Mars Technologies Spawn Durable Wind Turbines

A technology built for Mars supports the demand for clean energy on Earth. In the early 1990s, NASA was planning for an extended stay on Mars, and scientists at Ames Research Center were concentrating efforts on creating a complete ecological system to sustain human crew-members during their time on the Red Planet. The group started looking at maximizing energy efficiency and alternative methods to make power on a planet that is millions of miles from Earth. They turned to a hybrid concept combining two renewable sources: wind and solar power technologies. Large surface temperature swings on Mars produce windy conditions; extreme examples are the frequent dust storms that can block nearly all sunlight.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Wind Power, Sustainable development, Wind power


Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Over 24 hours from April 4 to 5, six top French design studios conceived and presented new product concepts for urban environments during the Small Spaces Design Hackathon, presented by Cut&Paste in partnership with Hewlett-Packard. In dense city neighborhoods, homes are small and office space is at a premium, so urban dwellers must be more creative in how they use their space. The design concepts were presented at Cyclone Le Studio as part of ZED, HP’s creative popup space.

Posted in: News, Electronics & Computers, PCs/Portable Computers, Power Management, Energy, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging, Lighting, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Software, Monitoring, Test & Measurement


Aircraft Engine Coating Could Triple Service Life and Save Fuel

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%. The hope is that motors with the new layers will be in production within two years. The surface layer is sprayed on top of the metal components. Thanks to this extra layer, the engine is shielded from heat. The temperature can also be raised, which leads to increased efficiency, reduced emissions, and decreased fuel consumption.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Ceramics, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Motion Control, Power Transmission, Nanotechnology


Switchable Material Absorbs and Stores Sun's Energy

A team at MIT and Harvard University has created a material that absorbs the sun’s heat and stores that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.The technology provides an opportunity for the expansion of solar power into new realms, specifically applications where heat is the desired output.“It could change the game, since it makes the sun’s energy, in the form of heat, storable and distributable,” says Jeffrey Grossman, the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering at MIT.SourceAlso: See other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials


Researchers Use Sun to Produce Solar-Energy Materials

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce solar energy materials.This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed production processes, use environmentally benign materials, and make the sun a “one-stop shop” that produces both the materials for solar devices and the energy to power them.The work is based on the use of a “continuous flow” microreactor to produce nanoparticle inks that make solar cells by printing. In this process, simulated sunlight is focused on the solar microreactor to rapidly heat it, while allowing precise control of temperature to aid the quality of the finished product. The light in these experiments was produced artificially, but the process could be done with direct sunlight, and at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.SourceAlso: Read other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Nanotechnology


Using Lightning to Measure Health of Power Grids

When power switches or lightning create high voltage currents, power companies view it as a problem. These so-called natural transients have the power to destroy components and cause disturbances along the transmission line.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Storage


NASA-Funded Research Converts Waste Heat to Electricity

Scientists have long attempted to convert the enormous amounts of waste heat generated by power plants, data centers, and cars into electricity via thermoelectric power generators (TEPGs). Scientists know how to convert waste heat into electricity. The problem is how to do so in an efficient manner using a material that justifies the cost of the conversion process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Renewable Energy


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