The space heater nestled perpetually at my side this time of year can be pretty comforting, but it’s not great for my utility bills. It would be better to direct the heat in my house more efficiently, like capturing warmth from the refrigerator, computer, DVR and other appliances. This prototype phase-changing heater ‘bot would do just that.
Finding a physical space to store our voluminous cloud-based data is a problem, sure, but keeping the servers cooled down is another, much bigger problem--and an environmentally unfriendly one at that. Instead of installing expensive cooling systems, future networked data centers could use the waste heat of computing to keep people warm.
A new alloy with unique properties can convert heat directly into electricity, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota. The alloy, a multiferroic composite of nickel, cobalt, manganese and tin, can be either non-magnetic and highly magnetic, depending on its temperature.
Though the sun offers us a couple options for exploiting its energy -- light and heat -- we've always had to choose to use one at a time, because solar-energy technology hasn't been able to capture both typs of radiation simultaneously. Stanford researchers say that's about to change, however. Their new breakthrough could put solar power on par with oil, price-wise.
Using readily available materials, a team of engineers has come up with the first solar technology to combine photovoltaic and thermal electricity generation.