Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Solar Cell Inventor Wins Millennium Prize

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the fun-in-the-sun dept.

Power 147

adeelarshad82 writes "The inventor of a new type of solar cell won the Finnish state and industry-funded, €800,000 ($1.07 million), Millennium Technology Prize. According to the foundation, Michael Graetzel's dye-sensitized solar cells, known as Graetzel cells, could be a significant contributor to the future energy technologies due to their excellent price-performance ratio."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Decrease, not increase (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521098)

I still think we should decrease our use of energy, instead of inventing new ways to increase its production.

Dr. Pekka Paisti

Re:Decrease, not increase (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521126)

You are right. And naive.

Re:Decrease, not increase (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521198)

I still think we should decrease our use of energy, instead of inventing new ways to increase its production. Dr. Pekka Paisti

You are right. And naive.

Hmmm, what a funny two first posts. Both are totally correct, yet at polar opposites.

Yes, we should decrease the amount of power we use. I totally agree, yet, the chances of getting the average consumer to actually do so, keep dreaming. As long as people keep coming up with power hungry devices that people want (read: air conditioners, plasma TVs, faster PCs and just about every other imaginable device), people will in fact keep buying them. Will they pay vastly larger sums for them if they are power efficient? Unlikely, some might, most won't. Will they put up with lower/smaller/decreased functionality? Again, some might, most won't.

I totally support using less power (my own electricity bill for example comes from 100% wind energy, which costs a good deal more than normal coal fired here in Australia) but I welcome any steps that are taken to make the overall impact of the "sheep consumers" less on the environment.

Re:Decrease, not increase (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521544)

You're actually wrong. The sort of people who are upgrading computers and plasma screens (North Americans, Europeans and similar) are actually not increasing their per-capita energy use each year. They're the same people who are upgrading their insulation, light bulbs, etc.

All the increases in energy use is from the global poor, the people who are just now acquiring computers, light bulbs and cars. And I know that orthodox environmentalists disagree with me on this, because they're assholes and want the destitute to stay destitute, but I say that it is a good thing that the world's poor are using more energy. A life with any reasonable standard of living is necessarily going to involve some significant energy use, and if we want people to escape from poverty (and the non-assholes among us do), we have to welcome this.

Those of us who waste energy should cut down, but not to the point of making ourselves poor. And since that won't save nearly enough energy to allow to poor to escape poverty, what we need is a lot more energy. I would guess at least 10 terrawatts more. It's that simple. Solar will help.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521972)

but the engergy used to produce those new gadets are not taken in to the calculation, is it? Also, a lot of the people by more new gadgets instead of upgrading for a more energy efficient place at home. Your statement is valid for some, for others, not at all.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522096)

I fully agree with Dr. Spork.
Even if it is important to not waste energy, we must increase energy production.
In fact, light is a very huge source of energy. Even petrol is a derive product of the transformation of light by nature.
Exploitation of light is the only solution that may be long term effective. When the earth surface becomes too limited, it is possible to build mirrors (or other smarter solutions) in space. There is no foreseen limit to the exploitation of this energy source.
Nuclear is the most ecology friendly short term solution (all the pollution is confined), light is the future.
We should work to fasten the switch from nuclear to light instead of wasting time and energy on bad solutions.
Wind plant is a bad solution, it costs a lot of energy to be produced, coper industry is polluting, will cost a lot to remove all the concrete and is not an effective solution (less wind in winter and in the evening).

Re:Decrease, not increase (-1, Troll)

fredrated (639554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522590)

You sure pull a lot of shit out of your ass for this post.
For example, can you site evidence for this:
"They're the same people who are upgrading their insulation, light bulbs, etc"

There is nothing more revolting than a person that mistakes their imagination for facts, then spreads it around. You sir are the asshole.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524250)

Obnoxious ending aside, parent is right, and not a troll. The assertion that the rich world is not increasing its energy consumption pretty much flies in the face of the fact that it keeps building energy generators - be it dams, wind turbines or coal-fired plants. I'd like to find a citation that shows that the people who upgrade their plasma screens also improve their insulation. I doubt there is one, because most Americans have not heard squat about insulation. Even something as basic as a double-pane window is rare anywhere but the extremely cold areas.

That said, grand-parent is correct in his second statement, if we ignore the hyperbole. The biggest danger to the lifestyle of the rich world is the rest of the world trying to imitate it. The world simply cannot support an India, China and Africa that consumes as much energy per-capita as the US or even Europe. Not unless we dramatically change how energy is created. In the meantime, India and China are trying as hard as they can to first consume as much as we do, and won't worry about their energy consumption until more people in their countries are suffering from it.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522812)

As you point out at the end - the thing is that, well, "our" places can still go a long way to improve efficiency - it's not that hard to find two developed countries with basically the same standard of living, but the difference in total resource usage amounting to doubling (overconsuption, also of gadgets, is art of that too, btw). And even the "better" one can surely improve, too...

More generally - it's not a good thing if the poor of today will make similar mistakes. We have to welcome wiser energy production and usage (for them, and also for us)

Re:Decrease, not increase (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521604)

I live in a cold climate - it is use energy or freeze.
My plasma and electronic gizmos heat is not wasted one bit.

As for wind, if you look at the spikes, you still depend on coal or hydro for supply stability.
Any more 'greenie' nonsense, I will install a wood burner furnace or a sly Natural gas generator and microgenerate my own electricity. (In .au the gas connection fee is a 4*64
=$256 a year - plus gas, plus gst. Lucky I have a wood fireplace.

Re:Decrease, not increase (3, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521716)

I live in a cold climate - it is use energy or freeze

actually, Investing in insulation is ten times cheaper than buying energy. a passive house has been build in very cold climates.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521822)

It's called an igloo.

