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Alternative Energy

Recent research in thermoelectric nanomaterials might lead to higher energy efficiency for...

Researchers at Purdue University in the U.S. have developed a new method of harvesting vast amounts of energy from waste heat. Using glass fibers dipped in a solution containing nanocrystals of lead telluride, the team led by Dr. Yue Wu is engineering a highly flexible thermoelectric system that generates electricity by gathering heat from water pipes and engine components.  Read More

Researchers are developing innovative ways to keep smartphones powered-up in the developin...

Smart phones are techno wonders, and they are also energy guzzlers, which is not a problem for people living in the developed world. However, their high energy requirements has stymied the adoption of mobile internet services in developing countries where mobile internet can be a real lifeline. In Africa, for example, few people can access the internet from a wired connection but 90 percent of the population lives in areas with mobile phone network coverage. There’s one problem though. Access to the power grid in Africa is limited.  Read More

Gizmag celebrates 10 years

Gizmag is celebrating its 10th birthday! Over the past decade we've published over 17,000 articles, covered a huge array of events around the globe and fostered a loyal worldwide audience willing to become part of the discussion surrounding the thing that fascinates us most - new technology. To mark our 10th birthday milestone we're taking a stroll through the archives to revisit some of the biggest hits and most popular themes in our history.  Read More

Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's...

From huge kites to sea-bound flywheels and roof-top installations to tree-like art creations, we've seen many different approaches to capturing energy from the wind. One design, though, reigns supreme - the tri-blade turbine tower. It's not exactly a trouble-free life at the top and there are those who do not look upon these monsters favorably, most often complaining about the noise and the not so picturesque view. With support from Nottingham Trent University's Future Factory project, Heath Evdemon is currently building a new type of wind turbine called the Wind Harvester that's claimed to be virtually silent, doesn't need to loom high over the landscape and can operate in a variety of wind conditions.  Read More

The launch of the Phoenix spacecraft on a Delta II rocket in 2007. NASA is looking for alt...

NASA has put out the call for greener propellant fuel for use on the spacecraft of the future. Though it does not appear that NASA has stipulated that alternative propellants must match the performance of current mainstay hydrazine, it's clear that only high-performance substances need apply. Environmental credentials are where the new fuel must demonstrate an edge over hydrazine, which is a corrosive, toxic pollutant. As well as the environmental benefits, use of greener propellants should prove more economical, reducing the need for involved safety procedures that can lengthen launch times.  Read More

Six different float designs undergoing tests in the wave pool of the Institute for Hydrome...

Israel's Eco Wave Power is just entering the second phase of proving its new wave energy harvest and conversion system that's claimed to produce cheaper energy than existing coal-fired power plants. Energy is captured by the influence of rising and falling waves on two proprietary float designs called the Wave Clapper and Power Wing, which are installed on existing, stable structures. The floats are said to be capable of gathering energy from both high and low waves, which is fed through undersea cabling to a land-based power plant for conversion to usable electricity.  Read More

Hematite nanoparticle film (red) with functional phycocyanin network (green) attached

Recently, scientists from the Swiss research institute EMPA, along with colleagues from the University of Basel and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois took a cue from photosynthesis and discovered that by coupling a light-harvesting plant protein with their specially designed electrode, they could substantially boost the efficiency of photo-electrochemical cells used to split water and produce hydrogen - a huge step forward in the search for clean, truly green power.  Read More

Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)

We've heard of gadgets being powered by some pretty crazy stuff, but how about paper? Sony recently showed off a new bio-cell battery that breaks down paper in order to create power. A paper battery sounds a little bit far-fetched, but the technology works, and could potentially change how we power devices in the future. So how does it work? The process starts with an enzyme suspended in water. When paper is dropped in, the enzyme starts to break it down and produce glucose that can then be harvested and used to power a battery. Sony described the break down process as similar to how a termite might eat and break down wood.  Read More

bioWAVE is a wave power system, inspired by the swaying motions of kelp plants

Anyone who has ever been scuba diving in a bull kelp forest will tell you - the stuff does not stand still. The marine aquatic plant consists of a long skinny-but-tough stem (or stipe) that is anchored to the sea floor and topped with a hollow float, from which a number of "leaves" (or blades) extend to the surface. The result is a seaweed that extends vertically up through the water column, continuously swaying back and forth with the surging waves. The researchers at Australia's BioPower Systems evidently looked at that kelp, and thought, "what if we could use that swaying action to generate power?" The result was their envisioned bioWAVE system, which could soon become a reality, thanks to a just-announced AUD$5 million (US$5.1 million) grant from the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources.  Read More

Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as ...

A vehicle that runs on air. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but energy is still needed to compress the air and the losses that go hand-in-hand with converting energy still have to be taken into account, just as in fossil fuel-based propulsion systems. Pros and cons aside, we still haven't seen air powered transport make an impact in the race to find economic, environmentally-friendly ways to get from A to B. Industrial Design student Dean Benstead thinks that compressed air does have a role to play in the future transport mix, and he's designed a working air-powered motorcycle prototype with a view to exploring the viability of the platform.  Read More

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