Computational creativity and the future of AI

Alternative Energy

Research teams have announced that the use of nickel and selenium in the production of sol...

In two just-released studies, scientists have announced new ways of making solar cells less expensive and more efficient. In one of the projects, researchers from the University of Toronto demonstrated that nickel can work just as well as gold for electrical contacts in colloidal quantum dot solar cells. In the other, a team from California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory added selenium to zinc oxide, dramatically increasing the oxide’s efficiency in absorbing solar light. Both developments could result in more practical, affordable solar technology.  Read More

Terra-Gen Power secures $1.2 billion for largest wind farm in U.S. (Pictured: Wind turbine...

New York-based alternative energy supplier Terra-Gen Power has secured $1.2 billion in financing for the construction of what it says will be the largest wind farm in the U.S. The funds will deliver four projects at the company's Alta Wind Energy Center in Kern County, California, with a capacity of 570 megawatts. A total of 190 3.0 MW Vestas-American Wind Technology turbines will be used in the new initiative. These will be added to the already underway 150 MW Alta Project I which uses GE turbines. Eventually it's envisioned that the Alta Wind Energy Center will deliver 3,000 MW of wind power.  Read More

WSU chemist Choong-Shik Yoo, seen here with students, has used super-high pressures to cre...

Using super-high pressures similar to those found deep in the Earth or on a giant planet, researchers from Washington State University (WSU) have created a compact, never-before-seen material capable of storing vast amounts of energy. Described by one of the researchers as “the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy,” the material holds potential for creating a new class of energetic materials or fuels, an energy storage device, super-oxidizing materials for destroying chemical and biological agents, and high temperature superconductors.  Read More

The experimental setup used to measure the catalytic activity of the strontium-substituted...

Rechargeable batteries and fuel cells are seen as the two contenders to serve as a power source for the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles. A significant barrier to achieving greater efficiency in the latter is the slow rate of oxygen production from the cathode, which limits the power output of the device. Now an unexpected find by MIT researchers regarding the behavior of incredibly thin sheets of material could lead to major improvements .  Read More

Members of Purdue University's hydrothermolysis research team (Prof. Varma at left)

Fuel cell cars have come one step closer to practicality with researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University announcing a new process for the generation and storage of hydrogen. The process is called hydrothermolysis, and is a combination of hydrolysis and thermolysis – the two prevalent methods of hydrogen generation that some scientists consider impractical for use in automobiles. The new process utilizes powdered ammonia borane, a chemical that has one of the highest hydrogen yields of any solid substance.  Read More

Nokero's N100 weatherproof solar lightbulb could provide a clean, safe and affordable ligh...

As public consultation starts on ways to reduce and replace fuel-burning lighting around the globe, Nokero has announced a solar-powered LED solution aimed squarely at disaster areas and the developing world. The rugged, rainproof N100 is about the same size as a standard lightbulb but requires no electricity and offers users around two hours of bright light in exchange for a day's worth of sun.  Read More

The Horizon MiniPak will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming H...

Today is a day that you will probably tell your grandchildren about – the day they released the first affordable, pocket-sized fuel cell for personal usage. As with flying cars, personal jet packs and a usable voice recognition computer interface, the promise of a safe, affordable, personal power plant was entering the realm of perpetual vaporware. Now it's finally here! Whatsmore, at US$100, the Horizon MiniPak might well prove to be the “disruptive” technology the press release claims it to be. By producing electricity from hydrogen at the point of use and offering effectively unlimited run-time for personal electronics, it will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming Hydrogen Economy.  Read More

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers has installed install two electricity-producing bicycles wh...

If you find yourself in an expensive hotel without the funds to cover that three-course seafood buffet you've just demolished, you may not be led to the back of the kitchen to scrub pots and pans after all... you could be off to the gym instead. Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers has installed two electricity-producing bicycles which are connected to the hotel's main electricity supply. Guests who pedal hard enough not only get a dose of environmental feel-goodness, but can also score a complimentary meal.  Read More

Princeton researchers have developed a new way to manufacture electronic devices made of p...

It seems that half the world’s R&D is involved in solar energy, which isn’t a bad thing considering the mess our reliance on traditional energy generation has got us into. Interestingly, engineers at Princeton University have developed a new technique for producing electricity-conducting plastics that could dramatically lower the cost of manufacturing solar panels, making alternative power within reach of more consumers and industry.  Read More

Technosphere by James Law Cybertecture

It's been a while since we've taken a look at the weird and wonderful canvas that is Dubai's skyline of the future, and this proposal from James Law Cybertecture would slot neatly in among radical designs like the Almeisan Tower and the spiraling ZPO. Shaped like a giant disco ball, the Technosphere is conceived as a self-sustaining model of the Earth in miniature incorporating a range of active and passive systems to meet these goals.  Read More

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