1m 34 42 52 5951 702 acumentrics anywhere attaching bulbs catching cellspacing completed diamond dropping effort eight environmental enzyme expand facilities floats graphite grows heating hybrids indium insulating kept lands meters mileage msnbc newsoffice obtaining page3 passenger percent plugged pulpit pump raise realize repeat reuters roads scangauge sea seattle sewage shorter sideways sodium splitting subsidies swimming switches valentin vegas venture
Alternative Energy Sources:
- 2010-Nov-27: A wind-powered car that can move downwind at speeds several times faster than the wind. More on this here and discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2010-Nov-27: The US military has been testing a trash to fuel system built by Green Power Inc that sounds rather promising. Green Power has been given the green light to build a commercial trash-to-gas plant in Washington. 
- 2010-Oct-23: The WT6500 wind turbine from Honeywell and WindTronics is aimed at home power generation and features some design innovations like building the generator into the rotor's shroud and blade tips. It should be available in Aug'2010. 
- 2010-Oct-23: In August 2010 solar power systems were recognized as finally becoming less expensive than nuclear power. Of course there are still qualifiers like nuclear works in places the sun doesn't shine (like England) and that solar power does not have costs (which are usually ignored) for storing toxic wastes for thousands of years. 
- 2010-Sep-24: Britain has started up the world's largest offshore wind farm, at least for 2010. 
- 2010-Sep-24: Garbage heaps may be a good solution to the carbon sequestration problem. 
- 2010-Sep-23: A new process to generate electricity from both light and heat could lead to more efficient solar power capture, but will it be less expensive? 
- 2010-Sep-22: The automotive X prize has found a few vehicles capable of over 100MPG. 
- 2010-Sep-02: An analysis of the overall environmental effects of Li-Ion batteries. I wonder if someone has done a similar study comparing buying a new car or continuing to use an old car? 
- 2010-Aug-27: Politicians may be paying lip service to alternative energy now, but subsidies for fossil fuels are still much higher. 
- 2010-Aug-17: Sicily has started up a 5MW solar power plant that uses molten salt to store energy for night time power. 
- 2010-Jul-29: The Strata tower is a skyscraper in London that has built in wind turbines. I would have done it differently, but at least its a start. 
- 2010-Jul-29: Nuclear power has now passed another hurdle (backwards though) it is now being recognized as being more expensive than solar power (which probably makes it a lot more expensive than wind power). 
- 2010-Jul-20: There are now times when wind power facilities are producing more power than their local grid can handle. 
- 2010-Jul-20: Someday small nuclear power plants might become popular. 
- 2010-Jul-16: New nuclear power plants will soon be started in the US, some will even use new designs. 
- 2010-Jul-01: A process for doubling the bio-fuel yield from agricultural wastes. 
- 2010-Jun-25: The US Department of Energy wants to stimulate more development of offshore wind projects. 
- 2010-Jun-20: Quantum dots might be used to raise the maximum efficiency of solar cells from around 30% to over 60%, hopefully this will happen without the price doubling too. 
- 2010-Jun-06: The Oyster Wave Energy Converter looks like a large wall of barrels that sways in the surf. The Oyster 2 is a more effective version of this concept. 
- 2010-May-31: Putting cows to work by walking them on treadmills and generating useful amounts of electricity. 
- 2010-May-07: Mounting underwater tidal current generators on underwater kites. I'm not sure why an actual kite is needed when a buoyancy tank should also do the same job. 
- 2010-May-05: Texas now has four times the wind power that California has, maybe it'll find a way to clean up the Gulf Coast oil spill with it? 
- 2010-Apr-30: Denmark is launching a new offshore wind and sea power platform called the Poseidon. 
- 2010-Apr-22: Lithium-sulfur batteries could offer 4 times the capacity of lithium-ion cells. 
- 2010-Apr-07: A small town in Texas is going to try using a large sodium-sulfur battery to provide power during outages. 
- 2010-Apr-07: Hitachi may have some new chemistry to improve the longevity of lithium-ion batteries. 
- 2010-Apr-01: The PlanetSolar boat is a pretty neat solar powered boat intended to sail around the world. It is a fairly large craft, it might take a little time before you notice the two people standing on the deck in the photo - then you can appreciate how large it is. If it was painted black it would not look out of place as the villain's ship in a 007 movie. 
- 2010-Mar-26: Alternate ways of building
houses, including machine grown housing. Using massive 3D printing to create buildings from dust and glue.
- 2010-Mar-26: It is possible to perform hydrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen gas using zinc oxide crystals and mechanical vibration. I would not think this can produce significant amounts of power, but perhaps the crystals can be used in a more effective way? 
- 2010-Mar-18: Scotland is moving forward with wave and tidal power projects. 
- 2010-Mar-11: The Bloom Box is a fuel cell system (discussed here on Slashdot) that is being put to test by a number of companies in the US. Current prices are rather high so it does not make much economic sense, the hope is that its cost can be significantly reduced in the future. The Bloom Box compared to solar. 
- 2010-Mar-11: Storage of excess wind power by compressing air and storing it in underground formations may become a big part of the wind power system. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2010-Mar-08: Gas and electric utilities are starting to get worried about the amount of wind power that is coming on line in the USA. 
- 2010-Mar-05: Artificial photosynthesis from Sun Catalytix is looking at a better way of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using a cobalt-based catalyst. 
- 2010-Mar-02: A new type of solar panel made from silicon wires embedded in plastic has been developed. Initial reports claimed a very high conversion efficiency, but a later article corrects this back to the 15-20% range. Further discussion here on Slashdot. Still these panels may be much less expensive than current designs as they only require 1% of the silicon that a conventional cell would use and as they are flexible could be manufactured in a high-volume roll-to-roll process. 
- 2010-Feb-24: GE Hitachi have a process that can be used to turn nuclear waste into reactor fuel, though it does still leave behind some waste that needs further long-term storage. 
- 2010-Feb-10: The Revolutionair wind turbines, which are of the egg-beater style, have been designed for residential use. 
- 2010-Feb-10: China is now becoming the dominant manufacturer of renewable energy devices. 
- 2010-Feb-05: A new electrode design could result in lithium-ion batteries that can handle 10,000 charge cycles. 
- 2010-Jan-12: A number of nuclear reactors in the US have started springing leaks. 
- 2010-Jan-08: Could Thorium be the next nuclear fuel? 
- 2010-Jan-08: The world's largest Solar
Tower may be built in Australia, will it also be destroyed a short
time later by the world's largest tornado? In 2010 plans for another solar updraft tower to be built in Arizona appeared, this called for a 2400 foot tower fed by a 4 square mile green house to produce 200MW. The stated power does not seem reasonable for such a large project, as 4 square miles is just over 10 square km, and each square km has about 1GW of solar radiation (1000W/m2 x 1000m x 1000m = 1GW), so 200MW/10GW = 0.02 or only a 2% collection efficiency which seems rather low.
- 2009-Dec-28: Silicon could be used to replace lithium in batteries. 
- 2009-Dec-28: A nanotech ink could be used to make batteries out of paper. 
- 2009-Dec-24: Sandia National Laboratories are experimenting with very small solar cells. More discussion here on Slashdot. 
- 2009-Dec-16: Geothermal power can cause earthquakes, and there is even a court trial over this in Switzerland. 
- 2009-Dec-02: Could algae hold the key to ultra thin batteries? 
- 2009-Nov-27: Norway's Statkraft is attempting to use osmotic pressure developed across a membrane between fresh and salt water to create electric power. More on this here. 
- 2009-Nov-22: In the past technology has often advanced to address military needs (the space program is probably the best example of this). Now the US has figured out that fuel cells could be a better way to power UAVs for long missions (using 550W hydrogen cells) perhaps we'll see this technology advance faster. A hybrid car that combines a medium sized fuel cell (perhaps in the 10KW range) with a battery pack might be a better alternative to the current internal combustion hybrids. 
- 2009-Nov-20: Researchers at MIT are working on a high temperature battery system that uses liquid metals. This is described as rather like the process used to make aluminum, except in reverse. This system would be most suitable for large installations, like off-peak grid power storage, but there is also interest in developing a version suitable for the power requirements of a solar home. 
