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Energy

  1. Scientists Developed a Silicon Supercapacitor, Phone Batteries Could Last For Weeks

    The perfect gift for every iPhone owner!

    Material scientists at Vanderbilt University have developed a supercapacitor made out of silicon. Previously thought to be kind of a crazy idea, the silicon capacitor can be built into a chip - which means cell phones that work for weeks without needing a charge, or solar cells that produce energy with or without the sun. Pretty sweet deal.

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  2. “Fatbergs” in London Sewer to Become World’s Grossest Alternative Energy Source

    While fossil fuels drive the economy, they're not going to last forever, which is why we're looking pretty much everywhere for new sources of energy. Now solar power, wind power, biodiesel fuel, geothermal energy, and many other have been joined by a new source of fuel: Fatbergs, the massive lumps of congealed oil that coagulate and sometimes clog the sewers of London. A British energy company is planning to harvest the bergs and use them to generate electricity. Enough electricity, in fact, to power 39,000 British homes every year.

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  3. Engineers Harness the Power of Wind, Tornadoes Become Merely Frenemies

    When you hear the word "tornado," what do you think of? Destruction? Linka and the power of Wind? Flying cows? 113 minutes of Bill Paxton? Mostly, twisters are a dangerous, mysterious natural phenomena, capable of tearing through communities and wreaking havoc. The big ones take lives. But what if whirlwinds could be put to good use, give them jobs so they could stop freeloading and tearing up the place? What if we could harness them for sustainable energy? That's what mechanical engineers Mark Simpson and Ari Glezer at the Georgia Institute of Technology are doing. No, Helen Hunt isn't involved this time.

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  4. Japan Plans To Replace Fukushima Reactor With World’s Largest Wind Farm

    After the 2011 disaster that shut down it's main reactor, Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant simply isn't going to make a comeback. Like several other reactors across the island nation, it's been shuttered and will likely remain so, leaving authorities there with a problem -- how do they continue to provide the energy that the plant once produced and that residents in the region depend on? This week, we got their answer: rather than reopening the nuclear plant, Japan is looking off their shores, announcing plans for a massive wind farm ten miles off the coast of the area affected by the Fukushima reactor meltdown.

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  5. Different Photosynthesis Rates Show The Grass Really Is Greener Sometimes

    Researchers at Brown University have found the anatomical and evolutionary basis behind the fact that some varieties of grass really are greener than others -- or at least why they're able to produce food for themselves via photosynthesis more effectively than their cousins. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a slight difference in the cellular structure around the veins in blades of grass can make the difference between a grass that is highly efficient and successful and one that just putters along.

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  6. Energy Company To Hydrofracture Volcano For Geothermal Power, Because That Sounds Safe, Right?

    Does pumping water at a very high pressure into cracks in a volcano to break up the bedrock around it and release heat from the earth sound like a safe thing to do? If it doesn't, you must not work for U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), because that's exactly the process the agency just greenlit.  Seattle-based AltaRock Energy recently got permission from the BLM to hydrofrack the ground around Oregon's dormant Newberry Volcano, because there's no way that could possibly end badly.

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  7. Indian Government to Invest $4.1 Billion Developing Electric Cars

    The Indian government has approved a plan to invest $4.1 billion dollars -- or an even more impressive 230 billion rupees -- in helping to develop technologies that will make electric cars a viable choice for more Indian consumers. Their roads are getting more and more crowded with vehicles every year, thanks to a growing and vehicle hungry middle class. But that surge in vehicles on the road has contributed to making India's air the most polluted in the world, according to a study published earlier this year. The government is hoping to stop, or at least slow that pollution by putting 6 million electric vehicles on Indian roads by 2020, and is putting its money where its mouth is to spur innovation and investment in next generation batteries and fuel cells to power those vehicles.

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  8. Researchers Convert Sound Waves Into Electromagnetic Energy

    A group of researchers, consisting of Tohoku University professor Eiji Saito, and researchers from JAERI and Technical University of Kaiserslautern, have successfully obtained a flow of magnetism, otherwise known as a spin current, from sound waves. In the experiment, electrodes generated electrical signals, which were then measured, while sound waves produced by a piezoelectric element were put directly into the interface between a metal layer and a layer made of magnetic material. Once the spin current is created and detected, the team used the reverse spin Hall effect to convert the spin current into an electrical voltage.

    So, why does the research matter, aside from comic brook writers now being able to base their characters' sound-based powers on science? Because the research shows that it is possible to obtain electrical and magnetic energy from materials of all kinds, and considering sound is everywhere, one day researchers might be able to obtain energy from anything. Head on past the break to see a video of the experiment.

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  9. Japan To Shoot Lasers From The Moon, Solve Energy Crisis

    Shoot lasers at the moon, solve Earth's energy crisis. Boom. Done. Next global problem please, we're on a roll. This is the statement I wish Japan's Shimizu Corp. had released about their new energy plan, but alas they've simply just announced the details of a scheme to harvest solar power from panels on the moon. But, what a plan it is. Robots will build a belt of solar panels to encircle the moon. The panels will gather up energy from the sun, convert it to electricity and then channel the electricity by cable around to the Earth-facing side of the moon. From there the power will be zapped to large receivers on Earth's surface using lasers. Why did it take so long for someone to propose this?

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  10. New Printable Solar Cells Are Easy But Not Efficient

    Researchers at MIT have developed a new method for creating solar cells that is significantly easier and less-expensive than current production methods by directly printing the components of the solar cell onto pieces of paper or fabric. The technique is conducted in a vacuum, and layers special "inks" in a specific pattern onto the flexible substrate (the paper or fabric on the bottom). The printed solar cell can be bent or folded without losing its ability to conduct electricity. Led by Professor of Chemical Engineering Karen Gleason, Professor of Electrical Engineering Vladimir Bulovic, and graduate student Miles Barr, the researchers developed a solar cell creation method that differs from current methods in several ways. The printable way uses vapors and relatively low temperatures (less than 120 degrees Celsius) compared to the liquids and high heat needed with current methods.

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