Bill Gates Predicts an “Energy Miracle” That Will Change the World

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has predicted that an “energy miracle” is coming, and that it will change the world forever. Gates, in the 2016 draft of the letter he and his wife write every year, explains that, by “miracle,” he means “The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.”

In a subsequent interview with Tech Insider, Gates clarified his comments further, saying, “When I say “miracle” I mean a kind of thing like a computer on a chip, or the internet, or the cellphone, that are really quite miraculous. Most people would not have predicted them, and their effect has been very, very dramatic. In medicine, we’ve had a lot of miracles, and I think all of us expect and count on more.”

“In the next 30 years, I really do think cancer will largely be a solved problem. I think most of the infectious diseases like malaria — our foundation is very involved — once we’re finishing polio eradication, then starting up this malaria eradication, and getting that done as fast as we can,” he added.

Gates believes that persuading the ruling classes to initiate this change is vital. “Governments have a big role to play in sparking new advances, as they have for other scientific research,” he writes. “U.S. government funding was behind breakthrough cancer treatments and the moon landing. If you’re reading this online, you have the government to thank for that too. Research paid for by the U.S. government helped create the Internet.”

US Government Prepare For Blast From Space

This is not an article about a future movie plot. It would seem that as we become more and more aware about the universe we only just start to understand just how little we actually know about what could happen in the vast emptiness of space. The White House’s National Science and Technology Council seem to understand this as they have released their strategic plan for “extreme space weather events” that could potentially disable or even destroy spacecraft and satellites.

Two terms that will be used a lot in this article are Solar Wind and Earth’s magnetic field. The former, Solar wind, is the term used to describe particles that the sun admits on an almost regular basis. While the latter, the Earth’s magnetic field, is a natural field that is generated around the earth (your compass uses it to help point you to north). The magnetic field normally acts as a protective barrier and stops the solar winds from breaching into the atmosphere.

With estimates of $2 trillion in damages for a single ‘monster’ surge, ten times more than any other natural disaster in recorded history, and a 12% chance given by NASA that one could happen within the next decade, it would seem that preparing for this event is just one of the many things we should be looking at.

There are three stages to any disaster, and it would seem that we are starting to work on all of them for this particular scenario.

The first stage is knowing when it might happen, for this we have the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre who monitors the sun for any signs that something abnormal, like a ‘monster’ solar wave, could be emitted. With an estimated window of only 15-60 minutes to act, the likely hood of being able to act effectively comes from preparation more than reflection on the information given.

AMD’s Carrizo APU Reduces Carbon Footprint by 46%

Earlier this year, AMD launched the A-series APUs under the “Carrizo” codename which strive for energy efficiency and lower wattage demands. In 2014, AMD outlined the 25×20 energy strategy to produce chips 25 times more efficient than current products by 2020. According to AMD’s research team, the extremely efficient Carrizo architecture has put the company on course to reach its 2020 target. More specifically, Carrizo chips alter the core voltage to gauge power demands and ensures the maximum frequency is only used when required.

In the enthusiast market, AMD has struggled to compete with Intel especially in single-threaded performance. However, this is a fairly niche sector and it’s sensible for AMD to work hard to manufacture low-cost, high-yield APUs which provide an excellent wattage to performance ratio. In the future, discrete graphics cards might become obsolete and replaced by APUs as computational demands are offset to a server. Whatever the case, AMD needs to make their products more energy efficient and that also applies to the Radeon brand. Thankfully, the Fiji architecture is a step in the right direction and illustrates AMD’s policy towards modern CPUs and GPUs.

Despite this, the majority of press coverage will surround AMD’s future high-end desktop CPUs and I hope they can produce something to shake up the market and make Intel feel less comfortable.

Thank you Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Kickstarting the Solar Trend Just Became Easier

Are you a green energy lover that wishes big energy companies would start to move away from the old-fashioned way of producing electricity to a newer and more reliable source? If so, a new Kickstater campaign might be right up your street.

SunPort is a smart device that simply plugs in between your device and wall socket. This almost allows you to harness pure solar energy through your current supplier thanks to Solar Credits which are generated through every megawatt-hour of energy. Providers can purchase these credits that then proves to the local governing body that the power being provided came from solar sources.

SunPort aims to target the supply and demand segment by forcing big companies to purchase more solar credits and then the supplying companies to produce more solar energy. The long term goal would be for the large energy suppliers to ultimately adopt solar as the main energy source over Gas, Coal and Nuclear.

The process is free, however, you will need to buy the device itself and maintain upkeep annually to a small fee and it’s currently only available in America unless you buy an adapter plug for use in your own country.

How ‘green’ is your daily routine? Let us know in the comments.

Indian Airport Paves The Way For a Solar Power Future

The world’s resources are becoming more and more finite in its capacity to provide for an ever-increasing population. Countries which previously had been considered as small and unassuming are now experiencing their version of an industrial revolution. As the planet becomes more hi tech, so the need for electricity becomes greater to the point where it is unsustainable and alternate solutions are in need of implementation.

This is where a pioneer of solar panels arrives with the aim of powering a whole airport using this technology. The airport in question is located in India and is called the Cochin International airport and has become the first airport in the world which completely operates on solar power. The feat is quite impressive considering the implementation of 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex, which in turn generates a staggering 50000 to 60000 thousand units of electricity per day. This is with the aim of being consumed for all its operational functions, which in turn allows the airport to be power neutral.

This project is without a doubt a step in the right direction for the use of renewable energy, I am slightly surprised that India would be the first country in the world to envisage such a project which started way back in 2013, when CIAL ventured into the Solar PV sector by installing a 100 kWp solar PV Plant on the roof top of the Arrival Terminal Block, which turned out to be the first of many additions. Let’s just hope there are not any glitches in the system as passengers really do not like the idea of waiting for the sun to appear before landing.

Thank you cial for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of engadget

Solar Power At Home Now More Popular Than Commercial Solar Power

In the modern world, Solar Power is popular, with everything from solar-powered planes flying from Japan to Hawaii to advances allowing the absorption of infrared light to increase their efficiency. Either way you look at it solar power is becoming more and more popular and is constantly becoming a bigger part of the world.

In the US, the leading source of energy information has come from (no surprises here) the Energy Information Agency. This hasn’t been a very up to date system to measure energy though as it was geared towards traditional power grids, such as those fed into the system from large companies. As a result of the changing situation with commercial and home-generated energy though they analyzed the residential energy being fed into the US power grid.

Turns out that in 2014 Solar power generated by residential users accumulated at around 3.3 Gigawatts while large-scale facilities only accounted for around 2.9GW. The information gathered showed that Californians accounted for almost half of the residential energy, followed by Arizona and Hawaii.

Alongside this information, another piece of data was revealed, one that renewable energy enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy. The use of coal as a power supplier has dropped by over 10% in the last year.

More green energy, fewer greenhouse gasses and cheaper electricity for everyone? What’s not to like about this news?

Thank you ArsTechnica for the information.

New Solar Panel Can Adsorb Infrared Light!

Solar panels are a great invention, the ability to convert light to a useable power source has long been investigated and advanced. In recent years its came leap and bounds in regards to not only how effective it was but also how the public have perceived it and accepted it, some countries even putting it into law. Now it could be getting even better.

With almost 50% of the energy given off by the sun as near infrared light, there is a huge gap in power that modern solar panels could accept. Most modern solar panels can still only accept visible light as an energy source, meaning that solar panels can only convert 20% of the light they receive into electricity.

A team from UC Riverside, however, may have come up with a way to help solve that low figure. The concept of converting two infrared photons into a visible photon, a process that had to be overcome to generate another 25% energy.

The team from UC Riverside has overcome this by passing the two infrared photons through an “organised compound” which in turn then produces a visible photon. While this initial step currently only has a benefit of less than 10% the team are hopeful that by using the process and refining it they will be able to create a more effective system and continue to help improve on solar panels and solar energy as a whole.

