Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fueling The Future

Popular Mechanics has an extensive article about five new technologies that might replace or reduce our need for oil: a small-scale wind turbine upgraded with new technology developed by a team at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta that makes the turbine productive in low wind speeds; plug-in hybrids that combine extra batteries with a hybrid engine so that the car can drive the first 30 to 50 miles on the battery alone and then switch to the hybrid engine; the wave energy bouy that consist of a series of powerful magnets on a 12-ft.-long shaft that moves up and down through a copper coil and induces an electric current; fuel cells with carbon anodes in oxygenfree sludge that adheres to the anodes, which harvest electrons released by bacteria in the sludge to produce a current; and organic solar cells composed mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules that can be mass produced in cells that are so thin and light that they can be attached to any surface.

The article also discusses two long touted technologies, nuclear fusion and nuclear fission that never lived up to expectations.


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