The Efficiency Zone
Subscribe to The Efficiency Zone
View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

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...

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, | 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.

Crystalline PV module profits fall to single digits

June 26, 2012 1:06 pm | News | Comments

Average gross profits of crystalline photovoltaic (PV) industry module manufacturers fell to just nine U.S. cents per watt in the first quarter of 2012, putting huge pressure on suppliers according to the latest quarterly report from IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS

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.

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.

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.