Sunday, October 5, 2008

Private Rockets, Public Engineering, and High Efficiency

Private industry made news last week by putting a liquid fueled rocket in orbit for the first time in history. At a time when our public space program is waning, private success is a wonderful thing, but once it's established as viable, what then?

On the energy front, the Department of Energy reports that with a combination of building techniques and solar cell installation, over sixty-two percent of commercial buildings could convert to zero-emission status over the next twenty years. And while we are on the subject of solar cells, it's worth mentioning that a new efficiency record of over forty percent. The cell is more suited to large scale power generation since it requires light to be focused on it at over three hundred times the intensity it would receive sitting on your roof, but better is still better.

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