- 2009-Nov-20: The Spanish are having success with integrating wind power into their grid to provide a stable flow of electricity. 
- 2009-Nov-06: Monitoring your home power usage in real time using Python, Linux and a Classic Current Cost unit from CurrentCost. 
- 2009-Oct-31: West Texas may be getting a 600MW wind farm populated with 240 x 2.5MW turbines from China. The cost of this is about $1.5G which makes it under $3/W. This will occupy 36000 acres of land and should supply the needs of about 150,000 homes - which makes for an interesting statistic of 4.2 acres per home, or 150 acres per turbine (which is only 4 turbines per square mile, which seems rather sparse). 
- 2009-Oct-30: ReVolt is looking at starting production of small capacity zinc-air batteries in 2010 which are to have more than double the energy density of lithium cells and cost less. 
- 2009-Oct-26: Well done Dell! Dell has made one of its parking lots "green" by installing solar panels that also act as sun shields for the cars parked below. There is a lot of space in parking lots around the world, lets hope others follow suit. 
- 2009-Oct-22: Toshiba is finally releasing its Dynario fuel-cell battery replacement and charging device. This is a direct methanol fuel-cell system.  
- 2009-Oct-11: Fuel from algae may be a decade or more away (getting to sound like nuclear fusion). 
- 2009-Oct-09: Nuclear batteries continue to be improved, discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2009-Oct-09: Dow Chemical will be making easy to install POWERHOUSE solar roofing shingles. These will start to reach the US market in mid-2010. 
- 2009-Sep-22: ESL, electron stimulated luminescence, may bring us light bulbs that are better than LED bulbs. 
- 2009-Sep-22: A student-designed solar home being built on a $200K budget. 
- 2009-Sep-21: Silicon-free, semi-transparent solar panels that >a href="http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/21/colored-solar-panels-work-without-direct-sunlight-double-as-par/">use nanoparticles to gather light along the edges of the cell. Currently these are only about 12% efficient, but they are supposed to cost half as much as silicon cells to make. 
- 2009-Sep-19: Carbon nanotubes could be used to make solar cells. 
- 2009-Sep-19: Silicon Ink solar cells from JA Solar and Innovalight are supposed to be less expensive to manufacture and deliver up to an 18% conversion efficiency. Initial commercialization expected in 2010. 
- 2009-Sep-18: A pilot plant to transform plastic waste into fuel is being developed by Envion. Now all they need to do is to put this on a large barge and scour it Pacific Ocean's garbage dump for their plastic. 
- 2009-Sep-13: Google is developing some new mirrors aimed at reducing the cost of building solar power stations.  
- 2009-Sep-10: Could the next power station be built in your basement? That's what a German power company called Lichtblick is working with Volkswagen to do. The idea is to put small co-generation (i.e. electricity and heating) plants in homes, then the home can use the waste heat for hot water and space heating making the overall efficiency of the plant almost 100%. Since each plant is only capable of about 20kW lots of them would be installed throughout the city and controlled remotely by the power company to respond to the grid load. 
- 2009-Sep-05: Now this sounds like a very dumb idea: pave the roads with solar panels. 
- 2009-Sep-05: Abengoa Solar and Xcel Energy are experimenting with adding a solar powered preheating stage to a conventional coal-fired power plant to increase overall efficiency. 
- 2009-Sep-04: Japan is planning a $21 billion space power plant. I would have thought that with a lot of coast line a wind or wave power system would be much more cost effective. 
- 2009-Aug-08: One of the problems with nuclear power is the cost of decommissioning a power station at the end of its life, looks like many old stations are just sitting idle in limbo because the costs to do this have risen and the companies responsible for it no longer have the money to do so. 
- 2009-Aug-05: A study by Siemens of the whole bulb life cycle (from manufacture to disposal) is showing that LED and compact fluorescent bulbs are now about equal in energy usage. They expect that LEDs will continue to improve in the future so should eventually use less total energy. 
- 2009-Aug-04: An electricity producing microbe has been improved through a breeding program and now can produce 8 times the output. The idea is to use it to produce electricity from waste water and provide some treatment of the waste too. 
- 2009-Jul-27: A new bio fuel production process claims up to about a factor of 10 improvement over current approaches, allowing it to reach 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year. 
- 2009-Jul-24: More large wind farms are being proposed for Texas. This time Baryonyx is looking at a few sites capable of producing 750MW. 
- 2009-Jul-24: Energy could be recovered from the fresh river water that is entering the seas of the world. 
- 2009-Jul-15: Will the hydrogen economy reek of urine? A possible source of hydrogen gas is from the electrolysis or urea, which takes less energy than water. 
- 2009-Jul-08: Solar cells built using nanopillars may cost a factor of 10 less than silicon cells (though they might not be as efficient). 
- 2009-Jul-08: Oilman T. Boone Pickens has seen the way the wind is blowing and is starting to invest in wind power generation. More information and discussion about this and Picken's push to get a wind power generating corridor built that would provide about 20% of the USA's electric needs. This project ran into a snag in July'09, after placing an order for $2 billion worth of wind turbines they came to realize that getting the power to the grid was going to be too difficult, so are now looking for other places to place the wind turbines when they arrive. So if you want a 400 foot tower in your back yard, give him a call! 
- 2009-Jul-08: GE Energy Smart LED lamps will take about 10W to produce 340 lumens of light, and are designed to be driect screw-in replacements for regular light bulbs. 
- 2009-Jul-08: A student-built hydrogen-fueled car (that looks like a normal car except for its small size) has hit 568km/liter of fuel. 
- 2009-Jul-04: A new wave energy system being developed by Annette von Jouanne at Oregon State University is a simple design with much promise. It has a float (of course) that acts to raise and lower a magnet that moves within a wire coil that is fixed to the sea bed. In effect this is rather like one of those shake-a-light self-charging flash lights, but on a much larger scale. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2009-Jun-28: Could carbonized chicken feathers be used as a hydrogen storage matrix? 
- 2009-Jun-28: An air-lithium battery system being developed by PolyPlus might increase storage densities by a factor of 10. Discussed here on Slashdot and here on Technology Review. 
- 2009-Jun-25: Could we get some solar power collection happening in space in the next decade? I don't see this being very likely, given the costs of getting things into orbit and the fact that earth-based generation has lots of room to grow and will keep getting less expensive with time. It appears that PG&E is about to purchase power (also here) from Solaren who are planning to start beaming power back to Earth in 2016. They are going to build a photovoltaic system illuminated by concentrated sunlight. More news on it here. 
- 2009-Jun-25: Even students can get something done in the alternative energy sphere, this algae-powered energy system won a scholarship. 
- 2009-Jun-23: An "after 6 months" report on switching to solar power for a house, this shows the difference between summer and winter electric generation. Some of the comments talk about the apparent error in this installation - the panels are mounted flat to the roof which does not allow for tracking within the day or across the seasons (which will affect power generation greatly). An update on how this is going after a year. 
- 2009-Jun-23: A new study finds that wind power has the potential to be able to provide five times the current global energy needs - and that's ignoring the possibility of installing wind generators off shore in water deeper than 200m (which has recently been done in Norway). 
- 2009-Jun-15: Norway's StatoilHydro is building its first full scale floating wind turbine. The design of this is inspired by their experience with off-shore oil platforms, particularly the spar buoy, and it should be usable in water from 120 to 700 meters deep. The first of these got installed in July'09 by Siemens and StatoilHydro. 
- 2009-Jun-08: Xunlight is building thin film flexible solar panels built on thin sheets of stainless steel. Discussed here on Slashdot. Uni-Solar is also building a similar solar panel. 
- 2009-May-26: The Great Ethanol Scam, another take on the issue of adding ethanol to gasoline - this time the trouble it might be causing for the cars that use it. 
- 2009-May-22: Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory continue to develop a process to directly convert cellulose into a petrochemical feedstock called HMF. This uses a combination of copper chloride and chromium chloride at about 120C. 
- 2009-May-05: Removing the carbon atoms from methane to produce hydrogen gas and carbon black. 
- 2009-Apr-29: A recommendation for and a brief review of the book: Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air ISBN: 978-0954452933. 
