An Unexpected Source of Sustainable Energy: Water Crustaceans

Turning wasted materials into energy conversion tools.

A team from Purdue University has discovered a way to use the chitosan on shells from marine creatures to power electronic devices such as your phone screen and medical sensors. Chitosan, a biopolymer (like a protein, cellulose, or DNA), can be extracted from the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobsters, and crabs.

Using the chitosan, researchers were able to synthesize triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) which turn energy into electricity. This includes transforming the mechanical energy produced by our bodies into electrical energy.

According to one of the researchers, Wenzhuo Wu from Purdue’s College of Engineering, this not only presents a responsible way to power some devices—there is an abundance of shell material that otherwise gets wasted—but also provides an opportunity for a “tunable biodegradation rate.”

Wu and colleagues published their findings in Advanced Materials where they share that because chitosan is abundant and readily available, it creates application opportunities across multiple disciplines at a low cost.

Wu says that this tech will help monitor brain and heart activity and “help with touchscreen technologies on medical devices or cellphones.” This is in addition to the augmented reality use for this new TENG tech.

One of the most important aspects about this new development is that the chitosan will help make devices self-powered, and Wu hopes that this development can pave a path for more use of natural bio-materials in science.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Wu and colleagues published their findings in Advanced Materials where they share that because chitosan is abundant and readily available, it creates application opportunities across multiple disciplines at a low cost.

Wu says that this tech will help monitor brain and heart activity and “help with touchscreen technologies on medical devices or cellphones.” This is in addition to the augmented reality use for this new TENG tech.

One of the most important aspects about this new development is that the chitosan will help make devices self-powered, and Wu hopes that this development can pave a path for more use of natural bio-materials in science.


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Henry Sapiecha

Ford Is Planning a Huge North American Electric Charging Network

Dwarfing Tesla’s and any electric vehicle will be able to use it, the company says.

  • Ford will launch the largest electric charging network in North America and any electric car will be able to use it.
  • Once complete, the network will nearly triple the number of Tesla charging stations currently available in the same area.
  • While Ford currently has no electric cars on the market, that will change the soon: the company has been spending heavily on the technology.

Today Ford announced that it will be creating North America’s largest electric vehicle public charging network. The Michigan-based automotive giant will be building out 12,000 places to charge electric cars and over 35,000 charge plugs, despite the fact that it currently has no new electric cars on the market. No set date was given on the network’s completion.

Read more…

U.S. Man Sent To Prison For Installing Wind PowerTurbine On His Property.Video explains.


A U.S. man has been sent to prison for the crime of installing a wind turbine on his own property in Orono, Minnesota. When Jay Nygard decided to add a 2 story wind turbine to his home, he thought that by going the legal route and informing the city of his plans, he was doing the right thing. reports: However, the city denied his request to harvest the wind and create his own energy so Jay decided it was time to fight for not only his rights but the rights of his fellow Minnesotans. “The US federal government, as well as many state and city governments, have been cracking down on individual property rights and sustainable living for some time. Thanks to their incredibly misguided efforts, it is now illegal in parts of the US to have a garden in your front lawn, collect rainwater on your own property, or live “off the grid.” You can even be arrested on your own property for protesting the installation of a pipeline that you never consented to. This troublesome trend is taking place, in part, because the government, and the “system” in general, wish to prevent a significant portion of the population from being independent, empowered and self-sufficient.” Nygard would eventually go to jail for his beliefs. JAIL. While he did eventually remove the not especially loud or ugly turbine (although some of his neighbors did complain), it STILL wasn’t good enough for the city “who demanded that the turbines cement base also be removed. Despite the fact that three engineers said that the removal of the base would cause structural damage to Nygard’s home, the city continued to demand its removal.” Why did the city not permit the turbine? Was it because it allowed him to make his own energy and rely less on, and pay less to, the state? What is happening in this country when a man can’t provide for his family on his own property? When will our government be satisfied with their destruction of our land and environment? I hope it’s soon because we are close to the point of no return.

Henry Sapiecha

HOW I CUT MY ELECTRIC BILL BY 30% VIDEO by doing nothing except knowing a few things

This video presentation is an eye opener when it comes to power usage by cable boxes

Henry Sapiecha

How to legally slow down your electric power meter in this video

Save power usage after you view this little trick in electric power consumption

Henry Sapiecha

Harnessing the power of algae for genuine green energy in this video

Cambridge university researchers say their new algae-powered fuel cell is cheaper than existing plant and algal designs, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable, as David Doyle reports.

