Nano-Ink: Spray-on Solar Cells To Harvest The Sun

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Nano-ink could replace standard method of manufacturing solar cells

This is one powerful idea that would do away with massive solar panels. Solar cells could soon be spray painted onto the sides of buildings or rooftops with nanoparticles.

 

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Powering American Cities This Century

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A single superconducting cable (shown in blue) could one day replace a dozen traditional copper cables (shown in red)

Barring the occasional thunderstorm, most Americans take the electric current behind their power buttons for granted, and assume the juice will be there when they’re ready to fire up an appliance or favorite tech toy. Little do most know, the strain on our electric grid – which has led to rolling brownouts and the massive 2003 blackout that left 40 million people across the Northeast in the dark – will only intensify in coming years.

 

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‘Flash-Frying’ Coal Underground To Provide A Green Source Of Energy

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A project is taking shape that could offer an affordable means of reaching billions of tons of deep-lying coal deposits without causing irreparable harm to the environment.

Coal has become the ugly sister of power sources, condemned as old-fashioned, ultra-polluting and excessively costly to mine, given that we have exhausted the most easily accessible supplies.

 

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Transparent Aluminum Is ‘New State Of Matter’

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Experimental set-up at the FLASH laser used to discover the new state of matter

Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world’s most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium’ previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

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Solar Technology For Dark Climates

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A prototype of a Stirling engine that’s powered by a solar water heater.

Cool Energy, a startup based in Boulder, CO, is developing a system that produces heat and electricity from the sun. It could help make solar energy competitive with conventional sources of energy in relatively dark and cold climates, such as the northern half of the United States and countries such as Canada and Germany.

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Electrifying Photography

Electrifying Photography

  Robert Buelteman uses high voltage photography

Forget the notion of a reverent nature photographer tiptoeing through the woods, camera slung over one shoulder, patiently looking for perfect light. Robert Buelteman works indoors in total darkness, forsaking cameras, lenses, and computers for jumper cables, fiber optics, and 80,000 volts of electricity. This bizarre union of Dr. Frankenstein and Georgia O’Keeffe spawns photos that seem to portray the life force of his subjects as the very process destroys them.

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New Design Makes Nuclear Reactors Cheaper and Faster To Build

New Design Makes Nuclear Reactors Cheaper and Faster To Build

A 4.5-meter-wide, 23-meter-long nuclear reactor designed to fit on a railcar for shipping to the site of a power plant. 

A new type of nuclear reactor that is designed to be manufactured in a factory rather than built at a power plant could cut construction times for nuclear power plants almost in half and make them cheaper to build. That, in turn, could make it possible for more utilities to build nuclear power plants, especially those in poor countries. The design comes from Babcock and Wilcox, a company based in Lynchburg, VA, that has made nuclear reactors for the United States Navy ships for about 50 years.

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