Car's Rooftop Device Makes Electricity From Rushing Wind


by Michael Keller

There are more places for electric vehicles to get power than just onboard batteries and stationary charging stations. Korean university and Samsung engineers say they have created a generator that makes electricity from flapping materials.

Their prototype, which can be mounted to an automobile’s roof, harnesses the triboelectric effect. This is the same phenomenon that causes a static charge to build up when a person walks across a carpet or a glass rod is rubbed with silk.


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Altaeros Energies' Buoyant Wind Turbine (BAT) Floats in the Sky

The Buoyant Wind Turbine (BAT) is designed to take advantage of high altitude winds, which are often five times greater than those found at typical wind turbine heights. Composed of an inflatable helium shell with stabilizing fins and turbine in the middle, the BAT also has the advantage of being quickly deployable, making it a potential power source for remote areas and emergency zones. The BAT, which would float about 1,000 ft. above the landscape, also addresses the noise and aesthetic concerns commonly lobbed at wind turbines. A strong cable tethers the turbine to the ground and also acts as the conduit through which electricity flows. 

Congratulations to the Bright Products team for winning the 2014 Usability Award with the SunBell Solar Lamp!

A Drop Of Power Makes Hydrogen Fuel Cheaper


by Michael Keller

**Editor’s Note: There seems to be some confusion based on readers’ comments that this post is about researchers discovering electrolysis of water. That process has been known since the 18th century. This article is about research looking to make industrial-scale hydrogen gas from water using novel electrodes that diminish the amount of electricity and precious metals needed during electrolysis.**

Scientists have made a breakthrough in generating hydrogen gas fuel more efficiently by splitting water with smaller amounts of electricity. 

Stanford University researchers report that they have disassembled water molecules into gaseous hydrogen and oxygen with the electromotive force of a single AAA battery. Both gaseous products are flammable and hydrogen is considered a viable power source for electricity production and vehicles. In fact, the first hydrogen fuel cell cars will be available for purchase in the US beginning in 2015.

The Stanford group also accomplished the low-power water splitting, a process called water electrolysis, without the expensive precious metals typically used. They put two electrodes in a beaker of water and sent current through them, which broke the liquid into the two gases.


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one of the biggest problems off-gridders run into is how to have refrigeration without having a big system. The average grid connected house fridge consumes 500-750 watts when running but uses 1200-2000 watts to get the compressor pump started (cold crank power). That is way too much power for a small off-grid system and would require a minimum of 2kw of power just for the fridge.

I have used many different fridges in my off-grid adventures trying to find the lowest power use and factoring in convenience and food storage space and these are the options with the pros and cons.

Read more via 5 Cheap & Easy Off Grid Refrigeration Options | Off Grid World


The Rawlemon Glass Sphere To Change The Way We Use Solar Energy
From solar roadways to revolutionary new power generating solar globes, its clear that the push towards solar generating units and facilities has become all the more prominent in the last few years than ever before. As fossil fuels become a thing of the past, we are looking for cleaner, unlimited, renewable, inexpensive sources of generating energy for cars, houses, boats and just about anything else that will require it.

But what makes it so different?
Well to answer that question, it would be best to give you an example that everyone can relate to. The glass sphere works like a magnifying glass, so if you at all recall children with magnifying glasses using the sunlight to focus the heat on one small spot, then you have a general idea of how this works and sometimes if the sun was bright and hot enough it could potentially cause fires.

As if stands, most (PhotoVoltaic) solar panels currently don’t operate as efficiently as they otherwise could have had they been designed differently, they have limitations, with an average performance of about 15% and without the ability to get the most from the sunlight, mostly due to the inability to track the sun in the sky regardless of which position in the skies it may be in.

This bad boy does exactly that, able to capture sunlight from any point in the sky using its own unique little tracking mechanism and a glass sphere to magnify / concentrate that sunlight onto a small solar panel. The sphere sits on a robotic steel frame enabling it to follow the sun and harvest its light from any and all directions. This essentially ups its capabilities by a huge 35% , basically meaning that any ants you decide to maliciously fry with it would turn to dust before long…we think, we wouldn’t recommend trying.

