NewNergy discusses the latest inventions, innovations and breakthroughs in the energy & environmental sciences.

Wind Power Breakthrough: 10 MW Floating Wind Turbine Prototype

Norwegian-based company Sway is a renewable energy company, with world leading technology and competence on floating wind turbines located in deep water.

State company Enova has allocated 17 million euros for the construction of the largest floating wind turbine designed for offshore wind farms. This prototype, developed by Sway, has a capacity of 10 MW and is equipped with a rotor having a diameter of 145 metres. The wind turbine will have to be tested onshore for two years before being installed in the North Sea.

Unlike most wind farms which are based directly on the seabed (up to a maximum depth of 60-70 meters) the Sway turbine floats and can therefore be installed offshore at depths of several hundred meters.This implies a substantial difference in terms of generated energy, since in Norway, for example, winds blowing about 50 km off the coast (where depths typically range from 100 up to 300 meters) are approximately 25% stronger and more constant than in areas up to 15 km off the coast, where the largest power plants were built up to now.

The buoyancy of the new wind turbine is based on the large internally hollow supporting tower, which extends below the water surface and is filled with ballast, thus having sufficient stability to resist wind loads. The structure is anchored to the seabed also by means of lateral suction anchors, allowing the tower to tilt a few degrees and to turn around, so as to harness more energy from winds, while reducing excessive structural tensions.

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Solar Breakthrough: Water to Hydrogen with 60% Efficiency

British scientists say they've achieved a breakthrough, figuring out how to extract hydrogen from water with an unheard-of 60% efficiency using solar energy. The secret sauce is nanotechnology, in the form of nanoclusters of indium phosphide encrusted on a gold electrode. Using this, they can turn sunlight into that hotshot hydrogen fuel, clean-burning and as energetic as a swift kick in the ass.

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CO2 to Gasoline Using Enzymes – Carbon Sciences

Here's an interesting article on an announcement from Carbon Sciences that it has developed a breakthrough technology to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into gasoline and other portable fuels.

The company’s current approach is an enzyme-based process used to transform CO2 into low-level fuels, such as methanol. According to the company, it’s team has now discovered a new and more cost efficient process to produce gasoline, a high-level fuel, from CO2. The key features of this breakthrough includes (1) the of use flue emissions directly from coal-fired power plants or industrial factories, (2) the use of brackish water, eliminating the need for distilled freshwater as the source of hydrogen and reaction medium, (3) mild operating conditions, eliminating the need for capital intensive stainless steel equipment, and (4) a highly scalable system

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New Device to Make Energy Efficient Biofuels

A team of scientists from the University of Sheffield, UK, has developed an innovative device that will make the production of alternative biofuels more energy efficient.The research team has adapted a unique bioreactor for use in the production of alternative renewable fuels, to replace fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel.

The team have devised an air-lift loop bioreactor which creates microbubbles using 18% less energy consumption. Microbubbles are miniature gas bubbles of less than 50 microns diameter in water. They are able to transfer materials in a bioreactor much more rapidly than larger bubbles produced by conventional bubble generation techniques and they consume much less energy. The team's unique adaption of the bioreactor and creation of microbubbles has the potential to revolutionise the energy-efficient production of biofuels.

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“Hydrofill” - A Portable Fuel Cell System

Horizon fuel cell technologies, a Singapore based company recently unveiled “Hydrofill,” their latest innovations in electronic gadget technologies during the Consumer Electronic Show 2010 (CES) which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada.“Hydrofill” is a portable fuel cell system designed towards charging electronic gadgets through a process extracting hydrogen through water. The entire process is clean and quick as the process of extracting hydrogen through water only results in production of water vapour.

The hydrogen which is obtained from water is then stored in special cartridges which fits in a pocket sized minipak. A range of devices like Ipods, mobile phones, GPS systems to camera rechargeable batteries can be charged through these minipak which houses a USB port. This device can be used on the go or away from electric sockets thus providing great convenience towards the consumers.

The only drawback which arises out of this invention is the non-refillable nature of the cartridges. This is the only area which needs to be worked at if the company needs to make a mark in off-grid power driven green industry. Priced at around $150, the MiniPak will be made available by April this year.

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New Energy Technologies Develops ‘Spray on’ Solar Solution

New Energy Technologies has reached the next development stage of a process for spraying solar cells and their related components onto glass. This product is still awaiting patent and is in the early stages, yet if successful, is expected to make significant changes to the BIPV market.

"The ability to spray solar coatings directly onto glass follows on the heels of our recent breakthrough which replaced visibility-blocking metal with environmentally-friendly see-thru compounds, and marks an important advance in the development of our see-thru glass windows capable of generating electricity," announced Meetesh V. Patel, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies.

In commercial terms, this new spray technology could translate into important manufacturing advantages for our SolarWindow, including significant cost-savings, high-speed production, and room-temperature deposition--common barriers to commercial success for innovative solar technologies.

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Portable Charger Harvests Solar and Wind Energy

Miniwiz earlier showcased their portable wind-powered gadget charger in 2007, the Hymini, which charges various portable electronic devices using wind energy. The company is back with an upgraded version of the device that now harvests solar energy as well. Dubbed the Hymini Biscuit, the charger was unveiled at CES 2010, and recharges two AA-sized batteries using renewable energy.

The device features a solar panel and a fan to recharge the set of batteries, which can then be used to various electronic devices that support USB charging. The device costs $50 and can be purchased online.

See more about the batteries here

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  In the beginning, there were algae,
but there was no oil Then, from algae came oil.
Now, the algae are still there, but oil is fast depleting
In future, there will be no oil, but there will still be algae  
So, doesn't it make sense to explore if we can again get oil from algae?
This is what we try to do at - explore the potential of getting oil from algae