Fast Company reports on a solar powered lamp developed to help refugees and those in developing nations reliant on kerosene lamps. From the article:
The SolarPuff is a two-ounce, flat-pack solar lamp which quickly expands into a 4.5-inch cube. The lantern can last eight hours and easily recharges with clear sunlight. It provides enough light for refugees or people in impoverished areas to perform tasks at night, without instigating any dangerous fires or needing batteries.
Tesla has introduced Solar Roof – a new range of glass roof tiles that have built in solar cells in what could be a major next step in integrating clean and renewable energy generation into buildings and objects.
There are four durable glass tiles to choose from that mimic slate and other colours traditionally used in roofing materials, with a solar cell below the glass.
FastCoExist highlights a concept design for a desalination plant that proposes a novel approach to extracting salt from seawater. As explained in the article, ‘The Pipe’ would use a magnetic field to remove the salt, rather than using filters which are commonly used in existing desalination plants.
Engadget highlights a potentially huge leap in the efficiency of solar cells (i.e. the amount of sunlight converted to electricity.)
A team of researchers in Australia has achieved a conversion rate of 34.5% – the previous record was 24%. Some had predicted that a 35% efficiency rate would be decades away: hopefully the approach can be quickly applied in the real-world.
Engadget reports on the development of new solar cell technology that could allow solar panels to generate power from both sunlight and rain, by incorporating a thin layer of graphene. The approach has some way to go before becoming viable but it could encourage wider instalation of solar panels in climates with more variable weather.
Inhabitat features a hybrid solar and biofuel plane that will attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing later this year, which if successful will be the first zero-carbon flight over the Atlantic.
The article states that the plane will be “powered by a combination of solar energy and biofuels produced from microalgae, which was developed specifically for the Eraole. Wing-mounted solar panels will provide 25 percent of the plane’s power, while 55 percent will come from the algae-derived biofuels. For the remaining 20 percent of the time, the plane will simply glide on wind currents.”
Springwise features a prototype smartphone screen that incorporates a transparent photovoltaic layer under the screen that allows the device to recharge via sunlight. The device is a collaboration between Sunpartner Technologies and Kyocera.
The Guardian reports on an innovative approach to developing and deploying solar panel arrays that means they could be used and moved with greater ease, with potential uses including post-disaster recovery and at festivals. The company behind the panels – Renovagen – has developed a method for creating solar panels on a roll that allows easy transport, deployment and removal.
Inhabitat reports on a new solar plant in Southern Nevada that can generate energy both during the day and at night. The article states:
“The solar plant uses more than 10,000 mirrored heliostats spread across 1,600 acres to focus sunlight on a 640-foot tall central tower filled with molten salt. That salt is heated by the sunlight to nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit; this stored heat is then used to convert water to steam and drive electricity-producing generators.”
Inhabitat features a disaster and emergency shelter designed to feel more like a home.
Unfortunately most recovery and development work after a disaster or displacement takes years rather than days or weeks, so the idea behind the Hex House is to give people a comfortable, semi-permanent space that could last many years and includes solar panels and a rainwater capture system.
CleanTechnica reports on research at Brookhaven National Laboratory that has stumbled upon a way to integrate graphene efficiently into soda-lime glass, which could lead to cheaper and more efficient solar panels:
“…graphene’s high conductivity and transparency make it a very promising candidate as a transparent, conductive electrode to replace the relatively brittle and expensive indium tin oxide (ITO) in applications such as solar cells, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), flat panel displays, and touch screens.”
FastCoExist features a ‘pop-up’ farm designed for unused urban land; The Impact Farm. Conceived a as temporary or moveable structure, the two-story unit is self-sufficient by utilizing sunlight for power and capturing rainwater.
FastCoExist highlights the development of multi-purpose streetlights in Malaysia that kill mosquitos, charge mobile phones and help transmit flood warnings – as well as providing night time illumination. On top of this, the lights are powered by a combination of solar and wind power.