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The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails

Tunisian green energy startup Saphon Energy has created a new bladeless wind turbine which draws inspiration from the design of a ship’s sails, and promises to convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity at up to double the efficiency – and half the cost – of a typical wind turbine.  Read More

The red dots show the iPhone 5’s power amplifiers, which account for 60 percent of total p...

Cell phones have come a long way in terms of battery life, but lets be honest, there's still plenty of room for improvement. The very fact that we talk about using a phone for eight hours as being good is, well, bad. While next-gen battery technologies present one solution to the dilemma, a new breakthrough from MIT spinoff Eta Devices takes a different tack – by improving power amplifier efficiency the company hopes to double the battery life of smartphones.  Read More

The Lake Side Power Station natural gas power plant in Utah, USA (Photo: Mscalora)

Since peaking in 2005, US domestic energy CO2 emissions have fallen by 8.6 percent. A new report asserts that up to half of this reduction may be down to "energy switching," as generators switch from coal to shale gas (partly on cost grounds), which emits about half the CO2 when burned. Yet the same report, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, questions the wisdom of touting shale gas as a low-carbon technology, with its authors actually asserting that "the exploitation of shale gas reserves is likely to increase total emissions." How so?  Read More

A plan to tap the thermal energy of the Newberry Volcano is under way (Photo: Joshua Schre...

Having successfully negotiated the challenging regulatory slopes of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a host of Oregon state agencies, the Newberry Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) demonstration project is in the process of creating a new geothermal reservoir in central Oregon. The core of the new reservoir is a two mile (3.2 km) deep well drilled about four miles (6.3 km) from the center of Newberry Volcano. The rock surrounding the wellbore reaches temperatures in the order of 600° F (315° C), and is nearly impermeable to water. That, however, is about to change.  Read More

Is there a future for synthetic gasoline? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Air Fuel Synthesis, Ltd. (AFS), a small company in the northern English county of Durham, has recently made headlines for a chemical process that claims to synthesize gasoline from air and water. In essence, AFS is using energy to unburn fuel so that it can be burned as fuel again – a great deal of energy. Sixty kWh of electric energy are used up to store 9 kWh of that energy in a liter of gasoline. When you take into consideration that gasoline vehicles are about 15 percent efficient, a car fueled with synthetic gasoline would use roughly 35 times more energy on a given trip than would an electric vehicle. Not, it would seem, a prescription for a commercially valuable green product.  Read More

In an average wind speed of 12 mph (20 km/h), the PPC is said to produce 12 kW of power

Wind turbines have the potential to be very useful in providing renewable power to remote communities which have little or no infrastructure. Unfortunately, larger turbines tend to require a relatively involved set-up, with specialist gear needed to construct and maintain the turbines. The Portable Power Center (PPC) by Uprise Energy innovates in this regard by providing a self-contained unit which folds within a shipping container, and can be transported by truck.  Read More

Airplane creating vortices made visible by colored smoke (Image: NASA Langley Research Cen...

The United States Air Force is taking flying lessons from geese and spiny lobsters. This may seem like the mother of all bureaucratic errors, but there’s actually some pretty solid science behind it. In exploiting a phenomenon known as “vortex surfing,” the USAF has found that by having C-17 cargo planes flying in formation, it can reduce fuel consumption by up to ten percent.  Read More

A PNIPAM mat, shown on the right, keeps a model house cooler than a mat made from conventi...

We're used to the thought of humans sweating to cool down, but what about buildings? Researchers at ETH Zurich have applied the biological cooling mechanism to the task of keeping a building cool, and in the process have hit upon a novel and inexpensive method of cooling houses which could prove useful for homes in both developed and emerging nations.  Read More

Thermoelectrics can be used to convert energy currently lost as heat wasted from industry ...

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s electricity is generated by heat energy. Unfortunately, electricity generation systems operate at around 30 to 40 percent efficiency, meaning around two thirds of the energy input is lost as waste heat. Despite this, the inefficiency of current thermoelectric materials that can convert waste heat to electricity has meant their commercial use has been limited. Now researchers have developed a thermoelectric material they claim is the best in the world at converting waste heat into electricity, potentially providing a practical way to capture some of the energy that is currently lost.  Read More

Scientists have developed new nanocrystals that allow solar panels to generate both electr...

At first glance, photovoltaic solar panels are brilliant. They’re self-contained, need no fuel and so long as the sun is shining, they make lots of lovely electricity. The trouble is, they’re expensive to make, batteries are poor storage systems for cloudy days, and the panels have a very short service life. Now, Dr. Mikhail Zamkov of Ohio's Bowling Green State University and his team have used synthetic nanocrystals to make solar panels more durable as well as capable of producing hydrogen gas.  Read More

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