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Renewable Energy


— Space

Humans hack space in the International Space Apps Challenge

By - May 8, 2013 12 Pictures
Given a set of problems related to space exploration and a 48-hour deadline, 9,000 people in 80 locations around the world created over 600 solutions. The International Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and other international space agencies, offered up massive amounts of data and other resources to teams of hackers who responded with creative solutions. The public now has the chance to view these solutions online and vote for their favorites on each project's official page. Gizmag set out to find the best projects related to data visualization and education, space exploration and satellite inventiveness, green technology, and remotely-operated vehicles. Read More
— Environment

Making the most of low-grade silicon for cheaper, more efficient solar panels

By - May 7, 2013 1 Picture
While we wait for affordable multi-junction solar cells that are pushing past the 40 percent conversion efficiency mark to make it out of the lab and onto our roofs, we have to make do with standard commercial silicon cells that currently max out at around 19 percent. A team from the University of New South Wales in Australia has found a way to improve the quality of low-grade silicon, enabling higher efficiency solar cells to be produced from cheaper, low-grade silicon. Read More
— Environment

Concrete spheres could deliver feasible energy storage for offshore wind turbines

By - May 1, 2013 1 Picture
The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines. Read More
— Environment

IBM applies supercomputer cooling to solar collector for 80% efficiency

By - April 25, 2013 15 Pictures
Solar power may provide a clean, abundant source of energy, but we know the sun's rays are capable of much, much more. Aside from generating electricity, we've seen solar energy harnessed to produce drinkable water as well, so why not combine the two processes into one system? That's what IBM and its collaborators are hoping to do with an affordable High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that uses cooling technology from supercomputers to harvest solar energy more efficiently and produce purified water at the same time. Read More
— Environment

World’s largest OTEC power plant planned for China

By - April 18, 2013 4 Pictures
Lockheed Martin has been getting its feet wet in the renewable energy game for some time. In the 1970s it helped build the world’s first successful floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system that generated net power, and in 2009 it was awarded a contract to develop an OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii. That project has apparently been canceled but the company has now shifted its OTEC sights westward by teaming up with Hong Kong-based Reignwood Group to co-develop a pilot plant that will be built off the coast of southern China. Read More
— Architecture

"Algae-powered" building opens in Germany

By - April 17, 2013 7 Pictures
Splitterwerk Architects and engineering firm Arup have unveiled what is thought to be the world's first building to be powered partly by algae. Officially "unveiled" at the International Building Exhibition hosted in Hamburg, the design, dubbed the BIQ, has a "bio-adaptive" facade that is claimed to be a first for using algae within its glass louvers in order to generate energy, and provide shade, to a working building. Read More
— Environment

World's largest wind farm, London Array, brought fully online

By - April 10, 2013 6 Pictures
Phase one of the London Array usurped the UK's Greater Gabbard to become the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world when its final turbine (its 175th) was commissioned on Saturday afternoon. Though construction was completed back in December, it is only now that all of the farm's turbines are supplying the UK's national grid with electrical power. The array has a total capacity of 630 MW. Read More
— Environment

Self-healing “artificial leaf” produces energy from dirty water

By - April 10, 2013 1 Picture
Back in 2011, scientists reported the creation of the “world’s first practical artificial leaf” that mimics the ability of real leaves to produce energy from sunlight and water. Touted as a potentially inexpensive source of electricity for those in developing countries and remote areas, the leaf’s creators have now given it a capability that would be especially beneficial in such environments – the ability to self heal and therefore produce energy from dirty water. Read More
— Environment

EWICON bladeless wind turbine generates electricity using charged water droplets

By - April 3, 2013 2 Pictures
Wind energy may be one of the more sustainable sources of power available, but the spinning blades of conventional wind turbines require regular maintenance and have attracted criticism from bird lovers. That might explain why we've seen wind turbine prototypes that enclose the blades in a chamber or replace them entirely with a disc-like system. But researchers in the Netherlands set out to eliminate the need for a mechanical component entirely and created the EWICON, a bladeless wind turbine with no moving parts that produces electricity using charged water droplets. Read More
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