FREE Green Apps for Your Phone

While Browsing for Green and Eco friendly info I stumbled upon this site for Green Aps for your Smart Phone.

If you are one of the 59% of Americans who has moved away from the concept of a phone just being able to place calls, you have entered the app world, a time wasting world where that transforms your phone into an all purpose life saver.*  But with so many apps to choose from now, it is sometimes hard to weed out the truly useful apps from the junk.  So, if any of you ever wanted an app to help you save energy and go green here are a list of great apps for the iPhone and the Android.  Oh, and they are all free!

Article Continues: http://www.myenergysolution.com/energy-savings-blog/energy-basics/how-we-consume-energy/best-free-green-apps-for-your-phone#comment-181

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Smart Grid-News-Pilots, Accelerating

Accelerating successful smart grid pilots

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According to the World Economic Forum’s Smart Grid Steering Board and Task Force, the utility industry has seen over the past year the impact government spending can have on the transition to a low-carbon economy, as well as the central role the smart grid can play in this transition.

As a result, there has been a substantial increase in the number of smart grid pilots being implemented, with industry estimates at around 90 pilots globally.

The WEF group prepared a report in collaboration with Accenture and with the input from a steering board of project champions and a task force of experts. For this report, over 60 industry and policy/regulatory stakeholders were engaged to identify the factors that determine the success, or otherwise, of smart grid pilots.

The global analysis identified a number of issues across the pilot life cycle that are preventing pilots from reaching their full potential. Our report presents several recommendations for stakeholders: the crucial role of the regulator in incentivizing smart grid pilots by providing clarity over funding and stranded assets; the need for the utility to apply rigor to pilot scoping with a mixture of consumer-centric and grid-centric technologies and to develop compelling consumer value propositions and outreach programs while understanding operating model and business model implications of smart technologies; and the need for cross-industry collaboration to form multidisciplinary consortia and to increase international knowledge exchange.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen significant growth in the number of projects being undertaken; the prevailing industry estimate is that 90 smart grid pilots are in progress today, with at least as many in the pipeline.

The pilots have been predominantly focused in North America, Australia and Europe; however, we are now seeing considerable activity in South America, South Africa, China, India, Japan and South Korea.

The scope of these pilots shows the continued dominance of advanced meter reading (AMIsmart metering); however, we are beginning to see more smart grid projects that are focused on network optimization and dealing with the challenges of accommodating a broad spectrum of low-carbon technologies.

Over the last year, we have observed three broad trends within the smart grid industry:

• The rise of smart grid as an industrial imperative — Many governments are seeing smart grid and the broader low-carbon technology industry as critical to the evolution of their manufacturing and knowledge economy. In the East Asian economies, strategic investments are being made to develop intellectual property and manufacturing capabilities in this sector with a view to growing the export market globally.

• The broadening of the smart grid concept to intelligent cities — The debate has also notably shifted from being a discussion on pure “smart grids” and electricity infrastructure to include intelligent infrastructure, whereby the sensing and control capabilities inherent in the smart grid are applied to multiple physical infrastructure layers within the urban environment (e.g. water, waste, buildings, etc.).

• The emergence of new entrants in the utility value chain – We are beginning to see a new breed of industry participants, such as consumer products, telecoms and retail companies, explore their potential roles within the industry. We have not yet seen a significant disruption in the traditional business model; however, as the new entrants develop their understanding of the industry dynamics, we expect disruptive business models to emerge.

Opportunities and Challenges

Our review of the first crop of pilots suggests that, while the industry has taken a significant step forward, there are clear opportunities to extract more insight and value from these investments. We see the following as the key challenges of today’s smart grid pilots:

• The struggle to create strong smart grid business cases remains in environments where regulatory incentives have not evolved to reflect today’s policy agenda

• Future legislation is uncertain and, in some cases, disaggregation of the utility value chain is increasing complexity; making it more difficult to align and allocate risk and reward

• Challenges remain around data privacy, cybersecurity, interoperability and standards

• There are examples of conflation of objectives, whereby new technologies and pricing structures are rolled out in parallel, making it difficult to understand cause and effect when customers react poorly to the change

• Pilots are encountering consumer engagement challenges, both in communicating effectively with the consumer and in delivering high-quality implementations in unpredictable field environments

• A number of smart metering pilots have struggled to convince the regulator and the consumer over the true benefit of their smart grid value propositions

In the context of the growing number of smart grid pilots, it is critical that we use this period of industry momentum to accelerate the technology development and develop the sustainable regulatory frameworks that will enable them to transition to the mainstream. By challenging the regulatory status quo at this stage, we will avoid the risk of becoming limited by the legacy frameworks to the “lowest common denominator” of smart grid.

Finally, for consumer-centric pilots it is critical that projects seek to engage and educate consumers at this point of inflection in order to generate buy-in and stimulate the necessary market demand. For smart grid to be economically and socially sustainable, customers will need to recognize the value that these technologies can provide and be willing to pay for the products and services on offer.

Lessons Learned
 
Pilots serve a twofold purpose:

1. They provide a mechanism for utilities and their partners to innovate in a lowered risk environment and gather data proving the value of smart grid investments.

2. They help the utility to field-test new technologies and generate capabilities and insights that will support them in the successful full-scale roll-out of smart grids.

This year’s publication is the output of a joint research effort between the World Economic Forum and Accenture with the input from the project Steering Board and Task Force members, who represent stakeholders from the entire smart grid value chain.

It puts forward a number of recommendations to enable current and future pilots to reach their full potential. The research engaged utilities, vendors, communications companies, regulators, policy- makers and NGOs via workshops and one-on-one interviews. This study unearthed a number of “lessons learned” from the existing pilots, which we have broadly grouped into four sections:

1. Political and Regulatory Context

• The right regulatory and policy framework for innovation and investment: Regulators and policymakers need to create the right environment for private sector investment in innovation and capital assets. In liberalized markets, this is further complicated by the disaggregated nature of the value chain. Regulators should pay close attention to the allocation of risk and reward across the value chain and develop regulatory frameworks that encourage investment and align incentives.

