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Energy


Advances in energy are benefiting humanity today and tomorrow. Follow along as Singularity Hub discusses the future of energy and latest trends in this field.

Waste Heat: The Overlooked Energy Problem, and How to Solve It

With the exponential increase in the number of data centers and electronic devices over the last decade, waste heat has become a big but overlooked environmental problem. It is frequently hidden away, out of...

Designing a ‘Solar Tarp,’ a Foldable, Packable Way to Generate Power From the Sun

The energy-generating potential of solar panels—and a key limitation on their use—is a result of what they’re made of. Panels made of silicon are declining in price such that in some locations they can...

The New Energy Storage Tech Gates, Bezos, Ma, and Branson Are Investing In

A group of billionaires including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Richard Branson have invested in Form Energy. The company, out of MIT, is designing a new type of battery, thought to be...

Plasma, the Mysterious (And Powerful) Fourth Phase of Matter

When I was in elementary school, my teacher told me that matter exists in three possible states: solid, liquid, and gas. She neglected to mention plasma, a special kind of electrified gas that’s a...

The Smart Road Tech That’s Making Driving Faster, Safer, And Just Better

From autonomous cars to flying taxis to electric-powered aircraft, technological innovations in transportation vehicles seem to be moving faster than Elon Musk’s express loop underneath Chicago. But when it comes to regular roads and...

Pulling Water, Fuel, and Power From Thin Air Is Getting Practical

Pulling things from thin air is generally considered a magic trick. But several recent research papers suggest we could soon be extracting valuable resources like water, fuel, and power from the atmosphere. Startup Carbon Engineering...

5 Reasons Car Companies Are Betting Big on Energy Storage

An increasing number of major car manufacturers are developing solutions in a space that at first glance may seem like a strange choice: energy storage. BMW recently signed a contract that adds 500 of its...

Will Bitcoin Use as Much Electricity as All of Austria by the End of the Year?

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were designed to be efficient, low-friction alternatives to traditional financial systems. But it seems their creators maybe didn’t think too hard about their sustainability. An analysis published in the journal Joule this...

This Planned Solar Farm in Saudi Arabia Would Be 100 Times Bigger Than Any in the World

Right now it only exists on paper, in the form of a memorandum of understanding. But if constructed, the newly-announced solar photovoltaic project in Saudi Arabia would break an astonishing array of records. It’s...

Can We Recycle CO2 Emissions to Make Carbon-Neutral Fuel?

Our failure to curb our carbon emissions is threatening to cause catastrophic climate change within our lifetimes. But what if we could recycle CO2 emitted by power stations and turn it into fuels and...

New MIT Startup Targets Working Fusion Reactor in 15 Years. Can It Be Done?

The joke is that nuclear fusion is 20 years away, and always will be. This joke, now a cliché, arose from optimistic scientists suggesting in the 1950s (and then in most subsequent decades) that...

If Energy Becomes Free in the Future, How Will That Affect Our Lives?

Technology is making the cost of many things trend towards zero. Things we used to have to pay a lot for are now cheap or even free—think about how much it costs to buy...

Putting AI in Your Pocket: MIT Chip Cuts Neural Network Power Consumption by 95%

Neural networks are powerful things, but they need a lot of juice. Engineers at MIT have now developed a new chip that cuts neural nets’ power consumption by up to 95 percent, potentially allowing...

Artificial Photosynthesis Is Solar Energy’s Forgotten Cousin—and It’s Making a Comeback

In an article in Science published in 1912, Professor Giacomo Ciamician noted that “Coal… offers solar energy to humanity in its most concentrated form… but coal is not inexhaustible. Is fossil solar energy the...

The Clock’s Ticking on Climate Change, and It’s Time to Get Real About Tackling It

If you’re an insomniac, this situation will probably be familiar to you. It’s the night before a big exam or job interview. You go to bed with plenty of time to spare, but sleep...

