With most of the attention focused on the political upheaval going on in the Middle East and Egypt, even most technology-related news has to do with the internet being cut-off over there.
Luckily, we’ve had some nice developments over here, though not quite as dramatic. Today is all about some big steps forward in greengineering.
New technology has allowed electric cars to have another chance. Besides hybrids, electricity and cars don’t really mix. That’s because it just takes too much power to drive a car; an electric car can run for something like 80 miles. So they might make good commuters to work, but really can’t do anything else. But now, solid-state batteries with triple the power can be made using a printing press.
What they do is create an energy-storing ink-like substance which can be printed on thin sheets of plastic or steel. Each one of these can function as a power cell, since they can store energy. Cut these up and assemble them into a giant stack, and you’ve got a battery which doesn’t need some of the components a normal car battery would (casing, polymer separator, and things like that).
It might also help that car headlights are now being produced with energy-saving LED bulbs—but why aren’t our house lamps? We’ve got CFLs which save money and power, but they’ve got dangerous stuff in them (like mercury!) and are therefore hard to recycle. LEDs have been used in computers for years, and are finally penetrating the rest of the lighting market. These ones take only 9 watts and can replace a 60-watt bulb (compared to a CFL, which would be about 15 watts—good, but not as good).
Here’s the kicker though: they’re really cheap to produce, look great, and can last more than 20 years. Go buy some now so you can be the cool kid in the neighborhood. It’s like having a swimming pool, I swear.
Seriously though, they look pretty cool. LED bulbs are very heat-sensitive, relatively speaking. So while they don’t produce much heat at all, they need to remain even cooler than other bulbs. Because of that, they have really cool-looking heat sinks to disperse heat.
Things like this really make some people excited. We’ve had this kind of technology for a while, and just haven’t really applied it to the right areas. Some people at Stanford University go so far as to say that just using today’s technology, we could move to powering the entire world using only alternative energy—in as soon as 20 years. I’ll finish off with Stanford’s video about it:
So basically he says we need the power of wind, water…