Posts from the ‘green’ Category

A beautiful map of the world’s rivers by National Geographic. It’s astounding to think that all of that only equates to less than 1% of the Earth’s water.

However, regardless of how much it appears to be, there are a whole lot of living things depending on it. Of them, only one is actively poisoning it for the rest of the biosphere and only one has the ability to clean it up. 

As we advance technologically our methods for fixing it are becoming more effective and less intrusive. At the same time, the amount of pollution being dumped is increasing also. 

While it would be great to develop a viable desalinization process, it’s not something we can count on any time soon. In the meantime, there are a diverse number of things you can do to help. Recycle, live more green, and use your rights as a citizen to elect representatives who understand and are willing to make the necessary changes to keep our water and environment safe.

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*ding* Solar cells are done!

Nope… that’s my lunch.


Microwave Ovens Can Make Greener Solar Cells

The same type of microwave oven technology that most people use to heat up leftover food has found an important application in the solar energy industry, providing a new way to make thin-film photovoltaic products with less energy, expense and environmental concerns.

Engineers at Oregon State Univ. have for the first time developed a way to use microwave heating in the synthesis of copper zinc tin sulfide, a promising solar cell compound that is less costly and toxic than some solar energy alternatives.

Read more:

A small refugee town in Pakistan is demonstrating the power of solar energy in changing lives. A few dozen families, many of them led by single mothers, are experiencing a revolution in not just green energy, but social acceptance and prosperity.

Each small house has four solar panels powering it, allowing for basic electrical amenities such as ceiling fans. The panels cost about $1500 each, and were paid for by a joint Chinese/German company. Many of the appliances were previously impossible for the families, many of whom had never known about solar energy. Most of the single mothers are able to own the houses outright, a usually rare occurrence that has fostered a more equal attitude toward women in the town.

Outside of the home, panels also power irrigation systems, water pumps, and city streetlights. This, combined with the strict attitudes of the residents, has resulted in greater production and virtually no crime.

As we work toward creating alternative energies that allow us to power large-scale grids, we need to be mindful of the effect that even small amounts of electricity can have on the impoverished of the world. If this small Pakistani village is any sort of example, it’s clear that electricity is more than just a luxury but a force that can change the world. 

It has baffled scientists for while now why the Sun’s atmosphere is hotter than its surface; a situation akin to having to shed clothing as you climbed Mt. Everest. Recent mathematical and astrophysics research from the University of Sheffield indicates that there are many magnetic plasma vortices (tornadoes) that bring up energy from inside the Sun and release it into the atmosphere. They’re relatively small compared to some of the ones that make the news occasionally, but still reach sizes greater than Great Britain and temperatures of several millions degrees kelvin.

Not only is the research answering questions about space, but the applications are important here too. If we can learn to use similar magnetic fields to control plasma here, there are ways to produce clean, green energy. The more ways we can do that, the better!


The man-made mechanical forest, five years in the making, consists of 18 supertrees that act as vertical gardens, generating solar power, acting as air venting ducts for nearby conservatories, and collecting rainwater. To generate electricity, 11 of the trees are fitted with solar photovoltaic systems that provide lighting and assist with water flow in the conservatories below. 

Singapore’s Supertrees Light Up The Night

In another big step for solar energy, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a cheaper method of manufacturing solar cells. They are as much as 7 times thinner with the same productivity. The method is easily adaptable by the current machinery in factories, so hopefully this will serve as another big step toward making solar energy a viable fossil fuel replacement. 

Nanotubes allow for much thinner, cheaper solar panels

Made entirely of carbon and stable in open air, the transparent layer of carbon nanotubes and buckyballs can pick up infrared light, in addition to letting visible light through to conventional cells below. Although efficiency is only about .1%, it is expected to increase quickly. Because carbon is so cheap, the cost should be relatively low and therefore can go into use with a low efficiency. Every bit helps! Hopefully this can push solar energy to become a more powerful alternative.

MIT researchers develop working prototype of infrared-absorbing solar cells


Photo by mehmet karaca🙂

It’s law in Switzerland that, if the slope of a roof allows it, to make it a “living roof.” In order to meet the country’s drastic environmental goals, all buildings must replace the amount of potential meadow they take up with an equal amount on the top of their building. It does a lot of great things for the cities too; endangered orchids are flowering, the lack of hot asphalt expanses in the city means negligible urban heat-island effect, which combined with the better insulation the soil provides lowers air conditioning costs by up to 20%.

Not to mention it looks great. And reminds me of Minecraft in the best sort of way!

Researchers looking into cutting down on the use of poisonous chemicals in military arms (flares on armor-piercing bullets specifically) have developed a few alternatives. Sodium and potassium periodate act quite similarly to the perchlorates without the negative side effects. They can also be applied to civilian fireworks which, considering they’re essentially flaming chemical baskets that rain down into rivers and lakes as well as seeping into the ground, is a great step toward cleaner celebrations.

Greener wars, greener fireworks