Will Bloom Box Save the World?

Five to ten years from now, you could have a $3000 fuel cell power generator the size of a clock radio in your basement, turning natural gas into electrical power at twice the efficiency possible today. That's the promise of the Bloom Box, a tiny power plant that combines oxygen and natural gas, a biogas or solar energy, and creates electricity. So far, Bloom Boxes are the size of about four refrigerators, costing $700,000 to $800,000. Early adopters are companies such as eBay and Google, already saving money using these boxes.

First U.S. wave-power farm

Construction has begun off Oregon's coast on the first commercial U.S. wave-energy farm, planned to supply power to about 400 homes, according to a USA TODAY report. Wave power draws from the energy of ocean surface waves. A float on a buoy rises and falls with the waves, driving a plunger connected to a hydraulic pump that converts the vertical movement into electricity. The first buoy will measure 150 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weigh 200 tons and cost $4 million, according to Phil Pellegrino, spokesman for New Jersey-based developer Ocean Power Technologies, which is developing the project.

Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

The innovative hybrid technology featured in the car has been developed especially for racing, standing out significantly in its configuration and components from conventional hybrid systems. In this case, electrical front axle drive with two electric motors developing 60 kW each supplements the 480-bhp four-litre flat-six at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. A further significant point is that instead of the usual batteries in a hybrid road car, an electrical flywheel power generator fitted in the interior next to the driver delivers energy to the electric motors. The flywheel generator itself is an electric motor with its rotor spinning at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm, storing energy mechanically as rotation energy.

Japanese Record for Solar Shipments

Japanese solar-module manufacturers shipped a record-high 1.4 gigawatts (GW) in 2009, galvanized by the election of a new solar-friendly government, and a dramatic up-tick in the domestic rooftop market. Domestic shipments more than doubled to 484 megawatts (MW), even as exports slid a modest 2.4% to 903MW on the back of the weakened European market, according to figures published by the Japanese Photovoltaic Energy Association. The spike in domestic demand has outpaced Japanese firms' ability to keep up, leading to a surge in imports from neighboring countries such as Taiwan.

New Source of Clean Energy - Power-Generating Floors

The revolutionary Power-Generating Floor, works by converting physical pressure into electricity and has a wide range of potential applications. Part of the appeal of this device is that it emits no greenhouse gases or other pollutants. It consists of tiles that convert vibrations caused by people or automobiles passing overhead into electricity. Within each roughly 50-centimeter-square tile is a crystalline substance called a piezoelectric element. When outside pressure is placed on these elements, electrical polarization occurs and generates an electric potential in proportion to the amount of force applied. While output varies depending on the number of tiles, two steps by a person weighing 60 kilograms normally generates 0.1 Watts of power.

5 Sources of Alternative Energy that you may not have heard of

Helioculture: The idea is to create hydrocarbons with a little help from the sun.
Sewage: Using microbial fuel cells, sewage can be used in bio-electrochemical systems to create power.
Evaporation: Apparently, scientists are working on ways to harness the difference in electrical properties that exist between air and water.
Human movement: Could the expanding planetary population actually power itself through movement?
Moon: One Russian company, RKK Energiya, thinks that moon mining for Helium-3 could be a possibility by 2020.

Source

Wind Powers 2.4 Million More Homes in 2009

New wind-turbine generation capacity grew by a record 10,000 megawatts in 2009, picking up the pace from 8,400 megawatts added in 2008, the American Wind Energy Association said Tuesday. Put another way, the 10,000 megawatts of new wind generation added in 2009 will provide enough power for 2.4 million U.S. homes. Texas continues to lead America in installed wind power, with 9,410 megawatts, followed by 3,670 megawatts for Iowa and 2,794 megawatts for California. Together, wind and natural gas make up about 80% of the new generation capacity added in the country in 2009.

Solar Powered Aircraft to Circle the Globe

When Bertrand Piccard came up with his audacious plan to fly around the world in an aircraft powered only by the sun, he found that airplane manufacturers were skeptical such a plane could be built. So who built the first model of "Solar Impulse," Piccard's $72-million solar-powered craft? A company that makes ships. And now the airplane is built. The first flight was achieved on the third of December and in the spring and summer this year, we're going to make the high-altitude flights and the cycle of [flying] one day, one night and one day. This little airplane is not a Piper or Cessna with a couple of solar cells. It's a really high-tech carbon fiber airplane which is 200 feet in wingspan. It weighs 1.6 tons. The plane will travel very slowly. Otherwise it would take too much energy. The average speed will be 40 knots, roughly 55 miles per hour. The entire budget is 100 million U.S. dollars, coming from private sponsors.

