- There are always tons of advancements in the world of solar technology, so this month let’s turn our attention to this industry.Organic solar panels are very attractive as if their efficiency can be increased, they are cheap and easy to produce. Here is an idea for controlling electron spin that might improve organic cell efficiency. And here is an idea inspired by trees for self-healing organic solar cells.
Now here are some ideas to improve the efficiency of other types of solar cells, for instance this one which is a nanostructured material that will absorb more light energy. Other researchers have developed a new ceramic material which can absorb a wider spectrum of photons. Here is an idea to modify a common polymer used in solar cells for a possible 30% increase in efficiency. And this research has created a new connection between stacked solar cells to handle much more energy.
Storing energy created by solar panels for future use is always a challenge. This is an idea to store excess energy in hydroelectric facilities retrofitted to abandoned mine shafts. This approach to storage converts solar energy to hydrogen gas.
Finally, here are two interesting ideas to extend the uses of solar energy. First, here is a solution to use solar energy to desalinate water. Second, here is an idea to generate solar energy during the night which could turn the industry on its head.
- Climate change has been a major focus of my writing recently, and this snippet is no different. In case you have not seen enough maps on greenhouse gas emissions, National Geographic has put one together that you should check out. This map offers four different looks at greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s largest emitters: current total emissions in metric tons; per capita emissions; emissions per dollar of GDP; and total emissions since 1850.
- It’s warm here in Boulder and the grass is as high as an elephant’s eye! In honor of our friendly green land cover, I Googled, “GIS and turf grass,” this month. Looking through the results, here is an interesting PowerPoint created by Xi Xiong out of Oklahoma State University on the use of remote sensing to detect turf grass diseases. In this project, Xiong used several means to assess the validity of remote sensing for a wide range of turf management issues – if this is your field, I suggest you check out his work!
- From the bluegrass state, we travel south to the Gulf of Mexico with a look at the GIS resources of one of America’s most vibrant cities, New Orleans, Louisiana. Unfortunately, NoLa does not have a dedicated GIS website, rather it appears their geographic data is found in two places. If you are looking for an online property lookup tool, here is the link to that map. Press the Map Search button at the top right, and then the Info button to query information on a specific property. For users looking for datasets that can be download, here is a link to the 44 layers that can be exported in a variety of formats, sometimes as a shapefile and other times only as a spreadsheet and/or PDF.
Brock Adam McCarty
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