Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Power

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

Power delivery to the human heart from a 200MHz low-frequency transmitter (left) and a 1.7...

Implantable medical devices are becoming more common everyday. The problem is that no matter how sophisticated the devices are, most still depend on batteries for power. One solution to this is for the power source to remain outside the body and to beam the power to the device. However, that has its own difficulties because wireless power can’t penetrate very far through human tissue ... until now.  Read More

South Dakota's Peppermint Energy has launched a Kickstarter funding campaign to help take ...

It took Deep Thought (the supercomputer from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) seven and a half million years to calculate that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42. South Dakota's Peppermint Energy is hoping that it won't take quite that long to bring its personal, portable solar energy device named The Forty2 into production. The company has turned to crowd-funding portal Kickstarter to help it take the all-in-one power unit from working prototype to its first limited production run and beyond.  Read More

The NanoTritium betavoltaic power source from City Labs is a thumb-sized battery that draw...

When installing micro-electronic devices in locations that are expensive or hard to reach, or just downright dangerous, you don't want to have to keep returning to swap out a battery cell. City Labs has announced the commercial launch of its NanoTritium betavoltaic power source, a thumb-sized battery that draws on the energy released from its radioactive element to provide continuous nanoWatt power for over 20 years.  Read More

Exogear claims its Exovolt Plus is the world's first stackable battery pack for mobile dev...

If the idea of your mobile gadget running out of juice leaving you incommunicado (or, heaven forbid, bored) fills you with fear, then a battery pack is the obvious solution. But what if your power needs vary from day to day? Exogear has developed a battery pack that it touts as the world’s first stackable battery pack that is designed to adapt to suit your battery needs, no matter how small or how great.  Read More

The “MyPower Energy Platform” would use a smart plug to gather electricity usage data and ...

Smart meters have become an important tool not only for households looking to save energy and keep the electricity bill down, but also for utility companies striving to match electricity generation with demand. But while smart meters can provide an overall picture of a household’s electricity usage over time, a team from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies is developing a system that aims to monitor the energy usage of individual appliances.  Read More

BPV technology is able to generate electricity by tapping into the photosynthesis of livin...

Designers and scientists at the University of Cambridge have been collaborating on a project that demonstrates a potential future application of Biophotovoltaic (BPV) technology. Dubbed the Moss Table, the concept furniture piece was exhibited at this year’s Salone Satellite – a parallel exhibition of young designers that took place during the Milan Design Week last month. The idea behind the table is that energy generated from the moss during the day could be stored in a battery and later used to power the adjoining lamp in the evening.  Read More

Scientists have created a rechargeable battery using the lignin from pulp and paper mills

Scientists have discovered that lignin, a plentiful byproduct of the pulp and paper industry, can be used to store an electrical charge. They've used the material to create a prototype lignin-based rechargeable battery, and suggest that it could one day be used as a less expensive, safer alternative to the precious metals currently utilized in battery cathodes.  Read More

Design By Many recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station com...

Design By Many, a challenge-based design community, recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station competition. First prize was awarded to the HMMY team for its Plug + Play concept. The smart-looking electric vehicle charging station attempts to stimulate awareness of the gap between production and consumption of energy. The design "generates a renewed consciousness of energy use in our modern lives," according to HMMY.  Read More

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