- In a continued effort to get caught up on some of the technological advancements in solar energy production, my focus remains here this month with a list of stories that caught my attention in no particular order.
5 to 10% of all silicon panels that are installed are faulty and this scanning technology could help to reduce that wasted effort; while stacking nanometer-thick solar panels could increase their efficiency. This breathable solar mesh produces energy and then stores it in an air-powered battery. Versus this idea for a contracting gel to store solar energy.
This material could absorb solar energy during the day then emit light during the night. And using less silicon in a solar cell means lower production costs as this idea purports. These high-tech surfaces could be made into self-cleaning solar panel lenses. This is a simple production method for panels made from perovskites, which are cheaper than silicon.
Absorbing more of the spectrum by stacking solar cells made from two different materials can increase efficiency. Perhaps the next solar cell on your roof will be printed by an inkjet. Eliminating pinholes in the surface of solar cells can significantly increase their durability and then reduce thickness. Falling ceramic particles in solar towers could let them produce more power by increasing their maximum operating temperatures.
Cheap, flexible solar cells made from carbon nanotubes are moving closer to reality. These cells convert sunlight into hydrogen gas (for storage) by directly splitting water. While these cells are significantly thinner than any other competitors. And finally, could space be the final frontier for solar energy?
- The October 2015 NOAA global climate report confirms that the record temperature trend continues for a sixth month in a row. October 2015 was the warmest month on record and also the highest departure from average in the 1,630 months on record. The October temperature is now increasing at an average rate of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. I put the chances of a seventh record warmth month in a row as high for November, stay tuned until then…
- Christmas is upon us so in honor of the season of giving, my Google search for the month was, “GIS and gifts.” And well this is not exactly in line with my usual Snippet where I introduce you to a research paper that uses GIS in the study, it is still awesome, I promise J If you have a true GIS geek you need get a gift for, what could be better than one of these GISNuts shirts?!
- From a top-notch GIS site in the Midwest we travel west to Portland, Oregon for a review of their online GIS resources. And we are happy to say that the Portland GIS website is the perfect follow up as it is just as top notch! There is an old webmap that allows users to search by address or a new, more intuitive interface for the same map data. Both webmaps give users access to a wide array of spatial layers that are described here. For advanced users, shapefiles can be downloaded here; and they even offer two cell phone apps to report city problems and then one to suggest ideas for future development and progress.
Brock Adam McCarty