Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thanks Graphite

Green Thursday - TGIT Thank Graphite It's Thursday

We are always blaming the sixth element Carbon for all of the world's woes. Today I will thank this basis of life element for it's contributions. We all know diamonds are a girl's best friend and diamond is pure carbon. Gabe, one of the first subscribers to my blog, knows just how expensive that glistening form of carbon is, as he prepares to ask his beloved's hand in marriage While I could opine at length on diamonds is is the other forms of carbon that do have a great possibility for our great green world.

Carbon might give us the world fastest microelectronic devices. A single atomic layer of carbon or Graphene as they call it may provide the world with super fast chips that perform well independent of the temperature they operate at.;jsessionid=4L35OEZ4NNYU4QSNDLSCKHA?articleID=206905544

Graphite is also used as a lubricant and as part of a composite material made from carbon fibre that will be used on the very expensive and high performing Tesla electric car as a light weight super strong material. In these forms as graphite carbon actually saves energy by lowering friction as a lubricant or lowering the mass of the vehicle and therefore improving the energy efficiency of the vehicle.

Some good news from the National Renewable Energy lab. They have developed a photovoltaic cell on flexible substrates that is 19.9% efficient. Here is the press release from the NREL

NREL Thin-Film Solar Cell Achieves Record Efficiency
The prospect for alternatives to crystalline silicon solar cells brightened considerably on Monday, when DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that it has created a thin-film solar cell with a record efficiency. NREL created the solar cell from thin films of semiconducting materials made from alloys of cadmium, indium, copper, and selenium, or CIGS. The cell achieved a record thin-film conversion efficiency of 19.9%, that is, the cell is able to convert 19.9% of the sunlight hitting it into electricity. Although solar cells have been built with much higher efficiencies using expensive processes a multiple layers of semiconductors, the more common crystalline silicon solar cells have achieved at most efficiencies of 20.3%, which is quite close to the NREL achievement with the thin-film CIGS solar cell. CIGS solar cells involve applying a thin film of semiconductor material to an inexpensive substrate such as glass, plastic, flexible foil, or stainless steel. See the NREL press release.

The news is always filled with doom and gloom and the British based El BBCera (the most anti US news organizations in the western world) has reported that in Britain they had this day called E Day or energy day in order to attempt electricity savings by the public at large. Sadly no electricity at all was saved despite the publicity. They claim the day was colder than normal and this might have caused an increase in electricity usage. Just goes to show 60 million Britons cannot change a light bulb.

The word of the day is acrid or bitter tasting or smelling. It's root is from the latin word acer for sharp. The feeble attempt in the UK on E Day proves that they are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

acrid \AK-rid\, adjective:1. Sharp and harsh, or bitter to the taste or smell; pungent.
2. Caustic in language or tone; bitter.
There was burning jet fuel everywhere. Acrid, black smoke billowed across the water.-- Simon Worrall, "The Night the Sea Burnt",
Independent, July 6, 1997
He rips off another match, lights it, and uses it to light another cigarette. He shakes out the match, takes a puff, letting the acrid, unfiltered taste burn the back of his throat.
Kris Rusch, Hitler's Angel
The goal of sequencing the human gene set has been the subject of acrid debate among biologists.

Philip J. Hilts, "Head of Gene Map Threatens to Quit", New York Times, April 9, 1992
Paz's outspoken criticism of Cuba's brand of socialism placed him increasingly at odds with his colleagues. It led to a prolonged, sometimes acrid feud between him and the more left-leaning Fuentes.--

"Octavio Paz Mexico's Literary Giant, Dead at 84", New York Times, April 21, 1998
Acrid comes from Latin acer, "sharp."