Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electricity

Natural vibrations caused by two surfaces with different work functions repelling and attr...

Electrical energy is normally generated through heat, motion, nuclear transformation, or chemical reactions, but now scientists at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have devised a new method that involves mechanical vibrations. They figured out how to "harvest" the vibrational energy that occurs naturally when two surfaces with different work functions are connected via electrodes, and this energy could potentially be used to power wearables and other low-power electronics.  Read More

Scotland's Whitelee wind farm (Photo:

Scotland is pushing ahead with green energy, with First Minister Alex Salmond claiming that renewables could provide 100 percent of Scotland's energy by 2025. And last month, Salmond's push for wind farms appears to have borne fruit – wind power alone generated some 126 percent of the energy needed to power every home in Scotland in what the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) is calling a "bumper month." Even solar fared well despite the chilly conditions, with domestic solar PV panels chipping in around a third of the domestic energy bill.  Read More

Over a three-year period, the team will conduct testing to ascertain how much energy the S...

The world's first solar bike path is set to open in the Netherlands next Wednesday. The SolaRoad will run through Amsterdam's northern suburb of Krommenie and will feature concrete slabs embedded with solar panels to convert energy from the sun into electricity for the grid.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Utah have created a jet-fuel powered fuel cell that runs ...

Engineers at the University of Utah have developed and built the very first fuel cell using jet fuel that operates at room-temperature without the need to ignite the fuel. Using enzymes to help produce electricity, these new fuel cells have the potential to power everything from portable electronic devices to cars and off-grid power systems.  Read More

A new coating material developed by UCSD researchers could help make concentrated solar po...

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat.  Read More

A sample of the MoS2 material that could be the basis for piezoelectric devices that are o...

Researchers from Columbia University and the Georgia Institute of Technology are laying claim to having observed piezoelectricity in an atomically thin material for the first time. The effect was demonstrated in the world's thinnest electric generator made from a two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) material, which had previously been predicted to exhibit such properties.  Read More

Ampy is also pocketable at 3 inches square

Kinetic chargers have been around for a few years, but have typically been big and bulky. Ampy is much smaller and fashionable enough to wear around.  Read More

The Michigan Tech robots are still at the proof-of-concept stage

Thanks to mobile phone technology, getting caught in a disaster means that help is only a call away – unless the disaster knocks out the electricity to the cell towers. To help bring the phones back on line to aid in recovery efforts, researchers at Michigan Technological University are developing a team of robots designed to restore power to towers and other communication sites.  Read More

Canadian researchers have developed a chin strap made from piezoelectric fibre composites ...

In a development that could bring new meaning to the term "motor mouth," Canadian researchers have developed a chin strap capable of generating electricity from jaw movements. The team is hopeful that the strap will be able to harvest energy from common actions like eating, chewing and talking to power medical implants and wearable devices.  Read More

A new nuclear-powered, water-based battery may one day be used as a dependable power suppl...

Researchers working at the University of Missouri (MU) claim to have produced a prototype of a nuclear-powered, water-based battery that is said to be both longer lasting and more efficient than current battery technologies and may eventually be used as a dependable power supply in vehicles, spacecraft, and other applications where longevity, reliability, and efficiency are paramount.  Read More

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