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Quick Link: “Alcatraz Solar Isn’t For The Birds (But They Like It)”

When the National Park Service decided to install solar panels on Alcatraz, there were some issues to consider that most places don’t need to deal with. Where could the panels go, so that they wouldn’t disrupt visitors’ experience of the foggy prison island, for one. That was resolved by putting them on the roof of the cellhouse, out of view.

Another was, how would the solar panels affect the island’s birds? According to this article from Earth Techling, initially there was some concern that the panels would scare the birds, but that hasn’t ended up being the problem.

It was no easy task getting a thousand or so solar panels past preservationists PO’d at the idea of PV on the iconic Alcatraz penitentiary – and now that the modules are up and operating, there’s the challenge of keeping the bird poop off them.

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Surge in Battery Research Fuels Hope for Cheaper Electric Cars

Revelations in lithium battery technology could mean cheaper batteries and less sticker shock for electric cars

Stanford scientists Mike Toney and Johanna Nelson inspect a transmission X-ray microscope, a powerful device that takes nano-scale images of chemical reactions in batteries while they are running.

Imagine if Tesla, Nissan and GM could cut the price of their electric cars by 25%. That electric dream may be a wee bit closer than you think, thanks to researchers at Stanford University.

Recently a team from Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory announced a new method to analyze and potentially improve rechargeable battery technology in a radical way. A cheap, reliable rechargeable battery is the holy grail for electric carmakers that rely on costly lithium ion batteries for power. Instead of the usual pairing of a lithium compound with graphite, the study examined lithium-sulfur batteries, which in theory can store five times more energy at a significantly lower cost.

“Sulfur is an earth-abundant element and offers the greatest potential to reduce cost,” said research co-author Michael Toney, head of the Materials Sciences Division at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

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