WOW-POW = World Of Wonderful POWer: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The NYT: Solar Power, Without All Those Panels

The main way for homes to harness solar power today is through bulky panels added to the rooftop or mounted on the ground.
But companies are now offering alternatives to these fixed installations, in the less conspicuous form of shingles, tiles and other building materials that have photovoltaic cells sealed within them.
“The new materials are part of the building itself, not an addition, and they are taking photovoltaics to the next level — an aesthetic one,” said Alfonso Velosa III, a research director at Gartner and co-author of a coming report on the market for the new field, called building-integrated photovoltaics.
Companies are creating solar tiles and shingles in colors and shapes that fit in, for example, with the terra cotta tile roofing popular in the Southwest, or with the gray shingles of coastal saltbox cottages.
More at the New York Time

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NEW Panasonic S and N Series Toughbook 2.53Ghz Dual Core 4GB RAM Notebooks Introduced

NEW Panasonic S and N Series Toughbooks 2.53Ghz Dual Core 4GB RAM Notebooks. Panasonic introduced 2 new Let's Notes, the N8 and S8 series and updates were announced for the rest of their line. However, the big news are the brand new N8 and S8. Powered by Core 2 Duo P8700 chips, clocked at 2.53Ghz, both machines come with 12.1-inch WXGA LCD screens 1280 x 800, 250GB HDDs, up to 4GB of RAM, WiMAX, WiFi, HDMI and SDHC connectivity. The best part of these notebooks is the claimed 16 hours of battery life! The one feature that distinguishes between them is the internal DVD burner on the S8. These will be released in Japan October 22 with Windows 7 and pricing around for the N series starts at about $2400.

Video and more data at PC Watch
Will be available in English at

German Institute Achieves 23.4% Efficiency With N-type Solar Cell

Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of Germany achieved an energy conversion efficiency of 23.4% with a single-crystal silicon solar cell made by forming a thin p-type semiconductor layer on an n-type semiconductor substrate.
Its cell area is 2 x 2cm. Fraunhofer ISE said that it is possible to mass-produce the solar cell, which is one of the most efficient crystalline silicon solar cells and could rival Sanyo and other companies' products.
Crystalline silicon solar cells based on n-type semiconductor substrates have a higher resistance to impurities than those based on p-type semiconductor substrates. Therefore, it is theoretically easier to enhance the energy conversion efficiency of the former solar cells.
However, most of the crystalline silicon solar cells developed so far are based on p-type semiconductor substrates. Specifically, they are made by forming a thin n-type semiconductor layer on a thick p-type semiconductor.
More at Tech-On

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Honda U3-X :Personal Mobility Device

Honda Develops New Personal Mobility Device With the Goal of Co-existing in Harmony with People -- World's first drive system that enables movement in all directions:

Friday, September 25, 2009 has a hands on of the Sharp Netwalker touchscreen PC-Z1 has some great videos of the Sharp Netwalker. He has a hands-on video as well as a how to convert to English video. Take a look and more at

Also available at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Moon is all wet! Probes find water in moon dirt.

The moon isn't the dry dull place it seems. Traces of water lurk in the dirt unseen. Three different space probes found the chemical signature of water all over the moon's surface, surprising the scientists who at first doubted the unexpected measurement until it was confirmed independently and repeatedly.
If processed in mass quantities, the wet moon dirt might provide resources - drinking water and rocket fuel - for future moon-dwellers, scientists say. The water comes and goes during the lunar day. It's not a lot of water. If you took a two-liter soda bottle of lunar dirt, there would probably be a medicine dropperful of water in it, said University of Maryland astronomer Jessica Sunshine, one of the scientists who discovered the water. Another way to think of it is if you want a drink of water, it would take a baseball diamond's worth of dirt, said team leader Carle Pieters of Brown University.
"It's sort of just sticking on the surface," Sunshine said. The discovery, with three studies bring published in the journal Science on Thursday and a NASA briefing, could refocus interest in the moon. The appeal of the moon waned after astronauts visited 40 years ago and called it "magnificent desolation."
Much more at Physorg

