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Breakthrough solar panel can harvest power from raindrops — day or night

In a truly remarkable feat of innovation, scientists have figured out how to create “hybrid” solar cells that generate power not just from sunlight but also from raindrops. This means we may soon see all-weather solar panels that work when it is cloudy and even at night, if it’s raining.

Solar has soared in recent years, as panel prices have dropped so fast that solar keeps crushing its own record for the cheapest power “ever, anywhere, by any technology” — even without a subsidy.

But scientists and engineers around the world keep innovating, looking for ways to  make solar panels more efficient and less expensive. Much of this innovation is now coming from China, the world leader in both manufacturing and deployment of solar energy.

For instance, China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025.

In another remarkable advance, researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops.” 

                        <img width="250" height="398" src="https://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/two-sided-solar-panel-forecast-bnef.jpg?w=250&amp;h=398&amp;crop=1" alt=""></div> 
                Two sided solar panel forecast<p>The device <span>makes use of a </span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanogenerator#Triboelectric_nanogenerator">triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG)</a><span>, which converts mechanical energy — motion — into electricity. In this case, the solar cells harvest power from the movement of raindrops that fall on them.  </span></p> 

Since solar panels typically generate only one tenth of their potential output during rain, and virtually nothing at night-time, the advance could address one of the biggest problems facing solar power: its variability.

“Our device can always generate electricity in any daytime weather,” as Soochow’s Baoquan Sun told the UK Guardian. “In addition, this device even provides electricity at night if there is rain.”

Here is a video of the basic principle behind TENG from Georgia Tech Prof. Zhong Lin Wang, whose group first demonstrated this kind of nano generator in 2011:

The potential applications of TENG include generating power from walking and typing. The recent Chinese breakthrough was to figure out how to make it work in a simple and efficient manner for a solar cell.

It could be a while before the technology makes its way into a commercial product for widespread use, though. We are still 3 to 5 years from a prototype according to Sun. He told the Guardian, “the output power efficiency needs to be further improved before practical application.”

But if the technology takes off, we may actually have solar panels that work rain or shine.

Source: https://thinkprogress.org/breakthrough-solar-panel-can-harvest-power-from-raindrops-day-or-night-3a2ce74f9060/

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Ford’s electric GoBikes have arrived in San Francisco

GoBike.pngBike-sharing company Motivate is expanding its San Francisco offering to include electric versions of Ford’s GoBikes. They’ll be available at no extra cost in the same way as Ford’s regular GoBikes, which can be unlocked with the accompanying app or…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/24/Ford-electric-gobikes-san-francisco-motivate-bike-sharing/

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Are Hydrogen Cars the Next Big Thing Again?


I still think hydrogen is the right answer…when you convert hydrogen to energy, you get pure WATER as an exhaust (which could be captured and reconverted to hydrogen and oxygen to be reused).
Not just for cars…imagine power plants that create hydrogen from water using solar power (free) and then create electric power for the grid by turning that hydrogen back to water (burning or otherwise).
Where’s the pollution? Where’s the fossil fuel costs? Oh, and hey look..no fucking carbon or way to harm the environment.
I’m probably not the first to suggest this…but if I am, and you build it, you better cut me in. Just saying. The Article ‘Are Hydrogen Cars the Next Big Thing Again?’ originally appeared on http://www.thedrive.com/tech/14431/are-hydrogen-cars-the-next-big-thing-again
Jamie’s comments are his own.

More: https://jamiegraymusic.com/wordpress/2018/04/are-hydrogen-cars-the-next-big-thing-again/

Source: http://moregray.blogspot.com/2018/04/are-hydrogen-cars-next-big-thing-again.html

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Aircraft startup Wright Electric wants to use electric planes for flights in the Middle East


Electric aircraft startup Wright Electric aims to carry passengers on battery-powered flights within the next 20 years. Now, business travelers in the Middle East may soon be able to partake in the company’s aggressive flight plans.

Flight support company Jetex recently announced a new partnership with Los Angeles-based Wright Electric. The companies have committed to flying electric private planes on short 300-mile or shorter trips from cities like Dubai, Muscat, Malaga, and Casablanca — all on a single charge. 

The only catch: The first such flight may be as far as 10 years away.

More about Air Travel, Middle East, Mena, Wright Electric, and Electric Plane

Source: https://mashable.com/2018/04/16/wright-electric-jetex-plane-business-travel-middle-east/?utm_campaign=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial

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Perry seems in favor of emergency order to bail out coal, nuclear plants


Enlarge / US Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the East Room of the White House in 2018. (credit: Getty Images)

At a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry expressed his willingness to help coal and nuclear plants out with an emergency order similar to one requested by energy firm FirstEnergy earlier this month.

Two weeks ago, FirstEnergy asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to invoke Section 202(c), which allows the department to order certain US power plants to keep running during wartime or during a natural disaster. The energy firm then filed for bankruptcy a few days later.

There has been skepticism within the DOE that Section 202(c) should be used for any purpose other than a disaster. But at Thursday’s hearing, Perry seemed to play up the dire state of the American grid throughout his comments in front of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy, where he took questions from representatives about the Trump administration’s budget request for 2019.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1293097