Thursday, August 19, 2010

Solar technologies from National Taiwan University

Greetings from the the Austrlaian National University in Canberra, where Professor Bin Juine Huang from National Taiwan University is speaking on Solar technologies for buildings. NTU's New Energy Center (NEC) has a KAUST Global Research Partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. They are working on solar buildings . Their emphasis is on simple, inexpensive and practical technology.

One example is a 1 axis, 3 position solar tracker. Instead of having a complex mechanical system which can track the precise position of the sun, this design just as three settings, for morning, noon and afternoon sun.

Another example is the use of a super-capacitor in parallel with a lead acid battery to improve its performance when charged from a solar panel. This is due to the fast reaction of a super-capacitor to changes in the power supplied by a solar panel. This is an interesting result (CSIRO have done work on super-capacitors to combine with lead acid batteries for automotive use, with their UltraBattery).

Previously I had Samuel Fernandes, working on powering web servers from renewable energy. With this we assumed that the power requirements of the server would not be effected by the type of power source.

IT equipment and other electronics have capacitors in their power supply systems. Data centres have banks of lead acid batteries for backup power. It may be that by changing the cabling arrangement in a data centre (or a cyber cafe in India), it would be possible to gain a significant increase in efficiency.

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