Elon Musk Is What Happens When These Three Traits Get Together in One Human

I did an interview recently where I was asked to deconstruct Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial success. Having known Musk for 17 years, I’ve had the chance to watch his meteoric rise into someone who is arguably...

The 10 Grand Challenges Facing Robotics in the Next Decade

Robotics research has been making great strides in recent years, but there are still many hurdles to the machines becoming a ubiquitous presence in our lives. The journal Science Robotics has now identified 10...

How Graphene Research Is Taking Aim at 5 of the World’s Biggest Problems

In September 2015, world leaders gathered at a historic UN summit to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are 17 ambitious targets and indicators that help guide and coordinate governments and international organizations...

New Research Brings Us Closer to Cheap, Transparent, Organic Solar Cells

The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end, and the age of renewable energy has dawned—or, it will be dawning soon. In 2014 the World Bank estimated that over 80 percent of...

Are Solar Roads the Highway of the Future, or a Road to Nowhere?

By some back-of-the-envelope estimates, around 0.2–0.5 percent of the world’s land surface is covered in roads. This proportion is projected to increase by 60 percent by 2050. It’s a staggering fraction of territory for...

The Technologies We’ll Have Our Eyes on in 2018

It’s that time of year again when our team has a little fun and throws on our futurist glasses to look ahead at some of the technologies and trends we’re most anticipating next year. Whether...

The Tantalizing Dream of Blanketing the Sahara in Solar Panels

In 1986, a power surge during a safety test of the reactor at Chernobyl caused a catastrophic explosion. Thirty-one people were directly killed by the explosion and the initial dose of radiation, and several...

Here Are 4 Significant Things We Can Do to Combat Climate Change Now

Earlier this month, 13 US government agencies (NOAA, NASA, DOE, etc.) concluded that climate change is real and caused mainly by human activity. There is no question that this is happening… The only question now is:...

Study Finds ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Dark Energy’ May Not Exist—Here’s What to Make of It

Dark matter and dark energy are mysterious, unknown substances that are thought to make up more than 96% of the universe. While we may have never directly seen them, they beautifully explain how stars...

How Your Electric Car Could Help Power Your Home

One of the laments you frequently hear from fossil-fuel lobbyists and renewable energy skeptics concerns the intermittency problem. These advocates point out that the energy from the sun and wind isn’t always available because...

The Huge Promise of Transparent Solar Cells—Turning the World’s Glass Surfaces Into Solar Panels

Sunlight is everywhere, but so far our efforts to harvest its energy have been restricted to solar farms and rooftop panels. A new analysis shows that transparent solar technologies that can be applied to...

The World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is an Incredible Feat of Engineering

Wind turbines are a valuable source of renewable energy, but it can be hard to find a good place to put them. They need to be close to a populated area so that transporting...

How Technology Is Driving Us Toward Peak Globalization

At some point in the future—and in some ways we are already seeing this—the amount of physical stuff moving around the world will peak and begin to decline. By “stuff,” I am referring to...

Decentralized Home Solar Power Is Lighting Up Sub-Saharan Africa

According to tech optimists, the world is consistently getting better, and technology is partly to thank. It seems plausible given statistics about reductions in poverty rates, longer life expectancy, increased literacy, and the like. But...

To Achieve 100% Renewable Energy, We Need Way Better Batteries

When it comes to grid storage our batteries are terrible. A grid powered entirely from solar and wind wouldn’t work with the current state of energy storage, as solar and wind don’t produce consistently, and...

Solar Power Is Getting Cheaper—But How Do We Overcome Its Limits?

The price of silicon-based solar cells has been falling off a cliff for years now. In 1977, each watt of capacity for a silicon solar panel would cost you around $76. By 1987, that...

Why Empowering Women Is the Best Way to Solve Climate Change

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never...

This Is Tesla’s Greatest Competitive Advantage

Tesla’s stock price recently took a hit because of concerns about its delivery capabilities and about increasing competition from carmakers who are switching their product lines to electric. With a market cap still exceeding...