Thank you UCR Today for the information.

Image courtesy of Solar Power Panel System.

Scientists Say Cigarette Butts Are Great for Storing Energy

I’m sure many of our readers smoke, it might not be great for your health, but it’s a common fact that quite a lot of people do it anyway. However, while the cigarette may be bad for your health, not forgetting the often discarded into the street cigarette butt, which is bad for the environment, it seems that some good may actually come from the latter!

A team of scientists in South Korea have published their finding in the IOP publishing journal Nanotechnology, after successfully converting cigarette butts into a high-performing carbon-based material. They’ve done this with a special one-step burning process called pyrolysis.

“Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed into a high performing carbon-based material using a simple one step process, which simultaneously offers a green solution for meeting the energy demands of society,” says co-author ProfessorJongheop Yi of Seoul National University. “Numerous countries are developing strict regulations to avoid the trillions of toxic and non-biodegradable used cigarette filters that are disposed of into the environment each year. Our method is just one way of achieving this,” adds Professor Yi.

Not only does the technique, which no doubt has a long way to go before becoming an economically viable solution, help clean up waste, but it also provides a vitally useful product that can benefit technology industries.

“A high performing supercapacitor material should have a large surface area, which can be achieved by incorporating a large number of small pores into the material,” says Professor Yi. “A combination of different pore sizes ensures that the material has high power densities, which is an essential property in a supercapacitor.”

“Our carbon-based material has the potential for use as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries, a catalyst-supporting material in fuel cells, and pollutant adsorbents,” says Professor Yi. “We hope our inventions will ultimately help reduce the environmental burden of cigarette butts while lowering the manufacturing cost of high quality carbon materials.”

Who knows, perhaps in a few years time we won’t be throwing cigarette butts away, but recycling them to make batteries!

Blade-less Turbines Could Be The Future!

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We’ve all seen them. The giant fans that spin (on occasion) and are said to help power the world without needing to worry about the pollution that may be generated. The problem is a lot of people don’t like the look of them (bar the fact that unless you have the right conditions the fans won’t spin), but what if someone came up with a new design?

A company in Spain is looking to do just that, Vortex Bladeless are looking to remove the unsightly blades and change how the wind can help power your homes. The giant metal pillars are instead designed to shake, a movement created by the air flowing around the pillars rather than forcing and pushing a giant blade instead. Typically buildings are designed to avoid the kind of wind and vortices that these pillars are instead designed to capture and use. While normally utilizing these by creating a building to oscillate at a specific frequency that the wind may occur at. Instead, Vortex states that by using magnets they are able to adjust the turbines in real time, getting the most out of the wind without having to wait for the opportune moment.

By converting the movement into electricity, Vortex claims to be able to reduce the cost of turbines by almost 40%. The reason for this price reduction is simple, very little maintenance is required if there are no gears or moving mechanics instead. While also cutting initial build costs by almost half due to the lack of expensive blades the blade-less design also has a small problem. The design only captures on average around 30% less energy than a regular turbine, something you could argue is offset by the smaller pieces of land they occupy and silent almost continuous running.

I’m all for environmental energy. Be it solar, wind or tidal renewable energy and electric vehicles are going to help cut pollution and make the world a better place to life very soon in the future, anything that helps bring that future closer can only be good right?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

YouTube and Netflix Marked as a Threat to a Greener Internet

While Netflix and YouTube users sit comfortably in their chairs and watch their favourite TV series and subscribed channels, service providers are constantly struggling to come up with better and greener solutions to power their data centres and keep up with constant demands. However, the lack of real results has been the main concern of Greenpeace recently.

The NGO stated that the growing demand from services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube presents a challenge for the companies to rely solely on renewable energy. However, Greenpeace points out that video streaming as a whole proves to be a challenge to get the Internet to go green.

