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Electricity

BPV technology is able to generate electricity by tapping into the photosynthesis of livin...

Designers and scientists at the University of Cambridge have been collaborating on a project that demonstrates a potential future application of Biophotovoltaic (BPV) technology. Dubbed the Moss Table, the concept furniture piece was exhibited at this year’s Salone Satellite – a parallel exhibition of young designers that took place during the Milan Design Week last month. The idea behind the table is that energy generated from the moss during the day could be stored in a battery and later used to power the adjoining lamp in the evening.  Read More

Los Angeles rooftops have potential for generating power under the CLEAN LA Solar program

We're used to seeing solar arrays in desert locations, but this initiative is looking to a new frontier for solar energy - the rooftops of Los Angeles. The recent approval of a Feed-in-Tarriff (FiT) rooftop solar program known as CLEAN LA Solar by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power opens up over 12,000 acres of potential rooftop space for solar development.  Read More

Belgium's We-Watt has created a stylish pedal-to-power pod named WeBike, with three seats ...

Whether dozing in front of the big screen TV or being stuck in front of a computer all day at work, our tech-filled lives are not exactly conducive to the kind of physical exercise our bodies need to stay healthy. Belgium's We-Watt has come up with a stylish way to get some sweat-free, easy-going exercise while at work, rest or play. The WeBike is a round table with three seats positioned at thirds. Those seated at the table generate electricity by pedaling away at an easy pace, simultaneously getting some much-needed light exercise and juicing up mobile gadgetry in the process.  Read More

University of Sydney researchers have developed a “photochemical upconversion” technique t...

While the overall efficiency of conventional silicon solar cells has continued to improve in recent years, the technology faces a natural theoretical limit at around 33%. This is because the laws of physics prevent the cells from absorbing photons below a certain energy level, meaning that this low-energy light cannot be converted into electricity is simply lost. Now researchers have found a way join two energy-poor red photons to form a single energy-rich yellow photon, allowing the harvesting of this part of the spectrum currently unused by single p-n junction crystalline silicon solar cells, and potentially enabling a record-breaking efficiency of 40%.  Read More

Fraunhofer's external transmitter, which is paired with an internal mobile generator

When it comes to implantable electronic devices such as pacemakers, biosensors or drug-delivery devices, there are a few options regarding power sources. While batteries could be used in some applications, doing so would require surgically replacing the implant when its battery runs out. Radio wave-based and inductive systems are instead often used, in which power is “beamed” to the device from a source outside the body. According to researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems, however, such systems often have a limited range, and are easily affected by factors such as location, position and movement. Instead, they’ve developed what they claim is a better, more versatile system.  Read More

PowerPot is a line of camping cookware, that generates electricity using heat

Thermoelectric materials are able to generate an electrical current, via a temperature gradient within themselves. If thermoelectric fabric were used to make a jacket, for instance, the temperature difference between that garment’s cool exterior and warm interior might be enough to charge devices carried in its pockets. A current could also be generated by a vehicle’s thermoelectric exhaust pipe, due to its hot interior and the cool air surrounding it. Now, entrepreneurs David Toledo and Paul Slusser have developed a line of thermoelectric cooking pots, that use the heat of a fire to generate electricity when camping.  Read More

AORA's Tulip system uses the sun's rays to heat air, which is then used to spin a turbine,...

A giant flower has recently sprung up near the southern Spanish city of Almeria. Measuring 35 meters (115 feet) high, the Tulip is the product of Israeli company AORA, and it uses heat from the sun to generate electricity. Work began on the hybrid concentrating solar power technology back in the 80s and the first Tulip pilot plant was installed at Israel’s Kibbutz Samar in 2009. That setup has been pumping electricity into the country’s power grid every year since. The Spanish plant was completed this January.  Read More

UCLA researchers have generated isobutanol from CO2 using a genetically engineered microor...

While electric vehicles have come a long way in the past decade, they still have many disadvantages when compared to internal combustion engine-driven vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles have a much lower energy storage density when compared to liquid fuel, they take longer to “refuel,” and they lack the supporting infrastructure that has built up around conventional vehicles over the past century. Now researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a process that could allow liquid fuel to be produced using solar generated electricity.  Read More

Lithium atoms (red) deposited on graphene were shown to give the material piezoelectric qu...

Scientists have succeeded in endowing graphene with yet another useful property. Already, it is the thinnest, strongest and stiffest material ever measured, while also proving to be an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. These qualities have allowed it to find use in everything from transistors to supercapacitors to anti-corrosion coatings. Now, two materials engineers from Stanford University have used computer models to show how it could also be turned into a piezoelectric material – this means that it could generate electricity when mechanically stressed, or change shape when subjected to an electric current.  Read More

Sony's Authenticated Power Outlet system currently consists of a plug and outlet that comm...

Sony has developed a power outlet that can identify devices plugged into it, as well as individuals using the plug. The company says such technology could allow the electricity usage of individual devices to be monitored so non-essential devices could be switched off remotely in the event of limited electricity supply, or for the billing of customers charging their electric vehicles or mobile devices in public places.  Read More

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