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Solar Power

Electrowetting Lenses Improve Solar Efficiency


Electrowetting might not be a term or a concept you are familiar with yet, but it is the principle behind optofluidic solar concentration, another one of the recent ARPA-E grants to improve efficiency in solar energy. Beyond that, it may be a part of technologies you will use in the web prescription cialis next few years, and maybe even some you already have.

Solar power systems, particularly those aiming for high efficiency, cannot be fixed installations. An unmoving solar panel has its greatest efficiency when it is pointing directly toward the sun, and power production drops off significantly as the sun's angle becomes more and trade name for tramadol more oblique. Motors, actuators, and other mechanical control systems can be used to track the sun and keep the panels in optimal orientation. But these are expensive and require far more maintenance than do just the solar panels themselves.

Award winners Teledyne Scientific & Imaging in partnership with the University of Maryland are researching a system that will use an "electrowetting-based dynamic liquid prism" to focus the cheap levitra online sun for concentrating solar collectors. Electrowetting is the principle where a liquid changes from beading up on a surface to flattening out, based on the application of i recommend on line pharmacy an electric charge. Instead of needing a cumbersome system to track the sun, this will allow a thin layer on top of the photovoltaic material to viagra in australia for sale track the sun without any moving mechanical parts. Or, as the ARPA-E information describes the system:

The electrowetting effect controls the contact angle of a liquid on a hydrophobic surface through the application of an electric field. With two immiscible fluids in a transparent cell, they can actively control the contact angle along the fluid-fluid-solid tri-junction line and hence the buy ultram online legally orientation of the fluid-fluid interface via electrowetting. The naturally-formed meniscus between the two liquids can function as an optical prism. Without any mechanical moving parts, this dynamic liquid prism allows the device to adaptively track both the daily and seasonal changes of the Sun’s orbit, i.e., dual-axis tracking.

In addition to the application for solar tracking, electrowetting may also be the technology that brings color to low-energy e-book readers. Small autofocus lenses, such as those used for cell phone cameras, also use electrowetting principles in the same way to control small lenses that are actually liquids.

Not only are the optofluidic systems likely to require less maintenance, they also require less energy for operation than mechanically moving the only for you get pharmacy entire system, making them less parasitic of the power produced by the solar collector in the first place. Quieter, more reliable operation will also be a benefit for residential applications.


Solar Power Coming to the White House in 2011

Just a month after turning down a group of trade name tramadol college students who wanted to viagra and female put the old Carter-era solar panels back on the White House, the Obama administration has announced that the White House will, indeed, go solar, just with new units.

The White House will become home to a solar PV system and a solar hot water heater by Spring 2011.  No word yet on the amount of kilowatts we're talking about here, but it will likely be a modest amount.  The DOE is asking companies to submit proposals for the contract, so we'll also have to wait a bit to know who will be responsible for the installations.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality said:

"President Obama has said the Federal Government has to lead by example in creating opportunity and jobs in clean energy.  By installing solar panels on generic levitra cheap arguably the most famous house in the country, his residence, the President is underscoring that commitment to lead and online viagra without prescription paypal the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States."

We've felt all along that Obama needed to show some personal leadership when it comes to renewable energy and this is exactly the type of thing we were hoping for.  We still have a long way to go, but today is online pharmacy viagra accepts paypal an exciting day.

via DOE Release



California Sets 33% By 2020 Renewable Energy Standard

After a state senate bill increasing California's renewable energy standard failed to pass, the state's Air Resources Board (CARB) has gone ahead and increased the goal on their own.

The state now has a renewable energy standard requiring 33 percent of its energy come from renewables by 2020 and 20 percent by 2012, which puts more weight behind an executive order signed by the governor outlining the same requirement last year.

The state already gets about 14 percent of their electricity through renewable sources, but a six percent gain in less than two years is still quite a feat.

California has the highest renewable energy standard in the country, with Colorado just behind them requiring 30 percent by 2020.

via Earth 911


Plant-Mimicking Solar Cells Can Self-Assemble

Scientists at MIT have created a breakthrough solution to one of the biggest problems facing solar cells by mimicking the world's best harvesters of solar energy:  plants.

Over time, sunlight breaks down the materials in solar cells, leading to a gradual degradation of levitra lowest price devices aiming to harvest the viagra online 50mgs energy in that light.  Plants don't have this problem because the chloroplasts in plant cells constantly breakdown and reassemble their light-capturing molecules -- essentially constantly creating brand new molecules.

The scientists have developed self-assembling solar cells that can be broken down and reassembled quickly by the subtraction or addition of a surfactant (similar to the dispersants used on the oil spill).  MIT News describe the system as being made up of:

"synthetic molecules called phospholipids that form disks; these disks provide structural support for other molecules that actually respond to buy levitra pills light, in structures called reaction centers, which release electrons when struck by particles of light. The disks, carrying the reaction centers, are in a solution where they attach themselves spontaneously to carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes hold the phospholipid disks in a uniform alignment so that the reaction centers can all be exposed to sunlight at once and they also act as wires to collect and channel the flow of electrons..."

When the surfactant is added, all of the components come apart.  When it's removed, the components spontaneously reassemble into a "rejuvenated" photocell.  After repeated tests where the non perscription viagra cell is dis- and reassembled, there was no loss of efficiency.  The individual molecules have an efficiency of about 40 percent, around double current solar cells, but testing has been at low concentrations of 5mg propecia these molecules, so the overall efficiency of the device was also low.

The scientists think that the individual molecules could theoretically hit 100 percent efficiency.  They are currently working to increase the concentration of the device and up the overall efficiency to something much greater.

via  MIT News


First New US Solar Thermal Power Plant in 20 Years Approved


The State of California has granted approval for a new solar thermal power plant. The 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project is the first solar thermal power plant to be licensed in the United States in nearly 20 years. Commercial operation is expected to levitra injectable start by the third quarter of 2011.

Several other solar projects are also in the pipeline and seeking approval by the end of the year, including the Brightsource 400 MW solar tower. More than 4 GW of other solar thermal projects are also pending with the state.

Beacon Solar will be an array of solar focusing parabolic troughs spread over a 2,012 acre site in Kern County, California. The approval process required a solution to local residents' objections to the great amount of water the project would require. The final agreement will have the project use recycled water from a nearby community instead of drawing directly from the viagra cheap price local aquifer. The project expects to use nearly 1600 acre feet (1.97 million cubic meters) of water annually.

The state of cialis from canada California has mandated that 20% of its electrical power come from renewables by 2010. While it does not look like that target is going to be met, the approval of several hundred megawatts of solar thermal power will help get the state closer to that goal.

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