Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Turbine

NASA's high altitude ice cloud test rig being readied for action (Photo: NASA)

About once a month on average, an incident is reported in which turbofan jet engines flying at high-altitude lose power. The pilots report that there is little if any bad weather that might explain the power loss and although uncommon, this fault is potentially disastrous. The culprit is called ice crystal icing, and NASA scientists are making progress in understanding the problem using a world first test facility that creates an artificial ice cloud similar to that encountered by planes at high altitudes.  Read More

Cross-section of the GE ADVENT engine design

GE Aviation is developing a revolutionary new jet engine that aims to combine the best traits of turbojet and turbofan engines, delivering supersonic speed capability and fuel efficiency in one package.  Read More

Mock-up of the Jet Vest, currently under development by Jet Machines Extreme (Photo: JME)

The Bell rocket belt captured the world's imagination when it was featured in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball. Now, the folks at Jet Machines Extreme (JME) are designing a modern version not powered by rockets, but by a set of four miniature turbojets. The new Jet Vest is expected to offer free flying times nearly four minutes in duration. Having run short of development money, JME is exploring another modern innovation by reaching out to crowd-funding site Kickstarter for a boost.  Read More

Titanium aluminide, created using hypergravity, would reduce the weight of jet trbine blad...

In the quest for more efficient commercial aircraft to help reduce fuel consumption, weight reduction without compromising safety is one of the most obvious areas of focus. Researchers at the European Space Agency (ESA) working in the Intermetallic Materials Processing in Relation to Earth and Space Solidification (IMPRESS) Project have used hypergravity to help develop an aircraft-grade alloy they claim is twice as light as the nickel superalloys currently used in conventional jet engines, but boasts equally good properties.  Read More

Seth Kettleman's custom-built jet-powered go-kart

Seth Kettleman is no stranger to high-powered vehicles. The surplus aircraft parts dealer provided the Boeing engine and technical support for the building of a jet-powered Batmobile replica, and more recently attempted to sell his own similarly-outfitted Datsun 280ZX on eBay. Now, you have the chance to buy another one of his monstrosities – a custom-built jet-powered go-kart.  Read More

Auto restorer and designer Casey Putsch has built a replica Batmobile, that is powered by ...

Last October, we told you about the full-scale working Batmobile replica built by movie prop-maker Bob Dullam. The version of the iconic superhero vehicle that Dullam chose to recreate was the rugged, Hummer-esque beauty from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, known as the Tumbler. Well, that car now has some company on the road, in the form of a street-legal copy of the smoother, slinkier Batmobile that first appeared in 1989’s Batman. Built by Ohio auto restorer and designer Casey Putsch in just five months out of race car and military surplus parts, the vehicle is incredibly faithful to the original ... to the point that it’s powered by an actual jet engine.  Read More

The H2O Power radio generates its own operating power via the force of the running water f...

For all the people out there who like listening to the radio while they’re in the shower, various companies offer waterproof battery-operated “shower radios.” There’s nothing particularly wrong with these radios, but ... why change or recharge the batteries if you don’t have to? No, we’re not suggesting running a power cord into the shower. Instead, you might be interested in getting an H2O Power water-powered radio.  Read More

The Strait Power turbine inspired by the basking shark

Studying the bumpy protrusions on the fins of humpback whales has already led to more efficient wind and tidal power turbines and now nature is once again the source of inspiration for a new and more efficient hydroelectric turbine. The latest source of biomimicry is the basking shark, which industrial design student Anthony Reale has borrowed from to create "strait power," a water-powered turbine generator that tests have shown is 40 percent more efficient than current designs.  Read More

Atlantis Resources Corporation's tidal power turbine before installation on the sea floor

Even with its potential for providing predictable and sustainable electricity generation with no visual impact, tidal power still accounts for only a fraction of a percent of the world’s total electricity generation. That is slowly changing though, with numerous tidal power plants being constructed or planned for coastlines around the world. India is the latest country to wade into the tidal power waters with the announcement of its first commercial scale tidal current power plant to be constructed in the Indian State of Gujarat.  Read More

The modified blades

The bumpy protrusions, known as tubercles, on the leading edge of humpback whale flippers have already inspired more efficient wind turbine blades that are able to produce more power at lower speeds. Now, in a seemingly obvious move, researchers have found that that same principle can be applied to underwater turbine blades to more efficiently convert low velocity ocean tidal flow energy into electricity.  Read More

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