Solar Impulse aims to push innovation on the ground

More Solar Innovation: Stanford’s Peel and Stick Flexible Application

Kennedy International Airport is host to one unique airplane: the Solar Impulse. The sun-powered plane made history by becoming the first aircraft to fly across America day and night without fuel. The Solar Impulse finished its two-month journey from NASA’s Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. to JFK airport on July 6, where it is currently parked. Solar Impulse Solar Impulse’s model HB-SIB is the second-generation aircraft that took the cross-country trip. The aircraft is powered by 11,628 solar cells, has an average flying speed of about 43 miles (70 kilometers) per hour and its maximum altitude is about 27,900 feet.
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Space probe sees solar system’s tail

Solar-cell makers and their champions love to talk about a similar Moores law for solar, but the physics of the situation argues against this. Yes, since 1985, solar-cell prices have dropped by roughly a factor of four, but during that same period, Moores law slashed the price of computational power by a factor of at least 130,000. Better Technology Ahead Solar cells being deployed today convert into electricity just 10 percent to 15 percent of the solar energy that strikes them. Laboratories have made cells that can reach 40 percent efficiency , a level where things start to get interesting. But these advanced cells are expensive and tricky to make. A lot more R&D must be done before they can be produced cheaply and in volume.
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Introducing Veriown Energy Inc. and Veriown Innovation Center

Not only are they’re working with Fraunhofer to develop silicon coatings, they have already developed the ENLIGHT( TM ) encapsulant film that: – Help extend the service life of modules because the films have significantly better electrical properties and improved moisture resistance. – Allow panel manufacturers to potentially increase yield and capacity by reducing lamination cycle times by up to 30 percent. [ Marketwatch ] This isn’t stuff that’s in the lab, Dow already has two plants (one in the US, the other in Thailand) producing the stuff and a third one (in Germany) under construction. New Energy Technologies SolarWindow Technology The US start-up company has developed what must be the ultimate in flexible, lightweight solar cells, ‘spray-on’ photovoltaic windows, materials that can be sprayed on windows which: is so effective as to harvest light even from northern exposure, and indeed even from indoor fluorescent lighting… It puts energy harvesting everywhere. [ Technology Review ] The spray dramatically simplify the thin film manufacturing process Solar cells that are currently available are largely made of silicon wafers, an expensive and brittle material that can limit their commercial usability. Other newer generation, lower-cost, flexible thin film solar materials such as amorphous silicon, copper-indium-gallium-selenide, and cadmium telluride, often require high-vacuum and high-temperature production techniques, and are many times thicker than New Energy’s ultra-small solar cells. This generally limits the application of such thin films primarily to stainless steel, an expensive substrate material with limited prospects of delivering transparency. [ New Energy Technologies ] There are more advantages as the spray is transparent so it’s prime use is intended for windows (hence “SolarWindow”).
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of real estate globally. Also announced today was the creation of the Veriown Innovation Center (VIC), a joint partnership of Veriown and CogniTek Management Systems ( CogniTek ), which will commercialize a number of patents and R&D assets focused on developing and commercializing distributed generation technologies that allow for 24/7/365 energy without the need for subsidies. Further announcements about the specific technologies will be released over the next few months. The Veriown Innovation Center is a strategic partnership that marries the large portfolio of distributed generation breakthrough technologies of CogniTek with Veriowns ability to scale, maximize global corporate relationships, and utilize proven leadership in developing next generation businesses, said Johanns. Michael Gurin, CEO of CogniTek , will be Chief Technology Officer of VIC. Sean Murdock, founder of NanoSonix, will be Chief Strategy Officer. According to research by Navigant, the renewable distributed energy generation (RDEG) market will experience strong growth over the next several years, with total system revenues increasing from $50.8 billion in 2009 to $154.7 billion by 2015. During this period, the annual RDEG capacity additions will increase from 5.9 gigawatts (GW) in 2009 to 15.1 GW in 2015.
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Energy Subsidies Stymie Wind, Solar Innovation: Nathan Myhrvold

In fact, global LED lighting sales grew from $2.7 bn in 2008 to $9.4 bn in 2011. Thats what happens with good technologies. They get mainstreamed for reasons other than the environmental benefits alone. Kurzweil is onto something. Growth in solar has been spectacular. But so far its been on rooftops and in large filed-mounted arrays. The next area where solar may make huge gains is integration into the skin of buildings, what is know as Building Integrated Photovoltaics, or BIPV. A recent report from Pike research see BIPV growing from just over 400 MW in 2012 to 2,250 by 2017, with annual value increasing from just over $600 mn to $2.4 bn. In the future, BIPV will no longer be confined to spandrel or overhead applications.
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Solar Innovation Marches On (Part IV)

Rosetta is on its way to study Comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. On June 8, 2011, Rosetta was placed in hibernation. It will wake up when it reaches the comet in mid-2014, when it will drop a small lander onto the comet’s surface. One of the most famous comets is Hale-Bopp. It was discovered independently on July 23,1995, by Alan Hale in New Mexico and by Thomas Bopp in Arizona. It was one of the brightest comets in decades and was visible to the naked eye for several months. Comet Lovejoy stunned scientists in December 2011 when it flew through the hot atmosphere of the sun and emerged intact.
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