Electricity-Eating Bacteria Are Real and More Common Than We Thought

In the extreme world of bacteria, stunts such as living in hot springs or without oxygen are, like, totally unimpressive. But then there are bacteria that live off electricity, feeding directly on naked electrons. Even more surprisingly, scientists are finding that these bacteria are not even that rare. » 7/17/14 7:47pm 7/17/14 7:47pm

Your Cable Box Is Wasting Absurd Amounts of Energy and Money

Electricity bill got you down? Blame your cable box or PlayStation or printer or refrigerator or any of your smart, networked devices that have a gentle-sounding but energy-sucking "standby mode." A new report from the International Energy Agency puts the energy from networked devices worldwide at 616 terawatt-hours.… » 7/03/14 1:40pm 7/03/14 1:40pm

Scientists Swapped a Toxic Chemical in Solar Cells For a Tofu Ingredient

Thin-film solar cells promise to bring flexible, low-profile solar power to all kinds of surfaces. Unfortunately, constructing thin-film panels requires cadmium chloride, a finicky, expensive, and toxic material. Now, University of Liverpool scientists have figured out how to make solar cells using magnesium chloride,… » 6/26/14 7:15pm 6/26/14 7:15pm

How Obama's Power Plant Regulations Will Transform Our Electric Grid

President Obama and the EPA have just taken their biggest and boldest step ever to fight climate change. The Clean Power Plan, unveiled by the EPA today, is far more important than the Keystone XL pipeline—if also far less sexy to slap on a poster. But these carbon-cutting regulations have the potential to transform… » 6/02/14 3:12pm 6/02/14 3:12pm

Truck transported on a ropeway going up a 5,400-foot mountain

Linthal 2015 is one of the most fascinating power projects going on in the world right now. When finished, this 2.35-billion-dollar pumped storage system will be able to generate as much power as a nuclear power plant—1,480 MW. The only problem is that there are no roads connecting the construction sites, so they have… » 5/15/14 7:29pm 5/15/14 7:29pm

You Can Drive Over This Parking Lot Paved With Solar Panels

If you've scampered barefoot across asphalt on a sunny day, then you know driveways are already absorbing plenty of solar energy. What if we could actually harness it? Solar Roadways has created solar panels so strong you could drive a tractor right over them—plus they light up at night and heat to melt snow. » 5/09/14 2:20pm 5/09/14 2:20pm

The Giant Sparking Globes that Dominate Boston's Museum of Science

Visitors to the Museum of Science in Boston are always in for a hair-raising treat when they enter the facility's Theater of Electricity. This small amphitheater is actually the permanent home of the largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator on the planet—a pair of 40-foot high spheres crackling with up to… » 4/28/14 11:40am 4/28/14 11:40am

How San Francisco Sacrificed a Valley in Yosemite for Water and Power

The electricity that powers San Francisco's streetlights, schools, and international airport begins as a torrent of water inside—of all places—the supposed natural sanctuary that is Yosemite National Park. A century ago, a pristine valley was sacrificed so that San Francisco could continue to exist. » 4/16/14 5:20pm 4/16/14 5:20pm

Pouring Saltwater Over Graphene Generates Electricity

A team of Chinese scientists did an impossible-sounding thing. They created electricity simply by dragging a droplet of saltwater across a layer of graphene. No big fires, no greenhouse gases, no fuss. They created energy with just a miracle material and one of the most plentiful substances on Earth. » 4/15/14 11:15am 4/15/14 11:15am

Scientists Can Now Herd Cells Like Cattle Using Electrical Fields

We've known that flesh wounds create disturbances in the skin's bioelectric field since Emil du Bois-Reymond first placed an injured hand in a galvanometer in 1843. Thanks to a new discovery from a team at the University of Berkeley, we might soon be able to harness those currents to heal ourselves with electricity. » 3/12/14 2:20pm 3/12/14 2:20pm