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Articles tagged with: energy

WATER, WOOD »

[13 Jul 2011 | One Comment | 4,256 views]
I Heart MIT’s New Flexible, Printable Solar Cells

My desk at work sits across from an ancient beige laser printer the size of a Volkswagen, which pretty much unceasingly spews toner particles, artfully arranged on tabloid- and letter-sized sheets of paper, out of its graceless plastic maw. I bring this up because the adjacency has driven me to resent general workday printing even more than the occasional trip to the plotter (which, if you have never tangled with a large-format printer, makes a fourteen hour trip on Aeroflot sound appealing by comparison).
I resent the noise of the printer, …

WATER »

[8 Jul 2011 | No Comment | 5,961 views]
New Nanomaterial Makes Adsorption Chilling Even Cooler!

It’s that time of year again when the mercury climbs just above 100 degrees every single day and it’s so hot that the sun obliterates any clouds brash enough to assemble themselves with the intent to produce rain.  Everything is wilted, melted, bleached out, overswept by a hot wind that makes the tail end of a jet engine seem like a lovely place with a calm and refreshing breeze.
So given these conditions, it will come as no surprise that researchers led by Peter McGrail out of the Pacific Northwest National …

WOOD »

[8 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 5,916 views]
Tensotherm with Nanogel: for Light, Insulated Tensile Roof Structures

Despite the fact that I usually run away screaming when faced with difficult calculations, I loved my structures classes in school. I liked building and destroying model bridges and learning how to manage earthquakes, but what I loved the most was thinking about tension and compression because I could feel those forces act on my body.
No really – it isn’t like learning about the War of Jenkins Ear, where you have to imagine being alive in the 1700’s and fighting with a large group of Spanish and British soldiers and …

FIRE »

[27 Apr 2011 | No Comment | 2,736 views]
MIT Scientists Enlist an Army of Viruses to Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

For a long time I believed all viruses to be evil due to their pernicious habits: causing common colds, infecting people and spreading influenza and other viral diseases, and wiping out hard drives with grim efficiency.  A group of researchers at MIT decided to give viruses a chance to show a softer side, and they found out that “going viral” can benefit solar cell technology by improving its efficiency by one third.
Scientists have been working with carbon nanotubes (essentially, rolled up sheets of graphene) to encourage solar cells to convert …

FIRE »

[5 Apr 2011 | One Comment | 3,479 views]
Power your Home – Turn Over a New (Solar Cell) Leaf!

Here in the northern hemisphere (especially here in the lower latitudes) Winter is receding and Spring is hopping in on little rabbit feet.  What this means, of course, is that we’re all sneezing, snuffling, and sniffling due to the staggering amount of pollen flying around in the air we breathe.  Through a fuzzy haze of allergy medication, my itchy red eyes are finally able to gaze at blooming flowers and gorgeous green leaves emerging at last from miniscule buds on tree branches.  The leaves are gearing up to perform the hard work of converting light energy into food – a task they …

FIRE, WATER »

[17 Feb 2011 | 3 Comments | 7,893 views]
Solve the Future Energy Crisis: Coat Everything with Solar Paint

To me a solar cell is kind of like a Lamborghini: difficult to acquire, difficult to maintain, and unless you’re extremely lucky, only semi-functional. Today’s solar cells only convert a small percentage of the energy from the sun into electricity, and that’s before they get dirty.  “It’s challenging to get high efficiencies of conversion. For example, the basic single junction solar cell is fundamentally limited to an efficiency of 30 percent. So, if you made a perfect solar cell, the highest efficiency would be 30 percent. Currently, manufacturing cells with anything near that …

FIRE, WATER »

[1 Jul 2010 | One Comment | 2,140 views]
Energy Recovery Wheels

The content of this post can be summed up in two lines from the song Wheel in the Sky, written and recorded by Journey in 1978, which I hope is now as firmly stuck in your head as it is in mine:
“The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’ / I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow”
Well, okay, I mostly know where I’ll be tomorrow (at the office) but there are a few hours between work and going to sleep tomorrow night that I’m going to play by ear.

Image credit www.moonbeammcqueen.wordpress.com
So now onward to our …

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