February 6, 2009

Can an Onion Really Charge an iPod?

21-year-old UK resident Owen Louis has devised a way to charge his iPod using an onion! First, Louis makes two holes in the onion, then he soaks it in energy drink. Using a standard USB cable, he connects his iPod to the onion.

According to CleanTechnica, Louis' method is a hoax:

However, according to the Guardian (25 November), it appears that the basic science behind the idea is correct, but that this particular technique is a hoax. The article quotes Jon Edwards of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry (no less), who says "The science behind the idea isn't bad - you can generate an electric current from vegetables - but the video is a hoax." He explains that it can't work because you need two electrodes to provide a reaction and a reason for an electric current to flow.

Mythbusters: Collection 1 (4pc) agrees:

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 29, 2009

China Installs Talking Solar Trash Cans


Ten solar-powered trash cans have been installed in People's Square, Shanghai.

Why would trash cans need solar power? These trash cans talk! The refuse receptacles tell people where the nearest bathrooms are and illuminate a map at night. Eventually, the city plans to install 480 solar-powered talking trash cans.

Via: CleanTechnica

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 13, 2009

Japanese Airport to Store Winter Snow for Summer Air Conditioning

snow-covered-plane.jpg New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan plans to start storing winter snow for summer cooling in 2010. The winter snow will provide 30% of the summer cooling needs. EcoGeek explains this clean technology:
The snow will be covered by heat-insulating materials, which should retain about 45% of the snow collected. The remaining snow will then be used to chill the liquid of the building's cooling system. According to Japan Today, the practice could result in a 2,100 ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year.
Hokkaido's annual snowfall is between 20 to 30 feet. Hopefully this innovative technology will catch on in other snowy cities around the world.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 31, 2008

Year in Review: Top 5 Really Natural Posts of 2008


Happy New Year! The following is a recap of the top ten posts that were written and received the most traffic on Really Natural in 2008.

  1. Solar Hot Water Heaters Found on 90% of Israel's Rooftops: In the 1950s, Israel experienced a fuel shortage, and residents responded by installing solar hot water heaters on their rooftops. By 1983, 60% of homes had solar hot water heaters, and current law requires their installation. Jerusualem's skyline is beautifully cluttered with 90% of homes' rooftops adorned with solar hot water heaters.
  2. Toyota Adding Solar Panels to Prius to Power Air Conditioning: The Toyota Prius has long been the golden child of the environmental movement for its fuel economy. When the EPA changed the standards for reporting fuel economy on new car stickers to include the use of air conditioning, the hybrid Prius lost a few miles per gallon. That may all change, now that Toyota plans to install solar panels on the roof of high end models to power the AC.
  3. Build a Green Home - No More Power Bills Ever: A New Jersey engineer Mike Strizki has created a green home resulting in no more power bills ever, and not just electric bills. Strizki converts sunshine into electricity using photovoltaic panels - and then uses the electricity to wring hydrogen for fuel out of ordinary tap water.
  4. Your Flat-Screen TV is Worse for the Environment than a Coal Burning Power Plant : Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) has been deemed the "missing greenhouse gas", because it is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, yet it is 17,000 times stronger than carbon dioxide! NF3 used to be produced in tiny amounts, but the boom in flat-screen TVs has changed that.
  5. Solar Stik Portable Solar Array Cheaper than a Generator to Run: If you ever have the need for green, portable power, Solar Stik is the "new generator". For example, Solar Stiks were sent to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. What is a Solar Stik? It is portable solar system that weighs about 100 pounds and can be set up in about 10 minutes.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 30, 2008

On Demand, Tankless, Instantaneous Hot Water Heaters

boschtanklesshotwaterheater.jpg On demand, tankless hot water heaters have long been the norm in Japan and Europe, where apartments are usually too small for big tank hot water heaters that are commonplace in the United States. I've been using a tankless hot water heater for 12 years. We currently use a Bosch Aquastar Indoor Tankless Water Heater. This hot water heater is capable of heating 7.2 gallons per minute and provides enough hot water for up to 3 appliances or showers at a time, although I recommend using only one at a time for the best results.

A tankless hot water heater qualifies you for a $300 U.S. Federal Tax Credit and can save you up to 50-percent off your annual utility costs. It does take getting used to a tankless hot water heater once you make the switch. When first turning on the hot water tap, it takes a little while for the hot water to reach your faucet, since the water is being heated on demand and not stored hot like in a traditional tank heater. Also, you will want to consider how you use your hot water, as the pressure will drop if you try to use hot water in multiple faucets and/or appliances at a time. Furthermore, a tankless hot water heater works best with a solar hot water heater that can preheat the water. These lifestyle adjustments are minor considering the energy savings and conservation benefits of a tankless hot water heater.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 23, 2008

Power Your Portable Gadgets with a Fuel Cell Sticker

fuelcellsticker.jpg Fuel cell technology may one day power all your portable devices with a simple sticker! According to Clean Technica:

FuelCellSticker technology from myFC AB could offer a new way to power cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, laptops and all the other little boxes we carry around every day.

