Photokina 2014 highlights

Power

A laptop generating a little too much waste heat (Photo: secumem via Wikipedia Commons)

That heat emanating from your computer as you sit reading this article amounts to nothing more than wasted energy. And your computer is not alone. More than half of the energy consumed worldwide is wasted, most of it in the form of excess heat. But new research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) indicates it might be possible to harvest much of the wasted heat produced by everything from computer processors to car engines and electric powerplants, and convert it into usable electricity. This kind of waste-energy harvesting might lead to mobile phones with double the talk time, laptop computers that can operate twice as long before needing to be plugged in to mains power, or energy plants that produce more electricity for a given amount of fuel.  Read More

The Shelf solar sunshade - can collect enough solar energy to power a vehicle's air condit...

As the motoring world moves ever-closer to the welcome infiltration of electrically-powered cars, one thing holding them back is the availability of charging stations to “refuel” the vehicles which so far have an average range of around 120 miles between charges. The Shelf, a concept by Chinese designer Leon Zhu, takes advantage of the sun’s solar energy and collects enough of the stuff on a hot day to power the car’s air conditioner, tail lights and other electronic equipment, therefore extending the life of the car’s onboard batteries. What’s more, the solar panel protects your vehicle’s expensive duco from long exposure to the sun. Just don’t try to extend the solar panel while you’re driving.  Read More

The LED mPower Emergency Illuminator from mPhase Technologies ... a flashlight with a 20-y...

Perhaps the best piece of advice I never got was "leave your flashlight in an obvious, easily accessible place”, because the one time you’ll really need it will be during a power outage or a blown fuse and the last thing you want at that time is wonder where the heck you put it. Oh, and keep it fully charged (you know why). While the mPower Emergency Illuminator won’t insist you keep it close by, it does have some impressive features – battery technology that will last up to 20 years (though not if you use it continuously) and a USB outlet which lets you charge other devices.  Read More

The Wall of Sound booms out 125W of tube-driven audio

In a world where miniaturization rules the roost, it's refreshing to see some things getting bigger and bigger. Just last week we featured Regen's enormous ReVerb iPod dock which stands tall and slim at 35 inches (90cm). Now from Sweden comes the colossal 37.5 x 49 x 12 inch (95cm x 125cm x 30cm) "Wall of Sound", which can boom out 125 Watts of ground-shaking, tube-driven audio from its 28 speakers.  Read More

Samsung’s STORY Station drives cut standby power consumption by 95 percent

Samsung’s STORY Station drives will be the first 3.5-inch external hard drives to boast a standby power consumption of less than 1W. The typical standby power consumption of external hard drives is around 2.5W, so lowering that figure to 0.09W constitutes a reduction of more than 95 percent. The reduced standby power level easily meets requirements for the forthcoming European Union’s EuP (Energy Using Products) Directive for Standby Regulation, which is effective from January 2010.  Read More

The eWolf e2 electric sports car prototype

With electric powered vehicle development picking up pace in a big way, German based company e-Wolf is looking to take things one step further after unveiling its “e-2” EV prototype. Boasting an expected acceleration of 0-60mph in under four seconds, e-Wolf is set to deliver an Italian-inspired electric “supercar” that puts the mean in green.  Read More

Belkin Conserve Surge with Timer turns off non-essential office equipment, saving on energ...

We first looked at Belkin’s Conserve Surge protector early last year. The company has just released a new version that includes a clever automatic timer to control power usage. The surge protector has eight outlets – two keep PCs and critical devices permanently on, while the other six outlets are automatically turned off after 11 hours. This allows you to power down non-essential office equipment at night and on weekends, saving valuable energy and money.  Read More

Xcel Energy has announced that the world's first Smart Grid City is now online 
 (Image: C...

Boulder, Colorado has just become the world's first city to benefit from an intelligent power supply monitoring system. The Smart Grid City system aims to make outages easier to predict and/or prevent, manage power flow throughout the infrastructure and give customers greater access to energy information and more control over how much they use. Xcel Energy constantly monitors the grid network for any irregularities, allowing the company to fix problems before they happen.  Read More

VW's 'SchwarmStrom' project would replace nuclear and coal power stations with 100,000 hom...

Volkswagen has recently announced a rather ambitious project that, for a change, has nothing to do with cars. Teaming up with regenerative-power company Lichtblick, it aims to install 100,000 co-generation power units in Germany as part of a concept called ‘SchwarmStrom’ which, literally translated, means ‘swarm power’. Successful application would allow Germany to abandon the use of nuclear and coal power stations and provide adequate backup to renewable energy sources, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 60%.  Read More

Electrical engineers Babak Parviz and Brian Otis and undergraduate student Carlton Himes (...

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have taken the term ‘green power’ literally by running an electric circuit from the power generated by trees. Sure, there isn’t much electrical power to harness, but the researchers say it should be enough to run wireless sensors that could be used to detect environmental conditions or forest fires and could also be used to gauge a tree’s health.  Read More

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