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Jun

10

2011

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A New Way to Use the Sun's Energy

A New Way to Use the Sun's Energy


A New Way to Use the Sun's Energy

Researchers have demonstrated a new mechanism for converting both sunlight and heat into electricity.A new type of device that uses both heat and light from the sun should be more efficient than conventional solar cells, which convert only the light into electricity.The device relies on a physical principle discovered and demonstrated by researchers at Stanford University. In their prototype, the energy in sunlight excites electrons in an electrode, and heat from the sun coaxes the excited electrons to jump across a vacuum into another electrode, generating an electrical current.

The device could be designed to send waste heat to a steam engine and convert 50 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity--a huge improvement over conventional solar cells.The most common silicon solar cells convert about 15 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity. More than half of the incoming solar energy is lost as heat. That's because the active materials in solar cells can interact with only a particular band of the solar spectrum; photons below a certain energy level simply heat up the cell.One way to overcome this is to stack active materials on top of one another in

Jun

08

2011

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IBM passes Microsoft's market cap after 15 years

IBM passes Microsoft's market cap after 15 years

IBM passes Microsoft's market cap after 15 years 

SEATTLE - International Business Machines edged past old rival Microsoft Corp in market value for the first time since April 1996, marking the latest twist in the fluctuating fortunes of two of the world's most storied technology companies.

The move marks another unhappy milestone for Microsoft, which has failed to persuade investors that it can dominate the future of technology as it did in the past, and has seen its share price stagnate over the past decade.

An investor putting $100,000 into both stocks 10 years ago would now have about $143,000 in IBM stock and about $69,000 in Microsoft stock.

Microsoft is now the third-largest U.S. tech company by market value, after a resurgent Apple Inc roared past a year ago to take first place.

(Graphic showing market value of Apple, IBM and Microsoft over time: http://r.reuters.com/jaw69r )

IBM ruled the computer industry for decades until it hired the tiny, unknown Microsoft to provide an operating system for its new range of personal computers in the early 1980s.

Bill Gates parlayed that breakthrough into industry dominance -- proving his theory that software would be more valuable than hardware -- so that

Jun

08

2011

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German cloud company Zimory eyes U.S. listing

German cloud company Zimory eyes U.S. listing

German cloud company Zimory eyes U.S. listing

BANGALORE - Zimory GmbH, a Berlin-based cloud computing company, is looking at listing its shares in the United States in 2013, its CEO said, potentially joining a wave of market newcomers in a hot sector that has also sparked a flurry of deals involving some of the biggest technology names.Zimory, partly owned by venture capital firm Creathor Venture, Deutsche Telekom's T-Venture unit and German development bank KfW Bankengruppe, said its investors are considering a number of exit options."One option, by 2013, that we are really considering seriously is to run an IPO, to get more access to equity and gain public visibility," CEO Rüdiger Baumann told Reuters in a telephone interview.If the company, which was founded four years ago, decides to go public, it would list in New York as IPO deals in the United States are more fruitful, Baumann said."Currently, 60 percent of the cloud computing market is focused in the United States, and this is also the largest territory of potential investors."

The move to cloud computing -- an increasingly popular technology that allows remote access to computing power and data over the Internet -- is also spurring merger activity.Technology giants Hewlett

Jun

08

2011

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China interested in building nuclear plant in E.Africa, IBI Corp says

China interested in building nuclear plant in E.Africa, IBI Corp says

China interested in building nuclear plant in E.Africa, IBI Corp says

BEIJING:  China wants to help build nuclear power generation in East Africa, uranium mining and investment company IBI Corp said in a statement after meeting Chinese officials in Beijing, revealing China's undimmed appetite for overseas nuclear expansion despite the Japanese nuclear crisis this year.IBI, which has uranium-prospective land in Uganda, said its director, A.J. Coffman, held an "encouraging meeting... with the relatively new umbrella organization overseeing China's research and development of Generation 3 and Generation 4 nuclear power plant designs.""At the meeting, this entity expressed an interest in pursuing nuclear power plant construction in East Africa."China is in the early stages of a massive nuclear power expansion to help meet the demands of its power-guzzling economy and to weaken the grip of coal as the dominant source of fuel.Japan's earthquake and tsunami on March 11 and the ensuing nuclear crisis have threatened to put cracks in China's own plans, with the government ordering a halt to further nuclear approvals until it had inspected the existing reactors and construction sites.China's ambitious domestic nuclear expansion is widely expected to march ahead, although talk of the sector growing to 80-90 gigawatts by

Jun

08

2011

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Japan PM to unveil push for renewable energy, cheaper solar power -media

Japan PM to unveil push for renewable energy, cheaper solar power -media

Japan PM to unveil push for renewable energy, cheaper solar power -media 

TOKYO: Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan is expected to announce a drive towards renewable energy, including slashing the cost of solar power, when he meets fellow leaders of the G8 rich nations group later this week, media reports say.One target will be to increase the use of solar power 15-fold by 2030, according to the Asahi newspaper, while the Nikkei business daily said every new building, including residential houses, will be required to have solar panels by then.The shift reflects efforts to ensure energy security and safety as regions hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which knocked out several power stations, face possible blackouts during the peak summer demand period, possibly even beyond this year.c [ID:nL3E7GO39X]Kan is expected to outline efforts to ensure energy security by boosting the use of solar power especially in cities, where constant power demand and use of thermal facilities make it easier for utilities to vary sources of electricity.

Unlike wind or geothermal power, whose potential has geological restrictions, solar power panels can work almost nationwide, and if installed in Tokyo and other areas of dense power demand would lessen the

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