Tuesday, June 28, 2011

University of Minnesota engineering researchers discover new source for generating 'green' electricity : UMNews : University of Minnesota

AEM research - small 300
During a small-scale demonstration in the lab, University of Minnesota researchers showed how their new material can spontaneously produce electricity when the temperature is raised a small amount. Pictured (from left) are aerospace engineering and mechanics professor Richard James, Ph.D. student Yintao Song and post-doctoral researchers Kanwal Bhatti and Vijay Srivastava.

University of Minnesota engineering researchers discover new source for generating 'green' electricity

Contacts: Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering,rzurn@umn.edu, (612) 626-7959
Preston Smith, University News Service, smith@umn.edu, (612) 625-0552
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (06/21/2011) —University of Minnesota engineering researchers in the College of Science and Engineering have recently discovered a new alloy material that converts heat directly into electricity. This revolutionary energy conversion method is in the early stages of development, but it could have wide-sweeping impact on creating environmentally friendly electricity from waste heat sources.

Read the full story

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Colorful Approach to Solar Energy

Great material to use in hybrid "flexible smart structure" energy systems. Could be applied to the frame that houses the vibration / solar film energy harvesting panels. Piggyback all.

Flexible Hybrid Smart Structure Energy Systems

Finally, someone who's on to it!, (partially anyway) Very interesting research. 

Readers: if you happen to know of additional organizations or individuals with research in developing flexible hybrid smart structure systems that can generate energy from movement (also known as: vibration energy harvesting), as well as solar, Genergy (gravity energy) and / or hydro please post a link here. Especially if there are plans to utilize the height and overall structure of our current larger power grid towers that are located in high exposure areas like along the I-5 corridor. Not to mention, what about utilizing other newer sound infrastructure already in place like guard rails, bridges, etc... in this way? Excess energy can be stored underground in many cases with newly discovered technologies for later use during peak hours. I realize power companies own a portion if not all of the current power grid tower structures. Why not utilize them in this way as a viable addition to home alternative energy systems? It would give power companies an additional way to keep a piece of the pie for themselves without having to rely so heavily on fossil fuels. Lets get off the oil already!

Green energy invention showcases at House of Commons

Thursday 26 May 2011

ThinkTankExhibitAtCommonsThe Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science opened the event with other speakers including Mr David Sweeney, HEFCE Director for Research, Innovation and Skills, and Mr Liam Burns, President Elect, NUS.

Among those to visit the University's presentation were Lord Haskel, (pictured centre) and Bolton MPs Julie Hilling (left) and Yasmin Hussain (right). With them is PhD student Derman Vatansever and Director of Research, Professor Elias Siores.

Research That Matters looks at how modern universities contribute to national research, innovation and economic growth. The think tank says modern universities have a distinctive and valuable approach to research, working closely with business, public and third sector organisations. It is urging Government to support new universities' research, maintaining public investment.

Derman and Professor Siores, who are based in the University's Institute for Materials Research and Innovation (IMRI), were showcasing a new green-energy material.

The IMRI scientists have created a unique product – a flexible piezoelectric fibre that can be woven to create natural energy-harnessing fabrics. Energy is created as the material is moved. The researchers have added to it, patenting a method for creating a photovoltaic- piezoelectric fibre which would also harness the power of the sun, meaning the material could be a solar energy source as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Genergy, LLC Wins Approval from California Energy Comm.

Read the full story at GenergyLLC.com


March 29, 2011, The Genergy, LLC Team consisting of Kurt Grossman, Inventor / Chief Technology Officer, Ron Gaiser / Executive Vice President / Communications & Marketing and Glenn Nuttal / Patent Attorney, attended a (CEC) hearing at the capital in Sacramento today to have the commissioner’s reconsider their application that was previously denied by staff clerks due to mis-interpretation of the program guidelines.

“The presentation given at the hearing was well received”, stated Mr. Gaiser after spending the morning with Commissioner’s Boyd and Peterman. “I think they really understand what our “SPG” is now and that it definitely complies with all the guidelines.” Mr. Grossman, the inventor, made the point well when he said, “the SPG is definitely an innovative hydroelectric device worthy of their approval and should be used by all the utility companies, not just in California but in the entire United States.”

