Monday, August 06, 2007

the 11th hour movie trailer & nano solar technology

I am very excited for Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour," a documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity. The movie opens Aug 17th, more on 11th Hour Action.

One of the most exciting developments toward world sustainability is the breakthroughs in nano solar technology. The super thin plastic material will be 5 times more effective than regular solar panels today. A new solar composite has also been developed that can be sprayed onto other materials, allowing say your car's paint to charge the cars battery or the skin of a building to convert solar energy to run the buildings electrical systems.

"The sun that reaches the Earth's surface delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume," said Ted Sargent, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Toronto, one of the inventors of the new plastic material.
Therefore all we need to harness is 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface (a desert lets say).

A new plastic composite, invented at the University of Toronto, could make possible a revolution in converting solar power into electrical energy. The infrared-sensitive, super thin material could be applied to any surfaces that receive infrared (IR) radiation from the sun, such as rooftops, the walls of rooms that get ambient light, and even clothing. The material utilizes nanotechnology, specifically, minute particles called "quantum dots", which are only three to four nanometers across, combined with a ploymer to detect energy in the infrared as well as visible light spectrum. These new carbon nanotubes "collect" the electrons and provide a more direct route to the electrode, improving the efficiency of the solar cells.
This remarkable new material was discovered by a research team led by Ted Sargent, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university. The new material is capable of converting up to 30% of sunlight into electrical energy. a fivefold improvement

With this solution, we could then cease burning fossil fuels. The quality of our air and water, no ugly power lines, no dangerous nuclear reactors, no electrical cords. But it is just as Leonardo's movie explains--our governments and officials need to get behind these innovations and pass acts together to change our future.

Read more about the future of Nanotechnology.

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