New Class of Solar Cell Hits Efficiency Record

New Class of Solar Cell Achieves Efficiency Breakthrough

A new type of solar cell, perovskite cells, from the tech startup Oxford PV, has just hit a new efficiency record of 15.4%, bringing them one step closer to a low-cost and efficient solution that can be integrated into glass building facades. The latest iteration of the company’s flat junction perovskite solar cells is a “significant step forward” in the company’s work to scale up the technology and eventually commercialize it. “Our plan was to continuously optimise our perovskite solar cells towards a goal of more than 20% efficiency but these results are ahead of expectations. I see no reason… read more

Solar Energy Scholarships Available for US Veterans, Active Duty Personnel

Solar Energy Training Scholarships for US Veterans and Active Duty Personnel

To grow a new clean energy economy, it’s going to take plenty of skilled renewable energy professionals, from designers and developers to installers and operators, and one organization is making strides toward training both active U.S. military personnel and veterans for futures in solar energy. For those who qualify, scholarships covering 100% of the tuition costs are available from Solar Energy International (SEI) toward their online PV101 course, which is the first course in the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program. “We believe in the opportunities that renewable energy can afford our country, such as energy independence and sustainable use of… read more

The Appeal of Solar Ovens

Cooking With a Solar Oven

Utilizing the sun’s power for cooking has long been employed for basic survival needs. Solar cooked foods retain their nutrients without overcooking, and ovens can be portable and used all year long to make a variety of foods. Solar cookers can be small-scale or commercial sized to meet cooking needs. They can be purchased ready to go or kits are available. You can also build your own solar cooker with a few materials. Though numerous variations of solar cookers exist, there are three main types which allow the capture of heat energy that can be used for cooking. 1. Heat-trap boxes/box cookers… read more

Solar Made Simple

Photovoltaic Panels

The photoelectric effect occurs when a compatible object exposed to a light source absorbs the light and then generates minute electrical currents. Initially discovered in 1839 by French physicist Edmund Bequerel, Albert Einstein defined this relationship and the basis of photovoltaic design. Bell Laboratories built the first solar unit in 1954, but utilizing the information on a larger scale was not introduced in the U.S. until the 1960’s where it surfaced in the space program arena. It became increasingly popular as an efficient energy source in the 1970’s when other power sources were unstable. Solar panels are progressively becoming utilized… read more

The electree Grows Power and Visual Appeal

The electree Grows Power and Visual Appeal

What do you get when you cross the natural form of a tree with artful technology? A prototype for a solar design that looks like no other, called electree. Surfacing as a project on Kickstarter a while back, this design features both aesthetics and necessity. Adding sunlight to this digital tree won’t make it grow, but it will charge gadgets. Resembling a sculpture of a bonsai tree with many mirrored branches, the electree is a solar charger with interesting appeal. It charges smartphones as well as other devices, and the sample creation has some promising features. The tree absorbs sunlight through its… read more

Kinetic Energy + Rocking Chairs = Smart Seating

Kinetic Energy From Rocking Chairs Equals Smart Seating

Kinetic energy may be difficult to harvest on a large scale basis, and can be unreliable. However, in places where there is a constant barrage of motion it can be useful. Take for example, swings or rocking chairs. The way that rockers are designed are ideal for harnessing energy produced from motion and utilizing it. A clever idea for creating power from movement surfaced in a swing design a few years back. Ryan Klinger designed a glider style seat called Empower that captures energy from the rocking motion. Coming out a 2nd place winner among designs at the Greener Gadgets… read more

We Care Solar Suitcases Essential For Saving Lives

We Care Solar Suitcases Essential For Saving Lives

Real world issues need solid solutions. There are many solar lighting designs and companies that provide safe, reliable lighting to those in need. There are however, solar products that incorporate more than much needed light. One such design is an all-inclusive suitcase from We Care Solar. Dr. Laura Stachel, an obstetrician and researcher, has been in the field for years, fighting for a basic right for women around the globe – safe childbirth. Pakati – This word means pregnancy in a certain region in Malawi. Dr. Stachel, upon asking for the literal translation of this local term, was told by… read more

Windworks Video Features Wind-Produced Upholstered Furniture

Windworks Video Features Wind-Produced Upholstered Furniture

A collaboration between a saw mill operator, a color mill operator, and a knitting mill operator has led to a unique showcase for the power of the wind. Merel Karhof, inventor of the Wind Knitting Factory, designed a series of furniture pieces that are all constructed using wind energy, as illustrated in this video. Windworks by Merel Karhof from Merel Karhof on Vimeo. “The Zaanse Schans is an area located on the river ‘Zaan’ in the province of Noord Holland and is home to a collection of well-preserved historic windmills. Each one of these produces a different kind of raw… read more

Solid Lithium-Sulfur Battery Offers 4X the Energy Density of Li-Ion

Solid Lithium-Sulfur Battery Offers 4X the Energy Density of Li-Ion

A new type of battery that has four times the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries, yet uses a low-cost material, has been developed and tested at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The development of this new all-solid lithium-sulfur battery could lead to lower costs for energy storage, safer batteries, and increased energy density, and may lead to a sea change in mobile power for everything from portable gadgets to electric vehicles. Previous approaches to lithium-sulfur batteries were plagued by their use of a liquid electrolyte in the design, which caused premature failure in the… read more

New Giant Airship Could Transform Cargo Transportation

New Giant Airship Could Transform Cargo Transportation

Cargo transportation may soon get quite a bit greener, due to a new type of airship technology that can take off and land vertically and transport enormous amounts of cargo. The Aeroscraft could transform all areas of cargo logistics, from humanitarian and disaster relief to military operations and food and consumer goods delivery. The new rigid, variable-buoyancy craft can transport and offload massive amounts of materials just about anywhere, even on uneven ground or in remote areas and without a ground crew. The airship could deliver goods and cargo directly from its point of origin to its point of use,… read more