Back to Work

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2009 by Steven

It’s that time of the year again. It’s back to work for me. Looks like an excting schedule lined up for this semester.



Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2008 by Steven

I’m finally feeling that urge to blog again, so here goes nothing.

From what I’ve seen around here, this job requires so much detail that it’s…well…awesome! I love the tedious work and documenting that goes into projects. Of course, they need to be projects that I find interesting; menial narratives and banal lab write-ups are not my cup of tea. But this HHO thing seems really interesting, and really do-able, a quality I like in projects. While others may not understand the deep scrutiny needed for the project, I can see why the boss has us jumping the hoops. It’s going to be like this in the “real” world, with much bigger and much more costly projects, so I can see how this will help us in the future, regardless of how superfluous it may seem right now. Also, there’s just now use in complaining about it; if the boss says it needs to be in the proposal, you put it in the proposal and then some. I don’t feel I’m in a position to question anybody seeing as how I have such little experience in the field. Maybe in a year or two…


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 10, 2008 by Steven

With so many alternative energy sources on the web, one can’t help but to ask themselves, “Where are the real life results?” 

Now I do acknowledge the facts of reality: great things take time and money, not to mention many rigorous testing procedures. But I have seen these ideas floating around for quite some time. I’m starting to think the media is just feeding us these stories to keep us complacent. I really don’t want to think that, but if we don’t see commercial results soon…

That reminds me, how come all I hear from these people is that “it will be affordable” yet noone wants to say what they cost now. It’s very frustrating trying to compare products and materials when you lack a very important fact in your criteria. 

I can’t wait to have my hand at some real life testing; a real walk in the shoes of those energy scientists. Maybe then I’ll understand why it’s been taking forever to manufacter something that should have been dont long ago. Or maybe I’ll come out with some tips to speed up their game!

It’s so hard to work with so many other things on your mind. 

4 Day Week

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2008 by Steven

The best part of a three day weekend is the four day week that follows. Two more days till Memphis!

While doing some light reading today, I have come to the conclusion that people are not like snowflakes, yet instead like…well, something not as unique. As soon as a good ideas pops in my head, someone has already thought of it first. But those are the good ideas emerging from the scientific comunity.

There is also the bizarre research: electrons becoming aware of their surroundings, protons getting smashed together at unheard of speeds, 2 dimensional nano-webs, and plently of other things I’ve only seen in movies. It really is an inspiration to come up with the next great idea. 

I’ll be honest, I’ve never searched the web this much. Well, not the informed part anyways. I feel like I really know what kind of turn the world is making and I like that. It makes me feel slighlty more grown up, something I never thought would happen. 

But it’s just the begining of my career as a co-op, and even more so as an engineer. I can’t wait to get into the really juicy stuff.

First Friday

Posted in Solar Research with tags , , , on August 22, 2008 by Steven

Today is the first friday of work. I’d say thats a good thing. The week has been full of ups and downs and ready to get off the rollercoaster for a bit, or at least 2 days.

Solar panels are an interesting thing. I would know since I’ve been looking at them a lot this past week. I thoguht they were simple mechanisms, just gathering light and making electricity; I thought they were a great way to solve our fossil fuel dependency. But further research shows me that they aren’t anywhere as simple or efficient as I once thought. Most are at around 20%, but those aren’t really cost efficient, while others are highly cost effective but only gather 9 maybe 10%.

What surprises me though is the amount of research & development going into increasing those numbers. New generations of solar cell research have increased efficiencies to around 30%, and researchers are doing that while maintaining a decent production cost.

What annoys me (just a little though) is when labs will find a way to increase efficiency to 40+%, but only through some high-tech crazy conttraption that doesn’t seem practical for out-of-lab (OL) application. Take IBM’s high-concentrating CPV that multiplies the sun’s intensity 2300 times. Their system may have done well on power output, but unless they can find a way to mass produce this system and a cheap way to keep it cool (something not in the range of 1600 degrees Celsius), I am not impressed.

In all, photovoltaic research has a long way to go. It’s neat to think that I might be helping with something like this, and maybe I’ll help with a crazy new breakthrough.

Starting Off

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2008 by Steven

Today is the first day. From what I can tell it will be a great Fall semester. Can’t wait to dive into the work.