Photokina 2014 highlights

Solar Powered

Quadru-bot is just one of the kit's 14 forms

Robots made for kids tend to move in a way that can only be described as lurching. The 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit puts that expectation to good use with its shambling Zombie-Bot model, but with thirteen other forms, it can also mimic several animals, wheeled transportation, robots, and even multiple seafaring contraptions. As it's equipped with a solar panel you'll never have to have to find a battery charger.  Read More

Gizmag reviews the Volta Racer solar-powered toy car

While there are already a number of solar-powered model cars on the market, Toylabs’ new Volta Racer is unique in a couple of ways – you put it together yourself, and it incorporates a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel. Although my days of playing with toy cars are behind me (sort of), my days of tinkering with things aren’t, so I decided to check out one of the sun-powered autos for myself.  Read More

Close-up look of PNNL’s concentrating solar power system

Solar power holds the promise of clean, limitless energy, but it currently suffers from high costs and an inherent disadvantage of not working when the sun isn't shining. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is taking a best-of-both-worlds approach by developing a hybrid solar/gas system that increases the efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of natural gas power plants.  Read More

The Velux Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylight

Skylights are a nice way of letting daylight into your house, and if they can be opened, they’re also effective at letting out the hot, stuffy air that rises to the ceiling. Depending on their location, however, they can be difficult to open without running electrical wiring up to them. That’s why Velux has introduced its no-wiring-required Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylight.  Read More

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar embarking on its circumnavigation of the globe in 2010 (Photo: ...

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar-powered boat, took to the seas once more on Thursday – this time, in the name of science. Equipped with unique instruments, the Tûranor will carry a team of scientists who will monitor the air and water of the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf Stream, a current which influences the climates of North America's east coast and Europe's west. The goal is to gain understanding of the processes which regulate climate.  Read More

Walgreens has revealed plans to build what it believes will be the first net zero retail s...

Drugstore chain giant Walgreens has announced its intention to build what the company believes will be the first net zero retail store in the United States. Once open for business, engineers anticipate that the combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration will allow the new store to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes.  Read More

The HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft's fuselage being loaded aboard a Boeing 747 in Payerne, ...

Last December, the team at Switzerland’s Solar Impulse announced that they were planning on flying their record-breaking HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft across the United States this spring. Today, the details of that project were revealed to the public.  Read More

 Queen Mary students have created a solar powered remote controlled helicopter-prototype w...

A team of masters students from the Queen Mary, University of London is hoping to develop the world’s first photovoltaic multi-copter. Dubbed "Solarcopter," the team's creation is a solar powered remote controlled helicopter-prototype designed for multipurpose applications.  Read More

The Volta Racer is powered by a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel

If you want to teach children about hydrogen power, you can always buy them a fuel cell-powered toy car like the H-ROVER. Should you wish to show them the merits of solar power, there are also quite a number of solar panel-equipped cars from which to choose. ToyLabs’ new Volta Racer, however, is reportedly the first toy car to feature a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel.  Read More

Architectural firm Traverso-Vighy and the Department of Physics at the University of Padua...

Italian architectural firm Traverso-Vighy and the Department of Physics at the University of Padua have teamed up to create an innovative zero-energy home dubbed “Tvzeb.” Located in the woodlands a few kilometers from the historic center of Vicenza, the home combines the use of recycled materials, geothermal and solar energy generation, LED lighting and wall and roof insulation made from 40,000 recycled plastic bottles.  Read More

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