The potential of 3D printing and robotics is nothing if not inspiring, but it's difficult even to imagine the extent of the inroads they will make in our manufacturing base or the myriad products they'll eventually produce.
Crowdfunding Campaign to End Manual Polishing for 3D Printing One of the less publicized aspects of 3D printing, specifically FDM, is the tedious work required after you press "print" with your MakerBot, Printrbot, Ultimaker, or any other 3D...
Using a simple solar cell and a photo anode made of a metal oxide, HZB and TU Delft scientists have successfully stored nearly five percent of solar energy chemically in the form of hydrogen. This is a major feat as the design of the solar cell is much simpler than that of the high-efficiency triple-junction cells based on amorphous silicon or expensive III-V semiconductors that are traditionally used for this purpose.
The photo anode, which is made from the metal oxide bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) to which a small amount of tungsten atoms was added, was sprayed onto a piece of conducting glass and coated with an inexpensive cobalt phosphate catalyst. "Basically, we combined the best of both worlds," explains Prof. Dr. Roel van de Krol, head of the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels: "We start with a chemically stable, low cost metal oxide, add a really good but simple silicon-based thin film solar cell, and – voilà – we've just created a cost-effective, highly stable, and highly efficient solar fuel device."
Thus the experts were able to develop a rather elegant and simple system for using sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This process, called artificial photosynthesis, allows solar energy to be stored in the form of hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be used as a fuel either directly or in the form of methane, or it can generate electricity in a fuel cell. One rough estimate shows the potential inherent in this technology: At a solar performance in Germany of roughly 600 Watts per square meter, 100 square meters of this type of system is theoretically capable of storing 3 kilowatt hours of energy in the form of hydrogen in just one single hour of sunshine. This energy could then be available at night or on cloudy days.
'While we are living in an era of impressive technological progress, we’re also living through an equally impressive era of psychological progress, and I believe that where the former is fluttering the latter is thriving.'...
We recently heard about a Solidoodler in Auckland, New Zealand, named Ivan Sentch, who’s building an entire car from scratch with the help of his Solidoodle, 2nd Gen 3D printer. When we saw photos of his project in progress, it was a bit hard to believe that this was his first time using 3D printing or that anyone would undertake something so massive with a desktop 3D printer. Leave it to one of our users to baffle our minds. We’re not sure if it’s insane, brilliant or both, but it’s certainly impressive.
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Twelve teams of Michigan teachers are visiting Michigan Technological University (MTU) this week to get some hands-on experience with 3D printing technology.
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