The Green Internet of Things: Smart Light Bulbs

One of the much-discussed possibilities that has arisen from the slow spread of the internet of things is the increase in energy efficiency as a result of remote control of home devices. The smart thermostat is top of mind in the green-tech thinking about the internet of things. But the internet of things is just getting off the ground, and another major green consumer-goods opportunity seems to opening up adjunct to it: smart light bulbs. Continue reading “The Green Internet of Things: Smart Light Bulbs”

Footsteps power 1,000 LED bulbs (VIDEO)

Researchers are making significant advances in the quest to harvest energy from the most pedestrian of places—a person walking.

A Georgia Tech team has reported that a single square meter of their new flat generator can produce as much as 300 watts of electricity when stepped on.

“We are able to deliver small amounts of portable power for today’s mobile and sensor applications,” Georgia Tech materials science and engineering professor Zhong Lin Wang said in a statement. “This opens up a source of energy by harvesting power from activities of all kinds.”

Wang’s advance harnesses the triboelectric effect, a type of electric charging caused by rubbing together two types of materials with different charges. The phenomenon is familiar to anyone who has gotten a shock by touching metal after walking across a carpeted floor.

But his team has been able to improve their early generator model to increase its power output density by a factor of 100,000, Wang says. The innovation means they can make generators as shoe inserts, foot pedals, floor mats, backpacks, laptop touchpads and for other applications. They also say they can boost power output by stacking multiple layers of inexpensive materials like polymer films, fabrics and paper.

“The fact that an electric charge can be produced through triboelectrification is well known,” Wang says. “What we have introduced is a gap separation technique that produces a voltage drop, which leads to a current flow in the external load, allowing the charge to be used. This generator can convert random mechanical energy from our environment into electric energy.”

Will shoppers one day power the mall they explore? Might sports fans be the generator of their stadium’s electricity? … (READ MORE)



Computational intelligence: The key to making smart grids really smart

Around the world, in developed as well as developing countries, utilities are embracing smart grid technologies to improve the grid’s efficiency and incorporate renewable energy resources into the grid. The strategy is both practical and laudable because it will create the means to meet society’s future electricity demands in a way that also minimizes carbon emissions and reduces electricity’s environmental impacts. Continue reading “Computational intelligence: The key to making smart grids really smart”