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Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark

Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Meet 'photoswitches,' a breakthrough set of materials that act as their own batteries...


“Some molecules, known as photoswitches, can assume either of two different shapes, as if they had a hinge in the middle,” MIT researchers said in statement about their paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry.


“Exposing them to sunlight causes them to absorb energy and jump from one configuration to the other, which is then stable for long periods of time.”


To liberate that energy all you have to do is expose the molecules to a small amount of light, heat or electricity and when they switch back to the other shape they emit heat.


“In effect, they behave as rechargeable thermal batteries: taking in energy from the sun, storing it indefinitely, and then releasing it on demand.”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A new way of capturing and storing energy from sunlight. Photoswitches are not ready for prime time yet, but the principle has been demonstrated.

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Mytchel Daley's curator insight, March 26, 2015 9:03 AM

The most difficult part about solar energy is when solar is no longer available. It would be easier if the sun never set, but that is not the case. This form of containing solar energy is still in very early stages but has been shown that it is probable. This is a great step forward to ensuring that solar energy is as efficient as fossil fuel.  

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New cool ways to do things, clever uses of new - and sometimes old - technology
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Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground - BBC News

Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground - BBC News | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

UK researchers have built a small device that measures tiny fluctuations in gravity, and could be used to monitor volcanoes or search for oil. 

 

Such gravimeters already exist but compared to this postage stamp-sized gadget, they are bulky and pricy.

The new design is based on the little accelerometers found in smartphones...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

This is a big upgrade on our ability to work with gravity ... a simple and small and extremely sensitive instrument to measure gravity changes... there must be a thousand uses for that!

 

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Next Big Future: Spanish company Graphenano claims Graphene Polymer batteries with triple the energy density of lithium ion and commercialization by end of 2016

Next Big Future: Spanish company Graphenano claims Graphene Polymer batteries with triple the energy density of lithium ion and commercialization by end of 2016 | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Something seems to be moving on the battery front...Graphenano is a Spanish company based in Yecla (Murcia) and they have presented their graphene polymer battery that can largely solve obstacles to the development of the electric car.

They have a partnership with the Chinese company Chint. Chint paid 18 million euros for 10% of the Spanish company.

Grabat Energy, a subsidiary of Graphenano will have a plant in Yecla with 20 production lines. They will produce 80 million battery cells. In this first phase, Grabat will have 200 employees and an investment of 30 million euros, contributed equally by Chint and Graphenano.

The second phase will be much more ambitious. The Chinese company will contribute 350 million euros to Graphenano make a second factory in Yecla. They will form a joint venture to market their products in China. It is expected to have a global revenue exceeding 3 billion and 5,000 employees. They will have batteries for home, mobile, aircraft also produce for bicycles, motorbikes, cars and drones. Grabat has achieved a battery with a range of 800 kilometers and a weight of just 100 kilograms that can be loaded into a conventional outlet only one - third the time required by a lithium-ion-lithium equivalent (which are riding automakers in their electric models). Mario Martinez said in a high-density plug "could be loaded in just five minutes."

Adapted to a car like the Tesla Model S, graphene polymer batteries would increase range from 334 to 1,013 kilometers. In a Nissan Leaf range would increase from 250 to 546 kilometers on a single charge.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Something seems to be moving on the battery front...

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Guillaume Bousson's curator insight, March 16, 7:37 PM

Something seems to be moving on the battery front...

Kazimierz Borkowski's curator insight, March 18, 2:30 PM

Something seems to be moving on the battery front...

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Barsha pump provides irrigation water, but doesn't need fuel

Barsha pump provides irrigation water, but doesn't need fuel | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Although the Barsha pump (Nepalese for "rain pump") is a new product, it's based on a very old design – it has its origins in ancient Egypt. 


The pump itself is essentially a water wheel on a floating platform, that's moored in a nearby flowing river. The moving water rotates the wheel, that in turn utilizes a spiral mechanism to drive water through an attached hose and up to the fields...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Anywhere there is a flowing river, you can have an irrigation pump that runs on ... water. 

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Eternal 5D Data Storage Could Record the History of Humankind

Eternal 5D Data Storage Could Record the History of Humankind | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Scientists at the University of Southampton have made a major step forward in the development of digital data storage that is capable of surviving for billions of years. 