With in a matter of only two weeks the California Energy Commission overturned the initial denial and granted approval for pre-certification of the “SPG” with the California Energy Commission.

LINK: View an auto playing video of the technology.
LINK: Investors - Development funds being raised currently.
LINK: (Click, to view their Letter of Approval)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Building A Better Electric Grid

The nation's electrical grid is getting old, not just in its infrastructure, but in the technology used to run it. In this segment, Ira Flatow and guests discuss the grid, its problems, and how new technology can be used to make the grid "smarter." Will consumers sign on?

Erich Gunther, chairman, Chief Technology Officer, EnerNex, senior member, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), member of the IEEE's Smart Grid Task Force, Knoxville, Tenn.

Karen Herter, Herter Energy Research Solutions, El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Alex Laskey, president and founder, OPower, Arlington, Va.
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June 10, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Triple Threat: New Generator Harnesses Energy from Sun, Wind and Rain

One thing that's known for sure about the future of renewable energy is that it will take all types to fulfill our energy needs. The wind isn't always blowing and the sun isn't always shining, but if wind, solar, geothermal, wave/tidal and any other type of renewable energy generation are all utilized and all feeding the grid, then we'll be more than covered. But what about devices that can harness more than one of these renewable energy sources at once?

A new renewable energy generator developed by researchers at the University of Bolton in the UK is able to harness energy from not one, but three sources: sunlight, wind and rain. I'm sure you're imagining one crazy-looking contraption, but this new technology actually uses ribbons of piezoelectric polymer that are coated with a thin, flexible solar PV film.

The ribbons generate electricity anytime they're disturbed, whether by wind or rain drops, or when the sun is shining. The more forcefully they're moved, the greater the energy payoff. The researchers imagine a pine cone shaped structure consisting of thousands of these ribbons.

The ribbons can only generate small amounts of electricity, so the researchers foresee them being used in low energy applications like powering gadgets. Another possibility is applying the same techniques to nylon for use in energy-generating clothing.

via New Scientist

Beautiful Living MOSStiles Brighten Up Your Room With Every Color Of The Rainbow

MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors
MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors
MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors
MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors
MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors
MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors MOSStile, Benetti Stone, living wall, vertical garden, moss, modular tile, green interiors

Read the rest of Beautiful Living MOSStiles Brighten Up Your Room With Every Color Of The Rainbow

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Future perfect: Building integrated photovoltaic systems

Future perfect: Building integrated photovoltaic systems: "Balakrishnan Ramachandran:

Building integrated photovoltaic systems

Building integrated photovoltaic systemsIt is expected that by 2015, global BIPV market will reach 1.6 GW, especially in the European markets.

What’s happening right now?

Photovoltaics presently conjure up the image in our minds of flat panel solar cells, fitted typically on flat roof tops, slanted at an angle towards the sun to harvest solar power. Almost all of these flat panel solar cells were added to pre-existing buildings and consequently had limitations to their installation and use. Since the 1990s, the architects and builders have spawned the new practice of integrating solar photovoltaics into a building at the conceptual stage, for the so-termed Building Integrated Photovoltaics ( BIPV). With BIPV, the building does not suffer from the limitations of an add-on afterthought and also results in reduced cost. And with the trend towards “green buildings”, the BIPV market is projected to reach $ 8.2 billion by 2015. These photovoltaics will also produce 1.6GW of clean power. Supporting this growth the industry is a whole slew of new products that will give architects and building designers more options to design greener buildings without any compromise on form, aesthetics or function of the buildings.


1. Uni-Solar laminates by United Solar Ovonic LLC:

UNI-SOLAR laminates by United Solar Ovonic LLC

UNI-SOLAR laminates by United Solar Ovonic LLCUnisolar thin film amorphous PV Solar Laminates are flexible solar modules that are bonded directly to the roof.

