Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Energy

Do 'plasmonic nanostructures' hold the key to next-generation solar power?  (Photo: Shutte...

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to harvest energy from sunlight more efficiently, with the help of so-called plasmonic nanostructures. The new findings suggest that plasmonic components can enhance and direct optical scattering, creating a mechanism that is more efficient than the photoexcitation that drives solar cells. The development could therefore provide a real boost to solar cell efficiency and lead to faster optical communication.  Read More

New research examines the economics of storing energy from renewable sources (Photo: Shutt...

True or false: solar and wind power are freely available and clean, and thus should always be stored when they generate more energy than the grid can use? It's easy to assume that renewable energy should never be turned off, but scientists at Stanford have done the math to find the break-even point where storing energy is better than "wasting," or curtailing, that energy, and their findings aren't necessarily as you'd think.  Read More

Energy Box was completed earlier this year (Photo: Pierluigi Bonomo)

Following the earthquake which struck L'Aquila, Italy, on April 6 2009, Pierluigi Bonomo was tasked with building a replacement home for a family. The architect produced a three floor property, dubbed Energy Box, which features an unusual wooden box-like design, and energy-reducing technologies including passive ventilation, and photovoltaic panels.  Read More

Its makers claim that Sprayable Energy will provide a gradual hit of caffeine through the ...

Some people cannot function in the morning without a shot of caffeine to kick start their day, and though caffeine dependency isn't a good thing, the makers of a new product called Sprayable Energy, billed as "the world's first caffeine based topical energy spray" think there could be a market out there open to a new way of getting its fix.  Read More

Artist's conception of a commercial hydrogen production plant that uses sunlight to split ...

A new technique developed by a University of Colorado Boulder team converts sunshine and water directly into usable fuel. The technique involves concentrating sunlight in a solar tower to achieve temperatures high enough to drive chemical reactions that split water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen molecules. In this way, the team says it should be able to cheaply produce massive amounts of hydrogen fuel.  Read More

Monash University researchers have created a compact electrode that uses a liquid electrol...

Graphene-based supercapacitors have already proven the equal of conventional supercapacitors – in the lab. But now researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University claim to have developed of a new scalable and cost-effective technique to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors that brings them a step closer to commercial development.  Read More

The primary niche is to clip the generator to the top of existing solar panels in large ar...

Crowdfunding has come to the small wind generation field with an Indiegogo campaign intended for an interesting target niche: a small wind generator designed to be clipped onto solar panels. According to his pitch, Michael Ring has not only created a prototype, but calculated possible energy returns, targeted a price point and lined up suppliers for initial deliveries and has turned to Indeigogo to get his small startup off the launch pad.  Read More

The newly-updated C6 range was unveiled at this year's Dwell on Design event (Photo: Livin...

At this year's recent Dwell on Design event, LivingHomes unveiled its newly updated C6 series of prefabricated sustainable dwellings. Each of the three homes that comprise the C6 series are capable of achieving LEED Platinum certification, and can be outfitted with various optional extras to suit budget and needs.  Read More

John Dabiri has hypothesized and tested counter-rotating arrays of vertical axis wind turb...

Since we first looked at John Dabiri's hypothesis that vertical axis wind turbines should be arrayed like a school of fish to reduce the land area required for wind farm installations, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has continued to work on the idea. Following the latest round of coverage, Gizmag takes a deeper look at his concept, and wonders whether the idea of packing turbines into as tight a space as possible might overlook some wind energy fundamentals.  Read More

The ARES system uses electric locomotives as a form of energy storage

We’ve recently looked at ocean-based energy storage system concepts from MIT and Subhydro AS that are designed to overcome the intermittency problems of renewable energy sources like wind and solar by pumping water out of large tanks and using gravity to let it back in and generate electricity when needed. Santa Barbara, California-based company Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES) has come up with a land-based alternative that would provide grid scale energy storage using electric locomotives.  Read More

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