Using nanostructured glass, scientists from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing.  


The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving.


Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

That could be a data storage revolution... some years ahead.

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France to Pave 1,000 Km of Solar Road, Providing 5 Million With Power

France to Pave 1,000 Km of Solar Road, Providing 5 Million With Power | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it
The French government has unveiled plans to pave 1,000 Kilometres (621 Miles) of the country’s roads with solar panels over the next five years, which will ultimately supply power to millions of people.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

After the Dutch made a solar bike path a year or two ago, the French now say they'd like to pave a thousand kilometres of road to supply power to the grid...

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Norman Allen Howard's curator insight, February 16, 4:24 PM

American infrastructure is in dire need of reinvestment. I hope that tech such as this will play a role in making our infrastructure 'smart' for the following century.

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Apple testing Ultra-Fast Li-Fi Wireless Technology for Future iPhones

Apple testing Ultra-Fast Li-Fi Wireless Technology for Future iPhones | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it
Apple to make future iPhones compatible with a cutting-edge technology that has the capability to transmit data at 100 times the speed of WiFi, suggests the code found within the iOS firmware. 

Apple may ship future iPhones with Li-Fi capabilities, a new technology that may end up replacing the widely-used Wi-Fi in the future technology. 

Beginning with iOS 9.1 update, the operating system's source code makes mention of "LiFiCapability" alongside declarations to other hardware and software capabilities, hinting that Apple may be experimenting with ways to integrate Li-Fi technology with future iPhones models.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

LiFi - or data transmission by light is both faster and less damaging to living organisms than WiFi, which uses microwave frequencies.

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Orbo Cells Followup - Solid State Energy Generating Cells for phones and device charging

http://www.orbo.com

https://www.facebook.com/thebatteryisdead/


This is a Video on the Orbo trickle-charging system, which explains how this is not a battery but a stand-alone solid state energy generation device. The video is commented by Stefan Hartmann of overunity.com

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

To my knowledge this is the first available solid state energy generation system that is being produced and is available for purchase... a bit pricey yet but the technology is revolutionary.

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Making 3-D imaging a thousand times better

Making 3-D imaging a thousand times better | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light — the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems — they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices as much as 1,000 times. 


The technique could lead to high-quality 3-D cameras built into cellphones, and perhaps to the ability to snap a photo of an object and then use a 3-D printer to produce a replica.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Doing more with less ... what used to be expensive equipment can be much simpler ... part of a phone camera.

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Laser-Induced Graphene Looks to Displace Batteries With Supercapacitors

Laser-Induced Graphene Looks to Displace Batteries With Supercapacitors | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Almost exactly a year ago, we first got word that researchers at Rice University had developed a method for producing graphene that features a computer-controlled laser. They dubbed the result laser-induced graphene (LIG). 


The key attribute of LIG is how comparatively easy it is to produce as opposed to graphene made via chemical vapor deposition. For LIG, all that is needed is a commercial polyimide plastic sheet and a computer-controlled laser. The Rice researchers discovered that the laser would burn everything on the polyimide except the carbon from the top layer. What remains is a form of graphene.


You can see a description and demonstration of the process in the video ... 


http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/laserinduced-graphene-looks-to-diplace-batteries-with-supercapacitors

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Batteries are out - well not quite yet - but super capacitors are coming.

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Bruce Fellowes's curator insight, December 9, 2015 8:46 AM

A new development with one of my favourite materials, Graphene!

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Scientists harvest energy AND internet from the same solar panel using only light

Scientists harvest energy AND internet from the same solar panel using only light | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

It's called Li-Fi and it may bring internet to half the world


Professor Harold Haas and his team have essentially unlocked what is known as "Li-Fi," or Light Fidelity and are using simple LED light sources to power their internet and deliver the information in one packet.  


“The potential expansion to the internet is massive and my aspiration is that this broadband solar panel receiver technology for Li-Fi will help solve the challenges of the digital divide throughout the world," Haas says.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

What's good about this is that it will decrease the load of microwave energy we absorb from the ever expanding network of WiFi routers and perhaps in time the mobile phones as well. 

