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Energy


— Environment

Urinal prototype uses fuel cells to generate steady stream of electricity

By - March 7, 2015 2 Pictures
Human urine has been turned into all sorts of things over the centuries. Alchemists distilled phosphorous from it, it was once used for the production of gunpowder, tanners employed it in great vats to tan hides, and it has served as the basis of a myriad chemical substances, including the first types of plastics. Now yet another use for this ubiquitous liquid has been created. Researchers working at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have built a urinal that converts urine directly into electricity. Read More
— Environment

Modular biobattery plant turns a wide range of biomass into energy

By - March 1, 2015
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a "biobattery" in the form of a highly efficient biogas plant that can turn raw materials like straw, scrap wood and sludge into a variety of useful energy sources including electricity, purified gas and engine oil. The new plant design, currently being put to the test in a prototype plant in Germany, is said to be highly modular and economically viable even at the small scale. Read More
— Environment

Tesla gearing up for release of batteries for the home

By - February 25, 2015
The same lithium-ion battery technology that powers Tesla’s electric vehicles will be used to develop a battery for the home, according to a statement by CEO Elon Musk during a recent conference call with analysts. The batteries would be used by homes and businesses to store excess energy generated from solar panels during the day, and drawn from at night when panels sit idle. Read More
— Environment

VTT's energy-harvesting "tree" generates electricity from multiple sources

By - February 19, 2015 4 Pictures
In January, the VTT Technical Centre of Finland unveiled its decorative, mass-producible organic photovoltaic (OPV) leaves designed to capture energy from interior lighting to power small devices and sensors. Now, the company has followed the logical path and come up with an energy-harvesting tree that generates electricity from a variety of sources. Read More
— Around The Home

Envirotouch switch keeps your energy use in check

By - December 9, 2014 4 Pictures
The modern home is chock-full of electrical appliances, many of which remain on standby when not in use and add unnecessary bulk to our energy bills. Thankfully, those looking to trim down on power usage aren't exactly short of options, with many devices emerging over the years designed to shut off our appliances at the wall. The Envirotouch is the latest take on the smart, energy-saving switch, relying on one-touch timer buttons to cut power to our appliances soon after we stop using them. Read More
— Environment

Record efficiency for converting solar energy to hydrogen without rare metals

By - December 8, 2014 2 Pictures
Using solar energy to split water into its component parts, thereby allowing the solar energy to be stored as hydrogen fuel, generally involves one of two methods: using photoelectrochemical cells to directly split the water, or using solar cells to produce electricity to power an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules. One problem associated with the latter method is that it currently relies on rare metals. But now scientists from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have managed to do so using common materials, and have achieved a record solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency in the process. Read More
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