• Drive for global standards: Standards help provide market certainty and increase interoperability. However, if they are applied too early or are deemed too proprietary in nature, they can stifle innovation. Multiple regional standards are being developed with the consequent risk that we will see competing standards bodies. There is an opportunity to increase the level of international outreach and cooperation; increase the prevalence of open standards; and apply standards from other established industries, such as the Internet protocol and security standards, to help expedite their adoption.

2. Scoping Phase

Be clear about the test parameters and understand when customers will be engaged

• Clarity and ambition in design: It is essential that pilots invest in creating and documenting clear test parameters and hypotheses that they intend to prove, or disprove, through the implementation phase. We encourage utilities to trial holistic and ambitious smart grid pilots that demonstrate the value of the technologies within a broader system context. Designers should be mindful of the risk of conflating objectives and ensure that pilots are divided into sequential, yet iterative, phases examining technology, operating models and business models.

• Grid vs consumer pilots’ capabilities: Most pilots will contain a mixture of consumer-facing and network-facing technologies. Consumer-facing pilots may confront additional challenges around consumer acceptance and behavioral change, where proactive consumer engagement programs can play a critical role in securing the long-term success of a pilot. Each interaction with the customer can be critical to the longer-term success of the pilot.

Collaborate to develop commercial capability that trials new operating and business models

• Successful commercial collaboration: The creation of successful commercial consortia will become a point of competitive differentiation in the transition towards the low-carbon economy. Utilities will benefit from using pilots as a test bed to put in place the commercial and legal frameworks to bring these different capabilities together.

• Experiment with new operating and business models: Once technology is robust and interoperability is proven, there is an opportunity for pilots to help utilities understand what changes they will need to make to their operating and business models to maximize the value of new technologies.

Develop consumer insight

• Segment consumers by behavior: In the planning stages we recommend that pilots undertake behavioral segmentation analysis, looking carefully at the three major groups: residential; small and medium enterprises; and commercial and industrial. By segmenting these customer groups, utilities and their partners can develop product and service offerings that meet the customer needs and create “pull” for smart grid offerings.

• Target business customers: Business customers are often more sensitive to price and open to innovative product and service offerings that help increase profitability. Furthermore, early adopters in the residential sector often take their cue from technologies that they are made aware of in the work environment.

3. Execution

• Engage and educate consumers: Consumer outreach programs and ongoing product/service support are critical during pilots that directly impact the customer. Within these outreach programs, utilities need to communicate messages in clear, common language; adopting new techniques, channels and incentive schemes to build trust and to explain the value proposition to consumers in their everyday lives.

• Re-engineer in the field: The most successful pilots encourage collective problem solving in the field, eliciting and responding to consumer feedback and ensuring the skills and flexibility are in place to successfully re-engineer improvements in technology and the business process. This is particularly important in consumer-facing pilots, where any lapse in performance has the potential for a long-term, detrimental impact on the consumer’s perception of smart grid and their relationship with their energy provider.

4. Dissemination of the Lessons Learned

• Share lessons from the field: Today’s knowledge exchange remains limited. The recent launch of the Department of Energy’s beta version Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse demonstrates the way forward; however, it remains focused on the US market. A larger, international data set with contextual data, such as customer demographics and network topology, may enable utilities to benchmark themselves more effectively and make stronger value cases.

• Inform the regulatory/policy environment: An opportunity exists for utilities to make the case for change in their own regulatory frameworks. Data and knowledge gleaned from the pilot programmes will provide empirical data that can be used to create policy and regulatory frameworks that align incentives and encourage private-sector investment.

Key Takeaways for All Stakeholders across Three Key Timescales

1. Short term: Lay the foundations for success

a. Policy-makers and Regulators — Create the right conditions for innovation and certainty over funding and regulatory treatment while driving alignment on standards

b. Utilities and Partners — Develop broad-based consortia, focus on creating a stable technology platform and engage consumers where they are likely to be personally affected

2. Medium term: Reshape the agenda and roll-out proven technologies

c. Policy-makers and Regulators — Review the regulatory framework to align incentives and encourage private-sector investment

d. Utilities and Partners — Use initial data to help shape the regulatory agenda; pilot changes to the operating model and processes; share data and use simulation to make the value case for roll-out of “proven” technologies

3. Longer term: Change the model

e. Policy-makers and Regulators — Reward utility innovation and encourage participation of new entrants that may offer new business models

f. Utilities and Partners — Position the value case for full-scale roll-out of technologies as the economics improve; and innovate around the business model to offer customers greater value and behavioral segmentation data to target a greater proportion of customers with differentiated product and service offerings


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Climate Change Causing Ice Melts Unveils Ancient Tools

Home of "Ice Giants" thaws, shows pre-Viking hunts

To match Feature CLIMATE-VIKINGS/ Reuters – The Juvfonna ice field at 1,850 metres (6070 feet) above sea level is seen in the Jotunheimen mountains …

JUVFONNA, Norway (Reuters) – Climate change is exposing reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings' ancestors faster than archaeologists can collect it from ice thawing in northern Europe's highest mountains.

"It's like a time machine…the ice has not been this small for many, many centuries," said Lars Piloe, a Danish scientist heading a team of "snow patch archaeologists" on newly bare ground 1,850 meters (6,070 ft) above sea level in mid-Norway.

Specialized hunting sticks, bows and arrows and even a 3,400-year-old leather shoe have been among finds since 2006 from a melt in the Jotunheimen mountains, the home of the "Ice Giants" of Norse mythology.

As water streams off the Juvfonna ice field, Piloe and two other archaeologists — working in a science opening up due to climate change — collect "scare sticks" they reckon were set up 1,500 years ago in rows to drive reindeer toward archers.

But time is short as the Ice Giants' stronghold shrinks.

"Our main focus is the rescue part," Piloe said on newly exposed rocks by the ice. "There are many ice patches. We can only cover a few…We know we are losing artefacts everywhere."

