News, Renewable Energy, World Problems

Fossil fuels are subsidized by $14.5 billion a day

Image via Eco Watch.

A shocking conclusion came from an International Monetary Fund report: they found that fossil fuels will be subsidized by a whopping $5.3 trillion dollars, way more than total health spendings of the entire world combined.

News, Renewable Energy, Science

Are these joint-shaped turbines the future of wind power?

These wind turbines harness oscillations made by vortices instead of rotary movement. Image: Vortex Bladeless

A Spanish startup called Vortex Bladeless has been receiving a lot hype recently once it unveiled a prototype for a bladeless wind turbine. Like conventional pin-wheel turbines, their turbine also works by harnessing the kinetic energy of the wind. However, instead of moving blades which in turn rotate a shaft connected to a generator, the “asparagus” turbine uses a magnets to transform oscillating movements into electricity. It’s a radical idea, one that might forever change the scenery most of you have already become used to – huge parks of windmills, which personally I’m rather fond of. So far, the engineers behind the project have been rather secretive and the only things we know about the Vortex Mini (the first commercial turbine of this kind set to come out next year) is what has been disclosed by the company. They’re boasting an impressive performance – to the point that it might be feasible to forego pin-wheel turbines altogether in favor of the Vortex – but until we seen some independent assessments I believe skepticism is warranted.

News, Renewable Energy

Want to put solar panels on your roof? Consider these 6 points before you make a purchase

Figure 1: Ranking of 50 Largest Cities Based On Where Solar Offers Best Financial Value. Source: Going Solar in America (report)

Using solar energy to meet your power demands does not only make you more environmentally friendly, it may actually save you money. It’s a win-win situation, but only if you’re in for long-run. Of course, it all depends on where you live since how much energy your panels can harvest, and consequently save you money, depends on constantly changing factors such as time of day, season and weather, but also geographic traits such as climate and latitude. With this in mind, before you decide to grab solar panels to add to your home, look at these six pros and cons of solar energy.

Climate, Green Living, Renewable Energy

World’s first solar road works better than expected

solaroad

Only six months ago, a 230-foot strip of road was covered in solar panels in the Netherlands. Since then, some 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy were produced or enough to power one Dutch home for a whole year. These news came as a surprise even to the developers of SolaRoad, as the project has been dubbed.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Why Tesla’s Battery Might Spell a Global Energy Revolution

The battery’s modern design promises to blend into any house. Image via Inhabitat.

About a month ago, we were telling you about a new battery for houses Tesla was working on, that might revolutionize home energy and bring forth massive change in renewable energy – now, the official announcement is out. Homeowners will be able to get the Powerwall battery, in 7 or 10 kilowatt modules, which will cost $3000 and $3500 respectively.

Design, News, Renewable Energy

This beautiful stained glass window doubles as a solar panel

Current-Window-solar-panel-1

We’ve written several times that scientists have managed to develop colored glass usable as a solar panel; of course, the glass won’t absorb as much energy as traditional, black panels, but it’s still something – and it’s pleasant to the eye as well. Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel had an interesting take on how to use the technology, developing this beautiful stained glass window which generates electrical current by absorbing sunlight.

News, Renewable Energy

Signs that much of the world can go completely renewable

Vancouver has pledged to go 100% renewable in 5 years.

In unanimous vote, the city of Vancouver, Canada, passed its Greenest City Action Plan – to become the world’s greenest city by 2020; one of their goals is to use only renewable energy in only 5 years. In light of that and other recent developments, it’s starting to feel like much of the world might actually go renewable in the near future.

News, Renewable Energy

The two-in-one solar cell might harness energy cheaply and efficiently

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team. Image: Felice Frankel

A team at Stanford and MIT has devised a novel configuration that combines silicon – the leading solar cell semiconductor – and perovskite – a cheap mineral, only recently exploited for converting solar energy – to form two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harness energy across a wider spectrum. While performance at this stage is not impressive (it’s equally as good or bad as conventional single-layer silicon cells), researchers believe they have methods at their disposal that could double efficiency. If that were to happen, than these could be the cheap, but efficient solar cells we’ve all been waiting for.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

New Tesla Battery Could Take Your Home Off The Grid

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Tesla Motors are out to change the world – and they’re doing it fast, and in style. Like many other of their projects, this one seemed to pop up out of nowhere: Tesla have designed a battery that can power your home and even larger utility buildings. In other words – it could take your house out of the grid.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Chinese scientists build first hydrogen-powered tram

Image: New China TV

China is the largest polluter in the world at the moment, and they’re also reaping what they sew. But you can’t accuse the Chinese for not trying to right their ways – at least some of them; in an effort to mitigate the ridiculous amounts of smog that clouds some of China’s cities, scientists have developed the first hydrogen-powered tram.