Energy

Researcher Sees the Power of Solar Glasses

New eyeglasses from Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology generate solar power. Featuring semitransparent organic solar cells, the eyewear powers a microprocessor and two small displays integrated into the solar glasses’ temples. In a Tech Briefs Q&A, one KIT researcher explains why the proof-of-concept is the first step to even smarter devices.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Detectors, Sensors
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Future Fashion Statement? New Material Generates Power from Human Motion

Vanderbilt University researchers developed an ultra-thin system that can harvest energy from the slightest of human motions — even sitting. Made from materials five thousand times thinner than a human hair, the technology may someday be woven into clothing to power personal devices.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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'Smart' Transformer Supports Power Grid of Tomorrow

Imagine a system that handles electricity flow not just from the power company to our homes, but also back from our homes to the power company. North Carolina State University researchers say an existing technology – the solid-state transformer — could make the conceptual "smart grid" a reality.

Posted in: News, Power Management, Power Supplies, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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What’s New on Tech Briefs: Smart Devices, Powered by the Sun

New stories on TechBriefs.com shed light on smart windows, solar paint, and more.

Posted in: News, Solar Power
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Smart Windows Get Smarter (and Self-Powered)

A “smart window” from Princeton University uses a transparent solar cell to selectively absorb and harvest near-ultraviolet light. The advanced window controls the transmission of visible light and infrared heat into the building, while the new type of solar cell uses near-UV light to power the system.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Sound-Off: Can Hydrogen be Stored in Carbon Nanotubes?

The fuel cell, an increasingly popular device in the automotive sector, creates a power source when coupled with hydrogen. The hydrogen can be made from natural gas or electrolysis of water and then compressed for storage. The challenge: How do you store hydrogen at low pressure?

Posted in: News, Energy Storage, Power Transmission, Propulsion
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Three-Dimensional Zinc Electrode Architectures for High-Performance Batteries

Zinc-based batteries offer a safe, inexpensive alternative to fire-prone lithium-based batteries, yet have been historically limited by poor rechargeability. A 3D zinc (Zn) “sponge” electrode architecture was developed comprising interpenetrating networks of Zn scaffolding and void space. The design characteristics yield superior electrochemical properties when cycled in alkaline electrolytes compared to conventional Zn powder-composite electrodes.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Architecture, Batteries, Battery cell chemistry, Architecture, Batteries, Battery cell chemistry, Zinc alloys
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Alpha-STREAM Convertor

Innovations offer a reliable and efficient way to generate power from any heat source.

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed two novel technologies that make Stirling engines more efficient and less costly. First, Glenn’s thermoacoustic power converter uses sound to turn heat into electric power. Utilizing heat-driven pressures and volume oscillations from thermoacoustic sources to power piezoelectric alternators or other power-converter technologies, this device can generate electricity with unprecedented efficiencies. Unlike conventional Stirling-based devices, this thermoacoustic engine achieves high thermal-to-electrical efficiencies with no moving parts. Glenn’s second advancement for Stirling engines replaces the conventional linear alternator with a magnetostrictive alternator that converts the oscillating pressure wave into electric power (see figure). These innovations offer a reliable and efficient way to generate power from any heat source, benefiting applications such as combined heat and power (CHP) systems, distributed generation, solar power generation, and heating and cooling systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Alternators, Alternators, Electric power, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Engine efficiency, Stirling engines
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Silicon Nanoparticles Enable Energy-Collecting Windows

Photovoltaic cells are hidden in the window frame, blending invisibly into the built environment.

Technology that embeds silicon nanoparticles into efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) has been developed. The LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges, where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Windows and windshields, Solar energy, Nanomaterials
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Bacteria-Powered Battery is Printed on a Single Sheet of Paper

This battery enables self-sustained, paper-based, point-of-care devices.

A bacteria-powered battery that can power disposable electronics has been created on a single sheet of paper. The manufacturing technique reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous, and resource-limited areas.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Batteries, Batteries, Bacteria, Medical equipment and supplies, Fabrication, Biomaterials
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