Recent Posts:

UC Berkeley finds nature’s dimmer switch

Michael Kanellos: May 15, 2008, 8:04 AM

Scientists at UC Berkeley have identified a protein that controls the flow of solar energy into organisms, which one day potentially could lead to much more efficient solar panels.

The pigment-binding protein CP29, found inside green plants, acts as a valve to release or block solar energy. The scientists further went onto to speculate that control over the protein might be possible through raising or lowering pH levels.

Conceivably, an artificial version of the protein could be incorporated into solar panels that work on photosynthetic principles. Scientists at MIT and other places are already trying to adapt photosynthesis for solar energy. Green plants are able to convert...

Is the future of wind turbines with jet engines?

Michael Kanellos: May 15, 2008, 7:08 AM

A spin-out from a Massachusetts aerospace company has come up with a novel wind turbine that it says can harvest two to three times the amount of power from the wind than conventional turbines.

The FloDesign Wind Turbine is based around the design of jet engines, something that its parent company FloDesign designs. (Some of FloDesign’s ideas are incorporated into the Gulfstream II, a jet I have never been inside of.) The system effectively channels wind into a vortex, which then spins a kitchen-fan like set of blades that then help convert wind to power. Conventional turbines can’t really suck air in like this. The FloDesign can also harvest power in low-wind conditions. The...