Highlights from Interbike 2014

Electricity

Diagram of the experimental device that sees the osmotic transport of water through a tran...

In November 2009, Norwegian state owned electricity company Statkraft opened the world’s first osmotic power plant prototype, which generates electricity from the difference in the salt concentration between river water and sea water. While osmotic power is a clean, renewable energy source, its commercial use has been limited due to the low generating capacities offered by current technology – the Statkraft plant, for example, has a capacity of about 4 kW. Now researchers have discovered a new way to harness osmotic power that they claim would enable a 1 m2 (10.7 sq. ft.) membrane to have the same 4 kW capacity as the entire Statkraft plant.  Read More

Bloomberg analysts say electricity generation from new wind farms is cheaper than new coal...

In 2008, the Garnaut Climate Change Review ranked Australia as the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases of any OECD country and amongst the highest in the world. One of the reasons for the country's high carbon footprint is its reliance on coal for electricity generation – 54 percent of it, according to the Australian Coal Association. But a new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) points to a cleaner energy future with the claim that unsubsidized renewable energy is now a cheaper option for electricity generation than new coal- or gas-fired power stations.  Read More

Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 bacteria (Image: Clara S. Chan)

What do bacteria, wind turbines and solar panels have to do with one another? Nothing ... unless you can teach the bacteria to “breathe” electricity and turn it into biofuel. That’s still a very long way off, but a team of researchers at the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities have found a method for growing iron-oxidizing bacteria by feeding it electricity. It’s primarily a way to better study a recently-discovered type of bacteria, but it also holds the promise of turning electricity into biofuel.  Read More

The Bay Lights installation will begin to shine from March 5

Since its creation 75 years ago, the San Francisco Bay Bridge has remained a familiar feature of the city’s skyline. However, from early March, the west span of the bridge is set to be transformed into the world's largest animated light sculpture, courtesy of artist Leo Villareal and his project The Bay Lights.  Read More

NC State's self-healing elastic electrical wire

Last month, we heard about how a team led by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Michael Dickey had created an electrical wire that could be stretched up to eight times its regular length ... and still carry a current. This was possible thanks to a conductive liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium, contained inside the wire’s elastic polymer outer housing. Now, Dickey's team has developed a new wire that not only can be stretched, but that will heal itself when severed.  Read More

The singNshock plays your favorite music to rouse you before shocking you out of bed

Alarm clocks are a necessary technological evil for most of us, but the snooze button is an all too easy fallback for those unable to resist just a bit longer out under the covers. The singNshock is a concept that provides a slightly shocking answer to this problem.  Read More

The new Ene-Farm home fuel cell (left) and accompanying hot water unit

By relying on a chemical reaction rather than combustion, fuel cells like the Bloom Energy Server are a more environmentally friendly source of electricity than fossil fuel burning power plants – they’re also easier to fit on a residential or commercial block. Unfortunately, their price is still prohibitively expensive for most people. But things are slowly improving as evidenced by Panasonic’s latest “Ene-Farm” home fuel cell, which was jointly developed with Tokyo Gas. Later this year, the unit will be sold in Japan by Tokyo Gas for 1,995,000 yen (approx. US$22,320).  Read More

The NanoLight LED’s are directly attached to a printed circuit board that is folded to res...

Until recently LED light bulb manufacturers have struggled to find a solution in the 75 to 100-watt range which successfully replaces the soon-to-be redundant, energy crunching 100 W incandescent bulb in terms of size and brightness. Three friends from the University of Toronto are the latest to offer a feasible product to match the classic 100 W bulb without compromising on electricity consumption with their proposed NanoLight LED light bulbs.  Read More

Pavegen was installed at the London 2012 Olympic Games, with people generating energy with...

"Create electricity, just by walking" is an evocative statement, and one which surely warrants some attention in these eco-efficient times when the need to seek alternative energy sources is well understood. Pavegen – a system for harvesting kinetic energy from foot traffic, and which the catchy soundbite belongs to – is now being put forward for crowd-funding through Kickstarter with the aim of raising enough money to fund two school projects, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K.  Read More

The LM-6 prototype AVE system

Tornadoes generally evoke the destructive force of nature at its most awesome. However, what if all that power could be harnessed to produce cheaper and more efficient electricity? This is just what Canadian engineer Louis Michaud proposes to achieve, with an invention dubbed the “Atmospheric Vortex Engine” (or AVE).  Read More

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