Henry Sapiecha

Solar cells integrated into canvas concept is now a reality

Norwegian company Tarpon Solar AS, together with Midsummer AB, has developed a canvas in which solar cells have been laminated into the screen in an innovative manner. For this solution, they have now won the 1st place in the Technology and Innovation Competition MTI Technology Award.

“Each cloth is made for the purpose it will be used for, so the amount of fabric and type of fibre and layer vary. The solar cells are integrated in the production itself and become part of the material”, said Marius Borg-Heggedal, Technical Manager at Tarpon Solar AS.

Tarpon Solar develops canvases for large outdoor structures such as sun shading, stages and much more. The company has now designed a laminated fabric with stable, static structures that do not extend and realised that this material has the properties needed to integrate with Midsummer’s thin film solar cells.

“We obviously see great potential with this solution. Being able to produce renewable energy in a canvas opens up for so many different applications around the world”, said Mattias Dahlberg, Project Manager at Midsummer AB.

Tarpon Solar uses Midsummer’s thin film solar cells, as they are light enough, flexible and robust for the purpose. They produce about 120 watts per square meter. With the technology used, very light canvases are produced. With integrated solar cells, the weight becomes almost the same as with conventional PVC material and the canvas is also stronger and more durable.

Midsummer is a leading developer and supplier of advanced solar energy solutions for the production and installation of flexible solar panels and also a leading Swedish growth and export company. Midsummer has often been named one of Sweden’s and Europe’s fastest growing technology companies.

MTI Technology Award is a competition for new and established companies with a business concept in technology.

Henry Sapiecha

Combined wind, solar and storage energy park to be built in Queensland

Kennedy Phase I is expected to meet the electricity needs of 35,000 average Australian homes(Credit: Tesla)

Windlab has announced that construction will soon start on a combined wind, solar and battery storage facility at Kennedy Energy Park in north Queensland, Australia. Kennedy Phase I is reported to be the world’s first utility-scale, on-grid wind, solar and battery energy storage project and is expected to be up and running before the end of next year.

The Kennedy Energy Park at Flinders Shire in Queensland will be the first wind, solar and battery storage facility connected to Australia’s electricity grid via a single connection. Making the most of Queensland’s later afternoon, evening and night wind increase will be 12 Vestas V136 turbines rated at 43.2 MW. Standing 132 meters (433 ft) tall, they are set to be the largest turbines deployed in Australia.

A 15 MW AC single axis tracking solar setup will soak up the north Australian sun and 4 MWh of Tesla Li-ion battery storage should help smooth out generation spikes and dips. A Vestas’ custom control system will manage the operation of the facility, to “provide the capability for wind and solar to work together as an integrated power plant and comply with grid requirements.”

It’s expected to take just over 12 months to complete construction, with the big switch on penciled in before the end of 2018. Once operational, Windlab says the facility will generate 210,000 MWh of electricity per year, which is said to be enough to meet the power needs of 35,000 average Australian homes. PPA CS Energy has committed to buy all the electricity generated for at least the next 10 years.

This Kennedy project is the first phase of a much bigger renewable energy plan for north Queensland.

Sources: Windlab, Vestas

Henry Sapiecha

Construction of the world’s biggest Li-ion battery completed in Australia

The 129 MWh Powerpack system is the largest Li-ion battery storage project in the world(Credit: Hornsdale Wind Farm)

Back in March, Tesla’s Elon Musk promised to have a proposed battery storage system at the Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia up and running within 100 days, or he’d foot the bill. The project clock started ticking in September and the deadline for the big switch on is December 1, and South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill has today confirmed that it’s built and ready to “be energized.”

Weatherill has confirmed that the Tesla Powerpacks have been fully installed on site and connected to the Hornsdale Wind Farm, and are now undergoing testing to make sure that the batteries meet standards set by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the South Australian Government. The Premier is set to join company reps to officially launch the battery storage facility next week.

“While others are just talking, we are delivering our energy plan, making South Australia more self-sufficient, and providing back up power and more affordable energy for South Australians this summer,” said Weatherill. “The world’s largest lithium ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix, and it sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader renewable energy with battery storage.”

When it goes live, the 129 MWh Powerpack system will be capable of meeting on-demand power delivery for more than 30,000 homes.

