A Space Solar Panel To Send Back Electricity To Earth?

A Space Solar Panel To Send Back Electricity To Earth?

Scientists at the Pentagon have been successful in testing a solar panel prototype. Sized as a pizza box, it is a reference for a future system, that could send electricity from space to any point on Earth.

Crux of the Matter

Tell Me More!
The panel called Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module (PRAM) was first launched in May 2020, attached to the Pentagon’s X-37B unmanned drone.

Light energy to electricity?
Blue light spreads on entering the atmosphere, which makes the sky appear blue. PRAM retains the energy of blue waves, making it more powerful than the sunlight that reaches Earth. 

What Is It Capable Of?
The 12×12-inch solar panel is capable of producing 10 watts of energy for transmission. This can power a tablet.

What’s More?
The tech has been proven but it is yet to send power from space. If made on a large scale, it can generate and distribute power to remote corners of the globe, contributing to Earth’s largest grid networks.

Temperature Is Key
Future PRAM versions would be located in geosynchronous orbit, circling 36,000 km away from Earth. For now, heaters were used to keep it at a constant, warm temperature and test its efficiency.

Can The Panel Accidentally Fire?
No. The panels will use the “retro-directive beam control” technique. This sends a pilot signal up from the destination antenna on Earth, to the panels in space.  Only then, the microwave beams from the panel would be transmitted and converted to electricity on earth.

Helpful In Natural Disasters
If made available for the general public, it would help in case of disaster situations like the recent Texas power outage, wherein normal grid infrastructure had collapsed.

What About A Giant Space Laser?
Well, the size of the antenna needed to create a destructive beam would be huge. “It would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible,” says Paul Jaffe, a co-developer.

Curiopedia
  • In 1839, the ability of some materials to create an electrical charge from light exposure was first observed by Alexandre Becquerel. Though the premiere solar panels were too inefficient for even simple electric devices.
  • In 1881, Charles Fritts created the first commercial solar panel, which was reported by Fritts as “continuous, constant and of considerable force not only by exposure to sunlight but also to dim, diffused daylight.” However, these solar panels were very inefficient, especially compared to coal-fired power plants.
  • In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is used in many modern solar panels. He patented his design in 1941. In 1954, this design was first used by Bell Labs to create the first commercially viable silicon solar cell.

Soaring Fuel Prices, Disappointing Individuals

Soaring Fuel Prices, Disappointing Individuals

Fuel prices have skyrocketed! We all know that and are concerned about it. There is also an ongoing debate on why fuel prices are increasing. Let’s get some perspective on the same.

Crux of the Matter

Let’s dive into the details by taking a look at the breakdown of the fuel price.

Reasons As Claimed By Minister
Union Petroleum and Natural gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan remarked the rising fuel prices was due to:

  • Reduced Fuel Production
  • OPEC+ nations seeking more profits

Uncontrollable Factors

  • Brent Crude rate increased from $40 a barrel to $63.49 since the pandemic.
  • Saudi Arabia cut down its daily production by a million barrels to shoot oil prices
  • 85% of India’s total fuel consumption is imported.

The Twist

  • Experts say, the Govt promptly passes the base price hike to the retail customers.
  • However, when oil prices reduced during the pandemic, the benefit was not passed.
  • In April 2020, petrol stood at ₹69.59/litre, while the base price was ₹27.96/litre.

Curiopedia
  • In economics, the Jevons paradox occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand. However, governments and environmentalists generally assume that efficiency gains will lower resource consumption, ignoring the possibility of the paradox arising.
  • In conservation and energy economics, the rebound effect (or take-back effect) is the reduction in expected gains from new technologies that increase the efficiency of resource use, because of behavioural or other systemic responses. These responses usually tend to offset the beneficial effects of the new technology or other measures are taken. For instance, if a 5% improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency results in only a 2% drop in fuel use, there is a 60% rebound effect. The ‘missing’ 3% might have been consumed by driving faster or further than before.
  • An ecotax is a tax levied on activities that are considered to be harmful to the environment and are intended to promote environmentally friendly activities via economic incentives. Such a policy can complement or avert the need for regulatory approaches. Ecotaxes address the failure of free markets to consider environmental impacts.

What Is The Reason Behind The Heightened Growth Of Taiwan In Recent?

What Is The Reason Behind Taiwan's Heightened Growth In Recent?

Seems like Taiwan lives in a parallel universe altogether! Of course not. But at a time when the world is trying to sustain the pandemic, this tiny island is growing at unimaginable levels. Curious to know why? Check out our story.

Crux of the Matter

The Gowth
Let’s start by taking a look at the island’s growth.

Why Such Growth?

  • Solely due to an increase in the country’s exports amidst a global shortage in the semiconductor supply.
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker is based out of Taiwan.
  • The semiconductor chips are one of the core components for the production of, electronic appliances, automobiles, smartphones, Internet of Things (IoT).

Other Reason

  • The island’s commendable navigation through the Covid pandemic.
  • There were just 9 deaths & less than 1000 reported cases since the outbreak.
  • The economy never came to standstill, and instead, domestic travel increased – giving a boost to overall inland earnings.

