TagAlternative Energy

The State of Wireless Electricity – Will We be Able to Power Devices from Thin Air?

wireless electricity

The Economist round-up various wireless electricity projects, most of which focus on “ambient” energy from “existing radio waves produced by television, radio and mobile-phone transmitters.”

The first devices to be powered entirely by ambient energy are likely to be sensors, calculators and clocks. But the hope is that music-players, e-readers and mobile phones will eventually follow, says Dr Smith. There are other means of harvesting ambient energy, from vibrations, movement or heat. But the attraction of radio waves is that they are pretty much everywhere. It’s like recycling energy, says Dr Fisher. “It’s energy that’s around, and is not doing anything else,” he says.

The Economist: Power from thin air

Cape Wind, first U.S. offshore wind farm, approved

offshore wind

The first U.S. offshore wind farm, a giant project 5 miles/8 km off the Massachusetts coast, was approved on Wednesday after years of opposition involving everyone from local Indian tribes to the Kennedy family.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light for the historic 130-turbine, 420-megawatt Cape Wind project in Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound, in what supporters considered a huge step forward for renewable energy in the United States.

Reuters: Cape Wind, first U.S. offshore wind farm, approved

Artificial photosynthesis achieved with nanotechnology and a virus

Angela Belcher

A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth. In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of a water molecule.

Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It’s only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.

MIT News: Viruses harnessed to split water

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Cooking With Sound: Bio-Mass Burning Stove Also Converts Heat Into Sound Then Electricity

cooking with sound

A low-cost generator with the potential to transform lives in the world’s poorest communities is now being tested across the UK and in Nepal. The Score project, led by The University of Nottingham, is developing a bio-mass burning cooking stove which also converts heat into acoustic energy and then into electricity, all in one unit.

The £2 million Score project (Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity) brings together experts from across the world to develop the biomass-powered generator. By developing an affordable, versatile domestic appliance Score aims to address the energy needs of rural communities in Africa and Asia, where access to power is extremely limited.

Science Daily: Cooking With Sound: Bio-Mass Burning Stove Also Converts Heat Into Sound Then Electricity

(Thanks Capn Marrrk)

Offshore, carbon-negative algae-power on the cheap

OMEGA Systems - algae

The NASA-developed technology, called OMEGA (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae) is a low-cost and low-tech method for growing algae. Unlike other approaches to growing algae, which require construction of massive energy-intensive facilities, OMEGAs are relatively inexpensive. OMEGAs are inflatable plastic membranes filled with processed wastewater, CO2 gas, and freshwater algae. OMEGAs float in water, and can be anchored off the coast of any ocean or salt lake. As the algae grow, using the energy of the sun, they convert wastewater and CO2 into biomass, and oxygen. OMEGA’s uniquely utilize forward-osmosis membranes to permeate purified water out of the OMEGA and into the surrounding water.

Oilgae: NASA Launches with Algae Systems on Eve Of COP 15: Carbon-negative Fuel from Sewage and CO2

Algae Systems web site

More info on OMEGA

See also:

Gasification, terra preta, and mechabolics: carbon negative fuels?

Technoccult posts tagged algae, especially how to build your own algae reactor.

Backpack Hydroelectric Generator Gives You 500 Watts on the Move

Backpack Hydroelectric Plant

Just a prototype, for now:

A human-portable hydroelectric generator that weighs about 30 pounds and generates 500 watts of power may soon be a new option for off-grid power.

Developed by Bourne Energy of Mailbu, California, the Backpack Power Plant can create clean, quiet power from any stream deeper than 4 feet.

Backpack Hydroelectric Plant Gives You 500 Watts on the Move

Beats the heck out of expensive leaky nuclear power plants any day.

(via Atom Jack)

It’s Official: Google Can Sell Power Like a Utility

Google Utility

The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission has granted Google Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of the search giant, the right to behave like a utility.

The order grants Google Energy the power to sell energy, capacity and services at market rates.

Why does Google want to do this? Right now, the company rakes in billions of dollars from ads and it doesn’t have to have extensive support desks and remote repair teams — i.e., the kind of people power providers must have on staff — in order to do it. Selling power is a much more hands-on business.

Google has said it wants to go carbon neutral. With the FERC order, it can now effectively erect as many solar panels and install as many fuel cells as it likes without worrying about having purchased too much capacity; the company can now sell off the extra power it generates.

GreenTechMedia: It’s Official: Google Can Sell Power Like a Utility

See also:

Google’s Addiction to Cheap Power

Open-source technologies to intelligently inhabit the oceans

Nomadic Ecosystem

Open Sailing is… well, just look at a list of their projects and check out their site:

– Instinctive_Architecture : an architecture that behaves like a super-organism, reacting to the weather conditions and other variables, reconfiguring itself.
– Energy_Animal : an independent module that generates energy from the waves, wind and sun, providing continuously off-grid energy and being a node for environment and data mesh networking.
– Nomadic_Ecosystem : engineering a mobile aquaculture to sustain human long term life at sea.
– Openet.org : forum to formulate a global standard for a purely civilian internet, an internet moderated by its users, not by the governments nor the industries nor the militaries.
– Life_Cable : a simpler unified standard for energy, water, waste, information in a complex built structure.
– Swarm_Operating_System : a customizable decision assisting software, using real-time data about global threats or personal interests.
– Ocean_Cookbook : making the experience at sea not of a survival quality but a truly yummy experience.
– Open_Politics : think tank about a possible internal organization for a new oceanic urban structure.

Open Sailing

(Thanks Nova)

Organic crystals promise low-power green computing

croconic acid

A saffron-coloured crystal could provide a step towards greener electronics.

Some types of low-power computer memory store information using metals that are ferroelectric, meaning they form positive and negative poles when placed in an electric field. However, many of the more common metals used are either rare or toxic.

Now Sachio Horiuchi at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Ibaraki, Japan, and colleagues have discovered ferroelectric behaviour in crystalline croconic acid, which contains just carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.

New Scientist: Organic crystals promise low-power green computing

(via Atom Jack)

A 50-Watt Cellular Network

solar powered cell tower

An Indian telecom company is deploying simple cell phone base stations that need as little as 50 watts of solar-provided power. It will soon announce plans to sell the equipment in Africa, expanding cell phone access to new ranks of rural villagers who live far from electricity supplies.

Technology Review: A 50-Watt Cellular Network

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Who’s going to start settings these sorts of things up in American cities to power decentralized wireless networks?

© 2022 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