tanujt (1909206) writes "As is a major issue with every energy source, so do renewables suffer from it: what happens to the energy that we don't make use of but are still supplied? Well, it goes to waste. Danielle Fong of LightSail (a Berkley-based company) has a potential solution for wastage of solar energy: store it and return it to the grid when needed. And she does it without batteries: "Just use the electricity generated by your solar panel and/or windmill to power a compressor, pushing air into a tank. When you want your energy back, you release the air out of the tank, and use it to drive a generator, creating electricity."
What about the heat loss in compression/expansion? Fong says: "It became clear that what you wanted to do for maximum efficiency was keep the temperature as close to constant as possible in compression and expansion. It turned out nobody had figured out how to do that, and I read a Wikipedia article saying it was impossible to do it, and I said, ‘My god, that’s not true. You can just spray water in.’ And then I was like, ‘Wait. I could just spray water in.’ And thus the company and core idea was born."
So how does it work? : "Instead of wasting the heat, we collect it by spraying water into the air during the compression process. That keeps the temperature down, and it keeps the pressure down, so you have to put less energy in to compress the same amount of air. During expansion, spraying water sends heat back into the air, which keeps the pressure high, and increases the amount of energy you get back.” Science aside, the numbers don’t lie: LightSail’s process recovers 70% of the energy it puts out, pretty much doubling the efficiency of the standard compression method. "
Their website has more information about the technology they've developed, including some experimental calculations. This sounds like an innovative idea, although past experience has made me cynical about actual practicality or implementability of innovative ideas." Link to Original Source top
Semiconductor Plants Show Dramatic Energy Reduction: ISMI Report
tanujt (1909206) writes "ISMI reports "Semiconductor manufacturing plants dramatically reduced their average energy use from 1997 to 2011 according to research by the International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI). The study was conducted at 300 mm and 200 mm semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Asia, North America and Europe. They found that energy consumed by process equipment, which according to the latest survey accounts for more than 50 percent of a facility’s energy usage, has improved its efficiencies by half by 2011 and non-process equipment energy consumption has become one-fourth of the 1997 values."
In similar news: Texas Instruments released it's Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) recently (behind a paywall), which shows that their normalized emissions jumped 23% over a year. Intel also released it's CSR where it "pledged to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent on a per-chip basis by 2020 compared to 2010 levels."
Given the recent surge of news about Earth's tipping point and unsustainable lifestyles of us puny humans, it is interesting how one of the largest industries in the world, i.e. chip fabrication, gets a pass in the media much more as compared to Big Oil." Link to Original Source top
Indian researchers develop synthetic dye molecules, useful in solar cells
tanujt (1909206) writes "Researchers at the Institute of Chemical Technology have developed 18 synthetic dye molecules, which are useful in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC). While silicon is very attractive as the solar cell candidate due to its prevalent high manufacturability, it has to be refined extremely well to function efficiently in solar conversion. The highest solar conversion efficiency achieved in silicon (as of 2008) is ~25%. DSC's can be quite highly efficient in their conversion (~90% for green light). Synthetic dyes in the Indian market are cheaper by 1000 Rs. ($20). According to the news source, 'While energy from silicon-based solar cells costs between $.30 and $.40 per watt (Rs 14.70 and Rs 19.60), electricity generated by the low cost DSC would cost $.01 or 49 paise per watt'. G Shankarling, Associate Professor at ICT, said, 'The beauty of DSC is that unlike silicon solar cells that need direct sunlight, these cells can accumulate energy, when indoors, that can light electric devices such as lamps or to power a fan in the house'. Synthetic dyes are considered an alternative candidate for solar cells. Due to their high conversion efficiency, relative ease and low cost of manufacture, they are an important aspect of research and implementation in developing nations like India. The industrial inertia of accepting newer technologies may be higher in developed nations, due to the highly streamlined semiconductor manufacturing/fabrication processes. Developing nations may have a higher chance of incorporating alternative technologies, as there isn't much inertia to combat." Link to Original Source top
tanujt writes "University researchers in India and Japan say they have developed paper-thin batteries, capable of powering handheld devices, laptops and even automobiles. This joint research project involves Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), India's Department of Science and Technology (DST) and many Indian and Japanese academic institutions. The goal is to replace the liquid electrolyte in conventional batteries with solid lithium. Kalasalingam University's G. Hirankumar brought optimized cathode materials to Tohoku University's laboratories for three months of joint development. The one-micron thick, 5.2-volt batteries are expected to combine high energy density with thin film technology. These tiny batteries can supply currents of 1 mili-Ampere. Junichi Kawamura, director of Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (IMRAM) run by the Tohuku University, informs that these kind of batteries have already been employed in Japan in hybrid vehicle technologies. The thin-film battery market is expected to reach 11 billion USD by 2012, according to a 2006 report by Wintergreen Research." Link to Original Source top
tanujt (1909206) writes "David Willett, British minister for Universities and Sciences has called for a stronger partnership between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and UK's space program. As of now, Willetts invited ISRO to partner the UK in its TechDemoSat program. TechDemoSat is an industry-led technology demonstration satellite which aims to provide a low-Earth-orbit test bed to help demonstrate the technical maturity and commercial viability of innovative new space technology. TK Alex, director of ISRO Satellite Centre, invited the UK to partner India in training space scientists through academic exchanges between the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing and leading UK universities. This follows US President Obama's recent visit to India, wherein he signaled ending the ban on high-end technology exports and removal of Indian organizations, including ISRO and Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), from the Entity List." Link to Original Source