Archive for the 'Alternative Energy' Category

Viruses That Generate Electricity

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

LightbulbResearchers in California have developed sheets of piezoelectric viruses that, when pressure is applied, generate an electrical current. In one experiment, the viruses power a small LCD.


Turn Ordinary Windows Into See-Through Solar Panels

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Recycle LogoFrom the linked article: “3M has developed a see-through film that turns ordinary windows into solar panels. … A square meter of the film can generate roughly enough electricity to charge an iPhone under peak sunlight, but still allows for high visibility.” It’s an easy, do-it-yourself install and will go on sale sometime this year.

(via Kim Komando)

A Round-the-Clock Solar Power Plant

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Recycle LogoOne of the problems with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar is their intermittent nature. Sometimes the wind is blowing and sometimes it isn’t. And the sun goes down every night. This is one of the reasons why fossil fuel plants are still a mainstay for any major power utility.

This problem has led to a quest for ways to store energy such that an alternative fuel power plant can supply energy on demand. One such method uses compressed air, while another has large batteries. More recently, a company named SolarReserve has received a $737 million loan guarantee from the US government for the construction of a round-the-clock solar power plant in Nevada—a plant that uses molten salt to store energy accumulated during daylight hours.

(via Slashdot)

Another Way To Store Power

Friday, June 11th, 2010

RecycleHere at Chad’s News, we’ve previously covered one of the problems with intermittent energy sources like solar and wind: how to store the power so that it can be used on-demand. Until that happens, the need for traditional fossil fuel plants will remain.

The linked article describes a large battery nicknamed BOB, that will provide reliable power to the town of Presidio, Texas. The battery is expensive ($25 million), and the town is small (pop. 4167), so I’m not sure how well this would work on a larger scale. But it’s a step in the right direction.

(via Slashdot)

An Intelligent Way to Deal With Nuclear Waste

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

EnvironmentHere’s an alternative to burying nuclear waste in the ground for thousands of years. Scientists in France and Texas are developing technologies to destroy the the radioactive by-products of nuclear power plants. The article isn’t clear about the method used by the French scientists, but the researchers in Texas are working on a hybrid fusion/fission reactor.

(via Slashdot)

Compressed-Air Energy Storage

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

EnvironmentOne of the major problems with alternative energy sources such as solar or wind power is that they’re intermittent, while demand is continuous. All the turbines in the world are useless if the wind isn’t blowing. So alternative energy has been delegated to a role where it only supplements traditional power plants.

A possible solution to this problem is compressed-air energy storage (CAES), where energy is stored as compressed air then converted to electricity as needed—thus providing a steady power supply. And CAES doesn’t only apply to alternative energy. It can be used to store energy from traditional, coal-powered generators, allowing them to run more efficiently.

CAES is not a new technology, but it’s gaining popularity because of the growing use of alternative energy sources. Let’s hope we see more of it.

(via Slashdot)

Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Power Beamed From Space

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

SpaceAs I grow older, I’m amazed to see the creation of technologies that I once read about in science fiction books. The Japanese government is spending $22 billion on a project to put a large solar panel array in orbit that will generate energy and beam it down to the Earth.

(via digg)

Clean Coal

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

RecycleI’ve heard some of the US Presidential candidates talking about “clean coal,” which could cause one to infer that there is some special type of coal that, when burned, does not produce pollution. As far as I know, this is not the case, and the linked article has an example of what “clean coal” really means.


Why Don’t We Dump Nuclear Waste Into Volcanoes?

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

VolcanoAlthough it would be really nice if we could get rid of nuclear waste just by incinerating it, I think someone’s been watching a bit too much Lord of the Rings. Wonder what would’ve happened if the One Ring was made of Plutonium? Alternatively, sending the waste into the Sun would actually be an effective (but hideously expensive) solution.

(via digg)

Using Waves To Generate Electricity

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

EnvironmentI like seeing this type of energy production. Hopefully it will gain popularity.

(via Engadget)

Self-contained Micro Nuclear Reactors

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

EnvironmentToshiba is creating micro nuclear reactors that are capable of powering a single building (or a city block). They’re self-contained and totally automatic, and last for about 40 years.

(via engadget)