When Maria Surma Manka brought us news of Broadstar Wind Systems last June from Windpower 2008, our interest was stoked, especially considering the fact that Broadstar was claiming that their AeroCam turbine could achieve $1 per watt installed. Well, the company is still beta testing the AeroCam turbine, but demand is crazy and they’re "on track" to install more than 70 turbines. J.C. Penny Co. plans to install AeroCam turbines on their distribution facility in Reno, Nevada by November this year. Plus, 15 companies have contracted to test the turbines and 12 more are in talks.
This technology by Swedish company Home Energy has taken the web by storm over the past couple days. The Energy Ball is an aberration in a small wind market that seems to be dominated by vertical axis, helical, miniature, and three-blade designs. It takes the shape of a puffed up flounder — with an orb of six blades and a fin to guide the orb towards the wind.
There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs. BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement. In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation.
This solar cell tree charger by Vivien Muller is kind of interesting. You can use it to recharge your cellphone, camera, or whatever, because it has 54 tiny photovoltaic panels and an internal battery that stores energy. The modular parts are connected and can be rotated infinitely creating a different tree for your favorite sunny spot at home.
Update 8/08/2012 – Parans is now available through Wasco.
The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none. Generally, here’s how it works. Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).
Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden. Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.