Tag Archives: energy

Shimizu’s Dream: Proposals to Benefit Future Generations

from SHIMIZU Corporation:

Shimizu continues to introduce our vision for the future.
We tackle new technological challenges and present wide-ranging proposals for the benefit of up-coming generations.

Toward a hydrogen economy: Clues from nature

from h+ Magazine: ⇦ Much more at source

Artificial photosynthesis may soon be a reality – splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. You only have to look as far as your garden to observe one of the most common chemical reactions in nature at work pulling apart water molecules (H2O) and splitting them into carbohydrates and oxygen (O2).

Nature provides the template for this process using the energy from sunlight to fuel the reaction.  Here’s a video showing the basic process:

New project aims for fusion ignition

MIT-led Ignitor reactor could be the world’s first to reach major milestone, perhaps paving the way for eventual power production.

from MIT News:

Russia and Italy have entered into an agreement to build a new fusion reactor outside Moscow that could become the first such reactor to achieve ignition, the point where a fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining instead of requiring a constant input of energy.

The design for the reactor, called Ignitor, originated with MIT physics professor Bruno Coppi, who will be the project’s principal investigator.

Computerized agents for smart electricity

from University of Southampton via alphagalileo.org:

Computer scientists at the University of Southampton have developed a system of computerised agents which can manage energy use and storage in homes.

Having already developed agents that can trade on the stock market and manage crisis communications, a team of researchers, led by Dr Alex Rogers and Professor Nick Jennings at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science, have now developed an agent-based micro-storage management technique that allows homes to adapt their energy use to match market conditions.

The ultimate aim of this system is to optimise individual electricity usage and storage, in order to improve efficiency of the electricity grid and to reduce emissions.

Self-powered flexible touchscreens

from MIT’s Technology Review:

Researchers at Samsung and Sungkyunkwan University in Korea have come up with a way to capture power when a touch screen flexes under a user’s touch.

The researchers have integrated flexible, transparent electrodes with an energy-scavenging material to make a film that could provide supplementary power for portable electronics. The film can be printed over large areas using roll-to-roll processes, but are at least five years from the market.

With LIDAR, Smart turbines can predict the wind

from green futures:

Smart turbines that can predict changes in air current could dramatically boost the efficiency of wind power. Existing turbines are designed to rotate into the wind and adjust their blade angles, but this only tends to happen periodically – whereas wind conditions are often much more changeable.

But a laser-based equivalent to radar, called LIDAR, will make it possible to monitor wind speeds up to 200 metres away from the turbine, says Torben Mikkelsen of the Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Denmark.

Artificial photosynthesis achieved with nanotechnology

Pure awesomeness from MIT:

A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth.

In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of a water molecule.

Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It’s only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.

The Smarter Electric Grid Of The Future

from InsideScience:

Here is a sampling of what home electricity might look like in the year 2020.

Roof shingles made of light-sensitive materials make electricity to help power the home. Twenty percent or even more of electricity sent by the local utility will be from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power.

Many homes will be equipped with “net metering,” which means that if you generate more electricity than you can use (from solar cells, say), it can be sent out and added to the general grid.

One of the main goals of an automated smart grid for the home is for appliances to know when to operate. For example, with a single small microchip a dishwasher will start up in the middle of the night, when the cost of electricity is much lower than in the late afternoon.

OLED wallpaper coming in 2012

from DVICE:

OLED lighting is tremendously efficient, 2.5 times more so than energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. That means a wallpaper panel like this can operate at an astonishing 150 lumens per watt, requiring just 3 to 5 Volts to power the OLED film that can function as anything from light-emitting wallpaper to a road sign.

This is all made possible by a breakthrough from British company called LOMOX, saying it’s solved the main drawback of OLED lighting up until now: longevity. The company claims its OLED lighting will last longer than a compact fluorescent bulb. Better yet, it emits more lifelike light. The future looks bright.

New robots build prototype solar cells in 30 minutes, then evaluate their own work

from PopSci:

One squat multitasking robot can build semiconductors for solar cells on six-inch-square plates of glass, plastic or flexible metals in just over half an hour.

Six of these tireless mechanical workers, chugging away at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, will allow private companies to come rapidly prototype and test their newest formulas for creating solar cells.

