Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electricity

One of NC State's stretchable conductive wires being put to the test

Things like earbud cords have a nasty way of getting hooked on things and breaking. Such incidences may become a lot less common, however, as scientists from North Carolina State University have created conductive wires that stay intact even when stretched up to eight times their regular length.  Read More

A new study claims that a municipal grid could be powered almost entirely via renewable so...

Although critics of renewable energy may claim that it isn't reliable enough to power a grid, a new study gives proponents of clean power – such as wind and solar – fresh ammunition to respond. A thorough analysis carried out by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College concluded that renewable energy could reliably power a large electrical grid 99.9 per cent of the time by 2030, at a cost that matches today’s electricity prices.  Read More

The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity

Despite being the most widely used form of renewable energy worldwide, hydroelectricity is generally reserved for large-scale commercial installations built around massive dams. Japanese company Ibasei has shrunk things down and removed the need to build a dam with its Cappa compact hydropower generator – a system that's designed to be installed along a river or waterway.  Read More

Researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a device capable of harvesting ener...

Much of the abundant mechanical energy around us is irregular and oscillatory and can be somewhat difficult to efficiently tap into. Typical energy harvesting systems tend to be built for low power applications in the milliwatts range but researchers from New York's Stony Brook University have developed a new patent-pending electromagnetic energy harvester capable of harnessing the vibrations of a locomotive thundering down a stretch of track to power signal lights, structural monitoring systems or even track switches.  Read More

The Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell technology is being demonstrated at the Netherlands Institut...

Wetlands are estimated to account for around six percent of the earth’s surface and a new Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell technology developed at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands could see some of these areas become a viable source of renewable energy. More than that, the developers believe that their technology could be used to supply electricity to remote communities and in green roofs to supply electricity to households.  Read More

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

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