Friday, May 26, 2006

MIT researcher looking into old solar PV technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are looking to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic cells and apply them to cars by applying new materials and technologies to an old concept, thermophotovoltaic conversion of light into electricity.

The new TPV system would burn a little fuel to create super-bright light. Efficient photodiodes would then harvest the energy and send the electricity off to run the various lighting, electrical and electronic systems in the car.

The research is partly funded by Toyota and would mesh nicely with hybrid automobile technology, in which fuel is saved by shutting down the engine when the car is stopped. TPV-generated power might also be ideal for uses in remote places, distant from power lines, similar to what is being done now with solar collectors and fuel cells.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Green Chicago

Mayor Richard Daley would like to make Chicago, the greenest city in the U.S.

The city hopes to become the leader in environmental design and manufacturing of componenets for alternative energy. The city will invest in millions of solar panels; it has planted or is planning over 2 million square feet of green roofs (more than all other U.S. cities combined); it is repaving alleys with a water absorbant asphalt; and buying a greener fleet of vehicles, among other measures.

Chicago's environmental commissioner, Sadhu Johnston, says that "This is about quality of life. What we're talking about is creating a city that exists in harmony with the world, a place that can be a model."

It's a bold vision. Here's hoping it succeeds.