Detroit Auto Show Unveils Lots of Hybrids, Concepts and News

Toyota's FT-CH Hybrid Concept and Plans for a Prius Family --- Ford's New Plug-in Focus --- General Motors' Volt Roll out and Upcoming Plug-in Converj --- Honda's 2011 CR-Z Hybrid Debut --- PLUS --- Ford has announced that it plans to invest $450 million in Michigan for production of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The company expects to create up to 1,000 new jobs through its electrification efforts, in part by moving battery pack production to Michigan from current facilities in Mexico.

43 billion dollar North Sea Green Energy Plan

Nine European countries have teamed up to plan a 30-billion-euro (43-billion-dollar) sustainable energy project in the North Sea as part of efforts to address climate change and expand renewable energy, officials said Wednesday. The plan is to connect up the alternative energy projects of the nine nations to create Europe's first renewable electricity grid through a 6,000-kilometer network. The network would link the wind turbines off from the northern coast of Scotland with Germany's solar power industry and include the wave power plants dotted along the Danish and Belgian coasts and hydroelectric dams in Norway. It is expected to take a decade to complete the building work for the network, with the nine nations to unveil a feasibility plan later this year.

Importing Clean Energy from Mexico

The alternative energy money-men dreaming of clean energy from Mexico see several factors that make the country perfect for power production aimed at the Southwest U.S. Baja California and other parts of Mexico have gusty winds similar to those found in the world's best wind farm areas. Much of Mexico also boasts the same excellent solar footprint as California, Nevada and Arizona with bright, clear weather the vast majority of the time. In terms of total energy potential, the hills and fields of Mexico could easily supply thousands of megawatts to the U.S. without breaking a sweat. Energy developers to the North see huge potential not only in the winds whipping across Mexico but also in the hot sun that bakes the land. Perhaps most important, they see an easier, quicker and cheaper route to getting big energy projects built compared to the multiple levels of permitting processes required north of the border.

Rope Workers Benefit from Alternative Energy Boom

Suspended by ropes from the top of a giant wind turbine, two men slowly descended down a long, silvery blade. Then they got to work, and from 150 feet above the ground, the hum of a sander filled the air. For Matt Touchette and Sequoia Haughey, it was another day at the office. Rope specialists like Mr. Touchette and Mr. Haughey have long filled a range of niche jobs, like inspecting big dams, cleaning Mount Rushmore and repairing offshore oil platforms. But as wind farms have sprouted across the nation, rope companies have quickly expanded into a new line of work - fixing turbines so they last longer in the elements. It's a dream job for rock-climbing types.
Photograph by Jigar Mehta/The New York Times

Laser-Fusion - Nice Combination for Alternative Energy Source

Using laser-fusion technology, experts hope to add "clean, inexhaustible energy source" to the laser's distinguished resume. Using lasers in combination with nuclear fusion, scientists at the Department of Energy's National Ignition Facility (NIF) hope to mimic "the process that fuels the sun, stars and hydrogen bombs," Robert S. Boyd writes for McClatchy Newspapers. The researchers plan to combine 192 lasers in order to create the pressure and heat needed to force hydrogen atoms to fuse; the "combination loses a tiny bit of mass, which turns into a huge quantity of energy," Boyd explains. "It's Einstein's formula in action." According to NIF, a laser-fusion energy plant would never pose a threat of meltdown, as opposed to the traditional atomic energy plant. It would emit little radioactive fallout and zero greenhouse gases. Unlike solar or wind power, it wouldn't be dependent on weather conditions and could operate round-the-clock.

"Affordable" Plug-in Prius in 2011

Today Toyota both nailed down a time frame and hinted at a price for launching the plug-in hybrid versions of the Prius in 2011, initially at a scale of several tens of thousands of vehicles per year. The hybrid leader's plans to go ahead with the plug-in Prius in 2011 with a price tag that Uchiyamada suggested today could be as low as $35,000 marks a milestone for lithium-ion battery technology. Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada also reiterated to Bloomberg reporters in Tokyo on Monday that the automaker plans to start selling an all-electric vehicle designed for short distances by 2012.

Solar Power coming to a store near you

Lowe's has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves. Buyer be warned, however. The DIY part of solar goes beyond installation. Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper.

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