Source: Premier of South Australia

Henry Sapiecha

The revolutionary Redox system that produces and stores energy in the home

A new energy production device called a Chemical Looping Energy-on-Demand System (CLES) can produce electricity, heating, cooling, hot water, oxygen and hydrogen in one system(Credit: University of Newcastle)

Imagine having a fridge-sized box in your home that not only generates and stores electricity on-site, but heats and cools the house, provides hot water and even churns out oxygen and hydrogen to use or sell. That’s the vision a team from the University of Newcastle and Australian company Infratech Industries is working towards, and New Atlas spoke to two of the minds behind this potentially game-changing “Swiss army knife” of energy production.

The team calls the device a Chemical Looping Energy-on-Demand System (CLES), and it’s based on an original invention by Professor Behdad Moghtaderi of the University of Newcastle. Infratech, spearheaded by CEO Rajesh Nellore, has been involved almost from the start, helping out with the technical development of the system as well as plans to commercialize it.

An industrial-scale reference plant was unveiled in Newcastle, Australia in early April, designed for a hospital, retirement village or a similar-sized commercial building. The CLES wouldn’t just supply the facility with electricity, but also help out with the heating, cooling and hot water, and produce oxygen and hydrogen that can either be used on-site or sold.

Dr Rajesh Nellore (left), CEO of Infratech Industries, and Behdad Moghtaderi (right), Professor at the University of Newcastle(Credit: University of Newcastle)

In short, the CLES acts like a combination of a generator and a battery: it can use natural gas to generate electricity to power a building, or take electrical energy from the grid or renewable sources and store it for later use. The system is based around a reduction-oxidation (redox) reaction, with a canister of a specially-blended particle mixture that cyclically gains and loses electrons. When those particles oxidize, they heat up, creating steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity. Then, when they reduce again, they release oxygen that can then be collected.

“Reduction is an endothermic process, so you basically consume energy to get it done, whereas oxidation is an exothermic process, you actually produce a lot of heat from the reaction,” Moghtaderi tells us. “So by managing this cycle, we provide energy to the reduction step using an energy source, which could be natural gas, could be off-peak electricity, or could be electricity from renewables like solar or wind.”

Along with power and oxygen, the excess heat that the CLES device produces can be captured and used to directly heat a building, provide hot water or, with the help of a separate attachment, be used for cooling. And to top it off, if needed the process can be tweaked to create harvestable hydrogen.

The particle mixture at the heart of the system is hidden behind a veil of IP secrecy, but the team says that the particles it contains are “naturally occurring,” so they’re readily available and reasonably cheap. The inventors say they buy them for under AUD150 (US$112) a ton, and only a small quantity of them are needed in a system at a time. They’ll be packed inside a cartridge, designed to run through the redox cycles many times over. Cartridge changes will be a necessary evil, but each one is estimated to last between six months and two years, and the team assures us that refills will be priced competitively.

Dual modes

In earning its Swiss army knife title from its developers, the CLES can be run in two different modes. An energy storage mode works like a big battery where energy can be fed into the system from the grid or renewable sources like solar panels, and stored until it’s needed. That could protect the building from outages, take advantage of lower off-peak electricity charges, or simply let its occupants store solar energy for night-time use.

“You could operate it like a typical energy storage system, which means during off-peak hours it would charge the particles, and the particles would discharge during the peak hours,” explains Nellore. “So you get all the products, including electricity, oxygen, hot water, heating, cooling, during the day. It’s the same principle as when you have solar power and a battery.”

The second mode is what the team calls Energy on Demand. On this setting, the unit would be constantly fed energy from natural gas to keep the redox cycle running, generating enough power (along with the other outputs) to serve the building’s needs. The main advantages of this mode is that it helps a facility reduce its reliance on the main grid and use natural gas instead, which is generally cheaper, more reliable and generates only about a third of the emissions.

“In distributed power generation, rather than having a massive centralized grid, you’re talking about much smaller micro-grids,” says Moghtaderi. “This system, in the Energy on Demand mode, has been designed for a micro-grid application. So essentially, if you deploy to a retirement village, and you hook it up to natural gas, that retirement village would be entirely independent of the national electricity network, and they can produce their own power and other utilities, 24/7.”

In this mode, the CLES converts natural gas to electricity with an efficiency of about 45 percent. That’s in the range (albeit towards the lower end) of efficiency ratings for industrial gas-powered turbines of this size. But, Moghtaderi says, that figure jumps to over 90 percent when you consider that the energy lost in the form of waste heat is being reclaimed, and the system is producing oxygen and hydrogen to boot.


