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Thu04242014

Technology

Queen's University addresses sustainability in the Far North

A professor at the Queen's University in Canada has designed a program that will provide young researchers with the tools to address sustainability challenges in the Far North. Dr. Mark Green, university professor, designed the six-year program called Sustainability Engineering in Remote Areas with the goal of promoting sustainability in remote communities, specifically, those in the Far North. Under the program, students...

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Secret to improved plastic solar cells discovered

A group of researchers from Stanford University have now discovered the secret behind improving the performance of plastic solar cells – and the secret lies in disorder. A class of organic materials, known as conjugated or semiconducting polymers – whose chains of carbon atoms have properties of plastic – has the ability to absorb sunlight and conduct electricity. For nearly 40 years now, it has been the subject of study...

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Sustainable solar cells that use abundant compound, developed

Chemists at the University of Basel have developed a more sustainable solar cell that uses an abundant compound instead of the usual rare element. Dye-sensitized solar cells, or DSCs, which transform light to electricity, consist of a semiconductor on which a dye is anchored. This colored complex absorbs light and through an electron transfer process – which uses electrolytes as transport... Usually, iodine and iodide serve as the electrolyte.

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Water splitting technique uses sunlight to produce hydrogen

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a solar-thermal system which uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, allowing the hydrogen to be used for clean fuel. The solar-thermal system developed utilizes vast arrays of mirrors onto a single point atop a central tower which stands several hundred feet tall. The heat generated by the mirrors, which can reach – 1,350 degrees...

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Radio waves can determine the severity of climate change

Radio waves reflecting back to Earth from the ionosphere can determine the severity of climate change, according to a study done by researchers at Tel Aviv University. Prof. Colin Price of the university’s Department of Geophysical, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, along with PhD candidate Israel Silber, discovered that the strength of the radio signals on the ground is a reliable indicator of...

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Plasmonic black metals could lead to more efficient PVs

Using plasmonic black metals could lead to more efficient photovoltaics with improved solar energy harvesting capabilities, according to researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Researchers at the L.L.N.L. Materials Engineering Division pointed out that black metals can be thought of as an extension of the black silicon concept used in solar panels. When silicon is roughened at the nanoscale level, its...

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Studying thermophillic microbes for better biofuel production

A recently concluded study on thermophiles – microbes that thrive at extremely high temperatures and alkaline conditions – could help determine the best microbial enzyme to break down biomass to extract fermentable sugars for advanced biofuels. Scientist from the United States Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute and Joint Genome Insitute, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and the Pacific...

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Bioengineered bacteria creates diesel like substance for advanced biofuels

A bioengineered microbe that can produce biofuel from carbon dioxide has been developed by scientists from the United States Department of Energy’s Joint Bioenegy Institute. “We’ve shown that the bacterium Ralstonia eutropha growing with carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas is able to generate significant quantities of diesel-range methyl ketones,” says Harry Beller, a JBEI microbiologist who led this research, which was...

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Solar-powered sterilization technology to solve sanitation problem

Nanotechnology researchers at the Rice University have developed a solar-powered sterilization system that could help over 2.5 billion people who suffer from sanitation problems. The solar steam sterilization system that the researchers at Rice University have developed can be used in two ways: one is to sterilize medical instruments, and two, to sanitize human waste. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24...

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Land use in Africa has major impact on carbon emissions, study

Land use in the continent of Africa could determine the intensity of the impact of carbon emissions, according to a study done by the University of Edinburgh. On a pioneering study on the African savannas, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that south-central Africa is suffering from deforestation that is driven by increased population, and increased demand for trees for agriculture and fuel. The...

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