Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Teenager Invents $40 Solar Panel Made From Human Hair

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Milan KarkiWhen you go to get your locks chopped, we just see all the hair that should be thrown away.  Milan Karki, 18, who comes from a  village in rural Nepal, saw an opportunity.  He discovered that hair could be used to conduct electricity, and now thinks he could revolutionize the solar industry. read more »

Mixing Salt And Fresh Water Produces Electicity…Who Knew?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

salt-electrode-01When salt water and fresh water meet, energy is released when the salt water tries to find a new salinity equilibrium.  According to Doriano Brogioli of the University of Milan Bicocca in Monza, Italy, this energy can be harnessed using modern day techniques to capture the energy. read more »

Compressed Air Energy Storage

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

compresssed-air-energy-storagePacific Gas & Electric has resorted to an older technology to make wind power more effective.  The wind can be unpredictable in terms of when and how hard it blows, and the unpredictability presents a problem for the grid.

PG&E will use the off-peak electricity produced by the turbines to run air compressors that will be used to fill underground caves or caverns left from mining.  When the wind is not blowing as hard or at peak times, the electricity will then be released to a turbine that will then create the extra electricity to meet the grid’s demand.

Another benefit is in terms of cost.  Currently, wind power is more expensive than energy produced at traditional power plants.  This is reflected in the price per kilowatt hour for the consumer hindering many people from switching to environmentally friendly energy.  The compressed air technology will make wind power less expensive and more competitive in the open market allowing more consumers to make the switch.

This is actually a twist on a old idea.  In Huntdorf, Germany, a traditional 290MW power plant will produce extra off peak electricity and store it in the form of air compression, and release it during peak times.  The Huntdorf plant has been in operation for over 25 years.

The compressed air technology has not been tested with wind turbines, but the transition should not pose and problems.


Leftovers to Electricity

Monday, August 17th, 2009

virgin-island1With 2 million tourists visiting the Virgin Island every year, it is not surprising that the small island of about 100,000 has a problem with tourist waste.  In fact, they have so much of it that the EPA has fined the territory for the excessive solid waste and is now running out of places to put it 146,000 tons of garbage.

Alpine Energy Group to the rescue.  They plan on building 2 waste-to-energy plants that would essentially burn all the excess municipal solid waste in order to create steam that will create electricity.

The process starts by making the waste into a homogeneous material called “fluff”.  Then the remaining metal scraps are taken out and the fluff is compressed into pellets that are then burned.  The steam produced will then power turbines which will in turn produce electricity.  This seems like a great solution to an overwhelming problem…right?

I hate to be the one that simply points out faults in a plan instead of coming up with something better, but aren’t we just replacing one kind of pollution (trash) into another kind of pollution (air)?  The vast majority of municipal solid waste is either biodegradable or recyclable.  Is this a case of out of sight out of mind?  Is it not possible that the organic matter could be composted and sold and the paper and plastic could be recycled?

Overall, I am glad that they are less dependent on fossil fuels, but this cannot be the best solution to ultimate problem of pollution.  What are your thoughts?

via cleantechnica

image via

Hydrogen Manufacturing Is Now 20-30 Times Cheaper

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Dr. Sen Kim who is the Director of S&P Energy Research Institute (SPERI) has been working on ways to make hydrogen the fuel of the future, and he has discovered a way to produce hydrogen at an extremely low cost.  The problem with hydrogen power today is that it takes 4-4.5 kwh energy for getting 1 cubic meter of hydrogen.  The method they have come up with only requires .1 kwh making it significantly cheaper to produce.

via newswire, gizmodo