And here's another article with some more data...

http://www.sciencealert.com/li-fi-tested-in-the-real-world-for-the-first-time-is-100-times-faster-than-wi-fi

 

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Lishui K Springford's curator insight, December 9, 2015 10:52 PM

Oh what a glorious time we live in!

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Tunesia: Bird-friendly Bladeless Wind Turbine Mimics Nature

Huge wind turbines with rotating blades are producing electricity around the world, but the spinning blades are deadly to birds and bats.

So from Tunisia comes yet another innovative design: a bladeless wind machine that will not kill flying creatures, yet is even more efficient than the traditional turbine.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Another idea for how to make efficient use of wind for generating electricity ...

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Research team invents efficient shockwave-based process for desalination of water

Research team invents efficient shockwave-based process for desalination of water | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

As the availability of clean, potable water becomes an increasingly urgent issue in many parts of the world, researchers are searching for new ways to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it usable. Now a team at MIT has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy. 


Instead, the system uses an electrically driven shockwave within a stream of flowing water, which pushes salty water to one side of the flow and fresh water to the other, allowing easy separation of the two streams.


This approach is "a fundamentally new and different separation system," Bazant says. And unlike most other approaches to desalination or water purification, he adds, this one performs a "membraneless separation" of ions and particles.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-team-efficient-shockwave-based-desalination.html#jCp

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A new, less complicated method of purifying water of salt and contaminants... could become very useful.

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The KTM ION is the Electric Motorcycle of the Future

The KTM ION is the Electric Motorcycle of the Future | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

It’s built around the company’s newly designed electric engine. Each electric bike has a modern and unique frame that’s fixed without any suspension.


The bike, which was designed by Daniel Brunsteiner, has an impressively thick rear tire that gives it an aggressive motorcycle look. It’s unlike any other design we’ve seen before. It features a 260V battery, bullhorn handlebars, flexible spokes and a leather saddle seat.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A futuristic electric motorbike... it doesn't have any suspension but has flexible spokes in the wheels.

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Game ON: the end of the old economic system is in sight

Game ON:  the end of the old economic system is in sight | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Google is a pioneer in limited artificial general intelligence (aka computers that can learn w/o preprogramming them).

One successful example is AlphaGo. It just beat this Go Grandmaster three times in a row. What makes this win interesting...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A computer program designed to learn a skill from scratch ... and to excel at it. Potentially quite disruptive to our economy ... jobs are not going to be plentiful. What to do? Perhaps some form of basic income ...

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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, March 14, 11:05 PM

A computer program designed to learn a skill from scratch ... and to excel at it. Potentially quite disruptive to our economy ... jobs are not going to be plentiful.

 

Some form of basic income seems to be almost unavoidable ...

ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 14, 11:47 PM

A computer program designed to learn a skill from scratch ... and to excel at it. Potentially quite disruptive to our economy ... jobs are not going to be plentiful. What to do? Perhaps some form of basic income ...

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Riversimple launches Rasa, a hydrogen-powered city car for the masses

Riversimple launches Rasa, a hydrogen-powered city car for the masses | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

A new hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle prototype has been launched with a claimed fuel economy equivalent to 250 mpg (0.9 L/100km).


Dubbed "Rasa," the new car has a lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque shell, in-wheel electric motors, a bank of supercapacitors charged by braking-regeneration, and a host of other features that enable it to travel up to a claimed 300 miles (483 km) on just a 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) tank of hydrogen.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Hydrogen electric cars ... now if they could make that 3.3 lb tank small and exchangeable, the problem of scarcity of refuelling stations would be solved - we could just take a few filled tanks along for the trip...

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Singapore’s first home-grown hypercar: The 1500-horsepower, all-electric Dendrobium

Singapore’s first home-grown hypercar: The 1500-horsepower, all-electric Dendrobium | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Singapore's first home-grown hypercar is in development by a new company called Vanda Electric.


The Dendrobium, named for a Singaporean orchid, is an ambitious project that's projected to make some 1,500 horsepower, 4,000 Nm of torque and a blistering 0-100 km/h time around 2.6 seconds.


