New Solar Energy Storage Technique Could Boost Solar Cell Usage

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen through a new electrodeposition method. The method produces highly efficient solar cells that can gather solar energy for use as fuel. The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, could lead to a sizable increase in the amount of hydrogen available for fuel usage.

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy Storage, Solar Power

Self-Powered Intelligent Keyboard Could Provide Additional Security

By analyzing such parameters as the force applied by key presses and the time interval between them, a new self-powered, non-mechanical, intelligent keyboard could provide a stronger layer of security for computer users. The self-powered device generates electricity when a user’s fingertips contact the multi-layer plastic materials that make up the device.

Posted in: Articles, News, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Semiconductors & ICs

Energy Efficiency in Machine Tools

Discussions of the efficient use of energy have become more frequent in many sectors of industry. Machine tools comprise numerous motors and auxiliary components whose energy consumption can vary strongly during machining. The main spindle drive, for example, and the coolant system work near their rated power during roughing with a high stock removal rate, while the power consumption during finishing is significantly lower. There is a very close interdependence between the individual components and subassemblies of a machine tool and aspects of productivity and quality. From a detailed examination of manufacturing processes to the power consumption of individual components, potential for savings can be evaluated and measures can be defined for the efficient use of energy.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Automation, Tools and equipment, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Materials handling, Milling

Variable-Sweep-Wing Aircraft Configuration

There are significant improvements in structural, aerodynamic, and energy efficiency.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Efficient aircraft designs are increasingly desired in order to support the continued growth of the air transportation industry. Continued expansion of this vital mode of transportation is threatened due to concerns over ever-increasing emissions, noise, and the demand for fuel. Current airport runway, ramp, and terminal facilities are increasingly constrained by encroaching growth and neighborhood environmental issues. The challenges associated with ever-increasing demand for air travel will require the development of aircraft that can fly efficiently over wide speed ranges, minimize their environmental impacts, offer the potential for sizing and growth relative to market demand, and make efficient use of constrained airport and airspace resources.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Energy Efficiency, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Fuselages, Wings, Product development, Aircraft

NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Power Generation & Storage

Model-Based Prognostics For Batteries

Effective Battery Health Monitoring (BHM) technologies are needed to ensure that battery operation is optimal and, if not, that it stays within design limits. BHM technologies protect the asset’s batteries from degradation due to non-optimal usage, and ensure viable levels of system availability, reliability, and sustainability in the presence of degraded batteries.

Posted in: Articles, Techs for License, Energy Storage, Solar Power

2014 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

ecovent Systems — Make Every Room the Right Temperature

Dipul Patel, Yoel Kelman, Nick Lancaster, Shawn Rose, and Brian Bowen
ecovent Systems
Boston, MA

Most homes have only one thermostat, so they operate like a house with only one light switch — everything is either on or off. That leaves some rooms boiling hot while others are freezing cold. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s inefficient.

Posted in: Articles, Renewable Energy, Design processes, Sustainable development

Solar Refrigerators Store Life-Saving Vaccines

NASA’s battery-free solar technology powers vaccine refrigerators in hot, rural communities.

NASA’s photovoltaic (PV) technology has advanced many of its missions. This renewable source of energy is produced when certain photo-emissive materials, such as silicon, eject electrons upon absorbing photons from sunlight. These free electrons can be captured, and the resulting current can be used as electricity. NASA first used solar power in 1958 when Vanguard 1 was successfully launched into space.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Solar energy, Medical, health, and wellness

Power for Extreme Environments

Specifying the ideal power management solution for remote wireless devices found in extreme environments and hard-to-access locations requires more ruggedized solutions. Fortunately, two viable options are now available: lithium thionyl chloride (LiSOCL2) chemistry that can operate for 40+ years, and energy harvesting devices coupled with special rechargeable lithium-ion batteries designed for extreme environments that can deliver up to 20+ years of battery life. Lithium thionyl chloride chemistry is proven for use in extreme environments.

Posted in: Articles, Batteries, Energy, Electronic equipment, Lithium-ion batteries, Electronic equipment, Lithium-ion batteries, Electric power

Mars Technologies Spawn Durable Wind Turbines

A technology built for Mars supports the demand for clean energy on Earth.

In the early 1990s, NASA was planning for an extended stay on Mars, and scientists at Ames Research Center were concentrating efforts on creating a complete ecological system to sustain human crew-members during their time on the Red Planet. The group started looking at maximizing energy efficiency and alternative methods to make power on a planet that is millions of miles from Earth. They turned to a hybrid concept combining two renewable sources: wind and solar power technologies. Large surface temperature swings on Mars produce windy conditions; extreme examples are the frequent dust storms that can block nearly all sunlight.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Wind Power, Sustainable development, Wind power

2013 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

The Paradigm Shift in Wind Turbine Technology

Glen Lux
Lux Wind Power Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Imagine a renewable energy source that can produce energy at a cost comparable to natural gas or hydroelectric generators using fewer resources, while being environmentally friendly. Lux Wind Turbines are expected to cost less than half that of conventional turbines, and can be spaced closer together to extract more power with less land.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power, Design processes, Energy storage systems, Energy storage systems, Sustainable development, Solar energy, Wind power

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