Decision time? Check out our latest product comparisons

Electricity

Rice University graduate student Oara Neumann (left) and scientist Naomi Halas are co-auth...

A team of researchers at Rice University has developed a new technology that uses light-absorbing nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. Even though it is already significantly more efficient than solar panels at producing electricity, the technology will likely find its first applications in low-cost sanitation, water purification and human waste treatment for the developing world.  Read More

Thermoelectrics can be used to convert energy currently lost as heat wasted from industry ...

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s electricity is generated by heat energy. Unfortunately, electricity generation systems operate at around 30 to 40 percent efficiency, meaning around two thirds of the energy input is lost as waste heat. Despite this, the inefficiency of current thermoelectric materials that can convert waste heat to electricity has meant their commercial use has been limited. Now researchers have developed a thermoelectric material they claim is the best in the world at converting waste heat into electricity, potentially providing a practical way to capture some of the energy that is currently lost.  Read More

Matthew Orosz and Amy Mueller work with locals in Lesotho to implement their solar ORC sys...

Solar power would appear to be an obvious choice for the developing world, but as impoverished regions need systems that are simple, self-operating and cheap to build and maintain, this is generally not the case. The ability to provide heating in addition to electricity would also be beneficial because many communities need hot water has much as they need lights. An MIT team has developed a solution that meets these needs with a solar power system that is an air conditioner built backwards.  Read More

Research at Oregon State University by engineer Hong Liu has discovered improved ways to p...

In the latest green energy – or perhaps that should be brown energy – news, a team of engineers from Oregon State University (OSU) has developed new technology they claim significantly improves the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that can be used to produce electricity directly from wastewater. With the promise of producing 10 to 50 times the electricity, per volume, than comparable approaches, the researchers say the technology could see waste treatment plants not only powering themselves, but also feeding excess electricity back to the grid.  Read More

Using a wireless smart socket to control the lights in your home may not be not far off

A common theme in any form of entertainment depicting the future is the use of a remote to control everything – futuristic houses are often shown with the owner turning the lights on before they even arrive. Turns out, using the internet to control our houses is not too far away. A group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK in Munich, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern, have developed a new power outlet that supports the brand-new IPv6 Internet protocol. These new outlets, known as the wireless smart socket, could very well revolutionize the way we turn things on and off in our homes.  Read More

University of Wisconsin researchers discover nannorod catalyst that works as well as plati...

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have identified an inexpensive nanorod catalyst with efficiencies rivalling that of platinum. Composed of nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorods, the new catalyst holds the promise of cheaper, more efficient microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that generate their own hydrogen from waste water  Read More

The pyramid patterns created in a polymer sheet increase current production in the new tri...

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken advantage of the triboelectric effect, which sees an electric charge generated through friction between two different materials, to develop a generator that could supplement power produced by piezoelectric nanogenerators previously developed at Georgia Tech. The triboelectric generator could be used to produce electricity from activities such as walking and even has the potential to create touchscreens that generate their own power.  Read More

A lightning bolt travels horizontally down a plasma channel from the LIPC before deviating...

Thought that title might get your attention, but shooting lightning bolts down laser beams is just what a device being developed at the Picatinny Arsenal military research facility in New Jersey is designed to do. Known as a Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, the device would fry targets that conduct electricity better that the air or ground that surrounds them by steering lightning bolts down a plasma pathway created by laser beams.  Read More

The TGO Green Heart outdoor gym converts energy generated by users of its exercise equipme...

Many of today's deskbound workers regularly head to the gym to try and keep the fat from clinging to their waistlines. For those who are also fond of the great outdoors, a UK company has developed and installed over 250 open air exercise areas across the country. The latest addition to a product catalog featuring robust, weather-proof versions of exercise machines you might find in any modern indoor gym is the world's first energy-harvesting outdoor gym called the TGO Green Heart. As users burn off the calories on the free-to-use cross trainer, hand bike, fitness bike and recumbent bike, the company's proprietary technology harvests all that people power and converts it into useable electricity.  Read More

The lab prototype of the pizzicato knee-joint energy harvester

If you’ve ever worn a knee brace, then you may have noticed what a large change in angle your knee goes through with every step you take, and how quickly it does so. A team of scientists from the U.K.’s Cranfield University, University of Liverpool and University of Salford certainly noticed, and decided that all that movement should be put to use. The result is a wearable piezoelectric device that converts knee movement into electricity, which could in turn be used to power gadgets such as heart rate monitors, pedometers and accelerometers.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 29,006 articles