Freed from an ancient freeze, wood rots in a few years. And rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather crumble to dust in days unless taken to a laboratory and stored in a freezer.

Jotunheimen is unusual because so many finds are turning up at the same time — 600 artefacts at Juvfonna alone.

Other finds have been made in glaciers or permafrost from Alaska to Siberia. Italy's iceman "Otzi," killed by an arrow wound 5,000 years ago, was found in an Alpine glacier in 1991. "Ice Mummies" have been discovered in the Andes.

Click image to see photos of the ancient hunting gear


Reuters/Photo courtesy of Vegard Vike

RESCUE

Patrick Hunt, of Stanford University in California who is trying to discover where Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy in 218 BC with an army and elephants, said there was an "alarming rate" of thaw in the Alps.

"This is the first summer since 1994 when we began our Alpine field excavations above 8,000 ft that we have not been inundated by even one day of rain, sleet and snow flurries," he said.

"I expect we will see more 'ice patch archaeology discoveries'," he said. Hannibal found snow on the Alpine pass he crossed in autumn, according to ancient writers.

Glaciers are in retreat from the Andes to the Alps, as a likely side-effect of global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, the U.N. panel of climate experts says.

The panel's credibility has suffered since its 2007 report exaggerated a thaw by saying Himalayan glaciers might vanish by 2035. It has stuck to its main conclusion that it is "very likely" that human activities are to blame for global warming.

"Over the past 150 years we have had a worldwide trend of glacial retreat," said Michael Zemp, director of the Swiss-based World Glacier Monitoring Service. While many factors were at play, he said "the main driver is global warming."

In Norway, "some ice fields are at their minimum for at least 3,000 years," said Rune Strand Oedegaard, a glacier and permafrost expert from Norway's Gjoevik University College.

The front edge of Jovfunna has retreated about 18 meters (60 ft) over the past year, exposing a band of artefacts probably from the Iron Age 1,500 years ago, according to radiocarbon dating. Others may be from Viking times 1,000 years ago.

Juvfonna, about 1 km across on the flank of Norway's highest peak, Galdhoepiggen, at 2,469 meters, also went through a less drastic shrinking period in the 1930s, Oedegaard said.

REINDEER

Inside the Juvfonna ice, experts have carved a cave to expose layers of ice dating back 6,000 years. Some dark patches turned out to be ancient reindeer droppings — giving off a pungent smell when thawed out.

Ice fields like Juvfonna differ from glaciers in that they do not slide much downhill. That means artefacts may be where they were left, giving an insight into hunting techniques.

On Juvfonna, most finds are "scare sticks" about a meter long. Each has a separate, flapping piece of wood some 30 cm long that was originally tied at the top. The connecting thread is rarely found since it disintegrates within days of exposure.

"It's a strange feeling to be tying a string around this stick just as someone else did maybe 1,500 years ago," said Elling Utvik Wammer, a archaeologist on Piloe's team knotting a tag to a stick before storing it in a box for later study.

All the finds are also logged with a GPS satellite marker before being taken to the lab for examination.

The archaeologists reckon they were set up about two meters apart to drive reindeer toward hunters. In summer, reindeer often go onto snow patches to escape parasitic flies.

Such a hunt would require 15 to 20 people, Piloe said, indicating that Norway had an organized society around the start of the Dark Ages, 1,500 years ago. Hunters probably needed to get within 20 meters of a reindeer to use an iron-tipped arrow.

"You can nearly feel the hunter here," Piloe said, standing by a makeshift wall of rocks exposed in recent weeks and probably built by an ancient archer as a hideaway.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)


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5 Reasons

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Environmental Defense Fund

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Make a gift of $15 or more and we’ll send you a limited-edition EDF water bottle as a thank you for your support.
Dear Scotts,

Thank you for lending your voice to our EDF Action Network. I hope that you’ve had a chance to read our previous emails, and learn a bit more about how we work.

Most importantly, I hope that by now you realize that your actions and opinions are an integral part of what we do. They will help us sway policy makers and business leaders to chart new territory and make transformational environmental changes.

Today, I hope you’ll take the next step in the fight and make a gift to support our innovative work. For a short time, we’re offering new Action Network activists 40% off our normal membership with Environmental Defense Fund – and a limited-edition EDF water bottle!

Need convincing why you should become a member of EDF?

Consider these FIVE REASONS:

  1. Climate change legislation is at a make or break moment! We are close to a breakthrough in Washington, but success is far from assured. Now is the moment we need to show that Americans care about global warming and expect dramatic action. With global warming legislation pending in Congress, this will be the year we either change America’s direction or lose one of our best opportunities.
  2. Grassroots organizing and education. We have committed millions of dollars to educate Americans, build grassroots support for action, and press for legislation not only in Washington, but in all 50 state capitals, and in cities and towns nationwide. Using both new web-based tactics along with tried and true measures like advertising and community organizing, we have built an army of vocal citizens from across the political, geographic and social spectrum.
  3. Unique partnerships with Corporate America. Environmental Defense Fund has played a lead role in winning some critical allies to help protect the environment. Through the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), we helped secure public calls by General Electric, Shell Oil and nearly two dozen other major health corporations for decisive federal action to reduce greenhouse pollution. We have also forged strategic partnerships with corporations like Wal-Mart, FedEx, and McDonald’s to help produce environmental results while simultaneously creating business benefits.
  4. Beyond climate change. Without question, global warming action is our cardinal priority this year. But Environmental Defense Fund is still hard at work at other critical challenges, including pioneering new strategies for reversing the decimation of the oceans’ seafood stocks; partnering with landowners to save endangered wildlife like the ocelot; new approaches to reducing urban congestion and pollution, and much more.
  5. Your peace of mind. Your generous gift today gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your part in this critical time to tackle some of Earth’s biggest environmental challenges. And you’ll know that you are giving your support to an environmental group with a broad agenda that gets things done.

Your actions are great needed — and appreciated — as is your membership.

As an EDF member, you will be a key partner in our victories. We will keep you posted on how we’re putting your support to work – so we all can win.

