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Japanese companies forced to subsidize national solar power program

September 28, 2009 7:52 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Japanese companies are being forced to foot the bill for an ambitious new national solar power program.  According to Alpha Solar, “the government will oblige all Japanese companies to purchase excessive amount of energy and pay the double price to help installing solar panels.” The total “obligation” equals 9 billion Yen, and this will filter down to the consumer.

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Phillips recognized as first entrant in DOE lighting competition

September 25, 2009 10:36 am | Comments

Phillips has been recognized as the first entrant in the Department of Energy’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. Intended to spur development of efficient LED replacements for incandescent bulbs, L Prize comes with a handsome reward--$10 million to the first group or individual to develop a 60 W replacement.

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DOE's Solar Decathlon to Highlight Innovation, Future Green Jobs

September 25, 2009 4:47 am | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced this year’s participants and dates for DOE’s 2009 Solar Decathlon, a competition that challenges students to design and develop houses that can provide their own energy from the sunlight – a clean, renewable source of energy.  The twenty collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany will each build a completely self-sufficient solar powered house

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Fusion: the power source of the future

September 21, 2009 10:36 am | by by M. Simon, retired Aerospace electronics consultant | Comments

Fusion is the power source of the future, goes the old saw. And for fifty years, it has always been "fifty years in the future." That may be changing with a number of new small fusion projects in the works or doing actual experiments. Let me mention first the ITER experiment (a tokamak design) which is the fusion project every one knows about.

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Edison-socket LED Bulbs last up to 19 years

September 17, 2009 1:10 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Panasonic has released an LED bulb that purportedly lasts 19 years. The drawback? It’s only available in Japan (for now, anyway). Could the EverLed line jumpstart solid state lighting? According to Panasonic, the screw-in LED bulb lasts 40 times longer than equivalent incandescents. Obviously, independent testing is needed, but this is an impressive figure.

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Quirky Vehicle to receive federal sponsorship

September 16, 2009 9:18 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

The startup Aptera was recently denied a DOE loan for its Aptera 2e electric vehicle. Their three-wheeled, *ahem*, “curiosity,” didn’t match the loan criteria, but the incident raises an important question—should the government be sponsoring products in the private sector?

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Power, Control and Management of Lighting Applications

September 15, 2009 6:28 am | by by Richard Zarr, National Semiconductor | Comments

When lighting applications started using solid-state sources, engineers began to understand the issues in the migration away from incandescent bulbs. It is fairly well known that LED sources lack the IR spectrum of their filament based counterparts requiring thermal management via conduction rather than emission. Driving and managing these solid-state light sources can be challenging

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Light Bulbs and the Madness of Energy Efficiency Regulations

September 11, 2009 12:16 pm | by Dr. Peter Thornes, Dublin Ireland | Comments

Europeans (like Americans) choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (European Commission and light industry data 2007-8). Banning what people want gives the supposed savings that are "good for them"—no point in banning what people don’t want! If new LED lights—or improved CFLs etc—are good, people will buy them—no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).

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Unravelling external Power-supply regulations

September 11, 2009 7:14 am | by Gary Bocock, Technical Director, XP Power | Comments

With the aims of reducing energy wastage and improving distribution-network stability, regulatory authorities within the EU and US have been steadily introducing a series of measures that power-supply and equipment designers must consider. In the first instance, these measures specifically target no-load consumption and conversion efficiency for external power supplies of up to 250 W

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Incandescent ban highlights issue of forced obsolescence

September 9, 2009 7:41 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

The mad scramble to obtain incandescent bulbs ahead of the EU ban highlights a controversial practice—the forced obsolescence of old technologies. R&D, combined with market forces, often collude to bury legacy tech. But should government speed up this process? How important is consumer choice?

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White Light Key to High-efficiency LED TV Applications

September 8, 2009 10:23 am | by by William Carrera, Senior Technical LCD Manager, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. | Comments

Backlight technology continues to markedly improve, day after day, making it possible to design LCD panels as thin as a picture frame. Many thought that the use of OLED technology would be the only way to provide ultra-slim TV sets, but this year Samsung’s introduction of a new type of LED (light emitting diode) technology completely changed that thinking.  Now, there are LED LCD TVs with depths as thin as 1.2 inches.

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Are Cell Towers Bad for Bees?

September 2, 2009 6:00 am | Comments

As in the case of the house sparrows, mobile towers are posing a serious threat to honey bees, hitting apiculture, which is a source of additional income to rural folk across Kerala, says a study.

$300 Million Earmarked from Stimulus Bill for Alternative Energies

August 27, 2009 7:38 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

On Wednesday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the appropriation of $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Clean Cities program. The aim of the program is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and speed the development of alternative energies. A major priority is creating the infrastructure necessary to support nationwide fleets of advanced technology vehicles.

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Global Warming or Global Cooling?

August 24, 2009 10:43 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Gentlemen, start your debating—according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the July average was the highest recorded ocean temperature in 128 years. July’s worldwide average of 62.6 will revive the global warming debates, inasmuch as some will cite this as evidence of climate change.

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Now Twitter Wants to Know Where You Live

August 21, 2009 5:29 am | Comments

Burgeoning micro blogging and social networking tool Twitter has announced plans to add location based service to its platform. To date, Twitter’s API (Application Programming Interface) has only allowed developers to roll out location based services based on the information in the ‘location’ field of a user’s account, which really could say anything.

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