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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tiny supercharger is like 10 wind turbines in one

What if there were a palm-size charger that gathered power from the wind? A company called Humdinger says its Microbelt small-scale wind charger actually works, and it's 10 times more effective at generating wind energy than other units its size.

Where is the turbine, you ask? There isn't one — it uses "aeroelastic flutter and vibration of a membrane" for its wind power, operating sort of like that blade of grass you put between your thumbs to honk out some choice noises.

The amount of energy created by this diminutive device is minuscule — but it's efficient, outputting 2 milliwatts when the wind is blowing at 5.5 meters per second. That's enough power to run building monitoring and transit monitoring sensors; with one of these, there'd be no need to ever change batteries. Put a few dozen of these on an electric car, and you'll have something pretty close to a perpetual-motion machine.

Via Treehugger

Monday, March 29, 2010

Take a look: transparent solar panels

Imagine if instead of looking out your window to see your solar-panel array, your windows were your solar panel array? Sphelar solar cells can be built into windows, whether they're flat or curved. Instead of chasing the sun, they'll capture the sun from all angles.

Sphelar solar cells, from the Kyosemi Corporation, debuted at the PV Expo 2010 in Tokyo. They are solidified drops of silicon, 1.8mm across, that are embedded into glass of any shape. Potentially, the technology could be integrated into a decorative dome on top of a building, glass bricks, or just an ordinary office or home window. Because they're round drops, they'll pick up the sunlight at all times of day.

Although the Sphelar cells are clear, once they're embedded into glass, the window isn't completely clear, so this wouldn't make an ideal car window. However, it could be the newest twist on tinted glass for homes and offices.

Just think if all those shiny glass skyscrapers gracing most city skylines were actually generating their own power?

Via Gizmag