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

New Green Energy System to Capture Waste Energy

A European supermarket chain, Sainsbury's is going to open its first "people-powered" store at its new store in Gloucester, using technology which captures energy from vehicles to power its checkouts.

Whenever a vehicle passes over the "kinetic road plates" positioned in the car park, energy is captured which would otherwise be wasted. Sainsbury's will channel the energy back into the store, saving power that would normally be taken from the National Grid.

The kinetic road plates are expected to produce 30kW of green energy an hour, which is more than enough to power the store's checkouts. The system, pioneered for Sainsbury's by Peter Hughes of Highway Energy Systems, does not affect the car or fuel efficiency, and drivers feel no disturbance as they drive over the plates.

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New Powerful Laser System Could Create Fusion Energy from Waste?

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Lab are putting the finishing touches on the world's most powerful laser system known as NIF (National Ignition Facility). In about 18 months, physicists will conduct a highly-publicized test to create fusion energy from water. It is part of a project designed to take the world beyond nuclear energy. But if it succeeds, the system could do more than create energy in a new way. It might actually rid the world of leftover nuclear waste in the process.

The NIF team will fire nearly 200 individual laser beams generated by an accelerator the size of a football field. The beams converge on a single target chamber containing a capsule of hydrogen. The hope is to compress it, and creating a subatomic reaction called fusion, ultimately igniting a controlled version of the same thermo-nuclear combustion that takes place on the sun.

As hydrogen is compressed, it releases particles called neutrons, which can penetrate the nucleus of another atom. So now we could take nuclear waste and use those neutrons to bust it up, get energy and remove the waste.

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Using nanoparticles to increase the effiiciency of thin film solar cells

Here is an interesting article @ on "Using nanoparticles to increase the effiiciency of thin film solar cells"

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ORegen : New Device for Capturing Waste Energy

At GE’s Global Research Center near Munich, Germany, scientists have developed a new waste heat recovery technology called ORegen — which is a device that converts waste heat from exhaust streams generated by equipment such as small gas turbines and industrial processes into usable electricity.This technology can help customers address the challenges of rising fuel costs and the increased demand for more efficient, environmentally friendly power systems and industrial plants.

They have modified Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC) - an old technology which can use lower heat input temperatures.Therefore, heat recovery now offers a great opportunity to conserve fuel by productively using waste energy to reduce overall plant energy consumption and simultaneously decrease CO2 emissions. For example, when an ORegen (Organic Regenerator) unit is joined to GE Oil & Gas’ PGT25 gas turbine, it can provide up to an additional 25 percent more power on top of the output of the turbine itself.

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'Green Machine': Technology Generating Power from Waste Heat

Green Earth, Inc. is an environmental company taking up the challenge of ‘greener industry' for the 21st century.A new technology offered by Green Earth Inc. is the "Green Machine" manufactured by ElectraTherm Inc., in Carson City, NV.

The "Green Machine" recovers energy value from heat that would have been lost, and uses it to produce additional electricity without emissions. The result is revenue from additional kilowatts generated, reduced emissions per kilowatt, and greater compliance with emissions standards. This technology has been tested and proven in Europe; and Green Earth recently completed an agreement with Electra Therm to introduce this breakthrough technology into the industrial markets of the Midwest.The Green Machine has the ability to create 50 to 500Kw of electricity from waste heat.The next generation of "Green Machine" products will be in the 5Kw range and extend these savings to smaller users in additional industry segments.

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OIT Students Look At Ways to Clean Waste Vegetable Oil into Fuel

Aaron Findley, a student at Oregon Institute of Technology in Southeast Portland, has devised a way to filter and clean used vegetable oil for use in cars and trucks that run on diesel.The project, called the automated biodiesel reactor was one of many student presentations featured at OIT’s 2009 Student Project Symposium. A wide array of renewable energy, information technology and mechanical engineering projects were included.

