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Ohio State University takes first place at 2009 EcoCAR competition

September 30, 2009 9:25 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

OSU has earned top honors at the 2009 finals of the Year One EcoCar competition. The OSU stable bested 16 other teams with their “Extended Range Electric Vehicle” design. The spiritual successor to Challenge X, EcoCar is a three-year collegiate advanced vehicle technology engineering competition

Company demonstrates world’s first nitride-silicon solar cell

September 30, 2009 5:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

RoseStreet Labs Energy (RSLE) has created what they assert to be the world’s first tandem nitride/silicon solar cell. RSLE combined a silicon solar cell with a Nitride Thin Film to create their hybrid photovoltaic cell. According to RSLE, this hybrid will achieve “practical efficiencies” of 25-30% (typical efficiencies range from 12-20%).

Japanese companies forced to subsidize national solar power program

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

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

September 25, 2009 4:47 am | Blogs | 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

Fusion: the power source of the future

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

Cree Repeats as Lighting for Tomorrow Grand Prize Winner

September 21, 2009 9:56 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Cree LR6-DR1000 recessed downlight was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2009 Lighting for Tomorrow - Solid State Lighting Competition. A repeat winner, Cree shared the prize with Philip's Color Kinetics for its eW Cove Powercore. The Cree LRP-38, a PAR38 bulb, and the LR6-HE (high-efficiency) were also recognized with Special Focus Awards for technical innovation and high efficiency, respectively.

Edison-socket LED Bulbs last up to 19 years

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

Power, Control and Management of Lighting Applications

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

Light Bulbs and the Madness of Energy Efficiency Regulations

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

Unravelling external Power-supply regulations

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

Incandescent ban highlights issue of forced obsolescence

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

$300 Million Earmarked from Stimulus Bill for Alternative Energies

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

Global Warming or Global Cooling?

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

Simple Light Load Control Meets the New Energy Efficiency Standards

August 17, 2009 7:36 am | by Kevin Turchin, FAE Manager, ROHM Semiconductor USA | Blogs | Comments

Energy efficiency standards have typically concentrated on two ends of the spectrum – full load efficiency and standby power. As a result, popular PWM buck regulators available today demonstrate high efficiency at full load (>80%) levels and incorporate standby circuitry to comply with the <1W and lower initiatives. Improved efficiency at all operating points is an important concern in the design of next generation “green” products.

A Bold Claim: Chevy Volt Gets 230 MPG

August 11, 2009 6:53 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….well, you know the rest. When Raser Technologies claimed their re-jiggered Electric Hummer got 100 miles per gallon, I thought they fudged a few numbers. But for GM to claim 230 MPG for the Volt…well, that’s taking a trip to fantasyland, with magical goblins and unicorns.

July sees big jump in fuel efficiency of new cars

August 11, 2009 6:22 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | Blogs | Comments

Cars and light trucks sold in July got more miles per gallon than those sold in previous months, say researchers, who credit the Cash for Clunkers program. The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July. That may not sound like much, but it's

Printable Solar Panels on the Cheap

August 6, 2009 12:40 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

One of the hottest trends in power is “conductive ink”—that is, ink that conducts electricity. Thus, we’ve seen the emergence of ultra-thin power solutions such as Fraunhofer Research Institution's silk-screened batteries. One of the variants is printable solar cells, a technology still in its infancy. But the US Air Force, in conjunction with Plextronics, has developed what they purport to be a “significant step forward in printing inexpensive solar cells.”

Industry groups sue over NYC e-waste recycling law

July 30, 2009 6:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) have filed a legal challenge against a New York City law mandating door-to-door collection of e-waste. Local Law No. 13, taking effect July 31st, forces all electronic manufacturers doing business in NYC to provide free door-to-door collection services for covered equipment.

Nissan Unveils New E-Car Prototype

July 28, 2009 9:19 am | Blogs | Comments

Nissan Motor today previewed its electric vehicle (EV) platform on a Tiida-based prototype. It also showcased a sophisticated EV-IT system developed to support electric driving 24/7. The dedicated EV platform is comprised of a highly rigid body, high-performance motor, compact lithium-ion battery with high power output and energy capacity.

North Carolina Town Going Green With LED Technology

July 22, 2009 5:58 am | Blogs | Comments

Philips Lumec has been chosen by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of western North Carolina to light their downtown streetscapes with their environmentally responsible LED lighting solutions. In doing so, they clearly place this town of 14,500 residents, located on the South end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the vanguard of communities choosing environmentally responsible LED lighting technologies.

LED Controller Features 'In-Situ' Temperature Compensation

July 22, 2009 5:42 am | Blogs | Comments

Leadis Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: LDIS), an analog and mixed-signal semiconductor developer of LED drivers for consumer electronic devices, today announced sample availability of the LDS9001 and LDS9003, two new LED controllers featuring Leadis' patent pending LED-Sense(TM) Temperature Compensation engine. This innovative feature allows for direct in-situ monitoring of the LED junction temperature without the need for an external temperature sensor

Institute Unveils OLED that is 75% More Efficient

July 20, 2009 1:37 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has purportedly created an Organic Light Emitting Diode that is 75% more efficient than previous models. Led by Prof. Kyung-Cheol Choi, the KAIST team discovered a new type of surface plasmon enhanced OLED. KAIST explains their finding thusly: “For surface plasmon localization, silver nanoparticles were thermally deposited in a high vacuum on cathode.

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