The battery industry is currently dominated by lithium-ion batteries. We have them in our phones and computers. They power electric cars. And they are increasingly being used to store energy generated by solar panels and other renewable energy sources.
UPS recently announced a demonstration project that will put a prototype electric truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell through the delivery company’s challenging paces. Fuel cells have been used in some commercial vehicles to power auxiliary systems, but this is the first time that they will be used to propel a vehicle.
One of the most exciting possibilities for future solar energy technology is that of solar cells that can be sprayed or printed on to surfaces like the windows of skyscrapers, the roofs of sports utility vehicles, or the walls of houses. And the expectation is that such technology would be far cheaper than today’s silicon-based solar panels.
DNA analysis has become commonplace and inexpensive. Millions of people have their DNA tested to learn about their origins and family connections. And the technology has spread to biological research in the form of Environmental DNA or eDNA, which is such a powerful tool that it is transforming the field of wildlife biology.
Particulate matter and toxic chemical pollutants are a pervasive problem in the air people breathe in many places. Poor air quality causes health problems worldwide and is a factor in diseases such as asthma, heart disease and lung disease.
Spider silk – the protein fiber spun by spiders to make webs, nests, cocoons, and wrapping for prey that they stash away – is a remarkable substance. Its mechanical properties combine high tensile strength and high extensibility or ductility. This allows spider silk to absorb a lot of energy before breaking. It is stronger than steel, but not as strong as Kevlar, for example. On the other hand, it is tougher than either.
Wind turbines have been getting bigger and bigger over the years. The reason is that bigger blades produce more power and give much more bang for the buck. A big part of the plummeting price of wind power is the increasing amount of power produced by each turbine.
The Arctic used to be pretty much a pristine wilderness populated only by fairly small numbers of indigenous residents living environmentally benign lifestyles. The disruptive elements of modern civilization were not much of a factor. Because of the changing climate, this is no longer true.
Globally, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately three-quarters of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators could pose a threat to food security around the globe.
Bananas are the world’s most popular fruit crop, with 130 countries producing over 100 million tons annually. Forty-seven percent of all the bananas grown in the world and ninety-nine percent of all the bananas sold commercially are of one subspecies known as the Cavendish.
Sometime early in May, the United States installed its one millionth solar energy system. Achieving this milestone took the solar industry about 40 years to accomplish. Because of the phenomenal growth of solar power in this country, industry experts predict that it will only take two more years to reach the second million and there are predictions that by the year 2025, there will be one million new installations in the U.S. each year.
The fourth annual Solar Means Business Report is out. It identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks America’s top solar users. Just since the first report came out, the amount of solar power installed by America’s top companies has tripled.