There’s still a very long way to go before fusion reactors become viable (several decades?), but a 70 second blast of high performance plasma at a South Korean research facility could be a small step in the right direction.
Tesla has introduced Solar Roof – a new range of glass roof tiles that have built in solar cells in what could be a major next step in integrating clean and renewable energy generation into buildings and objects.
There are four durable glass tiles to choose from that mimic slate and other colours traditionally used in roofing materials, with a solar cell below the glass.
Luxury cruises are increasingly popular but can come with huge environmental costs around ports and whilst at sea, due to sulfur and other harmful particulates from the heavy fuel oil burnt by most ships. Royal Caribbean is aiming to reduce such emissions from future cruise liners through a combination of liquefied natural gas and fuel cells from the early 2020’s.
Audi has developed an active suspension system – eROT – that captures kinetic energy from bumps in the road and potholes and converts it into electricity. From Engadget’s article:
To convert kinetic to electrical energy, the shocks use a lever arm that captures up-and-down wheel motion and transmits it to a 48 volt alternator. It’s then converted into electricity, with an average recuperation output of 100 to 150 watts — as little as 3 watts on a freeway, and up to 613 watts on a rough county road.
Engadget highlights a potentially huge leap in the efficiency of solar cells (i.e. the amount of sunlight converted to electricity.)
A team of researchers in Australia has achieved a conversion rate of 34.5% – the previous record was 24%. Some had predicted that a 35% efficiency rate would be decades away: hopefully the approach can be quickly applied in the real-world.
Engadget reports on the development of new solar cell technology that could allow solar panels to generate power from both sunlight and rain, by incorporating a thin layer of graphene. The approach has some way to go before becoming viable but it could encourage wider instalation of solar panels in climates with more variable weather.