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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.

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...

Why Your Smartphone’s Battery Sucks Is Finally Revealed

When it comes to modern consumer electronics, we all seem to be obsessed with finding an electrical outlet to charge up. That’s because the lithium-ion batteries that power our smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets...
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Solar Energy Is Now as Cheap as Fossil Fuels

Exponential Finance celebrates the incredible opportunity at the intersection of technology and finance. “We are now hitting a crossover point where solar, without subsidies, is starting to beat out all other sources of energy.” So said...

Solar Power Is Ready to Dominate Energy Thanks to New Tech

In the next 20 years, between 50 percent to 100 percent of the world's energy production could come from solar. Today, the global oil and natural gas industry is about a $4 trillion business. It's big...

China’s Curious Dream of Floating Nuclear Plants on the Ocean

The family of nuclear reactors found on the seven seas is about to grow—China recently announced plans to build a floating, ship-based nuclear power plant. Construction of the ship will begin next year, and...

From Bosons to Bigfoot: 6 Science Mysteries That Might Be Solved in 2016

From the origin of life to the fate of the universe, there’s plenty scientists simply don’t know. But they are making progress. 2015 has been a great year for science: we’ve seen the agreement...

10 Most Exciting SciTech Advances of 2015

As we near the end of 2015, here are my top 10 picks for 2015 technology breakthroughs. These genius inventions are sending us careening into a world of abundance, bold visionaries and accelerating exponential change. My...

Six Technologies That Hit Their Tipping Points in 2015

To the average person, it may seem that the biggest technology advances of 2015 were the larger smartphone screens and small app updates. But a lot more happened than that. A broad range of...
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Will Artificial Intelligence Transform How We Grow and Consume Food? [Video]

Today, agriculture is more efficient than ever, but it's also more dependent on environmental, technological, and social issues like never before. Climate change, drought and other disasters, shifting energy landscapes, population growth, urbanization, GMOs, changes in...

These Technologies Will Shift the Global Balance of Power in the Next 20 Years

Governments, businesses, and economists have all been caught off guard by the geopolitical shifts that happened with the crash of oil prices and the slowdown of China’s economy. Most believe that the price of...
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Watch Episode 1 of Ask an Expert, the New Web Series from Singularity University

Last week, we told you about a new web series called Ask an Expert. Well, Episode 1 is finally here and it's all about ENERGY! In its debut, questions about energy that were tweeted to @singularityu with...

On Robocars and Ultracapacitors (and other energy sources)

I was recently asked about the synergies between autonomous vehicles or robocars and ultracapacitors/supercapacitors. It turns out they are not what you would expect, and it teaches some of the surprising lessons of robocars. Ultracapacitors are...

Tesla’s Powerwall Is the Latest Step Toward Our Clean-Energy Future

Most people are skeptical that we’re heading into a clean-energy future. They find it hard to believe that solar energy is fewer than 14 years away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs....

Should We Arm the International Space Station With Lasers to Destroy Space Junk?

If you look closely enough, Earth has rings. NASA estimates there are some 500,000 pieces of space debris in orbit. Space junk, traveling up to ten times the speed of a bullet, endangers satellites...

The 4 Steps That Transform Physics Theories Into Groundbreaking New Technologies

Ever wondered how the technology we use every day came into existence? Sure, an engineer designed it, a manufacturer produced it, and some savvy marketing helped sell you the product, but where did the...

Technology Gives Us the Power to Rewrite Nature

One of my old professors used to say calculus is the language of the universe. Now, every so often, I'll watch trees in the wind, cars on the road, or clouds rolling by, and see equations made...

Can Fusion Energy Be Obtained Without the Death Star?

The National Ignition Facility, located in Livermore, CA, is a spectacular, ultramodern facility the size of a football stadium. Housed within are 192 laser beams, which can be focused onto a one-centimeter glass sphere...

New Hybrid Solar Cell Battery Takes Aim at Solar Power’s Energy Storage Problem

As the world seeks alternatives to fossil fuels, scientists, entrepreneurs and government leaders are pushing to develop cheap, clean energy. Wind-harnessing turbines are increasingly found in many parts of the world. Solar panels can be...

Unlocking Big Data: Lessons Learned From The God Particle

It’s a puzzle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a symphony. It’s the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, the greatest physics find of the 21st century, turned into music. Chamber music, to be exact. Admittedly—and...

