Thermoelectric generator harvests renewable energy from the cold of space

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The thermoelectric generator uses a black aluminum disk to radiate heat into the atmosphere, and a polystyrene enclosure to keep the air inside warm.Aaswath Raman

 As effective as solar panels are, one of their major downsides is that they only produce power during the day, so excess energy needs to be stored for use overnight. But now, engineers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a prototype device that works almost the opposite way, harvesting energy from the cold night sky to passively power an LED.

The device works on the thermoelectric principle, where an electric current is created through the temperature difference between two surfaces. This idea could ultimately end up making for thermoelectric exhaust pipes that help charge a vehicle’s battery, camp cooking gear that tops up phones, and clothes that use body heat to power wearable electronics.

In this case, the thermoelectric device also made use of another odd phenomenon called radiative cooling. This process is often seen in surfaces that face the sky – at night, they can become colder than the surrounding air because they radiate heat straight into space, since the atmosphere doesn’t block infrared energy. Past experiments with radiative cooling have shown promise as a way to cool buildings without needing to use energy.

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World’s thinnest electric generator

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Electric generator

Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have reported that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.

 

 

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Wearable technology that could one day power your smartphone using body heat

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Researchers have created a glass fabric-based thermoelectric generator wearable technology.

A team of South Korean researchers have developed technology that could one day power your smartphone using just body heat.

 

 

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Cook up deliciously portable power with PowerPot

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The PowerPot can be used anywhere at any time.

The PowerPot is an amazing new product! It is a 5-15 watt electrical generator that is capable of charging any USB device! It’s waterproof, fire-resistant, and extremely portable, weighing in at just 12 ounces! Take it anywhere and use it day or night to charge cell phones, GPS devices, speakers, lights/lanterns, and more!

The PowerPot is one of the featured exhibitors at the DaVinci Inventor Showcase, which takes place on Oct 13, 2012 at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

After the jump, inventor David Toledo opens up about how he created a thermoelectric power generator for the masses, sourcing components for high temperature applications, and how he figured out all of the electronics needed for using the electricity generated by the PowerPot.

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Dual-Action wind turbine generates power and water

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Wind can create both power and water?

Throughout the developing world, millions of people struggle with a shortage of clean water and steady electricity. This wind turbine could solve both problems in one shot by pulling both power and water straight from the wind.

The WMS1000 Wind Turbine was invented by Marc Parent and is built by the French start-up Eole Water. Sitting atop a 24-meter mast, the machine generates electricity with a conventional 30kW direct-drive turbine in a 12-ton nacelle with a 13-meter blade diameter. The WMS1000 can self-regulate the energy it produces, allowing it to provide a steady stream of power even in gusty or choppy winds. Installing an array of the turbines, which each have a service life of 30 years, creates a small-scale, decentralized power grid perfect for remote areas…

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New Kinetic Button Battery Generates Power From Vibrations

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New Japanese kinetic battery

A Japanese researcher has developed a new type of kinetic button battery that is able to generate and store a remarkable amount of energy from vibrations. Developed by Toshiyuki Ueno at Japan’s Kanazawa University, the petite powerhouse could one day energize everything from watches to large appliances. The battery has an energy density of about 22 mW/cm3, which is currently 20 times higher than other vibration-driven generators that are made with piezoelectric materials.

 

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Brother Industries Shaking Up the Battery World with Vibration-powered Batteries

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Vibration-powered Generating Battery

Brother Industries Ltd developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace AA and AAA batteries.  For example, when the generator, which the company calls “Vibration-powered Generating Battery,” is set inside a remote control, it is possible to use the remote by shaking it to generate power.

 

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Eneloop Portable Solar: Mobile Green Energy

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Eneloop Portable Solar

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) announces that it is further expanding its highly acclaimed ‘eneloop universe’, a product series emphasizing a lifestyle valuing reusing resources, with stylish and trendy new products to be released this fall: the ‘eneloop portable solar’, a handy ready-to-use solar power generator. (Pics)

 

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Solar Technology For Dark Climates

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A prototype of a Stirling engine that’s powered by a solar water heater.

Cool Energy, a startup based in Boulder, CO, is developing a system that produces heat and electricity from the sun. It could help make solar energy competitive with conventional sources of energy in relatively dark and cold climates, such as the northern half of the United States and countries such as Canada and Germany.

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Supermarkets Will Soon Be Powered By Shoppers Cars

Supermarkets Will Soon Be Powered By Shoppers Cars

Car power: The future of shopping 

Shoppers’ cars will be used to power supermarket tills in a revolutionary new scheme.

The weight of vehicles driving over road plates into a new eco store will power a generator that creates enough electricity to keep checkouts ringing.

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WindCube: Rooftop Wind Turbine

WindCube: Rooftop Wind Turbine

WindCube 

Generating power by free methods is the Holy Grail for the green power movement. For consumers it could one day mean that we get power for our homes and gadgets for free from the sun or the wind. Wind power is controversial because the massive wind turbines are ugly and make the area where they are installed look bad to some people.

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Florida Planning World’s First Solar Powered City

Florida Planning World’s First Solar Powered City

Babcock Ranch, Florida 

What better place than the Sunshine State for the world’s first solar-powered city? Called Babcock Ranch, the 17,000-acres-large community will have its energy needs supplied by a $300 million, 75 megawatt solar-powered generator. The city will also integrate a Smart Grid for powering electric vehicles. (Pics)

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