In Greek mythology, flying too high cost Icarus his life when the sun melted his waxen wings. Today, solar energy factors in another epic flight – an trans-Atlantic attempt by the world’s first solar-powered airplane. And the Internet can put any arm-chair pilot in the cockpit.
Amanda Crosby, right, and Belinda Dods of New Zealand celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house
What does it take to build a solar village, where homes not only are designed to create more energy than they use but are comfortable and cool to look at, too? Some 19 student teams from U.S. and international colleges found out this past weekend as they began installing their entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The answer: lots of hands-on work involving hammers, wrenches, plumbing, and construction cranes.
The flurry of activity capped the students’ two-year effort to prepare for the competition (we covered the 2009 one here), which this year takes place from September 23 to October 2.
On a hike through the Catskill Mountains in New York, seventh-grader Aidan Dwyer noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to grow in a certain pattern. Inspired to try his hand at biomimicry, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20-50% more energy than traditional flat designs.
Dwyer’s solar tree is based on a mathematical concept called the Fibonacci sequence, which was discovered in the late middle ages.
Clifford Ho is one young engineer paving the way to sustainable energy solutions.
Ho received the 2010 Asian American Engineer of the Year Award, which honors an Asian American engineer who has made significant, lasting and global contributions to the nation. The recipient is selected by the Chinese Institute of Engineers – USA.
Installing solar panels on the roof of buildings has become very en vogue recently. But in a few years charging up your home might be cheaper and easier than ever.
The Norwegian company EnSol AS has developed a thin, transparent solar film that can be sprayed onto windows and other surfaces, rendering them able to absorb the sun’s energy just as efficiently as solar panels.