Solar PowerCube Provides Electricity, Clean Water, and WiFi in Disaster Zones

Following a major disaster, water, energy, and communications can be in short supply—challenging for residents and relief workers alike. But what if you could provide these necessities using only sunlight? Ecosphere's all-in-one solar solution, the Ecos...

“The World in 2025” Predicts Abundant Solar Power and Food, Tailored Drugs, Gene Therapies

In a recently released vision of the future, Thomson Reuters analysts predict solar power will be the dominant form of energy by 2025. Further, the report states genomic testing and manipulation will be common and lead...

Around the World Without a Drop of Fuel — Solar Impulse 2 Logs Its First Flight

Its wingspan matches a Boeing 747, every square inch covered in solar panels. A quarter of its weight is dedicated to energy storage. It flies day and night without a drop of conventional fuel....

Singularity Surplus: Computer Convenience For FDA Data, Paper and Pen, Power Outlets

The Scribble pen can identify and reproduce 16 million colors you might come across in daily life. The pen uses a 16-bit RGB color sensor to identify the colors of objects and reproduces them...

Singularity Surplus: New Uses for Hot Techs and New Tech for Unwanted Heat

Advances in exponential technology happen fast — too fast for Singularity Hub to cover them all. This weekly bulletin points to significant developments to keep readers in the know. Here’s a clever new use for...

Wireless Charging of Phones From Across the Room? The Tech Inches Closer

Wireless energy transmission has been possible since Thomas Edison’s time, and in the last several years, especially, with robots gaining mobility and electric vehicles building consumer demand, we’ve heard almost daily promises that the days of tangled power cords are numbered. So why do the vast majority of EV drivers and smartphone users, not to mention robots, remain tethered to plug-in chargers and cables?

Following the Solar Brick Road to Clean Energy and Smart Roadways

A proposal to power the entire United States with solar energy, without wires or solar farms, by using solar cells to pave roads and parking lots, is certainly a big idea. It comes from the Idaho couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, yet it’s promising enough to have received finding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. Now their company, Solar Roadways, is looking for another $1 million in funding on Indiegogo to manufacture the product commercially.

Singularity Surplus: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful

U.N. goals whittle child and maternal death rates; computer solves word problems so you don't have to; the Milky Way gets an MRI; making fuel out of nothing.

Raspberry Pi Keeps Wowing Us Even Two Years After Launch

With the Raspberry Pi, a programmable credit card-sized computer, British computer scientists sought to rekindle garage innovation. What would young students do with the power of computing if they could buy a computer for just $35 and access all of its parts?

Clean Energy Growth Stalls With Loss of Incentives

In 2013, the addition of renewable capacity slowed slightly compared to the previous year as a result of shrinking governmental incentives and investment, according to a new report from The Pew Chartiable Trusts. While the survey found that renewable energy still relies on public incentives, it also suggested that at least parts of the industry are not as dependent as they once were on such incentives, thanks to falling prices.

Air Pollution Killed 7 Million in 2012, According to WHO

Air pollution claimed 7 million lives in 2012, according to a report just released by the World Health Organization, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. One out of every eight premature deaths in 2012 was attributable to air pollution, the numbers reveal — a rate double that reported in previous years due to more accurate measures of pollution in both outdoor and indoor environments and in a broader range of rural areas.

Singularity Surplus: Smile, You’re on Candid Camera!

Computers' EQ rises; lab-grown muscles get stronger; Texas goes big in wind power; and researchers create real-time video game interface of the human brain.

Facebook Will Expand Global Internet Access And Reach With Drones and Satellites

Echoing Google's Project Loon, Facebook is now looking to connect those would-be users. Facebook will use drones, along with satellites and the emerging free-space optical communications protocol, to connect the unconnected.
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Singularity Surplus: Put on Your Electric Thinking Cap!

Brain stimulation leads to faster learning; TED marks 30th anniversary with giant digital art display; flying wind turbine poised for test run in Alaska.

U.S. Navy Explores Beaming Solar Power From Space

The Naval Research Laboratory has built a solar module capable of capturing and transmitting solar power from space, where it's never cloudy.

