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Bringing down the cost of fuel cells

June 22, 2012 1:43 pm | News | Comments

Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have identified a catalyst that provides the same level of efficiency in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) as the currently used platinum catalyst, but at 5% of the cost. Since more than 60% of the investment in making microbial fuel cells is the cost of platinum, the discovery may lead to much more affordable energy conversion and storage devices.  

New technique allows simulation of noncrystalline materials

June 22, 2012 1:19 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at MIT and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells, organic LED lights and printable, flexible electronic circuits.

Vehicle solar charging panel helps to offset battery drain from computer systems

June 22, 2012 10:16 am | Product Releases | Comments

Streamlight today introduced the Streamlight SolarStream, a supplemental solar charging panel for emergency responder and fleet vehicles.  The Streamlight SolarStream helps to offset battery drain from computer systems and other rechargeable electronics when a vehicle is off, extending battery life and limiting battery-related vehicle maintenance.

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Coordinated circuit protection for small solar power systems

June 20, 2012 2:43 pm | by Neal Schultz, Senior Applications Engineer, TE Circuit Protection | Articles | Comments

Rising energy costs and increasing support for clean, renewable energy sources has made solar power a growth industry. Solar panels directly generate power by converting sunlight to electricity with no moving parts, zero emissions, and little to no maintenance.

50 hydrogen filling stations for Germany: Federal Ministry of Transportation and industrial partners build nationwide network of filling stations

June 20, 2012 11:14 am | News | Comments

The German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and several industrial companies today signed a joint Letter of Intent to expand the network of hydrogen filling stations in Germany. By 2015, Germany will have a supply network of at least 50 public filling stations.

Historic triumph: Audi achieves first victory of a hybrid vehicle at Le Mans

June 18, 2012 2:20 pm | News | Comments

AUDI AG has achieved another technological milestone in motorsport. On the 80th running of the famous Le Mans 24 Hours, a vehicle with hybrid drive – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – has triumphed for the first time. Around 200,000 spectators witnessed a fascinating race with the drama and incidents that are typical for Le Mans plus an impressive demonstration of “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

Catching some rays

June 15, 2012 9:48 am | News | Comments

Drawn together by the force of nature, but pulled apart by the force of man – it sounds like the setting for a love story, but it is also a basic description of how scientists have begun to make more efficient organic solar cells. At the atomic level, organic solar cells function like the feuding families in Romeo and Juliet.

Environmental benefit of biofuels is overestimated, new study reveals

June 8, 2012 10:45 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Two scientists are challenging the currently accepted norms of biofuel production. A commentary published today in GCB Bioenergy reveals that calculations of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from bioenergy production are neglecting crucial information that has led to the overestimation of the benefits of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.

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Photovoltaic cells tap underwater solar energy

June 7, 2012 3:28 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Electronics Science and Technology Division, dive into underwater photovoltaic research to develop high bandgap solar cells capable of producing sufficient power to operate electronic sensor systems at depths of 9 meters.

Smart grid, smarter design

May 24, 2012 12:27 pm | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

We all fall for them. The allure of buzzwords and hot topics captures our attention and appeals to an optimistic nature for all things that will make our world better. However, they can also lead us to fall for the hype instead of focusing on credible, real-world applications. This leads into our discussion of the smart grid.

BLE and energy harvesting enable low-cost, maintenance-free active RFID systems

May 24, 2012 11:37 am | by Joe Keating, Infinite Power Solutions, Inc., www.infinitepowersolutions.com | Articles | Comments

Radio frequency identification (RFID) has long been a valuable tool for asset management, allowing objects to be identified, tracked and/or located. Limitations in the accuracy of passive tag systems along with high tag and battery maintenance costs in active systems have limited the adoption of RFID in broader applications.

Foundations of the smart grid

May 24, 2012 11:10 am | by Matt Tyler, ON Semiconductor, www.onsemi.com | Articles | Comments

The smart grid has been a topic of vigorous discussion and intense design and marketing activity for many years. As the smart grid evolves, virtually every supplier of technology is rushing to produce solutions that fit into this complex puzzle. If we strip away the automation and novelty products we are left with one key question...

The ZigBee impact

May 16, 2012 3:44 pm | by Janine E. Mooney, Editor | Articles | Comments

Your home and office contain a host of technologies working to improve the way you live. From monitoring energy intake and usage, to controlling your appliances and lighting, ZigBee is a protocol that is changing the way we live – and in some cases, we don’t even realize it.

