Planes Will Start Running on Biofuels From Fallen Trees in Two Years

Now here's some welcome innovation in the airline industry. Southwest Airlines announced today that it will be using biofuel on several of its flights by 2016, purchasing the blended fuel from a Colorado company that salvages "140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock" per year—fallen timber from local forests that… » 9/24/14 4:10pm 9/24/14 4:10pm

This Flapping Device Makes Electricity From Wind Rushing Past Your Car

As far as car accessories go, we have to admit this one looks pretty silly. But the Samsung scientists who made it could also be onto something. The flapping tongues inside are actually coated with gold, and when they rub up against a smooth plate, electricity is created through something called the triboelectric… » 9/23/14 8:30pm 9/23/14 8:30pm

Players Help Power the Lights on This Soccer Field Just by Running

As they make their way up and down the field chasing the ball, the players on this new soccer pitch in Rio de Janeiro are actually helping to keep the lights powered when the sun sets. Because underneath the artificial turf are 200 special tiles that work like tiny generators to harness the kinetic energy of the… » 9/12/14 8:46am 9/12/14 8:46am

How Polar Bears Will Keep the Elephants Warm at the Oregon Zoo

Zoos are weird places. You have fake safari next to fake tundra next to fake rainforest—all separated by a glass and concrete and a few feet of space. At the Oregon Zoo, a new energy plan manages to both subvert and perfectly embody the zoo's artificial ecology: The excess heat from the polar beat habitat will keep… » 9/04/14 2:45pm 9/04/14 2:45pm

Ikea Is Betting Big on These Six Small Tech Companies

Ikea is one of the largest corporations in the world, and even the smallest change in its supply chain could have a gigantic impact on its business. After all, this is a company that uses 1 percent of the world's wood supply. In fact, Ikea operates a whole venture fund devoted to emerging tech, from ice cream to… » 8/27/14 8:39am 8/27/14 8:39am

Why This Company Wants To Build Data Centers Next To Gas Storage Sites

The problem with data centers is excess heat. The problem with liquified natural gas terminals is excess cold. In a perfect world, one problem would neatly cancel out the other—which is exactly the world imagined by Massachusetts-based TeraCool. Coupling data with liquified gas could make a lot of energy sense. » 8/21/14 4:45pm 8/21/14 4:45pm

How Pittsburgh Airport Will Frack for Gas Under Active Runways

Pittsburgh International Airport has seen better days. Saddled with debt from building now unused gates, the troubled airport is expanding into a completely different business: fracking. The airport will stay open as drillers tap the gas reserves underneath, thanks to a technique called horizontal drilling. » 8/12/14 3:21pm 8/12/14 3:21pm

Automatic Skyscraper Shades Bend and Fold to Keep You Comfy

It's the very worst part of working in a giant climate-controlled building: Depending on the time of day, half of the offices end up roasting while the others freeze to death. How about a smart skyscraper skin that adjusts window by window based on the angle of the sun, saving energy and allowing workers to control… » 8/11/14 5:15pm 8/11/14 5:15pm

These Cemeteries Are All That Remain of Mountains Destroyed by Mining

Mountaintop removal mining is exactly as destructive as it sounds. In West Virginia coal country, entire mountaintops have been stripped into barren wastelands for the sake of coal. But every once in a while, you'll see a lonely island of green—a centuries-old cemetery that just barely continues to exist. » 7/17/14 2:35pm 7/17/14 2:35pm