Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Last Solar/Battery Post of the Year (I Promise)

There have been several stories in the news over the past week about power generation and storage that caught my eye. The University of Copenhagen is studying a method to boost solar cell efficiency to as much as 30% using "nanoflakes." Meanwhile a well financed start-up has begun making solar cells out of material that is cheaper than silicon. Their stated goal is to make solar power cheaper than coal. (Which is basically the holy grail of the solar power industry, because they could really begin competing with the traditional players at that price.) And all of our new, cheap solar power needs to go somewhere, so Stanford researchers are working on a way to get lithium-ion batteries to store ten times the current amount of energy. Imagine for a moment an iPod that actually had enough battery life to play all the music it can store, or a cell phone with a charge that would last all week.

If solar power isn't aggressive enough for you, then look into Toshiba's new 20 foot by 6 foot nuclear reactor. The first one is expected to go into service next year. Yeah, I really need some sort of science fiction reference to go here, but nothing comes to mind.

And finally, after collecting all of these stories, I notice that Scott Adams wrote about the same subject today over on The Dilbert Blog. His post sums things up pretty well and has a more humorous tone than mine does...

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