New Record for Organic Solar Cells Today, Solar-Powered Car Tomorrow

by Woodson Powell

German solar company Heliatek has officially set the new world record for organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells with a conversion efficiency of 13.2%, as confirmed by Fraunhofer CSP [http://www.heliatek.com/en/press/press-releases/details/heliatek-sets-new-organic-photovoltaic-world-record-efficiency-of-13-2]. Conversion efficiency refers to direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. The company’s end goal is 15%, but this is a big leap forward. With this progress, Heliatek CEO Thibaude Le Séguillon has said that the company is looking forward to the possibility of future cars being covered in solar coatings, enabling drivers to charge their cars while they are on the road, either behind the wheel, or parked. For the moment, Heliatek is working on replacing sun roofs with OPV cell windows. Continue reading

Keystone XL Pipeline, Meet Oklahoma Earthquakes

by Woodson Powell

The Keystone Pipeline System is a three phase oil pipeline running through Canada and the United States. Phase I, the Keystone Pipeline, delivers oil from Hardisty, Alberta (in Canada) to Steele City, Nebraska, and eventually Roxana and Patoka, Illinois. Phase II, the Keystone-Cushing extension, runs from Steele City to Cushing, Oklahoma. The Gulf Coast Extension, Phase III, delivers oil from Cushing to Port Arthur, Texas. The Keystone XL Pipeline is the proposed fourth phase, improving on Phase I, with a shorter route and a larger-diameter pipe, but was rejected largely due to environmental concerns, such as fracking [http://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/15/keystone-xl-pipeline-meet-oklahoma-earthquakes/]. Last month, reports surfaced of the Keystone XL Pipeline project possibly being resurrected, which is making people think about those same fracking concerns, specifically earthquakes in Oklahoma. Continue reading