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Efficiency

Back in 2009, the US Department of Energy issued its SuperTruck Challenge. The program provided funding for truck manufacturers to design and build a prototype vehicle that was at least 50 percent more freight-efficient than a baseline 2009 truck. Daimler Trucks North America recently unveiled its response – the Freightliner SuperTruck. It goes beyond the 50 percent figure, with a claimed efficiency increase of 115 percent. Read More
It's a simple fact that the more fluid an oil is, the easier it is to pump. That's why oil companies typically heat sections of pipeline, to reduce the viscosity of the crude oil traveling within. Generating that heat still requires a fair amount of energy, however, plus the oil's reduced viscosity produces turbulence it its flow. Temple University's Prof. Rongjia Tao has developed what may be a better alternative – a device that electrifies the oil. Read More
Solar researchers working at the University of New South Wales claim to have produced a system that converts over 40 percent of incoming sunlight into electricity, thereby taking the title of highest solar efficiency for a photovoltaic system ever reported. Read More
There's another promising contender in the race to supplant the dominance of lithium-ion and metal-hydride based batteries in the world of energy storage. New research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT's) Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) details the development of an electrolyte that can be used in new magnesium-sulfur battery cells that would be more efficient and inexpensive than the dominant types of batteries in use today. Read More
The cost of a house can be counted in dollars, but the construction and running of a house takes a toll on the environment that's harder to measure. Increasing numbers of people are looking to minimize both environmental impact and financial outlay by outfitting their homes with sustainable technology, and the resulting boom in sustainable building is driving new levels of architectural innovation. With this in mind, Gizmag highlights ten remarkable sustainable houses. Read More
In January, we looked at FlexFoil; a variable geometry airfoil system that seamlessly integrates into the trailing edge of the wing. During the year the system has made the leap from the test bench to the sky, with NASA conducting tests of the FlexFoil on a modified Gulfstream III business jet. Read More
While the unique shape of Buddhist singing bowls is vital to the creation of their signature sound, a researcher from Australia National University (ANU) has used their design as the inspiration for a new breed of solar cells. In completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr Niraj Lal found that just as the bowls cause sound to resonate, miniaturized versions can be made to interact with light in much the same way, inspiring solar cells better able to capture sunlight. Read More
New Zealand's Duke Engines has been busy developing and demonstrating excellent results with a bizarre prototype axial engine that completely does away with valves, while delivering excellent power and torque from an engine much smaller, lighter and simpler than the existing technology. We spoke with Duke co-founder John Garvey to find out how the Duke Axial Engine project is going. Read More
Flexible, inexpensive, large-area, lightweight solar cells are difficult to produce as they require an inert atmosphere and high temperatures, and they often degrade in a short time after exposure to air. Researchers at MIT, however, have used a new method to craft solar cells from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots in a process that promises to avoid these problems, and at room temperature. At the same time, they have also set a new record of nine percent for the most efficient quantum-dot solar cells produced to date. Read More
Sometimes progress can be its own worst enemy, with early adopters being stuck with obsolete equipment that leaves them with the choice of living with out-dated technology or an expensive replacement. The green energy field isn’t immune to this, and as part of a US$2 million renewable energy project, GE has developed a way to make smaller, less efficient wind turbines into bigger more efficient ones with a bit of plastic (or carbon composite) surgery. Read More
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