Their report shows that video streaming services total up to more than 60% of the Internet’s traffic, which is likely to reach 76% by the end of 2018. Despite the latter, companies are still searching for ways to power up their services with greener energy from geothermal, solar and hydro solutions.

Greenpeace came up with a ranking for companies that make efforts in supplying their services with clean energy. Apple is said to come up as number one thanks to it investments into solar energy, followed by Google and Facebook for their ambition to rely more on green energy and not traditional sources.

Though an official ranking has not been made for Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, the NGO said that online videos are one of the most power-hungry type of service on the Internet. No doubt this answers the question on who has the biggest energy consumption footprint on the web. However, Google expressed its goal on having its YouTube service reach the 100% mark in renewable energy. Unfortunately, the service only reached a percentage of 35 up until now.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, comes from the actual power providers. Electrical companies rely mostly on traditional power-generating techniques and are slow on switching to renewable energy due to the cost of making that step. Until we see some dedication on going green from the latter, services and other power-demanding businesses are likely to show slow progress in this area as well.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Techbu

Off Grid Solar Charging Implemented in San Francisco

With electric vehicles (EVs) starting to gain traction in the automotive world, ways of charging them when ‘out and about’ has been a small concern for some motorists. This has now been tackled head on by the company Envision Solar, with the introduction of three separate solar powered charging stations; I like the sound of car docks myself.

So what does this mean? Basically, there are three completely off the grid charging stations dotted throughout San Francisco. These are transportable stations only taking up the space of a normal sized parking spot and are completely free for users to utilise. They are Level 2 charging stations, capable of generating 3.3 kilowatts of energy; that’s not much, but it’s better than plugging in at home or at any other on-grid charging station. The charging station is also equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack that stores 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity; saving it for a rainy day.

These charging stations are on a fixed term basis, staying at their locations within San Francisco for a few months at a time. All of which, they will be gathering information such as charge frequency and duration. After 12 months, the company will analyse the data and choose which spot will be best to store all three of these stations to then be made a permanent feature.

All green energy for all green cars, sounds like the right way forward and would make excellent use of open car parks that are directly in sun, keeping the car cool on a hot day and also giving you some charge.

Image courtesy of EnvisionSolar

Apple Aims to Protect the Environment by Buying 36,000 Acres of Forest

We all know that Apple is concerned with the environment from its device recycling program and its components used in their products. But a recent collaboration between the company and The Conservation Fund takes it to a whole new worldwide level.

Apple is also using renewable energy to power their US headquarters and plants, as well as striving to use renewable paper for their packaging and paper. However, a study shows that large chunks of forests, namely 23 million acres, in the US have been lost to private companies in the last 15 years who do not give back as much as they take.

An estimate of 45 million more are said to be lost in the following years if nobody does anything about it. This is why Apple has stepped in and formed a partnership with The Conservation Fund, attempting to stop this lack of respect for nature that feeds egos and fills up pockets.

The partnership seems to be extremely beneficial for both parties, having Apple increasing its green footprint by managing its paper and packing more thoroughly, while The Conservation Fund can then target and conserve more forest lands in the US.

This move not only helps ensure that a lot of endangered species will still have homes in the future, but will also help keep an estimate of 2.8 million jobs in logging towns.

Apple and The Conservation Fund currently help protect over 36,000 acres of forest in the US and hope that they will keep the number rising in the future. How concerned are you with the environment?

Thank you Medium for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of MacWallpapers

Cheap Electric Vehicles May Arrive on the Market Sooner than Expected

A recent analysis states that electric cars may soon be competing or even surpass gas cars on cost. This means that electric cars won’t be just a luxurious accessory for the few.

Manufacturers tend to keep the cost of lithium-ion batteries found in electric cars a strict secret, but a recent peer-reviewed study of more than 80 estimates reported between 2007 and 2014 suggests that the costs of battery packs are lower than assumed by energy-policy analysts.

The study suggests that batteries found in EV manufacturer cars such as Tesla and Nissan cost around $300 per KW/h in 2014. This estimate is much lower than the most optimistic projections published this year and even below the average projections published for 2020. The study also tells that the batteries could even reach $230 per KW/h by 2018.

