Teenage Girl Invents Body-Heat Flashlight

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15-year old Ann Makosinski of Vancouver, British Columbia recently invented a flashlight powered by body heat as battery companies looked on with fear in their eyes. She’s one of 15 finalists for the Google Science Fair competition’s top prize. Her submission to the competition is a heavily-modified flashlight. It gets its power from the heat generated by the palms of your hands. Makosinski’s been interested in alternative energy since the sixth grade, she says, and is particularly drawn towards the creation of long-lasting power sources. And what greater source of long-lasting power lies around her than the human body? Curious,… read more

City Puts Water and Energy Dashboard Online

City Puts Water and Energy Dashboard Online

Does it make a difference in the amount of energy or water that people use if they know more about the infrastructure and the processes involved in supplying those needs? Could residents make more sustainable decisions and change their behaviors if they were able to visualize the overall usage and the individual usage for water and energy in their city? One city believes that to be true, and have provided a public “dashboard” for their water and energy systems, in the hope that it can be a motivating factor in driving personal and community change. The city of Oberlin, Ohio… read more

Three Ways To Solve The Energy Crisis

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By the year 2050, we’ll have added over 2 billion more humans to the planet’s population. This means more mouths to feed, more bodies to keep warm, and a higher strain on the global energy grid. The time to think of future-proof solutions is now, and researchers think they may have come up with a few. The first involves creating a next-generation nuclear reactor. Now, I know what you’re thinking, what with the recent Japanese Fukishima meltdown a few years ago, and Chernobyl a couple of decades earlier. However, this is a completely different scenario than the ones listed above…. read more

Sit To Save Energy

Sit To Save Energy?

Imagine a world where sitting down to do normal things in your cubical or office would save energy. It almost seems too easy and too good to be true. Swedish Designer Eddi Törnberg has designed the best human-powered work station that anyone has seen yet. Unlike any other concepts that require a person to do things like ride a bike or walk while you’re working, it doesn’t require a person to do anything more than sit and work. The project Törnberg has designed is called “Unplugged”. The design powers the various gadgets we use to work. It can power laptops,… read more

Australia to Build First CO2 Capture Plant for Algae Biofuel

Australia to Build First CO2 Capture Plant for Algae Biofuel

In what’s considered to be the world’s first on-site carbon emissions capture program at a coal-fired power plant, a facility built by Algae.tec will turn some of the plant’s waste carbon dioxide emissions into an enclosed algae growth system for producing biofuel. The power company, Macquarie Generation, is one of the largest in the world and now could be one of the most forward-thinking, thanks to an agreement with Algae.tec that will allow an on-site algae facility next to the 2640MW Bayswater power station. Algae.tec will use the CO2 emitted from the power station to feed its algae systems, which… read more

Sea Squirts Could Provide Renewable Biofuel Feedstock

Sea Squirts Could Provide Renewable Biofuel Feedstock

When trying to produce a viable and sustainable biofuel, one that can be produced from renewable resources and used in conventional combustion engines, one of the big hangups is the need to use large tracts of land to grow the feedstock. But technologies such as algae biofuel are promising more efficient land use in biofuel production, and it turns out that another great source for biofuel feedstock can be found in the ocean, in the form of the sea squirt. Researchers at the University of Bergen (UiB) and Uni Research have identified a specific kind of tunicate, ascidiacea, as great… read more

If You Like Butterflies…

If You Like Butterflies…

Then you will appreciate knowing they are being accessed for some scientific inspiration. The nature born wing technology of the butterfly has actually been studied – and replicated – for use in human designs with elements of biomimicry. In 2009, a group of researchers found that scales on the wings actually act as onboard solar collectors, productively collecting light. Imitating the scales as a model they successfully advanced the way solar cells that are sensitive to dye were able to gather and store light. The wings of the Swallowtail butterfly were examined due to interest in how their fairly flat… read more

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

What’s more fun that racing around a solar powered vehicle? How about a race that involves 47 teams of them from 26 countries in a world solar and electric car competition that is the largest of its kind in the world? The World Solar Challenge is a global event that was initially the idea of Hans Tholstrup, who built a solar vehicle called the Quiet Achiever. In 1982 he took his handcrafted vessel on a drive from the west through the east of Australia. Not wanting to contain the fun and challenge of building a solar car, he enticed others… read more

Weird Solar Science

Weird Solar Science

A few years back a sort of strange solar nanotechnology was being tossed about. A new kind of way to use solar cells that doesn’t involve a regular panel display was being looked at to recharge batteries. Researchers at Shanghai, China’s Donghua University and a company in Potsdam, Germany called the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, examined how to power up batteries inside implanted objects with photovoltaic cells. They found that this can actually be done by concentrating a specialized infrared laser beam through the skin. By implementing uncommon upconverting nanophosphors from the earth that can soak in… read more

Renewable Energy to Surpass Fossil-Fuels

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By 2016 renewable energy shall outsource natural gas, lagging only behind coal as the U.S.’s leading electricity source. Within this time frame, according to the International Energy Agency, power generation rates from wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy will more than double those of nuclear energy. In 2018, it is predicted, that renewable energy sector will increase another 40 percent worldwide and account for 25 percent of all electricity production. This is an increase of 20 percent from just two years previous. As it is, renewable energy sources are currently the fastest growing sector in power-generation; allowing for a diverse means… read more