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Using Steam Engine Technology for Power Storage

Written by , on November 30, 2013

A group of Australian engineers has formed a company, Terrajule, to develop a novel energy storage solution. The Terrajoule system combines concentrated solar thermal energy, steam engines and an integrated storage system using an insulated pressure vessel. The concentrated solar thermal energy is used to produce steam. Since it is impractical to store steam for […]  Read more »

Falling Particle Solar Thermal Power

Written by , on September 17, 2013

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and partner institutions, are using a falling particle receiver to more efficiently convert the sun's energy to electricity in large-scale, concentrating solar power plants. The falling particle receiver developed at Sandia drops sand-like ceramic particles through a beam of concentrated sunlight and captures and stores the heated […]  Read more »

Solar – a $77 billion Industry

Written by , on August 21, 2013

Bollomberg has created this short video of facts about the state of the solar industry. It emphasises how global solar energy capacity has soared in the past 5 years yet Earth's most abundant energy source still provides only a fraction of our total energy.  Read more »

Peru Using Solar to Give Electricity to the Poor

Written by , on July 23, 2013

Peru has begun a new program that will use solar panels to provide electricity to more than two million of its poorest citizens. Only two-thirds of the country's population of more than 24 million currently has access to electricity. Energy and Mining Minister, Jorge Merino, says that the program will allow 95% of Peru to […]  Read more »

Hybrid Solar-Wind Turbine

Written by , on July 12, 2013

SME McCamley Middle East Ltd, togeher with engineers at the University of Bath, have developed a new hybrid technology that integrates wind and solar power generation – the wind turbine blades are encased in an outer frame, which is topped with solar cells. The turbines are designed to be mounted on buildings and in built-up […]  Read more »

Nanocellulose – 2. Recyclable Solar Cells

Written by , on April 22, 2013

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells on cellulose nanocrystal substrates. The cellulose substrates and made from plants and can be easily recycled at the end of their life. To date, organic solar cells have usually been fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither of these is easy to recycle […]  Read more »

Sahara Forest Project Progress

Written by , on April 13, 2013

Back in 2008, we wrote about the Sahara Forest Project – a plan to use solar power and seawater desalination to produce renewable energy, food and water in an area of desert. As shown in this video, the first fully operational pilot plant has now been built.  A documentary about the people and progress of […]  Read more »

New Material for More Efficient, Ultra-thin Solar Cells

Written by , on February 13, 2013

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have discovered that a class of materials, called oxide heterostructures, can be used to create a new kind of extremely efficient ultra-thin solar cell. Professor Karsten Held from the Institute for Solid State Physics at Vienna University of Technology explained that "Single atomic layers of different oxides are […]  Read more »

Offshore Solar

Written by , on November 12, 2012

KEMA, the Energy and Sustainability division of the Norwegian risk management foundation DNV, has put forward a proposal for floating offshore solar farms. Dubbed SUNdy, the core feature of the concept is a hexagonal array which floats on the sea surface. A collection of these arrays, totaling 4,200 solar panels, forms a solar island the […]  Read more »

Solar Tracking without Motors

Written by , on October 7, 2012

Hongrui Jiang, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has developed a passive method, combining the properties of unique materials, of re-orienting solar panels in the direction of the most direct sunlight. Current solar tracking systems use GPS and electrical motors to reposition solar panels towards the sun. Professor Jiang's […]  Read more »