People are also said to be more interested in EVs if the battery costs between $125 and $300 per KW/h. Having the battery cost be a quarter or even half of an EVs price tag, cheaper batteries would make the vehicle itself more cheaper. Alternatively, car manufacturers can maintain the current EV price tag, but offer a battery with much longer ranges instead.

The range factor on an EV is also a crucial thing for buyers, because it would be cheaper to fill an EV with electricity than a car running on gas. It is said that charging an EV with a 300 mile range would cost less than $10. Also, the study states that if batteries fall as low as $150 per KW/h, this may lead to “a potential paradigm shift in vehicle technology”.

The analyst report that the cost of battery packs is falling around 8% each year, which they say is likely to continue at this rate in the following years as well. However, Luis Munuera, an energy analyst for the International Energy Agency, and Pierpaolo Cazzola, a transport policy analyst for the same agency, tend to be sceptical about the peer-reviewed in question, but they do seem to agree about “events moving quicker than expected in lithium-ion battery technology”.

Thank you MIT Technology Review for providing us with this information

Graphene Light Bulbs Coming This Year

 

Graphene Lighting, a Canadian financed company has developed a new graphene-based light bulb. The dimmable bulb is claimed to cut energy use by 10% and last longer than now common LED light bulbs.

The new light bulbs were developed at Manchester University, the place where graphene was first discovered. They will be based on the traditional light bulb design and are projected to cost less than some LED bulbs. The bulbs contain a filament shaped LED coated in graphene, which should allow it to last longer while dissipating heat more efficiently.

Professor Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester stated “The graphene light bulb will use less energy. We expect it to last longer. The manufacturing costs are lower and it uses more and more sustainable components.”

Not the biggest tech news in the world, but one you’ll likely have plugged into your lamp very soon!

Source: BBC

Scientists Come up with New Way to Control Light for Next-Gen Super Fast Computing

Scientists from the University of Texas El Paso and University of Central Florida introduces a plastic honeycomb-like device that steers light around corners, while keeping the integrity and density of the beam intact.

Sending data with the help of light beams allows it to travel thousands of times more quickly, but it has always been a challenge to control the light beams without losing their energy. Microchip and computer manufacturers alike are heading towards this type of technology and are constantly looking at ways to overcome this issue.

“Computer chips and circuit boards have metal wire connections within them that transport data signals,” said Raymond Rumpf, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UTEP. “One of challenges when using light is figuring out a way to make tight bends so we can replace the metal wiring more effectively.”
“Direct laser writing has the potential to become a flexible means for manufacturing next-generation computer devices,” said Stephen Kuebler, associate professor of chemistry at UCF.

Kuebler and his students used direct laser writing to create the miniaturised lattices and confirmed that they could flow light through them without loss through turns. The finding is very significant due to the fact that there is high demand for ever-smaller and faster computers and hand-held device. The current fiber optics technology does not play well with turns. If a turn for example is too abrupt and not gradual, the light beams escape and the energy is lost.

While the UTEP-UCF team has created the honeycomb-like plastic device which lets light beams turn in tight spots, it is said that they will not stop here. The team of researchers are planning to double the record and create an even tighter turn, making the revolutionary technology prepped and ready for supercomputers in the near future.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

Scientsits Find a Way to Wirelessly Transmit Energy across 55 Meters

Japanese scientists from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have announced that they have been successful in transmitting energy wirelessly and with high accuracy, being able to microwave 1.8 kilowatts (just enough to heat a kettle) over a distance of 55 meters.

“This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device,” a spokesperson for JAXA stated.

Before getting too excited, there is still a long way to go from here. The scientists’ ultimate goal is to set up solar satellites around 36,000 km of Earth’s surface in order to harness the Sun’s power and beam it back to the Earth’s surface via antennae. This means that, if proven successful, we could be looking at an unlimited energy solution. However, there is still a matter of taking everything from the planning stage to the actual application phase… and that takes time.

