New Low Cost Solar Panels Ready for Mass Production
Produced at less than $1 per watt, the panels will dramatically reduce the cost of generating solar electricity and could power homes and businesses around the globe with clean energy for roughly the same cost as traditionally generated electricity.
Sampath has developed a continuous, automated manufacturing process for solar panels using glass coating with a cadmium telluride thin film instead of the standard high-cost crystalline silicon. Because the process produces high efficiency devices (ranging from 11% to 13%) at a very high rate and yield, it can be done much more cheaply than with existing technologies. The cost to the consumer could be as low as $2 per watt, about half the current cost of solar panels. In addition, this solar technology need not be tied to a grid, so it can be affordably installed and operated in nearly any location.
Sampath has spent the past 16 years perfecting the technology. In that time, annual global sales of photovoltaic technology have grown to approximately 2 gigawatts or two billion watts — roughly a $6 billion industry. Demand has increased nearly 40% a year for each of the past five years — a trend that analysts and industry experts expect to continue.
By 2010, solar cell manufacturing is expected to be a $25 billion-plus industry.
Cancer cure ‘may be available in two years’
Cancer sufferers could be cured with injections of immune cells from other people within two years, scientists say.
US researchers have been given the go-ahead to give patients transfusions of “super strength” cancer-killing cells from donors.
Dr Zheng Cui, of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, has shown in laboratory experiments that immune cells from some people can be almost 50 times more effective in fighting cancer than in others.
Dr Cui, whose work is highlighted in this week’s New Scientist magazine, has previously shown cells from mice found to be immune to cancer can be used to cure ordinary mice with tumours.
The work raises the prospect of using cancer-killing immune system cells called granulocytes from donors to significantly boost a cancer patient’s ability to fight their disease, and potentially cure them.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week gave Dr Cui permission to inject super-strength granulocytes into 22 patients.
Dr Cui said: “Our hope is that this could be a cure. Our pre-clinical tests have been exceptionally successful.
“If this is half as effective in humans as it is in mice it could be that half of patients could be cured or at least given one to two years extra of high quality life.
“The technology needed to do this already exists, so if it works in humans we could save a lot of lives, and we could be doing so within two years.”
Nanoscale computer memory retrieves data 1,000 times faster
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have developed nanowires capable of storing computer data for 100,000 years and retrieving that data a thousand times faster than existing portable memory devices such as Flash memory and micro-drives, all using less power and space than current memory technologies.
example of nanowires
Tests showed extremely low power consumption for data encoding (0.7mW per bit). They also indicated the data writing, erasing and retrieval (50 nanoseconds) to be 1,000 times faster than conventional Flash memory and indicated the device would not lose data even after approximately 100,000 years of use, all with the potential to realize terabit-level nonvolatile memory device density.
“This new form of memory has the potential to revolutionize the way we share information, transfer data and even download entertainment as consumers,” Agarwal said. “This represents a potential sea-change in the way we access and store data.”
Current solid-state technology for products like memory cards, digital cameras and personal data assistants traditionally utilize Flash memory, a non-volatile and durable computer memory that can be erased and reprogrammed electronically. Data on Flash drives provides most battery-powered devices with acceptable levels of durability and moderately fast data access. Yet the technology’s limits are apparent. Digital cameras can’t snap rapid-fire photos because it takes precious seconds to store the last photo to memory. If the memory device is fast, as in DRAM and SRAM used in computers, then it is volatile; if the plug on a desktop computer is pulled, all recent data entry is lost.
Therefore, a universal memory device is desired that can be scalable, fast, durable and nonvolatile, a difficult set of requirements which have now been demonstrated at Penn.
“Imagine being able to store hundreds of high-resolution movies in a small drive, downloading them and playing them without wasting time on data buffering, or imagine booting your laptop computer in a few seconds as you wouldn’t need to transfer the operating system to active memory” Agarwal said.
This may not be as impressive as the Optical Memory 50.000 Times Faster, but if this nano-memory gets here before optical memory… I’ll just make due with the nano-memory for a while.
How this 12inch miracle tube could halve heating bills
Amazing British invention creates MORE energy than you put into it – and could soon be warming your home
It sounds too good to be true – not to mention the fact that it violates almost every known law of physics.
But British scientists claim they have invented a revolutionary device that seems to ‘create’ energy from virtually nothing.
Their so-called thermal energy cell could soon be fitted into ordinary homes, halving domestic heating bills and making a major contribution towards cutting carbon emissions.
Even the makers of the device are at a loss to explain exactly how it works – but sceptical independent scientists carried out their own tests and discovered that the 12in x 2in tube really does produce far more heat energy than the electrical energy put in.
The device seems to break the fundamental physical law that energy cannot be created from nothing – but researchers believe it taps into a previously unrecognised source of energy, stored at a sub-atomic level within the hydrogen atoms in water.
The system – developed by scientists at a firm called Ecowatts in a nondescript laboratory on an industrial estate at Lancing, West Sussex – involves passing an electrical current through a mixture of water, potassium carbonate (otherwise known as potash) and a secret liquid catalyst, based on chrome.
This creates a reaction that releases an incredible amount of energy compared to that put in. If the reaction takes place in a unit surrounded by water, the liquid heats up, which could form the basis for a household heating system.
