Solar

‘Crazy’ climate re-engineering could reduce vital rains, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: November 1, 2013   View Article

If global warming gases build up so much that record-setting rains, droughts and coastal floods routinely bankrupt businesses and cities, the world’s economic and political powers may decide to aggressively re-engineer the global climate. One option is to fill the atmosphere with enough sunlight-reflecting particles to restore surface temperatures to pre-industrial levels. If they do, would all be cool?

Absolutely not, according to a new study that asked the question to 12 models forced to simulate the global climate with four times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than existed in 1850, the start of the industrial revolution. Under such conditions, reflecting sunlight in order to lower temperatures to pre-industrial levels would cause monsoonal rains to drop 5 to 7 percent below pre-industrial levels.

Hack a virus, win a prize: Scientist recognized for ‘useful’ germ modding

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 4, 2013   View Article

The inventor of a viral technology behind tomorrow’s electric car batteries, flexible touchscreen computers, and non-invasive cancer screening was awarded a $500,000 prize Tuesday.

Angela Belcher, a materials chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, alters the genetic code of viruses to build things that are useful to humans. The technique is already being harnessed to produce touchscreen gadgets and convert methane gas to gasoline, jet fuel, and plastics.

She received the 2013 Lemelson-MIT Prize, which honors mid-career inventors who are dedicated to making the world a better place through technology.

Bank of 1,440 lithium-ion batteries to make power grid smarter

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 31, 2013   View Article

A bank of lithium-ion batteries big enough to supply about 500 U.S. homes with electricity during a power outage went online today to demonstrate the future of smart grid technologies.

The 5-megawatt battery is a piece of a larger, government-backed $178 million research project in the Pacific Northwest to make the electric grid more efficient and friendly to additional loads of renewable energy such as wind and solar, which fluctuate depending on the weather and time of day.

Sunlight forecasts to benefit electric utilities and … NASCAR

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 21, 2013   View Article

Race car drivers are likely to benefit from a newly-launched $4.1 million U.S. government-funded program to improve 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun.

Cloud cover impacts racetrack temperature, which in turn affects how well tires grip the pavement, researchers working on the program explained.

Solar trucks provide electricity in Sandy’s wake

Publication: NBC News   Date: November 16, 2012   View Article

In the Sandy-ravaged Rockaway Beach neighborhood of New York, a 10-year-old truck outfitted with 256-square feet of solar panels is a working example of how cities can prepare for superstorms of the future.

The truck, Rolling Sunlight, is one of several mobile solar generators deployed in the region as part of the Solar Sandy coalition of solar companies and nonprofits that have banded together to provide residents and relief workers with electricity.

Solar tech converts sunlight at record-breaking rate

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 31, 2012   View Article

An out-of-the-lab solar-power system has successfully shown it can convert more than a third of the sun’s direct sunlight into electricity, a new record for a technology that focuses sunlight akin to the way school kids burn leaves and ants under magnifying glasses.

The record of 33.5 percent efficiency was announced Tuesday by Amonix, a manufacturer of concentrator photovoltaic  (CPV) solar power systems. The achievement was confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and breaks the previous record of 30.5 percent, also held by Amonix.

Solar cells that go anywhere win invention prize

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 8, 2012   View Article

Your windows, curtains and wallpaper may soon start harvesting energy from sunlight as it spills into your room thanks to a prize-winning inventor who is putting solar cells on just about any surface.

“The barriers to adoption and installation are reduced if you can really put these anywhere,” Miles Barr, who received the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize on Wednesday, told me.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach