Archive for Solar

To Infinity and Beyond…

v7i28_3The latest hype over space based solar power (SBSP) is overshadowing a promising resource that’s much more effective: lunar solar power (LSP). Terrestrial renewable systems are the resources of the future to deposits of coal, shale, oil, natural gas, and uranium. A concept has recently been proposed for delivering solar power to Earth from space. Peter Glaser suggests that a huge satellite could actually gather solar power in space. Wavelength microwaves would send power to receivers located around the world and then supply commercial energy to a given region. This source of energy is much more effective than sunlight because it can surpass rain, clouds, dust, and even smoke. The problem with these SBSP satellites is that the cost to implement this program is ridiculous. Fortunately, LSP is a natural satellite available for development. Earth to moon power beams are already being operated in Puerto Rice and receive 10% more energy and are faster than conventional methods. The moon receives light year round except during a full lunar eclipse which only occurs once a year for three hours and other alternative energy sources can fill in this short gap. The solar flux to the lunar surface is predictable and dependable. The energy beamed to Earth is clean, safe, and reliable, and its source-the sun-is virtually inexhaustible.

-Nicholas Chan

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Fab Tree Hab

No, this is not an alien dwelling on Mars or a robot on Earth 50 years from now. This is a model home designed by three scientists from MIT’s Team H.E.D. (Human Ecology Design): Mitchell Joachim Ph.D., Lara Greden Ph.D., and Javier Arbona, M.S. It was intended to replace old and outdated Habitat for Humanity homes by proposing to grow homes out of native trees.

The idea behind this is for plants to grow manually over a plywood scaffold. Once they interweave with one another, the plywood can be removed and used again to build another “Fab Tree Hab”. Each one is expected to make effective contributions to its ecosystem by significantly removing human impact. The house is heated by solar energy and cooled by special soy based plastic windows that draw in cold air. A rain trough harvests water for human use and works together with the habitat’s plumbing system. What makes the plumbing system interesting is that thought the use of gravity it irrigates the garden, gets filtered by pond organisms, and manages to provide water for household appliances. This house gives nutrients to the environment through its exteriors and walls along with a composting system which treats human waste. Each part of the house gives something back to the environment!

However, this house is still only an experiment and a work in progress and many issues still have to be worked out such as water flow and longevity. Despite the little kinks in its planning, the Fab Tree Hab is undoubtedly a product of innovation. After its completion, people will finally get to say: “I’m going to go water my house”.

~Mohit Argarwal

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Infinite Light

What would you do if I told you that you could get a lightbulb that doesn’t increase your electric bill, lights up as good as a regular lightbulb, produces no carbon emissions, and is self-sustainable?

You would probably want some of the ‘stuff’ I’m smoking.

Well let me tell you that it is really good stuff, because that is exactly what I present to you with information regarding the solar powered lightbulb!

This is some relatively new technology, with this particular version calling itself the “first” solar-powered lightbulb in the world. if this is true, the future of lightbulbs is looking rather bright! (pun intended)

Because of this, it will not be able to serve as an awesome replacement to all the current lightbulbs in a person’s house. However, it still is a promising outlook of what is to be expected out of lightbulbs in the future.

This is also a case of where green technology is able to help developing countries, where the bulb will be of most use! Kerosene will no longer have to be burnt in huge quantities to serve for lighting purposes. These extremely inexpensive bulbs can instead work as the awesome replacements they were meant to be, and give a bit of bright relief to those living in deep, dark, hopeless conditions. The outlook is sunny for these people!

I’ll stop with the puns now.

~Jay Meza

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Green collar jobs

Now a days hundreds of Americans are trying hard to find jobs, but without success. The jobs that they eventually get are just one of the reasons why the earth is getting sick everyday. Why don’t we try to resolve this problem by finding a way to help clean up the earth from the dirty polluted air, and at the same time benefiting our selves? Guess what, there is way of doing just that, which is getting green collar jobs. The term green collar jobs refer as a job that not only do you get paid for but you also help the environment. The green collar job started from a woman named Alan Thein Durning, who wrote a book in June 1999, called “Green Collar Jobs”. This book influenced green jobs for the people, and the government paid $125 million dollars to train the people for those jobs. Right now in the U.S. we have the three green economy sectors that growing rapidly, and with that in mind we need more, well trained employees. There are green jobs that need lots of workers, for example, solar companies are growing so rapidly that they need more installers to meet their need. The wind power companies need workers to build the wind fans, and the green building contractors need workers for construction. These are opportunities that we as Americans need to take advantage of, because if we don’t we won’t just be hurting our financial life, but we will also be disturbing our world.

Eghosa Okundaye

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Battling Fossil Fuels; Part II- Solar Solutions

Our quest to combat fossil fuels continues. We found out that sometimes Tempest Energy will not always work- the wind will not always blow. Therefore, we need another solution. This is where Solar Energy comes in.

