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Archive for the 'Energy' Category

Nanotechnology device harvests wasted energy

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 15th, 2010

An energy cell containing a lead zirconate titanate cantilever coated with a carbon nanotube film uses nanotechnology to produce electricity from scavenged light and thermal energy.

Space Manufacturing Conference: Abstracts due Aug. 16

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 4th, 2010

The Space Studies Institute will hold Space Manufacturing 14 on Oct. 30-31, 2010 at NASA Ames here in Silicon Valley.  Topics to be covered include: Session 1: Space Transportation Architecture Session 2: Closed Environment Life Support Systems Session 3: Robotics and Space Manufacturing Session 4: Extraterrestrial Prospecting Session 5: Engineering Materials from Non-Terrestrial Resources Session 6: Space [...]

Vote and comment on IMM/Foresight statement to President’s Council

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 1st, 2010

The U.S. President’s Council on Advisors on Science and Technology requested public input on a number of manufacturing topics including “molecular-level, atomically precise production.” Foresight joined with our sister organization IMM to produce a statement on Atomically Precise Manufacturing, now posted on the OpenPCAST site, with public voting and commenting still continuing, so join in the [...]

New Freitas paper: Diamond Trees

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 18th, 2010

Rob Freitas has a new paper up: Robert A. Freitas Jr., “Diamond Trees (Tropostats):  A Molecular Manufacturing Based System for Compositional Atmospheric Homeostasis,” IMM Report 43, 10 February 2010 Abstract. The future technology of molecular manufacturing will enable long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon in solid diamond products, along with sequestration of lesser masses of numerous [...]

A Night in the Sun

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 7th, 2009

When I woke up this morning, it was nine degrees below zero, Celsius.  It’s solidly overcast here, and what’s more, this time of year the sun doesn’t get much more than 20 degrees above the horizon — in the middle of an all-too-short day. My house has a footprint of about 200 square meters.  At [...]

It’s 0067 AA

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 2nd, 2009

(Atomic Age, that is.) From the University of Chicago Library site: On December 2, 1942, scientists at the University of Chicago produced the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in a nuclear pile constructed in a squash court beneath the West Stands of Stagg Field, the University’s athletic stadium. This experiment, crucial to the control [...]

Nano PVs: cheaper or better?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 17th, 2009

Over at Nanoclast, Dexter Johnson writes: It seems when nanotech is applied to photovoltaics it can either boost their efficiency to new heights or it can cheapen their manufacturing process. But it never seems to provide a solution to both of these. It’s always a tradeoff: increased efficiency but difficult manufacturing processes or a cheaper [...]

Technology Review: Self-Cleaning, Super-Absorbant Solar Cells

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 14th, 2009

Technology Review: Self-Cleaning, Super-Absorbant Solar Cells. Amorphous-silicon solar cells patterned with nanoscale domes absorb more light–and shed water and dust.  

Solar cells with nanocrystal ink reach 18 percent efficiency

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 21st, 2009

Josh Hall, on his way to catch a plane, sends us this news from Technology Review’s Katherine Bourzac: A California company is using silicon ink patterned on top of silicon wafers to boost the efficiency of solar cells. The Sunnyvale, CA, firm Innovalight says that the inkjet process is a cheaper route to more-efficient solar power. [...]

Flying Cars: how close are we?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 24th, 2009

Previous in series: VTOL So, how close are we to flying cars? For specificity, let’s pick a technological bar to hurdle that answers most of the objections to the concept we’ve seen as comments on the previous posts: It should be relatively high-powered compared to current light craft. It should be STOVL for safety and [...]

The Fuel of the Future

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 5th, 2009

What will your car run on in 2020 or 2030? What form of energy storage and transmission will allow intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, to be a viable input to the economy? There’s a good chance, of course, that cars will still run on gasoline — its demise has been predicted early [...]

Darker = Brighter?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 2nd, 2009

Here’s a University of Rochester press release from 2006: Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a way to change the properties of almost any metal to render it, literally, black. The process, using an incredibly intense burst of laser light, holds the promise of making everything from fuel cells to a space telescope’s [...]

Negative resistance

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 21st, 2009

If you connect a 12-volt battery to a 4-ohm lamp, 3 amps of current will flow through the circuit by Ohm’s Law, V=IR. Power = VI = 36 watts will be dissipated by the lamp. If you add a 2-ohm resistor in series with the lamp, the resistances add to 6 ohms, the current is [...]

Solar progress

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 19th, 2009

Two new items that are follow-ons to the Moore’s Law for Energy thread: A story at Technology Review about new electronics that improve the usable power from existing solar panels by 5-25%. The advance is new smarter electronics that allows for an inverter for each panel instead of one big one for the whole system. [...]

More on Limits to Growth

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 11th, 2009

There was a gratifyingly large response to last Friday’s post Acolytes of neo-Malthusian Apocalypticism. Several of the commenters seemed to think I was trying to refute the LtG model, but that would require a whole book instead of one blog post. I consider LtG to have been demolished in detail by people with a lot [...]

Acolytes of neo-Malthusian Apocalypticism

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 8th, 2009

When I was in college 35 years ago, there was a major fad of neo-Malthusian doom-mongering, led by the “Limits to Growth” book and movement. A retreat was organized from the college, and some concerned, environmentally conscious professors and students, myself included, went off for a concentrated seminar in which we educated each other about [...]

Ink-jet wires for solar cells

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 8th, 2009

Another step along the Moore’s Law-like trend line for solar power: Ink-Jet Printing for Cheaper Solar Cells at Technology Review. (see also Nanoscale Inkjet Printing)

Cool energy

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 8th, 2009

In this post I pointed out that in the foreseeable future, nanotech devices are likely to be energy-starved. Chris Peterson asks in a comment whether there would be a problem from the heat dissipation from this energy use. The analysis is worth a post of its own, so here goes: About 100 thousand terawatts of [...]

A Moore’s Law for energy?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 1st, 2009

Earlier this week I was at the premiere of Transcendent Man, a biographical overview of Ray Kurzweil’s views on the coming Singularity. Kurzweil’s main argument is that the power of the exponential in technology is major, systemic, and underappreciated. The specific item of interest in this post is Kurzweil’s claim, repeated in the movie, that [...]

Nanotechnology builds battery on a virus framework

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 17th, 2009

MIT scientists have demonstrated the usefulness of biological frameworks for combining distinct functional elements to make a device.