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Environment

An array of VIVACE
 Illustration credit: Omar Jamil

Hydro-power systems are by far the most widely used form of renewable energy on the planet, but despite their eco-friendly appeal the implementation of large scale facilities - particularly where dam building is involved - has some serious environmental and economic drawbacks. One solution to this impasse that is growing in support is to use leaner, less destructive systems to better harness current flow and provide energy at a local level. This is the thinking behind VIVACE, a machine developed at the University of Michigan which applies the same principles fish use to swim efficiently in order to generate power from currents much slower than those required to drive designs based on turbines and water mills.  Read More

The rotors can be raised above the waterline for maintenance

The giant 1.2MW SeaGen tidal energy system is on track to begin full operation in January following the replacement of two rotor blades on the second of its two turbines. The second turbine is now running under "test mode" while the first has been generating power into the local grid, at varying levels up to its maximum of 600kW, since the summer.  Read More

Fusion Canvas/Leather Solar Messenger Bag

Every owner of a personal electronic device knows the frustration of running out of battery power when out and about. Solar bags offer a great solution and a growing number of shapes and sizes (even golf bags) are hitting the market. The new Fusion Messenger Bags by Eclipse Solar Gear further adds to the options.  Read More

Bioethanol from Olive Stones

Have you every wondered what happens to all of the stones removed from the olives that end up on our shelves and in delis? The answer could now be that they are turned into bioethanol and used as an alternative to petrol or diesel.  Read More

Human Pump concept by Gunwook Nam

According to research from the Pacific Institute, more than five million people die each year from water-related disease, primarily due to inadequate access to clean water which, if it is available, often requires trekking over long distances to reach it. Gunwook Nam from South Korea has proposed a solution that harnesses people power - literally. The Human Pump concept uses a boardwalk structure fitted with springs that captures and stores kinetic energy from foot-traffic and uses it to pump underground water to the surface.  Read More

Mini sensor to improve detection of greenhouse gases

Governments could be able to more easily and cheaply monitor greenhouse gas emissions thanks to a miniature gas sensor being developed by a new European consortium, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The sensor would also have applications for consumers by improving air conditioning in buildings.  Read More

The project will utilize Vergnet turbines
 Photo: www.vergnet.fr

With its nation in need of additional energy resources, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEEPC) has announced it will build Africa's largest wind farm - a 120MW facility to be based in Ashegoba in the country’s north.  Read More

The Cool Earth concentrator design

There is no doubt that mankind stands at a pivotal point in our history in relation to our consumption of global resources and the resultant impact on the planet on which we live. By far the biggest concern is our ever-growing appetite for energy to power the lifestyles we have grown not only accustomed to, but also dependent upon. Solar is one answer with great potential, but economics and the amount of power it can produce in comparison to fossil fuel power stations has held it back so far. Now new approaches like Cool Earth’s collectors are becoming advanced enough to effectively tackle these problems with technology that relies on inexpensive and free materials, is scalable, able to compete economically with fossil fuel power plants and is capable of delivering not just megawatts, but gigawatts of clean power.  Read More

Solar panels atop HP's San Diego facility (Photo: Business Wire)

HP has announced details of renewable energy initiatives within its facilities, research and products with the aim of doubling the company’s global purchase of renewable power by 2012. Currently using under 4% renewable energy, the global technology giant hopes to increase its use to 8% within the next four years.  Read More

Applied Materials' newly completed solar energy system

Two new solar power installations totaling 2.1 megawatts are now online at Applied Materials' corporate research facilities in Sunnyvale, California. The systems, which include a 950 kilowatt SunPower PowerGuard installation and a 1.2 megawatt SunPower Tracker installation atop an elevated parking canopy, represent the largest solar power deployment at a corporate facility in the US.  Read More

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