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Alternative Energy

Hydrogen generated from sunlight and ethanol

An international team of scientists has announced success in creating hydrogen at ambient temperature and pressure using a combination of sunlight and ethanol. The team of researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Scotland’s University of Aberdeen and New Zealand’s University of Auckland say the method is potentially cheaper, produces higher yields and, because no high temperatures or pressures are required, uses less energy than conventional methods.  Read More

Planning has been granted for a unique zero-carbon underground house in the U.K.

There's more to environmentally-friendly architecture than solar-panels and thermal mass, it's also about designing buildings that are not at-odds with their surroundings - particularly if the building is in the middle of a picturesque landscape. This example form Make Architects ticks both boxes - it uses on-site renewable energy to achieve a zero-carbon design and blends almost seamlessly into the landscape by ignoring convention and, like the residents of The Shire, going underground.  Read More

Scientists have determined the molecular structure of proteins that allow bacteria cells t...

The development of practical microbial fuel cells took a big step forward this week. Research conducted by a team of scientists from England’s University of East Anglia was published on Monday (May 23), in which they revealed that they had discovered “the exact molecular structure of the proteins which enable bacterial cells to transfer electrical charge.” Scientists possessing this knowledge can now start working on technology for tethering bacteria directly to electrodes, which could lead to much more efficient microbial fuel cells – also known as bio-batteries.  Read More

Flexible thin film CIGS solar cell on polymer substrate developed at Empa (Photo: Empa)

Swiss researchers have claimed a new world record efficiency of 18.7% for flexible copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) solar cells on plastics. Flexible CIGS solar cells have the potential to drive down the price of solar electricity because they are cheaper to produce and this latest breakthrough brings them closer to the highest efficiency levels achieved by crystalline silicon and rigid CIGS cells.  Read More

Spanish researchers have created the dAlh2Orean, a radio-controlled model car that creates...

As anyone who has seen Back to the Future will remember, the movie ended with Doc Brown fueling the time-traveling DeLorean’s “Mr. Fusion” reactor with household waste. Well, a student and a professor from the School of Industrial and Aeronautic Engineering at Barcelona’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have taken a step towards making that scenario a reality by adapting a radio-controlled model car to run on hydrogen fuel derived from waste aluminum and water. In a nod to the movie, they have named the car the dAlh2Orean ... as in, d-aluminum-water-rean.  Read More

The Eco Slim, powered by wind, solar and diesel-electric sources, is officially Europe's l...

It may be 24 meters (79 feet) long, 10.5 meters (34.5 feet) wide and be able to carry up to 150 passengers, but the Eco Slim seagoing catamaran produces less of a carbon footprint than vessels much smaller than itself. There are two main reasons for this – its electric motors, which are powered by several onboard renewable sources, and its lightweight, streamlined hull, that allows it to move through the water using a minimum amount of energy. Created by Spain’s Drassanes Dalmau shipbuilders and launched on March 31st, it’s officially Europe’s largest “green” catamaran.  Read More

An experimental new direct solar steam generation power plant generates electricity by usi...

When most of us think of sunlight being used to generate power, we likely picture photovoltaic cells. Concentrated solar power plants however, use lenses or mirrors to heat fluid – such as synthetic oil – which in turn is used to generate high-pressure steam to drive a conventional turbine. A new experimental solar steam generation power plant that opened last week in southern Spain is aiming to improve on the efficiency of existing systems by using water as the direct working fluid and incorporating novel methods for storing the energy, so it can be dispensed even on cloudy days or at night.  Read More

The T-box concept would be installed between railway sleepers, and would harness the wind ...

As anyone living near railway tracks will tell you, speeding trains generate quite a bit of wind as they whoosh past. Industrial designers Qian Jiang and Alessandro Leonetti Luparini have come up with a device that's installed between the sleepers on a track, and as the train passes overhead, the wind drives a turbine to generate electricity. The T-box devices could be placed along railway or subway lines, and make good use of an otherwise wasted resource.  Read More

Shewanella bacteria, which produces ketones that are processed into fuel(Image from 'Culti...

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have announced a breakthrough in the quest to create a viable fuel alternative using greenhouse gases. The process uses two types of bacteria to create hydrocarbons from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Those hydrocarbons can in turn be made into fuel, which the scientists are calling "renewable petroleum."  Read More

The H2O Power radio generates its own operating power via the force of the running water f...

For all the people out there who like listening to the radio while they’re in the shower, various companies offer waterproof battery-operated “shower radios.” There’s nothing particularly wrong with these radios, but ... why change or recharge the batteries if you don’t have to? No, we’re not suggesting running a power cord into the shower. Instead, you might be interested in getting an H2O Power water-powered radio.  Read More

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