DigiCube Z8 MID spied by Pocketables

Jen at Pocketables had a chance to play with the DigiCube Z8 MID spied at the 2009 IDF conference. Sadly, when first seen at Computex in June the Z8 (then called the Midphone-50) had intriguing specks but as the production version gets near this mid has been seriously downgraded. The Z8 went from a 5" WXGA screen to a 4.3" display neutered WVGA display,, the internal SSD is now a paltry 8GB as opposed to the 16 on the prototype, the CPU is only a 1.1GHz Atom (not the hinted at 1.6Ghz), and the RAM is stuck at 512MB. Looks like Jen will be sticking with the Sharp D4.
More at Pocketables.

Sanyo Claims HIT Solar Cell With 22.8% Efficiency & 98 Micron-thick

Sanyo Electric Co Ltd achieved a conversion efficiency of 22.8% with its HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) solar cell with a thickness of 98μm, which is about half as thick as existing HIT solar cells.
Sanyo Electric realized the thinness while lowering conversion efficiency by only 0.2% (See related article). The company has not yet decided when it will start volume production of the cell.
"We can now reduce the amount of silicon used for HIT solar cells," the company said. "Silicon accounts for half the cost of those cells. So, we paved the way for lower-cost HIT solar cells."
Lower cost high efficiency solar sells are always good news.
Much More at Tech On

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lunar Electric Rover on 14-day mission [in Arizona test]

Clarkson will be testing this... Maybe on the next "Top Gear" ?
Video link:

via Engadget

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terrafugia - Flying Car Video of flight testing

Nice Video of the Terrafugia Flying Car which has finished up flight testing and is getting ready for production.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Light Electric Motor To Increase Efficiency Of Electric Vehicles

A new Oxford University spin-out company, Oxford Yasa Motors, has been set up to commercialize lightweight electric motors developed at the Department of Engineering Science. The new technology promises to help firms build more efficient electric vehicles. Isis Innovation, the University’s technology transfer company, announced that Oxford Yasa Motors Ltd has closed the £1.45 million funding round with private investor Seven Spires Investments Limited. Oxford Yasa Motors also announced that it has been successful in securing a grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board as part of a £1.89 million consortium to develop a higher volume version of the motor. ‘We have optimised the materials and design, so that the motor is much lighter and more effective, giving half the volume and twice the torque for the same power output. This electric motor technology will reduce fuel consumption and also help us move away fossil-based fuels to alternative energies.’ Over the last 8 months the Oxford team has collaborated with engineering firm Delta Motorsports to configure the motor for a new four-seat coupe, which is scheduled for track tests scheduled at the end of 2009.
Much More at Science Daily

Monday, September 14, 2009

Algae-Based, Non-Metallic Batteries Could Revolutionize Energy Storage Industry

A group of researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have discovered that a particular type of algae — with a bad reputation for causing damaging algal blooms in oceans throughout the world — produces a substance that can be used to make inexpensive, non-toxic, simple-to-build, flexible, thin and durable batteries that, after optimization, are expected to perform on par with today’s most advanced lithium-ion batteries.

The key to the discovery lies in the way in which the algae, Cladophora, produce a unique type of cellulose with a very large surface area (approximately 80 square meters of surface area per gram of material).
By coating this algal cellulose material with a thin layer of a well-known, conductive polymer, called polypyrrole (PPy), the team has “succeeded in producing a battery that weighs almost nothing and that has set new charge-time and capacity records for polymer-cellulose-based [non-metallic] batteries,” according to Gustav Nyström, a doctoral student in nanotechnology and one of the main researchers.
More at Gas 2.0

Thursday, September 3, 2009

YikeBike, super light electric folding bike!

YikeBike, super light electric folding bike!

Grant Ryan, launched his YikeBike at the Eurobike international trade show in Germany last night.

The "mini-farthing" is being marketed as the world's smallest electric bike and can be folded down into a bag the size of the front wheel.

At total 10kg bike was designed for flat city trips of up to 9km, with a top speed of 20kmh, and takes only about 20 minutes to charge to 80 per cent power.

more at