- 2009-Apr-20: A scathing test of small windmills, the Dutch put a number of small windmills (1m to 4m designs of various types) to a year-long real test to see what they would actually produce. Discussed here on Slashdot. The study may have been somewhat flawed as the average wind speed at the site was only 3.8m/s (13.7km/hr or 8.5mph) which is considered by many to be too low for wind power generation. That said, their large windmill did produce useful amounts of power in the same conditions for a reasonable cost ($1.71/kWh over one year, so if amortized over 10 years would provide power for about $0.18/kWh). 
- 2009-Apr-16: The politics of why IT departments will not power down unused PCs. 
- 2009-Apr-12: The efficiency of dye-based solar cells (which is typically about a half of silicon cells) could be tripled by using a layer of diatom shells that contain titanium dioxide. 
- 2009-Apr-03: There may be enough off-shore wind to power the entire USA. 
- 2009-Mar-27: The EcoDrain is a heat exchanger that allows warm waste water (like from a shower) to be used to preheat cold water before it enters a water heater. 
- 2009-Mar-23: Here's a bus that uses
in-wheel electric motors for drive, along with a battery pack that
is continuously topped up by a small diesel generator system that runs
continuously. They seem to be making a big deal of placing the motors
in the wheels, but I think that's been done before in big construction
vehicles (wavecrest is
doing this in bicycles). While the in-wheel motors sound like a great
thing because they eliminate the weight and inefficiency of the drive
train, they may well be less desirable because they increase the mass
of the wheels (requiring suspension redesign, possibly offsetting some
of the drive train weight savings - older racing cars used to place the
brakes at the end of the drive shafts furtherst from the wheels for
this reason, this was called "in-board brakes"), they now expose the
motors to a much worse environment (lots of road shock, water and
debris), and installing a liquid cooling system on the motors is now
more difficult (which may not be a big problem if they get enough air
cooling, but it eliminates using the motor's waste heat to warm the
passenger compartment in the winter...). Also, given you now have these
larger rotating masses there will be more rotational inertia in the
vehicle (which means slower acceleration and braking, but this might
not be significant). E-Traction is going to modify a number of buses to use in-wheel electric motors along with a hybrid diesel-electric power system, they are claiming up to 50% better fuel economy that normal buses.
- 2009-Mar-20: A dutch man has built his own solar panel for less than commercial equivalents.  
- 2009-Mar-19: Zymetis has genetically modified a bacterium to improve its ability to break down cellulose and produce sugars. 
- 2009-Mar-19: Shell appears to be changing directions and getting out of its attempts at solar, hydro and wind power. 
- 2009-Mar-13: Why not burn cooking oil to power the restaurant? 
- 2009-Mar-12: A new design for lithium battery electrodes could greatly increase charge and discharge rates (perhaps by more than a factor of 10). This change does not require any new materials, it is just improving the way the materials are physically structured to allow for faster flow of ions. Discussed here on Slashdot, here on Engadget, announced here by MIT and discussed here on Technology Review. 
- 2009-Mar-01: Pennsylvania State and Virginia Commonwealth Universities think they have found a new way to produce hydrogen from water using a special structure of aluminum atoms. This is not a continuous process as the aluminum gets "used up" and would have to be "refreshed" between production rounds. 
- 2009-Mar-01: Manufacturing costs of solar cells from First Solar (FSLR) reached $1/Watt in March 2009 (discussed here on Slashdot), establishing a new benchmark in low-cost solar power (especially compared with silicon-based solar cells at about $3/Watt). 
- 2009-Feb-10: Why Sustainable Power is Unsustainable explores the limits to some forms of alternative energy production that will be imposed due to shortages of certain rare materials like indium. 
- 2009-Feb-03: The US has become the world's largest producer of wind power, their installed capacity increased by 50% in 2008. Of course with a larger population that other smaller countries their per-capita generation will be less for some years yet. 
- 2009-Jan-30: A hybrid Fusion-Fission nuclear reactor could be used to "burn up" (while producing useful energy) the nuclear waste that conventional nuclear reactors produce. 
- 2009-Jan-24: Slashdot discusses geothermal home heating and cooling. I know of one house that has done this in Calgary, Canada. And their heating costs are a lot lower, though with the amount of effort that went into installing the system the up front capital cost must have been pretty high. 
- 2009-Jan-22: The Cape Wind Project in Nantucket Sound have passed the environmental review and can now proceed with a 420MW project. 
- 2009-Jan-22: Vehicle to grid (V2G) is an idea to allow the electric grid to use electric cars as a power source during peak demand times. Researchers at the University of Delaware are conducting V2G trials for The City of Newark. 
- 2009-Jan-10: Hyperion plans to build a factory to manufacture small nuclear power modules (they call them batteries). These would be hot tub sized devices capable of producing about 27MW. These have a uranium hydride core surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere and need to be connected to a steam powered generator. It is supposed to be self regulating with no moving parts. They now claim to have a backlog of $2G worth of orders for more than 100 devices (discussed on Slashdot) and one potential application is in providing power to tar sands oil extraction (which could also reduce green house gas emissions by replacing the natural gas that is used for this today). 
- 2009-Jan-01: Using sodium-sulfur batteries to store wind power, in late 2008 this was reported as costing about $3/W (which might actually be $3/Whr). This is being tested by Xcel Energy in Dakota at a 20MW pilot facility. 
- 2008-Dec-18: Drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have hit an active magma chamber. Good bye Hawaii.  
- 2008-Dec-18: Slashdot discusses the article: Are biofuels still economically feasible?. It looks like gasoline needs to be above $2/gallon for these fuels to brake even. 
- 2008-Dec-14: Slashdot discusses a study that compares forms of alternative energy. Of all forms examined, wind power was found to be the best current choice. 
- 2008-Dec-04: VIVACE is a power generator that may allow useful power to be produced from slow moving currents by the action of shed vortices. 
- 2008-Dec-01: Windspire's vertical axis turbine for the housing market claims to be able to provide about have the average household's electric power (though the cited figure of 2000kWh annually seems rather low). 
- 2008-Nov-29: Another look at the hydrogen powered economy and how it is not likely to happen. This time by Gary Kendall who worked on this for ExxonMobil. 
- 2008-Nov-20: Another approach to wave power generation, this one looks rather like a toilet float. 
- 2008-Nov-18: A new kind of electric generator could boost wind turbine efficiency by better matching the load to the available wind. 
- 2008-Nov-13: Korea claims to have developed a new way to separate hydrogen from water that only requires 1/30th the energy of electrolysis, most likely this is going to end up being bogus. 
- 2008-Nov-13: From Korea comes a new twist on lithium battery design, they have found that by replacing the graphite in lithium batteries with silicon a new cell can be made with eight times the capacity. While this would be great for laptops and other portable electronics, it would be market changing for the electric car industry as it would allow the range to be increased to something like 400-800 miles which would make even a long road trip (with overnight recharging stops) quite practical. It also means that a car with "commuter range" specifications of 100-200 miles could be built at a much lower cost and weight. 
- 2008-Nov-05: A fungus has been found in the rain forest that consumes cellulose and produces a diesel fuel like substance. 
- 2008-Oct-24: A hydrogen producing bacteria has been developed, turns out some bacteria produce and then consume hydrogen directly and by activating a gene that controls the bacteria's intake of hydrogen the result is bacteria that produce free hydrogen. 
- 2008-Oct-11: GE is getting into OLEDs as a replacement for conventional lighting technologies. They are planning to start commercial production in 2010. 
- 2008-Oct-10: CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) is a thin-film solar technology being developed by a number of companies, such as Solyndra. This has some potentially large cost advantages over silicon-based solar cells. This photo on Engadget gives a better view of these devices, they really do look a lot like fluorescent tubes. 
- 2008-Oct-05: Slashdot discusses Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital investment firm that has been investing in a number of green-technology companies.  
- 2008-Sep-30: A new world record of 40.8% efficiency has been set for a solar cell. 
- 2008-Sep-19: Germany is working on cleaner coal fired power. 
- 2008-Sep-17: Ultracapacitors based
on nanotubes may be the batteries of tomorrow. Graphene may also find application in the ultracapacitor problem.
