Plug It In

Plug It In

  Not many events celebrate a mass amount of people plugging in for an electric charge, unless that particular event is National Plug In Day. This annual day of active recognition began in 2011 and the goal is to bring awareness to the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs). With main dates taking place this coming September 28th and 29th 2013, depending on the location, at least 75 cities in the U.S. and areas in Mexico and the Netherlands have currently signed up. The plug in gathering is celebrated with parties, parades, test drives and traveling caravans of full on EVs and… read more

Self-Sustaining Restaurant in Frankfurt

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The food and energy projects, proposed by ZA Architects, will function as a network of public spaces in the once industrial district of Ost, found in Frankfurt am Main. Spanning 87,000 sq meters, the design intends to merge recreational space with the agricultural and energy production facilities needed to keep operations afloat. Focusing on a Greenhouse restaurant, the project centers on the idea of a self-sufficient dining establishment, whose food supply will be cultivated from both a greenhouse and the agricultural plot of an adjoining urban park. Furthermore, all buildings shall operate with the energy produced from an on-site power… read more

Portable Solar Tracker Boosts Efficiency 30%

Portable Solar Tracker Boosts Efficiency 30%

To get the most electricity possible from a solar panel array, the cells need to be facing directly at the sun at all times during the day. However, many photovoltaic arrays are installed at a fixed orientation and at a fixed angle, which allows them to produce an acceptable amount of energy during large parts of most days of the year. But for the other times of the day, such as mornings and evenings, and at different times of the year, those PV panels aren’t generating very much electricity. With a large enough array, and a big enough battery storage… read more

C02 – Glowing, Glowing Gone With Algae Lamps

C02 - Glowing, Glowing Gone With Algae Lamps

An interest in renewable energy is often the inspiration behind clever, and sometimes unusual, ideas that try to harness resourceful venues for their potential benefits. Examples of innovative attempts to turn everyday products into designs with naturally free power can be found in the following 2 lamp models. A parking area in Bordeaux, France is housing a prototype of an interesting streetlight concept. Biochemist Pierre Calleja has developed an edition of a street lamp that contains microalgae and a battery. The luminous green algae charge up the battery by way of photosynthesis, soaking up the sunlight during the daytime and eerily glowing in the… read more

Harvesting Tidal Energy with an Underwater Kite

Harvesting Tidal Energy with an Underwater Kite

A new sort of tidal energy device that looks like an underwater kite offers the promise of clean energy generation from low-velocity currents in the ocean. Many tidal energy solutions require a location with higher velocity currents, or to be at or near the surface of the ocean, which limits their application, but the Deep Green device is said to be suitable for operating in deep waters with low velocity currents( 1-2.5 m/s), which greatly increases the number of possible locations. Combining a tethered wing and a turbine, the Minesto Deep Green device “flies” underwater, using the ocean current to… read more

New Battery Could Enable Cheaper Energy Storage

New Battery Could Enable Cheaper Energy Storage

A new type of rechargeable flow battery engineered by MIT researchers, which doesn’t require costly membranes in order to store and generate electricity, may prove to be a key component in developing cost-effective large scale energy storage. The lack of affordable and efficient methods for storing both solar and wind energy during peak generation times, in order to later release it during periods of high demand, has often been touted as one of the stumbling blocks to further renewable energy penetration. But if the new rechargeable flow battery developed at MIT can be further refined and scaled up, it could… read more

Rice Husks Could Lead to Longer Battery Life

Rice Husks Could Lead to Longer Battery Life

An agricultural waste product, such as rice husks, is an unlikely source for a material that could lead to better, and longer lasting, batteries. But the results of a recent study suggest that those same rice husks could one day be used to produce silicon anodes for lithium batteries. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) were recently able to convert the silica from rice husks into pure silicon, and then fashioned it into anodes for a high-capacity lithium-ion battery. The resulting battery exhibited no reduction of capacity after 200 charge cycles, which suggests that the… read more

Budderfly Offers Enterprise Energy Management

Budderfly Offers Enterprise Energy Management

Being able to measure the energy use in a commercial building or business environment can lead to less waste and smarter use, and thereby lower the operating costs, but without an enterprise-wide solution, it can be difficult to determine exactly what and when the individual demands for electricity are, in order to best manage them. One solution is Budderfly, a cloud-based energy management system that the company refers to as being “like bringing the smart grid into your enterprise, all without modifying your existing wires.” Budderfly was designed to help businesses and building managers measure, manage, and control their energy… read more

Is This the Fuel Cell We’re Waiting For?

Is This the Fuel Cell We're Waiting For?

Generating clean power at the point-of-use seems like a great idea, both for the main electrical supply and for backup power, but the options for many locations in urban areas are kind of slim. Wind turbines aren’t efficient where there is a lot of turbulence, such as in urban areas, and even then they either need some form of energy storage to balance peak production and demand, or they are grid-tied (and when the grid is down, so is the turbine). Solar panels are an option, but also need to be tied to the grid or have battery storage, and… read more

Energy 101: Concentrated Solar Power

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Let me guess: you probably thought all solar power was created equal, right? Actually, you might be surprised to know that there’s a pretty big difference between solar power technologies. This video from the U.S. Department of Energy might shed a light on one of the growing trends in alternative energy: concentrated solar power. Have a thought? Share it in the comments below.