“But it could take decades before we see practical application of the technology – maybe in the 2040s or later,” the spokesperson stated. “There are a number of challenges to overcome, such as how to send huge structures into space, how to construct them and how to maintain them.”

Even so, given that the experiment will eventually take place and be successful, we are looking at one of the most important technological breakthroughs in human history.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information

Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Fly Around the World

The solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 is about to take off on a journey around the world after years of planning. The aircraft has been designed from the ground up with the latter mission in mind, having over 17,000 solar cells line in its wings which supply a series of electronic motors and charge four on-board lithium batteries.

The aircraft is said to be designed in such a way as to be endlessly powered by solar energy and thanks to its batteries, the plane is said to be able to fly day and night. The trip is going to take around 25 days split into 12 legs, starting and ending in Abu Dhabi.

Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are the project’s organisers, who stated that energy efficiency testing is the main objective here. While this project seems to be a step towards testing how renewable energy could help fly planes in the near future, Piccard and Borschberg stated that the project is more of a publicity stunt rather than a technological milestone.

Gathering more information on the plane itself reveals that it boasts only one seat with a built-in toilet, with no heating or oxygen. In terms of food provisions during the flight, “dehydrated and vacuum-packaged” seems to be the key description of what the pilots should expect. No wonder the trip has been broken down into smaller chunks.

Summing it up, the aircraft has a long way to go in order to compete with the more comfy Boeings and Airbuses everyone is accustomed to. However, the project does reveal the potential of renewable energy and its impact in the near future. If the project will come to be a success, industry scepticism regarding future powered solar planes might dissipate and debates regarding its future could reopen.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Tidal Lagoons to Be Used for Power in the UK

With all the hoopla surrounding energy and making it clean and renewable, one oft forgotten source, the sea, is getting its fair chance again thanks to Tidal Lagoon Power. The company is set to build six total structures, with four alone being located in Wales. These plants will harness powerful coastal tides and eventually generate up to eight percent of the total power in the UK.

Backed by energy secretary Ed Davey, the company has already started working on a £1 billion plant in Swansea. Despite it being one of the smallest installations, the lagoon will cover five miles across and two miles of sea. Not only will this lagoon provide power, but a nice destination for locals. As tidal levels rise and fall throughout the day, the large space of water will drive turbines set into the walls of the lagoon.

The £30 billion investment needed to build these lagoons will be met by tax payers, as the UK is keen on backing renewable energy sources. Beyond Swansea, in Wales, Cardiff, Newport, and Colwyn Bay will host the lagoons. Outside of Wales, lagoons will be built in Bridgewater Bay, Somerset, and West Cumbria.

With the high predictability of sea movements, tidal power has a promising future, so long as we have no crazy lunar events. This differs from wind turbines which can stall on calmer days, or solar panels that only achieve maximum output on sunny days. The only resistance so far comes from marine experts, one in particular being fish sucked into the turbines. However, Tidal Lagoon Power feels the opposite, that the lagoons will create artificial reefs, thus benefiting local ecosystems.

When it comes to how much to charge for the electricity, the estimated price for the plant in Cardiff is £90-£95 per MWh, which is on par with what the nuclear station in Hinkley charges, £92.50. With these lagoons lasting for up to 120 years, and having very low risk factors, the UK government just might have struck gold.

Source: Engadget

Rumor: Apple and Intelligent Energy Team Up to Bring Fuel Cells for Mobile Devices

Fuel cells have been the topic of discussion for many researchers in the past, working on theoretical inventions and all sorts of contraptions to figure out how to change the common battery and prolong the power output in order to keep mobile devices running for extended periods of time. Up until now, there have been only a handful of successful solutions, such as the sugar-powered battery, having most of them fail the practical tests.

Now it seems that fuel cell company, Intelligent Energy, has teaming up with ‘a major international electronics company’ to add fuel cell technology to the company’s mobile devices. Intelligent Energy is said to have revealed that it purchased patents for mobile fuel cell technology from Eveready, in association with the major electronics company in question which allegedly could not be identified in any finding.

