Posts Tagged ‘energy efficiency’

RCA Wifi power harvester

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

You can now harvest WiFi signals and turn it into power to charger up your mobile phone or netbooks.

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This little box has, inside it, some kind of circuitry that harvests WiFi energy out of the air and converts it into electricity. This has been done before, but the Airnergy is able to harvest electricity with a high enough efficiency to make it practically useful: on the CES floor, they were able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% to full in about 90 minutes, using nothing but ambient WiFi signals as a power source.


Source: Oh!Gizmo

High-Tech Shocks Turn Bumps Into Power

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a shock absorber that harnesses energy as it smooths your ride, and they say it can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

The regenerative shock absorber uses the oscillations of a vehicle’s suspension to generate electricity. Its inventors claim a heavy-duty truck using six of their GenShock shock absorbers can produce enough power to displace the alternator, thereby increasing engine efficiency and fuel economy. The students have attracted the attention of AM General, the company behind the military Humvee, and believe future iterations of GenShock could improve the fuel economy of passenger cars and extend the range of electric vehicles.

“I want this to be a standard feature on heavy vehicles and eventually hybrid consumer vehicles and electric vehicles,” Shakeel Avadhany, who led the GenShock team, told Wired.com.

The power-producing shock is the latest example of the push to recapture energy from automobiles that is otherwise wasted. Turbochargers are the most obvious — and oldest — example, but more recent developments include the regenerative braking systems used in hybrids and electric cars. The quest to increase efficiency also has automakers increasingly replacing mechanical components like air conditioning and power-steering pumps with electric ones to ease the load on the engine and save fuel. These technologies will grow more common as automakers strive to increase fuel efficiency and extend battery range.

“You main losses are friction, braking and heat,” says Spencer Quong, senior vehicles analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Anything you can do to regain energy there will improve efficiency.”

Avadhany, a senior studying materials engineering, started toying with the idea of a wasted energy in August 2007. He and classmate Paul Abel set out to identify where energy leaks from vehicles and figure out how to reclaim it.

It wasn’t long before they focused on shock absorbers, which expand and compress countless times over their lifetimes. The kinetic energy is lost as heat. They figured there had to be some way of capturing that energy, which their tests show can be “a significant amount” — especially in heavy-duty vehicles.

“The amount of energy available in the suspension is on par with the energy coming out of the alternator,” Avadhany said. “It’s 6 to 10 kilowatts for a heavy truck and 3 to 4 kilowatts for a passenger car.”

The students developed a shock absorber that forces hydraulic fluid through a turbine attached to a generator. It is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes damping to provide a smoother ride while generating electricity to recharge the battery or operate electrical equipment. Should the electronics fail for any reason, GenShock works just like a regular shock absorber.

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Bird Island: Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

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Bird Island is a stunning urban renewal project that is currently being developed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Designed by Graft Lab architects for the YTL Green Home Competition, the project comprises a zero energy home made of sustainably-sourced silicone glass fabric. Its lightness and flexibility will allow it to sway organically with the breeze just like a treetop, and slots in the fabric will give visitors a unique peek into the sky as the wind ebbs and flows.

The YTL Green Homes Competition challenged eight architects and designers from around the world to submit designs for six eco-friendly homes on Bird Island. Graft Lab’s proposal is an airy voluminous structure that utilizes a variety of energy-efficient building practices. The building consists of a lightweight bamboo frame wrapped in a tensile, environmentally-friendly fabric. The material reflects sunlight, keeping the interior cool and reducing the need for AC. Bird Island will also be outfitted with a grey water recycling system that channels water from sinks and showers back into the plumbing.

Source: Inhabitant

Mercedes’ Futuristic Formula Zero Sail Racer

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

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Recently Mercedes Benz revealed images of its stunning Formula Zero Racer, a futuristic foray into the next generation of racing. Incorporating elements from luge, yacht, and Formula One vehicles, the zero-emissions racer is propelled by a wind-catching sail in addition to electric motors that are powered by renewable resources. The concept is a tribute to a future where cars will win races based not just upon their speed, but on how energy efficient they are. Read the rest of the story: link