Tiny generators powered by random vibrations

from Futurity.org:

Mini-generators could eventually produce enough electricity from random, ambient vibrations to power a wristwatch, pacemaker, or wireless sensor.

The energy-harvesting devices are highly efficient at providing renewable electrical power from arbitrary, non-periodic vibrations—a byproduct of traffic driving on bridges, machinery operating in factories, and humans moving their limbs, for example.

British military developing force fields

from Telegraph.uk:

A space-age “force field” capable of protecting armoured vehicles and tanks by repelling incoming fire is being developed by British military scientists.

When a threat from incoming fire is detected by the vehicle, the energy stored in the supercapacitor can be rapidly dumped onto the metal plating on the outside of the vehicle, producing a strong electromagnetic field. Scientists behind the project claim this would produce a momentary “force field” capable of repelling the incoming rounds and projectiles.

Tiny sensor could run for years harnessing energy from its environment

from Singularity Hub:

The University of Michigan has produced a miniature sensor that harnesses solar energy and could last for years without needing to be replaced.

Composed of a solar cell, processor, and battery, the tiny device is only 2.5×3.5×1mm in size – a thousand times smaller than a commercial version of its type.

Future electric cars could earn money for owners while sitting still

from PopSci:

Cars could shed their image as energy hogs and become mobile storage points for the electric grid, if engineers backed by the National Science Foundation get their way.

Hybrid electric vehicles might even feed unused electricity back into the grid and earn money for their owners, not unlike how some homeowners who create renewable energy can sell back electricity to utility companies.

The concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration would do away with simply considering hybrid electric cars as energy consumers that require stations or places to plug into the electric grid and recharge their batteries.

Open-source tech to intelligently inhabit the oceans

from Open Sailing: ( via techn0ccult)

Open_Sailing is an international community trying to develop the International_Ocean_Station as an open-source project, developing hardware and software to enable intelligent human activities at sea.

Open_Sailing is divided into several labs investigating novel technologies :
– Instinctive_Architecture : an architecture that behaves like a super-organism, reacting to the weather conditions and other variables, reconfiguring itself.
– Energy_Animal : an independent module that generates energy from the waves, wind and sun, providing continuously off-grid energy and being a node for environment and data mesh networking.
– Nomadic_Ecosystem : engineering a mobile aquaculture to sustain human long term life at sea.
– Openet.org : forum to formulate a global standard for a purely civilian internet, an internet moderated by its users, not by the governments nor the industries nor the militaries.
– Life_Cable : a simpler unified standard for energy, water, waste, information in a complex built structure.
– Swarm_Operating_System : a customizable decision assisting software, using real-time data about global threats or personal interests.
– Ocean_Cookbook : making the experience at sea not of a survival quality but a truly yummy experience.
– Open_Politics : think tank about a possible internal organization for a new oceanic urban structure.

Energy-scavenging nanofibers could lead to electric clothing

from Berkeley.edu:

In research that gives literal meaning to the term “power suit,” University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibers that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles.

These nano-sized generators have “piezoelectric” properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches and twists.

Also: New flexible materials could generate power from human motion

New flexible materials could generate power from human motion

from NewScientist:

Sheets of material that produce voltage when flexed could generate power from the motion of the human body. Previous materials were either too rigid or too inefficient to be practical as pliable power generators.

Now two research teams have solved the problem using different approaches. The materials could allow future medical implants to harvest their own power, by using the pulsing of arteries, for example.

Sugar-powered fuel cells & 3D batteries

from Next Big Future:

Bruce Dunn is a Professor of Materials Science at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Follow him (video below) around UCLA’s campus as he discusses 3-dimensional batteries and demonstrates fuel cells powered by sugar.

NTU launches one of the world’s greenest supercomputers

from Nanyang Technological University:

The HPC Centre, which is based on the first IBM System x iDataplex cluster in ASEAN and powered by the Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series, reduces electricity consumption as it can automatically adjust to specified energy usage levels and specified transaction speeds.

“Solar Ivy”: Solar panels that mimic ivy

from S.M.I.T. (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology)

“Solar Ivy” is a customizable system for sustainable energy generation that mimics the form of ivy and its relationship with the environment.

Flexible photovoltaic “leaves” shift in the wind while converting solar energy into electricity, and shade the building from heat gained through out the day.

Also see: Solar panels that look like ordinary rooftop shingles