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& More ... In the News

In the News: Stories on the Earth's environment for the advancement of humanity that relate
to the central ideas, content, themes and purposes of the Soul Connection Network website.

Renewable Energy:

Researchers develop inexpensive,
easy to produce solar panels

Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. “The process is simple,” said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. “Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations.”

Solar dye cellSolar Power Breakthrough:
Solar dyes could be put in windows,
clothing and building materials

Researchers from the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zealand have developed synthetic dyes that can be used to generate electricity at one tenth of the cost of current silicon-based solar panels. These photosynthesis-like compounds work in low-light conditions and can be cheaply incorporated into window-panes and building materials, thereby turning them into generators of electricity. Dr. Wayne Campbell and researchers in the center have developed a range of coloured dyes for use in dye-sensitized solar cells. The synthetic dyes are made from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature. A green solar dye Dr Campbell developed is synthetic chlorophyll derived from the solar energy-harvesting pigment plants use for photosynthesis. Other dyes being tested in the solar cells are based on hemoglobin, the compound that give blood its color.

Efficiency boost makes solar cells more affordable

Solar energy could become more affordable following a breakthrough by Australian scientists at the University of New South Wales, who have dramatically boosted the efficiency of thin-film solar cell technology. The advance could see the price of an installed solar system for an average house fall from around $20,000 to $15,000. The breakthrough is reported in the
Journal of Applied Physics. could eventually see a dramatic rise in solar power’s share of the electricity market. The researchers have devised a way to deposit an ultra-thin film of silver (only about 10 nanometres thick) onto a solar cell surface that breaks the film into tiny 100-nanometre islands of silver that boost the cell’s light trapping ability.


Amazon Deforestation Drops 25 Percent, Brazil Says

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NEWS:  The pace of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by 25 percent in a recent 12-month period, according to recently released government figures. In his weekly radio address Monday, President Luiz Inácio da Silva said he expected further declines for the 2006 to 2007 period — drops that he said will not crimp economic growth, the Associated Press reported. “I am plainly convinced that it is possible to grow while preserving the environment,” da Silva said in the address.

World’s Forests Rebounding, Study Suggests

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NEWS:  Forests are branching out across the planet anew, raising hopes that an end to deforestation may be in sight, a new study claims. The study suggests that deforestation is not as drastic as it once was and that forests are recovering in many countries. The researchers say that over the past 15 years the amount of woodland has increased in 22 of the world’s 50 most forested nations. China and the U.S. have achieved the greatest overall forest expansion, the team says, while tree cover has spread fastest in China, Vietnam, and Spain. Asia as a whole is shown to have gained 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of forest between 2000 and 2005. “Earth has suffered an epidemic of deforestation,” said co-researcher Jesse Ausubel, from Rockefeller University in New York City. “Now humans may help spread an epidemic of forest restoration.”

Towards Beautiful Skies:

Toyota to test-run advanced hybrid car in Japan, U.S.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it will test-run advanced gasoline-electric hybrid cars that can cut fuel costs by some 40% compared with those of its Prius gasoline-electric hybrid.

Sir Richard Branson offers $25,000,000 prize
for best clean air solution

Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson and Al Gore launched their new climate initiative, offering 25M for the person who comes up with the best way of removing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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