Within 6 Hours Deserts Receive More Energy from the Sun than Humankind Consumes Within a Year

?Within 6 Hours Deserts Receive More Energy from the Sun than Humankind Consumes Within a Year?

Posted: 15 Apr 2012 07:00 AM PDT

This is a nice quote from the Desertec site that, featured on the image above, that I thought made for another nice, short weekend share. And, of course, that?s a pretty stunning statistic. Any wonder why some of the world?s top companies are putting over half a trillion dollars into Desertec?

Thanks to one of our top readers for this share.

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Swarming Crabs Act Like Energy Efficient Computers

Posted: 15 Apr 2012 05:13 AM PDT

behavior of swarming crabs could lead to energy efficient computersA team of scientists from Japan and England has developed a computer made from live crabs, and though it sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit this crustaceous computing device could lead to a new generation of ultra-efficient computers. The basic concept is a form of biomimicry, as the researchers were inspired by soldier crabs, which can form into swarms to accomplish a task that none dare to accomplish individually.
Crabs and computers

In an article at complex-systems.com, the research team describes how they observed the swarming behavior of soldier crabs, or Mictyris guinotae, which live in colonies numbering into the hundreds of thousands:

?A single crab or a small group of crabs do not usually enter the water; however, a large swarm enters the water and crosses a lagoon without hesitation. The large swarm crossing the water consists of an active front and passive tail. The crabs in the tail simply follow the crabs at the front.?

Based on their observations, the researchers theorized that crabs are practicing a form of collision-based computing, analogous to the behavior of colliding billiard balls (it?s worth noting that one part of the team is from the Unconventional Computing Centre of the University of the West of England).

Like billiard balls that behave differently depending on whether they collide with another ball or not, an individual crab will follow passively or lead aggressively depending on their location within a swarm.
Crabs, biomimicry and energy efficient computers

According to a post at MIT?s Technology Review, conventional computers are about eight orders of magnitude less energy efficient than they could be in theory. A basic principle of biomimicry is that natural systems evolve toward efficiency, and the researchers? findings so far appear to confirm that.

After testing their theory in computer models, they built a simple maze-like structure roughly in the shape of an X. That enabled them to observe the behavior of crabs in channels, and sure enough, they found similarities to the highly efficient ?billiard ball? computer established by earlier research.
Teeny tiny crab computers

Don?t turn in your smart phone for a bucket of soldier crabs just yet, though ? the next challenge, of course, is to miniaturize the principles of collision computing for real life applications. In the meantime, computer researchers are attacking Moore?s Law from other angles, including nanoscale computing devices that could spell the end of conventional transistors, and exploring the potential for photon-based computers based on the behavior of light in diamonds.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

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Telecom Tower Market a 2 GW Solar Power Opportunity in India

Posted: 15 Apr 2012 04:48 AM PDT

According to Bridge to India?s latest quarterly market analysis, The India Solar Compass, 2GW of solar power could be installed in conjunction with telecom towers in India by 2016.

According to Bridge to India, ?this segment is emerging as a front-runner among diesel-parity based market segments for solar PV solutions.?

While this segment hasn?t taken off already, due to the capital expenditures required by the telecom company as well as the cost of operating and maintaining the systems, solar?s tremendous cost reductions in the past year, combined with more supportive solar policies in India, have made this investment a very attractive one for telecom tower companies.

Bridge to India ?believes there is now traction in the market, leading to the emergence of a new model of operations, the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model,? the solar market analysis and consulting firm writes. ?The RESCO business model is described in greater detail in the latest edition of the India Solar Compass. In addition, the report details the commercial opportunity as well as market potential associated with the telecom tower solar opportunity. The analysis also highlights the key factors that impact the maximum cash demand, profitability and project life-cycle involvement and therefore the overall financial viability of the RESCO business model.?

All in all, Bridge to India sees this as an immediate business opportunity for companies in the solar and telecom sectors. We?ll see if they really tap it and increase solar power capacity at such towers 2 GW by 2016.

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Donald Sadowy Liquid Batteries TED Talk

Posted: 14 Apr 2012 02:55 PM PDT

Nicholas wrote in February about an innovative ?liquid battery? designed by Dr. Donald Sadowy and his research team at MIT. Sadowy?s liquid metal batteries have many people a tad excited, so it?s natural that he?d be talking about the batteries at TED. He recently spoke at TED 2012: Full Spectrum ? here?s a video of that:

h/t MIT

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