Thanks for everything you do.

Sincerely,

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Goldman Sachs: Bullies on the Block

Read More: Aig , Dodd-Frank Bill , Goldman Sachs , Great Recession , Politics , Third World America , Wall Street Reform , Business News

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Arianna Huffington’s new book, Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream speaks for the disenfranchised middle class: Americans that have lost wages, lost jobs, lost value in homes, and lost substantial value in investments and retirement funds. The U.S. middle class is being scammed out of existence. Wall Street and large corporate special interests — including energy companies, large financial institutions, drug companies, and the large military industrial complex — effectively bought Washington.

For most Americans, the Great Recession never ended, and for many of the 14.9 million unemployed Americans, it’s a 21st century Depression. Yet in December 2009, Larry Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council, told ABC news: "Today, everybody agrees that the recession is over, and the question is what the pace of the expansion is going to be."

The recession was over for bailed-out banks paying billions in bonuses. Taxpayers fund Wall Street with nearly zero-cost loans, and Congress changed accounting rules in April 2009 so that Wall Street firms could hide losses to create the illusion of "big profits," as they try to fill the gaping holes in their balance sheets.

Money Cartel’s Yes Men

The money cartel is as dangerous as the Mexican drug cartel. Its weapons of choice are taxpayer subsidized funds for swarms of Washington lobbyists, "money jobs" for politically connected yes men, and lucrative positions for former regulators and the law firms that hire them. Wall Street is winning the class war, and taxpayers supplied the arms.

[White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel famously declared, "Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. There are opportunities for big things." But since the financial meltdown, it is actually the very people who created the crisis who have taken advantage of it and achieved "big things" – especially big profits and bonuses.

Third World America P. 193

Wall Street’s PR spin, lobbying, money train to Congress, and bullying of fact finders have kept much of the truth away from the public. Frank Rich of The New York Times pointed out: "What we don’t know will hurt us, and quite possibly on a more devastating scale than any [Al] Qaeda attack. Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin."

In my book on the the global financial meltdown, Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street, I explain the relationship between failed mortgage lenders and Wall Street’s private-label multi-tenacled securitization process. It was a widespread interconnected Ponzi scheme. The bulk of toxic mortgages were the result of Wall Street’s private label securitization (loan packaging) machine. Fannie and Freddie were forced to buy hundreds of billions of "highly rated" Wall Street mortgage backed "assets," and they are now Wall Street’s ongoing mortgage dumping grounds. There should be thousands of felony indictments for accounting fraud and securities fraud. [See "President Obama: Bring Back Black," Huffington Post, April 26, 2010.]

Taxpayers Bailout Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is by no means the only offender, but it epitomizes the problem. Goldman enjoys many benefits and subsidies as a result of Congress’s massive bailout of Wall Street. [See "Goldman Sachs: Spinning Gold," Huffington Post, April 7, 2010.]

In August 2007, I publicly challenged AIG’s accounting for its "protection" (credit default swaps) on value destroying CDOs (collateralized debt obligations backed by mortgages and various other assets including credit derivatives). AIG said it had zero accounting losses; but its losses were material, and AIG had a serious problem. The potential for actual losses was so enormous that I called Warren Buffett and met with Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Goldman was already pressuring AIG for more than a billion dollars in collateral.

In the fall of 2009, I uncovered the fact that Goldman Sachs had a much larger role in the mortgage bets that nearly toppled AIG than the Treasury, the Fed, or Goldman itself publicly disclosed in September 2008, when AIG was first bailed out. Then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was Goldman’s CEO at the time the deals were done with AIG. He was also CEO when Goldman underwrote other value destroying CDOs against which foreign banks bought protection. Stephen Friedman, a former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and then Chairman of the New York Fed, concurrently sat on Goldman’s board. These men had serious conflicts of interest, and events played out very much to Goldman’s benefit at the expense of taxpayers.

By September 2008, AIG was drained of cash and close to imploding. At the time Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified AIG had to be saved lest AIG’s failure trigger a Great Depression. (In March 2010, Treasury Secretary (and ex-President of the NY Fed) Timothy Geithner and ex-Goldman CEO and ex-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson also testified to this.) Instead of allowing AIG to fail with minimal intervention, Washington protected culpable bankers.

In September 2008, David Viniar, CFO of Goldman Sachs, said Goldman’s exposure to AIG was "immaterial whatever the outcome at AIG." Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein would later testify to Congress in that Goldman "facilitates customer transactions." After analyzing new information, on October 28, 2009, I issued a commentary, "Goldman’s Lies of Omission," stating that in my opinion, David Viniar, Goldman’s CFO, had lied.

Intimidation Tactics and Cover-Ups

Goldman’s response was to initiate an hour long phone conversation: a combination of a veiled threat (I don’t have a problem…but our lawyers might) and obfuscations. In response, I issued an "apology" to David Viniar. Viniar may not technically have lied; perhaps he is just unimaginative about risk. Either way, shareholders might ask why Goldman’s officers sucked tens of billions in bonuses out of the Goldman as they "hedged" value destroying CDOs with AIG–an entity that nearly collapsed, while it still owed billions to Goldman.

Goldman said it was only involved in AIG trades as an "intermediary." That wasn’t true. As a further response to Goldman’s pressure, I revealed Goldman’s key role in AIG’s crisis. At the time, I was confident that within a week, an expected SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program) report would have similar findings, but inexplicably, it did not. My findings were sound, however. When Goldman blew smoke about only being an "intermediary," it didn’t know that I had information that had been suppressed by the Fed, AIG, Goldman, Treasury, and the SEC. [See: Goldman's Undisclosed Role in AIG's Distress, TSF, November 10, 2009.]

The AIG bailout benefited Goldman, the firm responsible for the largest share of many value destroying collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) against which AIG sold protection ($33 billion of the $80 billion). Goldman had already extracted $7.5 billion from AIG by September 2008, and Goldman’s cronies had extracted even more billions. When taxpayers bailed out AIG in September 2008, AIG still owed billions of dollars more on top of that.

