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A flywheel in the ointment

October 1, 2012 8:51 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I have been big on flywheels for electrical energy storage for quite some time. So it was quite a disappointment to me to hear that high tech flywheel company Beacon Power did a Solyndra and reneged on a government loan because it could not finance its debts from income.

China solar groups reject illegal subsidy complaint

September 26, 2012 1:01 pm | News | Comments

Yingli Green Energy and Trina Solar, two of China's largest solar equipment makers, rejected on Wednesday allegations by a group of European solar panel companies that Chinese rivals are benefiting from illegal subsidies. In a complaint to the European Commission on Tuesday, the EU ProSun group said Chinese solar companies benefited from very low interest rates thanks to government policy.

U.S. poised to hand over $197 million to another solar panel start-up

September 25, 2012 10:13 am | by Nichola Groom, Reuters | News | Comments

A tiny solar company named SoloPower will flip the switch on production at a U.S. factory Thursday, a major step toward allowing it to tap a $197 million government loan guarantee awarded under the same controversial program that supported failed panel maker Solyndra.

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Data acquisition module extending Precision Measurements up to ±600V with ± 1000V Isolation

September 11, 2012 12:53 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Data Translation today announced the release of the DT8824-HV Ethernet module, extending ultra-accurate, high-stability measurements to high voltage ranges. The DT8824-HV features a standard full scale range of ±600V, with input gains of 1, 8, 16, and 32 to provide effective ranges of: ±600V, ±75V, ±37.5V, and ±18.75V.

High-altitude winds have large potential as a source of clean energy

September 11, 2012 9:15 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Airborne wind energy—an emerging approach to harnessing high-altitude winds—could scale up fairly quickly if given significant government support for research and development, according to a survey of experts by Near Zero, a nonprofit energy research organization.

ORNL roof and attic design proves efficient in summer and winter

September 11, 2012 9:13 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

A new kind of roof-and-attic system field-tested at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory keeps homes cool in summer and prevents heat loss in winter, a multi-seasonal efficiency uncommon in roof and attic design. The system improves efficiency using controls for radiation, convection and insulation, including a passive ventilation system...

Alternate energy: Trends and dependence on electronics in power conversion

September 10, 2012 2:03 pm | by Nagarajan Sridhar, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

With prosperity rising at a global level the demand for energy has been increasing significantly over the last decade. However, there are concerns of energy supply and distribution to many areas of the world with little or no infrastructure. Furthermore, using fossil fuel as the main energy supply in the long run has been strongly debated.

Forcing the molecular bond issue

September 6, 2012 10:36 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Material properties and interactions are largely determined by the binding and unbinding of their constituent molecules, but the standard model used to interpret data on the formation and rupturing of molecular bonds suffers from inconsistencies. A collaboration of researchers led by a scientist at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory...

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Onshore wind converter market to encounter turbulence

September 5, 2012 9:53 am | News | Comments

In the global market for wind converters, nearly 80 percent of revenues in 2011 were attributed to utility-scale onshore projects, but is forecast to account for less than 70 percent of the total market by 2016 due to an expected decline in the United States wind market and the growth of the offshore wind industry...

A blow to wind energy

September 4, 2012 10:13 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

My local paper says that the wind energy business is likely to slow down in 2013. They explain that it will be bad for a local manufacturer that makes parts for the turbines and who also makes machines to make the parts. When you make 10 ton hubs for the turbines it is best to make them as close to the installation site as possible. Otherwise the shipping costs can ruin your profits.

Merchant power supply market to grow to $29 billion in 2016

August 30, 2012 11:37 am | News | Comments

Growth in the merchant power supply market was curtailed in the second half of 2011 by continuing economic problems. Despite this, the market grew by 6.5 percent; however, this was just two-thirds of the growth initially projected in the first half of the year. IMS Research projects a strong 2012, with revenue growth forecast to reach 9.3 percent...

Soaking up the sun

August 29, 2012 1:51 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Solar panels, like those commonly perched atop house roofs or in sun-drenched fields, quietly harvesting the sun's radiant energy, are one of the standard-bearers of the green energy movement. But could they be better – more efficient, durable and affordable? That's what engineers from Drexel University and The University of Pennsylvania are trying to find out...

Simple techniques to improve solar panel efficiency using a microcontroller or SOC

August 28, 2012 4:54 pm | by Gautam Das G, Applications Engineer at Cypress Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

Today, people are more concerned about fossil fuel exhaustion and environmental problems caused by conventional power generation and renewable energy sources than ever before. Among the renewable resources, photovoltaic panels and wind-generators are primary contenders. They have the advantage of being maintenance and pollution-free...

