Solar Glass Can Make Entire Buildings Power Plants

Oxford Photovoltaics is a UK-based company that wants every building to have the potential to generate electricity using the solar power. They have created a solar cell that is transparent enough to function as a window while providing a very small amount of energy.

On their own, they don’t generate a lot of energy but placed on the facade of a skyscraper the goal can really add up!

“What we say here is rather than attach [solar] photovoltaics to the building, why not make the building the photovoltaics?” Kevin Arthur, the company’s founder and CEO, told the Guardian. “If you decide to build a building out of glass, then you’ve already decided to pay for the glass. If you add this, you’re adding a very small extra cost. [The solar cell treatment] costs no more than 10% of the cost of the facade.”

The technology works by adding a layer of transparent solid-state solar cells at most three microns thick to conventional glass, in order to turn around 12% of the solar energy received into low-carbon electricity. The power can then be exported to the national grid or used for the running of a building.

Read more.

Even Moderate Exercise Can Stave Off Depression

There’s a bunch of scientific evidence that already proves the benefits of exercise for one’s mental health, and now we know that even moderate workouts can have a huge impact. Even walking for just 20-30 minutes a day can improve resilience to depression!

So if you don’t want to go to the gym or lace up for a run then don’t – just go for a short walk.

This is the first longitudinal review to focus exclusively on the role that exercise plays in maintaining good mental health and preventing the onset of depression later in life.

Mammen—who is supervised by Professor Guy Faulkner, a co-author of the review— analyzed over 26 years’ worth of research findings to discover that even low levels of physical activity (walking and gardening for 20-30 minutes a day) can ward off depression in people of all age groups.

Mammen’s findings come at a time when mental health experts want to expand their approach beyond treating depression with costly prescription medication. “We need a prevention strategy now more than ever,” he says. “Our health system is taxed. We need to shift focus and look for ways to fend off depression from the start.”

More from UofT and here’s the full report in a medical journal.

The Amazing Drayson Electric Racing Car

The electric car racing league Formula E launches next year, which means that the racers need to build their cars now. The Drayson LMP 1 has 800 bhp and 4000 (!!) lb feet of torque all without a drop of petrol. This is a really impressive car and I can’t wait to see what other marvels of engineering will be unveiled for Formula E.

The best part of all of this, is that all the research will eventually end up in consumer vehicles.

So in part this is motorsport going back its roots as a development exercise. Everything learnt here will somehow impact on the way we interact with electric cars in the future and with his business head in place, Drayson sees this being a natural continuation of UK dominance in motorsport. We have the skills to be the pre-eminent makers of electric racing cars in the future, just as we are the dominant force in petrol power at the moment.

The thrust is hard to comprehend at first, – actually, scratch that, summoning the courage to push the long-travel throttle pedal to the floor is more difficult. For the first loop I don’t manage it, and still the car seemingly is picked up and flung into the next corner. Next time around I try full throttle – or whatever the new phrase for maximum everything will be on electric racers – and the effect numbs the brain. Because it is so instant. It just happens.

Read and see more at PistonHeads.

Thanks to Fraser!

Ethiopia Opens Africa’s Largest Wind Farm

Ethiopia is looking to massively expand their energy infrastructure and renewable sustainable energy is a key part of their strategy. This is great to see new energy installations focus on the long-term effectiveness and viability of projects.

“Various studies have proved that there is potential to harness abundant wind energy resources in every region of Ethiopia. We cannot maintain growth without utilising the energy sector,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a speech at the launch.

Experts put Ethiopia’s hydropower potential at around 45,000 MW and geothermal at 5,000 MW, while its wind power potential is believed to be Africa’s third-largest behind Egypt and Morocco.

Read more at Al Jazeera.

Stylish Pocket Art

Canadian artist Gary Taxali has teamed up with fashion retailer Harry Rosen to create pocket squares focused on Canadian. This is good because it seems so rare that Canadians celebrate their own talent in such a way.

Celebrating the culturally-rich heritage of Canada and featured cities – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, each of Taxali’s unique designs plays off of the character, culture and landmarks of each city. The result is a colourful and comical, yet highly wearable, collector’s item.

“I was inspired by how diverse our Canadian cities are, and I tried to capture the different moods and stories of Canadian life in a playful way,” says artist Gary Taxali.

More info here.

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