“Intelligent Energy revealed upon floating that it bought a bundle of patents in tandem with a major ‘international electronics company’. It has kept the identity of its partner a closely guarded secret. But a source, who has knowledge of the partnership, confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm.”

Though the partner company is not yet confirmed, the Daily Mail apparently received word from its sources, which points to Apple as being the secret company. This makes sense, since more and more mobile manufacturers out there are gaining ground on improved battery performance technology for their devices, the kind that is currently a threat to the ‘everlasting’ Apple devices. A partnership between the two companies might bring Apple a boost in battery life for both the MacBooks and iPhones/iPads, while also patenting (as always) the integrated technology for their own franchise.

Other links that point to Apple as being the mystery partner company is the fact that Intelligent Energy already has ties with Apple, having hired former Apple executive Joe O’Sullivan as its Chief Operating Officer in 2011. Other facts that strengthen the rumor can be found in Apple’s patents filed in 2010 and 2011, having the company describing the use of fuel cell technology in portable computing devices, as well as having its own corporate headquarters and data center from Maiden, North Carolina, running on large-scale fuel cells.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of MacRumors

Viewsonic Ergonomic Monitors For Office Environments Unveiled

In certain market areas, selecting an appropriate monitor for the working environment is rather important, image editing and video editing applications naming just a couple of these key tasks. in the general working office however, the need for a specific type of monitor is virtually nonexistent and thus we find a whole host of differing options available and in use. There is however a catch with some of these panels and this is where Viewsonic have come forward, offering up a panel that is designed for the needs of a typical office environment, with the power consumption also playing a key part.

Shipping in two screen sizes, 22″ and 24″, the VG2233SMH and VG2433SMH displays offer up a full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution along with an exclusive SuperClear Image Technology which produces highly vivid colours in a true-to-life format and a super wide viewing angle of 178 degrees. To make the viewing of these displays far more comfortable for the office user, each panel allows full ergonomic adjustment through a combination of height, tilt, swivel and pivot which reduces eye strain and fatigue thus reducing downtime from work.

For the business the advantage doesn’t just stop at reduced employee downtime from work, there is also the potential for a financial saving to be made when in ECO-mode, with up to 50% savings on running costs on offer whilst also prolonging the life of the display. Once the total cost of ownership (TCO) is taken into account, there are a huge number of advantages to be made by switching over to Viewsonics commercial grade hardware, even if the current hardware is well within its lifespan.

In order to evaluate the potential cost savings, Viewsonic have created a simple and straight forward online tool that will allow businesses to calculate how much their current displays are costing to run versus one with Viewsonic panels installed. This tool can be found at: http://www.viewsoniceurope.com/led-tco-calculator/

Both panels are scheduled to be available towards the end of next month and with low prices of £119 and £139 (exc VAT) along with an option to register for a four-year warranty, the incentives to invest in these panels are certainly clear and strong.

Source: Press Release

Nuclear Fusion Experiment Produces More Energy Than It Takes In!

While still a long way from being commercially available, nuclear fusion is still being pursued as one of the most promising energy sources for mankind. While we may be rapidly depleting the worlds resources of oil, gas, coal and more, the earth could easily provide us with the resources to meet energy demands for billions of years! So it’s easy to understand why billions of dollars millions of man hours and 60 years of development have been poured into nuclear fusion research.

This week Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researches announced that they’ve reached a major milestone in nuclear fusion research, creating fusion in their reactor that is capable of producing more energy than was required to initiate fusion!

Nuclear fission works by splitting atoms, this is what we use in current nuclear power stations, but fusion is a much better power source and works by fusing two atoms together. Fusion is what happens in our sun, and of course other stars in our universe. When two nuclei fuse together an incredible amount of energy is released, much more than you would typically find in nuclear fission.

