What Time Is It?

What Time Is It?

Energy use varies throughout the day causing fluctuations in rates. Energy consumption costs more at peak times where use spikes across the board. For example, in many areas from 4 to 8 on weekday evenings is typically when energy use it at its highest. So the electricity you use during a certain part of the day may actually cost you more during another time. Peak times vary for different areas and seasons. There are simple tricks to reduce energy use and save a little money, too. More than half of all energy expended is from housing. Things like using air… read more

New 3D Microbattery Could Revolutionize Mobile Power

3Dbattery

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois claims that by using 3D electrodes in “microbatteries”, battery units can be built that can be recharged 1000 times faster, and are much smaller but just as powerful. “The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery – and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.” – University of Illinois The new microbatteries has a so-called 3D structure, with “three-dimensional… read more

Future Devices Could Charge via Peel-and-Stick Solar Cells

thinfilmsolarpeelstick

If powering up was as simple as sticking a solar cell on the surface of a window or mobile gadget, users would not only gain an easy and cheap way to charge their devices, but could also reduce the demand for fossil fuels for charging electronics. Thanks to a working partnership between Stanford University and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the development of thin-film peel-and-stick solar cells is in the works, so we may see future devices powered by these types of cells. Peel-and-stick, or water-assisted transfer printing (WTP) was developed at Stanford, and has been used in… read more

Could This Product be a Bottled Water Killer?

KOR Nava

Disposable water bottles are a scourge on the environment, as they have a long long life once “thrown away”, and are a poignant example of the dangers of single-use products. But we know we’re supposed to be drinking plenty of water every day, and many of the reusable water bottles on the market look like they belong on a bicycle instead of on our desks. So how can style-conscious people make the switch to using a refillable water bottle, without sacrificing anything in terms of appearance and design? One answer is the Nava filtering water bottle, which not only delivers… read more

Are Rechargeable Batteries Worth It?

Rechargeable Battery

When it comes to batteries, one can never tell how much juice is left in the tank before it dies, which usually occurs at crucial moments. Our usual solution is to take a trip to Walmart and pick up a pack of rechargeable batteries. However, without careful research you might not realize that some of these supposed “energy-saving” batteries are barely a step up from the traditional kind. Whatever type of battery you need, there is most likely a rechargeable alternative, which saves you money and headaches, not to mention lightens the burden on our nation’s landfills. Some of them… read more

Robot Vacuum Concept is Powered by Dirt

Limbo cleaning robot concept

Sometime in the future, we may be able to let robot vacuum cleaners loose in our houses, and they can not only clean the floors, but power themselves by the dirt they suck up. A concept device from designer Elliot Cohen, called Limbo, is free of power cords and heavy batteries, and its unique design enables it to crawl up and down stairs and over other objects. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, cleaning products company Casabella presented the design for Limbo at the 2013 International Housewares Show 2013 in Chicago, and while it’s not a working prototype, the concept itself… read more

Meet the Soccer Ball that Charges Batteries

soccketball

In places in the world where electricity is scarce and precious commodity, this innovative soccer ball may provide lights and battery charging at the end of the day. The sOccket is an energy-harvesting ball that is not just portable and easy to use, but it’s fun as well. Kicking the ball around provides impact energy, which can be stored for future use. The current iteration of the sOccket uses an inductive coil mechanism to capture the energy, and with just 15 minutes of play, it can provide three hours of LED lighting (which is significant in places where lights and… read more

Losing the Car Keys is Not Smart

Losing The Car Keys

Have you ever lost your car keys at an extremely bad time? Don’t despair because the age of lost car keys could finally be coming to a close. Car manufacturer Hyundai believes that the next generation of automobiles should move away from keyed entry systems and towards an all-in-one solution: your mobile phone. Almost all current and planned smartphones have what’s called Near Field Communication (NFC) chips built into them, which can be used for everything from swiping a card reader to pay for lunch, to sharing music playlists and pictures from phone-to-phone by touch. In essence, Hyundai is creating a test… read more

The Heat Is On

The Heat Is On

Winter is the season for excess when it comes to energy usage. The temptation to raise the thermostat all the way up on cold days is sometimes too much for homeowners, and they pay for it in their energy bill. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to keep track of your heat usage without compromising your comfort. Nest Learning Thermostat: $249.99 from Apple Do you want control over your home at your fingertips? Then you’ll love the Nest Thermostat. It’s currently in its 2nd generation of delivering energy monitoring excellence for anyone with an iPhone, Macbook, or iPad. Remotely… read more

$50K Reward Offered for Fuel Economy App

Ford Fuel Efficiency Challenge

In a challenge to app and web developers, Ford aims to help drivers get the best, most reliable, personal fuel economy data so they can optimize their fuel usage. At the New York International Auto Show, Ford announced a $50,000 Personalized Fuel-Efficiency App Challenge, asking software developers to create the best apps to help customers easily access their personal fuel-economy performance data. The Challenge is designed to “create an app to improve everyone’s fuel economy”, according to Jim Farley, Ford Executive vice president of global marketing. The independent developer that produces the best application for measuring fuel economy in the… read more