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IBM Breaks World Record for Solar Efficiency

IBM’s new thin-film solar cell has broken a world record for having an efficiency of 9.6 percent.
The solar cell- made up of zinc, copper, tin and sulphur/selenium- has an efficiency rating that is 40 percent higher than older solar cells made up of the same materials. Thin film solar cells usually have a 9 to 11 percent efficiency rate, and usually come from very expensive elements like cadmium, gallium and indium.
Solar cells that do not have the expensive elements mentioned usually have an efficiency that doesn’t surpass 6.7 percent.
Other than being more efficient, the new IBM solar cell is also cheaper in terms of printing costs, slit casting, and dip and spray coating because it …

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Engineers Build Lunar Vegetable Garden

UA researchers are demonstrating that plants from Earth could be grown without soil on the moon or Mars, setting the table for astronauts who would find potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables awaiting their arrival.
The first extraterrestrials to inhabit the moon probably won’t be little green men, but they could be little green plants.
Researchers at the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, known as CEAC, are demonstrating that plants from Earth could be grown hydroponically (without soil) on the moon or Mars, setting the table for astronauts who would find potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables awaiting their arrival.
The research team has built a prototype lunar greenhouse in the CEAC Extreme Climate …

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Computer in Wrapping-Paper Form

New Manufacturing Approach May Lower Solar Energy Costs
Driven by rapid global industrialization, finite fossil fuel reserves, and the high cost of many alternative energy options, meeting the world’s energy challenge may demand novel solutions. One potential solution has its roots in the ubiquitous industrial invention: the factory.
Investigators at SUNY Binghamton’s Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) — the only center of its kind in the United States — are giving factory production of solar energy cells a modern makeover. Their approach includes the use of “continuous electronic sheets,” something like a computer flattened into wrapping paper to perform its many functions. They describe their new approach in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which …

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Open software platform helps to save energy

Starting 2011, energy suppliers will be obligated to offer variable power prices. A new energy management software platform will enable customers in future to opt for fl exible electricity rates, so that they can purchase power at times when it is available more cheaply. A further advantage is better utilization of the power grid.
Faced with rising electricity and heating costs, more and more consumers are opting to save energy, and now the government is beginning to help them. As from 2011, energy suppliers will be required to offer electricity at variable rates under the German Energy Act (EnWG § 40,3).
The idea behind the new law is simple: variable rates should encourage people to make a …

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