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Environment

A new system being developed at MIT would store excess energy in concrete spheres on the s...

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines.  Read More

The Hotchkiss School's new biomass building (Photo: Centerbrook)

A US school has cut a six-figure sum from its winter energy bill by replacing its oil-burning boiler with woodchip biomass ones. The switch has reduced the school's carbon footprint by between 35 and 45 percent. The boilers are housed in a brand new green-roofed building which has become only the third LEED-certified power facility in the US.  Read More

The SOLARWATT Carport System

BMW’s sustainable mobility-focused sub-brand BMW i has announced it is to join forces with German photovoltaic firm SOLARWATT GmbH, in a bid to supply consumer-friendly solar-powered carport and rooftop charging systems to future i3 and i8 owners.  Read More

Schematic of the new street lamp

For astronomers, a well-lit city means a sky unavailable for study. Worse, light pollution is blamed for affecting bird migration, sea turtle hatching, and wildlife mating and feeding routines. Researchers at National Central University, Taiwan, and Unidad Academica de Fisica, Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico, have attacked the problem with a new LED street lamp designed to shine only where needed, without splashing into unwanted areas, as a way to reduce light pollution while providing better lighting.  Read More

IBM is developing an affordable High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system tha...

Solar power may provide a clean, abundant source of energy, but we know the sun's rays are capable of much, much more. Aside from generating electricity, we've seen solar energy harnessed to produce drinkable water as well, so why not combine the two processes into one system? That's what IBM and its collaborators are hoping to do with an affordable High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that uses cooling technology from supercomputers to harvest solar energy more efficiently and produce purified water at the same time.  Read More

A newly-developed roof panel both reflects sunlight, and emits heat drawn from the buildin...

Studies have already shown us how white-painted roofs can help cool buildings by reflecting sunlight, while "green" roofs beat the heat by blocking sunlight and providing a source of evaporative cooling. Now, a team of scientists from Stanford University have created a panel that not only reflects sunlight, but it also draws heat from within the building and emits it into outer space.  Read More

The social networking giant's new live dashboard lets you monitor the efficiency of its da...

Data center efficiency is quite the hot topic these days, and companies are keen to emphasize their green credentials. Rather than releasing their stats on a quarterly basis like most other companies, Facebook has launched a new live dashboard showing the efficiency of its Oregon and North Carolina facilities, and the numbers speak for themselves.  Read More

Lockheed Martin and Reignwood Group plan to develop a 10 MW prototype OTEC pilot plant off...

Lockheed Martin has been getting its feet wet in the renewable energy game for some time. In the 1970s it helped build the world’s first successful floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system that generated net power, and in 2009 it was awarded a contract to develop an OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii. That project has apparently been canceled but the company has now shifted its OTEC sights westward by teaming up with Hong Kong-based Reignwood Group to co-develop a pilot plant that will be built off the coast of southern China.  Read More

Bill Gray is looking to the past to reinvent the future of energy storage with a new take ...

It's no secret that the successful future of wind, solar and other renewable sources hinges on the development of cost effective energy storage systems. Silicon Valley inventor Bill Gray believes his novel approach to flywheel technology could be the answer.  Read More

Researchers in Australia have developed the PowerWINDows, a new type of wind turbine that ...

Wind farms may be hitting the big time, but that hasn't deterred inventors and technologists from tinkering, or even reinventing, the turbine itself. In the past few months we've seen wind energy systems that use discs attached to hydraulics and even charged water droplets, but how about skyscrapers outfitted with rotating window panels? This is the idea behind the University of Wollongong's PowerWINDows concept, a modular wind turbine designed to have less of an impact on the surrounding environment.  Read More

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