Out of the approximately $20 billion CDOs Goldman protected directly with AIG, Goldman had structured and created $6 billion CDOs named "Abacus," against which it bought protection from AIG. (Abacus CDOs were backed by credit derivatives referencing value destroying mortgage backed assets, and some had hidden features that disadvantaged investors.) That goes far beyond merely acting as an intermediary.

AIG reportedly settled $3 billion (of the original $6 billion) Abacus related deals at a loss of $1.5 billion to $2 billion by April 2010. SIGTARP is now investigating these deals, which are similar to Abacus 2007-AC1, a CDO at issue in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Goldman alleging failure to disclose material information to investors. The fraud suit was settled settled for $550 million, of which $250 billion was paid in reparations to two sophisticated foreign banks. Among other issues the SEC’s settlement swept under the rug was that the Abacus deal may have been used to unload other complex value-destroying CDOs Goldman created. [See: "Abacus might have had other benefits for Goldman," by Mathew Goldstein, Reuters, April 24, 2010.]

Goldman also knew or should have known the character of the risk of $14 billion third-party value destroying CDOs it protected with AIG. Goldman claimed it acted as an "intermediary," as opposed to say, exchanging favors in a complicated game of "you bury my bodies and I’ll bury yours." The Fed used taxpayer dollars to settle these transactions for 100 cents on the dollar, an appalling example of crony capitalism. [See: "Redacted AIG filing might have spotted worst deals," by Matthew Goldstein, Reuters, January 10, 2010.]

Moreover, Goldman had also created additional value destroying CDOs (some were backed by cash assets and credit derivatives referencing value destroying CDOs), against which other banks–including some foreign banks–bought protection from AIG. Crony capitalism bailed out Goldman’s trading partners for 100 cents on the dollar, even though other bond insurers were settling deals for much less than that, and many of these deals were worthy of thorough investigations and audits.

Goldman reneged on its offer to provide me with confirmation of the fact that it hadn’t bought credit default protection on more than a small fraction of the full notional amount of the CDOs it hedged with AIG. Contrary to its assertions to Congress, Goldman Sachs was significantly exposed to AIG’s potential failure. It had both economic and reputation risk.

"Collateral" held by Goldman in September 2008 would likely have been clawed back by a sensible liquidator, after the nature of the CDOs was known. Even if Goldman got to keep the collateral, an AIG failure posed significant economic risk, since its hedges were relatively small, and the prices of the CDOs were plummeting. Goldman also had litigation risk on the CDOs it underwrote (Davis Square and more) and sold to foreign banks that bought protection from AIG. Taxpayer money later made that problem disappear when the Fed settled for 100 cents on the dollar. This information had been suppressed and kept from public view. [See: "I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs," TSF, November 22, 2009, and "Congress Exposes Potential Profiteering in AIG Deals: Delay Enabled Further Cover-Up," Huffington Post, January 28, 2010.]

Goldman’s other big role in the CDO business that few of its competitors appreciated at the time was as an originator of CDOs that other banks invested in and that ended up being insured by AIG, a role recently highlighted by Chicago credit consultant Janet Tavakoli. Ms. Tavakoli reviewed an internal AIG document written in late 2007 listing the CDOs that AIG had insured, a document obtained earlier this year by CBS News. [CBS did not have the data to make the connection between the
CDOs and Goldman's large role as underwriter of CDOs backing its own
trades and the trades of other banks.]

"Goldman Fueled AIG’s Gambles," by Serena Ng and Carrick Mollenkamp, Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2009.

Goldman was unsuccessful in misleading me, but what chance would non financial professionals have against Goldman’s hokum? Goldman misled many members of the press, Congress, and even "investigators" (unless investigators were going along for the ride) for a very long time.
Why did Goldman Sachs try to pass itself off as merely an "intermediary?" In my opinion, it was trying to make its role sound innocuous when it was not. In its role as a structurer and underwriter of CDOs, Goldman was responsible for a high standard of thorough due diligence.

Investigating a Criminal Cover-Up

On November 17, 2009 (a week after my report), SIGTARP released its report. Despite discussing AIG and its problematic protection on CDOs, the report did not mention Goldman’s key role as underwriter (creator) of many of the CDOs, including CDOs for which foreign banks were paid billions in the AIG settlement. It appears that either the well-staffed TARP investigators knew less than I did, or they didn’t understand the implication of information they had (if they had it), or there was a cover-up. In other words, the SIGTARP report contained information that was less damaging to Goldman’s fairy tales than what I had already put in the public domain on November 10, 2009.

That begs the question. When Goldman called me (before my November 10 report), did Goldman already know that the SIGTARP report would not contradict its story? In other words, did it know the SIGTARP report would fail to reveal its role as creator (underwriter) of many of the value destroying CDOs? Was SIGTARP part of a cover-up?

Documents filed with the SEC had been redacted so that the names of the CDOs backing credit default swaps, the size of individual deals, the fallen prices of the CDOs, and the names of the banks tied to each deal were not revealed. Was the SEC also part of a cover-up? [See "Treasury Cover-Up of Goldman's Role in AIG Crisis?" Huffington Post, December 22, 2009.]

I sent my concerns to staffers on the Senate Banking Committee, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and other Congressional offices that had previously contacted me for information.

SIGTARP is now partly blaming Fed secrecy, yet why has SIGTARP been so slow to connect the dots? SIGTARP is now investigating a potential criminal cover-up. ["AIG Probe May Lead to Criminal Coverup Charges, Barofsky Says," by Richard Teitlebaum, Bloomberg News, April 28, 2010.]

Perhaps it’s also time to investigate SIGTARP’s process, since it reeks like three day old fish.

Dodd-Frank Reform Failure: "Customer Transactions" Were Behind the Meltdown

Goldman was responsible for huge systemic risk, even though it characterized its AIG trades as "customer transactions." It’s one thing to provide emergency relief for "troubled assets," and its quite another for Congress to delay so long in asking how these assets came to be so troubled in the first place. Congress has neither uncovered the truth nor mitigated the risk of even greater future devastation. The Dodd-Frank Bill does not provide necessary financial reform, because Wall Street lobbyists successfully tailored the language to suit bankers.

