If you think light switches and thermostats are not very high tech, think again. EnOcean GmbH is shipping wireless modules that use energy harvesting techniques so no batteries are required. To meet the new thrust to manage lights and temperature using wireless technologies that offer more precise control, modules must be small enough to fit in a light switch and be cost-competitive with battery-powered systems. EnOcean's 1.5-inch square module gathers energy from solar sources while also monitoring minute changes in pressure, temperature, vibration and motion to generate electricity. A Microchip Technology controller manages power gathering and radio communications. A proprietary radio transmitter helps keep power demands low.
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.
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