Monthly Archives: April 2012
The Croatian-built Rimac Concept One electric sports car has been exhibited at the Top Marques Monaco motor show. The manufacturers claim that it could do 500 kilometres an hour but they have limited to 300 kilometres an hour for safety reasons. It will do 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 2.8 seconds and has a range of 600 kilometres on a single charge – and will cost $US 980,000.
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have reported inthe journal Science that they have "genetically engineered a lithoautotrophic microorganism known as Ralstonia eutropha H16 to produce isobutanol and 3-methyl-1-butanol in an electro-bioreactor using carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source and electricity as the sole energy input." Or, in English, they have created a bug whch makes a form of alcohol from carbon dioxide when it gets an electric shock. The significance of this is that it allows electricity to be stored in the form of an alcohol which can be used as a … Continue Reading
Scientists at Victoria University in Australia have shown the viability of a new desalination technology that uses almost no electricity and has the potential to save huge amounts of water. The membrane distillation technology uses waste heat to evaporate waste water through a fine membrane. The evaporated water condenses on the other side of the membrane as treated water – at above tap water standard – for re-use. Conventional evaporative desalination systems require temperatures of 70°C or higher but the membrane distillation technology can use waste heat as low as 30°C The three-month trial of the process was conducted at … Continue Reading
A recent article in the American Chemical Society journal examined the potential for generating electricity from the difference in saltiness between freshwater and seawater. In the process, called "pressure retarded osmosis", freshwater flows naturally by osmosis through a special membrane to dilute seawater on the other side. The pressure from the flow spins a turbine and produces electricity using no fuel and with no greenhouse gas emissions. The study concluded that using this process on just one-tenth of the global river water flow into the oceans could generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of 520 million people. Now … Continue Reading
A few months ago, we wrote about the flying wind turbine being developed by Altaeros Energies. The company has now carried out test flights of its prototype and begun work on a larger, more powerful commercial model.
The Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer, Pipistrel, has delivered the first of what it claims is the only commercially available "electric 2-seat aeroplane in serial production". An optional trailer, which houses the aircraft, is equipped with solar panels for charging its batteries. The aircraft is actually a self-launching glider with a retractable electric engine and propellor. The motor peaks at 40 kW for take-off and allows continuous climbing at 30 kW power. It has two alternative lithium battery configurations capable of lauching it to 1,200 metres or 2,000 metres respectively. The company claims that its Taurus Electro G2 can use a … Continue Reading
A Californian company,Thermata, has developed a high-tech mirror which it says can cut the cost of sun-tracking mirrors, or heliostats, in half. The system uses small heliostats, each with a camera to detect the angle of the sun and the heliostat, together with a mesh network of microprocessors to position each mirror with the ideal tilt. Each heliostat is automatically identified, located and calibrated under continuous control of proprietary mirror detection and pointing technology, over a wireless mesh network. The smaller, self-configuring heliostats are more accurate than conventional larger mirrors. The heliostats are fitted onto pods that are powered by … Continue Reading
Cleveland State University mechanical engineering professor Dr. Majid Rashidi has developed a "corkscrew" wind amplification turbine which is being tested at tthe Cleveland Indians’ Stadium in Ohio. Dr. Rashidi said that "The easiest way to explain it is this: there are two wind turbines hanging on both sides of the spiral. When air passes by the spiral, it gently deflects the wind towards the turbines to power them. If the spiral were not there, the air molecules would typically miss the turbines entirely.” The 6-metre wide turbine requires much less space than a conventional turbine and will generate about 40,000 … Continue Reading
The results of one of the most comprehensive, independent studies of the effects of wind farms on birds has been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. The study, carried out by naturalists and ornithologists from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Scottish Natural Heritage and the British Trust for Ornithology, is one of very few to cover multiple species and multiple sites over an extended period. The study found no evidence of harm to bird species from revolving blades, noise or visual disturbance from operating wind farms. However, many birds in species which were foraging … Continue Reading
IBM, together with Honda and the California utility Pacific Gas & Electric, is about to start trialling a smart-charging system to charge a fleet of electric vehicles without disrupting the grid. The electricity grid already has the capacity to accommodate millions of plug-in vehicles. The problem arises if there is a concentration of electric vehicles charging at the same time. Even as few as four or five vehicles charging at the same time in nearby locations could cause local stability problems. IBM’s smart-charging system monitors a car’s battery charge state along with the grid load. Consumers indicate when they want … Continue Reading