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Google-backed wind power line clears hurdle

May 14, 2012 3:05 pm | News | Comments

A planned $5 billion transmission line to send power from wind farms off the East Coast cleared a hurdle, allowing the Google Inc-backed project to move to the next step in the approval process, officials said. The Department of the Interior declared on Monday there was "no overlapping competitive interest" in proposed areas for building the line off the mid-Altantic coast.

Single-chip processor platforms deliver on power/performance balance for mobile devices

May 8, 2012 9:14 am | by Carsten Wild, Director Marketing, Mobile Application Platforms, Renesas Mobile Corporation | Articles | Comments

As with every new technology, delivering LTE chipsets presents many technical challenges. Performance, power and price are key concerns. Higher data rates, such as LTE Cat4with up to 150Mbps download speeds, require very high performance computing, which is achieved mostly through higher clock rates...

Earth Day at the EcoCAR 2 lab

April 27, 2012 11:38 am | by Tyler Rose, Outreach Coordinator, UW EcoCAR 2 Team and Tom Egel, Consulting Engineer, MathWorks | Blogs | Comments

Earth Day is our favorite holiday around the UW EcoCAR 2 lab. From our standpoint, this time of the year encourages people to celebrate the ways in which they can help reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. We will be showcasing our team's EcoCAR 2 efforts alongside the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition at the Earth Day festivities put on by the University of Washington.

ERG Lighting is exclusive North American distributor for LED drivers from GRE Alpha Electronics

April 27, 2012 10:09 am | Endicott Research Group | Product Releases | Comments

The ERG Lighting division of Endicott Research Group, Inc. is now offering the SLD, XLD and XLA Series of LED drivers from GRE Alpha Electronics, Ltd., Gainesville, GA, a specialist in the design and manufacture of solid state lighting power supplies for architectural, signage, retail, office, street and LED strip lighting.

Solar panels cause clashes with homeowner groups

April 26, 2012 2:42 pm | by Ray Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not. It's a lesson Angel and David Dobs discovered when their homeowners association north of Atlanta denied their request to install solar panels on their roof.

Vicor introduces baseplate option for 98% efficient quarter-brick IBC modules

April 25, 2012 1:18 pm | Vicor Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

Vicor Corporation today introduced new thermal and mechanical mounting options for its IBC050 series of high performance quarter-brick VI BRICK intermediate bus converters (IBCs). Now available with an integral baseplate and multiple pin-length options, Vicor’s high-efficiency IBCs afford customers even greater flexibility...

Starter kits incorporate onboard debug and current probe functionality

April 24, 2012 10:49 am | Product Releases | Comments

Energy Micro today introduced two feature-rich starter kits (STKs) for designers building more complex battery-powered products such as portable health and fitness devices and smart accessories. Based on the already available EFM32 Leopard Gecko and Giant Gecko microcontrollers...

Switching buck regulators intended for automotive entertainment and infotainment applications

April 24, 2012 10:11 am | On Semiconductor | Product Releases | Comments

ON Semiconductor has introduced a new series of switching buck regulators for space-constrained, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) sensitive automotive entertainment and infotainment applications.  These highly integrated devices offer industry leading conversion ratios for battery connected switch-mode power supplies.

Renewable energy and smart grids rely on optical electronics technology

April 18, 2012 10:02 am | by Chun Keong Tee, Avago | Articles | Comments

Renewable power generation technologies based on solar and wind are usually discussed in terms of photovoltaic arrays and very large land- and sea-based turbines. Behind these very visible physical structures that can encompass many acres sit the optoelectronic components that provide the galvanic isolation...

CUI expands SMT switching regulator line

April 17, 2012 2:09 pm | Product Releases | Comments

CUI announced the addition of a 1 A surface mount series to its highly efficient V78 dc switching regulator line.  The V78XX-1000-SMT is designed as a high performance alternative to linear regulators, offering efficiencies up to 92%. This is in contrast to efficiencies typically ranging from 40~60% in equivalent linear regulators.

Government incentives continue to finance development of solar photovoltaic semiconductor market

April 12, 2012 8:59 am | News | Comments

Government incentives that encourage investment in renewable energies will continue to drive technological advances in the global semiconductor market, a new report by semiconductor expert GBI Research has found. The new report* found that government incentives and Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) are providing vital, worldwide support...

PV module suppliers switch tactics as wafer prices fall 70%

April 11, 2012 9:32 am | News | Comments

The average price of photovoltaic (PV) wafers in the first quarter of 2012 fell by more than 70 percent in a year according to the latest research released by IMS Research, which was recently acquired by IHS. This dramatic price collapse, caused by a global oversupply, has significantly changed the cost structures and strategies of leading PV module suppliers...

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