Ultracapacitors: The Key to Effective Electric Vehicles? | Gadgets | DISCOVER Magazine

Capacitors have the handy ability to store and release electrical energy very quickly—much more quickly than the batteries and fuel cells already being used in electric and hybrid-electric cars. Unfortunately, typical capacitors have been able to store only tiny amounts of charge, making them useless for driving the power-hungry engines these cars use. Not so ultracapacitors. While they still can’t store as much total energy as a fuel cell or a battery, ultracapacitors—also known as electrochemical capacitors—can supply the burst of energy needed to accelerate up a hill or around another car on the highway. They can also soak up energy that would otherwise be lost during braking, storing it for later use.

The focus of intense research by automobile makers in recent years, ultracapacitors are finally being tested on the road. AFS Trinity Power in Bellevue, Washington, recently displayed a modified hybrid SUV that uses ultracapacitors alongside batteries and an internal combustion engine, and major manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota have also been experimenting with the technology.

via Ultracapacitors: The Key to Effective Electric Vehicles? | Gadgets | DISCOVER Magazine.


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Study: U.S. Demand for Advanced Lighting to Grow More Than 10% Per Year Through 2013 | LightNOW

CFLs are expected to enjoy the fastest demand growth through 2013 due to legislation targeting household incandescent lamps. Demand for CFLs will surge more than 20% annually through 2013 as consumers transition to the new technology. Nearly one-half of additional advanced lighting demand generated between 2008 and 2013 will be accounted for by CFLs.

LEDs are also forecast to experience robust growth through 2013, benefiting from greater demand in consumer electronics, motor vehicles and nonresidential buildings. Falling prices, increases in light output and improvements in energy efficiency will make LEDs more competitive with conventional lighting products over the forecast period. LEDs will be the fastest growing advanced lighting product through 2018, when demand is expected to approach $3 billion.

via Study: U.S. Demand for Advanced Lighting to Grow More Than 10% Per Year Through 2013 | LightNOW.

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The green measures enacted by Barack Obama in his first 100 days as US president

Barack Obama promised on his very first day in the White House to help move America towards a new green future. Now, 100 days on, environmentalists in general have been impressed by the speed and sheer sweep of Obama’s efforts to leave behind the George Bush era of climate change denial, and try to set in place the foundations of a low carbon future.

So how has he performed? Obama, of course, has not had time to put in place the long-term measures needed to wean America off oil and coal. His administration has also had to scale back some of its ambitions because of opposition from Congress, charged with passing cap and trade legislation, and an American public that – unlike Obama – has yet to see global warming as a priority threat.

The Senate has yet to take up climate change legislation, which sharply reduces the chances of introducing a market-based cap and trade system by the end of this year. The administration has also frustrated some environmentalists.

But most agree that Obama has moved faster, and acted across a wider, than any other president to lay the foundations of a new low-carbon economy.

via Suzanne Goldenberg looks back over the green measures enacted by Barack Obama in his first 100 days as US president | World news | guardian.co.uk.

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Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid


The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems.

via NPR: Power Hungry: Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid.

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OLEDs Can Turn Windows Into Lights

Philips is currently working on transparent OLEDs, enabling OLED panels to function as ordinary windows during the day and become panels at night to imitate daylight or provide attractive indoor lighting. Even during the day, they could function as privacy shields.

via OLEDs Can Turn Windows Into Lights | LightNOW.

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