Tag Archives: Alternative Energy

The Bike-Powered USB Charger

Great. Just one more way for me to feel like a hamster on a wheel

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Futurity.org – Device scavenges power out of thin air

Manos Tentzeris displays an inkjet-printed rectifying antenna used to convert microwave energy to DC power. This grid is printed on flexible Kapton material and is expected to operate with frequencies as high as 10 gigahertz when complete. (Credit: Gary Meek)

GEORIGIA TECH (US) — A new way to capture and harness energy from the air could lead to paper-based wireless sensors that are self-powered, low-cost, and able to function independently almost anywhere.

“There is a large amount of electromagnetic energy all around us, but nobody has been able to tap into it,” says Manos Tentzeris, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

“We are using an ultra-wideband antenna that lets us exploit a variety of signals in different frequency ranges, giving us greatly increased power-gathering capability.”

Inkjet printers are used to combine sensors, antennas, and energy-grabbing capabilities on paper or flexible polymers. The resulting self-powered wireless sensors may be used for chemical, biological, heat, and stress sensing for defense and industry; radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging for manufacturing and shipping, and monitoring tasks in a variety of fields including communications and power usage.

Communications devices transmit energy in many different frequency ranges, or bands.  The team’s scavenging devices are able to capture the energy, convert it from AC to DC, and then store it in capacitors and batteries. The scavenging technology can presently take advantage of frequencies from FM radio to radar, a range spanning 100 megahertz (MHz) to 15 gigahertz (GHz) or higher.

Experiments utilizing TV bands have already yielded power amounting to hundreds of microwatts. Multi-band systems are expected to generate one milliwatt or more—enough power to operate many small electronic devices, including a variety of sensors and microprocessors.

Original continues here: futurity.org

Futurity.org – Device scavenges power out of thin air

Manos Tentzeris displays an inkjet-printed rectifying antenna used to convert microwave energy to DC power. This grid is printed on flexible Kapton material and is expected to operate with frequencies as high as 10 gigahertz when complete. (Credit: Gary Meek)

GEORIGIA TECH (US) — A new way to capture and harness energy from the air could lead to paper-based wireless sensors that are self-powered, low-cost, and able to function independently almost anywhere.

“There is a large amount of electromagnetic energy all around us, but nobody has been able to tap into it,” says Manos Tentzeris, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

“We are using an ultra-wideband antenna that lets us exploit a variety of signals in different frequency ranges, giving us greatly increased power-gathering capability.”

Inkjet printers are used to combine sensors, antennas, and energy-grabbing capabilities on paper or flexible polymers. The resulting self-powered wireless sensors may be used for chemical, biological, heat, and stress sensing for defense and industry; radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging for manufacturing and shipping, and monitoring tasks in a variety of fields including communications and power usage.

Communications devices transmit energy in many different frequency ranges, or bands.  The team’s scavenging devices are able to capture the energy, convert it from AC to DC, and then store it in capacitors and batteries. The scavenging technology can presently take advantage of frequencies from FM radio to radar, a range spanning 100 megahertz (MHz) to 15 gigahertz (GHz) or higher.

Experiments utilizing TV bands have already yielded power amounting to hundreds of microwatts. Multi-band systems are expected to generate one milliwatt or more—enough power to operate many small electronic devices, including a variety of sensors and microprocessors.

Original continues here: futurity.org

Ray Kurzweil: Solar Will Power the World in 16 Years

What’s the Big Idea?

Solar power, driven by exponentially-increasing nanotechnology, will satisfy the entire world’s need for energy in less than twenty years. 

Why Is It Groundbreaking?

Currently, solar power supplies less than 1% of the world’s energy needs, which has led many to disregard its future significance. Where they’re wrong is that they fail to understand the exponential nature of technology, says eminent inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Just like computer processing speed—which doubles every 18 months in accordance with Moore’s law—the nanotechnology that drives innovations in solar power progresses exponentially, he says.

During his latest Big Think interview, Kurweil explained:

“Solar panels are coming down dramatically in cost per watt. And as a result of that, the total amount of solar energy is growing, not linearly, but exponentially. It’s doubling every 2 years and has been for 20 years. And again, it’s a very smooth curve. There’s all these arguments, subsidies and political battles and companies going bankrupt, they’re raising billions of dollars, but behind all that chaos is this very smooth progression.”

So how far away is solar from meeting 100% of the world’s energy needs? Eight doublings, says Kurzweil, which will take just 16 years. And supply is not an issue either, he adds: “After we double eight more times and we’re meeting all of the world’s energy needs through solar, we’ll be using 1 part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the earth. And we could put efficient solar farms on a few percent of the unused deserts of the world and meet all of our energy needs.”

Reducing this bold of a prediction to simple mathematics sounds absurd, but it has served Kurzweil in the past. Using this formula, he accurately predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, chessmaster Garry Kasparov’s defeat to a robot, and the proliferation of the Internet—as well as over 100 other predictions. (He also says that humans will merge with machines in 2045!)

Why Should You Care?

Find out here: bigthink.com

Google Maps adds electric vehicle charging stations #in

Pretty cool – all you have to do is go to Google Maps and type in ev charging station near [fill in location]. I tried it with Detroit and found 5 of them – more than I expected.

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