News

Adapted Antennas Harness More Power From the Sun

A research team from Tel Aviv University is working on a solar panel composed of nano-antennas instead of semiconductors. By adapting classic metallic antennas to absorb light waves at optical frequencies, a much higher conversion rate from light into useable energy can be achieved.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Plastics, Antennas
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A Step Forward for Bioremediation

Berkeley Lab researchers have revealed critical genetic secrets of a bacterium that holds potential for removing toxic and radioactive waste from the environment. The researchers have provided the first ever map of the genes that determine how these bacteria interact with their surrounding environment.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies
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Design Competition for Portable Solar Power

Today, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (Thornton, CO) - a developer of lightweight, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic modules - has announced the selection of seven teams that will begin designing prototypes for the Ascent Solar Innovative Design Competition.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Photosynthesis Helper Protein Discovered

Photosynthesis is less efficient in plants than it could be. Red algae, in contrast, use a slightly different mechanism and are thus more productive. Scientists from Germany's Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have now identified a helper protein for photosynthesis in red algae.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases
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Is the discovery of intelligent alien life unlikely?

This week's Question: Two recent ePetitions on a "We the People" petition site asked the government to acknowledge the presence of aliens. A reply from a research assistant from the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy emphasized that the government was actively looking for aliens, through the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project, the Kepler telescope and upcoming Mars science laboratory, but hadn't found any yet. "The odds of us making contact with any of them —especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved," he said. Do you agree? Given the distances involved, is the discovery of intelligent alien life unlikely?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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A Search Engine for Clean Energy Materials

For everything from batteries to photovoltaics, new materials are crucial to building a clean energy economy. To speed up the development cycle, Berkeley Lab and MIT researchers have teamed up to develop a new tool - called the Materials Project - which launches this month.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Thermoelectrics, Materials, Software
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Green Innovation - Awarded

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has won the 2011 GreenGov Presidential Award for Green Innovation. NREL’s Green Data Center was recognized for its innovative design that minimizes its energy footprint and reduces costs, without compromising service quality.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Government
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Affordable Solar Option for Power Plants

Solar thermal power plants - which use high temperatures and pressure generated by sunlight to produce turbine movement - are an environmentally-friendly alternative to standard power plants. But this can be expensive, especially when it comes to equipment made from expensive metals and the solar high-accuracy concentrator technology used to harvest solar energy.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Metals
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Composite Metamaterial for Solar Tech

A Northwestern University research team has developed a new material that absorbs a wide range of wavelengths and could lead to more efficient and less expensive solar technology. The researchers used two unconventional materials – metal and silicon oxide – to create thin but complex, trapezoid-shaped metal gratings on the nanoscale that can trap a wider range of visible light.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Metals, Semiconductors & ICs
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Will there be enough of a market to justify taxpayer investment in new, private space taxis?

This week's Question: Last week, leaders of various commercial space companies argued for the future of their industry in front of a House panel, as lawmakers questioned whether there would be enough of a market in space transportation and tourism to justify taxpayer investment in new, private vehicles. Some argue that if NASA is the only customer buying seats on these new spaceships, the government may someday be put in the position of bailing them out in order to preserve a national space transportation capability. Commercial executives, on the other hand, argued that their businesses would be successful even if NASA were their only customer, and also cited other potential sources of income, such as cargo transportation and satellite servicing, as well as selling rides to private citizens and astronauts from countries without their own space programs. What do you think? Will there be enough of a market to in new, private space taxis?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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