Swedish-based myFC's stated mission is to create power solutions for mobile electronics, freeing users from power cords and cumbersome, toxic batteries, while allowing manufacturers and service providers to create more energy-intensive mobile devices and applications.

How cool would that be to just slap a sticker on a device to power it? Each individual FuelCellSticker provides 0.9 watts and can be used together to provide as much power as you need.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2008

Fuel Cell Power Pack for Emergency Preparedness


Medis 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pack can charge your cell phone, Medis flashlight, smart phone, or iPod in an emergency. According to Wikipedia, a fuel cell is:

A fuel cell is an electrochemical conversion device. It produces electricity from fuel (on the anode side) and an oxidant (on the cathode side), which react in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it.
Fuel cell technology is becoming more readily available for consumers, such as the Medis Power Pack. Simply squeeze the power pack to activate it, and you'll have energy to provide up to 30 hours of mobile phone time or 60-80 hours of iPod listening from the 1 watt power pack. The Medis Power Emergency Kit provides:
  1. Instant Power: No pre-charging needed as this fuel cell offers an instant and reliable power source, delivering energy only when needed and can sit on the shelf prior to activation for extended periods of time, while other chargers need to be pre charged for up to 6 hours. The flashlight can be powered for up to 10 days continuously, so it will last several weeks with average use during the night.
  2. Emergency Relief: Every family should have a fuel cell in their home or car so they can generate their own electricity if they lose access to the big grid. As we know, storms and disasters don't have time limits. The Fuel Cell Power Pack can add up to 30 additional hours of talk time to your cell phone, and the Flashlight provides up to 6 weeks of lighting on one Medis Fuel Cell.
  3. Eco-friendly: Medis' fuel cells are environmentally-friendly, using a proprietary fuel that is a patented mixture of Alcohol, sodium borohydride and KOH (alkaline)--all safe for the environment.
  4. Recyclable: Everything in the Power Pack can be recycled. Currently Spent fuel purification and further usage of borates are used for various products for example: detergents, cosmetics, fire retardants, etc.
  5. Retail Cost: Medis' Fuel Cell Emergency Kit retails for $49.99 to $59.99 and includes a Medis 24-7 fuel cell (charger), flashlight, and adapters to charge a variety of portable devices, such as smart phones, cell phones, radios.
  6. Travel Friendly: A DOT permit allows a passenger to carry up to 3 fuel cells in the cabin of the plane, keeping your phone charged on long flights and layovers. With a power pack, travelers never have to worry about being out of touch because they can't find a plug or adapter.
The shelf life for the fuel cell is 18 months if unactivated, or 3 months once it has been opened. There has been some controversy about Medis' fuel cell technology, but this technology could be very useful during power outages and other emergencies.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 19, 2008

Can Biodiesel by Made from Rainforest Fungus?

20081104_fungusroseum.jpg From algae to dirty diapers, it seems like biodiesel can be made from almost anything. Recently, researchers have discovered in the Patagonian rainforest a unique fungus that makes diesel compounds directly from cellulose. Professor Gary Strobel of Montana State University explains:
These are the first organisms that have been found that make many of the ingredients of diesel. This is a major discovery.

Gliocladium roseum could be used to turn the 430 million tons of plant waste that are produced on U.S. farms each year into biofuel.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 12, 2008

Solar iPhone Case Charges Your Mobile Device

solarphonecharger.jpg Want to make your iPhone 3G greener? Charge it with the sun! This solar iPhone case by Mobilefun will charge your phone in about three hours, but it takes 10 hours of sunlight to be fully charged. Finding 10 hours of sunlight in the winter can be a problem, so the case also comes with a Mini USB. Not only does this solar case keep your iPhone charged, it also protects it from scratches, bumps, etc. Via: EcoGeek
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 25, 2008

Easy Bloom Plant Sensor Uses Your Computer to Find Garden Plants

easybloom.jpg Ever wondered what plants will grow in your yard? Zone maps aren't very site specific, and they keep changing due to global warming. The EasyBloom Plant Sensor solves all these problems. Just place this gadget in a growing location, whether inside or out, for 24 hours. It will collect data on light, temperature, humidity, and soil moisture. Then plug your Easy Bloom into the USB port on your computer, and it will recommend plants that are perfect for your specific microclimate. The Easy Bloom also can diagnose why certain plants are failing to thrive in your garden or home.  The EasyBloom Plant Sensor makes growing plants easy!
Via: Outblush
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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