Leave it to the French to do something that’s undeniably awesome yet leaves us feeling somewhat uncomfortable at the same time. An experimental heating system, being installed in a public housing project in Paris, will use the warmth generated by human bodies in a nearby Metro station to heat the building.
A group of Swedish researchers are looking beyond plants for living models upon which to base their solar harvesting tech, turning instead to the photovoltaic prowess of the jellyfish. Tapping a protein in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria known as green fluorescent protein (GFP), the team has assembled a device that converts ultraviolet light into free electrons using a drop of green goo.
A dash of this, a pinch of that, and it seems researchers at Northwestern have cooked up a new class of nanostructures that aren't just ideal for such applications as gas storage or medical technologies, but also edible. The team, which began their research with a completely different outcome in mind, found that their recipe produced natural and edible metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), porous crystalline structures with unique properties that are usually difficult to make and composed of toxic petroleum products.
Plants are extremely efficient converters of light into energy, more or less setting the bar for researchers creating photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. As such, researchers are constantly trying to mimic the tricks that millions of years of evolution and development have taught to plant biology. Now, a team of MIT scientists believe they’ve done it, creating a synthetic, self-assembling chloroplast that can be broken down and reassembled repeatedly, restoring solar cells that are damaged by the sun.
Miss the good old days of daily oil disaster news? Worry not, for another oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded this morning, leaving all 13 crew members in the water but – according to initial reports – all are alive and only one is injured. The rig is owned by Mariner Energy (somewhere a BP exec is breathing again) and is not currently producing, according to the Coast Guard. Updated.
You can't throw a rock in the realm of biotech right now without hitting some scheme or another for tapping the unique properties of nanoparticles to hunt tumors, target drug delivery, or monitor the body internally for specific biomarkers. But a perhaps unlikely field of scientific exploration is also tapping these nano-biotechnology applications to search for the elusive hydrocarbons that are its lifeblood: the oil industry.
Based at a new multi-million-dollar energy research station, a Chinese deep-sea sub will search for new energy sources and rare-earth metals on the ocean floor, according to Chinese state-run media.
Chinese officials announced Thursday that the new Jiaolong sub made 17 dives in the South China Sea this summer, the deepest to 12,332 feet (3,759 meters). The feat makes China the fifth country to dive past the 3,500 meter mark.
We're already making great strides at pulling electricity from the motion of the air and from the photons that stream through it, but what about pulling electric charges right out of the air itself? Researchers have solved a mystery about how electricity forms in the atmosphere, and in doing so may have found a way to pull electricity right out of the air.
Wouldn't it be convenient if Red Bull could recharge your phone just as it recharges you? Researchers at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society today revealed the creation of a new breed of battery-like device that's more like the mitochondria that fuel biological cells than the anode-cathode batteries that charge our devices. As such, it could power our cell phones or other portable electronics with sugary drinks or other energy-storing media like vegetable oils.
Green cars require green roadways, and to that end Finland is planning the world's first "green highway," an 81-mile stretch of pavement dotted with electric charge stations and pumps pouring locally made biofuel that will hopefully stimulate the adoption of next-gen auto technologies.
File this under news you can raise a glass to: Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have figured out how to turn the leftovers from one of Scotland’s biggest exports into biofuel. Made from byproducts of the whisky-making process, the scotch-derived biofuel is ready to run in ordinary automobile engines without requiring any modifications.
Social bike programs have launched in metropolitan areas around the world with mixed results (for instance, Paris's Vélib’' program has enjoyed decent ridership but thousands of bikes have been stolen). But a public bicycle program called SoBi (Social Bicycle) aims to drive down the public cost of bike sharing systems while making it much more convenient to pick up and drop off bikes, using clever technology.
The most powerful lasers now being built, such as the forthcoming Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project underway in Europe, may approach the physical ceiling of laser intensity -- they may turn out to be the most powerful lasers that ever can be built, says a new article on the PhysicsBuzz blog.
That finite limit on how intense a laser can get is hypothesized to exist because, at sufficiently high energies, matter can be created out of light.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.