In a large complex located at Greifswald in the north-east corner of Germany, sits a new and unusual nuclear fusion reactor awaiting a few final tests before being powered-up for the very first time. Dubbed the Wendelstein 7-x fusion stellarator, it has been more than 15 years in the making and is claimed to be so magnetically efficient that it will be able to continuously contain super-hot plasma in its enormous magnetic field for more than 30 minutes at a time. If successful, this new reactor may help realize the long-held goal of continuous operation essential for the success of nuclear fusion power generation.
Thanks to an increase in solar panels and wind turbines, as well as a particularly sunny and windy quarter, renewable energy has supplied a record 25% of the UK’s energy mix in Q2 2015, leapfrogging coal for the first time to come into second place behind gas fired electricity. It’s nearly a 10% increase on the same period last year.
According to Transport for London (TfL), the city's Underground carries 1.2 billion passengers a year over 402 km (250 mi) of track, with some stations handling 89 million passengers annually. That adds up to a fleet of trains covering 76.2 million km (47 million mi) and an energy bill that defines "enormous." In an effort to make the system greener and cheaper, the authority carried out a five-week trial of a regenerative braking system billed as a "world first" that could slice 5 percent off London Underground's energy bill and save up to £6 million (US$9 million) per year.
The laws of supply and demand – maybe with a pinch of capitalism – generally dictate how much homes and businesses might spend per month on power. As such, consumers can expect to pay a premium for running heating or cooling systems during peak energy-usage times on cold or hot days. Orison Energy is preparing to help break this cycle with a pair of home batteries. The Orison Tower and Orison Panel charge up when utility rates are low and provide power when the rates are high.
The use of sunlight as an energy source is achieved in a number of ways, from conversion to electricity via photovoltaic (PV) panels, concentrated heat to drive steam turbines, and even hydrogen generation via artificial photosynthesis. Unfortunately, much of the light energy in PV and photosynthesis systems is lost as heat due to the thermodynamic inefficiencies inherent in the process of converting the incoming energy from one form to another. Now scientists working at the University of Bayreuth claim to have created a super-efficient light-energy transport conduit that exhibits almost zero loss, and shows promise as the missing link in the sunlight to energy conversion process.
It may not be the first airport to fit solar panels to its terminals, but India's Cochin International Airport is set to become the first in the world powered entirely by solar. Situated in Kochi, the airport handled 6.8 million passengers in the 2014-15 financial year and forecasts a 300,000-tonne (330,700-ton) reduction in carbon emissions over the next 25 years as a result of the switch to solar.
Ever balked at installing solar panels on your roof because it's pretty damn expensive or you're not sure how much power it would actually generate, or a combination of both? Well, a new venture from Google is aimed at taking the guesswork out of weaning your household off the grid. Powered by Google Maps, Project Sunroof can tell users how much sun is hitting their roof and how much they might be able to shave off their power bills.
A new study has measured 200,000 galaxies in an effort to chart the rate at which our Universe is outputting energy, and effectively dying. The study is part of the larger Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, a comprehensive spectroscopic survey seeking to create a model of energy production by the Universe, both in the present day and in times past.
Cars are one of mankind's most revolutionary creations. But just like with the iPhone, space travel or Wi-Fi, there's always room for improvement. In the eyes of a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers, one of the more promising ways automotive technology might be improved upon lies in the energy wastage caused by friction as tires roll across the road. Armed with special nanogenerator and a toy Jeep, the researchers have demonstrated that this power can be captured and turned into electricity, a development that could bring about better fuel efficiency in the full-sized cars of the future.
Following in the footsteps of Tesla and Mercedes-Benz,
Nissan is now set to become the latest automaker to offer battery packs
for stationary energy storage. Although pricing information has yet to
be provided, the Nissan product should be relatively affordable, as it
will incorporate used batteries from Nissan Leaf electric cars.