Archive for May, 2009

Glass windows coated with world’s tiniest working solar cells

May 30, 2009

New Energy Technologies has announced that the Company is continuing to further advance the development of its tinted transparent glass SolarWindows capable of generating electricity by coating glass surfaces with the world’s smallest known organic solar cells.

New Energy’s SolarWindow technology uses an organic solar array, which achieves transparency through the creative use of conducting polymers which have the same desirable electrical properties as the world’s most commercially popular semiconductor, silicon, yet boast a considerably better capacity to ‘optically absorb’ photons from light and generate electricity.

The Company’s ultra-small solar cells measure less than ¼ the size of a grain of rice, are fabricated using environmentally-friendly hydrogen-carbon based materials, and successfully produce electricity, as demonstrated in a published peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy of the American Institute of Physics.

“Our use of these new, readily available and easy-to-apply ultra-small solar cells marks an important advance over the early research and development of our transparent photovoltaic SolarWindow technology, and directly addresses numerous commercial and technical limitations posed by conventional materials, including thin films, polycrystalline solar cells, and silicon,” stated Mr. Meetesh V. Patel, Esq., President and CEO of New Energy Technologies, Inc.

“I’m particularly impressed by the potential application of this technology in areas where direct exposure to sunlight is limited or unavailable, since these ultra-small solar cells have demonstrated a special ability to generate electricity in both natural and artificial light conditions.”

Unlike other solar technologies, New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells generate electricity not only from the visible light spectrum found in sunlight but also by using the visible light found in artificial light, such as fluorescent lighting typically installed in offices and commercial buildings.

Commercially, while the majority of today’s solar cells can only be installed where direct sunlight is available, New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells can be installed anywhere that direct sunlight or artificial lighting such as fluorescent systems emit visible light.

Ultra-Small Solar Cells: Generating Electricity on Transparent Glass

New Energy’s SolarWindow technology makes use of ultra-small solar cells which allows for the fabrication of solar arrays on a broad range of substrate materials such as glass, plastic, and even paper. Made of natural polymers which can be dissolved into liquid for easy application, these ultra-small solar cells do not require expensive and complicated high-temperature or high-vacuum production techniques common to other solar coatings.

Article here.

World’s first battery fuelled by air?

May 30, 2009

“Scientists say the revolutionary ‘STAIR’ (St Andrews Air) battery could now pave the way for a new generation of electric cars, laptops and mobile phones.

The cells are charged in a traditional way but as power is used or ‘discharged’ an open mesh section of battery draws in oxygen from the surrounding air.

This oxygen reacts with a porous carbon component inside the battery, which creates more energy and helps to continually ‘charge’ the cell as it is being discharged.

By replacing the traditional chemical constituent, lithium cobalt oxide, with porous carbon and oxygen drawn from the air, the cell is much lighter than current batteries.

And as the cycle of air helps re-charge the battery as it is used, it has a greater storage capacity than other similar-sized cells and can emit power up to 10 times longer.

Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews, said: “The benefits are it’s much smaller and lighter so better for transporting small applications.

“The size is also crucial for anyone trying to develop electric cars as they want to keep weight down as much as possible.

“Storage is also important in the development of green power. You need to store electricity because wind and solar power is intermittent.”

Report: Climate change crisis ‘catastrophic’ kills 300,000 each year

May 29, 2009

LONDON, England (CNN) — The first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change warns the world is in the throes of a “silent crisis” that is killing 300,000 people each year.

More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns.

“Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” said the forum’s president, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a statement accompanying the report’s release in London Friday, Annan said that it gave the world a glimpse of a grim future if Member States fail to reach a “global, effective, fair and binding” outcome on climate change at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.

“I hope that all Member States will go to Copenhagen with the political will to sign up to an ambitious agreement to tackle climate change,” he said. “As this report shows, the alternative is greater risk of starvation, migration and sickness on a massive scale.”

The report’s startling numbers are based on calculations that the earth’s atmosphere is currently warming by 0.74 degrees celcius. The Global Humanitarium Forum says that temperatures will rise by almost two degrees celcius, regardless of what’s agreed in Copenhagen.

“No matter what,” the report concludes, “the suffering documented in this report is only the beginning.” A rise of two degrees, it says, “would be catastrophic.”

Of the 300,000 lives being lost each year due to climate change, the report finds nine out of 10 are related to “gradual environmental degradation,” and that deaths caused by climate-related malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria outnumber direct fatalaties from weather-related disasters.

Article here.

Blind Pilot: NPR Video Sessions

May 29, 2009

One of the highlights from the weekend

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Sasquatch! Music Festival 2009 at the Gorge

May 21, 2009

This, in my opinion, is the greatest music festival in the land.  Making my trip to Seattle tomorrow, then off to the Gorge for my third annual.  Check it out here.

Check out my garden

May 21, 2009

This started as a jasmine bush and a lot of grass.  We got some reclaimed redwood and a lot of compost and made it into a garden.  It’s all organic.  I’ll keep updating on the progress.  Check it out…

Cornershop – The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History In The Making)” – MP3 – Stereogum

May 20, 2009

Haven’t heard from these guys in awhile. Their 1997 album ‘When I was born for the 7th time’ was one of my favorites when it first came out and is still good for a listen.

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Underrated Technologies: Phytoremediation

May 19, 2009

Phytoremediation is a form of bioremediation, where plants are used to sequester or biodegrade environmental contaminants. The technology has undergone some extensive development in recent years, and numerous successes reported for removal of arsenic, nickel, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides and other metals and chemicals, from soil and ground water. Bioremediation is a form of biotechnology often overlooked. However, as we learn more about plant genetics and are able to produce more transgenic plants, this technology may move closer to the forefront of green technologies.

Here.

U.S. to require 42 mpg for new cars

May 19, 2009

New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions, sources said Monday.

Here.

Universities generate electricity in the gym

May 19, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. – As she pedaled an elliptical exercise machine at the University of Oregon, Wen Lee’s face lit up like the light bulbs she was powering.

“I could run my television with this,” the environmental studies graduate student said between breaths, making the three bulbs on the stand in front of her glow brighter as part of a demonstration of renewable people power.

The University of Oregon — one of its school colors is, after all, green — is the latest in a growing number of college campuses and exercise clubs across the country where workouts produce watts.

Splitting the $14,000 cost with the local utility, Eugene Water and Electric Board, the school has retrofitted 20 Precor elliptical machines to generate electricity using technology from ReRev.com of St. Petersburg, Fla. The power from each machine in the Student Recreation Center goes through a converter that turns DC into AC, and a meter to keep track before it flows into the grid.

Article here.