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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.

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.

Oslo Burns So Much Trash for Energy They’re Importing Rubbish

The US throws out 250 million tons of garbage a year. Roughly a third is recycled, and the rest is landfill. You might think that’s a problem, but one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Oslo, Norway burns rubbish to power and heat homes, and they’ve run out. The city imports trash from Sweden, Ireland, England—and they wouldn’t mind taking on a few tons from the US.

Our Singularity Future: Humanity’s Trash Piling Up In Great Lakes

Technology allows us to achieve great things – so many goods are made affordable, for example, by mass production. But when mass production is not responsibly planned out and regulated, trash starts piling up.

Report: Energy Remains As “Dirty” As Ever Despite Rise Of Renewable Energy

A new report from the International Energy Agency shows that, despite the rapid spread of renewable technologies, the energy produced today is just as “dirty” as it was 20 years ago.

CO2 Emissions in US Plunge to 1994 Levels As Natural Gas Booms

Proponents of natural gas, or methane in its purest form, say it is cleaner than coal and oil, lacks the PR problems and toxic waste byproducts of nuclear, and more efficiently produces electricity than sustainable sources. It is abundant and, in recent years, cheap. Is natural gas the future of energy production, a risky stop-gap measure to energy independence and cleaner energy, or simply overhyped?

America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Closer To Reality After Receiving $2 Billion From Japanese Bank

Offshore wind farms are finally arriving on US shores – and they’re doing it with foreign help. Plans to install Cape Wind, a 468 MW, 130 turbine wind farm in the waters off the...

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Online In United Arab Emirates

And now, this country that has risen from poverty to become the world’s thirteenth richest after striking oil, is doing renewable energy in a characteristically big way. They’ve just completed the world’s largest solar power station.

Accelerating Technology Parallels Exponentially Rising Piles of Junk

In the midst of a move and digging through the clutter, I’ve excavated a number of ancient pieces of tech from bygone eras. There’s a 2004 Apple Powerbook that’s thicker than the econ textbook it’s sitting on, a cracked first generation iPhone, and an early “flatscreen” TV (that’s far from flat). What to do with this stuff? The faster we move from one generation of technology to the next, the faster the current iteration is destined for the trash heap. Does accelerating tech therefore doom us to flee an uninhabitable WALL-E world in the future? Maybe, but probably not.

‘Net-Zero’ Energy Store Being Built By Walgreens

Could a large American retail store produce as much energy as it consumes? Walgreens is going all 'green' to find out. The company recently announced a plan to erect a 'net-zero' energy store to replace an older one located in Evanston, Illinois. Through thoughtful and innovative design, the prototype store is specially designed to utilize various renewable energies technologies, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, in order to produce as much or potentially even more energy than it actually needs to operate.

Sea Installer – The Enormous Ocean Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

Technological progress advances our ability to build bigger and badder machines. A recent example is Sea Installer, part of the next generation of powerful wind turbine installation vessels that are capable of moving and installing...

GravityLight — Using Gravity To Bring Light To The Developing World

On the simplest level, GravityLight converts gravitational energy into light, just like its name promises. That's right, you lift a bag filled with 20 pounds of stuff (sand, earth, whatever) and attach it to a cord. As gravity pulls the bag down, an LED light is illuminated, working kind of like those hand-cranked flashlights. A braking mechanism causes the weight to drop slowly, producing about 30 minutes of light, and returning the bag to its original height "restarts" the light.

Stanford Group Successfully Fabricates ‘Peel and Stick’ Solar Cells

In a December paper published in Nature’s preliminary research online publication, Scientific Reports, Stanford researchers announced a fabrication process that makes thin-film solar cell (TFSC) stickers. The resulting TFSCs are thinner and lighter than today’s solar panels. And according to the researchers these “peel-and-stick” solar cells can be stuck just about anywhere—no surface is too curvy or uneven.

German Military Laser Destroys Targets Over 1Km Away

A German company has brought us one step closer to the kinds of shootouts only seen in Sci-Fi films. Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Defense recently tested a 50kW, high-energy laser at their proving ground facility in...