Senator Carl Levin (D. Mich.), Chairman of a senate investigative panel, issued a memo stating that Goldman "magnified the impact of toxic mortgages." In other words, it kept repackaging, reselling or protecting (buying credit default protection on) losers. It took the wrong kind of nerve for Goldman’s CEO to say he was doing "God’s work,"* when the reality includes this brand of malicious mischief.

In one case, a $38 million subprime-mortgage bond created in June 2006 ended up in more than 30 debt pools and ultimately caused roughly $280 million in losses to investors by the time the bond’s principal was wiped out in 2008, according to date reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

"Senate’s Goldman Probe Shows Toxic Magnification," by Carrick Mollenkamp and Serena Ng, Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2010.

All of the large Wall Street banks generate huge risk in foreign exchange, commodities trading, interest rate derivatives, credit derivatives and more. The Dodd-Frank Bill’s so-called financial reform leaves the entire financial system at great risk from "customer transactions."

In Third World America, Arianna Huffington explains how Wall Street bought off Congress. America’s middle class is caught in the middle of a bi-partisan betrayal. Righting these wrongs will not be easy. Among other things, it may require an amendment to our Constitution to prevent money cartels from buying off our elected officials.

On April 20, 2009, Brian Lamb, CEO of CSpan, interviewed me about Wall Street’s Ponzi scheme, control in Washington, and influence over main stream media:

* Endnote: Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s quip that he is doing "God’s work," is put in its proper perspective by this apt quuote at Jesse’s Cafe Americain :

"There will be hard times in the last days. People will love only themselves and money. They will brag and be proud, tearing others down. They will be without love, gratitude, respect, or forgiveness. They will tell lies and be out of control. They will despise what is good and betray friends. They will believe they are better than others, and will love only what pleases them. They will say they are serving God, but their actions will show they are not." 2 Timothy 3:1-5

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Melting Ice-Walruses-Climate Change News

Melting sea ice forces walruses ashore in Alaska

Walrus AP – This Sept. 7, 2010 picture provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a walrus calf looking out from …

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Mon Sep 13, 6:12 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in northwest Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted.

Federal scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.

The population of walruses stretches "for one mile or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," U.S. Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands.

Scientists with two federal agencies are most concerned about the one-ton female walruses stampeding and crushing each other and their smaller calves near Point Lay, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to change airplane flight patterns to avoid spooking the animals. Officials have also asked locals to be judicious about hunting, said agency spokesman Bruce Woods.

The federal government is in a year-long process to determine if walruses should be put on the endangered species list.

Click image to see photos of Walruses in Alaska

capt.2d69c03e1a734ef0955de03ff8203022-2d69c03e1a734ef0955de03ff8203022-0.jpg?x=400&y=222&q=85&sig=wjMifXlVaLAGlF00mQbdPQ--
AP/U.S. Geological Survey

Fischbach said scientists don’t know how long the walrus camp-out will last, but there should be enough food for all of them.

During normal summers, the males go off to play in the Bering Sea, while the females raise their young in the Chukchi. The females rest on sea ice and dive from it to the sea floor for clams and worms.

"When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it’s a long commute," Fischbach said. "This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."

Loss of sea ice in the Chukchi this summer has surprised scientists because last winter lots of old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. But that has disappeared.

Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there’s been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming.

"We’ll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."

___

Online

U.S. Geological Survey walrus research site: http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/walrus/index.html

The National Snow and Ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html

photovoltaic technology can keep repairing itself

Solar Cell, Heal Thyself

New self-assembling photovoltaic technology can keep repairing itself to avoid any loss in performance.

by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office
Published: September 9, 2010

Cambridge, MA, USA — Plants are good at doing what scientists and engineers have been struggling to do for decades: converting sunlight into stored energy, and doing so reliably day after day, year after year. Now some MIT scientists have succeeded in mimicking a key aspect of that process.

One of the problems with harvesting sunlight is that the sun’s rays can be highly destructive to many materials. Sunlight leads to a gradual degradation of many systems developed to harness it. But plants have adopted an interesting strategy to address this issue: They constantly break down their light-capturing molecules and reassemble them from scratch, so the basic structures that capture the sun’s energy are, in effect, always brand new.

That process has now been imitated by Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and his team of graduate students and researchers. They have created a novel set of self-assembling molecules that can turn sunlight into electricity; the molecules can be repeatedly broken down and then reassembled quickly, just by adding or removing an additional solution. Their paper on the work was published on Sept. 5 in Nature Chemistry.

Strano says the idea first occurred to him when he was reading about plant biology. “I was really impressed by how plant cells have this extremely efficient repair mechanism,” he says. In full summer sunlight, “a leaf on a tree is recycling its proteins about every 45 minutes, even though you might think of it as a static photocell.”

One of Strano’s long-term research goals has been to find ways to imitate principles found in nature using nanocomponents. In the case of the molecules used for photosynthesis in plants, the reactive form of oxygen produced by sunlight causes the proteins to fail in a very precise way. As Strano describes it, the oxygen “unsnaps a tether that keeps the protein together,” but the same proteins are quickly reassembled to restart the process.

This action all takes place inside tiny capsules called chloroplasts that reside inside every plant cell — and which is where photosynthesis happens. The chloroplast is “an amazing machine,” Strano says. “They are remarkable engines that consume carbon dioxide and use light to produce glucose,” a chemical that provides energy for metabolism.

To imitate that process, Strano and his team, supported by grants from the MIT Energy Initiative and the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT, produced synthetic molecules called phospholipids that form disks; these disks provide structural support for other molecules that actually respond to light, in structures called reaction centers, which release electrons when struck by particles of light. The disks, carrying the reaction centers, are in a solution where they attach themselves spontaneously to carbon nanotubes — wire-like hollow tubes of carbon atoms that are a few billionths of a meter thick yet stronger than steel and capable of conducting electricity a thousand times better than copper. The nanotubes hold the phospholipid disks in a uniform alignment so that the reaction centers can all be exposed to sunlight at once, and they also act as wires to collect and channel the flow of electrons knocked loose by the reactive molecules.

