Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Tag: Solar Power

Ford Electric Concept Car

Posted by Andrew at 9:53 PM on March 1, 2014

Ford LogoTodd takes a look at Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi concept car, which amongst other things, features a solar panel roof that uses a special light concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass to improve the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Ford reckons that a day’s worth of sunshine is enough to charge the hybrid’s battery, which is good for 21 electric-only miles.

This is good news for the environment as it would reduce yearly carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average US car by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a American house produces in four months. This probably assumes a perfect sunshine record and maximum electric mileage each day, but, hey, every little bit helps.

Review by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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WakaWaka Makes it CES Debut

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:29 PM on January 3, 2014

WakaWaka WakaWaka, which means shine bright in Swahili is a company that is built around providing power and light in areas and situations where electricity is not readily available. Their products including the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power have been used around the world in both natural and man-made disasters in places as diverse as the Philippines and Syria. In areas where electricity is not readily available many people will use Kerosene lamps which are costly, inefficient and dangerous. The WakaWaka Light which is solar-powered can replace the kerosene lamp and provide a safer and more efficient light. The WakaWaka solar power charger will charge up a smart phone within 2 hours while still providing light. Perfect for power outages when your phone is your main communication device with the outside world.

WakaWaka is meeting its mission by selling the WakaWaka Light and the WakaWaka Power at competitive prices in the first world and taking those proceeds to sell the products at an affordable price in areas around the world that are off the grid. WakaWaka is making its CES debut in 2014 in the Venetian Ballroom at booth 70306. Camille van Gestel, the Founder & CEO of WakaWaka, will be attending Unveiled and International CES to present the WakaWaka portfolio, including several exciting new products. He will be available for interviews from January 5 – January 11.

Luci: Lighting the World

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:54 AM on February 18, 2013

Luci

Luci is an inflatable solar power light. It runs on lithium-ion batteries. Luci can be charged in 4–6 hours and will give you 6–12 hours of light. It will maintain a single charge for up to 3 months. You can even set Luci to two brightness levels to help maintain a charge. The enclosure is made of PVC and is waterproof. Luci weights only 4.5 ounces and is 5″ in diameter. It collapses down to the size of a small dinner plate. It is easy to store and carry, making it great for camping, hiking or emergency situations. Luci is also being developed to be used in the developing world, where over 3 billion people either live in areas where the grid is unavailable, unaffordable or unreliable. A simple light can aid in education, increase productivity and lower crime.

Luci is a product of M-Powered which is a benefit corporation. Luci is available thru the website and they hope to have it available in retail stores. They have a buy one give one program. When you buy a Luci for yourself another will go to someone in a developing country. Luci is currently an indiegogo project and they are looking for contributions.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live.

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Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live.

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Goal Zero Launches the New Yeti 150 at CES 2013

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:52 PM on January 6, 2013

When Super Storm Sandy hit the Northeast in late October Goal Zero the leading manufacture of portable solar products was there. They contributed almost $600,000 in portable solar power products as part of their You Buy, We Give Program. They will also be at CES 2013. They will be showing off the Yeti 1250 Solar Power Generator which has been named an CES 2013 innovation Award Honoree and introducing the Yeti 150 Solar Power Generator.

The Yeti 150 Solar Generator weighs 12 pounds and produces 150 watts of power. It has built-in AC, 12 volt and USB ports. It can be charged by the sun in about 15 hours through its 15w Bolder Solar Panel. It is the perfect device to charge up lights, laptops, cell phones and more. If you need something more powerful than the Yeti 1250 Solar Power Generator is what you are looking for. It is built to charge refrigerators, freezers,  home health care equipment and other large devices. It has multiple DC, USB and AC ports with one master switch. It is easy to use and monitor and is rated for continuous usage It is quiet and produces no fumes so can be used safely indoors or out. It takes about 20 hours to charge up with the two included 30W Bolder 30 Solar Panels.

Goal Zero products including the Yeti 150 and Yeti 1250 are built to give people the security knowing that they are prepared if their power goes out. John Atkin, President and CEO of the Utah-based company said. “We (Goal Zero) design all our products to provide our customers with a sense of security. Whether you choose to b away from the grid or it fails our Yeti line of solar generators can help keep the lights on, your phone charged and your refrigerators working. You can follow Goal Zero on Twitter or Facebook. If you are attending CES they will be located at CES Booth Space Location: 35412.

