Sci/tech

Solar Energy: Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency Of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
April 15, 2008 08:15 AM - University of Washington

A new approach is able to create a dramatic improvement in cheap solar cells now being developed in laboratories. By using a popcorn-ball design -- tiny kernels clumped into much larger porous spheres -- researchers at the University of Washington are able to manipulate light and more than double the efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity. The findings were presented in New Orleans at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society April 10.

Scientists Create Body Parts in Labs
April 11, 2008 09:58 AM - ,

Imagine creating a mouse's heart by printing it out on an ink-jet printer. Using a spray to regenerate skin cells on burn victims. Growing a bladder in a petri dish. Or what about a special powder that could regrow an amputated finger, or even an arm or leg? This incredible medical technology may sound like the sort of thing you'd see on one of Zach Braff's Scrubs fantasies, but to our surprise, these cutting-edge procedures are completely real – CBS says so.

NSF Announces Green Gasoline & Fuels Breakthroughs
April 11, 2008 08:59 AM - , Triple Pundit

Breakthrough research sponsored by the National Science Foundation into the development of green gasoline, green diesel and green jet fuel based on the conversion of biomass from feedstock such as switchgrass, fast-growing poplar trees, corn stalks, wood waste and residues and other non-food plant sources is bearing fruit.

'Glocal' approach makes global knowledge local
April 11, 2008 08:50 AM - , SciDevNet

Science should go 'glocal', integrating global with local knowledge, if it is to reach diverse ethnic communities, says Julia Tagüeña. The word 'glocal' — a combination of global and local — has long appealed to me. Perhaps it is because, at a UK university, I and fellow Latin American students used Portuñol, a combination of Português (Portuguese) and Español (Spanish), to understand each other.

Californians to pay $600 mln for green think tank
April 10, 2008 07:16 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California electricity and natural gas customers will be charged $600 million over the next 10 years to fund a green think tank, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted on Thursday. A surcharge to monthly power and gas bills will fund the California Institute for Climate Solutions, linked to the University of California. The surcharge will be tacked on customer bills of investor-owned utilities and not of municipal utilities in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

The future of solar-powered houses is clear
April 10, 2008 10:15 AM - Queensland University of Technology

Transparent glass containing solar cells could capture enough energy to power a home Professor John Bell said QUT had worked with a Canberra-based company Dyesol, which is developing transparent solar cells that act as both windows and energy generators in houses or commercial buildings.

Carbon Nanotubes Made Into Conductive, Flexible 'Stained Glass'
April 10, 2008 09:57 AM - Northwestern University

Carbon nanotubes are promising materials for many high-technology applications due to their exceptional mechanical, thermal, chemical, optical and electrical properties. Now researchers at Northwestern University have used metallic nanotubes to make thin films that are semitransparent, highly conductive, flexible and come in a variety of colors, with an appearance similar to stained glass. These results, published online in the journal Nano Letters, could lead to improved high-tech products such as flat-panel displays and solar cells.

Green phones still a few years away: Nokia
April 10, 2008 08:24 AM - Reuters

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Cellphones from recycled materials are a few years away from reaching consumers' hands, a senior official at Nokia said on Thursday, adding the handset maker expects the green push will boost demand. "We believe it will become a competitive factor," Markus Terho, a director at Nokia's environmental affairs unit, told a news conference.

Climate assumptions 'optimistic at best'
April 9, 2008 09:29 AM - , SciDevNet

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has seriously underestimated the technological advances needed to stem carbon dioxide emissions, say Roger Pielke Jr, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green in Nature. They describe the IPCC's assumption that the majority of future emission reductions will occur spontaneously, in the absence of climate policies, as "optimistic at best and unachievable at worst".

New MIT Start-up Aims to Make Silicon Solar Cells Competitive With Coal
April 9, 2008 08:17 AM - , Green Progress

1366 Technologies, a new MIT start-up aiming to make silicon solar cells competitive with coal, today announced it has secured $12,4 million in a first round of financing co-led by North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. MIT Professor, 1366 founder and CTO, Ely Sachs, noted that 1366 Technologies will be combining innovations in silicon cell architecture with manufacturing process improvements to bring multi-crystalline silicon solar cells to cost parity with coal-based electricity.

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