Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Solar Powered

The WakaWaka Power can recharge a smartphone or provide reading light after a day in the s...

Last year a portable solar LED lamp called the WakaWaka Light – a winner of four Accenture Innovation awards in 2012 – was successfully crowd-funded. Now, its makers are launching a follow-up device that can fully recharge a phone or fuel your tablet for an extra couple of hours on a single day's charge.  Read More

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft (Photo: Solar Impulse)

Flush with success from their 6,000-km (3,728-mile) Europe-to-Africa round-trip flight earlier this year, the duo behind the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft are now planning on flying it across America next spring. It will mark the first time that a solar-powered plane has traversed the country.  Read More

The ELF is a pedal/electric velomobile, that can be charged using a built-in photovoltaic ...

While it’s all very well and good to use an electric vehicle as your around-town ride, full-size electric cars can still be pretty pricey. Also, as many of their critics are quick to point out, the electricity used to charge their batteries currently still tends to come from eco-unfriendly sources such as coal-burning power plants. Well, that’s where the three-wheeled ELF velomobile comes into play. It’s cheaper than a car, can be pedaled like a tricycle, and the battery that powers its electric assist motor can be charged from the Sun.  Read More

A cut-away view of the prototype HydroICE engine, with cotton batten indicating how steam ...

OK, first things first – stop picturing a car with solar panels connected to its engine. What Missouri-based inventors Matt Bellue and Ben Cooper are working on is something a little different than that. They want to take an internal combustion engine, and run it on water and solar-heated oil instead of gasoline. That engine could then be hooked up to a generator, to provide clean electricity. While that may sound a little iffy to some, Bellue and Cooper have already built a small-scale prototype.  Read More

The small prototype device created by researchers at EPFL

As scientists endeavor to increase the efficiency of solar panels, the challenge of storing the resultant energy cheaply and in an environmentally responsible way must also be met. To this end, researchers at Switzerland’s École polytechnique fédérale de Lausann (EPFL) have developed an inexpensive device that transforms light energy into hydrogen, for storage and later use. The new prototype makes use of sunlight, water, and metal oxides, including iron oxide – or rust.  Read More

The Sunseeker Duo is billed as the world's first two-passenger solar aircraft

Piloted solar flight has been a reality for some time, with even international flights now possible. Up to this point, such voyages have been a strictly solo affair, however the team originally responsible for the Sunseeker II intends to change this by manufacturing what’s billed as the world’s first two-seater solar aircraft – a motor glider named the Sunseeker Duo.  Read More

Conceptual image of HGA's Palm Springs campus design (Image copyright HGA Architects and E...

Images have been released of a design for the College of the Desert's new self-sustaining "Net Zero-plus" campus to be built at Palm Springs. The "Net Zero-plus" refers to the design's aim of generating more energy than it uses.  Read More

The Polaris lunar water prospecting robot prototyple

Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spin-off company of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has debuted its full-size flight prototype of its Polaris lunar water-prospecting robot. Polaris is specially designed to work in the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles. Scheduled to be sent to the Moon using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the solar-powered rover is a contender in the US$20 million Google Lunar X Prize and is tasked with seeking ice deposits that could be used by future colonists.  Read More

The components in the BRIGHT lamp

BRIGHT Products has created a new solar-powered lamp with the intended goal of bringing more light to developing nations. Not only that, the lamp can be used as a mobile phone charger through the built-in micro USB cord.  Read More

V3Solar has developed a cone-shaped solar energy harvester that is claimed to generate ove...

For the vast majority of those looking to harvest energy from the sun to satisfy domestic or business electricity needs, the photovoltaic world is a static and flat one. Even many large scale solar farms feature row upon row of rigid panels, although there may at least be some movement as the panels follow the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. V3Solar's Spin Cell is a little different. It's claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics.  Read More

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