Fontus – a bottle that turns air into water as you ride your bike

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Fontus, is a “self-filling water bottle for your bicycle.”

Do you always have to constantly stop to refill your water bottle on long bike rides. Kristof Retezár, a student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, has come up with a new way to quench your thirst on the go. He has invented a little thing called Fontus, which he calls has invented a little thing called Fontus, which he calls a “self-filling water bottle for your bicycle..”

 

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Solar energy market thriving in the U.S.

The solar industry employs nearly 120,000 Americans.

Solar energy is hot. With a foundation of consistent, long-term deployment policies at both the federal and state levels, solar PV in the U.S. is leading an unparalleled price decline on the strength of enduring high demand from U.S. consumers.

 

 

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Shrinking cost of solar energy drives mega-projects around the world

US solar installations jumped 76% in 2012.

There has been a dramatic fall in the cost of solar power generation. Solar is at grid parity in many countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, and in parts of the US such as the Southwest. That means it is as inexpensive to build a solar plant as a gas or coal one. The pace of technological innovation in the solar field has also accelerated, so that costs have started falling precipitously and efficiency is rapidly increasing.

 

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Dome house rotates to take advantage of sun’s energy

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Rotating dome house

Usually, when someone asks for the remote, it’s because they want to undertake some serious TV channel surfing. But in one unique home located just 90 minutes north of New York City, playing with the remote control will set the entire wooden house spinning on its axis. (Pics and video)

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First 24/7 solar plant

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Solar energy produced from all angles.

One of the difficulties with using solar energy is its inability to produce electricity around the clock. Torresol Energy in southern Spain has solved this problem by storing thermal energy in two tanks of molten salt. This enables the plant to generate electricity long after sundown in order to satisfy the energy needs of the local populace. The molten salt — known as MSES — stores enough thermal energy during the day to create steam power during the night…

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Harvesting Solar Energy from Pavement to Melt Ice & Power Streetlights!

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What a perfect energy solution for our cold winters!

The heat radiating off roadways has long been a factor in explaining why city temperatures are often considerably warmer than nearby suburban or rural areas. Now a team of engineering researchers from the University of Rhode Island is examining methods of harvesting that solar energy to melt ice, power streetlights, illuminate signs, heat buildings and potentially use it for many other purposes. Continue reading… “Harvesting Solar Energy from Pavement to Melt Ice & Power Streetlights!”

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Can Solar Energy Crash the Grid?

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Solar energy cycles may cause an overload during peak load times

Solar energy has become more than a trend or movement; with global government support, it has become a viable means to cut energy costs and migrate to a green lifestyle for hundreds of millions worldwide.  Part of the attraction is the capability to earn energy credit from utility companies by feeding power back into the grid. But can this present a threat to the grid? Perhaps not yet in the U.S., but in Germany the threat is looming.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, the head of Germany’s energy agency DENA is warning that there is a real danger that solar power, could crash Gemany’s ageing electricity grid.
The problem is the amount of electricity produced by solar panels varies according to location, time of year, time of day and cloud cover. They are most productive when the sun emerges, which you will not be amazed to learn, is during daylight hours. But that is when demand for electricity is lowest.
As a consequence there can be huge power surges as tens or hundreds of thousands of small solar installations export their surpluses back to the grid.
While small power surges can be dealt with by switching off local power stations, the amount of solar capacity in Germany will soon be so large thanks to generous subsidies, that under certain conditions, electricity supply could exceed demand, even with all Germany’s power stations switched off.
The result says Stephan Köhler, head of Germany’s energy agency, DENA, is that solar capacity will soon be so large that solar surges could trigger blackouts.
The possibilty of solar-created power outages is a tribute to the success of German energy policy. Subsidies have been so successful in encouraging German citizens and businesses to install solar panels and sell surplus electricity to the grid at a premium, that solar now accounts for 15 per cent of generating capacity in Germany.
According to figures provided by from the energycollective there are currently about 700,000 grid-connected PV solar systems with a total capacity of 14,680 MW installed by German households and businesses. DENA says that at the current rate solar capacity could reach 30 gigawatts by the end of next year -equal to the country’s weekend power consumption,. “We need to cap installation of new panels,” concluded a Dena spokesperson .
The German Solar Industry Federation rejected DENA’s argument, claiming that extra solar energy takes the pressure off high-voltage power lines because it tends to be generated close to where it is used. The federation adds that the grid only needs to be strengthened in some rural areas where solar supply can exceed demand.
Germany’s problems highlight an hitherto unforeseen peril of moving to renewables without adequate preparation. “You lose flexibility on the supply side, so you need to gain some on the demand side,” said Tim Green of Imperial College London,”perhaps by encouraging people to charge their electric cars when the sun shines.”
UK based New Scientist magazine quoted Tim Nuthall of the European Climate Foundation in Belgium as arguing that Germany’s experience makes the case for a transcontinental grid. “The best long-term solution is to install region-wide grids, he said. “In Europe, you need a grid that balances the sun in the south with the wind in the north.”
Maybe. But we cant help thinking that a quicker, cheaper approach would be for micro-generators to be on some kind of trip switch which would be operated whenever it looked like supply was going to exceed demand. Batteries, hot water or other devices could be used to store the unused energy.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, the head of Germany’s energy agency DENA is warning that there is a significant danger that solar power, could crash Gemany’s ageing electricity grid.

The problem is the amount of electricity produced by solar panels varies due to time of day,  time of year, location,  and cloud cover. They are most effective during daylight hours. However, that is when demand for electricity is lowest.

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Frogs, Foam and Fuel: Solar Energy Converted to Sugars

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In natural photosynthesis, plants take in solar energy and carbon dioxide and then convert it to oxygen and sugars.

For decades, farmers have been trying to find ways to get more energy out of the sun. In natural photosynthesis, plants take in solar energy and carbon dioxide and then convert it to oxygen and sugars. The oxygen is released to the air and the sugars are dispersed throughout the plant — like that sweet corn we look for in the summer. Unfortunately, the allocation of light energy into products we use is not as efficient as we would like. Now engineering researchers at the University of Cincinnati are doing something about that.

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Artificial Foot Recycles Energy for Easier Walking

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Developers say that an artificial foot that recycles energy otherwise wasted in between steps could make it easier for amputees to walk.

An artificial foot that recycles energy otherwise wasted in between steps could make it easier for amputees to walk, its developers say.

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