Tapping geothermal sources for power has proven a tricky proposition, because of costs and hazards associated with deep drilling. But researchers may have stumbled on a way to boost the power-producing potential of low-temperature hot springs close to the Earth's surface, using nanotechnology.
John B. Carnett, PopSci's staff photographer, is using the latest green technology to build his dream home. This is the first entry in his new blog tracking the build--follow along at popsci.com/green-dream
No, it's not a death ray. The folks at RawSolar are creating what looks like a very affordable solar thermal tracking dish. This is a mini version of the concentrating solar power systems you see commercially in the 25 kilowatt range.
By 2015, if General Electric has their way, all our homes will be running on smart grids with mini-turbines and solar panels to produce electricity, consuming zero net energy in the process.
GE says that their smart energy system, dubbed the Net Zero Home project, will center around a $250 central management hub that will allow all of a home's networked appliances and on-site power-producing equipment talk to each other, as well as to the smart grid outside the home..
It's one of those ideas that just sounds wrong: a barge-like floating nuclear plant in the middle of the ocean. But despite its somewhat unconventional approach, a Russian firm we first reported on in 2006 is forging ahead with plans to have the first model ready to begin service in 2012.
The latest contender in the burgeoning zero-emissions all-electric motorcycle field is here--how does it stack up against the competition?
By Matthew CokeleyPosted 07.06.2009 at 12:52 pm 6 Comments
It's shaping up to be the summer of the electric moto--in addition to Brammo's Enertia, which we drove last month, Zero Motorcycles has just begun shipping their Zero S all-electric bike. How does the latest battery-powered ride compare? We took one for a spin to find out.
The external-combustion engine predates its internal-combustion counterpart by nearly a century. Internal combustion won out for modern automobiles by way of its more robust production of horsepower and torque. But Segway inventor Dean Kamen is working up several new uses for the venerable Stirling external-combustion engine. The latest is a electric generator that can use almost anything that burns as fuel. It's the centerpiece of a new hybrid-electric scooter that may never need recharging.
An oil company helping launch an electric car? The jokes write themselves. (Launch it where, into space?) But it's true: low-speed electric carmaker Electrovaya launched its Maya-300 car this week with help from ExxonMobil. The oil giant's "SuperPolymer" separator film is used in production of Electrovaya's lithium-ion battery. But wait, there's more.
Solar power is an exciting source of renewable energy, but has so far mostly been used to power little things like homes, cars and small villages. But what if solar energy was used on a scale that would power the majority of Europe?
Last October, Iceland's economy tanked. Its bailout? A two-mile geothermal well drilled into a volcano that could generate an endless supply of clean energy. Or, as Icelanders will calmly explain, it could all blow up in their faces
By Christopher MimsPosted 06.19.2009 at 12:20 pm 7 Comments
The Kuwait of the North
Engineers at the Tyr drilling rig in Krafla's snow-covered caldera hope to use a supercritical-water source two miles underground to produce 10 times as much geothermal electricity as a normal well
Courtesy Sveinbjorn Holmgeirsson/Landsvirkjun Power
It's spring in Iceland, and three feet of snow covers the ground. The sky is gray and the temperature hovers just below freezing, yet Gudmundur Omar Fridleifsson is wearing only a windbreaker. Icelanders say they can spot the tourists because they wear too many clothes, but Fridleifsson seems particularly impervious. He's out here every few days to check on the Tyr geothermal drilling rig, the largest in Iceland. The rig's engines are barely audible over the cold wind, and the sole sign of activity is the slow dance of a crane as it grabs another 30-foot segment of steel pipe, attaches it to the top of the drill shaft, and slides it into the well.