Design News: Origami-Inspired Solar Panels Could Be Headed for Space

An American exchange student’s interest in origami has inspired a lightweight, foldable solar panel design modeled after the Japanese paper art.

Brian Trease, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books.

Inspired by this, Trease began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth, according to NASA. Using an origami design could allow the panels to be folded for travel into space and then unfolded and deployed.

Seeking Alpha: SunEdison's Acquisition Strategy Mirrors That of Cisco's From the Networking Era

Starting in 1993, Cisco went on an acquisition spree. Cisco acquired and integrated companies with remarkable speed and efficiency. Cisco had a blueprint for its acquisition model. It was the dominant industry player with an extensive distribution network and marketing muscle that could ramp products to overnight successes.

Looking at SunEdison, we see a very similar story playing out. As Cisco expanded from routers, SunEdison has expanded from solar. In this context, SunEdison's YieldCos are turning out to be a major asset to the company. These YieldCos are akin to Cisco's powerful distribution channels. Market players know they can sell their portfolio of projects rapidly and at a good value through the YieldCo.

Climate Progress: The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

In its first six months of existence, the world’s first solar road is performing even better than developers expected. The road, which opened in the Netherlands in November of last year, has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy -- enough to power a single household for one year, according to Al Jazeera America.

“If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70 kWh per square meter per year,” Sten de Wit, a spokesperson for the project -- dubbed SolaRoad -- told Al Jazeera America. “We predicted [this] as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half year.”

The Carbon Brief: Does the UK's Biomass Burning Help Solve Climate Change?

The U.K.'s demand for wood pellets is set to break 5 million tonnes this year and perhaps 10 million within a few years, fueling a growing global trade and vociferous debate between energy firms and NGOs.

Accounting methods mandated by the government show burning wood in place of coal is shaving millions of tonnes off U.K. emissions, yet NGOs say separate government research shows the opposite.

So, does the U.K.'s growing use of biomass for power generation help solve climate change or not?

Midwest Energy News: In Ohio, Energy-Saving Upgrades Hampered by ‘Freeze’

Ohio continues to have a huge untapped potential for combined heat and power, or CHP -- a clean energy technology that could save customers money and improve the state’s electric security while capitalizing on the current shale gas boom.

However, a “freeze” in the state’s clean energy standards and other factors still slow down the payback period for companies and cities investing in CHP, business leaders reported at an Energy Ohio Network program in Columbus last week.