Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Solar Cell Breakthrough Could Lead to Extremely Efficient Yet Cheap Solar Cells

Netherlands (TGW) – The avalanche effect by electrons in fact does occur in specific, very small semiconducting crystals, according to researchers TU Delft in the Netherlands. This discovery could pave the way for cheap, high-output solar cells.

Cool looking solar thermal panels
One possible improvement to current solar cells could be solar cells manufactured from semiconducting extremely small crystals. Conventional solar cells can produce exactly one light particle (a photon) can release exactly one energy particle (an electron).

In some semiconducting crystals, however, one photon can release two or three electrons, hence the term avalanche effect. According to the researchers, solar cells with these crystals can be manufactured relatively cheaply.

This could theoretically lead to solar cell efficiency of 44%, much higher than today’s solar cell’s. The current record for solar cell efficiency is 42.8%, but the average efficiency for commercial solar cells is around 14-19%.

Via :: Press Release

Saturday, May 24, 2008

World's First Floating Wind Turbine to be Built in Norway in 2009

Norway (TGW) StatoilHydro, a Norwegian oil company, has announced plans for the first offshore floating wind turbine.

norway world's first floating wind turbine
The 2.3-megawatt, $80 million turbine, a Siemens machine that is 65 meters high, will sit atop a buoy tied down by three anchors.

There are currently many offshore wind turbines and wind farms, but this would be the first one that floats like an oil rig. These turbines have the advantage of having the ability of being far out at sea and allay the NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) problem.

It will be tested starting in 2009 off the coast of Norway.

Via :: EcoFuss

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Queen of England Buys World's Largest Wind Turbine

UK (TGW) – Queen Elizabeth II of the UK has bought the world’s largest wind turbine.

The turbine, at 492 feet high, will produce 7.5 megawatts a year.

The deal was between the Crown Estate and Clipper Windpower.

Via :: Press Release

Thursday, May 15, 2008

20 Cities, Islands and Countries Threatened By Global Warming

Over at ProTraveller, they've compiled a list of 20 places threatened by global warming:

The earth is getting warmer and warmer with each year that passes and that means we're going to see some significant changes in the land around us. For a few lucky places, global warming means positive things. For example, British Columbia is hoping that the extra few temperature points could mean a more Mediterranean climate that will boost their wine business and take industry away from wine hot spots like the South of France and the United States' Napa Valley. However, a great number of places aren't going to be nearly so lucky.

Definitely worth a look

Gas Prices Too High for Old Pumps

U.S. (TGW) – Some U.S. gas stations with older pumps say their pump’s prices can’t go high enough for current gas prices past $4 a gallon.

Though most stations have computerized digital gas pumps, older mechanical pumps can only handle prices up to $3.99.

One side of the central pump at Bender's Oil Service in Lebanon is out of service because there is no 4 in the dollar column -- the pump can only handle prices up to $3.99.

"So we shut that side right down," said Kurt Kozikowski of Bender's Oil. "Now, luckily the rest of the pumps can go up to $5.99."

New pumps can cost up to $15,000 each and refurbished ones an upwards of $3,000.

"I remember when I used to get three gallons for a dollar," said resident Gene Bergeron. "The pumps couldn't handle $2 back then."

An Avon company that refurbishes pumps said it has about 1,700 of the pumps in its show and a 14-week backlog on orders.

Via :: WFSB

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google, Oil Giants Invest $115 Mil in Solar Startup

California (TGW) – BrightSource Energy has announced that it has raised $115 million from a group of investors that include Google.org and oil giants Chevron and BP.


In April, Google invested $130 million in eSolar.

BrightSource has developed a new solar technology, dubbed distributed power tower, that focuses fields of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats on a tower containing a water-filled boiler. The sun’s rays superheat the water and the resulting steam drives an electricity-generating turbine.

Via :: Green Wombat

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Electric Vehicle from Nissan could be Released before the Volt

Nissan HQ (TGW) – Nissan plans to release an electric car by 2010, which could make it the first major automaker to market with an electric car in the United States.

If the all electric vehicle was released by 2010, there is the very likely possibility it would be unveiled before the Chevy Volt, currently the electric car with the most publicity.

The company said it was looking at a range of electric models starting with small city cars, but eventually including minivans, crossovers, and commercial vehicles.

Via :: CNET

Monday, May 12, 2008

Floating Solar Lily Pads on Clyde River Could Collect Energy

UK (TGW) – Large lily shaped solar panels floating on the River Clyde could soon be used to collect solar energy.

The concept, from ZM Architecture, has been sent to city council with the hope of approval for a trial project.

The firm said the design of the lilypads was "inspired by nature" and they could be tethered to the river bed. Integrated motors would then rotate the discs to follow the sun for maximum efficiency.

Via :: BBC

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cleaner Air Could Kill the Amazon. Wait, What?

Amazon (TGW) – Cleaner air due to fewer coal fired power plants could destroy the Amazon by the end of this century, according to researchers.

Reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by power plants causes increased sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic, which boosts drought risk in the Amazon.

"Generally pollution is a bad thing but in this case improving the air may have ironically led to a drying of the Amazon," said Peter Cox, a researcher at the University of Exeter in Britain, who led the study.

The researchers used a climate-carbon model to simulate the impacts of future climate change on the Amazon and compared it to data from a 2005 drought that devastated a large chunk of the rainforest. They estimated that by 2025 a drought on the same scale could happen every other year and by 2060 such a crisis could hit nine out of every ten years -- enough to turn the rainforest into savannah grassland, Cox said.

The Amazon holds one tenth of the world’s carbon dioxide.

Via :: Reuters

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ethanol Waiver Could Spike Gas Prices to $4.71 a Gallon

Texas (TGW) – A proposal by Texas Governor Rick Perry to waive half of the renewable fuel standard for ethanol could spike the price of a gallon of gas to $4.71.

corn ethanolGov. Perry’s proposal would require half as much ethanol to be produced in order to inject more corn into the food supply. The ethanol industry group Renewable Fuels Association

"It would add a bit over $1.10 a gallon to gasoline in the short term because you've got to go out and replace that 4.5 billion gallons of ethanol,” said John Urbanchuk, the director of industry analysis group LECG.

Missouri is also considering a waiver.

Via :: Reuters

Sunday, May 4, 2008

World's Largest Solar Farm in California to Power 190,000 Homes

California (TGW) – OptiSolar has announced plans to build the world’s largest solar photovoltaic farm 100 miles north of Los Angeles.


The planned farm would create 550 megawatts of power, about the same as a coal fired power plant, and enough electricity for the equivalent of 190,000 homes.

OptiSolar's thin-film silicon photovoltaics can be placed close to the ground without needing a dramatic tilt, according to the company. OptiSolar says it uses about 1 percent of the silicon of competing crystalline systems, with nontoxic and recyclable equipment made largely of glass, metal, and concrete.

If the project is approved, construction will start in 2010.

Via :: Press Release (PDF)

Friday, May 2, 2008

The World's 9 Biggest Clean-Energy Projects

In Pictures: The World's Biggest Clean-Energy Projects, from Forbes.com. Check it out.