Bioo is generating electricity from the organic matter in soil and creating biological batteries to power agricultural sensors, a growing $1.36 billion global market. Eventually, Bioo envisions a future where biology could help to power our largest cities.
Retail energy companies compete with local utilities to give U.S. consumers more choice. But in nearly every state where they operate, retailers have charged more than regulated incumbents, meaning you may be paying more for your electricity than your neighbors. Here’s why. Photo Illustration: Jacob Reynolds
Texas had a rough winter in 2021. In mid-February, with temperatures dropping to the single digits, demand for electricity hit a record high throughout Texas. Supply ran short, causing the state’s electric grid operator to implement rolling power outages.
At the height of the crisis, more than 4.5 million customers lost power. The freak winter storm caused neighboring states such as Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas to also impose rolling blackouts. Texas residents shivered in the cold, as outages lasted for days at a time. They lost access to water. Some resorted to turning on their cars in their garages to keep warm then died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The historic breakdown was a wake-up call — if the power grid in Texas was so fragile, what about the rest of the United States? The U.S. has faced a 67% increase in weather-related power outages since 2000, according to data from Climate Central. Part of the problem is an aging infrastructure. Most of today’s power grid was built in the 1950s and ’60s, with the hopes that it would last for 50 years.
The U.S. electric grid is outdated. Designed for a world that runs on fossil fuels, our grid needs some major tech upgrades in order to transition to a more distributed, all-renewable system. That means smart, internet connected hardware working in tandem with advanced data analytics software to ensure that supply and demand are balanced, even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.
How has Einstein’s work on photons ushered in a golden age of light? Oliver Morton, The Economist’s briefings editor, explores why laser’s applications have been spectacular and how solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in many countries.
Also, he talks to the scientists scanning the skies with the largest digital camera in the world.
A wind turbine, or alternatively referred to as a wind energy converter, is a device that converts the wind’s kinetic energy into electrical energy. Wind turbines are manufactured in a wide range of vertical and horizontal axis.
An abundance of fossil fuels combined with advances in technology to harness wind and solar power has sent energy prices crashing around the world. WSJ explains how it all happened at once.
Photo illustration: Carlos Waters/WSJ
On this week’s show, Staff Writer Robert F. Service talks with host Sarah Crespi about manipulating microbes to make them produce building materials like bricks—and walls that can take toxins out of the air.
Sarah also talks with Paul Davids, principal member of the technical staff in applied photonics & microsystems at Sandia National Laboratories, about an innovation in converting waste heat to electricity that uses similar materials to solar cells but depends on quantum tunneling. And in a bonus segment, producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Online News Editor David Grimm on stage at the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle.
They discuss how wildfires can harm your lungs, crime rates in so-called sanctuary states, and how factors such as your gender and country of origin influence how much trust you put in science.
This week, machine learning helps batteries charge faster, and using bacterial nanowires to generate electricity from thin air.
In this episode:
00:46 Better battery charging
A machine learning algorithm reveals how to quickly charge batteries without damaging them. Research Article: Attia et al.
07:12 Research Highlights
09:21 Harnessing humidity
A new device produces electricity using water in the air. Research Article: Liu et al.
16:30 News Chat
Coronavirus outbreak updates, the global push to conserve biodiversity, and radar reveals secrets in an ancient Egyptian tomb. News: Coronavirus: latest news on spreading infection; News: China takes centre stage in global biodiversity push