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Soil Bacteria Might Increase Learning

May 26, 2010

Inhalation of mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil, temporarily doubled the speed of mice navigation of a maze.

Soil ‘ultra-bugs’ thrive on a diet of antibiotics

April 4, 2008

Harvard University researchers have found that some soil bacteria can survive on a diet of antibiotics.

They are concerned the bacteria might pass drug resistance to pathogenic relatives.

Soitec announces major U.S. solar power project

March 11, 2011

Soitec (Euronext Paris) has announced that its Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology has been selected by Tenaska Solar Ventures to produce 150 megawatts (MW) of clean energy for San Diego Gas & Electric.

The new CPV solar power plant, named Imperial Solar Energy Center (ISEC) West, will be constructed on a 1057-acre site in Southern California’s western Imperial County, expected to be completed in 2015. To support the project,… read more

Solar achieves grid parity in India and Italy, others to follow in 2014

April 8, 2013

Solar panels

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have predicted that the global solar PV sector will transition from a subsidized market to a sustainable market within a year, citing the arrival of “grid parity” in a number of key markets, unexpectedly strong demand and rebounding margins, reports Renew Economy.

The Deutsche Bank team said key markets such as India, China and the U.S. are experiencing strong demand and solar… read more

Solar at grid parity in most of the world within 2 years

January 13, 2015

solar capacity adds ft

In their 2015 solar outlook, investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity (when an alternative energy source cost is lower or equal to that of electricity from the electrical grid) in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, Renew Economy notes.

That’s because grid-based electricity prices are rising across the world… read more

Solar bursts could threaten Global Positioning System

April 5, 2007

The Global Positioning System may be threatened by powerful solar flares, a panel of scientists warned yesterday.

The cause for their concern, according to David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service, was an unexpected solar radio burst on Dec. 6 that affected virtually every GPS receiver on the lighted half of earth. Some receivers had a reduction in accuracy while others completely lost the ability to determine… read more

Solar cell breakthrough claimed

December 7, 2006

A breakthrough in solar cell technology promises to make solar power a cost-competitive energy option and to reduce U.S. dependence on oil.

With funding from the Department of Energy, Boeing-Spectrolab has managed to create a solar cell with 40.7 percent sunlight-to-energy conversion efficiency, said DoE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy Alexander Karsner.

Solar cell speeds hydrogen production

February 19, 2008

Pennsylvania State University researchers built a solar cell that mimics photosynthesis to make hydrogen directly from water.

The device works much like a Gratzel solar cell, using sunlight to knock electrons off dye molecules, but instead of creating a current, the electrons are shuttled from the dye into a catalyst to split water molecules. The device splits water a thousand times faster than in other dye-based cells.

The… read more

Solar cells feel the butterfly effect

February 16, 2009

Jiao Tong University scientists have produced a titanium dioxide deposit derived from the Paris peacock butterfly to make a solar cell photoanode with 10 per cent higher efficiency than normal.

Solar cells get a boost from bouncing light

August 1, 2011

Engineers from the University of Minnesota have improved the efficiency of a type of solar cell by as much as 26 percent.

These cells, known as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), are made of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a photosensitive material that is less expensive than the more traditional silicon solar cells, which are rapidly approaching the theoretical limit of their efficiency.… read more

Solar cells in smartphone screens

January 19, 2012

To extend the time between cellphone charges, researchers at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, built a prototype device that converts ambient light into electricity, using an array of solar cells made of thin-film hydrogenated amorphous silicon that sits below the display. It can also harness wasted light that escapes at the edges of  displays.

Solar cells more efficient than photosynthesis — for now

May 13, 2011

Legacy Biochemistry I: Light Saturation

Solar cells are currently more efficient at converting light to energy than plants, but that will change with synthetic biology and genetic engineering, Robert Blankenship of Washington University and colleagues argue in an article in the latest issue of Science.

In a detailed analysis, they compare the pros and cons of photosynthesis and solar cells. Plants are naturally less efficient because they must power a… read more

Solar cells that can be recycled

March 27, 2013

Photograph of a solar cell fabricated at Georgia Tech on nanocellulose substrates derived from trees. Photo courtesy of Canek Fuentes-Hernandez

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees.

By fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates, the solar cells can be quickly recycled in water at the end of their lifecycle.

The technology is published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers report that the organic solar cells reach a… read more

Solar Cells That Work All Day

April 17, 2007

Georgia Tech Research Institute researchers have developed solar cells designed to operate at relatively high efficiencies during much of the day.

Its surface consists of hundreds of thousands of 100-micrometer-high towers that catch light at many angles.

A first application is powering spacecraft and satellites, which could benefit from solar cells that don’t require a failure-prone mechanical means of moving the orientation of the cell to keep it… read more

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

March 17, 2015

Parabolic trough mirrors used for steam generation in concentrated solar power plants (credit: NOAA)

Carnegie Science researchers have found that the amount of energy that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state’s demand by up to five times.

“Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact,” according to Carnegie’s Rebecca R. Hernandez (now at… read more

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