Posts tagged ‘smartphones’

February 15, 2012

Graphene, the Supermaterial

Its discovering scientists have been awarded with the Nobel prize last year, and two of them have just recently been knighted and every week there seems to be a new study or research published on another amazing feature. But what exactly is this new supermaterial, graphene?

Graphene is basically a one-atom thick, two-dimensional sheet of carbon.

It’s currently the thinnest material discovered and therefore it’s almost transparent. It’s great at conducting electricity, enabling faster, more efficient and more focused electricity and right now it’s the best known heat conductor.

It’s also impermeable, flexible and at the same time the ‘strongest material ever measured‘.

One of the special features of the material is that it lacks the so-called ‘band gap’, a band where electrons can move between the ‘valence’ and ‘conduction bands’. This determines the material’s conductivity, and it’s important for the development of items like transistors or solar cells.

Where can it be used?

With all these great features, graphene seems to have unlimited opportunities.

Being thin and almost transparent, it’s great for touchscreens as well as solar cells.

For solar cells, the missing band gap is also ideal, while in computing this may mean a disadvantage for the transistors. These are used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power, and are found in computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets. The absence of band gap does not allow to switch off currents, but this may be solved by doping, introducing impurities to a pure material. In this way it could also be great for photovoltaic cells.

Thanks to these many characteristics it’s being considered for replacing currently used silicon in transistors. Hence electronic devices may become faster, thinner and also cheaper.

But the number of opportunities goes on.

Being impermeable it could be great for gas detectors, and added graphene could harden tyres for safer driving, as well.

Also, the oil industry is enthusiastic about the material, having recently used graphene oxide against clogging of pores in wells.

There are already many giants undertaking research with graphene, including Samsung, IBM and Nokia, with impressive results, including faster-than-ever transistors or greatly flexible touchscreens.

One of the main questions however is whether these great features will also work at a larger scale so it could be used for mass production.

Written for the Energy Saving Warehouse

August 8, 2011

Save Energy With Your Smartphone

As smartphones are becoming more and more popular, it seems that there is a need for an ’app’ for everything. Besides plenty of games and business applications there are now also a lot of ’green’ ones available, which can even help people to save energy.

Energy-saving apps

There are four basic types of apps available in various app stores, which offer energy saving solutions.

  • Some give daily advice and information for users on how to consume less electricity, gas or water, and some even include consumption data of various home appliances, like Kill-O-Watts, Green Outlet, Watts Plus or TV Energy Labels, which specifically lists the consumption data of various TV brands. Shopgreen logs the carbon-dioxide savings with an integrated EcoBank providing rewards for users, while MyEnergyTips offers customised advice, and the This is Green app lists a wide array of useful information.
  • Numerous apps offer direct connection to home electronic systems and networks, acting as a ’remote control’ for managing devices. These can be useful, for example, when the user forgot to switch off the lights before leaving the house, but can easily do so with the help of these state-of-the-art apps. Some examples include the ecobee Smart Thermostat working via a WiFi network, Control4 My Home, or the Schlage LINK, which even enables the remote monitoring of doors.
  • A third type of app allows users to track their consumption, either that of gas, electricity or water in their homes, or the fuel used when driving.

Household consumption can be traced with the official British Gas App, through which also meter readings can be submitted; as well as with Meter Readings, MeterRead, or the My Water Diary app.

Fuel consumption tracking is offered, amongst others, by the Carbon Footprint or the GreenMeter applications.

  • There are also a number of apps available for various types of smartphones, enabling interesting solutions and methods for saving energy.

The AlertMe Energy Map shows the average total energy, electricity and gas consumption per household per year in a certain neighbourhood in the UK. Users thus can even compare their local data with other British boroughs.

The Sun Tracker app gives information for users specifically to their location about the hours of direct sunlight for calculating solar energy for installations, while the SunPower Monitoring app helps in monitoring the energy level generated by an already installed home solar system. Another interesting app is the The Create Green Energy, a guide on how to build cheap solar panels or wind turbines at home.

Overall, there are more and more apps available for the growing number of smartphones based on Apple’s, Blackberry’s or the Android operating system, which can help everyday people not only in saving energy but also at saving money.


Written for Energy Saving Warehouse

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