Photokina 2014 highlights

Power

The IDAPT i1 Eco can charge up to two devices simultaneously

IDAPT has been providing charging solutions for power hungry mobile device users for a few years now with its range of multi-purpose chargers, such as the IDAPT i3. The company has now extended its range with the IDAPT i1 Eco dual charger that has been designed as a more environmentally friendly way to keep the juice flowing in your electronic devices.  Read More

The OnPlug is essentially a single-outlet power bar, that keeps household electric devices...

Call it standby power, phantom power or vampire power, but the current drawn by various household electrical devices when they are supposedly “off” can account for up to ten percent of a home’s energy use. Fortunately, there are gizmos available that act as “middle men” between wall outlets and devices, completely shutting off the power supply when the devices are not in use. One of the newest is the OnPlug, which manages to come in at quite a low price point by avoiding the bells and whistles of similar products.  Read More

Reducing your power bill with Microsoft's Hohm

For a lot of people, the electricity bill is an unwanted piece of paper printed with angular graphs and big dollar signs, but with the rising cost of power in today's energy-conscious society it's becoming more important to understand exactly what all those lines and numbers mean. Microsoft's Hohm website aims to make sense of the jargon by providing personalized data on consumers' home energy consumption, and offering recommendations on how to save energy and reduce those bills.  Read More

Storing excess energy could help base supply power plants meet spikes in demand (Image: 0x...

The amount of power drawn from the electricity grid can vary greatly at different times of the day. It usually peaks in the early evening for a couple of hours after the mass exodus from school and work, while short-lived spikes are also common after major televised sporting events, during commercial breaks and in the morning hours. This can cause headaches for energy companies as they struggle to match supply with demand. But researchers have now found a way to manage these short-lived draws on the electricity grid far that could halve the fuel needed.  Read More

Capturing heat energy currently lost from semiconductors could lead to cheaper and more ef...

Researchers from University of Minnesota have removed a barrier to improving solar cell efficiency by showing how heat energy currently lost from semiconductors can be captured and transferred to electric circuits. They hope manufacturers will use the results to produce solar cells with twice the output of current solar cells and at a lower cost.  Read More

Virtually silent, fully enclosed, bladeless wind turbines on the way

A wind turbine that uses boundary layers instead of blades to generate power has been patented by Solar Aero, a New Hampshire based not-for-profit scientific research organization. Modeled on the 1913 Tesla steam turbine, the Fuller turbine is virtually silent and completely enclosed, which avoids many of the drawbacks of bladed turbines such as noise, radar interference, visual pollution and wildlife injuries.  Read More

Future site of the Waste-to-Biofuels complex

If you’re a fan of the original Back to the Future movie, then you probably liked the scene at the end where Doc Brown used some random household waste to fuel his time-traveling deLorean. Well, we’re now getting a little bit closer to that being a reality... sort of. While practical flying cars, time travel and cold fusion are still a ways off, the ability to power your car with garbage isn’t. Canadian biofuels firm Enerkem is currently working with the city of Edmonton, Alberta, to convert that city’s municipal waste into ethanol. This will lower the city’s greenhouse gas output, keep much of its waste out of the landfill, and produce a “clean” fuel Doc Brown would be proud of.  Read More

Risoe DTU's wind turbine blade section being tested in a wind tunnel

If you’ve ever seen a commercial-scale wind turbine in real life, then you’ll know that they’re huge – a single blade can be as long as 60 meters (197 feet). Researchers from Denmark’s Risoe DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy tell us that such blades can flex by up to six meters (20 feet) when subjected to strong wind gusts. Worse yet, the gust load is often not evenly distributed along the length of the blade, so it doesn’t flex evenly. Fortunately, the researchers are working on addressing this problem, by attaching flexible flaps to the trailing edges of the blades. These flaps come in the form of silicone rubber strips, which run the length of the blade. The result, we’re told, will be quieter, higher-output turbines.  Read More

Sights like this could soon be commonplace

True to its word the formerly secretive Bloom Energy launched its Bloom “Box” (hereafter known as the Bloom Energy Server), today at eBay’s California HQ. Attended by Governor Schwarzenegger and Bloom Energy board member Colin Powell, the event revealed more concrete specifications for the fuel cell, as well as some of the corporate household names that are already customers.  Read More

Two Secret Energy Turbine rooftop turbines

Few people would argue that having a rooftop wind turbine could help offset your power bills. Your neighbors, however, might not appreciate the sight of a windmill on your roof, nor would they like the sound of its blades whistling through the air. Don’t give up on the idea yet, though, because British inventor Rupert Sweet-Escott has come up with a product that he claims addresses those problems. His Secret Energy Turbine (SET) looks like an ordinary chimney stack and is boasts almost completely silent operation.  Read More

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