The system Strano’s team produced is made up of seven different compounds, including the carbon nanotubes, the phospholipids, and the proteins that make up the reaction centers, which under the right conditions spontaneously assemble themselves into a light-harvesting structure that produces an electric current. Strano says he believes this sets a record for the complexity of a self-assembling system. When a surfactant — similar in principle to the chemicals that BP has sprayed into the Gulf of Mexico to break apart oil — is added to the mix, the seven components all come apart and form a soupy solution. Then, when the researchers removed the surfactant by pushing the solution through a membrane, the compounds spontaneously assembled once again into a perfectly formed, rejuvenated photocell.

“We’re basically imitating tricks that nature has discovered over millions of years” — in particular, “reversibility, the ability to break apart and reassemble,” Strano says. The team, which included postdoctoral researcher Moon-Ho Ham and graduate student Ardemis Boghossian, came up with the system based on a theoretical analysis, but then decided to build a prototype cell to test it out. They ran the cell through repeated cycles of assembly and disassembly over a 14-hour period, with no loss of efficiency.

Strano says that in devising novel systems for generating electricity from light, researchers don’t often study how the systems change over time. For conventional silicon-based photovoltaic cells, there is little degradation, but with many new systems being developed — either for lower cost, higher efficiency, flexibility or other improved characteristics — the degradation can be very significant. “Often people see, over 60 hours, the efficiency falling to 10 percent of what you initially saw,” he says.

The individual reactions of these new molecular structures in converting sunlight are about 40 percent efficient, or about double the efficiency of today’s best solar cells. Theoretically, the efficiency of the structures could be close to 100 percent, he says. But in the initial work, the concentration of the structures in the solution was low, so the overall efficiency of the device — the amount of electricity produced for a given surface area — was very low. They are working now to find ways to greatly increase the concentration.

Philip Collins ’90, associate professor of experimental and condensed-matter physics at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in this work, says, “One of the remaining differences between man-made devices and biological systems is the ability to regenerate and self-repair. Closing this gap is one promise of nanotechnology, a promise that has been hyped for many years. Strano’s work is the first sign of progress in this area, and it suggests that ‘nanotechnology’ is finally preparing to advance beyond simple nanomaterials and composites into this new realm.”

David Chandler is a writer in the MIT News Office.

record of 17.6% on flexible CIGS solar cell

Efficiency record of 17.6% on flexible CIGS solar cell on plastic developed at EMPA

Flexible thin film solar cells on polymer film with a new record efficiency of 17.6% have been developed by the scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (EMPA). The conversion efficiency record has been independently certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, Germany.

Lower thermal budget and roll-to-roll manufacturing of high efficiency flexible CIGS solar cells will pave the way for substantial reduction in production cost of next generation of solar modules produced on large industrial scale in future.

Scientists under the leadership of Dr. Ayodhya N. Tiwari at the Laboratory of Thin Film and Photovoltaics, EMPA in Switzerland have been developing thin film solar cells based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 semiconductor material. The research group at EMPA working in close collaboration with FLISOM Company, has developed a process that resulted in a remarkably high 17.6% efficiency solar cell which is an independently certified highest efficiency record for any type of flexible solar cell on polymer film reported up to now.

This development is challenging because most of the polymer films used as substrate, lack thermal stability for growth of high electronic and structural quality CIGS solar cell layers at high temperatures. High thermal expansion coefficient of polymer causes a large stress in the layers deposited at high substrate temperature, resulting in cracks and delamination of the solar cells from the substrate. Adrian Chirila and other colleagues, working under the supervision of Dr. Tiwari have been developing a vacuum evaporation process for growth of high quality CIGS absorber layers at sufficiently low temperature of about 450 °C. This is suitable for polyimide film as a flexible substrate for roll-to-roll manufacturing.

Moving from a previous record value of 14.1% to a new record of 17.6% was achieved by reducing the optical and electronic losses in the CIGS solar cell structure. The most important factor was the optimisation of the composition gradient of Ga across the CIGS layer thickness and an appropriate incorporation of Na for doping during the final stage of the growth process. Consequently, an optimum band gap grading and larger grain size in CIGS layer resulted in a substantial increase in the efficiency of flexible solar cells. The photovoltaic measurements performed under the standard test condition at ISE Freiburg confirmed 17.6% efficiency with Voc = 688 mV, Isc = 34.8 mA/cm2, FF = 73.6%.

The low temperature process for CIGS deposition offers a unique advantage that the same process and equipment can be used for polymer as well as metal foils. Flexible CIGS solar cells on metal foils with highest efficiency of ca 17.5% are generally grown at high temperatures above 550 °C, while lower efficiencies were obtained on polymer films because of lower deposition temperature. This successful development has closed the efficiency gap between the solar cells on polymer and metal foils. This solar cell processing can be adapted for roll-to-roll manufacturing of monolithically connected solar modules on polymer films.Lower thermal budget and roll-to-roll manufacturing of high efficiency flexible CIGS solar cells will pave the way for substantial reduction in production cost of next generation of solar modules produced on large industrial scale in future.

This November, Dr. Tiwari Ayodhya will be speaking at the 3rd Thin Film Solar Summit USA about enhancing thin film efficiency and the developments that will allow the industry to go beyond the 12% mark. For more information about his participation visit www.thinfilmtoday.com/us

MIT Researchers Develop a Way to Funnel Solar Energy

MIT Researchers Develop a Way to Funnel Solar Energy

New antenna made of carbon nanotubes could make photovoltaic cells more efficient.

by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
Published: September 13, 2010

Cambridge, MA, USA — Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

"Instead of having your whole roof be a photovoltaic cell, you could have little spots that were tiny photovoltaic cells, with antennas that would drive photons into them," says Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and leader of the research team.

