The Efficiency Zone
Subscribe to The Efficiency Zone
View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

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.

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., | 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, | 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.

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.

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