- 2008-Sep-15: Slashdot discusses a new catalyst that makes electrolysis more efficient and safer. This appears to be done by dissolving cobalt phosphate into the water and using an otherwise conventional platinum electrode electrolysis apparatus. Reuters has another reference to it here. More discussion of this on Hack A Day. 
- 2008-Sep-06: A rather odd looking ball-shaped wind turbine from Sweden. This article has a better view of the blade shape. 
- 2008-Aug-29: As the USA starts to add wind power it looks like the design (and politics) of their power grid is going to get in the way. 
- 2008-Aug-26: ZPower claims its Silver-Zinc batteries have 40% more capacity than lithium-ion. 
- 2008-Aug-21: An Australian has developed a way to make solar cells in a pizza oven, to provide third world countries with access to less expensive solar power. Of course she should have developed a technique to use a tandoori oven or a clay pot kiln as not may third world countries have masses of pizza ovens installed - just joking!  
- 2008-Aug-19: California is planning to get two photovoltaic power plants that will add up to 800MW of power to their grid. 
- 2008-Aug-17: Slashdot discusses how to measure
the electric consumption of single devices. ThinkGeek has the Kill-A-Watt,
which is a power meter with a digital display. There is also this power
watt meter, from Germany with a UK style plug and socket.
CanadianTire (in Canada) has the 52-8851-2, EM100
Electronic Energy Meter. The EnergyHub is another power monitoring device, this has a base station with LCD interface and monitoring modules that you plug in to track the power usage of each device of interest - probably a great deal of overkill but it looks nice.
- 2008-Aug-12: The nanoantenna is small enough to capture infrared radiation and turn it into electricity. 
- 2008-Aug-09: First Solar is targeting solar panels with a cost of about $1/watt. These are made from cadmium telluride deposited on glass sheets. Their expected production for 2009 is 1GW worth of panels, which is about 1/6th of the total world production. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2008-Aug-06: The Dutch are working on a kite power system, one test generated 10kW. 
- 2008-Jul-28: A new thermoelectric material may double the output of the current best thermoelectric devices. This material is also capable of working at relatively high temperatures (405F-950F). This is discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2008-Jul-23: Window panes with built in solar cells, reduce the sunlight entering the house while generating a few watts and emptying your pocket book. 
- 2008-Jul-22: Slashdot discusses solar panels for the home and a look at how much one person was able to reduce their power bill by. 
- 2008-Jul-20: Texas wants to blow away all other states in the development of wind power. Slashdot discusses the new green and windy outlook of Texas.
The Fresno-Yosemite airport is now about 40% solar powered. 
- 2008-Jul-16: MIT has developed a dye-augmented concentrating solar cell system, in it light hits a flat glass sheet that has been coated with a dye. The dye accepts part of the light and re-emits it sideways towards the edge of the glass. The solar cells are mounted along the edge of the glass to receive the re-emitted light, thus receiving a concentrated stream. Engadget has a picture of what this looks like. 
- 2008-Jul-11: Sustainable Power Corp.'s claims of inexpensive bio-crude from agricultural waste products sound too good to be true. 
- 2008-Jul-07: Tube-based wave power generation, called the Anaconda. The Pelamis wave power generator sounds similar and is being tested in Portugal. 
- 2008-Jul-03: The US Bureau of Land Management has just put a freeze in place on applications for large-scale solar power development on the federal lands it manages. Apparently they have a backlog of enough applications to power 20 million homes, which would require about 1% of their land pool to fill, and they are worried about assessing the environmental impact. So was the halt brought about by big oil or the nuclear power lobby? Since they have never actually approved any of the application backlog it appears they have realized they don not need to freeze to prevent development after all and have thus, lifted the freeze. 
- 2008-Jul-03: Underground caverns can be used to store energy (perhaps generated when excess solar or wind power is available) for later use by pumping compressed air into them. A similar thing is done already to store excess natural gas production during the summer months for later sale in the winter. Another possibility would be to use the cavern and a surface reservoir as a high-head hydro-power facility, when excess power is available using it to pump water out of the cavern to the surface, and then when power is needed allowing the water to flow back into the cavern - this could also be done between two levels in a cavern. 
- 2008-Jul-03: A micro-hydro power turbine built out of PVC pipe, looks like a pelton wheel design. 
- 2008-Jun-25: Sharp will be providing the panels for two new Japanese solar power plants, claimed cost to be about $1.6/W which is very low. 
- 2008-Jun-25: An offshore wind park project for the state of Delaware. Though at a cost of $1.6G to supply 50000 homes, that's an average cost of $32K/home which seems rather high. Slashdot discusses this here. Note that the 50000 homes is actually what will be powered by one half of the wind park's output, so the price per home is about $16K, which is more reasonable. 
- 2008-Jun-22: Slashdot discusses Montreal's new public bike rental system with mention of some other similar systems, such as the Velib in Paris. 
- 2008-Jun-20: The AeroCam windmill from Broadstar Windsystem is claimed to hit the $1/watt price point for a 250kW system. These could be mounted along the roof ridge line of a house to provide power. I did some lab work in the early 1980's on a similar system, except it was mounted vertically. 
- 2008-Jun-20: RawSolar is a new start-up who are entering the concentrating solar collector market. 
- 2008-Jun-19: Nanosolar is making progress to their goal of a $1/watt solar panel, they have their first cell printing press working. 
- 2008-Jun-16: Microbes have been genetically engineered to produce a form of crude oil from agricultural waste such as straw or wood chips. Discussed here on Slashdot. These microbes were originally yeast or E. coli, so perhaps if they escape into the wild they will not spread to consume everything in their path and strip the atmosphere of all CO2. 
- 2008-Jun-12: The ethanol-induced changes in agriculture are likely to be with us for some time, Cringely writes (discussed here on Slashdot) about a a new engine fuel called SwiftFuel that is made from ethanol and is currently intended for light aircraft use, but could be readily used in automobiles. This fuel has a slightly higher octane that regular gasoline and does not exhibit the seal corrosion problems that regular ethanol blended gasolines can do. 
- 2008-Jun-04: The Cyclone Waste Heat Engine is another entry in the waste heat to electricity field. 
- 2008-Jun-02: Hitachi Maxell is working on a nano-tech lithium ion battery that might be able to store 20 times the energy of current Li-ion cells. 
- 2008-Jun-02: The Green Machine from ElectraTherm converts waste heat (for example 200F water) into electricity. With a current minimum size of 30KW its a lot larger than a typical home could use, but if they were to produce a smaller module in the 1-5KW range then it is conceivable that one could use conventional solar hot water collector panels to supply the "waste" heat and maybe this would be less expensive than a photo-voltaic solar system. They are claiming a 30KW output from 200F liquid at an input flow rate of 100 gallons per minute, so a smaller module (say 3KW) might have a 10 gpm flow rate which sounds plausible. 
- 2008-May-27: The avalanche effect has been demonstrated in solar cells, and if it can be reproduced in a commercial design would mean increasing the efficiency of a cell from about 15% to as much as 44%. 
- 2008-May-26: A solar powered speed boat. 
- 2008-May-22: The EVOLUX LED light bulb from EarthLED is an LED based light designed to provide the same light output as a 100W incandescent bulb, but only requiring 13W. It's expensive and appears rather large, but it might still be a good choice for some applications. Discussed here on Engadget. 
- 2008-May-20: Hairy solar cells, could improve cell efficiency. The hairs on these cells are nano wires that provide a better path for electron flow. 
- 2008-May-17: The G2 portable fuel cell power source from Angstrom power, still made from unobtainium - maybe available in 2010. This sort of thing would be handy for running electronic gizmos on long trips.  
- 2008-May-13: A small wind turbine that combines multiple blades on a single shaft to achieve much greater power output. 
- 2008-May-12: Lumeta's stick-on solar panel system is aimed at speeding the installation process. 
- 2008-May-09: A home ethanol fuel brewing station. 
- 2008-May-07: The USA now has one town that is 100% wind powered. Its only 1300 people, but it's a start. 
- 2008-May-06: From the when pigs fly department: the MARS floating wind turbine (which floats about a thousand feet above the ground) has got off the ground in an early test. These things are going to be big, but its hard to see how something that must be constructed with very lightweight materials is going to produce so much power or be durable enough. 