SolarKindle Lighted Kindle Cover

Posted by Andrew at 8:31 AM on February 3, 2012

SolarKindle Lighted Kindle CoverThe E Ink screens of e-book readers are much easier on the eyes than traditional LCD ones but as they’re not backlit, reading in low light or the dark is a little tricky. SolarFocus‘s lighted Kindle cover solves this problem and more. Andy takes a look.

The SolarKindle lighted Kindle cover is a combination of a hard case, LED light, battery and photovoltaic charger. The Kindle clips into the back of the case which has a white LED reading light at the top. The solar cell is on the front cover, letting the SolarKindle charge the battery when the cover is closed. The clever part is that the 1500 mAh battery not only powers the reading light but also the Kindle itself, giving several days of extra reading from a fully charged battery.

SolarFocus won a CES Innovation Honoree Award for the SolarKindle – congrats. Available now for $79.99.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Best RoI for Green Tech

Posted by Andrew at 3:05 AM on December 7, 2009

In GNC #532, Todd mentioned that the price of solar was going to fall by 30%.  In this, case, he was talking about photovoltaic cells, i.e. ones that generate electricity from sunlight, but there are a whole host of green energy technologies.  So what gives the best return on your green investment?

The Self Build show was on in Belfast in the summer.  It’s an exhibition much like any other with stands and booths but this one caters for people who want to plan, build or extend their home.  The exhibitors are really diverse from brick manufacturers to bespoke furniture makers but this year it was the green technologies that were most prevalent.
 
I’d visited the show a couple of years ago and then there might have been a handful at most of stands doing eco-friendly stuff.  Wind turbines, heat recovery and roof tiles made from recycled car tyres was about it.  This year there was a whole hall of stands with ground source heat pumps, solar panels, woodchip-fired boilers, wind
turbines, super insulation, triple-glazed windows – the works.
 
What I wanted to pass on was a presentation given by a local housing association who had been proactive in trying out different energy sources and properly measuring the energy benefit gained.  Given that it was only a ten minute presentation, he didn’t go into detailed facts and figures but the findings were still of interest.  Remember this relates to about 55 degrees North and there may be regional variations.
 
Here are the technologies that were investigated and a summary of the findings.
 
i) Ground source heat pumps – these work well where underfloor heating or air heating is used to heat the house, as the temperature only needs to be raised to 25-30C.  Savings are greatly reduced if trying to raise temperature to 60C for hot water or for radiator-based
central heating.  Consequently, it’s difficult to retro-fit this technology to an existing house, but it’s ideal for new builds.
 
ii) Air source heat pumps – as for the ground source heat pumps but pumps tend to be less reliable and noisier.  This may not be so much of an issue in the US or hot countries, where air conditioning units are more prevalent.
 
iii) Wind turbines – the small wind turbines used in domestic situations are often not high enough off the ground and suffer badly from turbulence.  The cost / benefit of these devices was often marginal, but it does depend a great deal on location.  The presenter
thought that vertical axis turbines might overcome some of the issues but hadn’t been able to do a study.  If the turbine does generate surplus electricity, this can be sold back to the grid.
 
iv) Photovoltaic cells – currently too expensive and provide too little energy in northerly latitudes to be worthwhile.
 
v) Solar panels (evacuated tube) – after the ground source heat pump, probably the best next thing to consider.  Usually only used to heat hot water as heating effect varies during the year, but overall good cost-benefit, even in northerly climates.  Evacuated tubes are more efficient than similar flat plat models and are easier to fix if damaged.  Can be retrofitted to existing properties.
 
vi) Solar panels (flat plate) – as for evacuated tube but less efficient.
 
vii) Woodchip fired boilers – instead of burning oil or natural gas, the fuel is woodchip pellets.  The main benefit of these boilers is the low cost of the fuel which is typically a quarter that of oil or gas for a similar heat output.  The biggest downside is the storage space need for the storing the woodchip pellets.  If you have the space, can be fitted into existing homes.
 
While this is not an exhaustive analysis, it should provide enough information for you to start your own in-depth analysis.  I’m installing into an existing property and previously, I’d been considering the wind turbines.  However, I think that the evacuated tube solar panels are now the best choice and will be looking into those instead.

Do also bear in mind the environmental conditions that you currently live in – this study was for the northerly part of the UK so pick your tech accordingly and do your homework.

GNC-2009-07-03 #490 Happy Indepence Day

Posted by geeknews at 12:57 AM on July 3, 2009

Have solved my FF crashing issue and we have show notes once again. My winning podcasters check in and are ready to roll. Lots of tech news tonight but I take a little time at the beginning of the podcast to talk about Q3 Advertising and how things are going on that front.

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