Advertisement
more top stories »

Environment


— Environment

Using aerospace principles to ride a wave of limitless energy

By - November 22, 2009 3 Pictures
The ocean is a potentially vast source of electric power, yet wave-energy systems are rare as they generally offer limited efficiency, must withstand battering storms, and need to be tethered to the sea floor. But by applying the principles that keep airplanes aloft, a team of aerospace engineers is creating a new wave energy system that is durable, extremely efficient, and can be placed anywhere on the ocean, regardless of depth. Read More
— Environment

Simpler, cheaper, biodegradable plastic without using fossil fuels

By - November 22, 2009
In recent years, polylactic acid (PLA) has attracted attention as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics. It is made from corn-starch, or other starch-rich substances like maize, sugar or wheat, and is biodegradable – reverting in less than 60 days in ideal conditions. PLA is already used as a material for compost bags, food packaging, and disposable tableware, and also for a number of biomedical applications, such as sutures, stents, dialysis media and drug delivery devices. Although its price has been falling, PLA is still more expensive than most petroleum-derived commodity plastics, but now a team of researchers has succeeded in simplifying the production of PLA and making the process much cheaper, meaning we could soon see PLA used in a much wider variety of applications. Read More
— Environment

Harnessing waste heat to produce electricity

By - November 19, 2009
That heat emanating from your computer as you sit reading this article amounts to nothing more than wasted energy. And your computer is not alone. More than half of the energy consumed worldwide is wasted, most of it in the form of excess heat. But new research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) indicates it might be possible to harvest much of the wasted heat produced by everything from computer processors to car engines and electric powerplants, and convert it into usable electricity. This kind of waste-energy harvesting might lead to mobile phones with double the talk time, laptop computers that can operate twice as long before needing to be plugged in to mains power, or energy plants that produce more electricity for a given amount of fuel. Read More
— Environment

The solar-powered school on stilts

By - November 19, 2009 14 Pictures
It's almost as good as going to school in a treehouse. The recently opened Elleray Preparatory School in the Lake District National Park has three class pods standing on stilts connected by a center platform made from recycled materials, such as plastic milk bottles and wood shavings. Nestled amongst the trees, the complex is built to have a low environmental impact and therefore makes excellent use of solar power, rainwater collection, and has an energy-efficient heat pump. Read More
— Environment

Shelf car sunshade generates solar power

By - November 16, 2009 3 Pictures
As the motoring world moves ever-closer to the welcome infiltration of electrically-powered cars, one thing holding them back is the availability of charging stations to “refuel” the vehicles which so far have an average range of around 120 miles between charges. The Shelf, a concept by Chinese designer Leon Zhu, takes advantage of the sun’s solar energy and collects enough of the stuff on a hot day to power the car’s air conditioner, tail lights and other electronic equipment, therefore extending the life of the car’s onboard batteries. What’s more, the solar panel protects your vehicle’s expensive duco from long exposure to the sun. Just don’t try to extend the solar panel while you’re driving. Read More
— Environment

Green Wavelength unveils bumblebee inspired wind turbine

By - November 5, 2009 2 Pictures
Gizmag's pages are filled with clever examples of biomimicry, and why not, evolution is after all the biggest, oldest and most successful design house we know of. Today's lesson is being given by insects like bumblebees, hummingbirds, and dragonflies, whose efficient wing flapping capabilities are being harnessed by Californian start-up Green Wavelength in an effort to produce more efficient wind turbines. Read More
— Environment

New solar storage solution could be the key to home-brewed electricity

By - November 4, 2009
Reports of new developments in the area of solar power are an almost daily event here at Gizmag. The main focus of research seems to be on improving the efficiency of solar cells, but others are working at developing an inexpensive method of locally storing the energy generated by solar systems. Because society relies on a continuous energy supply and solar energy is diurnal, storage systems are integral to what some see as an inevitable move towards the era of “personalized solar energy”, in which the focus of electricity production shifts from huge central generating stations to individuals in their own homes and communities. Read More
— Environment

Stealth wind turbines developed to avoid radar confusion

By - November 3, 2009
Plans for the installation of wind farms the world over are being delayed or abandoned due to objections from the aviation community or air defense interests. The problem is that when it comes to low flying aircraft or wind turbines, conventional radar has a bit of an identity crisis - not being able to tell the difference. Recent tests in the UK of "stealth" turbine technology could provide a solution. Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement