MIT Technology Review: A Xerox Machine for Super Solar Panels
Researchers at PARC, an R&D-focused subsidiary of Xerox, say they’re developing a new digital printing process that could make it much cheaper to mass-produce concentrated solar photovoltaic systems. Such systems can dramatically increase the efficiency of solar cells by using lenses to concentrate and focus the sunlight onto small cells.
Increasing efficiency could be an effective way to bring down the cost of solar modules, whose price has already fallen dramatically during the past several years. Much of the cost of conventional silicon systems is now associated with things like wiring, installation and permitting. More efficient panels would mean we need fewer of them to produce the same amount of power -- which in turn cuts the costs of hardware and installation. But concentrated photovoltaic technology has so far failed to gain traction because it’s still too expensive and bulky to compete with conventional silicon solar panels.
Guardian: Dyson Developing an Electric Car, According to Government Documents
Dyson is developing an electric car at its headquarters in Wiltshire with help from public money, according to government documents.
The company, which makes a range of products that utilize the sort of highly efficient motors needed for an electric car such as vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and bladeless fans, last year refused to rule out rumors it was building one.
But on Wednesday, the government appeared to have accidentally disclosed Dyson is working on one, along with other big companies outside of the automotive industry, such as Apple.
New York Times Editorial: Wall Street’s Retreat From King Coal
The grave environmental damage from coal-fired power plants has done nothing to deter the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, from decrying a “war on coal” and orchestrating his own war against the Obama administration’s climate-change agenda. But he and other coal-state Republicans would be foolish to ignore the growing consensus on Wall Street that King Coal, for all its legendary political power, has turned into a decidedly bad investment.
JPMorgan Chase announced this month that it would no longer finance new coal-fired power plants in the United States or other advanced nations, joining Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley in retreating from a fuel that provides about one-third of the nation’s electricity and accounts for about one-quarter of the carbon emissions that feed global warming.
Dallas Morning News: PUC Approves Plan for Hunt Group to Buy Oncor
Texas electric power customers will need to wait a year or so to find out if a buyout plan of Oncor approved Thursday by the Public Utility Commission will affect their rates.
In fact, there are still questions about whether conditions imposed by the PUC will challenge the plan crafted by a group of investors led by Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt and his son, Hunter Hunt.
The Hunt group wants to buy part of the state’s largest utility. Energy Future Holdings went into bankruptcy in 2014. The Hunt group wants one piece: Oncor, which owns about 119,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines that deliver power to more than 3 million homes and businesses in North and West Texas.
Ars Technica: Volkswagen E-Golfs Stall Due to Battery Software Problem, Recall Announced
Volkswagen will recall the 5,561 e-Golf electric vehicles that it has sold in the U.S. since November 2014 due to a battery software problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today. Customers will have to bring their cars to dealerships to get a software update.
According to an NHTSA report, the e-Golf's battery management software is at risk of stalling the car if the system detects a power surge. Specifically, the agency writes, "Oversensitive diagnostics for the high-voltage battery management system may falsely detect an electrical surge, resulting in the vehicle's electric drive motor shutting down unexpectedly.” The NHTSA report notes that power steering, anti-lock brakes, lights, and airbags on the e-Golf were unaffected by the high-voltage battery glitch because they’re powered by a separate 12V battery system.