The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a plan for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to buy space-based solar power from Solaren Corp -a first-of-its kind space-based solar project that uses orbiting satellites equipped with solar cells to convert the sun's energy into electricity. The stealth startup, which has a retro Web site that looks like a 1980's video game, plans to use satellites outfitted with mirrors and solar photovoltaic panels that send power via radio frequency to a receiving station in Fresno.
Scientists are working on the greenest power yet, building bacteria for fuel cells which will work on waste, mud, and any other trash you happen to want free electricity out of. We believe there's a market for that sort of thing.
The important thing to remember is that electricity - the basis for all modern society - is just the flow of electrons, and that doesn't have to be some traditional energy-releasing process. Geobacter bacteria shuttle electrons around the place as part of their whole "staying alive" deal, so instead of finding new things to set fire to Professor Lovley and colleagues of the University of Massachusetts Amherst are instead engineering the bacteria.
The dream of launching satellites into space to harness the sun’s energy and beam it back to earth is looking increasingly realistic as Japan researches satellites that convert solar light into lasers, which then beams it down onto a facility that converts it into clean, usable power and U.S. companies aggressively research networks of satellite-based photovoltaic cells.
When gas price skyrockets, alternative energy is on everyone’s mind. Solar, wind and tidal powers are all wonderful sources, but once electricity is produced it needs to be stored. Sure, we have batteries, but how big a battery would you need? And at what cost?
It's official: sucking dead-dinosaur juice out of the ground and burning it is officially uncool. Whether you object to the way you can't breathe the resulting fumes, or it's the thought of a swing back to $200 dollars a barrel that will leave you gasping for air, people from both ends of the political spectrum agree that it's time to find a new way to power our playthings. The mathematics of a fuel-based economy are a vast and complicated field but the simple summary is:
a) The number of people using energy continues to increase
b) The number of new dead animals turning into oil remains constant at zero
Google Earth isn't just mapping the planet, it's helping to make a better one. The new Earth Outreach KML, also known as "The Path to Green Energy", allows developers to determine their next green energy location right on their desktop.
Once a year some concerned scientists will say "Wait a minute, the Sahara desert is, like, really sunny!" and declare that pollution is at an end. This time it's the Austrian International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, talking to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
If there's anything less environmental sounding than battery fluid, we don't know what it is. Kids are trained to fear leaking batteries as angry anthrax-covered Aliens with especially acidic blood, but MIT scientists may have made the greenest battery yet entirely out of liquid. At least, according to them.
The new system is an fully liquid battery, a chemical cocktail which can contain charge and is even color coded. The batteries you know only have one liquid component, and still depend on a solid electrode - thereby limiting the scale of the system. With three liquids you can literally pour yourself a bigger battery, without any hardware bottlenecks - if your existing connections aren't good enough, pull them out and stick in better ones.