New Energy Update, Solar Roadways & Capturing Energy From Heat
This week has been full of a lot of not such good news. So to end the old week or start off the new one (depending on your point of view) here are a couple of great stories about advances being made in the world of renewable energy.
From the ecoimagination site;
Paving the Solar Roadway to Success
We have some exciting news about one of the participants in GE’s $200 million ecomagination Challenge. Idaho-based Solar Roadways was a popular entry in the first phase of the Challenge; in fact, they received the highest number of Challenge community votes and received the $50,000 Community Award. It turns out the Challenge community knows a good idea when it sees one — Solar Roadways has just received a $750,000 contract from the Federal Highway Administration for the further development of their idea, using roadways to collect and transport energy.
We’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to co-founders Scott and Julie Brusaw, and all the people at Solar Roadways working hard to bring this exciting, innovative idea to life. Be sure to check out the Solar Roadways Prototype on YouTube, and if you’re curious to learn more, check out the Solar Roadways website.
Sun-Less Solar Cells Could Make Energy From Anything Hot
BY Kit EatonMon Aug 1, 2011
“Photovoltaic cells are best known for turning sunlight into electrical power–and they’re big business. But did you know that there’s a type of PV cell that eats heat instead of light to make power? It could replace the Li-ion battery in your cell phone, and it may also be used to scavenge waste heat from almost anything that normally dumps it into the environment, from your TV’s electronics to your car’s engine (even an electrical one).
Thermal PV tech has been around ages, and works the same way as the solar variation: Incoming radiation excites the atoms in its semiconductor structure, which then push electrons out–generating current. And much as is the case for solar PV cells, the advances in the tech have all been about improving their efficiency. Scientists at MIT have recently honed this tech, pushing the efficiency up so far that thermal PV cells are now a viable alternative to all sorts of other tech. MIT’s breakthrough was to add a layer of tungsten to the front of a PV cell, with a surface that’s been etched on a nanoscopic scale so that when heated it emits infrared light (heat) at wavelengths precisely tuned to the best efficiency of the PV cell behind it.”