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Some of Fraunhofer's printed thermoelectric generators, wrapped around a sample component

Thermoelectric materials, putting it simply, are able to generate electricity via differences in temperature. If thermoelectric felt were used to make a jacket, for instance, it could generate a current using the temperature gradient between the warm interior and cold exterior of the garment. Like many such promising technologies, however, the cost of thermoelectrics is something of an issue ... although thanks to a new process developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology, that might not be the case for much longer.  Read More

Dutch researchers have developed the EWICON, a bladeless windmill with no moving parts tha...

Wind energy may be one of the more sustainable sources of power available, but the spinning blades of conventional wind turbines require regular maintenance and have attracted criticism from bird lovers. That might explain why we've seen wind turbine prototypes that enclose the blades in a chamber or replace them entirely with a disc-like system. But researchers in the Netherlands set out to eliminate the need for a mechanical component entirely and created the EWICON, a bladeless wind turbine with no moving parts that produces electricity using charged water droplets.  Read More

The Wattio system is a four-component package comprised of a POD, THERMIC, GATE and BAT (I...

Here at Gizmag we've featured a variety of home energy management devices, and the latest solution is an offering from Spanish startup, Wattio. The SmartHome 360º is a home energy monitoring and control system that can be managed through a smartphone, tablet or PC using the Wattio Gateway software. The system's four components are capable of communicating with each other and subsequently with the Wattio software applications and cloud service, to provide comprehensive energy management capability throughout the home.  Read More

The Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant covers and area of 2.5 square km (1 sq mile)

Thanks to its low latitude and low percentage of cloudy days, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an ideal location for capturing solar energy. So it’s no surprise to see the world’s largest operating concentrated solar power (CSP) has launched in the sun-soaked Middle Eastern country. Officially inaugurated this week by UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shams 1 is a 100 MW CSP that will power 20,000 UAE homes.  Read More

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

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