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Alternative Energy

— Science

Silicon nanoparticles could lead to on-demand hydrogen generation

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created spherical silicon nanoparticles they claim could lead to hydrogen generation on demand becoming a “just add water” affair. When the particles are combined with water, they rapidly form hydrogen and silicic acid, a nontoxic byproduct, in a reaction that requires no light, heat or electricity. In experiments, the hydrogen produced was shown to be relatively pure by successfully being used to power a small fan via a small fuel cell. Read More
— Science

Inexpensive catalyst for producing hydrogen under real-world conditions found

Hydrogen has been hailed as the fuel of the future, but producing it cleanly using platinum as a catalyst is simply too costly to service the world's energy needs. On the flipside, producing hydrogen with fossil fuels not only releases CO2 as a byproduct, but is unsustainable, negating hydrogen's green potential. However, hydrogen may yet make good on its promise thanks to a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge. Read More
— Environment

Pavegen kinetic energy tiles seek crowd-funding for school installations

"Create electricity, just by walking" is an evocative statement, and one which surely warrants some attention in these eco-efficient times when the need to seek alternative energy sources is well understood. Pavegen – a system for harvesting kinetic energy from foot traffic, and which the catchy soundbite belongs to – is now being put forward for crowd-funding through Kickstarter with the aim of raising enough money to fund two school projects, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. Read More
— Environment

Resurrected process converts sugar directly into diesel

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are generating bio fuels from renewable sources, such as sugar and starch, using a process that could be commercialized in as little as five to ten years. Although the fuels are currently more expensive to produce than those made from petroleum, they contain more energy per gallon than ethanol and the researchers say that, if adopted, could help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Read More
— Architecture

Suburban house to demonstrate net-zero energy usage

The opening of a suburban house doesn’t usually warrant a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but a new house constructed in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is special. Built for the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the typical-looking suburban home is designed to provide researchers with a place to test various high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials and designs. As a result, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF), as it is known, is expected, over the course of a year, to generate as much energy as a family of four living in it would consume in that period. Read More
— Environment

WWII veteran creates bird-friendly wind turbine

World War II veteran Raymond Green, an 89 year old resident of Jackson, California, has created a working prototype of a "bladeless" wind turbine which is bird and bat-friendly, and very quiet in operation. Though still in development at present, Green intends his design to be produced in various sizes, from smaller personal versions to much larger turbines which could be implemented in wind farms. Read More
— Good Thinking

Self-fueled work station concept generates energy while you sit

Unplugged is an office work station of the future concept that envisions powering your electronic devices via energy collected off the human body. The prototype was created by Swedish designer Eddi Törnberg as part of his final year thesis at Beckmans College of Design, in Stockholm, and you will be pleased to know that it doesn’t mean you'd be required to pedal away while you work. In fact all you would have to do is move about your office as normal, sit in your chair and let the heat of your body do the rest. Read More
— Marine

B9 Shipping developing 100 percent fossil fuel-free cargo sailing ships

Ireland-based B9 Shipping has started work on a full-scale demonstration vessel as part of its goal to design the modern world’s first 100 percent fossil fuel-free cargo sailing ships. Unlike most conventional large cargo vessels, which are powered by bunker fuel, B9 Shipping’s cargo ship would employ a Dyna-rig sail propulsion system combined with an off-the-shelf Rolls-Royce engine powered by liquid biomethane derived from municipal waste. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Wearable device generates electricity from walking knee movements

If you’ve ever worn a knee brace, then you may have noticed what a large change in angle your knee goes through with every step you take, and how quickly it does so. A team of scientists from the U.K.’s Cranfield University, University of Liverpool and University of Salford certainly noticed, and decided that all that movement should be put to use. The result is a wearable piezoelectric device that converts knee movement into electricity, which could in turn be used to power gadgets such as heart rate monitors, pedometers and accelerometers. Read More