In theory, not only could CLES save an organization or residence some money on their power bills, but savvy users could potentially sell off the oxygen and hydrogen by-products for an extra little income stream. And when the system is churning out an average of 120 kg (265 lb) of oxygen per day, that’s going to build up.

But would the average person know how to break into the oxygen resale market? To simplify things a bit, the team has designed a unit that can store and pressurize the oxygen that the system produces into the same standard gas bottles that oxygen is regularly sold in. The researchers admit that this market and infrastructure hasn’t really been developed yet, but they envision that eventually, with enough houses making excess oxygen, resellers might just pop around door-to-door to collect new stock.

“If this gets off the ground, in future the gas companies may not actually need a centralized facility to produce high-purity oxygen, they may rely on residential buildings to do that for them, and they just come and collect it,” says Moghtaderi.

For regular use, small quantities of oxygen could be circulated through the building to freshen up the air inside. But, according to the creators, CLES produces far more oxygen than you’d be able to huff by yourself, so you’re still going to have a surplus to sell. Or, in the case of a hospital or retirement village, canisters could be stored on site for use by patients and residents.

Hydrogen, by its nature, is much trickier. It’s highly flammable and too dangerous for the average household to be producing and storing unchecked. But unlike oxygen, which the system produces constantly as part of its normal operation, the researchers say that the CLES will only create hydrogen when it’s told to. For now, there probably isn’t much need for the average household to produce their own hydrogen, but that might change in the near future, as cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells potentially become more widespread.

“Oxygen is a by-product, and it’s a very valuable commodity,” says Nellore. “But hydrogen would never be permissible in a residential or commercial environment. So it’s only when you have fuel cell cars that need hydrogen, and you’re trying to create a hydrogen infrastructure, then it would make a lot of sense to actually focus on the hydrogen by-product.”

A full-scale reference plant of the CLES is up and running in Newcastle, Australia, and is currently capable of producing 30 kW of energy(Credit: University of Newcastle)


To demonstrate the CLES, the group has built a full-scale reference plant in Newcastle, Australia. About the size of a shipping container, this system is currently capable of producing about 720 kWh of juice per day, which according to the team is enough to power about 30 or 40 homes, a small hospital or retirement village, or a military field hospital. Making the system modular means that it could be scaled up to power bigger commercial buildings, but for now they’re more focused on scaling down to serve individual homes.

“We’re working on a miniaturized version for small residential applications,” says Moghtaderi. “We’re basically trying to compact everything that we’ve got, in terms of reactors, all the vessels, the moving machinery, everything, to the size of a small fridge. Then you can actually make use of the advantages of the system on an individual residential building.”


Obviously one household won’t chew through anywhere near as much power as a hospital or shopping center, so a residential unit will output about 24 kWh a day. Likewise, the budget to buy one won’t stretch quite as far, and although the team is reluctant to put a number on the price tag just yet, they do say that it should be competitive with other home battery systems in both price and power.

“We believe that when we make the miniaturized version for individual houses, in terms of electrical performance, we would be as good, if not better, than Tesla systems,” says Moghtaderi. “In terms of cost, our estimates show it will be about 75 percent of Tesla units.”

Since the Tesla Powerwall currently goes for about US$6,000, we figure that puts the home edition of the CLES in the ballpark of about $4,500 – and the Powerwall isn’t making oxygen on the side. Whatever they end up costing, the team is confident that the system will pay for itself within a year and a half.

A render showing what the planned residential CLES unit might look like(Credit: University of Newcastle NSW AUSTRALIA

Looking ahead

Infratech and the University of Newcastle are planning to roll out the system, in its current larger scale form, during the second half of 2017. A demonstration of the CLES technology will be up and running in a dental hospital in Sydney around July or August, and if all goes to plan, commercial units of this size will be available for sale to similar-sized facilities by the end of the year.

Those looking to get their home off the grid will have to wait a little longer, though, with the miniaturized version about 18 months away. That said, the inventors have a rosy outlook for the future of localized energy production.

“Let’s say you come home, you hook up your laptop and mobile phones to charge using your own power,” says Moghtaderi. “At the same time, you recharge your hydrogen fuel cell car for the next day using the hydrogen that you yourself are generating. Meanwhile, you can inject some of the oxygen that you produce into the house and improve the freshness of the air, or alternatively you could just store it and sell it.”

The system can be seen in action in the video below.

More information: Infratech, University of Newcastle
Henry Sapiecha