Solar power is one of the most abundant forms of alternative energy to be found on the planet. With a very few exceptions, it doesn’t matter where you live, the sun still shines often enough to provide energy. The catch is finding ways to capture that energy.
The Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) has used a new printer to crank out large, flexible solar panels. The organic photovoltaic panels are about the size of a standard piece of paper and are created by printing semi-conducting inks onto thin sheets of plastic or steel. Continue reading
Inventors are coming up with all sorts of new ways to generate power in remote locations. A while back I wrote about a gravity powered light targeted at replacing kerosene lamps in the developing world. Now there’s VOTO, a fire-activated fuel cell that can charge a cell phone using the heat from a wood-burning or charcoal stove. The company is pitching the charger as a solution for campers and for users that may not have easy access to electricity. (I suppose it might also make a nice gift for the backyard chef who has everything.) Continue reading
Unmanned drones aren’t just being used in the air. Liquid Robotics has announced the latest version of its floating sensor robots (Wave Glider SV3), which includes a hybrid propulsion system. The upgraded model uses solar power for propulsion; previously, the robots used solar cells to power onboard sensors and communications systems, while wave energy alone provided propulsion. Continue reading
It’s amazing just how much we take our technology for granted. We groan when we realize we’ve forgotten to charge up a mobile device, but electricity is usually just a plug away. In disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, the safety net of mobile tech and the power it gives us to communicate is ripped away as soon as your batteries run out.
Simple mobile recharging technology can not only help people out during natural disasters or blackouts, but could also assist users in Third World countries, where cell phones are often the only means of a greater connection to the outside world. A German company named Sonnenrepublik (Sun Republic) has produced a possible solution to this problem with its Clicc mobile photovoltaic cells. Continue reading
Electric cars are a fantastic innovation. No pollution, no fossil fuel consumption, and the government even gives you a tax break for owning one. The sticking point for widespread adoption of electric cars has, thus far, been the batteries that power the vehicles. Most batteries aren’t good for more than 100 miles of travel, and that at a fairly sedate pace of around 50 mph.
Israeli startup Phinergy claims to have a solution to the battery conundrum. The company’s metal-air battery system uses aluminum, air (specifically oxygen) and water to create battery which, according to Phinergy, can power an electronic car for up to 1,000 miles. Continue reading