New Efficiency Record for Organic Solar Cells

Imec, Polyera, and Solvay have achieved a new world-record efficiency of 8.3% for polymer-based single junction organic solar cells in an inverted device stack. These performance results represent a crucial step towards successful commercialization of organic photovoltaic cells.

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

Micro-Cavity Arrays - Lighting the Way to the Future

A research team funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has pioneered the use of micro-plasmas in a revolutionary approach to illumination, and doctors Gary Eden and Sung-Jin Park of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have founded Eden Park Illumination, Inc. to bring this new lighting technology to the world.

Posted in: News, News, Power Management, LEDs, Lighting, Materials

Fully Printed Carbon Nanotube Transistor Circuits for Displays

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED)-based displays are used in cell phones, digital cameras, and other portable devices. But developing a lower-cost method for mass-producing such displays has been complicated by the difficulties of incorporating thin-film transistors that use amorphous silicon and polysilicon into the production process.

Posted in: News, News, Electronic Components, Lighting, OLEDs, Materials

Will a wider integration of robotic drone aircraft do more harm than good?

This week's Question: In January, the Federal Aviation Administration plans to outline new rules for the use of small drones, a first step in allowing police departments, farmers, and other agencies to employ the technology. The drones could be used for air support to spot criminals, monitor pipelines, or even spray crops, for example. The FAA has issued 266 active testing permits for civilian drone applications, but hasn't permitted wide-scale drone use in national airspace out of concern that the pilotless craft lack adequate "detect, sense and avoid" technology to prevent midair collisions. Other concerns include privacy and the ways that criminals and terrorists could use the devices. What do you think? Will a wider integration of robotic drone aircraft do more harm than good?

Posted in: Question of the Week

How Terrain and Turbine Placement Affect Wind Energy Production

A miniature turbine measuring just 10 inches high is helping a research team led by Hui Hu - an Iowa State University associate professor of aerospace engineering - understand how hills, valleys, and the placement of turbines affect the productivity of onshore wind farms.

Posted in: News, News, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

Low-Power Quantum Computers

By 2017, quantum physics will help reduce the energy consumption of computers and cellular phones by up to a factor of 100. For research and industry, the power consumption of transistors is a key issue. The next step will likely come from tunnel-FET, a technology that takes advantage of a phenomenon referred to as quantum tunneling. At the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, research is well underway.

Posted in: News, News, Computers, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy Efficiency

Voltage Increases Observed in Closely Packed Nanowires

Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25 percent in two barely separated nanowires have been observed at Sandia National Laboratories. Designers of next-generation devices using nanowires to deliver electric currents — including batteries and certain solar arrays — may need to make allowances for such surprise boosts.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Energy Efficiency, Solar Power, Test & Measurement

Evaluating Electrical Performance and Grid Integration of Vehicle-to-Grid Applications

Researchers at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have released a technical report that documents a series of test procedures designed to enable engineers, designers, and utilities to evaluate the performance of various electric vehicles and hybrids to optimize how they connect with electric utility grids today – and smart grids in the future.

Posted in: GDM, News, News

Are geo-engineering efforts a promising way to address climate change?

This week's Question: A report released last week in London and addressed at the U.N. climate conference in South Africa said that reflecting a small amount of sunlight back into space before it strikes the Earth's surface would theoretically have an immediate effect on the planet's climate. This kind of geo-engineering and solar radiation management, some say, would be a more cost-effective and efficient way to combat global warming, and would be less disruptive of business activity. Geo-engineering the planet's climate, however, needs further research, and skeptics say that political concerns and unknown side effects, including changing weather patterns and rainfall, are too much of a risk. What do you think? Are geo-engineering efforts a promising way to address climate change?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Thinner Thermal Insulation for Better Energy Savings

In order to lower energy costs, more and more homeowners are investing in insulation facades. But the typical insulation layers on the market have one drawback: they add bulk. The thick outer skin changes the building’s visual appearance and can result in significant follow-up costs – with a need to fit new, deeper window sills and sometimes even roof extensions.

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

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