New Solar Panel Design Uses Wasted Energy to Make Water From Air

The system directly addresses clean water shortages and crop devastation worldwide.

By Monisha Ravisetti

While generating green energy, solar panels usually create excess heat that goes unused. But with a new, innovative design, scientists have found a way to harness those precious leftovers to give the power producers a second purpose: pulling water out of thin air.

Basically, the self-contained system lays solar panels on a special gel that can collect airborne water vapor. As soon as surplus heat coming from the panels touches the gel, the substance releases a sort of mist into a metal box. Within that container, the gas gets condensed into droplets of water.

The team’s motivation is to provide energy and water that’s cheap, clean and off-grid to residents of remote and especially dry-climate areas.

“Our goal is to create an integrated system of clean energy, water, and food production, especially the water-creation part in our design, which sets us apart from current agrophotovoltaics,” Peng Wang, an environmental engineer at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, said in a statement.Wang is the senior author of a study on the invention published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

Continue reading… “New Solar Panel Design Uses Wasted Energy to Make Water From Air”
0

MIT researchers create new material as strong as steel and light as plastic

By MICHELLE SHEN 

MIT researchers have developed a new material that’s as strong as steel but as light as plastic.

It can be easily manufactured in large quantities, and the use cases range from lightweight coatings for cars and phones to building blocks for massive structures such as bridges, according to Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of a new study.

“We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things,” he said in a statement from MIT. “It has very unusual properties and we’re very excited about that.”

The material is several times stronger than bulletproof glass, and the amount of force needed to break it is twice that of steel, despite the fact that the material has only about one-sixth the density of steel, according to MIT.

Continue reading… “MIT researchers create new material as strong as steel and light as plastic”
0

Arizona-based startup has literally reinvented the wheel

Air suspension wheels for mining trucks and wheel loader.

By Nick Thomas

Global Air Cylinder Wheels (GACW), an Arizona-based startup, has literally reinvented the wheel. They developed a new type of wheel that ditches the need for pollutive rubber tires.

Many companies have tried to create new tire solutions, such as Tesla possibly moving toward airless tires on its Model 3, but none have succeeded so far.

The so-called Air Suspension Wheel (ASW) is the brainchild of serial inventor and structural dynamic engineer Dr. Zoltan Kemeny. The patented ASW is a mechanical wheel constructed mostly of steel with in-wheel pneumatic suspension through cylinders. It is both environmentally friendly as well as cost-efficient. The ASW is engineered to have the same lifespan as the vehicle it is mounted on. After that, unlike rubber tires, it can be reconditioned or can be completely recycled.

Continue reading… “Arizona-based startup has literally reinvented the wheel”
0

Self-healing 3D printed plastic can repair itself using only light

3D printed materials treated with a reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agent have been shown to self-heal under UV lights.

by Neil Martin

UNSW engineers have demonstrated a way to help 3D printed plastic heal itself at room temperature using only lights.

Professor Cyrille Boyer and his team, Dr. Nathaniel Corrigan and Mr Michael Zhang, in the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering have shown that the addition of “special powder” to the liquid resin used in the printing process can later assist with making quick and easy repairs should the material break.

This can be done very simply by shining standard LED lights on the printed plastic for around one hour which causes a chemical reaction and fusion of the two broken pieces. 

The entire process actually makes the repaired plastic even stronger than it was before it was damaged, and it is hoped that further development and commercialisation of the technique will help to reduce chemical waste in the future.

That is because broken plastic parts would not need to be discarded, or even recycled, and could be mended simply even when remaining embedded in a component including many other materials.

The results of the team’s research have now been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Continue reading… “Self-healing 3D printed plastic can repair itself using only light”
0

Harvesting water from the air, 24 hours a day, with no energy input

Pilot condenser used at ETH Zurich.

Fresh water is scarce in many parts of the world and must be obtained at great expense. Communities near the ocean can desalinate sea water for this purpose, but doing so requires a large amount of energy. Further away from the coast, practically often the only remaining option is to condense atmospheric humidity through cooling, either through processes that similarly require high energy input or by using “passive” technologies that exploit the temperature swing between day and night. However, with current passive technologies, such as dew-collecting foils, water can be extracted only at night. This is because the sun heats the foils during the day, which makes condensation impossible.

Continue reading… “Harvesting water from the air, 24 hours a day, with no energy input”
0

This Solar Hydropanel Can Pull 10 Liters of Drinking Water Per Day Out of the Air

By Derek Markham

By harvesting water vapor from the air and condensing it into liquid, atmospheric water generators can essentially pull water from the air, and these devices hold a lot of promise for providing an independent source of drinking water. And although drought-stricken regions and locations without safe or stable water sources are prime candidates for water production and purification devices such as those, residences and commercial buildings in the developed world could also benefit from their use, and they make a great fit for off-grid homes and emergency preparedness kits.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 40 percent of America’s 50,000 community water systems have had water quality violations, according to the EPA.
  • 15 percent of Americans still rely on wells as their main source of water. A full 50 percent of that water wouldn’t pass a quality test.
  • Over 450,000 California residents who are served by a Community Water System are subjected to water that is failing to meet the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Evidence shows that American households facing water insecurity and poor water quality are likely to have lower incomes and live in areas where infrastructure has been systemically underfunded.
  • 100 percent of California’s failing systems serve less than 100,000 people; 96.4 percent serve less than 10,000 people. Tulare County, where Allensworth is located, has largest number of systems without safe water. (Community Water Center’s Drinking Water Tool identifies exactly where communities have the environmental burden of no clean water and are also disadvantaged.)
  • The most common contaminants found in these water systems are arsenic, nitrate, lead, copper, Uranium, and E.Coli.
Continue reading… “This Solar Hydropanel Can Pull 10 Liters of Drinking Water Per Day Out of the Air”
0

This see-through wood could replace glass windows

BY ADELE PETERS

It’s lighter, stronger, easier to make, and would make it easier to heat and cool buildings.