Re:Decrease, not increase (4, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521866)

You're over-simplifying things.

There is an optimum in every climate. Here's how it works:

You choose a certain period. Say, 30 years.

You check the price of the energy. You check the price of different kinds of insulation.

Insulation is a one-time investment, energy costs money all the time. You check which is the cheapest after 30 years.

In many houses an investment in insulation is worth the money and will pay itself back. But in some cases, the quality of the insulation is already such that it's just too expensive to add even more insulation to save those few euros/dollars/whatevers in energy.

Re:Decrease, not increase (4, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521878)

Investing in insulation is ten times cheaper than buying energy. a passive house has been build in very cold climates.

Investing in insulation is only 10X cheaper than buying energy if you don't already have a significant amount of insulation.

Let's take a house, generic. Let's disregard doors, windows, or perhaps we assume that we upgrade them as well.

The house, with NO insulation, costs Y energy to keep warm.
With X insulation, it costs Y. If X is 1000 and Y is 1000/year,
With 2X insulation, cost is Y/2, That next 1000 makes Y 500, and your payoff of the extra insulation is 2 years.
With 4X insulation, cost is Y/4, the marginal return on the second 2X amount of insulation(costing 2000) is 250, payoff is 8 years.
With 8X the insulation, cost is y/8, or 125 saved. For 4k cost. With a 32 year payoff without cost of capital, you're better off investing in the energy company; a decent return will pay your remaining bill perpetually.

Now, yes, the formula is more complicated - 8X the money spent on insulation won't actually get you 8X the insulating values, especially in a refit scenario - you have to make the walls thicker at that point, and maybe even raise the roof. There are practical limits on windows and doors, especially when you open them. There's also a certain amount of 'free' heat that is generally available. Every person is like 100 watts just sitting there. You need a certain amount of fresh air flow.

And I say this as a libertarian survivalist type who likes the idea of not being dependent upon the grid. I just acknowledge that there are costs that don't make financial sense. Call it being warped by my upbringing - both my parents are accountants. I was doing cost of capital analysis before I knew what it was called. ;)

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522748)

Umm are you sure your math is correct...?

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523300)

You made an elementary mistake, just like most people trying to show future cost prediction paypack. You also need to factor in the energy increase costs too. In the last 7 years in FL, our kWh costs have almost doubled, and that's not including the costs we're paying for a new nuke-plant that doesn't exist, or even have planning permission. Neither does it account for the high demand, OPEC pricing control blips.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Informative)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523932)

Another thing to take into account is cash flows. It may take you a long time to pay back the capital investment of improving your insulation, however if you finance those improvements at a good rate you can improve your cash flow, maybe not your debt to asset ratio, but you may have more cash on hand each month from having a power bill 4x lower.

Thats what I did on my house, I bought a cheap house and doubled down on improvements, insulation, windows, tankless water heater (best thing I've ever bought in my life), appliances, etc. My mortgage on the house went from about $600 a month to $800 a month; however my electric bill went from $400 a month to under $100. This greatly improved my cash flow. I also plan on being in this house long enough that the improvements will be paid off then there will be a nearly $1200 change in monthly cash flow.

Lowering your monthly expenses in the form of Capital investments is a good long term strategy. If you plan on moving in 2-3 years you may not be able to recoup the saving in the sale price, however if you are the one paying the bills the change in cash flows can be dramatic.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524006)

A "passive" house does not address washing. Not washing clothes, washing yourself or washing dishes. Not even flushing toilet.

You cannot recover all (most?) the heat in those as the exit temperature must be well above zero (and input temperature of water is close to four degrees C. The question 'why four' is left as an exercise to the reader).

Besides, a "passive" house does use energy to heat itself up, in Finland 4000kWh per year (for 150m2 house) is allowed for passive energy house, I bet the value is for "average" winter.

Then there are "low energy" (maybe around 22000kWh/150m2) and "zero-energy" (definitions differ from case to case) and ...

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521776)

> As for wind, if you look at the spikes, you still depend on coal or hydro for supply stability

Or gas peaker plants. Wind + solar + gas + hydro can give us all the power we need.

We can reduce the amount of gas we need by improving the grid, allowing us to time-shift east-west, and season-shift north-south. Toronto, for instance, uses more power in the winter, when solar panels in Texas and Nevada are pumping out unused watts.

Maury

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522240)

I live in a cold climate - it is use energy or freeze.

Or you could move. There are a lot of places in the world that don't require energy to not freeze.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522574)

My plasma and electronic gizmos heat is not wasted one bit.

On average, for every watt of electric power delivered to your house, 2 more watts goes up the smokestacks and cooling towers of your power plant. Those 2 watts are still wasted. (That's why the only cost effective way to heat with electricity is a heat pump, which delivers multiple watts of heating for every watt of electricity consumed.) If, OTOH, you used a modern gas furnace to get that same heating, you'd waste less than 10% of the energy in the fuel source.

Running power hungry appliances to create heat is wasteful and does not make economic sense.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524066)

On average, for every watt of electric power delivered to your house, 2 more watts goes up the smokestacks and cooling towers of your power plant. . . . If, OTOH, you used a modern gas furnace to get that same heating, you'd waste less than 10% of the energy in the fuel source.

I'll grant that using gas heat is typically much cheaper than electric heat, where gas is available. But you're emphasizing the excess energy needed to produce electricity and ignoring the energy costs of production and transport of the gas.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524190)

Ok, but also can't ignore the energy cost to produce and transport the gas, coal and/or uranium to the power plant to generate the electricity. It probably comes out similar to that of delivering gas to your house, so it's not really an issue specific to gas heat.