With the Williams Advanced Engineering team on board and some10 million Singapore $ in capital behind it, it looks likely that we'll get our first glimpse of a full-sized prototype in Geneva in 2017.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Why cars will be electric in the future...

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Somesh Das's curator insight, March 6, 8:34 AM

Why cars will be electric in the future...

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ELFE - the world's first free energy flashlight

When the ADGEX team of scientists started looking into the world of energy management, they were struck by a crazy thought. Why do we need to keep making billions of toxic batteries when there is an endless supply of energy being emitted from the earths magnetic fields; from solar radiation; and from environmental and industrial electromagnetic noise?


If only someone could work out how to use this massive supply of energy to power our small devices. Guess what? Our scientists worked it out!


ELFE is a world first, in a line of products, that uses a processor we call ‘The Adgex Accumulator‘. Via the use of the ‘Adgex Accumlator’ ELFE taps into the earth’s energy supplies and converts that power into usable energy. -


See more at: http://trade.adgex.com.au/elfe#sthash.W4VReJww.dpuf

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A flashlight that doesn't need a change of batteries or a re-charge. Takes energy from the electromagnetic fields present in our environment... 

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The telescope gets its first major upgrade in centuries (w/ video 4min)

The telescope gets its first major upgrade in centuries (w/ video 4min) | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Lockheed Martin is working on new technology that promises to drastically reduce the size of telescopes needed to see a long distance 


Like an eye, the telescope collects light, and that light is then reflected to form an image. If you want to use one to see a really long way - into the depths of space, say - you'll need a really big one. 


“We can only scale the size and weight of telescopes so much before it becomes impractical to launch them into orbit and beyond...” 


Lockheed Martin's new system SPIDER, (or 'Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-optical Reconnaissance') does away with the large lenses or mirrors found in traditional  telescopes and replaces them with hundreds or thousands of tiny lenses. 


Dr Duncan says: "SPIDER could offer the ability to do things we simply can't do today. It could offer a lot of commercial, terrestrial and defence applications as well. Anywhere there's an optical imaging system there's the potential to take advantage of this technology."



Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Space telescopes is the first application for this tech but there will be many special imaging applications that find their way out into the world...

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Return of incandescent light bulbs as MIT makes them more efficient than LEDs

Return of incandescent light bulbs as MIT makes them more efficient than LEDs | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Researchers at MIT have shown that by surrounding the filament with a special crystal structure they can bounce back the energy which is usually lost in heat, while still allowing the light through... 


 

The Energy Saving Trust calculates that typical living room usage of a 60-watt incandescent lightbulb over a year would cost £7.64. Using an equivalent energy efficient fluorescent or ‘CFL’ lightbulb would cost £1.53 per year, while an LED would cost just £1.27. 


But if the new bulbs live up to expectations they would cost under 50p a year to run and even improve health. 


Previously researchers have warned that the blue light emitted by modern bulbs could be stopping people from getting to sleep at night and campaigners have expressed concerns about the dangerous chemicals they contain.



Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

It looks like our lighting technology needs more work. The energy saving and LED lamps aren't ideal. Here's a possible future comeback of the incandescent bulb.

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Single-catalyst water splitter from Stanford produces clean-burning hydrogen 24/7

Single-catalyst water splitter from Stanford produces clean-burning hydrogen 24/7 | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Stanford scientists have developed a cheap and efficient way to extract clean-burning hydrogen fuel from water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 


"We have developed a low-voltage, single-catalyst water splitter that continuously generates hydrogen and oxygen for more than 200 hours, an exciting world-record performance," said study co-author Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford. 


"Our water splitter is unique because we only use one catalyst, nickel-iron oxide, for both electrodes," said graduate student Haotian Wang, lead author of the study. "This bi-functional catalyst can split water continuously for more than a week with a steady input of just 1.5 volts of electricity. That's an unprecedented water-splitting efficiency of 82 percent at room temperature."


Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Hydrogen as fuel - it seems we will be able to produce it as needed. All that's required is some water and a battery to supply low electric current...

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World’s 15 Biggest Ships Create More Pollution Than All The Cars In The World

World’s 15 Biggest Ships Create More Pollution Than All The Cars In The World | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

World's 15 Biggest Ships Create More Pollution Than All The Cars In The World - 


Says James Corbett, professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware: “Ship pollution affects the health of communities in coastal and inland regions around the world, yet pollution from ships remains one of the least regulated parts of our global transportation system.” It sounds serious, but how bad could it be?


