Friday, October 31, 2008

Big Brown Boxes Go Hybrid

According to this Wired Magazine story, UPS is trying out hydraulic hybrids, starting with seven vehicles in '09 and '10. A diesel engine powers a pump pressurizing hydraulic tanks, which then power the vehicle. 70% of breaking power can be reclaimed by these vehicles, and the overall efficiency increase would be "a 50 percent increase in fuel economy and a 30 percent decrease in emissions... ."

According to some of the commentators of the article, the reason this technology hasn't been adapted by car makers is that the hydraulic tanks must be large, hence the application in UPS box trucks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cylidrical Solar Cells

Yet another variation on the solar cell. This one is already in production, and it is specifically designed to sit on flat roofs. According to the article, these cells are cheaper to install, and because they receive light from all directions, diffuse as well as direct, they are somewhat more efficient than conventional panels.

Here's the story.