Showing posts with the label Solar power

Human Expedition To Mars Can Be Powered By Using Solar Energy, Say US Researchers

As humanity plans an expedition to the Martian surface, one would speculate that nuclear power would be the best option for faraway crewed missions. Researchers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley , have now shown that a crewed mission to Mars could be powered by solar energy. Image Credits: Pixabay The current study is unique because the researchers compared the distinct ways of generating power and evaluated the requirements of a nuclear-powered system against various photovoltaic devices and photoelectrochemical devices. Photovoltaic devices are those devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity, whereas photoelectrochemical devices convert abundant solar energy into stored electrical energy. Comparing The Power Generating Options A small nuclear fission device is location-agnostic (independent of nuclear outpost location establishment), while the efficiency of solar power devices relies on the intensity of sunlight, surface temperature and other factors that

RotM: Interview with Dr. Michael Loik

Prof. Michael Loik at UCSC Photo credit: Michael Loik For this month's Researcher of the Month, we spoke to Professor Michael Loik , at the Environmental Studies Department at University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). The Loik Laboratory has been studying the impact of short term weather patterns, changes in atmospheric composition and changes in plant physiology as a result of climate change in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Using results from their studies, the lab prepares communities for the ongoing climate change and devises information for adapting to fire risks and droughts. With a focus on reducing the emission of green house gases, the Loik laboratory also works on finding innovative solutions for farmers, which we will discuss today.  Before, we get started, here is a video summary of his recent publication in the journal Earth's Future . A man of few words, Prof. Loik was quick to revert to our queries regarding this wonderful accomplishment

Solar cells that work in rain

Now, Solar cells that can work in the rain. Image credit: In case you have read my last month’s guest post about harvesting solar energy in rust , you would be delighted to know that there has been yet another breakthrough in our attempt to harness solar energy.  For many years, solar energy has been targeted for being unavailable at night and during rains. The problem of utilizing solar energy at night can be resolved with the help of metal oxide cells as elaborated in my above post (do read it, if you have not done so already). And now researchers at the Ocean University in China have addressed the second problem and developed solar cells that can actually use rain drops to generate electricity. Published in the German journal Angewandte Chemie , the paper titled, A Solar Cell Triggered by Sun and Rain , opens a new realm of possibilities when harnessing solar energy. Coating the solar cell with a thin film of graphene allows the cell to function eve

Solar ship! The answer to our fuel woes!

Flying has always been a human dream. Whether it be the Wright brothers in the past or the low-cost airlines in the present, all have worked towards making this dream come true. Luxuries of modern day flights are an added reason to take the aerial route to your destination.  However, the rising demand for fuel and shrinking supplies have taken away the 'low cost' from airlines. Increasing prices of flying not only affects flight enthusiasts but also affects activities such as large scale farming and emergency services such as air ambulances. Adapting a newer energy source will soon be a necessity in the future, but are we future ready? Well, the Solar ship is.  We often look for ways to make our day-to-day lives more eco-friendly but Canada based Solar Ship has taken 'going green' to an all new level. Inspired by the Zeppelin 's of the late 1800s, Solar Ship is developing aircraft that are powered by sunlight. Yes, sunlight powers the movement of these crafts

A Solar powered island

A small island in the South Pacific Ocean recently shot to fame by becoming the first territory on our planet to derive its energy needs from the Sun. Covering a small area of 10 square kilometers, Tokelau is a part of New Zealand and lies to the North of Samoan islands .     Image Source: Funded by the government of New  Zealand, Tokelau spent about $7 million to put in place three solar grids that will now enable its 1500 residents to harness and utilize solar energy for their daily needs. Why spend $7 million for a power plant in the middle of nowhere you might ask! While the small island generates a small sum of $ 500,000 every year by selling agricultural produce, it spends over $2.8 million, most of which is spent of food and fuel. While its 1500 residents have energy needs like us, Tokelau's new means of earning is selling Internet domain names (like .com,, .au etc. ) with a .tk extension. With a booming internet business, electrical

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