Energy

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Although it may be a fact that newer properties run on lesser energy, the amount of emissions, especially CO2, released by homes and buildings are still considerably greater than it should be for our planet.

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Solar farms made of multiple large-scale panels are becoming increasingly efficient. This, in turn, is influencing their popularity as an alternative energy source for regional and national power grids. Despite this, a range of environmental particles and dirt types can impact on the ability of solar panels to gather energy. When this material comes into contact with solar cells, they may disrupt the panels, by either reflecting or absorbing sunlight, which in either case reduces the efficiency of the panel as a whole.

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Whilst there are many offshore wind farms currently in place, their construction is limited by the depth of the water in which they stand. But now, advances in the technology have meant that for the first time, a full-scale floating wind farm is being built off the coast of Scotland.

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Those of us living in cities often find it a relief to get out into the countryside or spend a day on the beach when the hot summer temperatures hit. Cities are subjected to something called the urban heat island effect – where temperatures are higher than the surrounding countryside due to a combination of factors. These include the use of dark building materials for roads and roofs, lack of vegetation, tall buildings blocking cooling winds and air pollution.

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The International Energy Agency estimate that around the world, 1.8 billion people live without electricity. In Africa, this is a particular issue. In an interview with CNBC, Ponmile Osibo from the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association said: “The situation is Arica at the moment is quite significant, over 40 percent of the population does not have direct access to energy.”

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Forget to charge your music player before a run, or the battery life of your smartphone insufficient to get you through the day? For a generation that depends on electronic devices for their daily needs, the challenge of charging or powering gadgets begs for a sustainable solution.

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Currently, there’s two main ways to access the energy needs that your household requires. Either connect to the national grid, or go off-grid and meet them through a combination of renewable energies. If you live off-grid, solar panels and wind turbines, or often a combination of the two, are currently the most popular choices. There’s many people who would love the chance to either generate their own electricity or use a more environmentally friendly choice but for various reasons, do not have the option of installing their own off-grid system.

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Imagine never having to worry if your phone was fully charged before heading out to run or cycle your favorite trail, because you could charge it whilst exercising. Well, we could be literally one step closer to this reality thanks to a new technological advance which allows for the charging of electronic devices using something we all produce when exercising: sweat.

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An estimated 23% of the world’s population now live in cities, far from the reaches of farmland, making access and the transport of fresh food an everyday struggle in terms of cost, labor and unpredictable weather conditions.

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Could radiation really encourage life in icy bodies or the ocean-planets of our solar system? Scientists at San Antonio’s University of Texas, in collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) have welcomed the possibility of radioactive decay leading to the support of analogous microorganisms from resulting molecules.

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Many countries are on a mission to lead the way towards a future where 100% of our energy demands are met by renewable sources. New wind and solar farms are springing up apace, with countries keen to attract developers to install new wind and solar farms and manufacturers working hard to reduce the cost of their technology.

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Imagine a new carbon neutral system of generating energy which has the potential to meet up to 40% of our global demand for power? The source might come as a surprise – our coastal estuaries where salt and fresh waters meet.

Scientists at Penn State University have created a system to harness energy along our coastlines, which early tests suggest could be very efficient indeed.

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Over the last few decades, aerial robots, or drones, have been used in military, scientific and commercial fields. This has been mostly for searching and rescuing, for observation, mapping, inspection or maintenance. These drones consume energy from batteries. Due to the short battery life, scientists and engineers have been carrying out further analysis of the issue, with extensive research.

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Located just off the Welsh coastline, the new wind farm, known as the Burbo Bank Extension, has recently installed the tallest and most powerful wind turbines in world.

In order to claim this title, the sheer size and scale of these turbines is incredible – each blade is 80 metres long and the turbines themselves tower at some 195 metres above the sea.

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The Sun is the abundant renewable energy source that we as humans have not harnessed to its full potential. Solar radiation powers all of the surface phenomenon on Earth; it warms oceans to cause currents, heats up the air and drives the water cycle, and it sustains life on Earth. Plants take in solar radiation and use it to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars. Herbivores feed on the plants and predators (humans included) eat the herbivores.

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The challenge of converting salt water into drinking water is one that has been testing scientists for quite some time, but with our supplies of fresh drinking water starting to dwindle, a solution to this problem is becoming ever more necessary.

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The excessive use of air conditioners or space heaters, a luxury in the developed world, is one of the main causes of global warming and unpredictable meteorological patterns. By excessive, we mean 87% of homes in the United States use energy for artificial climate control, in comparison to 2% that a populated country like India requires. This has influenced the rise of several inventions in the Information Age to save the planet and yet maintain comfortable lifestyles. 

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Matter can have positive and negative mass

Most of us, including non-scientists, have a basic knowledge of the laws of motion. We observe this every day, when we throw a ball to our child or drive our car down the street. We all understand that if we push something, it moves away from us. Whether or not we know that this is called Newton’s Second Law of Motion is irrelevant because the matter will continue to behave in this way regardless.

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As scientists look for more ways of powering our future without reliance on fossil fuels, one potential avenue for generating energy is the development of foldable and wearable power sources. The idea is that these could be incorporated into clothes and other fabrics, providing a source of energy on the move.

This is a pretty big challenge, but one that doesn’t faze a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, who have been busy creating a fabric which can harness energy from both sunshine and motion.

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The Supreme Court and Congress have shown us that laws in our society are far from permanent—if enough people want it, the law can be changed. In the realm of science, though, laws are paramount. A newly demonstrated concept is not considered true until it has been confirmed by many other studies—even then it is only considered a theory, or a rule. Only the most absolute, time-tested concepts become laws and are generally accepted as unchangeable facts of nature.

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