- 2008-May-02: Slashdot discusses what a hobbyist can do in the renewable energy field. 
- 2008-May-02: Fresnel lens-based concentrating solar cell modules may become commercially available at a cost of about $0.07/kWh. Other researchers are pursuing a system that uses some of the core components of biological photosynthesis, and potentially could be much cheaper to produce. 
- 2008-May-01: A power bar with built in power consumption monitoring. 
- 2008-Apr-28: A startup called E-Fuel is promising to ship a home-brew ethanol fuel plant in 2008. 
- 2008-Apr-26: A new super lens has been developed that allows microwaves to be focused to a point 20 times smaller than a conventional lens (i.e. past the diffraction limit). This technology could make microwave power and information transfer feasible in a small device. It might also be something that could be scaled up for applications like weapons or even space to ground applications.  
- 2008-Apr-25: Cyanobacteria have been made to produce a gel-like form of cellulose that can be easily broken down into glucose for use in biofuel production. It is thought that this process could be much (up to 17 times) more effective than corn-based biofuel production. 
- 2008-Apr-22: Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed a process that uses catalysts to convert cellulose into a hydrocarbon liquid similar to gasoline. Their initial tests run at about a 50% yield. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 2008-Apr-17: A fluorescent putty-like substance promises to make lights that are more efficient than conventional fluorescent lights. 
- 2008-Apr-17: Wind power for the home is becoming more popular in a few US states, possibly due to some of the tax subsidies. 
- 2008-Apr-15: Slashdot discusses solar thermal power, described in The technology that will save humanity. This is a rather good summary article on the history and economics of concentrating solar power stations (i.e. things like the power tower) where sunlight is concentrated through mirrors to heat steam to turn conventional steam turbine powered electric generators. It appears that this sort of solar plant could soon be built to produce electricity at a cost of about $0.08-$0.10/kWh, which makes them quite competitive. 
- 2008-Apr-15: The Eco-Marathon high mileage automobile competition achieved 2843.4 miles on a gallon of gasoline. It's interesting to see the internal combustion engine approach still beating vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. 
- 2008-Mar-29: Not that we want nuclear batteries in every household, but a new material to is being developed that promises to increase the efficiency of this by 20 times over what the current thermo-electric technique does. With such a large increase (which might mean an overall efficiency of 20% instead of the current 1% or so that thermo-electric based modules have) it might make a new type of nuclear power station feasible - perhaps one that uses a fuel with less problematic waste products. 
- 2008-Mar-27: 1366 Technologies is looking to commercialize a process for high efficiency multicrystalline silicon solar cells that should initially cost about $2.10/watt and drop to $1.30/watt with some planned improvements. Their eventual target is to hit the $1/watt price point. 
- 2008-Mar-18: This article reviews four of the current electric energy usage monitors for the home. 
- 2008-Mar-07: The USA's Government Accountability Office's report on the state of advanced energy technology gets discussed on Slashdot 
- 2008-Mar-05: Konarka Technologies have developed a solar cell that can be manufactured by inkjet printing techniques all without the expensive requirement for a clean room. As they don't ever mention efficiency one must presume that these are rather low efficiency devices, but if they are inexpensive enough then that's often not a problem. 
- 2008-Mar-01: excrement to energy, a biogas producing digester for the third world (or maybe your Manhattan roof-top loft). 
- 2008-Feb-27: Nano particles could improve the efficiency of electrolysis leading to cheaper production of hydrogen. 
The SmartStrip is a power bar which watches the current being used by one socket (the control socket) which you typically plug your computer or monitor into, then when the power used by that socket drops it turns off the other sockets (which you would have the various peripherals plugged into). 
- 2008-Feb-27: The PowerCost Monitor is an electricity consumption monitor that tracks usage of your whole house, it has a display module that is placed inside the house and a meter reading package that is clamped on to the utility power meter outside your house.
- 2008-Feb-26: Arizona is going to get a 280MW solar power plant. 
- 2008-Feb-24: Green Freedom is a project to extract CO2 from the air and turn it back into fuel. They don't say where they are getting the energy from that will be needed to turn the CO2 (along with water) back into hydrocarbons, but as their press release is liberally sprinkled with the word "nuclear" and this is a team that is headed by Los Alamos National Laboratory it's a safe bet they are planning to use electricity from nuclear power plants - so this is really no different from the typical "hydrogen economy" babble. 
- 2008-Feb-22: A startup company Solazyme is working on developing a process to use algae to produce fuel, this is discussed here on Engadget. The interesting thing about their approach is that they are growing algae in the dark, having found that this gets the algae to produce more oils. They can feed the algae with sugars and even cellulose which has the potential to improve the overall yield of the biofuel synthesis cycle by reducing the amount of wasted plant material. 
- 2008-Feb-22: Panasonic is getting into the electric bicycle business, their Titanium Flat Road EB looks pretty close to a normal bike (though the electric range is rather small). 
- 2008-Feb-20: A gravity driven floor lamp, this is so much like an old grandfather clock that one wonders how it could possibly get patented.
Of course there is just the slight problem that this light must be violating the laws of physics. Consider the claim that it provides about 4W of light via the LEDs for 4 hours per "charge up". This means that the energy used would be 4W * 4 hr * 3600s/hr = 57600J. Now since the formula for potential energy is just mass*gravity*height, and the height of the device is roughly 1m this means 57600 = mass * 9.81 * 1m so the mass required is 5871kg. Of course, the mass will need to be larger than this to overcome conversion efficiencies, friction etc. Looking at the design pictures it appears that the mass they are intending to use is probably in the range of about 25kg (it cannot be much larger for practical health reasons - not to mention the risk of tipping the light over when the mass is near the top), so someone has made a serious error as a mass of that size would only produce 4W of power for about 60 seconds.
And this won second prize in a contest and they (a university by the looks of it) are patenting it! So much for peer review.  
- 2008-Feb-18: Solar cell technology that directly produces from hydrogen (without first producing electricity) is being developed. 
- 2008-Feb-18: A new crystalline material that can selectively trap CO2 has been developed, details are pretty sketchy though. Once the material has its fill of CO2 what do you do? Bury it, treat it to release the CO2? 
- 2008-Feb-02: Using nano-antennas to convert infra-red radiation to electricity. Essentially this is just the logical extension of how all radio antennas work as infra-red (and indeed other wave lengths of light) are just (much, much) higher frequency radio waves. 
- 2008-Jan-27: Coskata is attempting to make ethanol for about $1/gallon from almost any organic waste using a bacteria based process. 
- 2008-Jan-25: Lumiram makes the ECOLUME full-spectrum fluorescent lights. These have a 5000K colour temperature, which is in the natural daylight range (these might be available at some Canadian Tire Stores). GE makes a similar product which has a 6500K temperature (unfortunately GE's web site is not well suited to linking, so this will not work, instead you'll need to search their products for "GE Daylight Energy Smart" or a product number like 85394 or 89095)which I have found at both Canadian Tire and Walmart in Calgary. 
- 2008-Jan-16: Nanotech anodes in lithium batteries could increase battery capacity by a factor of 10. 
- 2008-Jan-16: Power Save 1200 is a power factor correction device for the home. Devices like this are certainly used in industrial applications, but I thought that the typical savings were on the order of a few percent, so I'm a bit concerned of their talk of savings over 10% for residential applications. Still, it would be worth some more research. 
- 2008-Jan-12: Switchgrass makes more ethanol than corn per amount of energy used to produce it. 
- 2008-Jan-12: A new approach to thermoelectric conversion using rough silicon nanowires could raise the efficiency of these devices to useful levels. Referred to here and discussed here. While I don't see much merit in using body heat to recharge things like cell phones as there are better ways to do this (like small solar panels), if this technology could give you something like a 5% efficiency then it could offer a new approach to small scale solar power for the home, but allowing systems that capture solar energy and store it as hot water to be used to provide useful electrical power in addition to space and water heating. 
- 2008-Jan-11: Bicycle-engines.com has kits and parts for adding small (49cc) engines to regular bicycles. 