100% Renewable Energy Is Feasible and Affordable, According to Stanford Proposal

Stanford University researchers led by civil engineer Mark Jacobson has drawn up detailed plans for each state in the union that show how the United States could move to 100 percent wind, water and solar power by 2050 using only technology that’s already available.

Wirelessly Charging All-Electric Transit Buses Grow Their Numbers in Europe

In Milton Keynes, 75 miles north of London, the UK is launching its first all-electric buses. The years-long pilot program consists of eight buses traveling a 15-mile route between the suburbs of Wolverton and...

Hydrogen Vehicles, Long Promised, Finally Hit the Road

After years running on the fumes of hype, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are beginning to hit the road. Toyota made a big splash when it announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show that it would market such a car beginning in the 2015 model year. Hyundai has also committed to roll out a fuel-cell vehicle next year. And Honda has already begun leasing its hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity to customers in California.

Edible Batteries Could Power a Range of Smart Pills and Medical Devices

Carnegie Mellon materials engineer Christopher Bettinger argues that flexible biodegradable batteries safe for human consumption could maximize the benefits of smart pills and devices “by harnessing simultaneous advantages afforded by electronically active systems and obviating issues with chronic implants.” In a recent paper, Bettinger documents that such a battery made from the pigment cuttlefish — sea creatures related to squid — can discharge 10 microamperes of electricity for a period of five hours, with performance under ideal circumstances of up to 24 hours.

Power Storage, Missing Link in Path to Renewables, Gets a Mandate in California

The inability to store electrical power has become more important as the developed world has begun to try to adopt cleaner energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing, but people and factories always need electricity. But energy storage is getting its mainstream debut in California. The state has mandated that by 2024, its major utilities provide 1,325 megawatts of storage, which is slightly more than what a single major power plant produces and about a fifth of a percent of what the state used on average per day, according to the most recent state statistics.

New York Manhole Covers To Deliver Power to Electric Vehicles

New York startup HEVO has come up with a clever way to make EV charging more convenient in urban environments. Reserved parking spots feature what look like manholes in the pavement, but are in fact wireless charging devices that will give the trucks a little more juice while they sit.

General Electric Expands Internet of Things to More Industrial Equipment

General Electric recently took a big step toward realizing the long overdue promise of the Internet of Things, when it more than doubled the industrial analytical software systems it offers to connect machines and handle their data. The company hopes to make its mark by significantly reducing the amount of “unplanned downtime” that industrial equipment undergoes, thereby bringing about economic benefits.

Singularity University Graduates 2013 Class: Startups Emerge To Solve Major Health Problems

Over the weekend, the latest graduates of Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program presented their proposals for using accelerating technologies to solve major world problems. The exhibition offered a sneak peek at the kinds of innovations that may hit the market two to five years from now.

Solar Continued Exponential Growth in 2012, But Politics May Stymie Growth

At any given moment, the sun bathes the earth in enough solar energy to power the world 10,000 times over. Capturing and converting that energy into usable electricity presents major technical challenges. And, for the time being, an international tangle of politics and prices complicates matters further.

Scientists Ponder Human Role in Mid-Atlantic Dolphin Die-Off

The number of bottlenose dolphins beaching themselves along the Mid-Atlantic coast skyrocketed in July and early August, leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare on August 8 an “unusual mortality event” and launch an investigation into what might be causing the deaths.

Musk Estimates Hyperloop Could Shoot Travelers from SF to LA at 760 Miles Per Hour

Elon Musk has long been hinting about a high-speed form of transportation enigmatically named the Hyperloop. Earlier this summer, he promised to reveal his Hyperloop plans in August. After a round of media hype and an all-nighter, Musk recently posted the 57-page Hyperloop Alpha plan online.

Solar Powered Aircraft Flies From SF to NYC Under Solar Power (With a Few Pitstops)

A manned solar-powered plane, dubbed Solar Impulse, recently touched down at New York’s JFK after flying the final leg of its journey across the US. The trip, a decade in the making, was itself but another step on the Solar Impulse team’s quest to fly around the world on solar power alone.

NASA’s Trial Polar Rover Studies One of the Harshest Places on Earth

NASA recently concluded a successful six-week test of a prototype polar rover near the highest point in Greenland, where the robotic vehicle traversed icy terrain in temperatures of minus 30 Celsius to help scientists learn more about how ice sheets are faring in the changing climate — without having to break for hot cocoa.

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