Nov 102009
 
Carbon dioxide

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Global warming… or climate change as I prefer to call it (given that there’s been scant evidence of any actual "warming" going on in Ireland over the last few summers), is a serious issue for sure. But am I the only one worried by a recent spate of publicity that’s painting carbon dioxide (CO2) as a noxious chemical we need to eradicate?

One TV ad that targets children and parents is particularly disturbing, not because it deals with the sobering subject of climate change… but because it’s built around misinformation and blatant scaremongering. The ad I’m talking about shows a father reading a bedtime story to a little girl… a dreadful story about how the nasty CO2 monster, growing ever larger, is wreaking havoc with the climate and killing the planet. If you haven’t seen it you’ll find it below.

 

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Mar 102008
 

I was intrigued to read this week that UK scientists are developing a technique to coat the steel sheets used in fabrication of industrial buildings with a solar powered paint which could, theoretically, result in warehouses whose entire surface area could convert solar energy into electricity.

Steel sheets are painted rapidly in steel mills by passing them through rollers. A consortium led by Swansea University, UK, hopes to use that process to cover steel sheets with a photovoltaic paint at up to 40 square metres per minute.

The paint will take advantage of dye-sensitised solar cells. They’re less efficient than conventional silicone based cells, but are also much cheaper, and can be applied to surfaces as a liquid.

“We should see a commercial cell in two-and-a-half years,” Dr David Worsley, leader of the Swansea team, told New Scientist.

There are still plenty of obstacles to overcome — but it’s an intriguing technology with potentially enormous global potential for harnessing the sun’s energy.

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