Yvonne Carts-Powell

Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm

In beautiful, energy, technology on January 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm.

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How Can Cities Protect Themselves against Gas Explosions?

In energy, technology on May 27, 2014 at 7:34 am

Aerial view of New York City's East Harlem apartment gas explosion, March 12, 2014. Courtesy of Adnan Islam, via Wikimedia Commons.

Aerial view of New York City's East Harlem apartment gas explosion, March 12, 2014. Courtesy of Adnan Islam, via Wikimedia Commons.
I’ve linked to stories about exploding manhole covers (due to underground leaks in sewer or gas pipes), but with the March gas explosion in New York City that killed 8 people, the problem of gas explosions stopped being fodder for funny blog posts.

Scientific American looks into: How Can Cities Protect Themselves against Gas Explosions? .

Right-sizing the grid could reduce blackout risk

In energy, technology on May 13, 2014 at 7:32 am

Researchers ask: Is the power grid too big? Right-sizing the grid could reduce blackout risk.

Wonking the best insulating windows

In energy on March 25, 2014 at 7:49 am

Mike Watts, a thin-film guy, applied some of his considerable knowledge to the problem of finding windows that insulate well:

Identifying the best insulating windows | SPIE Newsroom: SPIE.

Green roofs, white roofs, what makes sense?

In beautiful, energy on March 18, 2014 at 7:48 am

There’s ample evidence that sometimes a roof with plants on it — or a roof painted white — reduces the heat load of a building compared to a standard black tar roof. But is it always so? Is it enough? The solution of which type of roof works best for a particular building or in a particular location is  not simple. Still, with the hope of reducing urban heat islands, it’s worth experimenting. Scientific American has an update on the state of the (still an) art:

Cool Roofs Might Be Enough to Save Cities from Climate Overheating

Mirrors Convey Sunshine to Dark Valley Town

In beautiful, energy, technology on December 3, 2013 at 7:07 am

Speaking of waning sunlight — I may feel light-deprived in New England, but at least my home *gets* light every day of the year. A Scandinavian town in a deep valley has implemented mirrors to shine sunlight down to their central square. My colleague Pat Daukantis wrote about it: Optics & Photonics News – Mirrors Convey Sunshine to Dark Valley Town.


Addendum: Another sunless-in-the-winter village put up a mirror for much the same reasons, back in 2007. See the NY Times article about the sun mirror in Viganella, Italy.

High-tech Daylighting

In beautiful, energy, technology on November 26, 2013 at 7:56 am

UC's SmartLight More Than a Bright Idea, It's a Revolution in Interior Lighting Ready to Shine

As daylight wanes up here in New England, I find myself chasing sunlight around my house, gravitating to the high south-facing room that stays brightest for longest. At work, I value the window for the quality and quantity of light it lets in. I am all for schemes that increase the availability of daylight in buildings, especially if they are suited to the location and changing conditions. This design, which uses liquid crystals in windows to block or direct light, by pair of University of Cincinnati researchers a pair of University of Cincinnati researchers is intriguing. I’d very much enjoy getting my hands on a sample to play with. UC's SmartLight More Than a Bright Idea, It's a Revolution in Interior Lighting Ready to Shine.

Universal Law for Light Absorption in 2D Semiconductors

In energy, Science, technology on August 8, 2013 at 7:03 am

Solar energy would benefit from using thin films, but getting thin semiconductors to absorb light is tricky. (I wrote a cover feature for Optics & Photonics News about that.) This research from Berkeley Lab should help designers developing thin-film solar cells, detectors, and possibly other optoelectronics.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Discover Universal Law for Light Absorption in 2D Semiconductors « Berkeley Lab News Center.

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