Posts Tagged ‘ Electricity ’

Charging Phones Using Everyday Noise

Charging Mobile Phones using soundMobile phones may someday be able to recharge using the sounds around them. This can be possible with the help of piezoelectric property of zinc oxide, when the zinc oxide nano-rods are squashed, stretched or bent, they produce a voltage. The nano-rods can be coated onto various surfaces in different locations making the energy harvesting quite versatile. The zinc oxide nano-rods respond to vibration and movement created by everyday sound, such as our voices too. Researchers are working on it from many years to design a nanogenerator which can be used to power devices like mobile phones and now they somewhat succeeded in it.

Few years ago, a few Korean scientists had proposed using sound to charge mobile phones. They explained that it could be done by utilizing piezoelectric effect, in which zinc oxide nano-wires converted sound-caused vibrations into electricity. At the time, the researchers couldn’t generate enough of a voltage to actually charge a phone. But now as per recent research, scientists from Nokia and Queen Mary University of London have succeeded in doing so.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and researchers at Nokia built a mobile device that can be refueled when everyday background noise, including traffic and music, is converted into electricity. In future, it could be possible to charge mobile phones using everyday background noise such as traffic, music, cheers from a football field or chatter from a coffee shop and our own voices.

Scientists are now able to generate five volts by using this method, which is enough to charge a phone. Certainly, this technology can change the way we charge our devices if it will make its way to the smartphone industry. It’s still a thing of future and matter of research so far.

Reference: Mobile phones come alive with the sound of music

Google Search in the Physical World

In future, it could be possible to run a Google search in the physical world. For example, asking Google “where are my keys?” would give you the right answer if they have been fitted with tiny motes in your home, in your surroundings or in your place. A mote is a node in a wireless sensor network that is capable of performing some processing, gathering sensory information and communicating with other connected nodes in the network.

Thousands of tiny wireless sensors(motes) could one day be used to monitor your world. They will have tiny CPUs that run programs on a skeleton operating system and be able to access equally small banks of RAM and flash memory. These sensor-packed machines can be embedded in buildings and objects in large numbers, may be in hundreds or even thousands as per requirement according to the objects to provide constant updates on the world around us.

The motes will be smart enough to collect power from their surrounding. The motes will live off the power they can get from their surroundings. A mote near a light source might use a tiny solar panel, while a mote running somewhere with greater temperature extremes can be built to tap into that, by converting the heat energy that flows between hot and cold into electricity. These tiny wireless sensors(motes) could be used to monitor every tiny movement of large structures like bridges or skyscrapers in coming decades. The motes in a house could report back on lighting, temperature, carbon monoxide levels and occupancy. With motes embedded in all of your belongings it might be possible to run interent in the physical world to search your queries, and you would hear or get the right answers.

Reference article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829146.400-smart-dust-computers-are-no-bigger-than-a-snowflake.html

Incredible Solar Energy

Almost a year back, I worked in Central Electronics Limited as an intern for some months where I learned the concepts of solar photovoltaic and some other technologies. The time I spent there made me realize the true power of solar energy. So, in this post I want to share some of the things and fact about solar energy. I am not writing about any manufacturing process or any other kind of idea here, just some common solar energy related things.

Here’s it:

Our planet receives incredibly large amount of solar energy in its atmosphere and Earth surface approximately reflect back 30% of the received solar energy back to the space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans, land masses, and by the Earth surface. Now as the solar energy received by the Earth is incredibly large in amount, so if ever we able to use merely few percent(lets say 6-10%) of it then it can alone provide the enough power to the whole world to fulfill its all demands and requirements of electricity. The Sahara Desert receives that much amount of solar energy that it can alone power the whole Europe and more; now you can have idea about the capability of solar energy that Earth receives. But due to various reason, it’s still not possible to efficiently use this renewable and this incredibly large amount of energy. The process of harnessing, then storing, and then transmitting it to the people of the planet is somewhat expensive than other methods of generation of electricity, the process is complex as compared to other methods, the efficiency of solar panels is still not that great and there is some uncertainty in the information of solar energy. So far, it is believed that 99.99% of all the solar energy in the form of solar radiation goes to waste.

The amount of solar energy that strikes the Earth in one hour is more than enough to provide all of the Earth’s energy needs for a complete year. The top photovoltaic panels only have an efficiency of about 15%, meaning that only about one seventh of the solar energy that hits the panel is converted into usable electrical energy and with the rise in temperature, a photovoltaic panel loses its efficiency. So, there is great need to improve efficiency and some pitfalls of photovoltaic panels, and until the cost of producing a solar panel is lowered, solar energy can’t match the cost of current energy production. Moreover, depending on the location in relation to the equator, one may need more solar panels to accumulate the same amount of power. Solar energy is not available at night and therefore energy storage is an important issue for continuous supply of power from solar energy systems. Off-grid photovoltaic systems use rechargeable batteries to store excess electricity and in grid-tied systems, excess electricity can be sent to the transmission grid, while standard grid electricity can be used to meet shortfalls. There are some other ways also for this purpose like thermal mass systems and molten salts systems.

With the improvement in the methods, using new ideas and technologies, and with the advancement in field of solar energy, it is possible that solar energy will be our one of the major method for production of electricity in future.

Here are examples:

Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant-

Gemasolar is a concentrated solar power plant with a molten salt heat storage system, located within the city limits of Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville, Spain. Gemasolar is the first commercial solar plant with central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology.  In addition, its storage system allows it to produce electricity for 15 hours without sunlight. This storage capacity makes its solar power manageable so that it can be supplied based on demand. Gemasolar, with its 19.9 megawatts of power, can supply 110 gigawatts per year which is enough to supply power to 27,500 homes. The plant has been operational since May 2011.

Solar energy, future of energy production, Gemasolar, Spain

Source: http://www.torresolenergy.com, Author: Torresol Energy
Gemasolar

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System-

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, is a solar thermal power project currently under construction in the San Bernardino County, California, USA, with a planned capacity of 392 megawatts which is the highest capacity of any solar thermal power stations in the world. There are many other solar thermal power stations across the world.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

The future of electricity transmission

Day by day, technology is advancing very rapidly; there will be many changes in coming decades in the world of technology and one of them will be wireless transmission of electricity. Yes, in the coming few decades electricity will be transmitted without the use of wires.

The first person to actually make wireless transmission of power possible was Nikola Tesla. Tesla demonstrated wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices in 1891, and aspired to intercontinental wireless transmission of industrial power in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project and still wireless transmission of electricity is a field of research. It might be possible that this technology will come into existence in few decades.

Here’s something about this technology:

Primarily, this technology may starts from mid-range transmission methods that could charge or even power portable devices such as cell phones, laptops, PDA and all that kind of devices or possibly all other range of electric and electronic appliances. And for sure, this technology will going to eliminate the need for multiple wall sockets and bulky cables and will greatly reduce clutter in homes and offices. In place of batteries, electronic devices will have antennas to draw power from a single power node mounted in the ceiling or in the wall of a room. Electromagnetic waves are transmitted through the air from the device present in the ceiling or in the wall. These waves are then received by the device like cell phone or other appliance through their receiving antenna. And in this way electricity will be transmitted without using wires. So definitely, there will be new way of transmission of electricity in the coming decades, maybe by the late 2020s.