Microclimate is a buzzword you may have heard in conversations around air pollution, climate change and renewable energy. But what is exactly, and how can we use it?Continue reading →
We’re all familiar with solar panels. How they absorb light that can power just about anything. But what if we told you energy can now be harvested in the dark.
UCLA scientist, Dr. Aaswath Raman, explored this idea of turning darkness to light after traveling through a village in Sierra Leone with no access to power at night. He hypothesized that coupling cool, dark air from space and natural heat flowing under a platform could generate enough energy to power a light bulb.
This theory is supported by the radiative cooling principle - objects radiate heat absorbed during the day into space at night. Radiative cooling also explains why you may see morning frost on the ground. The temperature difference between the exposed surface and the air beneath creates electricity.
Raman collaborated with scientists from Stanford University to test his theory using this principle. Together they created a thermoelectric generator comprised of styrofoam wrapped in aluminum, a metal disc painted black, a voltage convertor, and an LED light bulb. They placed the homemade model on a roof and monitored its electrical output for 6 hours. Not only did it power the light bulb, it generated 25 mW/m2.
While this experiment was minimal impact, it demonstrated three important things:
For soldiers deployed in isolated areas, maintaining a consistent heat source to a military tent proves challenging. And while electric space heaters are commonplace in offices and homes, they are too dangerous for military use.Continue reading →
Current implanted medical devices, including pacemakers, have an enormous drawback due to their limited battery life. If a patient’s battery within their medical device runs out of power unexpectedly, it can have serious health implicants. This shortcoming restricts the ability for long term usage, but there may be a solution- the human body itself.Continue reading →
Our researchers and engineers here at II-VI Marlow thrive off of finding new and innovative ways to improve our technology. Thermoelectric devices provide renewable, sustainable energy in many different ways, but the technology itself is still fairly new and scientists world-wide are trying to engineer more efficient devices. We already know that thermoelectric technology is versatile and reliable, but when they become efficient on a large scale, their potential applications could be endless.Continue reading →
NASA recently announced it will be concluding its first ever Mars rover mission after the rover has been out of service for nearly a year. The Mars rover, Opportunity, will be forever known as the longest living robot on another planet to date. Amongst its accomplishments include, photographing Mars red plains and revealing a land previously unknown to man.Continue reading →
The term, “safety first” has always been a golden rule that we remind ourselves and teach our children, but what about “comfort second”? Feher Helmets has taken that idea to the next level by turning a typical motorcycle helmet into one equipped with a self-contained air conditioning system for a more comfortable ride.Continue reading →
Without realizing it, you likely come across examples of energy harvesting regularly. For instance, wind turbines convert wind into usable energy. Solar panels convert sunlight into energy. Hydroelectric dams make use of converting flowing water into energy. Other sources of energy harvesting include mechanical displacement and vibration.Continue reading →
The Ebola virus seems to be screaming from the headlines and is on everyone’s minds lately. The human death toll in Western Africa is tragic and each day’s news stories bring greater fears of it spreading. You may have heard about new disease detection techniques related to the Ebola virus and possibly even DNA amplification and cloning. What is not commonly known is the role thermoelectric coolers play in these headline-grabbing medical stories. Today’s blog provides a little background into biomedical technology, in particular, the process of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). II-VI Marlow supports this technology through the development and production of thermocycling products.Continue reading →