100% Renewable Power For Durango City, Colorado

by Justin Thomas •

The city of Durango will soon be powered by 100% renewable energy (we believe that wind power will be used). Green power currently constitutes about 10% of city power purchases. The extra the city pays for green energy will add about $120,000 a year to its electrical bill officials said. But the extra cost will be offset by an energy …

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New 3D Solar Cells Created

by Justin Thomas •

Recently, we featured some intriguing spherical solar cells from Japan. But now there’s an announcement that unique 3D solar cells have been created using nanotubes. The 3D solar cells capture photons from sunlight using an array of miniature “tower” structures that resemble high-rise buildings in a city street grid. The tower structures, which are about 100 microns tall, 40 microns …

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$14 Million From DOE For Plug-In Hybrids

by Justin Thomas •

This week the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will provide up to $14 million in funding plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) battery development. This research aims to find solutions to improving battery performance so vehicles can deliver up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging. This would include most round-trip daily commutes. Plug-in hybrid electric car …

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275 Homes With Solar Tiles Opened

by Justin Thomas •

One of the nation’s biggest home builders, Lennar Homes, has announced the completion of 275 solar powered homes in Windemere community of San Ramon (near San Francisco). The homes will be powered by solar tiles integrated into their roofs. The tiles are PowerLight “Sun Tiles” made by a company called SunPower. In its promotional video and related materials, SunPower boasts …

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Plug-In Cars That Power Your Home

by Justin Thomas •

Soon, in California, you may be able to power your home with your car during a blackout, or even have the utility company pay you for the power that your car produces. San Jose Mercury News reports that PG&E, a Californian utility company will showcase a converted Toyota Prius in Sunnyvale, CA. (Update: See a video of the prototype cars …

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Wind Turbine Art: Portable, Wind-Powered Lights

by Justin Thomas •

Young Dutch designers demakersvan have created a wind-powered outdoor light inspired by windmills. Called Light Wind, the freestanding design is topped by a 2m-diameter propeller. The blades are made out of sail fabric, so there’s no possibility someone will have their head taken off by one of these. Here’s how the designers describe the turbine: An outside lamp drawn from …

Report: Solar Costs To Match Coal By 2010

by Justin Thomas •

The cost of producing solar power will fall to that of coal-fired electricity by the end of the decade, according to a report by Europe’s Photon Consulting. However, falling costs of production won’t lead to substantially cheaper prices for consumers because of current market dynamics which see rising demand outstripping supply. The report predicts that by 2010 solar power will …

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Blueberries Used To Capture Solar Power

by Justin Thomas •

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We just reported on the breakthrough in solar dyes in New Zealand. Now, researchers in Italy have discovered that blueberries have natural pigments that absorb sunlight extremely well. Apparently, dark-colored berries outperform most other plant species when it comes to spectral absorption of sunlight. The blueberry pigment, called, anthocyanine, can be used to make dye-sensitized solar cells, which require no …

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Efficient Concrete Replacement: Blocks of Trash

by Justin Thomas •

From Live Science: Last year’s trash could become next year’s model home, thanks to the invention of a new type of construction material made entirely from waste products. “Bitublocks,” created by engineer John Forth of the University of Leeds in England, are composed of recycled glass, sewage sludge, incinerator ash, the by-products of metal purification and pulverized fuel ash from …

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Innovative Solar Dyes: Inexpensive Liquid Solar Power

by Justin Thomas •

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Researchers from the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zealand have developed synthetic dyes that can be used to generate electricity at one tenth of the cost of current silicon-based solar panels. These photosynthesis-like compounds work in low-light conditions and can be cheaply incorporated into window-panes and building materials, thereby turning them into generators of electricity. Dr Wayne …