Three-Dimensional, Hidden Solar Cell

Using zinc oxide nanostructures grown on optical fibers and coated with dye-sensitized solar cell materials, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new type of three-dimensional photovoltaic system. The approach could allow PV systems to be hidden from view and located away from traditional locations such as rooftops.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power

Transparent Insulating Film Could Enable Energy-Efficient Displays

Johns Hopkins materials scientists have found a new use for a chemical compound traditionally viewed as an electrical conductor (a substance that allows electricity to flow through it). By orienting the compound differently, the researchers have turned it into a thin film insulator, which blocks the flow of electricity but can induce large electric currents elsewhere.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency

Is technology making people too self-absorbed?

This week’s question concerns the impact technology is having on society. Technology has made it possible for people to share every aspect of their lives - both the good and the bad – with the entire world. The insatiable desire of some people to reach out and touch each other has made Web sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube phenomenally successful. Now a UK-based company called Vicon is developing a small camera, called the ViconRevue, that can be worn around the neck and automatically take pictures every 30 seconds, virtually documenting every moment of your life. The pendant-size camera, which was originally designed to help Alzheimer’s patients, can store about 30,000 images on a 1GB memory card and should be in stores next year. Fans of the concept think it’s the coolest tech-toy since the camera phone, while critics call it proof-positive that society as a whole is becoming too self-absorbed.

What do you think? Is technology making people too self-absorbed?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Research: Reducing Energy Consumption in Street Lighting

Experts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) estimate that about half of the approximately 13 million streetlights in the U.S. have the opportunity to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent - translating to an annual savings of 1 billion kWh, and a reduction in power plant CO2 emissions of 546,000 tons per year.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Lighting

Thin-film Thermal Charger

Nextreme Thermal Solutions (Durham, NC) and Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (Denver, CO) offer a thermal charger that can continuously recharge the IPS THINERGYTM Micro-Energy Cell (MEC) using an eTEG thermoelectric power generator from Nextreme. Storing energy harvested from waste heat using thermoelectrics enables an alternative energy source for various autonomous applications.

Posted in: GDM, Products, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Storage, Thermoelectrics

Engineers Envision Cheaper Algae Oil Production

Compared to soybeans that produce 50 gallons of oil an acre a year, some algae can average 6,000 gallons - but it's not cheap to produce. Two Kansas State University engineers are assessing systematic production methods that could lower the costs of algae oil production. They plan to grow algae in the ocean on very large, supporting platforms.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing

Robotic Fish Can Swim, Maneuver, and Monitor Water Quality

Michigan State University researchers are developing robots that use advanced materials to swim like fish and gather precise data on aquatic conditions. The robotic fish will carry sensors recording things like temperature, dissolved oxygen, pollutants, and harmful algae.

Posted in: GDM, News, Videos, News, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing

Will Microsoft’s Windows 7 succeed?

This week’s question concerns Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft released the new operating system last week to generally more favorable reviews than its bug-laden, slow-selling Vista predecessor. While Microsoft claims Windows 7 resolves many of Vista’s flaws, skeptics contend the software giant faces stiffening competition from Apple and open-source software based on Linux, as well as reluctance from users of older Windows versions to upgrade.

What do you think? Will Microsoft’s Windows 7 succeed? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Harvesting Energy from Regular, Day-to-Day Motions

Duke University engineers have developed a novel approach that they believe can more efficiently harvest electricity from the motions of everyday life. Although motion is an abundant source of energy, only limited success has been achieved because the devices used only perform well over a narrow band of frequencies.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Storage, Hydroelectric Power, Renewable Energy

Permeable Pavement and Reducing Water Runoff

Paved parking lots and driveways often create an easy pathway for pollutants to reach underground water sources and change the natural flow of water back into the ground. Today, EPA announced a study that will investigate ways to reduce pollution that can run off paved surfaces and improve how water filters back into the ground.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.