Computational creativity and the future of AI

Environment

Cross-section of an organic photovoltaic cell

Few would argue with the attractiveness of solar as an alternative energy source, but the cost of conventional photovoltaics has long been a stumbling block on the path to making it a viable option. This is changing rapidly. Grid parity, as the target for equaling coal burning production costs is called, has recently been claimed by solar manufacturers and research dedicated to improving solar systems continues on many fronts. Photovoltaics using organic molecules is one of them. This technology promises cells that are cheap, easy to make and flexible, and this flexibility makes them suitable for a diverse range of applications like powering your mobile phone, or lining your backpack or window shades. The problem is that currently they only last a few thousand hours and are inefficient, converting less than 6 percent of light into electricity. Work by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) could help change this.  Read More

Artists impression of a VES in New York

Demand for office and housing space in ever diminishing land space has led to taller and taller buildings reaching for the skies in cities around the world. This shortage of land in many cities has unfortunately also led to a scarcity of natural vegetation in urban settings. We’ve looked at several vertical-farming concepts - dedicated buildings that provide space to grow crops in city centers - but a new architectural system from Vertical Landscapes (VL) seeks to invite nature back into our cities on a broader scale. The architectural system transforms buildings into columns of vegetation to add a much needed touch of green, help clean the city air and possibly even produce small scale crops, all while retaining the building’s usual use for office or housing space.  Read More

Which came first, the chicken or the biodiesel? Well the chicken obviously 
 (Photo: The A...

Scientists in Nevada have found a new and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel – “chicken feather meal”, a delightful material that consists of chicken feathers, blood, and innards made from the 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste that accumulates annually in the US alone.  Read More

Baryonyx will use both on and offshore wind farms as its main source of power

The push for more dedicated use of renewable energies has been given a boost recently by Texas startup Baryonyx Corp, which has successfully procured the lease for what will be the largest offshore wind concessions in the USA. A total of 8,000 acres of land in Dallam County and 38,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico will power ‘Tier4’ data centers by generating a potential 3GW of energy.  Read More

A typical SCORE generator will weigh between 10 and 20kg

Two years ago experts began work on a revolutionary new stove that could help reduce poverty in third world countries. The £2m SCORE project (Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity) was designed to offer cooking, refrigeration and energy production from a wood-powered generator and subsequent developments have now brought the project to a point where it can be mass-produced.  Read More

A rendering showing what the street lights might look like in a typical urban street. With...

It provides light where there is darkness, it gives a sense of safety and security, but it's also a power leech. The humble street light. Thankfully, the move away from the grid is already well underway with companies like Urban Green Energy busy transforming these familiar towers of light into self sufficient beacons that harness the power of the elements - in this case, it's a hybrid solution that uses both the wind and the sun.  Read More

GE's new outdoor LED lighting system casts a more even light across large spaces, reducing...

If you’ve ever crossed a parking lot at night and found yourself nervously hurrying from one reassuring pool of light to the next, you’ll be pleased to learn GE believes it has come up with a way to banish lurking shadows from large outdoor areas. The GE Evolve LED area light produces less glare and a more uniform level of light, reducing hot spots and dark spots. And, as an added bonus, it’s 30% more energy-efficient than traditional outdoor lighting.  Read More

Plantagon's spherical design optimises conditions throughout the year.

While perhaps not as architecturally ambitious as the Dragonfly concept we looked at last week, this urban farming design from Swedish-American company Plantagon has the same environmentally-friendly ambitions along with a distinctly eye-catching design of its own.  Read More

A Metal-Organic Heat Carrier (MOHC) molecule that may help improve thermodynamic efficienc...

Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly, but it has previously been limited to geographic areas near tectonic plate boundaries. New technologies, such as that employed in the Raser low-temperature binary geothermal plant, promise to expand the opportunities for geothermal plants. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have devised a method for capturing significantly more heat from low-temperature geothermal resources to further boost the possibility of virtually pollution-free electricity.  Read More

The Polaris Breeze

Polaris has announced a low emission electric powered Neighborhood Vehicle, the Polaris Breeze, the first product of its new On-Road Vehicle Division. The Breeze is designed for multiple consumer uses such as golfing, comfortably transporting up to four passengers, or easily carrying light cargo loads. The vehicle is targeted towards master planned communities, and will be available in limited quantities in September 2009. Perhaps more importantly, now that electric vehicle manufacture has been added to the company skills base, what other electric capability might be added to other Polaris products?  Read More

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