SolarWindow™ devices have been undergoing testing of their durability in an effort to meet or exceed warranty periods for commercial-grade insulated glass units (IGUs) installed on tall towers. Durability determines product-lifecycle, an important feature to the commercial adoption of SolarWindow™ products for generating electricity on glass windows.
Every second, the sun bombards the Earth with roughly 174 quadrillion watts of energy, and we’re only just beginning to tap into that immense power. The problem with standard solar panels is that they convert a maximum of only 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity, all the while being very costly in terms of production.
We just discussed the vast amount of energy the sun produces and the inefficiency of standard solar panels. Andre Broessel, a German architect, has come up with a simple yet brilliant idea to increase the energy output in photovoltaic cells. By incorporating a liquid filled glass sphere into the design of a solar panel, the energy output is increased by 34%. It’s fitted with a tracking device that’s able to follow the sun on its daily migration west, and the Betaray can also tap into the sun’s rays on overcast days, producing four times the energy of a normal solar panel. It can even draw energy from the moon on clear nights.
The device is specially designed to work for individual houses or buildings, places with limited space for solar panel deployment. It can easily be fitted onto inclined surfaces and curtain walls. The project is still in its development stage, but once finished it might change the look of rooftops around the world.
The “impossible” technology in this instance is called the EmDrive. It’s the brainchild of British engineer Roger Shawyer and it theoretically works by converting electric power into thrust by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container. There’s no propellant involved in this system, which makes it a compelling technology for spaceflight. Fuel, or propellant in the case of thrust rockets, is necessarily in limited quantities on any given spacecraft; it’s heavy to launch, and when it’s used up a spacecraft has little to no way of reorienting itself or altering its trajectory.In any case, a lot more work will have to be done to prove that the propulsion method is not only viable but something worth pursuing further.
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
Scientists from all over the world have come together in ITER to work toward a lofty goal: harness the energy produced by the fusion of atoms to help meet mankind’s energy needs.
ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, and to collect the data necessary for the design and subsequent operation of the first electricity-producing fusion power plant.
The ITER Agreement was signed by China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. The Members of the ITER Organization will bear the cost of the project through its 10-year construction phase and its 20-year operational phase before decommissioning.
In Cadarache, southern France, ITER construction has begun on the scientific facilities. Manufacturing of components for ITER is underway in Members’ industries all over the world; the level of coordination required for the successful fabrication of over one million parts for the ITER Tokamak alone is daily creating a new model of international scientific collaboration.