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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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Associate professors at the University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering, Ian Gates and Michael Kallos, won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative to help them produce electricity, fertilizer, heat, methane gas and purified water from human feces.Read More
Each year, the U.S. throws away 27 percent of its edible food. Not only could that wasted food feed 20 million hungry people each day; it also represents a tremendous waste of energy. According to one recent study, all of that thrown-away food consumes 350 million barrels of oil yearly, as determined by the cost of growing and processing it, packaging it, and shipping it. That's 2% of the energy we consume in total each year, which might not sound like a lot, but compared to the amount of energy at stake in respect to other conservation methods, it's substantial.Read More
Now, a Japanese physicist named Masahiro Hotta has devised a method that could allow us to teleport energy itself using the same set of principles.Read More