This Mini Wind Turbine Can Power Your Home in a Gentle Breeze

The first time you see a Nemoi wind turbine, you may not realize it’s a turbine at all. A white and silver metallic structure about the size of a garden shrub, Nemoi has three...

Canada Is Building a 7 Megawatt-Hour Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant

Green energy is a popular topic right now, with many countries signing on to the Paris Climate Accord and planning to move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. While most countries are working toward...

This Tech Could Charge Electric Cars While They Drive

The global auto industry is worth $2 trillion, but electric and hybrid cars currently make up less than one percent of that figure. However, experts are predicting an explosion in electric car adoption. Financial services...

Why Interstellar Travel Will Be Possible Sooner Than You Think

The term “moonshot” is sometimes invoked to denote a project so outrageously ambitious that it can only be described by comparing it to the Apollo 11 mission to land the first human on the...

Solar Is Now the Cheapest Energy There Is in the Sunniest Parts of the World

Manufacturing is about robots and assembly lines, supply chains and finished products. It’s about the roof over your head, the car you drive to work, and the computer you stare at all day. We...

Electric Vehicles Are on the Rise: Here’s How to Sustain Their Growth

The struggle for electric vehicles to gain legitimacy in a world dominated by supersized SUVs and overbearing big rigs is something of a David and Goliath story. The underdog just landed a blow right between...

Just Stand Inside This Room and It Will Wirelessly Charge Your Phone

Go to any airport and you’ll see wearied travelers huddled around outlets leeching out precious electricity to feed their devices. They aren’t alone in their need for power. With more than 3 billion smartphones...

10 Tech Trends That Made the World Better in 2016

2016 was an incredible year for technology, and for humanity. Despite all the negative political-related news, there were 10 tech trends this year that positively transformed humanity. For this “2017 Kick-Off” post, I reviewed 52 weeks...

Emerging Markets Lead the Way to Cheapest-Ever Solar Energy

Energy experts have long predicted we'd eventually shift from fossil fuels to clean energy. They were right, but there have been a few surprises along the way. The shift is happening faster than anyone...

Canada’s Building a Plant That Will Make Fuel Out of Poop

Each time you flush a toilet, it’s the beginning of a long journey. Your waste makes its way through a maze of pipes and sewers, eventually reaching its first destination: a sewage treatment plant. There,...

This Solar Fabric Could Let You Charge Your Phone With Your Shirt

Solar energy is becoming ever more widespread, with panels going up not only on houses and office buildings, but on cars, buses, and road signs. The latest advancement in solar technology will put solar...

These Wild New Floors Will Harvest Energy From Your Footsteps

The road to renewable energy requires one step at a time. Well, actually, it requires quite a few steps. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Forest Products Laboratory in Madison believe they can harness the...

3 Big Trends Shaking Up the Energy Industry

We are at the cusp of an energy revolution. This post is a look at how three technologies — solar, batteries, and electric vehicles (EVs) — are poised to disrupt a $6 trillion energy industry over the...

Singularity University Comes Home: Global Summit Kicks off Today in San Francisco

Singularity University’s inaugural Global Summit is kicking off today in tech capital San Francisco and running through August 30th. The Singularity Hub team will be on the ground, covering some of the best speakers, and...

Meet the Reactors Accelerating Us Toward Fusion Energy

The old joke about fusion is that it is 30 years from becoming a reality — and that’s been the case for the last 50 years or more. It’s a joke that may quickly...
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Ray Kurzweil Explains Why Radical Life Extension Will Be Better Than You Think

According to Ray Kurzweil, we’re approaching a time when humans will begin to radically extend their lifespans. This sounds good on the surface, but will we have enough resources to support everyone? And won’t...

This Is How the World’s Poor Are Pioneering the Future of Energy

What if it took you four hours a day to cook all your meals because, in addition to cooking, you also had to search for firewood? What if you could only work and study...

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