The Bionic Knee – Powering More Than You Think

powerwalk

Bionic Power, a technology company in British Columbia, has developed a knee brace that allows you to possess energy-generating powers. It comes in the form of a biochemical energy harvester, called the PowerWalk. Whilst walking, whenever you brake, and your knees buckle, you have the potential for generative braking. The PowerWalk knee brace has the ability to capture this motion, allowing you harvest the energy generated from the bending and locking of your knees whenever you wear it. Each PowerWalk knee brace weighs 1.7 pounds, and  generates around 12 watts of energy at the average walking speed. Kept steadily, you… read more

Holographic Foil Solar Cell Uses Less Silicon, Has Double the Performance

holographicfoil

A new solar cell module technology that integrates a holographic foil with a silicon cell is said to reach up to 28% efficiency, effectively doubling the current industry average of 17%, while only needing a fraction of the silicon necessary in current PV technology. The crucial piece in this new discovery is the use of a holographic foil for concentrating the desirable wavelengths of light by a factor of 20 to 30 times, which reduces the need for silicon in its construction by over 90%. Instead of placing a concentrating device, such as a Fresnel lens, out in front of… read more

Easy Ways to Green up Your Workspace

Easy Ways to Green Up Your Workspace

Beyond unplugging office equipment when you are not using it, thinking of ways to increase the green factor in your work area can conserve resources and energy. Lighting is an important part of the workspace. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that lighting accounts for around 20-50% of all electricity use. Incorporating solar powered lighting into your working or reading area is a great idea. Instead of conventional lighting, adding solar lamps, which gather power during the day then work like regular lamps at night, is an uncomplicated way to enhance environmental friendliness at your desk. Making use… read more

New Discovery Dramatically Increases Efficiency of Low Grade Silicon

solar pv panels

A recent discovery from engineers at University of New South Wales (UNSW) could reduce the cost of solar panels by improving the quality of low-grade silicon. Silicon is an incredible material that has enabled the development of the flourishing solar panel industry, but it’s also quite expensive, which consequently keeps the price of panels high. If solar cells could be made with lower quality silicon, it could quite possibly bring the costs down enough to see wider adoption of solar energy, and this latest innovation might be just what’s needed to make that happen. A team of solar engineers at… read more

First Full-Scale Smart Grid Now Online

smartmeter

While many components of smart grid systems, such as smart meters, are in place with a number of utilities, until just recently, there hasn’t been a comprehensive and full-scale smart grid in place. But an $800 million (USD) Florida Light and Power (FPL) project integrates all of the components necessary for a true smart grid, and is now networked and capable of monitoring and controlling every aspect of it. This project, said to be the first of its kind (at least in terms of scope and scale), uses thousands of sensors at key places in the grid, including local distribution… read more

Making Air Con Efficient

Making Air Con Efficient

Air conditioning is one of the greatest users of electricity during summer months. Luckily, innovations are being made to create efficient alternatives. One alternative is Ice Energy. Found in the Ice Bear system, ice energy doesn’t replace air conditioning, but is integrated into an existing AC system to create a hybrid that is energy efficient. Ice Bear attaches to existing rooftop air conditioning system and uses the existing airflow, so it is easy to install. It is best suited for commercial building and comes in Ice-ready rooftop units. But how does it work? Ice Bear is essentially a thermal tank… read more

10 Green Tech Trends to Watch in 2013

10 Green Tech Trends 2013

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a large number of green and clean tech concepts go from idea to prototype to finished product, and because of the many environmental challenges (and consequent opportunities) facing us, it seems as if that trend is set to continue in the near future. A revolution in green materials has been entering the consumer market, with products made from recycled and eco-friendly components appearing in everything from food packaging to automobile interiors, and many customers want to see more of that. Some of the innovations that could also have a big potential… read more

Solar Light Bulbs and Lamps Provide Safe Lighting

Evans Wadongo

Kerosene lamps pose many health risks and other hazards, but are still used in many areas where there is no electricity. Solar lighting provides a safe and efficient alternative, and many companies are taking the initiative and making durable solar light bulbs and lanterns that allow lighting without kerosene. Discovery News has compiled great samples of solar powered lights and their designers that are making a real difference in the daily lives of those who have access to them by eliminating dependence on harmful kerosene based lighting. Waterproof solar lanterns from Greenlight Planet in India have helped to replace some… read more

New Green Building Powered by Microalgae

BIQ IBA Hamburg

Usually, when we talk about green buildings, we refer to the eco-friendly elements or the sustainable design factors that lessen a building’s carbon footprint. But this new green building is, quite literally, green, as it has a microalgae bioreactor facade acting as a “bio-skin” that provides enough energy for the building’s electrical and heat needs. The Bio Intelligent Quotient (BIQ) building, in Hamburg, Germany, cultivates microalgae in a vertical farm of 129 transparent glass panels on the sides of it that face the sun. When the tiny plants reach harvest levels, some of the algae is then removed and fermented… read more

New GE Wind Turbine Integrates Battery Storage

GE 2-5 120 wind turbine

One of the challenges for wind farm operators and power producers is taking the fluctuating nature of the wind and turning into a smooth and predictable flow of electricity, and a new wind turbine that integrates short-term battery storage into the system aims to help overcome that challenge. The new wind turbine package from GE, the 2.5-120, uses the company’s Durathon Battery technology, along with three software applications, as an “intelligent system” that can enable better decision-making and allow for more predictable short-term power production. According to GE, this system is the “first wind turbine to incorporate short-term battery storage… read more