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Renewable Energy

Environment Feature

Dodgy wind? Why "innovative" turbines are often anything but

Virtually every week there are articles about new and innovative methods for harvesting wind energy. And every week more megawatts of capacity from three-blade horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) becomes operational, despite all of the contenders. Why aren't these innovative new products knocking the iconic HAWT off its perch? Is it possible to tell which are likely to be viable? These eight points are a useful way to assess which technology has potential, and which are likely just hot air.Read More

Architecture

Strawscraper concept calls for a wind energy-harvesting toupee

Despite being the most common renewable energy technologies, solar panels and wind turbines still have their shortcomings. Particularly when it comes to the urban environment. Lack of space and concerns about noise are just two problems with integrating them into city settings in an unobtrusive way. That's why Belatchew Arkitekter wants to try a different approach with its Strawscraper concept, which proposes transforming the Söder Torn building in Stockholm into an urban wind farm by covering it in piezoelectric fibers.Read More

Environment

UGE replaces 4K wind turbine with mysterious mid-range VisionAIR

Urban Green Energy (UGE) recently unveiled its newest vertical-axis wind turbine, the VisionAIR, as part of an installation at the Beijing International Garden Expo. The company confirmed to Gizmag that the VisionAIR is replacing its former 4K turbine, last seen adorning the top of an EV charging station, as its standard mid-sized option for customers. Compared with the previous model, the new turbine's design aims for better efficiency at moderate wind speeds, which UGE plans to integrate with its hybrid energy projects.Read More

Science

SKWID harnesses the power of both the wind and the tide

There are already a wide variety of renewable energy systems that harness the power of the wind, along with some that generate power via the flow of ocean currents. According to Japanese engineering firm MODEC (Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co.), however, its soon-to-be-tested SKWID system will be the first one to do both.Read More

Space

Humans hack space in the International Space Apps Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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