This week at TreeHugger: The seeds are planted at the Googleplex, and their "solar trees" will bloom this spring. Italian researchers at the University of Tor Vergata have developed a new kind of solar panel that uses a pigment found in blueberries to convert light into electricity. Seoul semiconductor has created a light emitting diode that emits roughly 240 lumens and claims the highest efficiency (amount of electricity to amount of light) of any light source. Finally, how many Jews does it take to change a lightbulb?
Solar trees are the newest addition to Google's ambitious solar project in Mountain View. Estimated to feed about 30 percent of the complex's entire power demand, one third of the 9,000 solar panels in the system will take the form of solar trees that will line the parking lots. Much like natural trees, the solar trees provide shelter from the rain and shade the path on hot sunny days. While silently generating renewable juice, the trees add a clever design twist to the parking lot, proving that roofs aren't the only place where solar panels can do some good.
Italian researchers at the University of Tor Vergata have developed a new kind of solar panel that uses a pigment found in blueberries to convert light into electricity. The result is a flexible, partially transparent solar cell that contains absolutely no silicon. Avoiding silicon in solar panels is important for TreeHuggers, as it is both expensive and environmentally costly to produce. If they could only figure out how to do it with cheap Chianti instead...
Seoul Semiconductor has created an LED that emits roughly 240 lumens and claims the highest amount of light to electricity of any light source. Fluorescents hit 70 lumens per watt, incandescents max out at 15, but this new LED emits roughly 100 lumens per watt. The results, if and when this technology gets cheap enough for the mass market, will be smaller, more efficient light sources, and lights that can exist in far different form factors than the current bulb or tube shapes. Hold on to your seats, LED fans: Seoul Semiconductor says that, while this advancement is significant, they're moving forward with even more efficient LEDs.
How many Jews does it take to change a lightbulb? We're not making a bad joke; it's actually the subtitle of the "A Light Among the Nations" campaign by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which encourages Jews around the US to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Last Monday, December 11th, nearly five hundred different Jewish organizations and synagogues, representing all denominations of the faith, joined the campaign in holding special pre-Hanukkah events. In both Chicago and suburban Philadelphia, for example, celebrants lit public chanukiah with CFLs. So it looks like the answer is one.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.