However, the project is in the early stages, which can produce about 25 gallons of biodiesel at a time. The system separates glycerol from the used vegetable oil in one tank and then further cleanses it in an adjacent tank.The end product would be high-grade biodiesel that meets national American Society for Testing and Materials standards. The energy needed to run the biodiesel reactor would come from solar panels.The advantages of this biodiesel reactor is that it would be far cheaper than others on the market, which cost around $200,000.

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Yale Study: Most Polluted Ecosystems Recoverable

Scientists from Yale University say most polluted ecosystems worldwide can recover in as little as 5 or 10 years. The study means it’s not too late to turn things around if societies commit to cleanup, restoration and sustainability, according to Yale’s analysis of 240 independent studies.

Researchers from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies found that forests took 42 years on average to recover, ocean bottoms recovered in less than 10 years and ecosystems affected by stresses like invasive species bounced back in as little as five years. Human-induced disturbances took longer to shake off than natural events. The message of this paper is that recovery is possible and can be rapid for many ecosystems, giving much hope for a transition to sustainable management of global ecosystems.

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Microbial Process Turns Urban Waste into Biodiesel

A group of Spanish developers has developed a biochemical process called Ecofa to turn urban solid waste into a fatty acid biodiesel feedstock. Eventhough using microbes to convert organic material into energy isn’t a new concept, using bacteria to convert urban waste to fatty acids, which can then be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production, is a new twist here. It is based on metabolism’s natural principle by means of which all living organisms, including bacteria, produce fatty acids.

Two types of bacteria are under further development by Biotit Scientific Biotechnology Laboratory in Seville, Spain: E. coli and Firmicutes.They are also working on other types of bacteria that are capable of producing fatty acids with the same characteristics as biodiesel, which would eventually allow producers to skip the transesterification step.This technique can be extended to other organic debris, plants or animals.It is only necessary to find the appropriate bacteria.

According to the group, they can produce between 1-2 liters [of biodiesel] per 10 kilograms of trash. That’s a little more than one-fourth to one-half of a gallon for every 22 pounds of trash—or between 24 and 48 gallons per ton of urban waste.They are working to improve that.

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Laser Treatment Could Make Plain Light Bulb Much More Efficient

A team of Researchers at the University of Rochester developed a process that makes a 100-watt incandescent bulb use less electricity than a 60-watt bulb. The process, they say, would keep the cost of a traditional light bulb well under that of its fluorescent counterpart while maintaining the more pleasant light an incandescent bulb gives off.

The team developed a laser process that treats the tungsten filament in a traditional bulb. The process creates nano- and micro- level structures on the filament that dramatically improve its efficiency. The process involves an incredibly short femtosecond laser pulse, which lasts only a few quadrillionths of a second.

It’s not immediately clear how long it would take to commercialize the discovery. But it could be relatively simple to implement in a manufacturing environment once refined.Other technologies are also crowding the field. The U.S. Navy is promoting LED and HID lighting in its ships. Cambridge Researchers say they’ve developed a LED bulb that costs $3 and last 60 years. A technology called ESL is headed to market as well. It will be interesting to see if the Rochester process finds a place on store shelves.

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Heliotropic Biomimicry: Solar Panels That Follow The Sun

A team of engineering students at MIT, inspired by heliotropic plants that move in the direction of the sun all day (like a sunflower), have developed a new method of motivation for the photovoltaic cells to move. Their invention won first place in MIT's Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest (MADMEC).

Solar cells that track the sun can be 38 percent more efficient in generating power than fixed solar cells.Instead of using an electronic tracking system, the team decided to use the difference in temperature between shaded and sunny areas to change the properties of the material supporting solor photovoltaic cells.The system, once built, is completely passive, requiring no power source or electronics to control the movement.

After experimenting with different materials and configurations, they came up with a system whereby solar panels would be placed on top of a curved arch made of a pair of metals, such as aluminum and steel.The concept was demonstrated by shining a spotlight on one side of a bridge containing a solar panel. The heat from the light causes the bridge to arch, tilting the panel towards the light.

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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