- 2008-Jan-07: By super-heating cobalt ferrite to 2600F one can force it to release trapped oxygen, then by cooling it to 2000F it will capture an oxygen molecule from CO2 or steam. This can be used to make CO (carbon monoxide, which can be used as an organic chemistry building block) or hydrogen gas. This is being proposed as a way of reducing CO2 emissions from power plants (discussed here on Slashdot) by obtaining the necessary power to heat the cobalt ferrite from concentrated sunlight. However, much of the captured energy is not needed for this process due to the high value of the lower process temperature (i.e. 2000F) so the ultimate efficiency will be quite low and one probably would be better just using the solar power to generate steam to drive turbines to generate electricity and by doing so just reduce the amount of fossil fuel that must be burnt in the first place. 
- 2008-Jan-03: Solar power planets that store excess energy in the form of molten salt are being designed. This techniques is already in use in the Solar One power plant in Nevada. 
- 2007-Dec-24: The first satellite to ground power transmission may be in operation in 2012, though at $800M for only 1MW of power that's a lot more than ground based solar which can be had for $10/W (and perhaps as low as $1/W soon). 
- 2007-Dec-21: Nanosolar (partially backed by Google) is beginning production of cost reduced solar panels (discussed here on Slashdot) that are made by "printing on to aluminum plate", they claim that these will sell for less that $1/W. If true, this changes the economics of the entire solar (and even other alternate power sources) industry by making raw solar power less expensive than grid electricity at $0.12/kWh. Consider the following calculation:
You take $1000 and use it to purchase a panel capable of 1000W. You take out a loan at 10% to do this, so you are paying $100/yr in interest.
You live in an area where you can get 6hr/day of good light over 200 days of the day, so your 1kW panel produces 6*200*1 = 1200kWh in each year.
The cost of this (to you, is $100) so the cost of this electricity is $100/1200 = $0.083/kWh,
which is competitive with grid electricity.
Granted I've oversimplified things a bit (no installation cost, no DC to AC converter and grid adapter) but I'm also quoting a higher interest rate than you would be paying and I'm pretty conservative on the sunlight hours per year, and in a lot of areas you can get a credit from your utility company for the energy that you push back into their grid - and this credit can be at a much higher than normal grid rate. As well, there can be some tax savings for doing this.
The important point is that before Nanosolar came along the cost per watt was at least $5 for solar power - so the drop to $1/W is an industry-changing event and suddenly makes solar attractive to a whole new market place.  
- 2007-Dec-19: California is going to get a small wave power generation farm. Since this is in the sea shouldn't that be a "shoal" or "reef"? 
- 2007-Dec-11: Toshiba's new SCiB batteries are an improved Li-ion design that can take a 5 minute charge (to 90%) and last for 5000 cycles (about 10 times what a conventional lithium battery does). These are being targeted at the new hybrid and electric vehicle markets. At 5000 cycles, even if you only got 100km on a charge that would be 500,000km of driving out of one car - so these will probably outlast most of the cars they get installed in. Which means there might actually be a significant used battery market. 
- 2007-Dec-11: The UK is looking to add up to 7000 more off-shore wind turbines by 2020. That would provide up to 20% of their total electric needs. 
- 2007-Dec-03: Follow the Helium to find new sources of geothermal power. Turns out that ground water that has been heated deep in the crust will have a different ratio of He-3 to He-4 than regular ground water; hence, if you take water samples and test them for helium isotope ratios you can identify areas which may be easier to tap into geothermal power. 
- 2007-Nov-26: MagLev applied to wind turbines to make some massive devices that could generate power in winds as low as 3mph. 
- 2007-Nov-16: Leonardo Energy's Sustainable Energy Blog 
- 2007-Nov-15: Slashdot discusses the return of nuclear power. 
- 2007-Nov-14: Penn State Researchers have improved microbial electrolysis and achieved hydrogen extraction yields of 80%. 
- 2007-Nov-05: Ultra capacitors using nano technology to increase their charge storage surface area could theoretically reach about 50% of the capacity of conventional batteries. This would be a big change since capacitors last through many thousands or millions more cycles that regular batteries and capacitors can be charged or discharged at much greater rates. 
- 2007-Nov-02: A new catalyst may help make fuel cells more efficient and less expensive. 
- 2007-Oct-18: CTSolar makes a range of portable solar power products, so if you need to take your laptop on an expedition this might be the place to look.  
- 2007-Oct-15: Beaming solar power from space in the form of microwaves has been talked about in the past for a long time, but now it seems to be getting more attention. The collection efficiency can be improved (versus land-based) because there are no losses due to clouds or atmospheric pollution and potentially a collector can be kept in full sunlight 24 hours a day (though this would mean it needs to transmit its output to different sites on earth as the world turns) the raw cost per watt would be less for space based collectors than ground based ones. Of course, that would get massively reversed once the cost of lifting the collectors into space is factored in.
The real drive behind this might be the need for power in the military (though that does not make a lot of sense as the power will be off during the night, and the batteries the military would need to store power for use overnight would likely be bigger than the oil fueled generators they replace). It might be the military sees this as a way to get a new weapon in the sky, consider their recent work with the "pain ray", a microwave gun that causes intense pain by stimulating the nerves of the skin, perhaps such satellites (which use microwaves to relay their collected power to the ground) could do double duty and be used to cover large areas of a battlefield with pain rays, thus, knocking enemy troops out of action prior to an attack. 
- 2007-Oct-13: News of another process for making solar cells, presumably at lower cost, this involves dropping the molten silicon so that it forms small spheres (due to surface tension) and freezes while it falls. 
- 2007-Oct-08: Honda has set up a new company: Honda Soltec, to develop and manufacture solar cells. 
- 2007-Oct-08: Citizenrē implements solar solutions for home owners. Their business model is a bit different, they purchase, install and then maintain the system on your house. In return you buy the electricity it produces at some pre-determined rate (that is to be at, or below, your current electric rate). 
- 2007-Oct-07: FAFCO makes solar hot water systems, included ones that self-drain when they would not be producing any useful water heating. 
- 2007-Oct-07: Generating electricity directly from biomas, a proof of concept from a team of MIT students. 
A plan is in place for storing excess
wind power output as compressed air in underground caverns. This
would certainly be safe and stable as the natural gas industry have
been using underground formations of this type to store compressed
natural gas for years.
An application to build the first new
nuclear power plant in the USA in about 30 years has been filed.
A simple wave power
generator, somewhat like the old Salter Duck.
algae may someday produce hydrogen gas for use as a fuel - or
escape in to the wild and cause global meltdown.
A new method
to produce solar cells with an efficiency of 11-13% and at a cost
of about $1/Watt has been developed at Colorado State University by
Professor W.S. Sampath. This design applies a film of cadmium telluride
to a glass substrate and is well suited to a continuous production
The first concentrating
solar power station to be built in the USA in a long time started
to provide Las Vegas with 64MW in the summer of 2007, cost is estimated
A Slashdot discussion
of Jatropha a bush, generally considered to be a weed, that grows well
in poor conditions and produces seeds with about a 40 percent oil
content. BP is very interested in this plant. Some other plants
that may also be used for oil production are mentioned in the comments.
It is now
being predicted that in the year 2014 solar power plants may be
cheaper than other conventional forms of generation.
Nanotechnology is being used to improve
solar cell performance, by coating a solar cell with a 1nm thick
layer of silicon fluorescing nanoparticles researchers have improved a
cell's performance by 60%
a supercapacitor out of paper and carbon nanotubes.
Coli have been reprogrammed through genetic modification (by LS9 Inc.) to produce a form of crude
oil from which other hydrocarbons (like gasoline) can be readily
refined. Other companies, like Amyris
Biotechnologies are try to do similar things.
An article on geothermal
power that has the facts quite wrong, probably out by a factor of a
thousand on the costs.
A solar cell efficiency
of 42.8% has been observed.
solar cells (DSSC) are being developed at Ohio State, these promise
to produce power for about 1/4 the cost of conventional cells.
solar cell that could be printed or painted onto plastic sheets has
Diamond-like cubic zirconia may be used to develop cooler
fuel cells, perhaps allowing operation in the 50-100C temperature
from cellulose, a new plant to produce ethanol from cellulose
(rather than sugars) is to go online in 2008 in Georgia USA.
