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Alternative Energy

— Environment

T-box concept to capture wind energy from trains

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
— Around The Home

H2O Power radio runs on water from the shower

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
— Science

New material designed for hydrogen storage

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a composite material that they claim can store hydrogen densely and safely, yet that also allows it to be easily accessed for creating electricity. Some materials that are currently used for hydrogen storage have a relatively small capacity, and need to be superheated or supercooled in order to work at peak efficiency. The new material, however, is said not to have either of these limitations. Read More
— Environment

AQUASUN system puts floating solar panels on bodies of water

One of the potentially limiting characteristics of solar power is the fact that it takes up a lot of space. Solar panels obviously aren’t going to be of much use if they’re stacked one on top of the other, so instead must be spread out side-by-side, so each one can soak up the sun. Although they’re generally not in the way when mounted on top of buildings, large arrays of solar panels could start to become a hindrance when located on the ground. Tech companies from Israel and France, however, are developing what could be a way of avoiding that situation – floating solar panels that are installed on the surface of existing bodies of water. Read More
— Environment

Twentieth Century Fox signs its latest big star – the Sun

Twentieth Century Fox is cranking up the star power at its Century City studios, where Solar Power, Inc. has completed the installation of a large solar array. The 160 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar system was mounted on Fox Studio's historic Building 99 using Solar Power's SkyMount commercial rooftop system, as well as conventional racking. The new PV system is the movie giant's first on-site renewable energy system. Read More
— Environment

Torque vectoring gears for smaller, more efficient wind turbines

Torque vectoring is a relatively new technology that has been employed in automobile differentials, most commonly all-wheel-drive vehicles, that allows the amount of power sent to each wheel to be varied. Scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have now adapted this technology to wind turbines, to eliminate the need for converting the alternating current produced by the turbines into direct current and back again before it is fed into the grid. Read More
— Electronics

Researchers increase the efficiency of cheaper quantum dot solar cells

Developing solar cells that are cheaper to produce and can harness the sun’s energy more efficiently are both important factors in ensuring the widespread use of solar energy to provide a clean alternative to fossil fuels in the future. Stanford researchers have found that adding a single layer of organic molecules can achieve both these goals by increasing three-fold the efficiency of quantum dot solar cells, which are cheaper to produce than traditional solar cells. Read More
— Environment

Less is more for cost-efficient wind farms

While there are increasing numbers of wind farms being built around the world, many of these projects are underperforming and not producing as much power as expected. New research suggests the reason could be that the wind turbines are being placed too close together. The researchers say that spreading the turbines out will result in a more cost-efficient for wind farms and they’ve come up with a formula through which the optimal spacing for a large array of turbines can be obtained. Read More