Report: World Solar Demand Will Grow 75%
Engineering Materials 9/15/2014 27 comments The demand for solar energy around the world will grow a total of 75% by 2019, according to a new report by Lux Research. Trade disputes and policy changes, though, will complicate the picture.
CO2-Based Plastic Nears Production
Engineering Materials 9/8/2014 5 comments Bayer MaterialScience is using CO2 to produce a precursor for high-quality polyurethane foam at its pilot plant in Leverkusen. The transition to full-scale manufacturing is expected in 2016.
Video: Temporary Tats Harvest Energy from Sweat
Blog 8/29/2014 21 comments Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
Update: Converting Plastics to Energy Could Boost US Reserves
Engineering Materials 8/27/2014 23 comments Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
Good News & Bad News About Ocean Plastics
Engineering Materials 7/28/2014 22 comments The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
10 of the World's Smartest Cities
Blog 7/21/2014 29 comments Major global metropolitan areas are implementing a vast number of technology, energy, transportation, and Internet projects to make the metropolis a friendlier, greener, safer, and more sustainable place to be.
Video: Teen Invents iPhone-Charging Insole
STEM Connection 7/14/2014 10 comments Angelo Casimiro, a 15-year-old living in the Philippines, has designed an insole that uses two pairs of piezoelectric discs that produce electricity when they bend inward. When a person steps down on the discs in the insole, they produce electricity. He used two sets of discs to produce double the amount of electricity that one set would allow.
10 Engineering-Friendly Foods
Blog 7/3/2014 38 comments Normally it’s chefs who find inspiration in food. But a number of clever engineers and inventors are doing the same these days, developing new materials, biofuels, ways to harvest energy, and other inventions by using common foods and food waste to create the foundation or impetus for their designs.
Giant Flow Battery Connects Solar to the Grid
Blog 6/9/2014 16 comments A number of companies and researchers are working on storing energy from renewable sources so it can be reused on a grand scale and connected to the traditional power grid. EnerVault is the latest company to develop a viable solution.
Slideshow: Airbus Launches All-Composite, All-Electric Plane
Engineering Materials 5/27/2014 79 comments Airbus Group's all-electric, all-composite training aircraft took its first public flight last month during the company's E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux, France. The experimental aircraft was designed and built as a technology demonstrator for small planes used to train pilots.
Congress Is Working on an Energy Bill… Again
Guest Blogs 5/14/2014 6 comments Congress is once again working on the bi-partisan Shaheen-Portman bill that will bring forth many energy efficiency measures to add as many as 190,000 jobs and save as much as 12 quads of energy by 2030.
Would You Pay $30K for an Electric Car?
Captain Hybrid 5/12/2014 103 comments Even if automakers cut the cost of the electric vehicle battery and reach the $30,000 target, big sales are hardly a foregone conclusion. There's still no guarantee that large percentages of mainstream buyers will bite.
Can Tesla's $5 Billion Bet Pay Off?
Captain Hybrid 5/7/2014 37 comments Whether or not the much-publicized “Gigafactory” is successful, Elon Musk’s grand vision of a gargantuan battery plant may turn out to be one of the most ambitious manufacturing efforts in American business history.
Video: Glass-Paved Roads Provide Solar Power
Blog 4/30/2014 28 comments Scott and Julie Brusaw are the inventors of Solar Roadways, a project to develop solar panels durable enough to be driven on so they can replace asphalt or concrete surfaces of parking lots and roadways.
Solar Impulse 2 Flies New Materials
Engineering Materials 4/24/2014 26 comments Solar Impulse 2 -- a 100% solar-powered airplane -- has been completed. It features several advanced materials, some developed specifically for next year's attempted around-the-world flight.
3D Pictures of Huge, Self-Assembled DNA Structures
Engineering Materials 4/15/2014 5 comments Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
Fraunhofer Designs Flexible Energy Harvesters for Wearable Tech
Blog 4/2/2014 2 comments The increasing interest and development of wearable electronics also is calling for new types of power sources that are flexible and compact enough to fit into these devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are working on this problem with the design of a flexible energy harvester that can be manufactured through a low-cost printing process.
Slideshow: Bioplastics Concept Car Runs on Biofuel
News 3/28/2014 26 comments Plastics have been a big deal in automotive lightweighting for quite a while, but bioplastics not so much. Until now. The Biofore Concept Car, using biomaterials from Finnish manufacturer UPM and running on UPM's biodiesel, premiered at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month.
Slideshow: Drop-in Jet Biofuels Becoming a Reality
Engineering Materials 3/25/2014 16 comments Drop-in jet biofuels have started becoming a reality during the last year. Along with major deals between airlines, engine makers, and fuel producers, one main source may turn out to be renewable diesel already used in ground vehicles, which could make prices competitive with fossil jet fuels.
3D-Printed Wood – Really!
Engineering Materials 3/17/2014 42 comments Does it sound like magic? It's not. You can 3D-print with wood filaments right now, using a choice of colors and filament widths. Objects made from these materials range from things resembling plastic or lumber to stunningly beautiful art pieces that look just like the real thing.
EcoVolt Technology Transforms Beer Into Energy
Blog 3/13/2014 21 comments Boston-based Cambrian Innovation has developed a solution called EcoVolt that uses bioelectrochemistry to treat wastewater so it can be turned into electricity. The company is targeting the beverage industry to convert waste from making beer and wine into energy breweries and wineries can use to run their operations.
Slideshow: Considering the History of Electric Cars...
Captain Hybrid 3/6/2014 38 comments California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
Hospitals Require Efficient, Low-Cost Electrical Power Distribution
Guest Blogs 2/28/2014 1 comment Engineers use efficiency enhancing products in hospitals that help cut down on utility costs and increase the efficiency of power distribution across the board. These installation devices can be high-voltage transformers and other circuits that enable a facility to get continuous power supply.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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