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CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

August 16, 2012 2:57 pm | by KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press | News | Comments

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

NI deploys LabVIEW and CompactRIO in wake of Fukushima nuclear disaster

August 8, 2012 10:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

One of the more unique applications of National Instruments’ LabVIEW design platform was its recent deployment during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In conjunction with Kyoto University, NI created the Kyoto University RAdiation MApping (KURAMA) system, which measured gamma rays in the Fukushima Prefecture. At NI Week 2012, I learned more about this intriguing development.

Power considerations in advanced embedded systems

August 8, 2012 11:16 am | by Alix Paultre, Globtek, www.globtek.com | Blogs | Comments

The migration of smart subsystems into products at every level of operation represents a true fusion of the electronic and mechanical, representing the next, and possibly the culmination of, the industrial revolution. However, the integration of sense, motion, and logic into all portions of a system also brings with it new (or old in new clothing) challenges in power management.

Full steam ahead for the Navy’s controversial “Great Green Fleet”

July 30, 2012 4:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The Navy has embarked on an ambitious green energy program, which could cost upwards of $2 billion per year. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus must convince a skeptical Congress, Senate, and public that investing in pricey alternative fuels — in the midst of the worst recession in decades — will reap dividends. 

NIST measurement advance could speed innovation in solar devices

July 26, 2012 2:21 pm | News | Comments

A new versatile measurement system devised by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) accurately and quickly measures the electric power output of solar energy devices, capabilities useful to researchers and manufacturers working to develop and make next-generation solar energy cells.

New method to encourage virtual power plants for efficient renewable energy production

July 26, 2012 10:06 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the University of Southampton have devised a novel method for forming virtual power plants to provide renewable energy production in the UK. In the last decade, small and distributed energy resources (DERs), like wind farms and solar panels, have begun to appear in greater numbers in the electricity supply network (Grid).        

Global PV inverter market to return to growth in 2012 and exceed $7 billion, according to new IMS research report

July 25, 2012 9:01 am | News | Comments

The global photovoltaic (PV) inverter market is predicted to grow by 23 percent in 2012 and hit almost 32 GW according to the 5th edition of IMS Research’s annual report on this industry. However, the report, The World Market for PV Inverters provided a much more sobering outlook for industry revenues which are forecast to grow by just 3 percent in 2012 to hit $7 billion for the first time.

China PV market set to boom as government raises 2015 installation target to 21GW

July 16, 2012 11:33 am | News | Comments

Photovoltaic (PV) installations in China are set to reach over 4 gigawatts (GW) in the second half of the year, according to a new report from IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS. The latest version of China’s Five-Year-Plan for the PV industry reveals that China’s regulatory and planning body, NDRC, has lifted its installation target from 15 GW to 21 GW by 2015.

Researchers develop new possibilities for solar power

July 10, 2012 2:12 pm | News | Comments

Two Queen's researchers have contributed to a significant breakthrough in solar technology. Their research has led to a new solar photovoltaic thermal (PVT) system that generates both electricity and heat. Solar PVTs are normally made with crystal silicon cells which generate electricity, but little heat. Stephen Harrison and Joshua Pearce (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) designed and tested amorphous silicon cells in a PVT system.

$1.6 million for sustainability

July 3, 2012 2:48 pm | News | Comments

From solar energy to water treatment, from smarter buildings to electric cars: at Concordia University, "sustainability" is more than just a buzzword. On June 26, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced that Concordia had received $ 1,643,700 in support of research and training via an Institute in Water, Energy and Sustainability.

Audi R8 e-tron sets world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system

July 2, 2012 9:19 am | News | Comments

The future of electric mobility at Audi is highly dynamic: The R8 e-tron has set a world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system on the Nürburgring Nordschleife – the toughest test track in the world. Racing driver Markus Winkelhock piloted the high-performance, all-electric-drive sports car around the demanding 20.8-kilometer (12.92-mile) track in 8:09.099 minutes.

Voltage regulators intended for netcom, server, and storage applications

June 29, 2012 10:16 am | International Rectifier | Product Releases | Comments

International Rectifier today introduced its third generation of integrated, feature-rich SupIRBuck synchronous buck voltage regulators designed to address the new requirements of emerging energy efficient netcom, server and storage applications. The new SupIRBuck single output devices feature a newly patented modulator scheme that generates the industry’s smallest, jitter free pulse widths.

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