This Real-Life "Mr. Fusion" Can Turn Leftovers Into Energy

Well, it's 2015, and right on cue, humanity has apparently invented its very own Mr. Fusion. The s0-called "Biobattery", designed by German scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Energy and Safety Technology, will eat everything from human waste to coffee grounds and spit out electricity. » 3/01/15 12:00pm Sunday 12:00pm

How to Understand These Gorgeous Satellite Data Maps of the Earth

NASA's Earth Observatory has spent over fifteen years using satellites to collect hordes of real-time data across our planet's surface. They reveal everything from temperature and energy use, to how much radiation we beam into space. Here's how to understand satellite data maps to understand our planet's vital signs. » 2/26/15 11:39am Thursday 11:39am

Now We Actually Have a Real Reason to Dread Solar Eclipses 

Superstitions have surrounded the eerie solar eclipse since time immemorial. And now, for entirely scientific reasons, it turns out we have good reason to fear them. Earth's biggest solar eclipse since 1999 is happening this March, and it could cause some real disruption—thanks to Europe's reliance on solar energy. » 2/24/15 6:30pm 2/24/15 6:30pm

Apple Just Spent an Incredible Amount of Money on Solar Power

$848 million. That's the amount of cash Apple is spending on what Bloomberg calls "the biggest commercial solar deal EVER." That may seem like a crap ton of money to us, it's still less than a percent of the $178 billion in cash Apple—aka the 55th richest country in the world—has on hand right now. » 2/11/15 4:15pm 2/11/15 4:15pm

What Are Capacitors and Will They Really Charge Your Phone in Seconds?

Your phone died. Again. In these scenarios, who among us has not dreamed the dream of a future where our devices charge instantly and last forever. As capacitors—or even more exciting, ultracapacitors—get better and better at storing energy, they could replace batteries and realize at least one half of that dream. » 2/02/15 12:04pm 2/02/15 12:04pm

An Odd Hypothesis About Bubbles Could Finally Lead to Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is the dream of energy scientists the world over, because it promises limitless, clean electricity. Most efforts to kickstart the process use high-intensity lasers, insane magnetic fields and super-hot hydrogen plasmas. But there may be a more humble alternative. It's called sonofusion, and it… » 1/30/15 5:45am 1/30/15 5:45am

Deep-Fried Graphene Could Be the Future of Batteries

The wondermaterial graphene could have so many crazy applications: Computer chips that run on light, saltwater electricity generation, and on and on. Perhaps most humble and important of all, though, is energy storage. South Korean scientists have found a way to make pom-pom-shaped graphene microparticles ideal for… » 1/19/15 1:25pm 1/19/15 1:25pm

My Climb to the Top of New York City's Tallest Wind Turbine

New York City is no stranger to wind energy. Just this past year, quite a few small wind turbines popped up on roofs all over the city. But when New York's newest, biggest recycling facility decided to build the waste-munching powerhouse of the future, they weren't going to settle for anything less than the tallest… » 1/15/15 1:10pm 1/15/15 1:10pm

Philadelphia literally burns old money for electricity

What happens to old paper money that's too worn out to be used? It's often recycled and made into everything from dog beds to packing materials. But the Philadelphia Federal Reserve office does something even more unique: They send the old currency to local power plants, where it's burned for electricity. » 12/27/14 3:00pm 12/27/14 3:00pm

California's Grid May Soon Store Energy in Giant Ice Packs 

California wants better batteries, which is why the electric company Southern California Edison is planning a set of, let's say, unconventional energy storage solutions, including huge 450-gallon ice packs. Why? It all has to do with a little-known problem with California's wind-reliant electric grid. » 12/22/14 4:55pm 12/22/14 4:55pm

This 1970s Energy Simulator Was Supposed to Make Conservation Fun

In the mid-1970s, Americans were reeling from the energy crisis. The environment was in terrible shape and oil shock was disrupting the economy. So the U.S. Department of Energy developed a new tool to help kids learn about energy use. It was called the Energy-Environment Simulator and it was more fun than a barrel of… » 12/19/14 3:22pm 12/19/14 3:22pm

We've Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century

When the residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma buried a car in 1957 as part of an enormous time capsule, they included containers of gasoline. The good people of Tulsa reasoned that the folks of 2007 might not have any gas left to fill up the Plymouth Belvedere that they were interring for a fifty year journey into the… » 12/11/14 1:45pm 12/11/14 1:45pm

Your Cable Box Is an Energy-Sucking Monster (But It Doesn't Have to Be)

An innocent little cable box can suck up more electricity than your actual TV. The most galling part though? Up to two-thirds of its power-hogging actually happens in "idle" mode, when you're not even using it. The good news is, device makers have the technical ability to make cable boxes that don't waste so much… » 12/03/14 12:00pm 12/03/14 12:00pm

A New Super-Thin Coating Could Cool Buildings Without AC

When it's hot out, buildings have a hard time staying cool: bombarded with ambient heat and generating yet more inside, their air conditioning systems have to work hard to keep temperatures down. Now, a new super-thin coating developed at Stanford could be applied to buildings to help them cool themselves more… » 11/28/14 7:00am 11/28/14 7:00am