Energy

Robert Sansone with his novel synchronous reluctance motor.

This 17-Year-Old Designed a Motor That Could Potentially Transform the Electric Car Industry

Robert Sansone's research could pave the way for the sustainable manufacturing of electric vehicles that do not require rare-earth magnets

An alkaline hydrolysis machine at White Rose Aqua Cremation in Escondido, California

Could Water Cremation Become the New American Way of Death?

A sustainable option for what to do with our remains is trickling into popular consciousness

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When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said 'No Thanks'

Back in the 19th century, coal was the nation's newfangled fuel source—and it faced the same resistance as wind and solar today

Smart windows that tint in response to stimuli such as heat or light, or a user’s preference, are becoming more common, but it may be a while before the tech is mainstream.

What Will It Take for Smart Windows to Go Mainstream?

Specialized glass that keeps heat in during winter and lets it out during summer could make buildings much more efficient

Steered by a computer to loop in the wind, this kite converts wind energy into electricity via a tether attached to a generator on the ground. Currently, such kites can generate enough electricity to power 60 average US households.

Planet Positive

Could High-Flying Kites Power Your Home?

Nearly a dozen companies are betting on computer-controlled, airborne wind energy to electrify the future

A new way of recycling has grabbed the attention of some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including L’Oréal, Nestlé, and PepsiCo, who collaborated with startup company Carbios to produce proof-of-concept bottles.

The Future of Recycling May Be in Microbes

An enzyme-based recycling technology is poised to go commercial, but questions about cost and scalability linger

Artist rendering of a solar canal system for California.

California Is About to Test Its First Solar Canals

The innovative project is a win for water, energy, air and climate

(Top) Leila Strickland, Michelle Egger, Toby Kiers, Colin Averill, J. Richard Gott (Middle) Leslie Jones-Dove, Devshi Mehrotra, Prisha Shroff, Iké Udé (Bottom) Tim Farrelly, Omar Salem, David Deneher, Victor A. Lopez-Carmen, Doris Sung

Innovation for Good

Sixteen Innovators to Watch in 2022

These trailblazers are dreaming up a future with cell-cultured breastmilk, energy-saving windows and more

LifeLab Design's WarmLife vests are 30 percent warmer than clothing of comparable weight and bulk.

Innovation for Good

This Apparel Company Wants to Have a Profound Effect on Your Energy Use

LifeLabs Design was founded by a pair of Stanford professors who have developed fabrics capable of cooling and warming the wearer

Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab’s sample of the whitest paint on record.

Innovation for Good

This Ultra-White Paint May Someday Replace Air Conditioning

Developed by researchers at Purdue University, the paint reflects 98.1 percent of sunlight

Regenerative farming, which centers on building soil health, is one promising pathway for decreasing agriculture’s carbon footprint.

To Meet Ambitious Emissions Goals, Large Food Companies Are Looking to Lock Carbon in Soil

But the logistics of moving farmers in their supply chains to regenerative agriculture practices can be complicated

Grōv Technologies’ vertical farm is designed to minimize land and water use of conventional feed production.

Could Indoor Vertical Farms Feed Livestock?

The people at Grōv Technologies think farmers can produce wheatgrass for their herds with less land and water using the method

The Norwegian Joy is one of several cruise ships equipped with air lubrication technology.

Tiny Bubbles Under a Ship May Be the Secret to Reducing Fuel Consumption

A technology called air lubrication offers a way to make large ships more efficient

Let your off-grid home take shape in whatever form best fits your new, adventurous lifestyle.

How to Set Up an Off-the-Grid Getaway

Need a change of scenery? A quiet spot away from crowds? Here are some tips for rigging a remote escape with the bare necessities

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Planet Positive

Planet Positive

From stories about rebounding species to dispatches about green innovations, <em>Smithsonian</em> magazine shares environmental practices that are working.

Jason Hayman, managing director of Sustainable Marine Energy, checks out Plat-I, the company’s primary project.

Planet Positive

The Push for Tidal Power Faces Its Biggest Challenge Yet

The renewable energy source has never quite lived up to its potential, but a new experiment in Nova Scotia could flip the script

Isle au Haut thoroughfare

A Tiny Island Off the Coast of Maine Could Be a Renewable Energy Model for the Rest of the World

Remote Isle au Haut is integrating time-tested technology with emerging innovations to create its own microgrid

(Clockwise from left) Michela Puddu, Elias Sime, Richard Yim and Miranda Wang

Eight Innovators to Watch in 2020

From plastic recycling pioneers to landmine foes, these dreamers have big plans for the coming year

Lucy Hughes holds a piece of MarinaTex.

This Bioplastic Made From Fish Scales Just Won the James Dyson Award

British product designer Lucy Hughes has invented a biodegradable plastic made from fish offcuts

For last-mile delivery, robots of the future may use a new MIT algorithm to beat a path to your front door.

Helping Delivery Robots Find Your Front Door

With a new navigation system from MIT, robots can decipher common landscape features, even in an unfamiliar environment

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