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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).