Zero Mass Water makes solar panel arrays that pull clean drinking water from the air.The $4,500 arrays just launched in the United States.Zero Mass arrays could come in handy in areas where water sources are far away or scarce. Some homeowners have purchased arrays as an alternative to plastic water bottles.Around the world, approximately 2.1 billion people do not have immediate access to clean drinking water. A sustainable water startup called Zero Mass aims to make clean water easily accessible to more people around the world. In 2015, it launched its first product, Source — a solar panel array that harvests and filters water from vapor in the air — in eight countries, including Chile, Jordan, and Peru.Source is now available in the United States, CEO Cody Friesen, a material scientist and MIT alum, told Business Insider.Each panel costs $2,000 (plus a $500 installation fee) and generates an average of two to five liters of water daily, depending on humidity and sunlight. Source can work anywhere, and many arrays are deployed in deserts where water is scarce, Friesen said.Comprised of proprietary materials, the panels use sunlight to produce heat, which allows them to collect water vapor from the air. Friesen wouldn’t disclose what the materials are, but said they have an ideal binding energy for humidity.
The minister told a conference of transport authorities last week that the tenders for the “Positive Energy” initiative had already been issued and the tests on the panels would begin in the spring.According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, 4m of solarised road is enough to supply one household’s electricity needs, apart from heating, and one kilometre will light a settlement with 5,000 inhabitants.So the maximum effect of the programme, if successful, could be to furnish 5 million people with electricity, or about 8% of the French population.The solarising of France’s roads involves glueing 7mm-thick strips to the surface of the carriageway. The basic technology for this has already been developed by Bouygues subsidiary Colas.The company’s Wattway panels (pictured above), which took five years to develop, were unveiled in October.
Leading by example, Spain has made renewable energy a top priority in order to pull away from fossil fuels, which are not only harming our planet’s well-being but also acting as a means to perpetuate war and solidify control — mainly seen in the fight for the control of oil.Spain’s government has put their money where their mouth is, spending over $76 billion in subsidies for clean energy projects since 1998. By 2013 they were reaping the rewards of such a move, as they now see 42% of their electricity coming from renewable sources. Compare that to 14% renewable sources in the US and 17% in Canada, and their efforts become remarkable indeed.  Other leaders in renewable energy include Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Denmark, Finland, and Austria.  While in Spain only 13% came from solar, they continue to move forward in making it a bigger part of their overall strategy.One major step they have taken towards achieving that end is the creation of their new solar farm in Andasol, which is the world’s largest! The plant is located near Granada in Spain and provides electricity to about 500,000 people. The farm has the ability to produce 150 megawatts of electricity and uses an insane amount of mirrors to make that happen, 620,000 in total!How Does It Work?As sunlight beams down from the sun it bounces off the mirrors to heat a synthetic oil that is stored in a tube. This drives a turbine which generates electricity. Some of the energy goes into a heat reservoir that
Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) are looking for volunteers across the Australian Capital Territory to take part in a new study that analyzes how user-installed solar panels interact with the power grid.Every homeowner who chooses to participate will get data logger installed in their meter boxes to see how much solar energy is being produced. This will allow engineers to predict the amount of energy these panels pump into the grid and adjust the supply of conventional power stations accordingly. While it’s relatively easy to measure the total output of these panels over long periods of time, estimating the amount of energy they can generate at different times of day is another matter altogether, says Dr. Chrisfried Webers from ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.The University called on Data61’s Machine Learning Group – formerly National ICT Australia (NICTA) – who are working to develop methods of forecasting power output from rooftop solar energy systems.“What we need is to be able to predict how much energy will be produced over five minutes to 60 minutes,” Webers said. “That’s necessary information for the energy market operator — they need information on what’s coming from hour to hour.”Around 14 % of households in the ACT have operational photovoltaic solar panel installations, which means that one in ten houses can cover their energy requirements at least in part.The facts show solar power is great for the users and the environment both, but engineers take this number with a pinch of salt – should the panels stop producing energy, these households will start drawing on the main grid. If this happens and the power stations are not prepared, it could cause rolling blackouts, especially as more panels are installed.
It would be an understatement to say that the company’s executives were surprised when all of France’s major media showed up at the Colas trade show booth in mid-October.“It was incredible,” said Christophe Lienard, Colas’ Innovation Group Director. “Our work in road construction and maintenance doesn’t normally get that sort of attention.”The media were there because Colas debuted the world’s first road surface that generates solar electricity, called Wattway. The panels, which are only a few millimeters thick, can be installed on top of any road surface without any additional civil engineering work, withstand all types of vehicle traffic, and every 20 square meters should generate enough energy to power a home.Five years ago, the project was nothing more than an after-hours experiment in an engineer’s garage.“He had a piece of road surface, photovoltaic modules, and some weights,” Lienard explained. “We knew it had to be possible, but we didn’t know how.”