Energy-Recycling Foot Makes It Easier For Amputees To Walk

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What’s better than an artificial nose? Why, an artificial foot, of course! University of Michigan researchers have developed a new prosthetic foot that could one day make it much easier for amputees to walk. Put simply, this new prototype drastically cuts the energy spent per step, as it harnesses the energy exerted when taking a step and enhances the power of ankle push-off. The device is able to capture dissipated energy, and an inbuilt microcontroller tells the foot to return the energy to the system at precisely the right time.

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The Growing Thirst for Power in India

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Over the coming years, the need for power in India will more than double

India requires an additional 100,000 megawatts of power by 2012. The country currently has a peak deficit of 18 percent and an overall deficit of 9 percent. While India possesses the fifth largest electricity generation capacity in the world, it has low per capita consumption at just 606 units, less than half of China s consumption per head.
While concerns exist over Chinese- managed projects close to India s border areas, opportunities exist for politically neutral energy providers to service the India market.
According to the Ministry of Power, the total installed capacity in India is calculated to be 145,554.97 megawatts. They also state that:
Generation capacity of 122 GW; 590 billion units produced (1 unit = 1kwh) CAGR of 4.6% over the last four years
India has the fifth largest electricity generation capacity in the world with low per capita consumption at 606 units
Transmission and distribution network of 5.7 million circuit kilometers
Coal-fired plants constitute 57% of the installed generation capacity, followed by 25% from hydroelectric power, 10% gas-based, 3% from nuclear energy and 5% from renewable sources
The State Electricity Regulatory Commission has said that India possesses a vast opportunity to grow in the field of power generation, transmission, and distribution. The target of over 150,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power germination is yet to be achieved. However, by 2012, India requires an additional 100,000 megawatts of generation capacity. A huge capital investment is required to meet this target. This has resulted in numerous power generation, transmission, and distribution multinationals to establish operations in the country under the PPP program. The power sector is still experiencing a large demand-supply gap, and this has called for an effective consideration of some of strategic initiatives. There are strong opportunities in transmission network ventures an additional 60,000 circuit kilometers of transmission network is expected by 2012 with a total investment opportunity of about US$ 200 billion.
According to the Ministry of Power, the implementation of key reforms is likely to foster growth in all segments as follows:
Coal based plants at pithead or coastal locations (imported coal)
Natural gas/CNG based turbines at load centers or near gas terminals
Hydroelectric power potential of 150,000 MW is untapped as assessed by the government of India
Renovation, modernization, upgrading and life extension of old thermal and hydroelectric power plants
Opportunities exist in:
Allowing foreign equity participation up to 100% in the power sector under the automatic route.
Encouraging the private sector to set up coal, gas or liquid-based thermal projects, hydroelectric projects and wind or solar projects of any size
Constitution of independent state electricity regulatory commissions
Deregulation of the ancillary sectors such as coal
Introduction of the Electricity Act and the notification of the national electricity and tariff policies
Provision of income tax holiday for a block of 10 years in the first 15 years of operation and waiver of capital goods import duties on mega power projects (above 1,000 MW generation capacity)
Unbundling of the state electricity boards (SEBs) into generation, transmission, and distribution companies for better transparency and accountability
Initiatives the government has introduced to facilitate foreign investment in the sector under the automatic route:
Unbundling of vertically integrated SEs
Open access to transmission and distribution network
Distribution circles to be privatized
Tariff reforms by regulatory authorities

India requires an additional 100,000 megawatts of power by 2012. The country currently has a peak deficit of 18 percent and an overall deficit of 9 percent. While India possesses the fifth largest electricity generation capacity in the world, it has low per capita consumption at just 606 units, less than half of China s consumption per head.

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World’s Smallest Solar Sensor Could Run Forever


A low-power, sensor system is 1,000 times smaller than comparable commercial counterparts.

A 9-cubic millimeter solar-powered sensor system developed at the University of Michigan is the smallest that can harvest energy from its surroundings to operate nearly perpetually.

