Used cigarette butts offer energy storage solution

Scientists in South Korea have developed a new way to store energy that also offers a solution to a growing environmental problem.   Reporting their findings in the IOP Publishing journal Nanotechnology, the research team successfully converted used cigarette butts into a high performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electric vehicles and wind turbines to store energy. According to the study, this material outperforms commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes. It may someday be used to coat the electrodes of supercapacitors: electrochemical components that can store extremely large amounts of electrical energy. "Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed into a high performing carbon-based material using a simple one step process, which simultaneously offers a green solution for meeting the energy demands of society," says co-author Professor Jongheop Yi of Seoul National University.

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary - June, July, August 2015

Here is a summary of what Tradeshows, Conferences & Exhibitions to look forward to in the coming months.

MIT Group Used Solar Energy To Make Salty Water Drinkable In Off-Grid Areas

By Eleanor Goldberg for The Huffington Post:   ​While there are many technologies out there than can effectively remove salt from water to make it drinkable, most are expensive and rely heavily on electricity –- rendering them all but useless in remote, off-grid villages. That’s why a group of engineers from MIT, backed by Jain Irrigation Systems, set out to invent a system that relies on solar energy to bring clean drinking water to rural areas in India, The Washington Post reported. About 21 percent of India’s communicable diseases are related to unsafe water, according to the World Bank. According to MIT researchers 60 percent of India has brackish groundwater -- while not toxic, that water is too salty to be ideal for human consumption. The group, which took home the first-place Desal Prize last month in the “Securing Water for Food” challenge, used a method called electrodialysis, which relies on electricity and ultraviolet rays, according to the aid organization.   The first-place winners were awarded a $140,000 grant.   Cont'd...

What Can be Learned from the Northeast's Use of Microgrids

State leaders in the Northeast should keep watch of neighboring states to share best practices and innovative solutions for microgrids. Stakeholders can also look nationwide to other states including California and Illinois, where officials are creating incentives and addressing regulatory challenges.

An Overview of Solar Panels

While buying a solar panel one must keep in mind various factors like where it will be installed, purpose; commercial or residential use, and budget.

Solar road in the Netherlands producing more energy than anticipated

A road made of solar panel material is producing more energy than the creators expected. Engineers created a solar power bike path near Amsterdam that is over 200 feet long last year, and the road generated over 3,000kwh during the first six months, according to Al Jazeera, enough energy to power a house for a year. The company that created the road, SolaRoad, claims that means the road can produce 70kwh per square meter per year. The road is made of solar panels, glass, rubber and concrete. The road can either power street lamps or add power to the general grid. Over 150,000 cyclists have ridden on bike path without a problem since the project began. The path is made to be non-reflective and to prevent skidding. SolaRoad is still refining its materials to make them even more weather proof and efficient, and the company hopes to expand to larger areas in the future.

OMG's PowerGrip Provides a Secure Connection for Solar Racks

The installation involved locating where the fastener is going, driving the fastener into the metal deck underneath the insulation and membrane, sliding the PowerGrip over the fastener head, and hot air welding it in place.

Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Nation's First 100% Renewable Energy Requirement

Hawaii lawmakers voted 74-2 this week to pass the nation's first 100% renewable energy requirement. The measure, House Bill 623, makes Hawaii a global leader in renewable energy policy by requiring that 100% of the islands' electricity must be generated from renewable energy resources--such as wind, solar, and geothermal-no later than 2045.  "Hawaii lawmakers made history passing this legislation--not only for the islands, but for the planet," said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation.  The measure, if enacted by Governor David Ige, would make Hawaii the first state in the nation with such a 100% renewable energy standard. Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to clear the path for 100% renewable energy, praised the move.  "Passage of this measure is a historic step towards a fossil fuel free Hawaii," said Mikulina. "This visionary policy is a promise to future generations that their lives will be powered not by climate-changing fossil fuel, but by clean, local, and sustainable sources of energy." 

Wind Power Without The Mills

Bill Tucker for Forbes:  Vortex Bladeless is a radical company. It wants to completely change the way we get energy from the wind. Think wind stick instead of a massive tower with blades that capture blowing winds. Wind stick. Really. Lest you think I’m mad, I’ve included a picture of this bladeless generator that helps with the visualization and explains the company name. See? There are no blades. What that “stick” (the company prefers, mast) does is capitalize on an effect of the wind which has been a very serious problem for architects and engineers for decades. When wind hits a structure and flows over its surfaces the flow changes and generates a cyclical pattern of vortices at the tail end of the flow. This is known as the vortex shedding effect which creates something known as vorticity and that is what Vortex Bladeless uses to generate energy. For those who need a explanation that exceeds my ability to fully explain, check out this link on Wikipedia and then come back and join the rest of us who won’t wait for you. (you’re clearly ahead of us anyway)

Fuel Cells Energize a University

How an ultra-clean, highly efficient fuel cell power plant helps a state university boost energy security, achieve ambitious sustainability goals and save more than $100,000 in energy costs annually.

Portable Solar Generators 101

It is important to pay attention to product specifications regarding the rate at which energy is coming in, the amount of energy stored, and the rate at which that energy is being consumed.

Case Study: Lyndon B. Johnson Public Housing Complex in Cambridge

Adopting a building-integrated solar air heating system for a multi-residential, high rise exterior retrofit of the Lyndon B. Johnson public housing complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MITEI releases report on the future of solar energy

From Melissa Abraham | MIT Energy Initiative :  Report highlights enormous potential and discusses pathways toward affordable solar energy. Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions — but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy, says a comprehensive new study, titled “ The Future of Solar Energy ,” released today by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). “Our objective has been to assess solar energy’s current and potential competitive position and to identify changes in U.S. government policies that could more efficiently and effectively support its massive deployment over the long term, which we view as necessary,” says MITEI Director Robert Armstrong, the Chevron Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT.

Improving Grid Resiliency through Fuel Cells

Distributed generation technologies, like fuel cells, have demonstrated a track record of providing practical solutions to issues facing the grid, and no other technology can offer both the resiliency and efficiency of fuel cells, while still achieving significant emission reductions.

Tesla's New Powerwall Packs a Powerful Punch

Ryan Wallace for The Science Times:  Known as the "Powerwall", Tesla's newest invention is a thin, wall-mounted battery that is the size of a flat screen TV. And with this new battery home owners who have already invested in solar power will be able to entirely go off the grid, and even to sell their excess solar juice back to energy companies. Developed in conjunction with the lithium-ion batteries that Tesla uses for its electric vehicles, the Powerwall unit is an inexpensive unit, only running $3,000 to $3,500, and with it Musk and his companies believe that humans may one day be able to transition to solely using energy derived from the Sun. Though the installation may look like an artpiece, it packs quite a punch at 10 kWh, and with it consumers will not only be able to store their energy for dark solar-free nights, but also more efficiently contribute to global energy use by contributing carbon-free energy back into the mix.  

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Other Energy Topics - Featured Product

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra was the first to introduce a combination volumetric vortex and multivariable mass flow meter in 1997. Today, Sierra's completely redesigned InnovaMass® iSeries™ 240i/241i builds on two decades of success measuring five process variables for gas, liquid and steam with one connection. Now, with the latest hyper-fast microprocessors, robust software applications, field diagnostic and adjustment capability, and a new state-of-the-art flow calibration facility, Sierra's vortex iSeries delivers precision, performance, and application flexibility never before possible.