energy

The Cool Promise Of Machines That Run On Body Heat

The human body at rest radiates 100 watts of heat — heat that does nothing other than make crowded rooms stuffy. But body heat can be converted to electricity, and new technology is always improving the process. With the rise of wearables, the body heat-powered device becomes an ever more tantalising promise.


IKEA Buys Wind Farm Big Enough To Power All Its US Stores

It takes a lot of energy to keep the lights on as you greedily pile 99c kitchen dongles and weird cookies into that blue bag, which is why IKEA is making a push to offset its total energy consumption by 2020. This week, it took a big step towards doing so by buying a wind farm in Illinois.


How They Clean Those Gigantic Solar Energy Plants

The world’s largest solar plants sure look amazing, but they raise one big question: how the hell do they keep all those panels clean? Nowadays, using robots like this!


Why Is My Laptop On?

Why is my laptop on? To answer this question sufficiently, I found a four-year-old boy, and now every time I think I have the answer to the question, he’ll ask “Why?” — because that’s what four-year-olds do — and that will force us to get to the real answer. We’ll call him George. Everyone say hi.


The Tallest Wind Turbine Ever Will Float Above Alaska

A thousand feet off the ground, the wind blows brisk and uninterrupted. But how do you build such a tall, thin beam to support a turbine’s blades? You don’t — you float the generator in a giant helium balloon. The world’s first floating commercial wind turbine will soon be hovering over Fairbanks, Alaska.


A Quick Guide To Sounding Smart When You Talk About Energy

In 2014, we’re constantly hearing words like clean energy, solar power, fossil fuels, carbon emissions, the price of oil and fracking. And, if you’re like me, you know what some of those words mean but you’re hazy on others.


The World's Largest Solar Plant Is Blinding Pilots

We probably should have seen this coming. At the Ivanpah solar power plant near Las Vegas, a massive glittering field of 170,000 garage door-sized mirrors reflects sunlight. And all those mirrors are making flying near Ivanpah not so fun — or safe.


This Table Charges Your Devices By Mimicking Photosynthesis

It’s rare to find a designer who also knows their way around an electrical diagram, but Marjan van Aubel is one of them. The energy-minded designer is back with a new piece, Current Table, which uses dye solar cells to absorb energy and charge your devices.


Making Plastic, Fertiliser And Superglue Out Of Thin Air

What to do with an environment-wrecking molecule like carbon dioxide? The gas behind global warming and ocean acidification enjoys a pretty rough reputation these days, but scientists have been working on ingenious ways to put carbon dioxide to good use. A little electricity, it turns out, can transform the waste gas into raw material for making plastic bottles, antifreeze, fuel and more.


Offshore Wind Farms Might Save Us From Hurricanes

In the match-up of wind turbine versus hurricane, our bets have traditionally been with the hurricane. But think about it this way: wind turbines are designed to suck energy out of wind. What if they could suck out so much energy that hurricanes like Katrina or Sandy never form in the first place — with the potentially destructive storm instead spun directly into electricity? That’s the win-win situation posited in a new study from Stanford and University of Delaware researchers.