The U-M system’s processor, solar cells, and battery are all contained in its tiny frame, which measures 2.5 by 3.5 by 1 millimeters. It is 1,000 times smaller than comparable commercial counterparts.


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Soular Backpack – Trendy Solar Bags For Off-Grid Charging of Hand-Held Gadgets


Soular Backpack

Neon Green has decided to bring solar to the fashion forward among us, from tween girls to guys working in the financial district. The makers of solar bags have come up with a variety of designs that incorporate thin-film solar cells into trendy bags with “soular” for off-grid charging and backup power for hand-held gadgets. Neon Green claims the bags are so awesome, they’ll “transform [you] from a mere mortal to a super hero with soular powers.” Now that’s quite a statement. (pics)


Swordfish Attack Angolan Oil Pipeline

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A swordfish attack punctured an oil loading pipe in Angola recently, causing a three-day delay in tanker shipments of Girassol crude. Total, the French oil company which operates the pipeline, declared force majeure on shipments. Total later said that swordfish had damaged a flexible loading pipe. Declaring force majeure frees an operator from supply obligations due to extraordinary circumstances.

This isn’t the first time…

Cars of the Future Could Be Powered By Their Bodywork


Bodywork could one day double as a car’s battery

Parts of a car’s bodywork could one day double up as its battery, according to the scientists behind a new €3.4 million project announced today.

Researchers from Imperial College London, UK, and their European partners, including Volvo Car Corporation, are developing a prototype material which can store and discharge electrical energy and which is also strong and lightweight enough to be used for car parts.


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South Korea Plans Giant Eco Dome

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The Ecorium Project, South Korea’s planned nature reserve, is a stunner. The 33,000 sq. meter park includes a wetland reserve and  a wild plant area. The structure will comprise a series of connected domes, each of which contains its own greenhouse.

Sponsored by the National Ecological Institute of South Korea and designed by Samoo, the Ecorium Project is going to be as much an educational center as it is a preserve. It’ll also be energy-efficient itself, with each greenhouse being capable of detecting external climate conditions and making the appropriate adjustments inside. The exterior will be made of metal panels, low-iron and low-e double glazing, wood and plexiglass.

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Dow Chemical’s Solar Panel Roof Shingles

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Dow’s Powerhouse Solar Shingles

Dow Chemical is moving full speed ahead to develop roof shingles embedded with photovoltaic cells. To facilitate the move, the U.S. Department of Energy has backed Dow’s efforts with a $17.8 million tax credit that will help the company launch an initial market test of the product later this year.


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Momentous Shifts In Global Power By 2020


As the second decade of the 21st century begins, we find ourselves at one of those relatively rare moments in history when major power shifts become visible to all. If the first decade of the century witnessed profound changes, the world of 2009 nonetheless looked at least somewhat like the world of 1999 in certain fundamental respects: the United States remained the world’s paramount military power, the dollar remained the world’s dominant currency, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization remained its foremost military alliance, to name just three.


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America’s Pre-Eminence In World Affairs Fading


President Obama is trying to revive the struggling U.S. economy while China’s economy is growing

Just two and a half weeks after he was elected and before he even set foot in the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama was presented with a 120-page report that was supposed to help him to peer into the future.


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RCA Airnergy Charges Gadgets with Nothing But Wifi Signals

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Forget PowerMats and wireless charging and the like, because the Airnergy wi-fi signal harvester is my new front runner for the future of gadget charging.It’s not exactly new tech, as ohGizmo notes, but it’s the first application that’s of any real use to consumers. Put simply, Airnergy takes the energy created by wi-fi signals and stores it in a rechargeable battery. At CES, the device’s battery, which we believe was precharged with Wi-Fi power, was able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% power to full power in about 90 minutes.

(video after jump…)

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Strange Roof Orbs Provide Alternative Solar Power


Roof orbs

Nani Kore (”What’s This?”) is the name of a Japanese TV show that digs up bizarre things and phenomena observed around the world and explains how they work. In the latest show, they presented a house in central Tokyo that proves solar power can be used in a residential setting without those expensive solar panels and cells. (video)


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