Are Artificial Trees the Future of Renewable Energy?

Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 by

In 2007, Eric Henderson watched the heart-shaped leaves of a redbud rustle in the wind outside of his home in Iowa. A gust came through, whipping around the tree’s branches, causing the leaves to oscillate in the turbulent stream of air. “And that got me thinking,” he says. Henderson, a molecular biologist at […]

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Can Kite Power Revolutionize the Wind Industry?

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 by

Rod Read, an engineer and stay-at-home dad, lives on the remote Isle of Lewis in Scotland. For the past seven years, he’s been designing a kite that he thinks could revolutionize wind power. His prototype, a series of spinning rainbow-colored rings, stands out against the gray Scottish sky. On a good day, the kite […]

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New Whirlwind-Attracting Bladeless Micro Wind Turbine

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 by

The startup Vortex Bladeless is developing a — you guessed it — bladeless micro wind turbine shaped like a super-long popsicle stick only rounder, like an ice cream cone without any ice cream. From a distance it looks like a pole stuck in the ground, so at first glance you might thing that there […]

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A Microgrid Grows in Brooklyn

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 by

One New York City neighborhood’s efforts to pool local renewable energy sources reflects a larger push toward decentralized power production and consumption In the short term Brooklyn Microgrid will operate as a backup option during storms, cyber attacks and other catastrophic disruptions. “The main driver for the project is resiliency in the face of grid […]

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The Falkirk Wheel

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2016 by

A marvel of Scottish engineering, the Falkirk Wheel in central Scotland, completed in 2002, is known as the world’s first and only rotating boat lift. Set with the task of making the historic Forth & Clyde and Union Canals of Scotland accesible, the ‘Millenium Link’, as the project came to be known, offered a […]

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5 Techs Harvesting Energy from Tiny Motions

Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by

The low-power energy harvesting idea has teased us for years. Engineers and materials scientists looking at bustling city sidewalks, packed gyms and well-traveled bridges saw potential for all that movement to be converted into useful electricity. So where is all the tech? Self-powered environmental sensors are still undergoing testing. Energy-harvesting tiles remain a novelty. […]

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Scotland region will be powered by kites

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 by

In parts of Scotland, one response to the need for renewable energy is to go fly a kite. No, really. In just under 10 years, kites will generate power for an entire region of Scotland, thanks to efforts by a British company named Kite Power Solutions. Kite Power Solutions will soon install a 500-kilowatt system […]

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Energy Storage Hits the Rails Out West

Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 by

Compared to the mechanics of chemical batteries, the idea behind rail storage is simple. During periods of low electricity demand, power is dispatched from the nearby grid to pull a chain of weighted train cars uphill. And there they will sit—losing no power to degradation—until the grid has a period of high power demand. […]

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Santiago’s Subway Will Soon Be The First To Run On Mostly Solar And Wind Power

Posted on Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 by

A solar system will pump electricity directly from Chile’s Atacama desert to the city, 400 miles away. The Atacama region in Chile—where it essentially never rains—is the sunniest place on the planet. By 2017, some of the solar power produced there will be sent hundreds of miles away to the subway in Santiago, the first metro […]

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How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 by

The six huge cream-colored holding tanks at Heartland — which can hold 1.7 million gallons of food waste and manure slurry — work like enormous stomachs. Pretty much anything you could eat can go into the digester. And as with our own digestive systems, what comes out at the end is a liquid (a water-based […]

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