The power of the sun has always been used as a source of energy. Plants and solar panels convert this sunlight into raw energy. Every time the sun shines, we would get energy from it. This is a very swell idea. Even on really cloudy days- we would still get solar energy, though not as much of an abundant amount as on a hot summer’s day. Solar energy is extremely beneficial to not only the environment but to us as well. The sun is classified as an inexhaustible resource- a resource that will never run out. This makes it potentially better than fossil fuels. It also does no damage to the environment in any way- it does not release harmful gases and does not interfere with the cooling or warming of the planet.

 Although Solar Energy is extremely efficient, and is used world-wide for energy, we still must think about the cons of Solar Energy. If we rely solely and only on Solar Energy, we would be scuba diving without oxygen tanks. What about the nights? We get no energy- no recharge at night. This can halt our civilization if we hypothetically experience a period of perpetual darkness or many days without sunlight. There is still one more choice to help us through our sunless, windless nights. Stay tuned for Part III.

– Flaviu Delczeg

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The Solar Shingle

When I first thought of solar energy; I thought of energy from the sun and large bulky solar panels on the roofs, the size of a ping pong table. To me they were ugly, awkward objects; another sacrifice in being environmentally safe. But now, scientists and a company known as, The Dow Chemical Co., have conceived the invention of “The Solar Shingle.” This innovative object doubles as a shingle and as a solar panel.

These shingles- also called “building-integrated photovoltaics,” or BIPVs-combine solar cells with slate, metal, fiber-cement, even asphalt roofing. Electricity is generated when the sun strikes a semiconductor layer, typically crystalline silicon, laminated to the shingle’s surface. Keep in mind that one shingle is not enough to produce the 50 to 200 watts used to power a house, but with hundreds of square feet of them together, you can generate enough electricity to a whole house. The shingles get installed over new or existing roof sheathing, then an electrician wire the units together and tie them in to your home’s electrical system.

Despite the cost, which happens to be $15,000, we can still be eco-friendly; due to increased demand and advances in the solar shingles, we can make them affordable. More and more manufacturers are working on ways to make the shingles easier to install and better looking (YAY!!!). One day we can all run on solar power…with the exception of Alaska.

http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/07/08/photovoltaic-roof-shingles/

 -Sodiqa B.

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Turning on the Lights in Houston

p_Discovery-CenterThe ASES National Solar Tour is a fairly resent program. For the past 65 years this society has educated various communities about the efficiency of solar energy with the hopes that people will begin to make suitable energy choices that not only will lower the cost of energy but also the amount of CO2 emissions. These tours offer people a chance to see many different buildings with working solar systems the ASES has inspired many individuals to make sustainable energy choices. These tours offer more than just a view of solar energy, but it also the viewing of PV, solar hot water and solar pool heaters. On October 3, 2009 at 11am – 5pm; the ASES will be visiting in its 6th annual self-guided Houston Solar Tour. This exciting event will be located in the communities of Bellaire, West University, the Woodlands, and Spring Texas. And what makes this event even more exciting is that it will be FREE.

 

2009 TOUR SITES

Central Houston

Discovery Green  /  1500 McKinney Street, Houston 77010
GRB Convention Center  /  1001 Ave De Las Americas, Houston, 77002
Edgar Residence  /   208 East 24th Street, Houston, 77008
City of Houston Code Enforcement Bldg  /  3300 Main Street, Houston, 77002
Patterson Place III  / 4506 B Maxie Street, Houston, 77007
Green Bank  /  8611 Memorial Drive, Houston, 77024 – Open 2-4 pm only.  Stop by for some refreshments.
Girl Scouts  /  3110 Southwest Freeway, Houston, 77098
Gimenez Residence  /  3931 Purdue Street, Houston, 77005
West University Solar Water Heater  /  6114 Community Drive, Houston, 77005
Eapen Residence  /  4007 Turnberry Circle, Houston, 77025
Zercher Residence  /  11006 Doud Street, Houston, 77035
Reardon Residence  /  4618 Waycross, Houston, 77035
Burghli Homes  /  5819 Darlington Oak, Houston, 77016
Wareloft Residence /  13904 Hiram Clarke Road, Houston, 77045
Edgar Residence  / 208 East 24th Street, Houston, 77008
Heigel Residence  /   10127 Crescent Bluff Lane, Houston, 77070

Northeast/Woodlands

Dean Residence  /  304 Magnolia Road, New Caney, 77357
Fong Residence  /  11 West Isle Place, The Woodlands, 77381
Discovery at Spring Trails  /  2711 Riley Fuzzel Road, Spring, 77386
Hill Residence  /  27127 Rose Vervain, Spring, 77386

Solar Tour Classic

Animal Farm  /16723 Sycamore Road, Cat Spring, 78933

(For more information visit http://www.houstonsolartour.com/)

 

-Funmilayo Amubieya

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