What I was originally talking about was the excess energy needed to produce electricity due to the laws of thermodynamics as they relate to heat engines. That assumes that the fuel is already available at the power plant. Factoring in additional energy needed to get the fuel would just make electricity look even worse.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

Candyban (723804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521754)

Yes, we should decrease the amount of power we use. I totally agree, yet, the chances of getting the average consumer to actually do so, keep dreaming. As long as people keep coming up with power hungry devices that people want (read: air conditioners, plasma TVs, faster PCs and just about every other imaginable device), people will in fact keep buying them. Will they pay vastly larger sums for them if they are power efficient? Unlikely, some might, most won't. Will they put up with lower/smaller/decreased functionality? Again, some might, most won't.

I disagree. If you look fuel consumption in cars, you will notice that in the last 20 years, they consume LESS fuel, have MORE power, safety and luxury. Are they so much more expensive than they were 20 years ago? I don't think so.
LCD screens consume less power, are more space efficient and have less negative health effects than their CRT equivalents. (though some purist may say there is loss of quality as well). CRT TVs the size of the average TV sold nowadays would be vastly more expensive not to say the electricity bill which would make you think twice
When people start to better insulate their houses, they will consume less power for heating/cooling while getting more comfort. This investment is payed back within 1-2 years.

With regards to faster PCs, I beg to differ. If you didn't notice already, current generation CPUs are consuming LESS energy than their predecessors while still getting more work done and this is where we need to evolve to.
People need to start understanding that power efficiency is SAVING money without a need to compromise on features or comfort.

Getting back on topic. Even though power consumption for each device needs to go down, we will need more power as there will be more devices and more people using them. The biggest challenge in this century will be to get India and China up to Western standards. Both countries combined have about 3 billion people. Just providing them with the same amount of meat would require massive amounts of power, and then I'm not even talking about gadgets. So whatever we do, there will be a massive need for power no matter how much more power efficient we will become. Efficiency is key to preserve our way of life but clean and cheap new energy sources will be our only salvation.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522072)

"LCD screens consume less power, are more space efficient and have less negative health effects than their CRT equivalents".

WHOA, Nelly! Check power consumption - unless you're talking about small LCDs (less than 28 inches), a CRT will use less electricity. CRTs max out at around 200 Watts, LEDs use more the bigger they get. If you want to be as energy-efficient as a CRT, you have to go with rear-projection, where there is a small bulb to provide the light, especially in the bigger sizes. My 65-inch Sony LED TV consumes 485 Watts, but a Mitsubishi 68-inch rear-projection only around 200. Their 80-incher? The same as the 68.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522308)

WHOA, Nelly! Check power consumption - unless you're talking about small LCDs (less than 28 inches), a CRT will use less electricity.

It all depends on the size. A lot of people went from like 27 inch or 32 inch CRTs to 60" monsters. The truth is somewhere in-between.

An equivalent-sized LCD will use less power than a CRT. Going from a 32 inch CRT to a 31.5 inch LCD flat panel will save you around 50% or so in electricity usage. Going from a 32 inch TV to a very efficient 46 inch LCD will save you a little bit of electricity; an average 46 inch LCD will cost about the same.

Going to a 60 inch monster will cost about double.

If you're talking about computer monitors, then in almost all cases, moving to an LCD from a CRT will save you money. A typical 17 inch CRT uses about 100W with a max around 105W, while, say, my 20 inch widescreen flat panel uses around 55W, with a maximum usage 75W.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521130)

Why would you advocate wasting time and money on the effect (energy usage) rather than the problem (production of energy) . Simple fact of the matter is energy usage is going to get bigger and bigger regardless of how little we use it individually.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521696)

Yeah it's a shame we can only do one thing at a time.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521966)

Well yeah, when it comes to advocating something over something else you can't do both... what was your point?

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521994)

Oh, advocating. I thought we were talking about actually doing something.

My bad.

Re:Decrease, not increase (4, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521788)

Not only that, I love how people say that we can simply reduce usage over building new power plants, then turn around and rave how electric cars are going to solve all of our problems.

The 'average' household uses something around 700-1400 kwh a month.
The 'average' electronic vehicle gets about 5 miles to the kwh, and the average vehicle is driven around 10-15k miles a year.
Don't forget that the average household is 2 cars today.

So, you're looking at probably around a 22% increase in electricity usage if people go to EVs. You just can't reduce energy usage that much via other means, especially when you also have 5% growth in population/households on top of it.

Still, I salute the inventer in the op, because he's, well, actually addressing the problem. The moment I can make solar panels make sense in a cost-benefit analysis is when I recommend all my relatives in Florida get them.

I'm moving to Alaska(work), so they'd probably still have to come down in price another 50% before they'd make sense for me.

Until I was informed of my exciting new opportunity, I was looking at a wind turbine for the small town I live in - because a turbine big enough to power a town costs a lot less per watt of capacity, and by reaching higher has steadier wind, resulting in lower costs when you factor the cost of the turbine into the cost per kwh it produces. Small $10k turbine = 5k kwh per year, expensive. $1M turbine = 1M kwh per year, much better. These figures are example only. Actual production is so location dependent it's hard to put proper figures on.

Re:Decrease, not increase (3, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523268)

So, you're looking at probably around a 22% increase in electricity usage if people go to EVs.

And around a 100% reduction in the use of gasoline. You see, that's why it's called a cost-BENEFIT analysis.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524086)

Small $10k turbine = 5k kwh per year, expensive. $1M turbine = 1M kwh per year

This is something far too many wind power enthusiasts forget, thanks for pointing it out.

Actually situation is likely even more against small turbines, not only is bigger cheaper to build, it is cheaper to maintain.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521134)

Dear Paisti, Increasing the performance of energy production and decreasing use of energy can both be goals at the same time.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521806)

Agreed, unfortunately, history says that that doesn't happen unless there is also a cost increase for energy. People like energy, and they keep on finding new and inventive ways to use it. There is some call from consumers to produce things that use less energy, like CFL bulbs, and more efficient TVs and computers. I suspect that for the majority of people, it's price and quality conscious, and far less environmentally conscious. i.e. the CFLs last longer and end up costing less. Likewise, our computers have become disposable commodities, and have become faster because of the lower power per performance unit.

Unfortunately, you need to give people an incentive to cut their energy usage, or they aren't likely to do it, at least not radically. They'll make token trims to get their electric bill to a "reasonable" level. But they aren't going to become the home equivalent of hyper-milers without a strong incentive, which is usually cost.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521166)

I don't understand. The energy is there anyway. We are just converting it from a useless form to a form that is useful to humans. What is wrong with that?

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521818)

Cost and space. Yes, the energy is there, but it 1) costs energy to build these panels 2) costs resources to build these panels (not terribly common minerals) 3) costs land on which to locate these panels. So, it isn't really free, and unfortunately, those costs are currently more than the cost of setting a piece of coal on fire.

Re:Decrease, not increase (5, Insightful)

PhongUK (1301747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521190)

In order to decrease our use of energy, or atleast to have any chance of doing it at all, we need to stop making babies.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521272)

To have this happen, we need people to be intelligent enough to become self-aware of their impact beyond local scope. Plenty of human beings work on the standard biological impulses of eat, drink, sleep and have a kid.

Even then, we need it to become socially acceptable to also say to people, self-aware or otherwise, that they should stop being selfish by breeding.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521316)

Why? You mean that making babies costs lots of energy?
...oh wait, it does.

On a more serious note: nice overview of the energy <-> population issue here [ted.com] (by none other than our beloved mr. Gates).

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521328)

Actually...I may have a.. modest proposal along these lines.

- J. Swift.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521352)

"we need to stop making babies." Won't be too hard for Slashdot readers to do...

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521374)

You're telling me, its a hell of a lot of work to steal the embryos and keep the surrogates drugged.

I can do without that expense.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Interesting)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521534)

How can you stop doing something that you already are not doing?

For example you have to start smoking to able to stop smoking.

Re:Decrease, not increase (3, Insightful)

kcelery (410487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521448)

Everyone seems to have the same idea as yours, but they don't seem to agree upon whose babies.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523754)

> Everyone seems to have the same idea as yours, but they don't seem to agree upon whose babies.

Actually this handles itself as societies acquire technology/education, and have access to birth control. See reduced birth rates in most 'information age' countries... Japan even subsidizes children, the effect is so extreme there. The biggest obstacle is the Catholic Church preventing birth control...

Re:Decrease, not increase (5, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521494)

Well I am happy to announce that the Slashdot crowd is leading in that front!

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521510)

If energy conscious people stopped making babies the'd be no energy conscious people left.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521528)

Wrong.
We need to stop using cellphones unless we actully need them, we need to restart gathering for telling stories in the evening in stead of watching TV, we need to forbid any kind of personal cars and force people to use bikes (what, are you really going to tell me that a car is faster than a bike in a big city? be serious), we need to stop wasting paper for stupid bureaucrats and use computers for what they were built for, we need to stop playing chess and other cardgames online and restart doing it with neighbours, we need to stop throwing away food, we need to stop buying clothes that we don't wear.
And there are a whole lot of other things that we could do, but I'm bored now.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521612)

Do we need to stop using our computers to tell others to do as we say, not as we do? Apparently not.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521782)

I don't have a car, and I walk to the university, because it only takes me 20 minutes. When I lived too far, I took the subway. I don't print anything unless someone else requires me to, I have the cheapest cellphone I could buy (and I use it once every 2 weeks maybe), I don't play games on my computer (I do have "play time" on my computer, I don't deny that), me and my wife do not throw away food, and I only buy clothes when she gets angry with me because stuff gets torn (this goes for shoes too).

I'm sorry if I came out as a rant. I just thought that PhongUK was wrong, and I tried to explain why; I wasn't trying to tell him how to live, I was just showing an alternative to his somewhat sarcastic proposal. And I do try to live by my own standards.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522122)

Well, I guess if hypocritical hectoring is your only remaining pleasure, you've earned it with your hair shirt.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523026)

It seems to me that you've eliminated the tiny ongoing costs of modern conveniences without doing anything about the infrastructure costs.

When I lived too far, I took the subway.
Huge infrastructure already in place, all the pollution to create and install the cars and track are already sunk. All you're avoiding is the tiny amount of energy your additional weight incurs.

I don't print anything unless someone else requires me to...
The printer and toner are already manufactured and the printer is plugged in consuming energy. The only thing you're preventing is the tiny amount of energy and paper (a renewable resource) used to print your pages.

I have the cheapest cellphone I could buy (and I use it once every 2 weeks maybe) ...
Again, huge infrastructure in place, etc.

I don't play games on my computer...
What does that matter, aside from perhaps having it on a little longer? You admit to 'play time', so what does it matter that your 'play time' does not involve games?

My point is not to rag on your lifestyle - if that makes you feel good about your global impact, then more power to you. I just don't think that the things you mention have any real impact other than the tiny incremental costs of using existing infrastructures. You could argue that if _everyone_ lived like you those infrastructures would either be smaller or non-existent, but I don't think that argument would hold water.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

hviniciusg (1481907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522452)

Do we need to stop using our computers to tell others to do as we say, not as we do? Apparently not.