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology has developed
a plastic solar cell that is only 6.5% efficient, but can be
produced for a very low cost of about $0.10 per watt, which would be a
good thing given current silicon based cells are about $2.30 per watt.
They think these could be available commercially by about 2012.
Energiesoftware makes software for assessing and designing solar
systems, including climate conditions
solar project (covering 640 acres) is to be completed in California
Large 5MW wind
turbines that will float in the sea are being developed for Norsk
Hydro, a working wind farm is scheduled for 2013.
that can only produce 46 microwatts, one might ask what is the
point? However, this sort of cantilever mounted coil design might
also prove to be applicable in other applications, perhaps some wind or
water powered generator that uses the oscillatory motion of a cable
being strummed by the flow as a less expensive generator.
for the home, this little horizontal axis unit can be mounted on a
insulating material, a blend of PVDF and CTFE could increase the
energy storage density of super capacitors by a factor of 7 times. This
gets mentioned here too.
microwaves to turn plastics and other hydrocarbon based material
into oil and gas. Would this work on complex organics like
cellulose or starches?
The UK has a Code for Sustainable Homes that will go into
effect in 2016, this home
design meets the level 6 requirements
Oxide fuel cells (discussed here
on Slashdot) which may be able to consume a wide range of fuels are
being developed by Acumentrics
Solar cells capable of over 40% conversion
efficiency have been demonstrated in the lab, and now researchers
are predicting the maximum achievable efficiency in a three-junction
design could be 58%. These cells require concentrated sunlight to
reach these efficiencies.
separator module, this will take methane and separate the hydrogen
from it, presumably producing CO or CO2 as a byproduct along with waste
heat (which can probably be used for space heating or hot water
heating), the hydrogen gas can then be used in a fuel cell to produce
electrical power for the house, to charge an electric car or could be
bottled for use in a hydrogen fueld car. The advantage with this sort
of approach is that enables a more efficient use of fossil fuel by
allowing the waste heat to be used for household purposes. Since a
central power plant that burns fossil fuel to produce steam to turn a
turbine to turn a generator to produce electricity which must then be
shipped some distance (during which some energy is lost) cannot be more
than about 30% efficient, most (about 2/3rds) of the fuel that it
consumes is wasted as heat - so for people who need space heating and
hot water heating using this waste heat (a process called
co-generation) instead of throwing it away is a big gain.
SHPEGS is an open
design for alternate power being built around geothermal and solar
A new advance
in the internal combustion engine may increase fuel efficiency of
gasoline engines by 15 to 20% and greatly reduce nitrous oxide
The Spanish are building
a solar tower that could eventually power the city of Seville. This
is similar to a plant called Solar Two near
dots may lead to cheaper solar panels
2kW with a beer-battery
or fuel cell. While this is essentially a waste-treatment device that Fosters have been
developing that has the side-effect of producing electricity one
wonders if one could power similar devices by using other agricultural
or household wastes?
solar panel farm is to be built in Ontario Canada, construction to
start in 2008. Slashdot discussion
Solar Tower in the UK is plastered with 7244 Sharp 80W solar panels
(at a cost of $11M so about $1500 per panel, as that's at least two to
three times what the panels should cost they must be including
installation and all the peripheral equipment - still an interesting
metric: "$18/W fully installed with all support systems").
A new form of solarcells
based on synthetic dyes that work in low light conditions and might
cost 1/10th of conventional silicon solar cells have been discovered.
Could these be OLEDs in reverse?
wind farms to tap the power of the jet stream
Biofuels may have a dark
wind turbines for electric generation anywhere.
A new method for storing
hydrogen gas, this time in a solid form
Scotland is going to build wave
Storing methane in a tank lined with carbon
briquettes made from corncob waste may allow natural gas to be
stored in a more compact fashion than current pressureized cylinders.
Wind Power in Cold Stores, this is really a case of intelligent
load averaging, and thus, swapping some conventional power requirements
for wind generated power. For one to really make the claim of "storing
power" one should be able to place energy into the storage device and
then return some of that energy back to its original form for later
use. That said, this is a good example of "low-hanging fruit", there
are probably plenty of power users that could be tailored to make use
of alternative power sources when those are abundant (for example
commercial green houses, swimming pool heating, ice rink cooling...).
of microbes might be able to make them convert sugars into diesel
from wind, an Australian claims to have invented a windmill that
extracts moisture from air. Doing this should be possible by expanding
the air (which will chill it) and one could just take a conventional
windmill, use it to drive a compressor (which will compress a stream of
air), then cool the compressed air back to ambient temperature (perhaps
using the waste heat to heat your house or hot water) and then expand
the compressed air back to normal atmospheric pressure and a lower
temperature, which will cause the water in it to condense (and cause
the expansion nozzle to get cold causing water vapour in the normal air
passing over the outside of the nozzle to condense). This is pretty
much the standard thermodynamic cycle used in refrigerators around the
world, except in those a special fluid is used that switches state from
liquid to gas and back as it goes around the cycle making the process
energy could provide up to 10% of the US entergy requirements
your electric meter backwards, this is now allowed in about 40 US
powered house that gets 100% of its energy from solar and does long
term storage of excess energy by storing hydrogen gas (produced from
electrolysis of water) and then using the hydrogen to power fuel cells.
This allows the house to capture excess power in the summer for use in
the winter (when the solar panels do not provide enough power). While
largely funded for research purposes the intent is that others
should be able to repeat this for a price of about US$100,000 (which is
still probably beyond economically justifiable).
project to develop a renewable energy system
Scum, might be a better
largest wind farm (well in 2007) is going to be built off the shore
Concentrator solar cells have achieved 40%
water into oxygen and hydrogen using an enzyme from blood
wind turbine design from Quiet Revolution
Could Google get involved the fusion
can make solar power more cost effective.
discusses a new solar
panel technology, this is much less expensive to manufacture but is
less efficient. This is called CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide).
There are several companies that are entering this field (anyone know
what the patent situation on this is?) Miasole is going to be producing
cells in 2007. DayStar
is another. Also entering the field are Nanosolar (which is aiming to
build the biggest factory) and HelioVolt. In Dec'06 Honda
announced they are going to open a plant in the fall of 2007 which
will produce these cells too.
EnerAge is building a small
(25W) fuel cell that will run off a variety of hydrocarbons.
wind power worth it?
GM is developing a hydrogen
filling station for the home, though as its electrically powered
its not really an advantage over just buring fossil fuel directly in
the car - unless you install a set of solar cells to power it.
Former President Bill Clinton is creating an investment
fund devoted to renewable energy.
to change propane (and maybe other hydrocarbon fuels) into hydrogen
which can then be converted directly to electricity in a fuel cell.
offshore to keep them out of site and also to allow for more power
yacht is going to attempt to cross the Atlantic entirely on solar
power. The MW-Line Sun21 solar powered catamaran has
crossed the Atlantic on solar power, from the Canary Islands to the
Batteries, a cross between a capacitor (allowing for delivery of
large amounts of power - lots of energy in a short amount of time) and
a battery (allowing delivery of large amounts of energy at over longer
periods of time) are at the early lab stages
A technique for storing
hydrogen inside titanium metal is being developed
SolarLab has some very
elegant designs for solar powered boats, yachts and structures
Biofuel production could lead
to water shortages, largely due to increased irrigation needs
in the form of kites, may be returning to assist ocean-going freighters
A residential windmill
built with nano-tech materials may exceed
the capacity of current batteries by about 2012.
your own fuel cell, with key components from the Fuel Cell Store
Wheel, an replacement front wheel for bicycles that contains an
integrated 23cc motor for 200MPG cycling
solar collectors, use holograms to concentrate light onto
In Mar'06 Dr. Martin Fleischmann of cold fusion fame was hired
by D2Fusion to produce a
commercial prototype of a fusion-based home heater. Discussed on Slashdot.
Time to start investing in heavy water plants.
Build your own wind turbine
from cow dung using high temperature and pressure, discussed
on Slashdot. Of course there is a secret
ingredient: the catalysts used are not revealed. But perhaps
more exciting is that another research team has synthesised vanillin
from cow dung, just what you want for your baking pleasure!