Strano and his students describe their new carbon nanotube antenna, or "solar funnel," in the Sept. 12 online edition of the journal Nature Materials. Lead authors of the paper are postdoctoral associate Jae-Hee Han and graduate student Geraldine Paulus (pictured above).

Their new antennas might also be useful for any other application that requires light to be concentrated, such as night-vision goggles or telescopes.

Solar panels generate electricity by converting photons (packets of light energy) into an electric current. Strano’s nanotube antenna boosts the number of photons that can be captured and transforms the light into energy that can be funneled into a solar cell.

The antenna consists of a fibrous rope about 10 micrometers (millionths of a meter) long and four micrometers thick, containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes. Strano’s team built, for the first time, a fiber made of two layers of nanotubes with different electrical properties — specifically, different bandgaps.

In any material, electrons can exist at different energy levels. When a photon strikes the surface, it excites an electron to a higher energy level, which is specific to the material. The interaction between the energized electron and the hole it leaves behind is called an exciton, and the difference in energy levels between the hole and the electron is known as the bandgap.

The inner layer of the antenna contains nanotubes with a small bandgap, and nanotubes in the outer layer have a higher bandgap. That’s important because excitons like to flow from high to low energy. In this case, that means the excitons in the outer layer flow to the inner layer, where they can exist in a lower (but still excited) energy state.

Therefore, when light energy strikes the material, all of the excitons flow to the center of the fiber, where they are concentrated. Strano and his team have not yet built a photovoltaic device using the antenna, but they plan to. In such a device, the antenna would concentrate photons before the photovoltaic cell converts them to an electrical current. This could be done by constructing the antenna around a core of semiconducting material.

The interface between the semiconductor and the nanotubes would separate the electron from the hole, with electrons being collected at one electrode touching the inner semiconductor, and holes collected at an electrode touching the nanotubes. This system would then generate electric current. The efficiency of such a solar cell would depend on the materials used for the electrode, according to the researchers.

Strano’s team is the first to construct nanotube fibers in which they can control the properties of different layers, an achievement made possible by recent advances in separating nanotubes with different properties.

While the cost of carbon nanotubes was once prohibitive, it has been coming down in recent years as chemical companies build up their manufacturing capacity. "At some point in the near future, carbon nanotubes will likely be sold for pennies per pound, as polymers are sold," says Strano. "With this cost, the addition to a solar cell might be negligible compared to the fabrication and raw material cost of the cell itself, just as coatings and polymer components are small parts of the cost of a photovoltaic cell."

Strano’s team is now working on ways to minimize the energy lost as excitons flow through the fiber, and on ways to generate more than one exciton per photon. The nanotube bundles described in the Nature Materials paper lose about 13 percent of the energy they absorb, but the team is working on new antennas that would lose only 1 percent.

Anne Trafton is a writer in the MIT news office.

MIT Researchers Develop a Way to Funnel Solar Energy

MIT Researchers Develop a Way to Funnel Solar Energy

New antenna made of carbon nanotubes could make photovoltaic cells more efficient.
by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
Published: September 13, 2010

Cambridge, MA, USA — Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.

"Instead of having your whole roof be a photovoltaic cell, you could have little spots that were tiny photovoltaic cells, with antennas that would drive photons into them," says Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and leader of the research team.

Strano and his students describe their new carbon nanotube antenna, or "solar funnel," in the Sept. 12 online edition of the journal Nature Materials. Lead authors of the paper are postdoctoral associate Jae-Hee Han and graduate student Geraldine Paulus (pictured above).

Their new antennas might also be useful for any other application that requires light to be concentrated, such as night-vision goggles or telescopes.

Solar panels generate electricity by converting photons (packets of light energy) into an electric current. Strano's nanotube antenna boosts the number of photons that can be captured and transforms the light into energy that can be funneled into a solar cell.

The antenna consists of a fibrous rope about 10 micrometers (millionths of a meter) long and four micrometers thick, containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes. Strano's team built, for the first time, a fiber made of two layers of nanotubes with different electrical properties — specifically, different bandgaps.

In any material, electrons can exist at different energy levels. When a photon strikes the surface, it excites an electron to a higher energy level, which is specific to the material. The interaction between the energized electron and the hole it leaves behind is called an exciton, and the difference in energy levels between the hole and the electron is known as the bandgap.

The inner layer of the antenna contains nanotubes with a small bandgap, and nanotubes in the outer layer have a higher bandgap. That's important because excitons like to flow from high to low energy. In this case, that means the excitons in the outer layer flow to the inner layer, where they can exist in a lower (but still excited) energy state.

Therefore, when light energy strikes the material, all of the excitons flow to the center of the fiber, where they are concentrated. Strano and his team have not yet built a photovoltaic device using the antenna, but they plan to. In such a device, the antenna would concentrate photons before the photovoltaic cell converts them to an electrical current. This could be done by constructing the antenna around a core of semiconducting material.

The interface between the semiconductor and the nanotubes would separate the electron from the hole, with electrons being collected at one electrode touching the inner semiconductor, and holes collected at an electrode touching the nanotubes. This system would then generate electric current. The efficiency of such a solar cell would depend on the materials used for the electrode, according to the researchers.

Strano's team is the first to construct nanotube fibers in which they can control the properties of different layers, an achievement made possible by recent advances in separating nanotubes with different properties.

While the cost of carbon nanotubes was once prohibitive, it has been coming down in recent years as chemical companies build up their manufacturing capacity. "At some point in the near future, carbon nanotubes will likely be sold for pennies per pound, as polymers are sold," says Strano. "With this cost, the addition to a solar cell might be negligible compared to the fabrication and raw material cost of the cell itself, just as coatings and polymer components are small parts of the cost of a photovoltaic cell."

Strano's team is now working on ways to minimize the energy lost as excitons flow through the fiber, and on ways to generate more than one exciton per photon. The nanotube bundles described in the Nature Materials paper lose about 13 percent of the energy they absorb, but the team is working on new antennas that would lose only 1 percent.

Anne Trafton is a writer in the MIT news office.


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