Acoustic Energy

Acoustic energy waves

While some of us get irritated by the noise, Jeong Ho You finds an innovation from it. Jeong Ho You, a mechanical engineer at the Southern Methodist University, says “Acoustic energy is everywhere”. With tiny resonating chambers, he wants to trap some of acoustic energy and convert it to low-amperage currents which can power small electronic devices. Similar to Ho You, Mark Sheplak, a research fellow at the University of Florida has worked with acoustic energy. In fact he has built an acoustic energy harvester for a NASA jet engine research project. He says “A lot of people wrote it off because there… read more

Prepaid Electricity Bills

Benefits of prepaying electricity bills

For the longest time, the Swaziland Electricity Company has used the traditional billing system whereby the company sends a monthly electricity bill to consumers through the postal service. Recently, the utility company embarked on a countrywide project in which it completely abandoned the aforementioned system for prepaid electricity. Prepaid electricity brings much needed hope in energy conservation and alternative energy sources in that, consumers no longer have the luxury of grace periods which allowed them to compound or accumulate a bill while continuing to consume electricity. The consumer is now forced to be vigilant and careful as to the amount… 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

Brewing Energy Crisis

Fossil fuel depletion

There used to be a time when a home was considered luxurious when it was loaded with all the automated gadgets, was draped by the plush synthetics, and was lit well with mood sensor lighting. Well, times have not changed much. Even today, these are considered as the essence of a modern home. But what has changed with time is the need to reduce our dependence on artificial power and materials and rather to stick more and more with what nature is offering us freely. In the modern era, energy and power are our main drivers. They are synonymously used… read more

Data Furnaces

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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

The Future Of Coal

Future Of Coal

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), coal demand is growing everywhere but the United States. Coal demand in the United States grew 4.3% (304 million tons (mt)), compared to Chinese demand growth of 233 mt. The amount is misleading though, because despite the demand growth, it is less than the growth in previous years. Unfortunately, from an environmental advocacy perspective, the decrease in coal usage is a result of the increase of shale gas production and usage, specifically in the United States. Additionally, a decrease in domestic usage of coal will have negative impacts on employment in the coal… 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

U.S. Oil Independence

US oil independence

The U.S. will rid itself of the long-standing dependence on Saudi Arabian oil within the next decade by increasing domestic oil and gas production, but there is the inherent risk, and rising likelihood, of worsening global warming. In a report released on Monday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the United States will benefit from “unconventional” sources of oil and gas, including shale gas and oil, derived from blasting rocks apart to release the fossil fuels trapped within, i.e. fracking. Hydraulic fracturing has been linked to increases in seismic activity, but it has been difficult for geologists and seismologists to… read more

Reasons For Electric Cars

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Electric cars were dominant in the late 19 and 20th century until the internal combustion engine was invented and gasoline was mass produced. Due to the recent petrol price hike and the limited availability of fossil fuels, electric cars have again grabbed the attention of many. The following are some reasons why you should consider buying an electric car. Electric cars contribute to health and the environment: As they use electricity as fuel, there are zero emissions. In fact electric cars don’t even have a tailpipe. By driving an electric car you are creating a healthy and quality environment. Green charging:… read more

Easy Ways to Conserve

Conserving energy in daily life

Being energy conservative doesn’t have to be hard. The following are a few simple and practical ways to save throughout the week. Did you know that many email accounts can be accessed even when not online?  You can set yours up to allow message checking without the internet. To see if your email can work while your connection isn’t, open your account and then click on the “Settings” tab. Look for an “Offline” selection. Click on this and follow prompts to begin an install to add a work offline option. This feature is best on your own personal computer and… read more