If the technology can be developed on a domestic scale, it means consumers will need much less energy for heating and hot water – creating smaller bills and fewer greenhouse gases.
Renewable Fuel Straight Out of Sci-Fi
Professor Pengchen (Patrick) Fu is using cyanobacteria to produce ethanol from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. This is exceedingly cool since ethanol, a useful fuel, burns cleanly to produce energy, carbon dioxide, and water. See the pattern? It’s a sustainable cycle, essentially storing solar energy in a fuel that we already know and love.
Indian doc develops enzyme that can destroy HIV
Dr Indrani Sarkar has has every reason to be excited. Her PhD thesis, which started in 2002 at the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, Germany, has thrown open the doors for developing enzymes that can destroy the dreaded Human Immuno-deficiency Virus or HIV within infected cells permanently.
Indrani and a team of scientists have developed an enzyme called Tre. Tre is a custom enzyme capable of detecting, recognising and destroying HIV, much like a pair of molecular scissors.
“In laymans terms, it’s an engineered enzyme which recognises sequences in the HIV genome that is duplicated, integrated virus and by the process of recombination, it cuts out the virus from the genome,” says she.
The biggest challenge with treating HIV today is that the virus becomes dormant and often develops resistance to HIV drugs.
The only way then to cure HIV is to get rid of the virus completely and Tre, the enzyme that Indrani constructed after a year and its 126 “cycles of mutation” totally deplete HIV in the human genome in three months in laboratory conditions.
Photon Propulsion Breakthrough Could Cut Mars Transit From Six Months to a Week
The aerospace industry has taken notice of a California researcher who, using off-the-shelf components, built and successfully demonstrated the world’s first successful amplified photon thruster. Dr. Young Bae of the Bae Institute first demonstrated his Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT) with an amplification factor of 3,000 in December, 2006.Major aerospace agencies and primary contractors have since invited Bae to present his work, including NASA JPL, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory). Senior Aerospace Engineer at AFRL, Dr. Franklin Mead, “Dr. Bae’s PLT demonstration and measurement of photon thrust (is) pretty incredible. I don’t think anyone has done this before. It has generated a lot of interest.”
Bae’s PLT demonstration produced a photon thrust of 35 uN, which is sufficient for several space missions currently envisioned, and is scalable to achieve much greater photon thrust for future space missions. Applications for PLT include: highly precise satellite formation flying configurations for building large synthetic apertures in space for earth or space observation, precision contaminant-free spacecraft docking operations, and propelling spacecraft to unprecedented speeds greater than 100 km/sec.
Bae, looking forward with anticipation, observes, “This is the tip of the iceberg. PLT has immense potential for the aerospace industry. For example, PLT powered spacecraft could transit the 100 million km to Mars in less than a week.” Several aerospace players have expressed intent to collaborate with the Bae Institute to further develop and integrate PLT into civilian, military, and commercial space systems.
Scientists synthesize memory in yeast cells
Harvard Medical School researchers have successfully synthesized a DNA-based memory loop in yeast cells, an experiment that marks a significant step forward in the emerging field of synthetic biology.After constructing genes from random bits of DNA, researchers in the lab of Pamela Silver, a faculty member in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Systems Biology, not only reconstructed the dynamics of memory, but also created a mathematical model that predicted how such a memory “device” might work.
“Synthetic biology is an incredibly exciting field, with more possibilities than many of us can imagine,” says Silver, lead author of the paper to be published in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Genes and Development. “While this proof-of-concept experiment is simply one step forward, we’ve established a foundational technology that just might set the standard of what we should expect in subsequent work.”
Like many emerging fields, there’s still a bit of uncertainty over what, exactly, synthetic biology is. Ask any three scientists for a definition, and you’ll probably get four answers.
Some see it as a means to boost the production of biotech products, such as proteins for pharmaceutical uses or other kinds of molecules for, say, environmental cleanup. Others see it as a means to creating computer platforms that may bypass many of the onerous stages of clinical trials. In such a scenario, a scientist would type the chemical structure of a drug candidate into a computer, and a program containing models of cellular metabolism could generate information on how people would react to that compound.
Either way, at its core, synthetic biology boils down to gleaning insights into how biological systems work by reconstructing them. If you can build it, it forces you to understand it.
The news articles on artificial life and synthetic biology are popping out of the ground like mushrooms.
This is a booming field, which holds enormous potential.
Bottle makes dirty water drinkable
The way fresh water is supplied to disaster-hit regions could be revolutionised after an Ipswich-based businessman invented a £190 bottle that makes foul-smelling water drinkable in seconds.Michael Pritchard hopes that the bottle could be a life-saver for refugees in disaster regions where access to clean drinking water is vital.
However, the military are already latching on to his idea. Four hours after Mr Pritchard launched his new “Life Saver” bottle at the DESI defence show in London yesterday, he sold out his entire 1,000 stock. “I am bowled over,” he said.
Military chiefs are excited because the bottles, which can distill either 4,000 litres or 6,000 litres without changing the filter, will have huge benefits for soldiers who hate drinking iodine-flavoured water.
Conventional filters can cut out bacteria measuring more than 200 nanometres but not viruses, which typically are 25 nanometres long.
Mr Pritchard’s bottle can clean up any water – including faecal matter – using a filter that cuts out anything longer than 15 nanometres, which means that viruses can be filtered out without the use of chemicals.