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Electricity

Environment

Waste tomatoes tapped as source of electricity

The tomato is a very versatile fruit. It can be juiced, made into cold soup, used as sauce or just eaten raw in a salad. It is a true food icon and now its usefulness could be expanding to an unexpected area as a US team is experimenting with the fruit as a source of electricity. A pilot project developed by researchers based in several American institutions involves a biological-based fuel cell that uses tomato waste from harvests in Florida, giving a new lease of life to organic material that would otherwise end up in landfills.Read More

Environment

Random vibrations turn tiny trees into power plants

Step aside windmills, there's a new way to harvest kinetic energy in the works. A research team at the Ohio State University has created electromechanical devices that look like tiny leafless trees and can generate electricity when they are moved by seismic activity, the slight swaying movements of a tall building, or the vibrations from traffic on a bridge.Read More

Good Thinking

FAA testing a concrete way to clear snow

Anyone who's dealing with the current snowstorm in the US will know that clearing snow is hard work and futile if there's another dump. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Chris Tuan may have put an end to the need to shovel snow, however. His conductive concrete simply melts any snow that lands.Read More

Wearables

Urine-powered socks get transmissions flowing

Peeing in one's socks may not be everyone's first choice for powering their mobile devices, but apparently it could be an option. A team of researchers from the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England is experimenting with a pair of socks that use urine to generate electricity via miniaturized microbial fuel cells. Results have already started to trickle in, with the system used to run a transmitter to send wireless signals to a desktop computer.Read More

Environment

Project Sunroof calculates rooftop solar potential using Google Maps

Ever balked at installing solar panels on your roof because it's pretty damn expensive or you're not sure how much power it would actually generate, or a combination of both? Well, a new venture from Google is aimed at taking the guesswork out of weaning your household off the grid. Powered by Google Maps, Project Sunroof can tell users how much sun is hitting their roof and how much they might be able to shave off their power bills.Read More

Energy

Underwater chemical garden powers a light bulb

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have grown underwater chimney-like structures capable of generating enough electricity to power a light bulb. The team linked several of these chimneys to get the required electricity. Their findings indicate that the seafloor equivalents of these chemical gardens might just have contributed the electricity needed for the Earth's first organisms to develop.Read More

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