New Research for Harvesting Car Exhaust

Posted on November 29th, 2010 by

Scientists Harvest Car Exhaust

The Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation is funding research to harvest heat from car exhaust to generate electricity. Researchers at Purdue University are working on the project with a three-year grant for $1.4 million. The team at Purdue is working with General Motors to develop a prototype using TEGs, or thermoelectric generators. Once completed, the prototype will be installed behind the catalytic converter in the exhaust system to harvest heat from released gasses up to 700 degrees Celsius. Harvesting the exhaust can reduce fuel consumption by five percent and with further research even ten percent.


Japanese Scientists Use Sahara Sand for Solar Energy

Japanese scientists aim to use desert sand to provide up to 50 percent of the world’s energy needs. Dubbed the “Sahara Solar Breeder Project,” the proposal will develop silicon-manufacturing plants powered by the sun. If researchers can find a way to use desert sand to make a substance that provides energy, they can harness enough solar energy for a well-functioning power plant. Statistics claim the sun delivers 10,000 times more energy to the Earth than it requires. This implies that even if researchers can harness .01 percent of that energy, they would have plenty. Though current technologies do not exist to convert silica into silicon for solar panels, researchers are certain that such innovations will be possible in the near future. For now, the research will require 100 million yen for the next five years. The first goal is to build a solar plant with a 100-GW annual capacity.

Spectrolab Achieves Record-Breaking Solar Cell Efficiency

Spectrolab, a Boeing subsidiary, is going to mass-produce a new solar cell that has reached a record-breaking conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent. It is the first to even reach close to 40 percent under normal settings. The solar cells, called C3MJ+, reported even higher efficiencies under lab conditions, but this has not been reproduced in a normal environment. The solar cell will reach markets in January.

Schott Solar Expands in Southern Europe

Greece has perfect conditions for PV operations because of its high global irradiance levels, according to Schott Solar AG. Schott Solar, a German PV company, has been in Greece for over a decade and in 2004, the company worked with a local firm to install solar panels at the Athens International Airport. Now, at the start of next year, the company will begin working on a 2-MW solar project for the country. The PV market in Greece is stronger with feed-in fees of up to 50 percent per kWh for 20 years. By increasing its presence in Greece, Schott Solar is opening up useful markets in southern Europe.

Grid-Connected Solar Farm in the UK

Work will begin within one week at the Ecotricity wind farm in Lincolnshire in northwest England. The wind farm will now house solar panels, making it the first “grid connected solar farm” in the UK. The 1-MW solar park will be ready to operate beginning March 2011. Photovoltaic panels will be arranged across almost two hectares of land in 59 two meter-high rows. The project will combine both wind and solar energy to produce power. The park will be the first project funded by Ecotricity’s EcoBonds, part of the company’s green energy investment.

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