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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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Transmitting Data With LEDs

Regular light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can be turned into an optical wireless local area network (WLAN) with only a few additional components, thanks to visible light communication (VLC).

Posted in: News, Lighting, Data exchange, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Wireless communication systems, Data exchange, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Wireless communication systems
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Facade Systems to Harvest and Generate Light

Researchers from University of Michigan (U-M) have partnered with China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) to explore how high-efficiency smart facades can capture and store solar energy, and transmit its light while simultaneously controlling heat transmission.

Posted in: News, Lighting, Exterior lighting, Solar energy, Thermal management, Thermal management, Research and development
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Ongoing Power Performance Research to Advance Electromobility

The AutoTram® is as long as a streetcar and as maneuverable as a bus. It doesn’t need rails or overhead lines because it rolls on rubber tires and simply follows white lines on the street. In “Fraunhofer’s System Research for Electromobility,” the AutoTram® was used as an experimental platform. It was a component of the research collaboration of more than 30 of Germany's Fraunhofer institutes.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Transportation
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Will autonomous vehicles increase efficiency and make us safer?

This week's Question: Google has been testing its autonomous cars on public roads. The search giant's fleet of robotic Toyota Priuses has now logged more than 190,000 miles, driving in city traffic, busy highways, and mountainous roads, with only occasional human intervention. The Google team asserts that the smarter vehicles could help make transportation safer and more efficient. For example, cars could drive closer to each other, making better use of the empty space on roads, and also form speedy convoys on freeways. The vehicles would also react faster than humans to avoid accidents. Do you agree? Will autonomous vehicles increase efficiency and make us safer?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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Invention Saving Consumers Trillions of Watt Hours

A University of California, San Diego technology that significantly reduces the amount of energy wasted by chips in electronic devices has recently passed the trillion watt-hour milestone in energy savings, according to the technology’s current licensee, Tela Innovations.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency
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Record Voltage for Organic Solar Cells

Molecular Solar Ltd., a spinout company from the UK's University of Warwick, has have achieved a record voltage for organic photovoltaic cells - which means these highly flexible, low-cost solar cells can now be devolved for commercial uses in a wide range of consumer electronics.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Improving the Physics of Grocery Store Display Cases to Save Energy

Designing grocery display cases has a lot in common with aeronautical engineering. Refrigerated display cases shoot jets of air across their front openings, creating an invisible shield that aims to keep cold air in and warm air out. Current technology does this with limited success. Engineers at the University of Washington and Kettering University have found that tweaking the physics can reduce energy by as much as 15 percent.

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