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Energy


— Electronics

New electrolyte to enable cheaper, less toxic magnesium-sulfur-based batteries

By - November 30, 2014
There's another promising contender in the race to supplant the dominance of lithium-ion and metal-hydride based batteries in the world of energy storage. New research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT's) Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) details the development of an electrolyte that can be used in new magnesium-sulfur battery cells that would be more efficient and inexpensive than the dominant types of batteries in use today. Read More
— Electronics

New technique for generating electricity from mechanical vibrations

By - November 12, 2014
Electrical energy is normally generated through heat, motion, nuclear transformation, or chemical reactions, but now scientists at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have devised a new method that involves mechanical vibrations. They figured out how to "harvest" the vibrational energy that occurs naturally when two surfaces with different work functions are connected via electrodes, and this energy could potentially be used to power wearables and other low-power electronics. Read More
— Environment

Using 'dirty silicon' to cut the cost of solar cells

By - November 5, 2014 5 Pictures
Most everyone not vested in oil and gas agrees that renewable energies such as solar are a more sustainable option, but cost remains an issue. To make solar more competitive by addressing the high cost of solar cell production, researchers out of Norway have developed a method that could bring down the amount of silicon used per unit area by as much as 90 percent. The price of silicon is a major driver in the cost of solar panels. Read More
— Environment

Advanced offshore buoys help study wind energy potential

By - October 30, 2014 3 Pictures
Offshore wind power in the United States is nowhere close to meeting the potential this renewable energy form has to offer. There are a myriad of reasons why, including lack of information on energy-harnessing possibilities at specific sites. The US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is looking to change this, by dropping two very advanced data-collecting buoys into coastal waters. Read More
— Environment

Electrodialysis identified as potential way to remove salt from fracking waste water

By - October 26, 2014 2 Pictures
Fracking is a highly controversial and divisive issue. Proponents argue that it could be the biggest energy boom since the Arabian oil fields were opened almost 80 years ago, but this comes at a serious cost to the environment. Among the detrimental effects of the process is that the waste water it produces is over five times saltier than seawater, which is, to put it mildly, not good. A research team led by MIT that has found an economical way of removing salt from fracking waste water that promises to not only reduce pollution, but conserve water as well. Read More
— Good Thinking

Ear-IT project: How listening to the sounds of a city could make for smarter living

By - October 23, 2014
As the Internet of Things starts to take hold, we're seeing the emergence of gadgets equipped with all kinds of sensors to improve the world around us, from energy-saving climate control systems to smart locks for the front door. But have you ever thought about how sound might be measured and used to bring another level of automation? For the last two years, the Ear-IT project has been monitoring acoustics in the Spanish city of Santander, and says the results could improve the lives of its residents in ways ranging from improved traffic flow to energy savings in the home. Read More
— Science

Lockheed Martin announces it's working on a compact fusion reactor

By - October 16, 2014 4 Pictures
Fusion reactors are a bit like buses; you wait forever for one, then two come along at once. No sooner does the University of Washington announce that it’s working on a breakthrough compact fusion reactor (CFR) than Lockheed Martin says that its Revolutionary Technology Programs unit, AKA the Skunk Works, in Palmdale, California has one that could be ready for market within ten years. Read More
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