Rooftop Solar Could Power All Households in Australia

Using the Power of the Sun

If every household in Australia had rooftop solar panels, it could supply 134% of the country’s residential needs, according to figures calculated by a solar energy company. The calculations, which used government data, showed that not only could the residential needs be met by such an initiative, but that it would also feed excess electricity into the grid and lower energy costs across the country. According to Energy Matters, installing solar on every roof would not only generate plenty of jobs, but the price for electricity could go down to just 7 cents per kWh, which is in stark contrast… read more

Researchers Create Recyclable Solar Cells Made from Trees

Organic Solar Cell

A new type of solar cell has been created by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University from natural substances derived from trees, yielding an efficient device that is also recyclable. Previous attempts at developing organic solar cells used glass or plastic as the substrate, which are not simple to recycle once used. “Organic solar cells must be recyclable. Otherwise we are simply solving one problem, less dependence on fossil fuels, while creating another, a technology that produces energy from renewable sources but is not disposable at the end of its lifecycle.” – Bernard Kippelen, Georgia Tech… read more

Recovering Energy from Pressurized Water Could Yield Big Savings

energyrecoverypx

All over the world, every single day, power is spent pressurizing water and other fluids for industrial and residential use, and one company is helping to recover some of that energy and convert it back into electricity. The industrial world is driven by a number of different kinds of ‘fluid flows’, from the pressure in our domestic water supply to manufacturing processes to oil and gas recovery and refining. For the most part, the energy used to pressurize the fluids is lost once it’s used, but it turns out that not only can some of it be recovered, but it… read more

Soundscrapers Could Turn Noise Pollution into Energy

Soundscraper Concept

Noise is one thing that there’s no shortage of in urban areas, and a new design concept for skyscrapers could enable large buildings to harvest that ambient noise and convert it into clean renewable energy. One entry to the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper Competition suggests that by building Soundscrapers (buildings covered with “electro-active lashes”) near high volume areas such as freeways or railways, urban areas could produce a fair amount of energy just from the vibrations coming from the ambient noises generated there. “The soundscraper takes advantage of city noise pollution by capturing airborne sound and converting it into usable energy…. read more

Turning Sewage into Paper

applied-clean-tech-recycled-toilet-paper-560x420

Can you imagine writing something on sewage? An Israeli researcher, Dr. Refael Aharon of Applied CleanTech, has developed a new system that is capable of turning stinking sewage into scentless paper. So how is sewage turned to paper? Domestic waste water contains solid substances in the form of food leftovers, used toilet paper and fiber from clothes as they are laundered. These solid substances contain cellulose which can be used for paper production after drying. Treatment of the solids currently found in waste water is a challenging and expensive activity for the effluent management industry. Dr. Aharon’s system can reduce solids… read more

Apple Aims for 100% Renewable Energy

Apple's Maiden Center

As part of Apple’s efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, the tech giant has pledged to power all of its operations with renewable energy. Apple’s most recent environmental impact report indicates that they already power a number of their data centers exclusively with clean energy, and 75% of their worldwide corporate facilities are currently using renewable energy sources (up from just 35% in 2010). “We’ve already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino. And for all of Apple’s… read more

World’s Two Largest Solar Power Towers Planned for California

Solar Power Tower

The two largest solar towers in the world are in the works for California, and are expected to add 500 MW of clean energy to the grid when they come online in 2016. Abengoa and Brightsource Energy are the joint partners behind the new Palen Solar Electric Generating System, which is planned for a location in a “Solar Energy Zone” in Riverside County, CA. The system consists of two 250 MW concentrated solar power towers, with each unit reaching a height of 750 feet off the ground. On the solar towers, the heat from the mirrors generates high temperature steam,… read more

New Solar Cell Tech Could Cut Costs in Half

hyperionsiliconwafer

New technology being developed by a startup in Mississippi may be able to cut the cost of making silicon solar cells by half, and reducing the amount of silicon needed by 90%. The startup, called Twin Creeks Technologies, has developed a process for making 20 micrometer thick crystalline silicon wafers that are just as efficient as those produced using traditional processes, which measure 200 micrometers in thickness. Twin Creeks has been using the new technology at their solar cell facility in Senatobia, Mississippi, and the company’s CEO says that they can manufacture the new solar cells at a cost of… read more

Quantum Dot Solar Cells

220px-Sargent_Group_quantum_dot_solar_cell

More than one hundred of  the world’s first solar cells with EQE (External quantum efficiency)  were created recently showing significantly greater efficiency than regular solar cells. These enhanced solar cells generate 40% more power for every photon which falls on the solar cell. This achievement was possible with the help of Multiple Excitation Generation (MEG). MEG works by splitting and using a greater portion of the energy in the higher energy photons. The test results showed MEG produced an EQU value of 114 % for 4 eV photons. “Since current solar cell technology is still too expensive to completely compete with non-renewable… read more

DIY Solar Water Heater

Thermosyphon Technology

Solar water heaters are one way to naturally warm water for household needs. This useful project can be installed do-it-yourself style with a bit of knowledge and some construction supplies. Designs can be basic or elaborate, depending on available budgets and materials. Thermosyphon technology occurs when water warms up, causing it to swell and rise. Containers like glass and plastic bottles can be incorporated with piping, panels and a tank to make a home solar water heater. The panels and water tanks have to be placed in a certain position for optimal efficiency and heat concentration. The water in the… read more