No, we need to tell people to stop using computers so we will be the only ones again :D. can u imagine that? a world without virus, no spam, a lot of PRON(for free of course, free as in beer), what else. o yes, only linux and firefox, maybe chrome, but i doubt google would exist whit only geeks on the web... who knows, maybe we are a lot of guys that use google, but i think there will not exist much viruses.

what do you guys think?

Re:Decrease, not increase (0, Flamebait)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522828)

"We need to stop using cellphones unless we actully need them,"

I have my cellphone switched off when I am not using it. But cellphones don't use a lot of power anyway.

"we need to forbid any kind of personal cars and force people to use bikes"

I don't know where you live, but in some parts of the country we have this phenomena call weather. Cars have protection against rain, hail snow and cold, bikes do not. Also trying to ride any 2 wheeled vehicle on ice covered streets is very dangerous.

"(what, are you really going to tell me that a car is faster than a bike in a big city? be serious)"

I presume in 'a big city' the commute would be further and so the relative speed of a car would make even more difference. Unless of course the city has bike pathways that are shorter than the roads.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524382)

Well, manufacturing cellphones does take a bit, though - and many people are to obsessed with replacing their perfectly good old ones, which too often end up in the drawer (to be fair, that's also a result of carrier policies here and there)

And really, biking is not as hard as you think (there are spiked tires btw). If it becomes too hard, sometimes, then there could be always an option of public transport/etc. ...which you don't have because you set your place like that, you let lobbyists of automobile makers and oil companies to take over your cities. And trust me, if public transport is set up properly and bikes are even allowed, essentially (meaining: not building road infrastructure primarily around heavy car traffic), they are the fastest options in times of day when it matters.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521674)

We see how well that's worked in China, with their gender disparity problem. Or do you mean everyone should stop making babies, in which case Homo sapiens becomes extinct?

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522280)

You say it like it is a bad thing.

http://www.vhemt.org

More Education, More Energy (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522088)

In order to decrease our use of energy, or atleast to have any chance of doing it at all, we need to stop making babies.

The only proven way to do this reliably is with education. To get people educated, they require an above-subsistence level of prosperity first. To get there, they must harness energy.

We have plenty of energy. From solar to wind to hydro to nuclear (plus efficiency gains), there's no reason to not increase our total energy usage. Just responsibly getting rid of our nuclear waste would provide enough energy for the entire world's population for a century.

Get every person on the planet out of poverty by expending tremendous amounts of energy, and the population will start to decrease. Look at Europe - Italy has towns paying people to move there, the whole country is reproducing below the replacement rate.

Do the right thing and the system will properly equalize. Continue to treat poor people as livestock and things will turn out badly.

And save the CO2 sources for the next ice age.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522928)

The only civilised and working way of reducing birth rate is assuring good standard of living and social security (in whatever form that works, let us not get into the favorite implementation method here). So the trick is to do that in a way that produces and uses energy efficiently, with as small impact as possible.

And apart from finding new tech, we have lots of headway to improve efficiency... [wikipedia.org] (which is simply the logical thing to do - think about it as putting your progress ahead with the same amount of resources used; or, for a given tech level, the same standard of living without lesser need of basic infrastructure)

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521678)

I still think we should decrease our use of energy, instead of inventing new ways to increase its production.

Dr. Pekka Paisti

Decreasing energy use is good, but it's not a solution to the world's energy problems.

For one thing, the world's population is growing every day, and energy use is going up whether we like it or not, just to keep those people alive. The decrease of energy consumption per capita will soon be eaten up by increased population.

More importantly, energy consumption is essentially a good thing. Sure there are unnecessary energy hogs - plasma screens, gas-guzzling SUVs, air conditioners - but there's more to it than that. Energy use allows us to light up and heat our houses, provide clean water for everyone, keep our food cold so it won't turn rotten, and so on. We sure used a lot less energy 100 years ago, but then again quite a lot of people froze to death in those days if there was a harsh winter. Same goes for the third world countries of today - if they are to improve their situation, they need to increase their energy consumption. It's not about luxury, it's about the basics that we in the western world take for granted.

The real solution is to find new and better energy sources which are cheap, renewable and effective. Energy consumption is not a bad thing per se, it only becomes so when the energy is produced in an environmentally harmful way (see: Deepwater Horizon). Solar energy has an enormous potential and therefore inventions like this are important for our future. This particular technology may or may not prevail in the end, but some kind of renewable energy can and will be our primary energy source in the future. The sooner we make the change, the better.

Not Either/Or (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521684)

I still think we should decrease our per-capita energy usage and invent new ways to increase its production.

Dr. Wenka Gumi

Re:Decrease, not increase (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521926)

Then increase the price. That's the only way.

The problem is that the practical effect of this falls disproportionately on the poor (as do the negative effects of current energy production). The wealthy have to adjust the distribution of their investments -- an inconvenience. The poor have to endure cold, give up that job that's too far to walk to, cut back on food which has become more expensive.

Let's say the price of energy doubled overnight. A lot of us would lose our jobs as investments were shuffled around. But for those of us who didn't lose our jobs, we wouldn't go without. We'd have food, heat, transportation. We wouldn't stay home during vacation. We'd alter our use of energy by changing the kind of car we bought next time around, or keeping our thermostats set differently. We might go to one place instead of taking a driving vacation. In the short term the low inflation caused by lost employment would blunt the impact of the price increases, and in a few years we wouldn't even notice the difference.

I'm all for conservation through tax credits, incentives, even carbon taxes with provisions for blunting the impact on people who will feel it the most. But we've had all our energy eggs in one basket for the last century: cheap oil. Moving some or even most of those eggs to the conservation basket is a good idea, but we can't do it overnight and we certainly can't move all of them.

