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Inspired by Art, Lightweight Solar Cells Track the Sun

Press Release - The University of Michigan


Solar cells capture up to 40 percent more energy when they can track the sun across the sky, but conventional, motorized trackers are too heavy and bulky for pitched rooftops and vehicle surfaces. Now, by borrowing from kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that can have it both ways. Full Article

Tech Front: Absorbing Research for Cheaper, Better Solar Cells

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


The idea that solar cells might someday viably compete with carbon-based fuels has driven researchers for more than a century. Rice University researchers may have now found a path to produce cheaper, more efficient metal-based solar cells, making the US goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kW-hr seem reachable. Full Article

Shops Migrate to Higher Value Parts Making

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Following the money trail is a police-drama honored way of sorting out the usual suspects in solving a crime. Keeping an eye on the money is also a good strategy for shops looking to remain competitive, as well as a bigger payday. Today, adopting five-axis machine technology is a tried and true method of producing more complex workpieces with higher value in both the raw and the machined states. Full Article

Tech Front: Big Fuel Cell Breakthrough is at the Nano Level

Edited by Advanced Manufacturing Media Staff


A development in the real-time observation of fuel cell catalyst degradation could be the breakthrough that leads to the creation of more efficient and durable fuel cell stacks. Toyota Motor Corp. (Toyota City, Japan) and the the Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC; Nagoya, Japan) have developed a new technique that allows monitoring of the behavior of nanometer-sized particles of platinum during chemical reactions in fuel cells. This allows the processes leading to reduced catalytic reactivity to be observed. Full Article

24M Introduces the Semisolid Lithium-Ion Battery

Press Release: 24M


24M (Cambridge, MA) has emerged from stealth mode to introduce the semisolid lithium-ion cell, a revolutionary technology that solves the grand challenge of energy storage by enabling a new, cost-effective class of the lithium-ion battery. 24M’s semisolid lithium-ion is the most significant advancement in lithium-ion technology in more than two decades and combines an overhaul in battery cell design with a series of manufacturing innovations that, when fully implemented, will slash today’s lithium-ion costs by 50% and improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. Full Article

Loss of Tax Credits Takes the Wind from Turbines’ Sales

Lucas Isakowitz, Analyst, IBISWorld


The Wind Turbine Manufacturing industry manufactures wind turbine blades, towers, generators and other related components. The industry’s performance is driven largely by investment tax credits and other government incentives that encourage energy producers to establish wind farms on US soil. Federal tax credits can make wind power cost competitive compared with other energy-generation technologies, which translates to higher demand and revenue for the industry. Full Article

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