The pictures above shows Uni-Solar flexible solar modules being directly bonded to the roof of a General Motors factory building in comparison with the conventional roof top panels. The advantage immediately obvious is that the photovoltaic area available for harvesting the solar energy is much larger with the laminate than with the crystalline silicon cells behind glass panels. The flexible modules do not need the additional steel support brackets that add to cost and also to the loading of the roof. The flexible modules weigh only 1lb per sq.foot. Uni-Solar also claims that their modules are designed to absorb solar energy not just from the visible spectrum of sunlight but also from its infra-red and ultra-violet spectra increasing the energy harvested by some 20% per sq. foot of module.

2. Power FLEX BIPV panels:

PowerFLEX BIPVPowerFLEX BIPV by Global Solar.

Global Solar of Tucson, Arizona is another company that offers flexible solar modules that can be directly bonded to the roof of a building. Global claims that its thin film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) modules are the highest in energy efficiency at some 13.2% where they approach the efficiency achieved with crystalline silicon solar cells. They offer these flexible modules in strips upto 19 feet length and 1.5 feet width that permit these modules to be installed on any shape or contour of surface. They claim that the installed cost of these modules is the same as crystalline rigid cells.

3. Dow’s Solar shingles:

BIPV system Dow Solar Solutions
BIPV system Dow Solar SolutionsBIPV system Dow Solar Solutions cost about 40% less than other solar panels.

Dow Solar Solutions, a division of the giant Dow Chemicals has launched a new range of products that can be installed like conventional roof shingles, maintaining the appearance and heritage features of buildings. These can be installed like regular roofing tiles and are said to cost some 40% less than competing products. They are also said to be 10% more efficient than crystalline solar panels while costing 15% less for equivalent power capacity.

4. Konarka Technologies “Power Plastic” flexible transparent solar panels:

konarka power plastic organic photovoltaic mater
konarka power plastic organic photovoltaic materPower Plastic is lightweight, thin, flexible, portable, and beautiful.

In any tall office or commercial building, the vertical faces are always much larger than the rooftop and if the vertical faces can be used to harvest solar energy, the benefits would be much larger than using only the rooftops. Konarka Technologies, a Lowell, Massachussets company, founded by Dr Alan Heeger, the Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 2000 for his work on conductive polymers, has introduced its family of Organic Photovoltaic panels that is semi-transparent and comes in various colours. This enables the solar film to be applied to vertical facades of buildings, dramatically increasing the surface area for harvesting solar energy. Konarka also claims that its solar film generates electricity for longer hours each day, from near sunrise to sunset, by being able to absorb energy from the whole sunlight spectrum. They also claim that their film can absorb indirect or reflected light and can even respond to interior lighting of the building on which it is installed.

Konarka claims an efficiency of 8.3% in lab test conditions which is a major advance over its own previous organic photovoltaic film which had efficiencies in the 2-3% range. Konarka has also tied up with a windows manufacturing company to manufacture windows and curtain walls with the Power Plastic film bonded with the glass. It has also converted seven large windows at its own headquarters building to demonstrate this application.

The Impact

These new technologies, as they grow and develop, will speed the process of adoption of Building Integrated Photovoltaics into the design of new buildings and into the refurbishment of older buildings that would be an important step towards a greener building industry.

The problems

At this early stage of development of these technologies, the questions of cost are still left deliberately vague. The crystalline silicon modules presently used the cost around $11,000 per kW which is adopted only with government subsidies both for capital cost and for assured buying of the power generated at rates better than utility power. While such subsidies are acceptable at the early stages of adoption of new technologies, the industry needs to rapidly get the costs down to the level of the present fossil fuel based power generation .

The second major concern is that of life of these new photovoltaics. With thin flexible films being the common thread between these different technologies, the question in many people’s minds is whether these will have the same lifetime, which is at least 25 years, for other materials used in the buildings industry. If the life is likely to be less, whether these systems can be replaced or re-furbished without shutting down the building for long period of time.

