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Alternative Energy

The simplified process converting biomass to HMF

Biofuels continue to steal the spotlight when it comes to the search for a renewable, environmentally friendly replacement for crude oil. While that’s understandable when considering the transport industry, but crude oil is also used in the production of conventional plastics and chemical products such as fertilizers and solvents. Now chemists have learned how to convert plant biomass directly into a chemical building block that can not only be used to produce fuel, but also plastics, polyester and industrial chemicals cheaply and efficiently.  Read More

The electric Tesla Roadster comes out on top of the ethanol powered Saab 9-5 in the miles ...

Running vehicles on biofuels such as ethanol reduces CO2 emissions and offers a way to lessen the world's reliance on oil. While this sounds great from an environmental perspective, the energy required to produce the biofuel and the land clearing for crops that can result means biofuels aren’t necessarily the environmentally friendly solution they initially appear to be. Recognizing this, researchers have analyzed the best way to maximize the “miles per acre” from biomass and discovered that the far more efficient option is to convert the biomass to electricity, rather than ethanol. Another tick for the electric car.  Read More

Purdue University doctoral student Jonathan White holds a cross-section of a wind turbine ...

Clean, renewable energy is freely available – in the form of wind, sun and water. However, harnessing it reliably and cost-effectively remains a barrier. Wind power is one of the fastest growing alternative energy markets and researchers at Purdue University and Sandia National Laboratories in West Lafayette, Indiana, are working to make wind turbines more efficient, reliable and resilient.  Read More

IBN scientists convert CO2 into methanol

Scientists at the Singapore-based Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have made an unprecedented breakthrough in transforming carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas, into methanol, a widely used form of industrial feedstock and clean-burning biofuel. Using "organocatalysts", researchers activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce the more useful chemical compound.  Read More

Febot wind charging concept

We're always on the lookout for new, ‘greener’ ways of saving or renewing energy. South Korean designers Ji-yun Kim, Soon-young Yang and Hwan-ju Jeon have developed the Febot, a small, easily-assembled portable battery charger concept that harnesses the power of the wind rather than using electricity. Place a rechargeable battery inside the Febot and stick it on the outside of a window or wall, or any other outdoor surface, using the suction cap at the base of the unit.  Read More

Smart Lite CFL

Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are a smaller version of their long established big brothers which, despite some drawbacks such as a small amount of mercury content, have gained serious ground in recent years as an energy-efficient alternative to conventional incandescent globes. CFLs reduce carbon emissions because they convert electricity into light more efficiently and also last up to ten times longer, but the globe still reaches its used by date long before the base (ballast) section that connects it to the power socket. 3E Technologies has identified this as another wasteful aspect of the process that could be eliminated and its solution is the Smart Lite - a two-piece CFL which allows the bulb to be removed from the ballast and replaced with a simple ‘insert and twist’ operation.  Read More

Ricardo's combination two and four stroke motor

Automotive technology specialist Ricardo has revealed the development of technology that optimizes ethanol-fuelled engines to a level of performance that exceeds gasoline engine efficiency and approaches levels previously reached only by diesel engines. The technology, called Ethanol Boosted Direct Injection (EBDI), takes full advantage of ethanol’s best properties – higher octane and higher heat of vaporization – to create a renewable fuel scenario that is independent of the cost of oil.  Read More

GE Energy’s Smart CFL

GE Energy’s new Smart compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb combines miniaturized electronics with GE’s Spiral CFL inside the glass bulb to achieve a conventional-sized bulb with added energy saving capabilities. The profile of the CFL bulb is virtually identical to a standard incandescent light bulb but offers the equivalent power of a 60W bulb with just 15W.  Read More

The Agucadoura wave farm

The world’s first commercial wave farm in Portugal is now operational. Three 750kW Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) have been installed in the first stage of a project which, when complete, will provide enough clean energy to meet the needs of 15,000 households.  Read More

Making waves work: the Searaser hydro-power system

Our second ingenious example of bringing new approaches to hydro-power generation for the week, SEARASER works on the conventional principle of using water pressure to drive turbines but achieves this in a unique way. The system consists of a tethered wave energy converter which uses the rolling motion of waves to pump water to higher ground on-shore from where it can then be stored and used to create electricity on demand.  Read More

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