Staggeringly, if a report by the UK’s Guardian newspaper is to be believed. According to their story, just one of the world’s largest container ships can emit about as much pollution as 50 million cars. Further, the 15 largest ships in the world emit as much nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide as the world’s 760 million cars. 


The problem isn’t necessarily with the ships’ 109,000-horsepower engines that endlessly spin away 24 hours a day, 280 days a year. In fact, these powerplants are some of the most fuel efficient units in the world. The real issue lies with the heavy fuel oil the ships run on and the almost complete lack of regulations applied to the giant exhaust stacks of these container ships.


Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

It seems that this would be one of the first things to change, if we were serious about cutting pollution...

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Never Needs to Be Charged? - The Orbo oPhone

Never Needs to Be Charged? - The Orbo oPhone | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

mobile phone that NEVER needs to be charged?  Now that really WOULD be a revolution – and believe it or not apparently such a phone exists. 


Last night this image was posted on social media by Steorn CEO Shaun McCarthy. This new device which has yet to be launched is called the oPhone (Orbo Phone), as it contains the Orbo powerpack inside which is alleged to continually replenish the battery without the need to connect it to mains power. 


The Orbo powerpack inside is not powered by any conventional means such as solar or by capturing kinetic energy, nor does it harvest energy from radio frequencies but is based on Steorn’s patented technology which has been developed over the last twelve years. The technology is thought by many to be able to harness the zeropoint energy field (evidenced by the casimir effect). 


The zero-point energy field contains enough energy in one cubic centimeter of space to boil away all of Earth’s oceans.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Irish company Steorn has been working on this technology for more than a decade, and now they are coming out with a phone that doesn't need charging.


If this turns out to be stable, more and more devices will be built that don't need re-charging...

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A New Microscope Can See Inside Moving Cells In Real Time, and There Are Videos

A New Microscope Can See Inside Moving Cells In Real Time, and There Are Videos | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Erik Betzig just won a Nobel Prize for his new microscope—his follow up is even better.


In their new work, the team describes a method of shooting light in from the side in two-dimensional sheets—a tactic Betzig calls lattice light-sheet microscopy—which allows basically any cell function to be directly imaged in living cells, in real time, without damaging the cells nearly as much as his old method. 


What does this mean? Well, it means that we can now watch, in incredible resolution and in three dimensions, nerve cells forming synapses in the brain; cells undergoing mitosis; the formation of an embryo after sperm fertilizes an egg; and even internal cell functions such as protein translation, mitochondrial movements, and muscle flexes.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Yes - non-invasive light-based microscopy to observe living tissue while it lives...

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Glowforge - The 3D Laser Printer - YouTube

Glowforge has launched a new desktop laser. It's easier to use, more flexible, and more affordable than traditional 3D printers and CNC laser cutter/engravers.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Make it yourself ... with a printer

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New Technology Uses Solar Cells As Power Source & Li-Fi Data Node

New Technology Uses Solar Cells As Power Source & Li-Fi Data Node | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

“What if we could use existing technologies to provide Internet access to the more than 4 billion people living in places where the infrastructure can’t support it? Using off-the-shelf LEDs and solar cells, Harald Haas and his team have pioneered a new technology that transmits data using light, and it may just be the key to bridging the digital divide.”


This prototype setup, with the solar cells providing both the electricity and acting as broadband receivers, could be a huge boon to people in those areas where building the necessary infrastructure, both energy- and communications-wise, to support internet and data communications access isn’t going to happen anytime in the near future.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

I see a whole new local networking technology developing here. Solar cells are available just about everywhere and so are strong led flashlights that can bridge the distance between the users of a local network and the internet feed...

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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, November 11, 2015 4:27 PM

I see a whole new local networking technology developing here. Solar cells are available just about everywhere and so are strong led flashlights that can bridge the distance between the users of a local network and the internet feed...

Keepamericaheard Maria Catania's curator insight, December 1, 2015 5:32 PM

 How #solar is changing the commute through technology globally...

#techcrunch