Sunday, July 24, 2011

New solar/battery materials

solar energy and batteries, the two biggest things on everyone's mind.

This article reveals new materials which hold promise of being good enough to store solar energy indefinitely, and rather than as heat (which has till now been the most efficient way of storing solar energy), they store it chemically. very exciting!

Organic thermoelectrics

The world is filled with heat, waste heat. Everywhere you look, everywhere you sit.
It's energy lying around for anyone to use, and this guy had long ago come up with a way to make a miniscule amount of energy from heat.

However, as usual with any technology that hasn't made it to the bigtime, its too expensive and produces too crappy an amount of anything.

However, thermoelectrics are making a comeback with polymers. That's plastics, which have the potential to convert heat differentials into electricity.

Friday, July 8, 2011

One small step from man...

I’m not meaning to be nationalistic with this post, but since I am Swedish I also have a special eye for Swedish innovations. During last year at my home university I heard about a project called Down to Earth. The project aims for technology transfer from you know what!? Space!!

Sustainable and energy conservative solutions have been a necessity on space shuttles since before Neil Armstrong said “One small step for man...blah ”. So why not apply these solutions in our everyday life? I am really looking forward to see what comes out of this project. And just imagine what other sources of inspiration lies in wait for exploitation? Can we find it in a remote African tribe? In your grandparents kitchen? In a children’s story?

Who knows, it could very well be ... a big step for mankind!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Unexpected discoveries

Have you ever thought about the usefulness of some existing inventions? In my opinion Google has the potential of being one of the most innovative companies in the internet industry today. With new applications and tools available constantly they just keep on surprising. As an environmental engineer I work a lot with Geographical Information Systems (commonly known as GIS) that makes it possible to study and visualize spatial pattern using maps. Usually I work with soft-wares such as ArcGIS or Manifold, but for the non-professional Google earth is a really simple and powerful tool to study the environment. I just found this article on the unexpected discoveries found using GE. Did Google expect this when they developed this application?
Many of these discoveries weren't found by the Google staff themselves, but by common users. You should never underestimate the creativity of the human brain!
But of course, sometimes imagination can take the best out of anybody...