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Researchers Develop Semi-Transparent and Decorative Solar Cells

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A team of researchers at the University of Michigan has successfully developed a prototype of a semi-transparent photovoltaic solar cell, which they hope will make solar arrays more attractive to consumers and lead to a more widespread adoption. Existing solar panels are far from aesthetically pleasing, but this new invention could be used to cover the sides of buildings, window shades and even billboards without obscuring what lies beneath.
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How to Become a Tree After You Die

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The firm Estudimoline Barcelona, Catalonia recently came up with a very innovative product, the so-called Bios Urn. Basically, the special urn they sell will let you grow a tree from the ashes of your loved ones, and even your deceased pets. While this idea could be called a little macabre, it is also quite nice in the sense that after you die there will be one more tree in the world.
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A Glow In The Dark Plant to Replace Lights?

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The company Bioglow has successfully developed a plant that produces light in a completely natural process that requires no chemicals or electricity. These kinds of glowing plants were invented by molecular biologist, Dr. Alex Krichevsky and they are the result of his research into bioluminescent marine bacteria and the molecular biology of plants. Bioglow’s Starlight Avatar, as it is called, is the first light producing plant in the world, and it could become a sustainable replacement for traditional, electric lighting.
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Plastic Bags Can be Recycled Into Diesel Fuel

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Researchers at the University of Illinois, or more precisely the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, have discovered a process that can turn used plastic shopping bags into a compatible drop-in diesel fuel and a number of petroleum products. The recycling process also works to recover most of the initial manufacturing inputs that go into producing plastic shopping bags. Given that each year an estimated 100 billion shopping bags are thrown away in the US alone, this is great news indeed.

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Innovative Solar Oven That Cooks Even at Night

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Solar ovens are a great way to cook sustainably, but they have the drawback of not working very well on cloudy days. However, the new SunFocus solar hybrid oven, made by Sun BD Corporation, takes care of that problem. And what’s more, you can even use this oven to cook at night. This is possible because the SunFocus oven has a hybrid solar and electric system, with the latter taking over once the sun sets or hides behind the clouds.

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Solar Cells Might Soon be Made of Paper

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While living in solar powered homes is very sustainable and environmentally friendly, the materials from which most solar PV arrays are constructed are not. Since they are often made from rare natural materials or plastics, researchers are constantly looking for way to improve this flaw and make the whole package more eco-friendly. A team of scientists from the University of Maryland, the South China University of Technology, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have recently developed a type of paper, which is made from wood fibers. This paper is 96 percent transparent and could conceivably one day be used instead of the plastic materials used to construct the solar cells of today. This would make solar cells more eco-friendly as well as much cheaper.

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