Hurricane WiFi

Editorial Attribution - Anton Oparin / Shutterstock.com

As Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, power outages wreaked havoc on telecommunications networks, knocking out cell phone usage by the millions. If a future hurricane triggers similar failures, regulators say they have a potential solution with floating wireless antennas from balloons or drones. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is exploring the use of such airborne technology to restore communications after disasters. Beaming 3G or Wi-Fi signals from the sky may be especially useful to emergency responders in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane. Though not as severe as Hurricane Katrina, the damage to telecommunications networks after Hurricane Sandy was significant. After… read more

Bladeless Turbines

Bladeless Turbines

Wind power is one of the most popular and widely used sustainable, non-depleting, non-polluting and eco-friendly energy sources. Recent technological advancements are making innovations only in the grid and energy storage systems but meager updates in the case of turbine design which was initially designed 400 years ago. So what is the problem with the existing design? Well, there are three reasons; their efficiency is insanely bad, the cost of installing single turbine is very high and the most important issue is “wind turbine syndrome” where people in the vicinity of the turbines get headaches, sleeplessness and other health problems…. read more

Data Furnaces

sea_micro_server-300x2251

There are many ways to hide from the winter but I recently read a paper presented in “Usenix Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing” that proposes the idea of using cloud server generated heat to warm up houses instead of a furnace or room heaters . This paper titled “The Data Furnace: Heating Up with Cloud Computing “ was co-authored by Jie Liu, Michel Goraczko, Christian Belady and Sean James from Microsoft Research and Jiakang Lu and Kamin Whitehouse, from the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. The paper puts forward the idea of dispersing the cloud servers amongst homes instead of having a… read more

Wind Powered Charger

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Using an electric car is really cool and now there is yet another reason to be uber-cool, as the world’s first wind powered electric vehicle charging station was installed successfully last month. “Sanya Skypump” is a collaborative effort of Urban Green Energy and General Electric; it is the world’s first EV station which charges cars with the help of wind. Sanya Skypump uses the technology of both organizations – the vertical tower is from Urban Green Energy (UGE 4K) and EV charging technology is from General Electric. Together they form an all-in-one power generation and charging station. The vertical axis… read more

Impacts of Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing

Though difficult to determine, the rare earthquakes which occurred in Dallas recently may have been the result of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It is well known a consequence of fracking is the possibility of earthquakes, but it is not known how powerful an earthquake caused by fracking can be. However, the logistics of fracking seem to create a “perfect storm” situation, where underground shale formations are destroyed, resulting in geological instability under the surface. Further, the most efficient way of getting rid of the wastewater is to pump it back underground where, if a fault-line is present, essentially acts as… read more

The Cloud Is The Future

Concept image of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a relatively new term being thrown around quite a lot lately. We hear it when describing things from smartphones to video game consoles, but there are still many people who don’t understand its tremendous significance, or how it affects them both directly and indirectly. In layman’s terms, cloud computing is the ability to store and access online data in one centralized area. It means no more physical storage devices or plug-in data access cables necessary. Everything from your PC hard drive to your television’s media center can be amassed in the cloud. In a world where more… read more

The Power of the Sun

Using the Power of the Sun

We keep thinking about our depleting natural resources and the eminent energy crisis that we all might face in the near future. But in spite of that, we are ignoring the never-ending nuclear fission gifted to us by nature: the SUN. This billion megaton powerhouse has been radiating its energy on earth for the past 4.5 billion years and is still no way near exhaustion. Even if we tap a fraction of this radiation it could permanently end our worries of depleted resources. The methodologies to tap this energy are many: Metal Smelting Solar Furnaces: By the use of large… read more

Electricity By Moss

Moss Table by the University of Cambridge

A new green technology is emerging, and it could be one of the most excitingly innovative ideas we’ve seen in quite awhile. It’s called Bio-Photo-Voltaics (BPV), and it harnesses energy through the process of photosynthesis that otherwise would be wasted. Currently, researchers for a company called Biophotovoltaics have developed a conceptual ‘Moss Table’ that creates energy with multiple moss pots spread throughout the console. The table acts as a bio-electrochemical device that converts algae, cyanobacteria, and vascular plants into electricity. It can be used to power alarm clocks and smaller devices, and eventually laptops and energy-hungry gadgets. This table was… read more

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable plastics

Biodegradable plastics have been promoted as revolutionary environmental products, but some have questioned whether the hype is nothing more than greenwashing. Biodegradable plastics, made primarily of pesticide-laden corn, are used in a variety of products ranging from bags to bottles to gift cards to cell phone casings. Biodegradable does not necessarily mean compostable, though many people assume that they are the same, and a number of biodegradable plastics claim to be compostable as well. The trouble with claims of compostability is that they may refer only to large-scale industrial composting whereby materials are shredded and composted at 140 degrees Fahrenheit,… read more

Creative Energy

Creative Energy

Popular sustainable energy choices like solar and wind are thankfully becoming more prevalent. However, there are some other really interesting innovations in energy research and application. Typically present things capable of producing power, like motion, are being successfully looked into for energy sources. Items that are in movement possess kinetic energy, which can then be turned into even more energy. The motions created from things like vibrations are being considered for netting and producing energy because of their usually constant availability. The pulsating caused from repeated movements can be manufactured into small bursts of power. Since there are numerous things… read more