Norway Begins Four Year Test Of Thorium Nuclear Reactor

A Norwegian company is breaking with convention and switching to an alternative energy it hopes will be safer, cleaner and more efficient. But this isn't about ditching fossil fuels, but rather about making the...

European Union To Spend $900M Building Super Lasers More Powerful Than Any Yet Constructed

On the coattails of CERN's success with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Europeans and the world at large have another grand science project to be excited about: the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project involving 40 research...

Towers Of Vegetables Go Up As Singapore Builds First Vertical Farm

Short on arable land? One solution would be to plant…up. Singapore, a small country that imports most of its food, has now begun selling vegetables from its first vertical farm. And even while they’re...

U.S. Army Embraces 3D Printers: “It’s Kind of a Magical Thing”

The following article was written by Singularity Hub Member David McNally from the U.S. Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command, and appeared on www.army.mil. ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 3, 2012) -- When you walk...

Surging Solar in 2011 Proof of Ray Kurzweil’s Bold Prediction?

A recent report by British Petroleum (BP) found solar power generating capacity surged 73.3% last year. If you’re a dedicated fan of the singularity, statistics like that are reminiscent of Ray Kurzweil’s solar dictum—that solar...

ReadySet Solar Charger Successful In Africa Now Headed To US

Want renewable energy in a small, portable package? Then the ReadySet solar charger by Fenix International may be the closest thing to a perfect on-the-go kit for anyone excited about solar power. The charger was initially...
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Physicists At CERN Believe They Have Found Elusive Higgs Boson

The world of physics is electrified today with the news that a new particle has been detected that is consistent with the elusive Higgs boson, the long-sought after particle responsible for the forces in...
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Around the World Without a Drop Of Gasoline – Solar-Powered Catamaran Nears End Of More Than Two Years At Sea

Right now crossing the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Red Sea is a catamaran that is nearing the end of a journey that, when it’s completed, will have taken it around...

The Current State Of Wind Power — 2012 Should Be The Biggest Year Yet

When Barack Obama ran for President back in 2008, one of the 'changes' that he set forth was a New Energy Plan for America, which included a requirement that by 2012, 10% of US...
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Endless Windmills In the Ocean Powering Our Cities? It’s Not SciFi, It’s Here…At Least in the EU

From a distance they look like white toothpicks standing up out of the ocean. Up close they are towering engines of motion, whirring in the face of unforgiving gusts of wind. Offshore wind farms...

Solar Powered Bags Get You Ready To Go Back To School

Every time my mobile phone battery dies while I'm on the go, it takes a little part of me with it. Thankfully I can get that lost chunk of soul back with the power...

Solar Roadways: Crackpot Idea or Ingenious Concept?

Scott and Julie Brusaw have a way of solving the energy crisis, it just involves you driving on glass. The Brusaws are the founders of Solar Roadways, an Idaho based startup looking to reinvent...

UK Scientists Use Laser To Give False Memories to Flies

It's not enough that we swat flies or lure them to get stuck on glued paper, now we are also writing false memories into their brains. A team of neuroscientists at the University of...

Video of Airplane Laser Hitting Truck!

// For those of us living in fear of a deadly truck uprising, Maximum Overdrive must have scared someone, we can finally rest easy knowing that Boeing recently used a laser attached to...

The National Ignition Facility Aims to Create a Mini Star

World, meet the National Ignition Facility: a massive and incredible research device to study (and create) controlled nuclear fusion. Containing the world's largest and highest-energy laser, the facility hopes to create the first...

6 in 1 Solar Robot Kit: Standing on the Shoulders of Giant Memes

I don't usually do toy reviews, but the new 6 in 1 solar robot kit from Red5 is pretty cool. It's a transformer (note the lower case t), it's solar powered, and it's a...

Laser Surgery Probe Precise Enough to Target Individual Cancer Cells

The University of Texis at Austin reports that Professor Adela Ben-Yakar and colleagues have developed a femtosecond laser "microscalpel" that is so precise that it can destroy a single cell while leaving nearby cells...

Stimulating Nerves With Light Instead of Electricity Opens New Doors for Science

For decades now the standard approach to stimulating human nerve cells has been to use the method used by the human body itself - electrical current. Electrical stimulation of nerves is quite effective, but...

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