Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 5


Solar jet fuel Researchers at ETH Zurich demonstrated the ability to use solar energy to create the precursor to jet fuel from water and carbon dioxide, a process that could lead to carbon-neutral air travel. The scientists performed 295 consecutive cycles in a 4 kW solar reactor, yielding 700 standard liters of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (syngas), the precursor to kerosene and other liqu... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 21


Greener greenhouses Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz are testing greenhouses capable of generating some of their own energy, without hampering plant growth. Greenhouses use electricity to control temperature and power fans, lights, and other monitoring systems. Electricity-generating solar greenhouses utilize Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs), a novel ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 31


Battery material supplies Researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Rochester Institute of Technology conducted an analysis of whether there are enough raw materials to support increased lithium-ion battery production, expected to grow significantly due to electric vehicles and grid-connected battery systems. They conclude that while in the near future there shou... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 10


Asphalt anode Scientists at Rice University developed an anode for lithium metal batteries enabling them to charge 10 to 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries. The anodes are a porous carbon made from asphalt mixed with conductive graphene nanoribbons and coated with composite with lithium metal through electrochemical deposition. The lab combined the anode with a sulfurized... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 26


Long-range communication Researchers at the University of Washington developed devices that run on almost zero power can transmit data across distances of up to 2.8 kilometers. The long-range backscatter system, which uses reflected radio signals to transmit data at extremely low power, achieved reliable coverage throughout 4800-square-foot house, an office area covering 41 rooms and a one-acr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 19


Healing perovskites A team from the University of Cambridge, MIT, University of Oxford, University of Bath, and Delft University of Technology discovered a way to heal defects in perovskite solar cells by exposing them to light and just the right amount of humidity. While perovskites show promise for low-cost, efficient photovoltaics, tiny defects in the crystalline structure, called traps,... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 5


Energy-harvesting yarn Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and Hanyang University in South Korea developed a carbon nanotube yarn that generates electricity when stretched or twisted. Possible applications for the so-called "twistron" yarns include harvesting energy from the motion of ocean waves or from temperature fluctuations. When sewn into a shirt, these yarns served as a sel... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 29


Colored solar panels Researchers from AMOLF, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) developed a technology to create efficient bright green solar panels in the hopes that a greater array of colors will prompt greater adoption among architects and builders who might see the traditional blue or black panels as an eyesore. The panels have a gr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 15


Solar sunglasses Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed sunglasses with colored, semitransparent organic solar cells applied onto the lenses capable of supplying a microprocessor and two displays with electric power. The solar cell lenses, perfectly fitted to a commercial frame, have a thickness of approx. 1.6 millimeters and weigh about six grams, just like th... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 1


Concentrating photovoltaics Engineers at Penn State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested a new concentrating photovoltaic solar system, which they say can produce over 50% more energy per day than standard silicon solar cells. In contrast to silicon solar panels, which currently dominate the market at 15 to 20 percent efficiency, concentrating photovoltaics (... » read more

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