regardless of whether they believe lithium is running out sooner or later, most experts have come to agree that lithium’s greatest abundance is in Bolivia, Chile, and Tibet. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, is already trying to avoid foreign investment, and talks consistently about the importance of Bolivia having state control over its natural resources. Automakers approaching Bolivia have not received a warm welcome either. The challenges China faces in Tibet (politically speaking) are already well publicized.

via The Politics of Lithium Reserves | Green Business | Reuters.

In China, OPEC’s nightmare comes true December 5, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment.
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Neither the incoming Obama administration, nor top planners in Beijing, will quickly forget the harsh lessons about reducing energy dependence taught in the last two years, even if prices now settle much lower.

China’s decision to raise fuel taxes will increase Saudi Arabia’s determination to stabilize prices at a much lower level than most other members of the organization are comfortable with, to try to limit the long-term damage to oil demand.

The kingdom’s worst fears about the long-term damage wrought by high and volatile prices are now being realized.

via In China, OPEC’s nightmare comes true: John Kemp | Reuters.

Wind Power Will Need $60 Billion Upgrade To Our Grid August 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment.
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The Energy Challenge – Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits – Series – NYTimes.com
Wind advocates say that just two of the windiest states, North Dakota and South Dakota, could in principle generate half the nation’s electricity from turbines. But the way the national grid is configured, half the country would have to move to the Dakotas in order to use the power.

Video of a more-efficient Vertical Turbine Propeller that claims to be safer for birds.

(more…)

Hydrogen Energy Breakthroughs August 1, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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castanyes blaves: Better catalysts for energy storage
What’s needed are catalysts capable of taking electricity and using it to split water to generate hydrogen gas, a clean fuel. Unfortunately, the catalysts discovered so far work under harsh chemical conditions, and the best ones are made from platinum, a rare and expensive metal.

No more. This week, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge led by chemist Daniel Nocera report online in Science a new water-splitting catalyst that works under environmentally friendly conditions (www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1162018). More important, it’s made from cobalt and phosphorus, fairly cheap and abundant elements. The new catalyst needs improvements before it can solve the world’s energy problems, but several outside researchers say it’s a crucial development.

other groups report related advances–a cheap plastic fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen to electricity, and a solid oxide fuel cell catalyst that operates at lower temperatures–that affect another vital component of any future solar hydrogen system.

Gasoline From Algae June 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Biomass Magazine
San Diego, Calif.-based Sapphire Energy was founded in 2006 on the basis of this principle philosophy when it debuted its “green crude”, a gasoline equivalent refined from algae that comes in light and heavy fractions; the light being gasoline and a heavy being kero-disel or jet aircraft fuel. Although it won’t divulge its production process specifically, according to Sapphire Chief Executive Officer Jason Pyle, the company is producing 91 octane gasoline built on the platform that uses nothing more than sunlight, carbon dioxide and complex photosynthetic microorganisms. Progress on Gas From Grass

A Simple, Cheap Way To Produce Hydrogen? February 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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[ QuantumSphere, Inc. ]
If this Press Release pans out, it could bring about the Hydrogen-based Economy. The process by which electricity is used to generate hydrogen and oxygen from water is called electrolysis. Through the use of a new proprietary nano catalyst formulation, QuantumSphere has demonstrated production of hydrogen and oxygen in an alkaline electrolyzer with 85 percent efficiency under ambient conditions, making it a commercially viable replacement for fossil fuel-based production methods.

Although identified as a candidate with the potential to lower dependency on petroleum, today’s current large-scale hydrogen production techniques also produce an inordinate amount of greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. For example, the steam-reformation process – which accounts for roughly 85% of hydrogen production using natural gas – produces four pounds of greenhouse gases for every one pound of hydrogen produced. “While hydrogen has long been promoted for its clean energy potential, the most common method of production of the gas has been a dirty little secret in terms of the amount of fossil fuels used and the greenhouse gasses generated,” said Kevin Maloney, president and CEO, QuantumSphere, Inc. (more…)

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