A sheet of transparent new material at a University of Maryland lab looks like it might be plastic. But it’s actually wood—and it could eventually be used to make energy-efficient windows or even see-through buildings.

“Compared to glass, wood has lower thermal conductivity, and it’s lighter, stronger, and more environmentally friendly,” says Liangbing Hu, a materials science professor at the University of Maryland and one of the authors of a new study of the material. The idea is to employ the material in buildings. With a window made from transparent wood instead of glass, for example, a building would take less energy to heat and cool. Because of the structure of the wood, the windows could also reduce glare from the sun while allowing in natural light.

Continue reading… “This see-through wood could replace glass windows”
0

The first camera for blind people

 D128A210-93E3-407D-9139-66BBE3D4D422

2C3D is a camera that enables the blinds to see. The camera, is a development and design of a tactile camera concept for the vision impaired. The camera creates 3D photos and videos and has a 3D screen. The screen, inspired by “Pin Toy,” is built by numerous 3D pixels that shift depending on the photo to forms the 3D shot on the screen surface (giving the term “touch screen” a new and more literal interpretation).

The user can touch the screen while photographing and feel what the camera is seeing, in real time. When the users like what they feels, they can click and save the photo. The saved 3D file can be felt again later. The 2C3D performs as a camera for blind and as physical-digital photo album.

Continue reading… “The first camera for blind people”

0

Smart concrete could pave the way for high-tech , cost-effective roads

DB4CBAA5-A2B7-4A7C-B3C0-6853D4631023

 Every day, Americans travel on roads, bridges, and highways without considering the safety or reliability of these structures. Yet much of the transportation infrastructure in the US is outdated, deteriorating, and badly in need of repair.

Of the 614,387 bridges in the US, for example, 39 percent are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10 percent are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

The cost to repair and improve nationwide transportation infrastructure ranges from nearly US$190 billion to almost $1 trillion. Repairing US infrastructure costs individual households, on average, about $3,400 every year. Traffic congestion alone is estimated to cost the average driver $1,400 in fuel and time spent commuting, a nationwide tally of more than $160 billion per year.

I am a professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the director of the Center for Intelligent Infrastructures at Purdue University. My co-author, Vishal Saravade, is part of my team at the Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technology (SMART) Lab. The SMART Lab researches and develops new technologies to make American infrastructure “intelligent,” safer, and more cost-effective. These new systems self-monitor the condition of roads and bridges quickly and accurately and can, sometimes, even repair themselves.

Continue reading… “Smart concrete could pave the way for high-tech , cost-effective roads”

0

Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare

7AB29F77-3769-4586-8367-48DD1C8B12F8

2020 has ingrained in me an age-old adage my mom loves to quote – health is wealth. Focus on our healthcare and the strain on our healthcare system has increased exponentially this year. While the world altogether has jumped up to help improve our healthcare systems, what can truly help is improved preventive methods, devices that help the patients monitor their health from home as well as to stay in touch with their doctors virtually while providing accurate data. The best example of the data’s impact is how an Apple Watch helped saved a man’s life by detecting problems with his heartbeat – and this is just the beginning. The products here show the best of healthcare we can provide to make this world a better place!

Continue reading… “Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare”

0

Researchers create a single-molecule switch

 4D23A03E-B2A3-4139-ADE1-31DF8541CAB1

A team of researchers has demonstrated for the first time a single-molecule electret—a device that could be one of the keys to molecular computers.

 Smaller electronics are crucial to developing more advanced computers and other devices. This has led to a push in the field toward finding a way to replace silicon chips with molecules, an effort that includes creating single-molecule electret—a switching device that could serve as a platform for extremely small non-volatile storage devices. Because it seemed that such a device would be so unstable, however, many in the field wondered whether one could ever exist.

Along with colleagues at Nanjing University, Renmin University, Xiamen University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mark Reed, the Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Electrical Engineering & Applied Physics demonstrated a single-molecule electret with a functional memory. The results were published Oct. 12 in Nature Nanotechnology.

Continue reading… “Researchers create a single-molecule switch”

0

Amazon wants you to yell at your TV to buy things

 C4F63832-814A-4081-8665-BBDD70ECD0E3

Alphabet is wrangling mosquitoes, Apple’s bendy phone and other patents from Big Tech.

Another week in lockdown has passed, and while the present might still feel quite uncertain, the future looks as zany as ever, at least as far as patents go. Alphabet is trying to trap mosquitoes, Amazon wants you to buy stuff off of your TV screen, Apple is getting in on the flexible phone trend, and Microsoft is trying to figure out your heart health from your camera.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

 

Continue reading… “Amazon wants you to yell at your TV to buy things”

0