What's the "right" amount of energy to consume? That's a meaningless question when asked in isolation. You need to ask "for what" and "from what sources" and "with what impact?" Clearly the answer for fossil fuels, given their externalized impacts (pollution) and future availability (dwindling) is that we should be using less of them. But conservation is no more a panacea for our energy problems than nuclear power is.

Re:Decrease, not increase (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524276)

Simple solution to the downside of expensive gas: create a public transportation system that works. You can even fund it from a nice gas tax. Kinda like Europe does it. It's pathetic that the only places with a public transportation system that is worth taking is NYC and Boston.

Re:Decrease, not increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523084)

I still think we should decrease our use of energy, instead of inventing new ways to increase its production.

Please start by killing yourself. Keeping you alive uses a lot of energy.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524056)

So you seem like an ultra-green idealist. The sort that thinks we should go back to living in mud huts and killing our food with spears. You probably like sustenance farming and would prefer an agrarian society. I had hoped that you were a fringe extremist, but the fact that you're modded up there scares me. But let's be clear, you're rallying AGAINST alternative energy research because you WANT a post-apocalyptic earth scenario.

There are a few problems with this. Transitioning to such a state is tricky. I've heard of two ways of doing it. The first being through a mass kill-off of the surplus humanity. A chaotic sudden-stop of oil would produce this one way or another. This seems to be what you're jonesing for. If so this puts you squarely in the "Evil Mad-man" category occupied by so many comic book villains. The second way of transitioning to a "reduced income" society I've heard of is gradually over a few generations. Now, you could sterilize the masses you deem unfit, or you could draconianlly enforce one-child laws. Those also put you in the evil category, but more of a real world sort of evil. Now, you could try simply asking people to have less kids and use less, but let's stick to methods that have at least some chance of success.

Then you have the problem of staying there. I know the first thing I want to do after a massive die-off is to repopulate the earth. It's like we're pre-programmed for this or something. But the problem is deeper then that. You're going to have suppress innovation and people who strive for better things. You are fighting progress itself. Unless you can expect all of humanity to be content, in which case all sorts of ideas become viable, then this idea of living sustainably in mudhuts isn't itself sustainable. Another example is when push comes to shove and there's a bad winter. People will die. Before the last of them die, they're going to go take the food from their neighbors. Specifically the ones who have the shortest sticks and the smallest clubs. This is one of those things that encourages people to develop bigger and better weapons and progress in general.

And not to be too big of a downer, let me suggest some alternatives. The oil economy will assuredly fail. We'll always have some oil, but it won't always be the main source of transportation. Coal will one day follow the path that oil went, although that day is farther off. But before we run out and need to fend off wasteland bandits, how about we get some alternatives? There is a lot of freaking energy sources out there. Some don't have bad side-effects, some are plentiful, some are renewable, and some are cheap. How about we try to make the world a better place instead of sending progress back a few thousand years?

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524148)

There is no reason that we need to reduce our use of energy as long as the energy is generated from renewable, non-CO2, non-other toxin producing methods (such as solar).

The problem is not energy use, it is the unintended consequences of producing energy from carbon and other toxic sources. As an example, we could use as much energy as we wanted from solar since that is only transferring energy from on site to another. Solar energy is captured in one place and released in another (usually within a very short time). Net extra energy and CO2 and toxins is zero.

Re:Decrease, not increase (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524634)

I still think we should decrease our use of energy, instead of inventing new ways to increase its production.

Why? Save for the production process (which this guy made easier and cheaper per watt), solar energy contributes zero to the net energy in the ecosystem. The sun's going to beat down on my roof anyway. If I can transport some of that energy to where I can conveniently use it, why shouldn't I?

where can I buy them? (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521114)

Have this guy's solar cells left the lab yet?

I searched around and the achievement of creating a low cost solar cell is great, but I couldn't find anywhere you can get them from. Since he's been doing this since 1991 (?) I'm guessing they'd have come to market by now.

One site I saw listed it as being 100W m2 but having a price to go along with it would be good for comparison with other solar cells.

Re:where can I buy them? (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521208)

Not yet, some reports have shown promise in stabilizing the dyes for long term exposure but I don't think there are any commercial cells available yet. Also I'm not sure how much of a panacea they are, according to the articles I can find most of the lab cells use ruthenium and platinum, any solution using trace elements is unlikely to bring a mass scale replacement to our current fuels. That's why I think we need to concentrate on stored energy wind farms and collecting solar/thermal plants, neither require exotic trace materials (some "rare" earths for more efficient magnets, but nothing on a gram/kW scale compared to any of the photovoltaic solutions).

Re:where can I buy them? (1)

StoneOldman79 (1497187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523142)

According to the article the price was won because of the excellent price/performance ratio
This probably means the raw materials are not that expensive and thus relatively easy to come by..

Re:where can I buy them? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524038)

Well the point others are trying to make is that if you suddenly ramp up demand for a somewhat rare material that just happens to be cheap today because no one is utilizing it, you'll see a jump in price corresponding to the jump in demand. It could be huge if the demand outstrips the ability to actually acquire the material quickly.

Re:where can I buy them? (3, Informative)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521884)

> Have this guy's solar cells left the lab yet?

In some small applications, yes, but nothing serious. There are several reason:

1) the electrolyte is a liquid. It loses efficiency in cold weather, and eventually stops working.

2) well before that limit, expansion and contraction is a serious issue and large-scale structures have problems with sealing and leakage.

3) the electrolyte dissolves silver. It can be used for small-scale systems where the cost of platinum is not a major factor compared to construction costs, but for large low-cost solutions silver is the only practical solution.

4) the solvents used to mix the dye with the TiO degrade plastics.

None of these is unsolvable. It just needs another decade of work. I install mSi panels now, I suspect I will be installing DSSCs in 15 years.

Maury

Apparently, right here (3, Interesting)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521992)

http://www.dyesol.com/ [dyesol.com] . It's not often that you see a tech announcement that is realized so soon, but this seems to be real.

Re:where can I buy them? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523534)

Look up some prior /. stories. There are some new inexpensive solar cells in production and sale already.
The problem is the factory is booked solid with 100% of production already pre-sold up to 5 years ahead. Big companies made multimillion dollar orders and currently the loans have to be paid off before more factories are built.

The Berry Cell (2, Interesting)

kcelery (410487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521164)

http://nnin.unm.edu/lesson13.pdf [unm.edu]

The interesting part of the Graetzel is that one can use the dye in berry to make
the cell. Interesting and tasty.

efficiency factor (1)

ahaubold (1705608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521412)

Sadly the Grätzel cells failed to achieve a proper efficiency factor yet. 11% is far behind the factor it's silicon based or semiconductor siblings achieve. But I do not want do devalue the achievement of Michael Grätzel and his team(s). He deserved that prize.

Re:efficiency factor (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521814)

It's far less than 11% in production, closer to 7 to 8. That's not terrible compared to other thin-film approaches however.

Maury

Re:efficiency factor (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521908)

And still, that's only in a lab. More like 6 to 7. Also, the dye breaks down with continued exposure to UV and high temperatures.

Re:efficiency factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523338)

Perhaps if we could harness the energy people put into useless apostrophes in possessive pronouns, the world's energy problems would be solved.

Why are they rewarding failure? (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521636)

There's a market crying out for efficient photovoltaic cells. If Graetzel's cells did what he claimed, then he'd already be swimming in the gold moat surrounding his platinum castle. Enough with rewarding promising looking theory: it's time to amp up or GTFO.

Finland pays again (3, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521702)

As a Finnish taxpayer, I'm happy that my government is once again [wikipedia.org] giving my tax money to foreigners, rather than keeping Finnish hospitals going [reuma.fi] . No, really, I'm sure that photovoltaic cells will do a lot of good to us here in the Arctic Circle where the Sun shines a few hours a day most of the year. Really, it's better to spend money on useless shit like this than to treat rheumatic children.

Re:Finland pays again (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521792)

As a Finnish taxpayer, I'm happy that my government is once again [wikipedia.org] giving my tax money to foreigners, rather than keeping Finnish hospitals going [reuma.fi] . No, really, I'm sure that photovoltaic cells will do a lot of good to us here in the Arctic Circle where the Sun shines a few hours a day most of the year. Really, it's better to spend money on useless shit like this than to treat rheumatic children.

Your government has spent loads to subsidize innovation. The Espoo campus (near Helsinki) is brand new, and produces a lot of knowledge which in turn keeps the Finnish knowledge-economy running. Finland is doing quite well because of these investments (it attracts companies).

However, science is an international effort, and it's only fair to award a prize to whoever is the best... And why wouldn't you have some research on solar cells in Finland? It's not like you are actually investing in the production and implementation. It's just research. You can do solar cell research in the basement or any other place where the sun never shines, as long as you have the right equipment.

Of course, healthcare is important. Finnish healthcare is among the best in the world... and already heavily subsidized. Perhaps you found that 1 single example where something went wrong, but the tone of your reply is in contrast with the Finnish reality.

Re:Finland pays again (4, Informative)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521796)

Oh FFS, I'm a Finn and I really don't have any problem with this. In the summary you'll find the price is "Finnish state and industry-funded". And the price is biannual, 400k€ annually is not really that much for the state, even if it were completely "my tax money".

Re:Finland pays again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521804)

As a Finnish taxpayer, I'm happy that my government is once again [wikipedia.org] giving my tax money to foreigners, rather than keeping Finnish hospitals going [reuma.fi] . No, really, I'm sure that photovoltaic cells will do a lot of good to us here in the Arctic Circle where the Sun shines a few hours a day most of the year. Really, it's better to spend money on useless shit like this than to treat rheumatic children.

Yes. Well, not really.

The good thing about government is that they can do (i.e. fund) more than one thing at a time. You're complaining about them funding A and not B. My argument is that they should fund both A and B, but go cut C.

Scientific research is important to the long-term survival of our species.

Proper medical assistance for our species is important to the short-term growth of our species.

If you cut a few million from:

a. Your foreign affairs department
b. Your ministry of finance

Or any other of your state-run departments, you can do both A and B quite easily.

Re:Finland pays again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32521816)

As a non-Finnish paying taxes in Finland I think you are looking too little through the windows. Half of the year sun shines too little and the other half too much. Right now we get 19h of daylight in southern Finland and 24h in the north.

Re:Finland pays again (3, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32521838)

> Sun shines a few hours a day most of the year

And 24 hours a day for others. Sure, it's not California, but if we can get a 1/2 reduction in price (totally doable) then it's perfectly economical even in Finland. In the meantime, you need to build infrastructure.

Maury

Re:Finland pays again (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522782)

"Sure, it's not California, but if we can get a 1/2 reduction in price (totally doable)..."

Hey, our budgets received an enormous amount of money from oil and gas. Now that we get the majority of our power from solar, our budgets are trashed. What do we do?

I know! Heavily tax power generated from solar cells! And solar cell production!

It's the government that's making your energy so expensive.

Re:Finland pays again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522976)

If anthocyanin can really be used as the dye instead of some expensive Ruthenium complex, it's not as if Finland has a lack of blueberries..

