energy

A New Adaptive Material Could Halve The Cost Of Solar Power

Solar power is one of the most reliable forms of renewable power — but it’s still expensive. Now, a team has developed a smart, adaptive material that could slash the its cost in half.


These Cemeteries Are All That Remain Of Mountains Destroyed By Mining

Mountaintop removal mining is exactly as destructive as it sounds. In West Virginia coal country, entire mountaintops have been stripped into barren wastelands for the sake of coal. But every once in a while, you’ll see a lonely island of green — a centuries-old cemetery that just barely continues to exist.


This Machine Generates Electricity From Humidity

This silver cube looks like it belongs on a spaceship — but actually it’s way more exciting than that. In fact, it can create electricity from humidity, as water condenses on its internal surfaces.


Norway's Turning Power Plant Emissions Into Fish Oil

With millions of tons of carbon dioxide billowing into the atmosphere from our power plants, one possible solution to the pollution is carbon capture — sequestering the greenhouse gas before it ever leaves the plant. But then what do you do with all that carbon? Norway has an interesting new plan: farm salmon.


The Plan To Store Wind Energy In Giant Underwater Air Bubbles

Weather is annoyingly fickle, and so is the wind. If massive offshore wind farms are going to become reality, we need better ways to store the extra energy from windy days for the windless ones. One a bizarre-sounding idea floating around: giant balloons of compressed air stored deep underwater.


Google Street View Cars Find Hundreds Of Gas Leaks In US Cities

If you live in an old city surrounded by history, chances are you also live with hundreds if not thousands of gas leaks all around you. It’s bad for you (think explosions) and bad for the environment (think global warming), so we should probably do something about it. That’s why Google Street View and the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) have teamed up to map methane leaks in cities.


The World's Most Terrifying Pool Can Simulate Any Wave

Definitely not coming to water park near you is a FloWave, a state-of-the-art wave pool that whips water around, simulating waves as 27m tall buildings and currents at 6m per second. FloWave is a real ocean simulator, you see, and its job is to prepare our infrastructure for the violent battering of the seas.


The Rotating Building Where The Offices Of The Future Will Be Tested

High up in the hills of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory sit four square, blue buildings you’d be forgiven for finding nondescript. Inside, they’re decorated with drab grey carpet familiar to any cubicle worker. But it’s the buildings’ electronic guts that make them unique in the whole world. These labs — including one that rotates 270 degrees — are where office buildings of the future will be tested.


Your Set-Top Box Is Wasting Absurd Amounts Of Energy And Money

Electricity bill got you down? Blame your cable box or PlayStation or printer or refrigerator or any of your smart, networked devices that have a gentle-sounding but energy-sucking “standby mode”. A new report from the International Energy Agency puts the energy from networked devices worldwide at 616 terawatt-hours. That’s more than the entire energy consumption of the United Kingdom.


Could We Ever Power A Laptop By Recovering Energy From Typing?

Tip-tap-tip-tap-tippety-tap. We all spend our days bashing keys at our computer — so how much energy could we create if we could recover just a little of it?