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September 21, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
Using oil to produce flexible nano enabled polymers that generate electricity from the sun is certainly a higher and better use than burning such complex hydrocarbons in cumbustion engines. This is the innovation upon which Massachestts based Konarka is building its company.
With funding from investors Silicon Valley Bank, Chevron, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and a host of venture capital firms, Power Plastic (tm) might actually get to market.
Guess who is getting a first crack at this new technology? Why the military of course! Currently Plastic Power is being developed for portable, electric-generating quonset huts. Other military applications include battery charging on the battlefield, remote power for unmanned vehicles and soldiers, and solar-powered sensor networks.
Konarka also envisions using the power-generating capabilities of Power Plastic(tm) to structures including tents, awnings, roofs, windows and window coverings. And they plan to be the power supply of choice for consumer electronics such as cell phones and portable music players as well as business products such as PDAs, and laptops.
There are no hard specs or effeciency analyses on the company's website as far as I can tell.
The big breakthrough lies in the claim that the photo reactive material is lightweight, coatable, flexible, more versatile, printable and uses ubiquitous roll-to-roll, easy to scale manufacturing technology. All this is supposed to translate to truly affordable photvoltaics.
No wonder they won the 2005 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award among numerous others.
August 28, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
The Boeing Company has signed a contract to provide 600,000 solar concentrator cells to SolFocus, Inc., a California-based renewable energy company that is developing renewable terrestrial energy alternatives.
Under the 12-month contract from SolFocus, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., Spectrolab will build and deliver 600,000 solar concentrator cells that will be used to convert the sun's rays into affordable electricity for homes and businesses. The cells produced for SolFocus will be capable of generating more than 10 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 4,000 U.S. homes. With the average solar cell efficiency above 35 percent at concentration, Spectrolab's concentrator photovoltaic cells generate electricity at a rate that can be more economical than electricity generated from conventional, flat panel photovoltaic systems.
A significant advantage of concentrator systems is that fewer solar cells are required to achieve a specific power output, thus replacing large areas of semiconductor materials with relatively inexpensive optics that provide optical concentration. The slightly higher cost of multi-junction cells is offset by the use of fewer cells. Due to the higher efficiency of multi-junction cells used in the concentrator modules, only a small fraction of the cell area is required to generate the same power output compared to crystalline silicon or thin-film, flat-plate modules.
August 20, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
Chinese developers unveiled the world's first full-permanent magnetic levitation (Maglev) wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing. Magnetic levitation, maglev, or magnetic suspension is a method by which an object is suspended above another object with no support other than magnetic fields. The electromagnetic force is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational force.
August 20, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
A set of prototype solar concentrators installed in Lesotho. (Courtesy of Amy Mueller.)
"The basic design of Orosz's solar generator system is simple: a parabolic trough (taking up 15 square meters in this case) focuses light on a pipe containing motor oil. The oil circulates through a heat exchanger, turning a refrigerant into steam, which drives a turbine that, in turn, drives a generator."
"The refrigerant is then cooled in two stages. The first stage recovers heat to make hot water or, in one design, to power an absorption process chiller, like the propane-powered refrigerators in RVs. The solar-generated heat would replace or augment the propane flame used in these devices. The second stage cools the refrigerant further, which improves the efficiency of the system, Orosz says. This stage will probably use cool groundwater pumped to the surface using power from the generator. The water can then be stored in a reservoir for drinking water."
"The design uses readily available parts and tools. For example, both the feed pump and steam turbine are actually power-steering pumps used in cars and trucks. To generate electricity, the team uses an alternator, which is not as efficient as an ordinary generator, but comes already designed to charge a battery, which reduces some of the complexity of the system. And, like power-steering pumps, alternators, including less-expensive reconditioned ones, are easy to come by."
"As a result, the complete system for generating one kilowatt of electricity and 10 kilowatts of heat, including a battery for storing the power generated, can be built for a couple thousand dollars, Orosz says, which is less than half the cost of one kilowatt of photovoltaic panels."
August 04, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
March 13, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM
According to Treehugger:
Trials were carried out at the end of last year and with the results XCO2 say that the Quiet Revolution will be capable of producing 10,000 kWh per year based on an average wind speed of 5.8 m/s. "If you had two of them that would satisfy the 10% renewable energy requirement for a 1200 square-metre office building," says their marketing director Julia Grove.
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