Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Renewable Energy

The Brighton i360, by architecture firm Marks Barfield

Popular English tourist spot Brighton will soon gain a new landmark to join its famous pier. The same team responsible for the London Eye ferris wheel has started work on a large-scale observation tower dubbed the Brighton i360. The observation tower will feature a large glass pod that offers views of up to 30 miles away (48.2 km) on a clear sunny day.  Read More

Harvesting electricity from condensation could take renewable power to remote areas (Photo...

MIT researchers have found a way to generate small amounts of electricity from condensation, by having electrically-charged droplets jump between superhydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) metal plates. The advance could be especially useful in remote areas or developing countries, not least because it produces clean water as a side product.  Read More

The Singapore Sports Hub, by DP Architects (Photo: DP Architects)

Work was recently completed on a big, bold, and presumably very expensive architectural project – and for a change, it's not located in Dubai or China. The Singapore Sports Hub is a mammoth new sports complex containing the East Asian city state's new National Stadium: a 55,000 capacity venue that boasts the notable achievement of being the world's largest dome structure.  Read More

WindStream Technologies says it has installed the world's largest wind-solar hybrid genera...

Generating renewable electricity at home or commercial buildings is becoming increasingly viable. WindStream Technologies has installed what it says is the world's largest wind-solar hybrid array on an office roof in Kingston, Jamaica. The array is expected to generate over 106,000 kWh annually.  Read More

The giant floating Energy Duck concept by artists Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger an...

A group of British artists have conceptualized a giant solar harvesting floating duck as part of the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative Copenhagen design competition. Dubbed Energy Duck, the giant structure has been designed not only to generate clean electricity for the local residents of Copenhagen, but to also provide a unique visitor center.  Read More

Dr Jon Major says magnesium chloride could replace toxic cadmium chloride in CdTe solar ce...

Tofu has long been touted as a good way to clean out your insides, but now a researcher at the University of Liverpool says an ingredient in tofu could also be used to clean up solar cells. The hope is that the naturally occurring substance could replace a key ingredient in thin film solar cells that is highly toxic and expensive to produce.  Read More

Solar Wind Energy's Downdraft Tower generates its own wind that is directed down the hollo...

When we think of wind power, we generally think of huge wind turbines sitting high atop towers where they can take advantage of the higher wind speeds. But Maryland-based Solar Wind Energy, Inc. is looking to turn wind power on its head with the Solar Wind Downdraft Tower, which places turbines at the base of a tower and generates its own wind to turn them.  Read More

The CSIRO has generated 'supercritical steam' at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3,400 psi) and 57...

Researchers at Australia's CSIRO have claimed a world record for the highest temperatures ever achieved using solar energy to generate "supercritical" steam at its solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia. Featuring more than 600 directional mirrors (heliostats) directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, the researchers produced the steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570° C (1,058° F).  Read More

GE has found a way to extend wind turbine rotor blades without replacing them

Sometimes progress can be its own worst enemy, with early adopters being stuck with obsolete equipment that leaves them with the choice of living with out-dated technology or an expensive replacement. The green energy field isn’t immune to this, and as part of a US$2 million renewable energy project, GE has developed a way to make smaller, less efficient wind turbines into bigger more efficient ones with a bit of plastic (or carbon composite) surgery.  Read More

Is space-based solar power the answer to our energy needs? JAXA envisions solar satellites...

Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040.  Read More

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