Living solar panel wallpaper harvests energy thanks to photosynthesis

November 7, 2017 by  
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Researchers created an incredible  energy-harvesting wallpaper by inkjet-printing circuitry and cyanobacteria on paper. The cyanobacteria lived through the printing process, and then performed photosynthesis to harvest power. Imperial College London described the product as a two-in-one solar bio-battery and solar panel , and said an iPad-sized piece of the wallpaper could energize a digital clock or LED light bulb. Imperial College London, University of Cambridge , and Central Saint Martins researchers worked together on the project. They utilized cyanobacteria as ink, printing the bacteria with an inkjet printer onto electrically conductive carbon nanotubes , which had also been inkjet-printed on the paper, according to Imperial College London . The cyanobacteria – still alive – performed photosynthesis, allowing the bio-solar panel to harvest electrical energy. Related: Brilliant conductive wallpaper shows the energy running through your walls The researchers think there could be several applications for their living wallpaper. Marin Sawa of Imperial College London said in a statement, “Imagine a paper-based, disposable environmental sensor disguised as wallpaper, which could monitor air quality in the home. When it has done its job it could be removed and left to biodegrade in the garden without any impact on the environment.” The research offers a development in microbial biophotovoltaics (BPV) technology , exploiting “the ability of cyanobacteria and other algae that use photosynthesis to convert light energy into an electrical current using water as the source of electrons,” according to Imperial College London. Cyanobacteria can not only generate electricity during the day, but at night as well, from molecules they produced in daylight. BPVs can be difficult to scale up – two obstacles being expense and lifespan – but the team’s use of an off-the-shelf inkjet printer could allow them to scale up the technology easily. Andrea Fantuzzi, also of Imperial College London, said paper-based BPVs wouldn’t be used to produce solar power on a large scale, “but instead could be used to construct power supplies that are both disposable and biodegradable. Their low power output means they are more suited to devices and applications that require a small and finite amount of energy, such as environmental sensing and biosensors .” The journal Nature Communications published the research online yesterday. Via Imperial College London Images courtesy of Imperial College London

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Living solar panel wallpaper harvests energy thanks to photosynthesis

This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled

August 28, 2017 by  
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Power-producing materials are the stuff of wearable inventors’ dreams. And scientists just created a yarn that generates electricity with a simple tug. The yarn, comprised of carbon nanotubes and submerged in an electrolyte gel, isn’t ideal for sweaters – but can harvest power from a wearer’s breathing. And there’s another surprising application: it could collect energy from ocean waves . An international team of 29 researchers devised the the yarn material, known as twistron harvesters, “by tying a carbon nanotube string into a tangled weave of carbon and submerging it into an electrolyte gel,” according to Science Magazine. When covered in gel and tugged, the yarn can illuminate a light-emitting diode with a small current. The yarn’s peak power generation – when strands are hooked together – is 250 watts per kilogram, and Ars Technica pointed out a professional cyclist’s peak exertions are only around 10 percent of that figure. Related: New type of fabric harvests energy from the sun and movement The researchers tested the yarn by sewing it in to a shirt, and saw it generated a tiny amount of electricity as the wearer breathed in and out. The researchers also connected the yarn to an artificial muscle – a polymer that contracts when warmed, according to Ars Technica – and were able to convert fluctuations in temperature into energy . A still more unexpected way the yarn could be used is in wave power . The material operates when it’s placed in saltwater similar to the ocean, and the motion of the waves moves the yarn, allowing it to generate power. Ars Technica notes the device does need a platinum electrode as seawater can be corrosive. The proof of concept yarn strands aren’t yet powerful enough to brighten a home, but the scientists say their technology is scalable. The journal Science published the research in late August. Scientists from institutions in South Korea, the United States, and China contributed to the study. Via Science Magazine and Ars Technica Images via The University of Texas at Dallas and screenshot

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This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled

Underwater Kites Could Harvest 64 Times More Power Than Wind Turbines

November 7, 2013 by  
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Kite photo from Shutterstock How can we generate more power from renewable sources without using massive plots of land for solar and wind farms? Go fly a kite . According to David Olinger , an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), tethered underwater kites could be used to generate large amounts of electricity by harnessing the power of ocean waves and currents. Olinger recently received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop this technology, and work is scheduled to begin in January. Read the rest of Underwater Kites Could Harvest 64 Times More Power Than Wind Turbines Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , current energy , energy harvesting , kite , kites , ocean , ocean energy , renewable energy , Technology , underwater kites , wave energy        

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Underwater Kites Could Harvest 64 Times More Power Than Wind Turbines

Old-Fashioned Steam Engines Could Solve Solar Energy Storage Problem

November 7, 2013 by  
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Australian engineers might have solved one of the biggest obstacles to scaling up solar energy — the lack of affordable storage technology that allows solar to be used at peak demand after the sun goes down. Their California-based startup Terrajoule is applying an older technology, namely steam engines, to build a storage system that could lower the cost to under $100 per kWh, which is less than 20 percent of what it costs for current battery storage systems. This new system will also last longer (it has a 25 year lifecycle), thereby eliminating use of the toxic and rare materials contained in batteries. Read the rest of Old-Fashioned Steam Engines Could Solve Solar Energy Storage Problem Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: concentrated solar power , distributed solar power generation , solar energy storage , steam engines , steam piston engines , storage system , Terrajoule        

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New Tubes Using Hydraulic Pistons Could Harness Ocean Waves for Energy

October 24, 2013 by  
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Capturing energy from ocean waves isn’t as straightforward as it might sound—especially as most existing technologies rely on a single axis  that requires waves to be moving in one direction to generate enough power. However,  Sam Etherington recently invented a device that is able harness the ocean’s energy regardless of which way the water is moving. His tubular design uses a long chain of loosely linked enclosed pistons that generate energy as the chain flexes in the peaks and troughs of each wave. Read the rest of New Tubes Using Hydraulic Pistons Could Harness Ocean Waves for Energy Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Hydraulic Fluid , Hydraulic Pistons , james dyson award , James Dyson Award UK Winner , Multi-Axis Energy Harvesting Device , Ocean Energy Harvesting , Sam Etherington        

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Infographic: Futuristic Technologies Coming Soon to a City Near You

October 15, 2013 by  
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What will the smart city of tomorrow look like? Sagentia just launched a new infographic that details some of the cutting-edge technologies that will make cities more efficient, healthy, and enjoyable places to live. From innovative power solutions like photovoltaics and kinetic energy harvesting to smart transportation and agriculture, read on for a glimpse of the future of urban design. Read the rest of Infographic: Futuristic Technologies Coming Soon to a City Near You Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , clean tech , green design , infographic , renewable energy , sagentia , smart city , sustainable design , sustainable living , Urban design , welcome to energy harvesting        

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Infographic: Futuristic Technologies Coming Soon to a City Near You

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