Reducing the cell surface to 1% using sophisticated geometry principles and the dual axis tracking system makes this solar harvester tremendously ideal and efficient for getting the most of the sunlight. What’s better is that this Rawlemon innovation is impervious to the nasty effects of those moody weather conditions due to its weather tracking system.

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Here is a story to cheer us all up. Wuxi Suntech Power expects the cost of electricity from solar modules match to coal-powered stations in China as soon as 2016. If so, we are entering a dramatically different world. The company’s chief executive, Eric Luo, told RenewEconomy that grid parity is at hand, even in […]

Hydrogen production breakthrough could herald cheap green energy

Chemists from the University of Glasgow report in a new paper in Science today (Friday 12 September) on a new form of hydrogen production which is 30 times faster than the current state-of-the-art method. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy.

….The new method allows larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen to be produced at atmospheric pressure using lower power loads, typical of those generated by renewable power sources. It also solves intrinsic safety issues which have so far limited the use of intermittent renewable energy for hydrogen production.

The research team was led by Professor Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry. Professor Cronin said: “The process uses a liquid that allows the hydrogen to be locked up in a liquid-based inorganic fuel. By using a liquid sponge known as a redox mediator that can soak up electrons and acid we’ve been able to create a system where hydrogen can be produced in a separate chamber without any additional energy input after the electrolysis of water takes place.

“The link between the rate of water oxidation and hydrogen production has been overcome, allowing hydrogen to be released from the water 30 times faster than the leading PEME process on a per-milligram-of-catalyst basis.”

The research was produced as part of the University of Glasgow Solar Fuels Group, which is working to create artificial photosynthetic systems which produce significant amounts of fuel from solar power.

They may have left out how the specifics of how they are catalyzing the electrolysis reaction for patent reasons. That said, PEME production of hydrogen still uses expensive rare metals like titanium and platinum.

New Technology Could Boost Solar Cell Efficiency By 30 Percent


by Ker Than, Inside Science

Scientists looking to boost the efficiency of solar panels are taking a fresh look at an exotic physics phenomenon first observed nearly 50 years ago in glowing crystals.

Called singlet fission, the process can enable a single photon of light to generate two electrons instead of just one. This one-to-two conversion, as the process is known, has the potential to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30 percent above current levels, according to a new review paper published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Singlet fission “was originally proposed to explain some weird results that were observed in fluorescent organic crystals,” said the study’s first author Christopher Bardeen, a chemist at the University of California, Riverside. “It received a lot of attention in the 1960s and 1970s, but then it was mostly forgotten.”

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Report: Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

Report: Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

By Brandon Turkus

Filed under:

Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150, the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles.


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Malaysia “Smart Villages” are Green Technology Masterpieces

Malaysia “Smart Villages” are Green Technology Masterpieces

Malaysia is currently pioneering incredibly successful innovations in the area of sustainability that we could all learn a thing or two from. Malaysian “smart villages” are incredibly cost-effective, easy to build, include many 21st century amenities, and are, of course, very green.

These self-sustaining “smart villages” can support up to 100 families each and greatly improve residents’ quality…

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"Paradigm Shift" Reported In Making Biofuel From Plants


by Michael Keller

The possibility of using nonfood plants to cheaply and sustainably fuel our vehicles may have just veered into the fast lane.

Scientists report they have successfully genetically engineered bacteria to convert complex carbohydrates in tough grasses directly into ethanol, a type of alcohol that can fuel internal combustion engines.

“Making biofuel from plants is really important because it’s carbon neutral—the same CO2 you put in to grow it comes out when you burn it,” says Janet Westpheling, a University of Georgia genetics professor who led the research. “It’s one of the reasons why the future of energy in this country has to rely at least in part on plants.”

At the heart of the work conducted at UGA and Oak Ridge National Lab, is what Westpheling calls a paradigm shift in approaching a longstanding problem in producing biofuels.

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City Of Shenzhen, China Wins City Climate Leadership Award

City Of Shenzhen, China Wins City Climate Leadership Award

By James Ayre

The Chinese city of Shenzhen was recently awarded the top honors for urban transportation at the C40 City Climate Leadership Awards in New York. The city — located in China’s southern Guangdong province — was also a finalist in the finance and economic development category of the awards, but didn’t manage to take the top

City Of Shenzhen, China Wins City Climate Leadership Awardwa…

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