Nissan Cars May Power Your Home

Nissan has built a car that can charge on the road then use the excess charge it holds to power a home. This car can then be used to power a home in the case of a blackout or an emergency.

The system works by linking the car via a quick charging port to the house’s electricity distribution panel. Power can also be fed the other way if the house generates its own electricity with rooftop solar panels.

The Leaf batteries have a capacity of 24 kilowatt hours when fully charged, equivalent to the electricity used by the average Japanese household in two days, said the company.

The output from the vehicle comes to six kilowatts, enough to power electricity-guzzling appliances such as a refrigerator, air conditioner and washing machine at the same time, the company said.

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Batteries Powered by Vibrations

A printer company has developed a prototype battery powered from quick vibrations that can power low-intestity electronics like remote controls. This is a good development in battery technology because it shows what’s possible and may entice companies to start selling batteries that are powered by a simple shake.

The idea behind the technology is to remove the need for toxic rechargeable batteries and other disposable batteries that can harm the environment, said the company.

So far, two of the AA sized prototypes developed produce a voltage of 3.2V or lower, which is just enough to charge low power consumption device such as TV remote controls.

Despite the low power, Carl Telford an analyst at electronics business consultants Strategic Business Insights, says the batteries are a significant break through with much potential.

“It’s great because they will work OK in a low-power application for AA batteries that one can shake without breaking; a remote control, for example,” he told BBC News.

“Of its size, it is small, compact, and directly compatible with existing power sources. Brother says that it can produce enough power at reasonably low frequencies, around 4-8Hz – this is impressive.

Keep reading at the BBC.

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These Boots Are Made For Energy Generation

A small company has produced a boot that creates energy by walking. The boot has a battery that stores an electric charge from the energy spent by walking.

The ‘Power Wellies’, as Orange is calling them, convert heat from your feet into an electrical current. According to the blurb, twelve hours of stomping through the Glastonbury Festival will give you enough power to charge a mobile phone for one hour – the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce.

In case you’re wandering what the science behind them is… Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed of pairs of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are connected electrically forming an array of multiple thermocouples (thermopile). They are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side, from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated. Simples.

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BOB Powers Texas Town

It’s true everything is bigger in Texas from trucks to people to batteries. A relatively small town in Texas is using a battery the size of a house for energy storage and transmission. It’s hoped that batteries like the Texas one can be used to store energy from more sustainable sources during high production periods for use later (capture solar during the day and store it for night).

BOB, short for “Big-Old Battery,” began charging up this week. The giant sodium sulfur powerhouse, which is literally the size of a house, can store four megawatts of power for up to eight hours. Before BOB came online, a single, 60-year-old transmission line was the only thing connecting Presidio to the grid. The town frequently experienced power outages. BOB serves as a much-needed back-up plan, and it holds enough power to generate electricity for the whole town.

Read more and get some pictures from Inhabitat

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Super Solar Storage to Revolutionize Sustainable Energy

Getting renewable energy is the easy part whereas storing it is the hard part. Battery technology has not kept pace with the green technology field. That is until a team at MIT figure out how to store sweet savoury solar energy efficiently.

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today’s announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. “This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said MIT’s Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. “Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon.”

Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera’s lab, have developed an unprecedented process that will allow the sun’s energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. Later, the oxygen and hydrogen may be recombined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night.

Read more at MIT’s page on the project.

Thanks to Greg!

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