Using 192 lasers to heat a cylinder that measures just 1cm across to millions of degrees, heating up a tiny plastic pellet which contains two forms of hydrogen plasma (the fuel) on the cylinders interior to the point where it is so hot it produces x-rays that cause the pellet to explode and compress its internal gasses. If this happens enough then a chain reaction will occur and fusion becomes self sustaining, like our Sun. That self sustaining reaction is known as ignition and while this has yet to be accomplished, the latest test output 2.6 x more energy than was used to create that energy.

The next major step will be ignition, something that requires hundreds of millions of degrees and pressure that is thousands of times greater than was what achieved in the latest tests, but after 60 years this is still a huge advance for the technology even though it may still be billions more in investment and decades before it is on a commercial scale.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gigaom.

Google Reportedly In Development Of Contact Lenses Which Can Read Glucose Levels

A contact lens which contains a glucose sensor, an antenna, a capacitor and a chip has been developed by Google dedicated to people suffering from diabetes. It does not restrict eyesight and performs analysis of glucose twice every second, afterwards send the information gathered to an external monitoring device with the help of radio waves.

Having 1 in 19 people on the planet dealing with diabetes, it can become like a part-time job to manage. Glucose levels change frequently throughout the day and a close eye must be kept on readings at all times through blood drop tests and other methods. The Google team tasked with the project came up with the contact lens idea, which is made out of chips and sensors that look like bits of glitter and an antenna that is thinner than a human hair. They also overcome the battery issue with the help of radio waves, which provides the necessary electrical energy necessary to power up the sensors inside the lens.

It is said that future models may even include a light source built into the lens that would let wearers know the status of their glucose levels without having to look at the external monitoring device, according to project lead Brian Otis, which can be activated via a blinking feature or the user closing his or her eyes.

Google is currently in talks with the FDA, but they say there is still some more work to be done on it until we see one of these lenses on the market.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

How To Save Some Money: Different Light Bulbs

GELighting.com – Infographic

Is it important to be energy efficient? Of course it is, but usually it isn’t worth it. How many light fixtures do you have in your home? I have a grand total of… Fourteen, many of which use more than one bulb. If I were to replace every single bulb in my house I would end up getting at least 30 bulbs, and I live in a small house.

A LED Bulb cost is down from what they were a few years ago, but they are still high. A LED bulb uses up to 85% less energy than an incandescent bulb and lasts up to 20 years longer.

GE  or General Electric posted an infographic on their Facebook page recently, giving us a little information on light bulbs.

Good.is – Infographic

Over the past few years we have seen quite the evolution, from incandescent to halogen to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) to LED. As technology has bettered us to be more energy efficient many governments have banned the use of old incandescent bulbs, working them out of the marketplace.

Many of the products that we purchase to better our lives may take a very long time to pay for themselves, sometimes they never do, but those are the steps that we may take to reduce our footprint. LED lighting may be one of the better options. LED bulbs use less energy, and emit less heat than traditional bulbs. They are not made with mercury or lead, and they last up to 40 times longer. Less time wasted changing bulbs, as they last a very long time, 35,000 – 50,000 hours.

Some math to help you, based on 13 watts of electricity, which many lights are rated for being equal to 65-75 watts for incandescent bulbs, and if  you were to use the light for 6 hours a day for 1 full year.

13 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 28,470 watts or 28.47 Kilowatts.

If you were to use an incandescent bulb at a rating of 65 watts for the same time.

65 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 142,350 watts or 142.35 Kilowatts.

On the low end at 13 cents per KWh it would cost $18.46 per year for one incandescent bulb versus $3.64 for an LED bulb. A HUGE difference for those paying attention.

For me in California, electricity costs range from .13 – .35  per KWh

Comparatively there is a huge difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED bulb, the difference between CFL and LED bulbs is a lot slimmer. I would recommend that if you even have one incandescent bulb in your home you should replace it with an LED, but if that is too expensive, you should at least put in a CFL.

You can find even more fun facts on bulb comparisons from designrecycleinc.com