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Environment

RUB researchers have developed a bio-based solar cell using cyanobacteria found in hot spr...

Researchers at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have created a bio-based solar cell capable of generating a continuous electrical current of several nanowatts per sq cm. The new approach avoids damage to the tapped photosynthetic cells, an issue that has plagued previous attempts to harness nature's "power plant."  Read More

Scientists have found huge freshwater reserves under the world's oceans (Photo: Shuttersto...

Scientists in Australia have reported the discovery of huge freshwater reserves preserved in aquifers under the world's oceans. The water has remained shielded from seawater thanks to the accumulation of a protective layer of sediment and clay. And it’s not a local phenomenon. Such reserves are to be found under continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.  Read More

The 'Flying House' will be used to test a new solar thermal heating system as part of the ...

Researchers at the University of Stuttgart are preparing to test a solar heating system capable of long term storage as part of "Solspaces," a three-year project that kicked off in March 2012. The heating concept uses a solar thermal system in conjunction with a sorption tank for storing heat from solar collectors throughout the warmer months that can then be released when the mercury drops.  Read More

The new system puts the weight of vehicles to use

Over the years, various researchers have developed systems in which the weight transferred through cars' wheels onto the road – or through pedestrians' feet onto the sidewalk – is used to generate electricity. These systems utilize piezoelectric materials, which convert mechanical stress into an electrical current. Such materials may be effective, but they're also too expensive for use in many parts of the world. That's why Mexican entrepreneur Héctor Ricardo Macías Hernández created his own rather ingenious alternative.  Read More

Amphiro's a1 self-powered water and energy meter puts water and energy consumption in the ...

There's nothing like putting real time water and energy usage information in your face to change people's shower habits, and that's just what Amphiro's a1 self-powered water and energy meter does. It connects between the shower hose and a handheld showerhead and, like the Driblet, generates the electricity required to power it from the flow of water running through it.  Read More

Spectrolab has achieved a new world record efficiency for a multi-junction solar cell (Pho...

Spectrolab has set a new solar cell efficiency record of 38.8 percent for a ground-based multi-junction solar cell. The new world record doesn't exactly smash the previous mark of 37.8 percent, which was also set by Spectrolab, but is welcome news in a field where every percentage point counts.  Read More

Vancouver's cigarette butts are being used to manufacture shipping pallets, among other th...

What can you say about cigarette butts? They instantly make wherever they are look seedy, they don't biodegrade, plus they're highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It turns out, however, that they are good for something. The City of Vancouver and TerraCycle Canada launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program this Tuesday, in which the butts will be collected for recycling.  Read More

Scientists have had success at capturing rare earth elements diluted in industrial wastewa...

Rare earth elements are an integral part of many of today's electronic devices, serving as magnets, catalysts and superconductors. Unfortunately, these minerals are also ... well, rare, and thus very pricey. Recently, however, scientists discovered that some of them can be reclaimed from industrial wastewater, instead of being mined from the earth.  Read More

Samsung's Digital Villages are powered by the Sun

Combining solar power, health care and education is the concept behind Samsung’s Digital Villages, a project recently launched in South Africa as the kick-off a larger plan that includes units in Ethiopia and Gabon by the end of 2013. The Digital Village is also designed to help local traders develop their business with a sustainable and low-cost alternative to fossil fuels.  Read More

A CPV system brings electricity to Madagascar villagers

Fondation Énergies pour le Monde (Energy for the World Foundation), an organization that promotes clean energy in developing countries, has completed the installation of a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system in Ambondro, southern Madagascar. The CPV system was also combined with existing wind turbines in the village, with project partner Sunidarity claiming it is the first decentralized rural electrification operation of its kind in Madagascar.  Read More

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