Economic Consequences
From an international perspective, with rising local currency, the island’s exports become costlier, hurting a key trade partner and a strong political ally, United States.

  • Growing exports
  • Currency appreciation. growth in stocks.
  • Imports become cheaper.
  • Demand for local products decrease.
  • Inflation decreases and thus the price level.
  • The local producers have to further lessen the price in order to be competitive.

Curious to know more about Taiwan and it’s history? Read More here.

Curiopedia
  • The Taiwan Miracle refers to the rapid industrialization and economic growth of Taiwan during the latter half of the twentieth century. As it developed alongside Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, Taiwan became known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers”.
  • Chinese Taipei” is the name used in some international organizations and competitions for Taiwan. This name was first proposed in the Nagoya Resolution whereby the ROC/Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China recognize the right of participation to each other when it comes to the activities of the International Olympic Committee and its correlates.
  • The Asian financial crisis was a period of a financial crisis that gripped much of East Asia and Southeast Asia beginning in July 1997 and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion. Taiwan was one of the least affected nations.

Riveting Tale Of Mama Earth

Riveting Tale Of Mama Earth

Here are life partners turned parents turned business partners – the Alaghs who founded Mama Earth. Let’s look at their growth story of making it a ₹500 Crore Brand.

Crux of the Matter

The Birth Story
When in 2016, the duo Ghazal & Varun Alagh failed to find any safe products for their newborn, it left them not just worried but heavily disappointed. Well, it was the same disappointment that led these parents to turn into entrepreneurs & started the venture, ‘Mama Earth’.

About Mama Earth
It’s the first Indian company to have toxin &  chemical-free products made entirely from natural ingredients. The aim is to reduce parental stress by perennial improvement & innovation to their products.  Headquartered at Gurugram.

Founders
Ghazal Alagh (Chief Mama)
Previously a corporate trainer now heads a team of 200 moms that looks after the product cycle – right from ideation to conceptualization to final launch.

Varun Alagh (Chief Dad)
Known for the brand management expertise in the FMCG industry, he has previously worked with Coca Cola & Hindustan Unilever.

What Is So Different?
Mama Earth is Asia’s first brand to get the MadeSafe certification for its toxin-free products. The raw materials they use are:

  • ISO certified
  • Compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • Not genetically modified

Winning Pointers
Targeted to young parents – connected with 500 mom bloggers. Lean Innovation Cycle:

  • Focused to introduce, learn and scale up the successful products quickly.
  • Allows customization of products.
  • Makes them more market-relevant.

The Success Ladder
Grew at more than 400% in previous FY, touching ₹500 crore mark in less than four years of its inception. It was also among the fastest-growing Indian companies.

New Product Developments
While Mama Earth uses natural ingredients, Derma Co employs scientific methods. Prescribes Advanced Clinical Formulations through the usage of AI to solve skin problems.

Challenges

  • Cutthroat competition from mighty FMCG brands when opting for physical presence.
  • Providing high quality, safe products at a reasonable price.
Curiopedia
  • Made Safe provides comprehensive human health and ecosystem-focused certification for nontoxic products across store aisles, from baby to personal care to household and beyond. The MADE SAFE seal literally means that a product is made with safe ingredients, without toxic chemicals known to harm our health.
  • Mamaearth plants a tree for every order placed on its website. The process is carried out with the help of the SankalpTaru Foundation, an IT-enabled NGO. Till now, Mamaearth has planted more than 55,000 saplings. (https://mamaearth.in/plant)
  • A toxin is a harmful substance produced within living cells or organisms. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger, derived from the word toxic.

Trivia Thursday: 7 Forgotten Apple Products

Trivia Thursday: 7 Forgotten Apple Products

As yesterday was the 66th birth anniversary of Steve Jobs, in this week’s Trivia Thursday we look back to 7 products by Apple which did not take off. This will also give us a possible glimpse behind what influenced Jobs’ design towards all the Apple products, and his personal fashion too.

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at some of the forgotten products launched by Apple.

Macintosh Bashful (1983)
This was a tablet prototype dedicated to one of the 7 Dwarfs from Disney and Apple’s “Snow White Industrial-Design Language”.

Apple Clothing (1986)
One year after Steve Jobs resigned as the chairman, the company launched a line of Apple-branded clothing, accessories, and lifestyle items.

Apple Time Band (1991)
Featured in Japanese magazine Axis, it resembled the personal digital assistant, Apple Newton, worn on a wrist.

Adjustable Keyboard (1993)
It had the ability to split in half for better ergonomic typing.

iPod Socks (2004)
Apple sold them in 6 catchy colors as the iPod protector.

iPod Hi-Fi (2006)
Apple designed this speaker system, specifically for the iPod.

Flower Power iMac
It was a throwback edition to Steve Jobs’ hippie roots in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Job’s Koumpounophobia
Steve Jobs suffered from koumpounophobia (phobia of buttons). Some have speculated that his condition influenced the trend towards touch screens and virtual keyboards in the design of Apple devices.

Take a look at our last week’s Trivia Thursday here: Quirky Things About Bitcoin