energy

Planes Will Start Running On Biofuels From Fallen Trees In Two Years

Now here’s some welcome innovation in the airline industry. Southwest Airlines announced today that it will be using biofuel on several of its flights by 2016, purchasing the blended fuel from a Colorado company that salvages “140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock” per year — fallen timber from local forests that might otherwise serve as fuel for wildfires.


This Flapping Device Makes Electricity From Wind Rushing Past Your Car

As far as car accessories go, we have to admit this one looks pretty silly. But the Samsung scientists who made it could also be onto something. The flapping tongues inside are actually coated with gold, and when they rub up against a smooth plate, electricity is created through something called the triboelectric effect. It could be a whole new way to harness wind energy.


Players Help Power The Lights On This Soccer Field Just By Running

As they make their way up and down the field chasing the ball, the players on this new soccer pitch in Rio de Janeiro are actually helping to keep the lights powered when the sun sets. Because underneath the artificial turf are 200 special tiles that work like tiny generators to harness the kinetic energy of the players and turn it into electricity.


Scientists Engineer E. Coli To Make Propane

E. coli is an exceedingly common bacteria that lives in many places including your very own gut. It’s also a favourite organism for synthetic biologists looking to engineer useful microbes. By inserting just a few genes in E. coli, scientists have found they can coax the bacterium into making ready-to-use propane.


TNT-Coated Carbon Nanotubes Could Generate Future Electricity

Light the touchpaper and stand well back, because we’re about to… make sustainable electricity? That’s the idea according to a researcher from MIT, whose vision for future power generation involves a healthy dose of TNT.


IKEA Is Betting Big On These Six Small Tech Companies

IKEA is one of the largest corporations in the world, and even the smallest change in its supply chain could have a gigantic impact on its business. After all, this is a company that uses 1 per cent of the world’s wood supply. In fact, IKEA operates a whole venture fund devoted to emerging tech, from ice cream to batteries.


Scientists Pulled Hydrogen From Water Using An AAA Battery

Zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cells seem like a great idea. At least they do until you realise that isolating the hydrogen that powers them creates a crapload of greenhouse gases. Now, a Stanford grad student thinks he’s found the answer — and it involves a AAA battery.


Why This Company Wants To Build Data Centres Next To Gas Storage Sites

The problem with data centres is excess heat. The problem with liquified natural gas terminals is excess cold. In a perfect world, one problem would neatly cancel out the other — which is exactly the world imagined by Massachusetts-based TeraCool. Coupling data with liquified gas could make a lot of energy sense.


The Sounds Around You Could Soon Charge Your Phone's Battery

Sitting in a noisy bar, caring for screaming children, or watching the ball game — all awful locations to make a phone call, but soon these scenarios could actually help charge the battery of your cell.


Cheap Solid-State Batteries That Last Twice As Long As Li-Ion Are Coming

Most of our devices run (not for long enough) on lithium ion batteries. But there could be a new, old kid on the block — in the shape of a solid-state battery that can hold twice the charge as li-ion.


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