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Manufacturing

Gaining the competitive edge: economic outlook and the ceramic industry

By Eileen De Guire / June 20, 2011

From CLS 2010: Rodney Lanthorne (Kyocera) , Joel Moskowitz (Ceradyne) and David Morse (Corning) jointly spoke on the topic, “Emerging Business and Technology Opportunities and Challenges for the Ceramics Community.” Similarly, representatives of small, medium and large enterprises will be featured in the CLS 2011 program. Last week we reported that the employment outlook for…

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Solar silicon manufacturing innovators get big boosts with new DOE loan guarantees

By / June 20, 2011

Calisolar silicon is purified in a unique, liquid-phase process producing solar silicon without the high energy and specialized equipment of conventional vapor-phase silicon purification. Credit: Calisolar. As I have written several times before, the costs tied to the processing and manufacturing of photovoltaic units are dropping, but they are still the main impediment to PV…

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Report released on state-by-state fuel cell activities

By Eileen De Guire / June 17, 2011

Praxair hydrogen fueling station at LAX. Credit: Fuel Cells 2000. Fuel Cells 2000 has just released its latest report, “State of the States: Fuel Cells in America,” (pdf) which is available free from their website. The 106-page report was assembled by the Washington-based nonprofit organization from public records, websites and communication with state and industry…

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Rare-earths chess game intensifies with new moves in China, Washington

By / June 16, 2011

Maybe not a zugzwang yet, but rare-earth strategies are getting more complex and riskier. Credit: Wikipedia. It’s been a while since I have addressed strategic materials, but several recent developments are worth noting. Let’s start by going back a few months. In late March, a ripple went out among rare-earth supply watchers when China’s Ministry…

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Solid job growth expected for engineers

By Eileen De Guire / June 15, 2011

Relative job growth trends for engineers from Indeed.com. The Indeed.com search engine searches openings at thousands of job sites. Credit: Indeed.com The Society for Automotive Engineers just released a survey-based study on anticipated employment trends for engineers in the 2011-2016 timeframe. The study focused on the so-called mobility industries: automotives, aerospace and commercial vehicles (e.g.,…

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Making photovoltaic solar cells that last

By Eileen De Guire / June 1, 2011

Solar concentration mirror for PV energy generation. Credit: Replex Plastics. Yesterday, the DOE announced $27 million in new funding for projects aimed at reducing the non-hardware costs of solar energy – things like streamlining zoning, building codes, regulations, etc. and the IT systems that will support them. It’s part of meeting the Obama administration’s SunShot…

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GE expands on thin-film solar, becomes near-term grid parity believer

By / June 1, 2011

CdTe array. Credit: NREL. For the first time that I am aware of, it General Electric seems to have jumped on the Sach’s Law bandwagon and decided that solar power very soon will be competitive with fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources. In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, GE’s global research director, Mark M.…

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TAMU group’s ultrathin polymer–clay coating creates flexible, transparent gas barrier

By / May 9, 2011

The clay–polymer layer-by-layer process (a) and an illustration of the quadlayer nano brick wall structure of PEI (blue), PAA (green), PEI and MMT clay (red). Credit: M.A. Priolo, et al; Nano Letters. It’s easy to imagine that the makers of food products have a wish list for packaging that, besides the obvious need to be…

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NIST news on glass transition, double graphene layers, magnet shape effects, new manufacturing blog and favored PV technologies

By / April 28, 2011

NIST measurements show that interactions of the graphene layers with the insulating substrate material causes electrons (red, down arrow) and electron holes (blue, up arrow) to collect in “puddles”. The differing charge densities creates the random pattern of alternating dipoles and electron band gaps that vary across the layers. Credit: NIST NIST’s latest Tech Beat…

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MS&T’10 beginning in Houston

By / October 17, 2010

I’ll be writing from Houston for the rest of the week, covering the MS&T’10 and the ACerS Annual Meeting events. Many consider Houston to be one of the centers of commerce for traditional (e.g., oil and gas) energy in the world, so I was somewhat surprised to run into several EV recharging stations like the…

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