Could one of the founders of Green Peace now be pro-nuclear
The future of nuclear energy discussed
on NPR, also this contains a segment on cold fusion. Mentioned here
Power Plants are being built again
Bermuda is planning to use a sea
may help in producing ethanol
World oil production may
have hit its peak in Dec 2005, but demand continues to climb
Solar cells could be made from titania nano-tubes
for hybrid cars and the world's largest photovoltaic array is due
to be built in Nevada.
New York State is looking at installing
wind generators to help with their power problems,discussed here
Revisiting desktop cold
for electricity, sounds a bit off the wall
Algae to clean power plant emissions
Besides being a large source of carbon dioxide, coal-fired
stations may also be a large source of nuclear waste, apparently
coal contains 1-10ppm of uranium...
Generating power from the thermal
gradients in the sea, but what effect might this have on some of
the key ocean currents?
Improve your fuel economy by installing ScanGauge,
this attaches to your car's diagnostic plug and provides you with fuel
usage information and other things.
of advances and achievements in alternative energy in 2005 discussed
BMW is developing a steam
engine add-on to use waste heat from gasoline engines, increasing
the overall efficiency by about 15% (or about how much gasoline prices
will go up next year...).
a Buckyball Fuel Cell
Australia is pushing
Recent advances in Biodiesel
production due to new catalysts.
windmills for small power applications, a neat idea although a
small solar panel would probably be more reliable for most applications
axis wind turbine with push and pull, discussed
platforms to house wind turbines
Honda has shown a concept
car that uses hydrogen and achieves a 560km range, they have also
shown a home fueling station for it that produces the hydrogen gas from
methane and also have arranged for the waste heat this process
generates to heat the house and provide some electricity.
Microgrids could improve overall generation
and distribution efficiency
This is probably not as good as claimed, but if it was
very significant, the H2N-Gen
takes water, uses electricity from the cars battery to create some
hydrogen and oxygen, then injects these into the fuel that the car
burns. The claim is in doing this overall fuel consumption is reduced
by 10 - 40% and emissions are also reduced. Apparently someone else who
has a patent for something similar is already suing...
And now the Russians want to build a floating
nuclear power station, all I can say is yikes!
Organisms that use solar energy to produce
The USA has some tax-rebate
programs to encourage conversion to solar power, some of the
individual states have very good incentives
largest solar array is to use Stirling Engines
In Europe automated
bicycle rental is being introduced so that you can rent a bike when
and as you need it.
your own solar oven for under $10.00, heck why bother with sewing
on velcro, just use duct tape. This would make a great school or
camping trip project to get kids interested in the power of the sun.
to produce hydrogen, and another artical
may build pebble-bed reactors
power research. Wave power is being applied in Portugal
A new, small scale, reactor to convert vegetable
oil to biodiesel using alcohol, discussed on Slashdot.
A commercial attempt to produce bio-diesel
from rendering plant waste
from turkey guts?
Nickle Manganese oxide batteries, may outperform NiMH batteries in
electric car applications.
batteries may get a 300% boost soon
Potential for a low
cost solar cell.
Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a
new material capable of capturing solar
power, this is a plastic based substance that is up to 30% efficient
a windmill built out of high altitude kites - position this in the jet
stream and you'll get oodles of power
from water may be easier at high temperatures
emission power plants are being proposed.
largest wind turbine as of Oct'04
housing takes root in Oregon, which is a nice, green state
can you do to save energy?
And now solar cells based on spinnach,
yes the plant Pop-eye loves to eat.
power costs have dropped to
only $0.01/kwh (Sept'04)
Small fuel cells are getting a power increase
from sodium borohydride
as a power source
Nanotech comes to the rescue in the development of direct from
sunlight hydrogen production
glass can block infrared
Getting serious about fuel
The US has
canceled its fusion reactor program in favor of participating in
the world program.
buildings using cold water from a lake (such as Lake Ontario), sort
of the reverse of geothermal power. What happens to the lake when all
the water that's been heated by the cooling activity gets dumped back?
solar panels can be used as windows and yet still generate about
3W/ft2 (about 33W/m2). A rather novel idea, but apparently they could
also be used as screens for projection TV units. These are manufactured
by MSK Corporation.
Brewing your own biodiesel
plus information on running diesel engines on straight cooking oil.
to produce bio-diesel,
into this is underway. Apparently some alge could yield 5000-20000
gallons per acre per year (that's 75-300K BBL per square mile per year,
which is pretty impressive).
Construction of ITER,
the latest round of fusion reactors, will begin soon
materials could greatly
improve solar cells, possibly
into the 50% conversion range
A Slashdot review
of the book Out
of Gas by David Goodstein, ISBN
TCP - Thermal
Conversion Process - is a system that mimics some aspects of the
volcanic process to create oils from waste. This appears here on Yahoo and
is discussed here
powered house that produces and uses its own hydrogen
Some people claim that ethanol
production is more trouble than it is worth
from waste straw
the grid from a slow moving river
International site has lots of information on alternative energy,
including sizing and costing spreadsheets
to hydrogen cracker has been developed.
This would allow a safe to handle fuel (ethanol) to be the source of
hydrogen needed for typical fuel cell technologies.
is a expensive superinsulator. From this Times artical:
make this strange material, scientists start with a liquid alcohol
like ethanol and mix it with silicon dioxide to form a gel. Then,
through a process called supercritical drying, the alcohol is forced
out of the gel, typically with high-pressure carbon dioxide. With this
drying process, the gel does not collapse or lose its volume. It
appears holographic because the silicon dioxide scatters shorter
wavelengths of light much like air in the daytime sky.
This stuff insulates so well you
probably would have to cool you house in winter if you could afford it.
So my question is, if the raw materials for making this stuff are so
cheap and abundant, and its been known about for over 70 years, why is
this not commercially available? Referenced on Slashdot here
The material was not new. In 1931,
Steven S. Kistler was a pioneer in
making the substance at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.,
now the University of the Pacific. But, Dr. Tsou said, the material was
not used much, except in powdered form as a nontoxic anti-caking agent
electric cars, 0-60 in 3.7 seconds from an very expensive set of
almost 7000 lithium-ion laptop batteries
Power Generation for the home may be on its way... Should be real
fun on an apartment balcony :-)
of attaching a large number of wind generators to a power grid.
A narrow, hand built electric
two-seater car from Seattle USA. See also patent #6328121 "Ultra-Narrow Automobile Stabilized with
The French are testing out a new high-speed
travelator (conveyor belt for people) that will move you at 9km/hr
(which is about three times as fast as these things usually go, and is
nearly as fast as the average speed of a city bus in Paris, or anywhere
else). The innovation here is to use a roller section at the start and
end to accelerate and decelerate the passengers.
catalysts for converting biomass to hydrogen gas, in this case a
Ni-Al-Sn alloy that out performs Pt.
conventional batteries, this appears to be one of these cases where
the overall savings will be due to the reduction in the cost of energy
being used to manufacture the devices.
off vegetable oils
Solar Cells for mounting on buildings with complex shapes
Energy Technologies Ltd. (in Calgary) is working on inverters to
allow solar cells to be directly connected to the grid (according to a radio
interview on QR77 12-Feb-03 they have already been talking to Calgary
Council about making allowances for net electric metering).
VW / Audi has a number of ultra
fuel efficient vehicles, with efficiency as great as 100km/L. Sure
beats my 4WD Toyota Previa's 6.5km/L (but I bet its not as much fun to
drive in the winter). The SmartA-Class
car from Mercedes Benz may
become available in Canada in 2005.
is building a mag-lev train in China it takes its first passengers in
turbines start producing tidal power in Norway.
The future could hold batteries
with 100 times the capacity of our current storage cells, which
would make a lot of battery power applications feasible (cars and houses)
is a good resource site
are planning to produce 50% of their national electrical needs from
wind power by 2030, see this Slashdot
solar powered car race
the Gizmo , a one
person electric vehicle
oils in diesel engines
RUF an alternative
commuter transport system
powered bicycle kit
based power storage
of links on Photovoltaic information sources
has some online
pricing for solar cells
is another Canadian dealer
RealGoods has a
lot of online information,
including various articals and prices
- 2007-Oct-07: Powersourceenergy.com
has solar and other stuff
- Another look at the hydrogen