In summary

The Building Integrated Photovoltaic industry appears to be coming of age with a new range of technology options and products that permit the photovoltaics to be built into the design of the building. With improvements to cost and life, hopefully, photovoltaics would come to be as commonplace as the use of glass or steel in the building industry.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Wind Generation - SCAD MFA Industrial Design Small Wind

Another piece of the pie... Creative innovation solutions for smart grid / current grid tower and other infrastructure utilization for onsite hybrid solar / wind panel alternative energy generation and delivery system integration?

Solar Too Expensive? Use Jellyfish

Solar Too Expensive? Use Jellyfish: "
clip_image002Over 70 percent of the earth is covered by oceans. Humans, while avid land explorers throughout history, still have a rudimentary understanding of the ecosystem beneath the sea. Most people think “SpongeBob Squarepants” isn’t so far off from the truth, although how anyone could believe a pineapple made it to the bottom of the ocean without being scavenged is beyond me. But as we continue to explore the sea, we also continue to unlock some of its secrets. Scientists have done just that with mysterious bioluminescent jellyfish, which may end up powering your home in the near future.
The bioluminescent protein that allows the cnidarians to glow can actually be harnessed to produce an electrical current. Swedish researchers (Scandinavians are just the best) have devised a way to collect that protein and turn them into “organic solar cells.” By dripping the green fluorescent protein onto a silicon dioxide substrate between two electrodes, the Swedes saw that the protein works itself into tiny strands. Those strands, when exposed to ultraviolet light (like the sun produces), absorb photons and emit electrons, generating electricity. They work just like solar cells, but don’t require the expensive materials.
Even Gene Roddenberry couldn’t have thought that one up.
While using animals as an energy source is contentious, the current overpopulation of jellyfish in the oceans can lend itself to a mutual agreement between science and conservation. By collecting and using jellyfish to create carbon-neutral energy, balance may also be restored to the oceans, allowing more fragile species of life to exist. Like the glorious yellow sea sponge.
-- Erik Ian Larsen
Image: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Thursday, June 9, 2011

4 Fantastic Art Contest Sites & Resources

  1. My Art Contest - Art Resources 
  2. Search Hundreds of Income & Exhibition Opportunities at ArtList.com
    art contests, art competitions, photography contests, art residencies, fellowships, calls for public art, art events, art fairs & festivals, art classes, workshops, juried exhibitions and more...
  3. Threadless Causes - T-shirt Design Contests
    Threadless Causes is using the power of community-based design to call attention to the good guys: non-profits, world-changing organizations, and important social movements...
  4. Compete with other artists in our free monthly art contests for cash and other great prizes. 
These are great resources. I've included them for various reasons. Many of the competitions are free or relatively low cost to enter. Remember, always read the entry rules BEFORE entering. Keep creating!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stretching Watercolor Paper : Watercolor Demonstrations

I adore this artist's charm and technique!

Introduction to Wax Carving with Josh Murray

Read the Press Release
This week The Gnomon Workshop announces the release of Introduction to Wax Carving with Josh Murray. This title breaks from the traditional clay sculpture titles, to introduce you the art of carving a working master in wax. In this DVD, Josh uses both modern and traditional techniques to develop a low-relief wax master, commonly used for casting jewelry and sculptures. Josh utilizes subtractive methods to accurately carve out detail, then, uses an additive method build up new elements on his master. Using his extensive experience, Josh also discusses the utilization of the tools he uses in his workflow, including common hand and power tools. This title will expose sculptors of all levels to a new set of techniques for working with a classic, yet flexible, medium like wax.

This title is available as digital download and is also featured in our training subscription plans.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Demystifying and De-Jargoning the Smart Grid

6 Steps to Begin Exporting | SBA.gov

6 Steps to Begin Exporting

Small businesses looking to increase sales and profit, reduce dependence on the domestic market and stabilize seasonal fluctuations should consider exporting.
  • Nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the U.S.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries.
Go where the customers are. There is significant opportunity for small businesses to profit through exporting.

Step 1 Take the Free Export Readiness Self-Assessment

Do you have what it takes to become a successful exporter? Exporting offers great opportunities but requires preparation and planning. Complete the online questionnaire and receive feedback to help you assess your export readiness, and advice on how to strengthen your export potential read more...