Re:Finland pays again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522002)

Maybe you'd like to change your sig then.

Re:Finland pays again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522320)

With better investments in science, we might not have need for hospitals for rheumatic children or anyone else. A lot of people die yearly because of air pollution, so this invention can actually save a lot of lives.

Re:Finland pays again (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522436)

If these solar cells end up being cheap enough I would imagine them being worth the cost even in a location that doesn't get intense sunlight most of the year. Put them on mobile stands and once summer is over, store them in the shed.

Re:Finland pays again (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522606)

As a Finnish citizen, I guess you're happy with focus on R&D at your place resulting in, say, a company like Nokia contributing quite decent portion of your GDP (maybe even that one contribution covers ongoing gov funding of R&D?). BTW, I'm not sure about this - is Nokia allowed to sell anything at all outside the Finnish borders?

If yes, that could maybe work for solar cells, too... (nvm that I was under the impression of daylight in the Arctic Circle still averaging close to 12h throughout the year, the summer time kinda improving the stats)

PS. While seeing that there is always a place for improvement and striving for it, you might also remember that you place seems to do pretty damn well in healthcare alredy; when looking at bigger picture.

Re:Finland pays again (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524180)

Well for what it's worth, the rest of the world that needs this sort of thing appreciates it.

wasted? or just more stuff to keep the rage going? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522094)

By the end of summer, the number of U.S. forces in Iraq will be pared in half to about 50,000 troops, part of the massive drawdown under a 2008 agreement negotiated with the government in Baghdad.

Aside from scaling back manpower, tons of equipment is being shipped out, too.

But not everything is leaving the country.

Hundreds of bases, combat outposts and contractor camps established since the 2003 invasion of Iraq are being slowly dismantled and transferred to Iraqi control. Equipment and material worth millions of dollars is being sold off piece by piece, or being handed over wholesale to the Iraqis, creating a thriving new resale industry.

'Made In The USA'

On a dusty lot just north of the city of Ramadi, in Anbar province, Falah Lahej picks through stacks of equipment being sold. The lot is surrounded by flat, brown desert, and the pulsating summer sun gives the goods strewn about the area a burning sheen.

There are generators with engraved with the words "Made in the USA," barrels, barbed wire, an industrial scale, old wooden crates and other items once used by the Americans.

Lahej is looking to buy a load-bearing hook. "The things here are better than the ones in the local market," Lahej says. "They are good quality; the ones in the market are not durable."

Faiz al-Dulaimi acts as a middleman. He buys whatever he can straight from the bases that are closing. "In the past, all this belonged to the Americans and nothing would leave the bases. Now they sell them because they are considered a burden, I guess. There are two ways we get the goods. Some stuff is sold via a Turkish company that buys them from the Americans and sells them to Iraqi traders," he says.

American Goods For Resale

And then there is the other, less legitimate, way.

"The Americans turn over every base to the Iraqi army and police -- and they are all thieves," Dulaimi says, laughing.

Once the bases -- and what is left in them -- are handed over, the Americans have no control over what happens to the material and its resale.

Meanwhile, at Camp Victory in Baghdad, U.S. units are dedicated to receiving military hardware from bases around the country, fixing it up and then making it ready to ship out.

On a recent day, MRAP armored vehicles are being dismantled piece by piece so they can be shipped back to the United States or on to Afghanistan for the U.S. war effort there.

Army Master Sgt. Tim Regan, of the 4/2 Stryker Brigade out of Fort Lewis, Wash., says the clock is ticking.

"We see about 100 pieces of equipment come through here on any given week, so it's an extremely busy, busy process," Regan says.

Major military hardware like the MRAPs is not being given over to the Iraqis as the U.S. military departs. But hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment and infrastructure are being given to the Iraqi army and police.

Cheaper To Leave It Behind

Capt. Steven Dowdy is in charge of determining what stays and what goes for the Stryker brigade.

"Moneywise, we can approximately sign over $25 million [worth of equipment] to the Iraqi government. And equipmentwise we can sign over containment housing units, the CHUs, anything that is not military-related," Dowdy says.

That is $25 million to $30 million in equipment per camp. Dowdy is overseeing the transfer of six to eight camps to the Iraqis, but there are hundreds of them across the country.

The reason some material is being given to the Iraqis is simple, U.S. officials say. For example, a blast wall is worth $5,000, but it would cost $15,000 to ship it out. So, leaving it to the Iraqis is actually saving the U.S. military money.

Dowdy says he has no clue what happens to the equipment after it is left to the Iraqis.

In another part of Anbar province, an Iraqi worker cleans out a trailer, or CHU -- containment housing units. They are ubiquitous at every U.S. military and contractor facility in Iraq.

There are more than two dozen of them at this market, some fully fitted with showers and toilets. Many are still filled with the detritus of their previous owners -- white boards with route maps drawn on them; bed frames and posters of sports stars.

Raghdan Jameel says he purchases them for about $1,000 each. "That's not even 1 percent of its real price. We sell them on to farmers or to government officials who want to put their guards to live in them," he says.

It is a lucrative business and he predicts there will be a lot more of these trailers and other American goods for sale as the U.S. pullout picks up pace. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

Image Credit: Maya Alleruzzo/AP

Millennium Technology Prize.? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523468)

What Millennium are we talking about? The previous Millennium ended nearly 9 and a half years ago (31st Dec 2000), the current Millennium has still over 990 years to run.

Or do the Finns use some other calendar?

Re: Millennium Technology Prize.? (1)

Ornedan (1093745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32524364)

It was named by a marketroid, as big business-related things usually are.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?