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Turning Waste Heat Into Power

University of Arizona physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power. Taking advantage of quantum effects, the technology holds great promise for making cars, power plants, factories and solar panels more efficient.
What do a car engine, a power plant, a factory and a solar panel have in common? They all generate heat – a lot of which is wasted. University of Arizona physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power.
Using a theoretical model of a so-called molecular thermoelectric device, the technology holds great promise for making cars, power plants, factories and solar panels more efficient, to name a few …

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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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Bringing solar power to the masses

On a 104-degree Friday in July when sunlight bathed The University of Arizona campus, doctoral student Dio Placencia sat before a noisy vacuum chamber in the Chemical Sciences Building trying to advance the renewable energy revolution.
As a member of UA professor Neal R. Armstrong’s research group, Placencia conducts research aimed at creating a thin, flexible organic solar cell that could power a tent or keep a car charged between trips to work and back home again.
He’s passionate about renewable energy and says it’s a waste that so little solar has been incorporated into society. “I have a little flat panel that I walk around with,” Placencia said. “I usually put that on my backpack, and …

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