Floating solar device boils water without mirrors

It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it could distill water or generate steam. sci tech news Continue reading Floating solar device boils water without mirrors

Chernobyl could soon find a second life as a giant solar farm

Chernobyl could soon find a second life as a giant solar farm:

The Ukrainian government has announced a plan to turn the area surrounding Chernobyl – the site of one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in history – into a solar energy farm, by constructing a series of solar panels inside the exclusion zone.

Not only would this plan – which is currently seeking investment – allow the country to use a giant chunk of radioactive land that’s unfit for human settlement, it would also provide a cheaper source of reusable energy that might decrease the country’s reliance on Russia.

“The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy,” Ukraine’s environment minister Ostap Semerak said in an interview in London. “We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

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Solar Impulse completes historic round-the-world trip

Solar Impulse completes historic round-the-world trip:

The Solar Impulse has become the first aircraft to circle the globe powered by the sun, after landing in Abu Dhabi on the last leg of its journey.

Bertrand Piccard piloted the plane for a final time, steering it safely from the Egyptian capital Cairo to the UAE.

He has been taking turns at the controls with Swiss compatriot Andre Borschberg.

It brings to an end an epic, 17-leg voyage that began in Abu Dhabi on 9 March last year.

The journey took in four continents, three seas and two oceans.

The longest leg, a 8,924km (5,545-mile) flight from Nagoya in Japan to Hawaii, US, lasted nearly 118 hours and saw Mr Borschberg break the world record for longest uninterrupted solo flight.

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Solar Impulse on last leg of its round-the-world flight

First circumnavigation of the globe by a piloted solar aircraft nears its end. sci tech news Continue reading Solar Impulse on last leg of its round-the-world flight

A Solar-Powered Plane Has Completed the First Ever Trans-Atlantic Flight

A Solar-Powered Plane Has Completed the First Ever Trans-Atlantic Flight:

Remember that solar-powered, electric plane that’s flying around the world? It’s just made history by successfully completing the first ever sun-powered, zero-emissions trans-Atlantic flight.

Setting off from New York at 2:30 AM on June 20, 2016, pilot Bertrand Piccard spent a total of 71 hours and 8 minutes in the air, flying at 28,000 feet and covering a distance of 4,203 miles before landing in Seville, Spain, at 7:38 AM local time.

“Crossing the Atlantic ocean is challenging. The plane is sensitive to turbulence, so we have to plan the route carefully and identify the perfect weather window,” Alexandra Gindroz, head of Solar Impulse’s media relations, told me over the phone.

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Oregon chemists build a new, stable open-shell molecule

Oregon chemists build a new, stable open-shell molecule:

University of Oregon chemists have synthesized a stable and long-lasting carbon-based molecule that, they say, potentially could be applicable in solar cells and electronic devices.

The molecule changes its bonding patterns to a magnetic biradical state when heated; it then returns to a fully bonded non-magnetic closed state at room temperature. That transition, they report, can be done repeatedly without decomposition. It remains stable in the presence of both heat and oxygen.

Biradical refers to organic compounds, known as open-shell molecules, that have two free-flowing, non-bonding electrons. Producing them using techniques to control their electron spin, and thus provide semiconducting properties, in a heated state has been hampered by instability since the first synthetic biradical hydrocarbon was made in 1907.

“Potentially our approach could help to make organic solar cells more efficient than silicon solar cells, but that’s probably far in the future,” said UO doctoral student Gabriel E. Rudebusch, the paper’s lead author. “Our synthesis is rapid and efficient. We easily can make a gram of this compound, which is very stable when exposed to oxygen and heat. This stability has been almost unheard of in the literature about biradical compounds.”

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