Solar Energy Isn’t Always as Green as You Think

Do cheaper photovoltaics providing solar energy come with a higher environmental price tag?

10 min read
photovoltaics for solar energy
Photo: Imaginechina/AP Photo
Green

Solar panels glimmering in the sun are an icon of all that is green. But while generating electricity through photovoltaics is indeed better for the environment than burning fossil fuels, several incidents have linked the manufacture of these shining symbols of environmental virtue to a trail of chemical pollution. And it turns out that the time it takes to compensate for the energy used and the greenhouse gases emitted in photovoltaic panel production varies substantially by technology and geography.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the industry could readily eliminate many of the damaging side effects that do exist. Indeed, pressure for it to do so is mounting, in part because, since 2008, photovoltaics manufacturing has moved from Europe, Japan, and the United States to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan; today nearly half the world's photovoltaics are manufactured in China. As a result, although the overall track record for the industry is good, the countries that produce the most photovoltaics today typically do the worst job of protecting the environment and their workers.

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Startup Makes It Easier to Detect Fires With IoT and Flir Cameras

The system employs predictive analytics and AI

3 min read
A tablet computer shows blueprints overlaid with thermal imagery.

MoviTHERM’s iEFD system’s online dashboard shows a diagram of the interconnected sensors, instruments, Flir cameras, and other devices that are monitoring a facility.

MoviTHERM

Fires at recycling sorting facilities, ignited by combustible materials in the waste stream, can cause millions of dollars in damage, injuring workers and first responders and contaminating the air.

Detecting the blazes early is key to preventing them from getting out of control.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Pump Up Wearable ECG Functions With AI

Single-lead ECG can detect ventricular dysfunction

3 min read
A closeup image of a person about to touch an apple watch screen showing a health app with their finger.
Istockphoto

Mayo Clinic researchers have developed an artificial-intelligence algorithm that can detect weak heart-pump functioning from a single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) on the Apple Watch. Early results indicate that the ECG is as accurate as a medically ordered treadmill stress test but could be performed anywhere, the researchers say.

The single-lead AI algorithm was adapted from an existing algorithm that works by analyzing ventricular pumping data from a 12-lead ECG already in clinical use under an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.