Aimee Stapleton and other researchers at the University of Limerick have found that lysozyme—in tears, saliva, mucus, milk and chicken eggs—accumulates an electric charge when squeezed.

Future of Energy

Your Tears Can Generate Electricity

A protein found in human tears can create electricity when placed under pressure, potentially paving the way for better biomedical devices

A smart window prototype dims in response to electricity.

Future of Energy

These Windows Tint With a Flick of a Switch

Stanford engineers are developing electric windows that block glare without blocking your view

It seems that it’s only a matter of time before we have the technology for switchgrass, shown here, to replace corn as a feedstock for ethanol.

Future of Energy

The Next Generation of Biofuels Could Come From These Five Crops

Researchers are currently developing biofuels from these abundant species, which require relatively little land, water and fertilizer

The aluminum nano-powder reacts in the lab.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Army Scientists Put the "Pee" in Power

By combining urine and aluminum powder, soldiers may be able to produce energy in the field

The compound eyes of a robber fly

The Innovative Spirit fy17

These New Solar Cells Are Modeled After a Fly's Eye

Stanford University researchers may have found a way for perovskites to compete with silicon in the solar panel market

Connexus Energy's SolarWise garden in Ramsey provides habitat for pollinators.

Solar Power and Honey Bees Make a Sweet Combo in Minnesota

The Pollinator Friendly Solar Act has solar companies and commercial beekeepers working together

Printed graphene supercapacitor

Future of Energy

Flexible Batteries May Soon Be Printed Right On Your Clothes

Graphene supercapacitors, printed directly on textiles, could power medical devices, wearable computers, even phone-charging shirts

A geologist looks out into a caldera in Nevada's McDermitt Volcanic Field.

Future of Energy

Will Supervolcanoes Help Power Our Future?

Vast new deposits of lithium could change the global politics of battery production—if we can get at them

Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, which holds many of the universities and healthcare facilities that have driven the city's transformation post-steel.

Pittsburgh Has Surged Post-Steel, but Many in Rusting Region Still Struggle

A historian notes how Pittsburgh's tech-driven boom hasn't reached everyone in western Pennsylvania

The material—the black blocks between the two plates, pictured here—could be used with cooking pots to charge phones or jewelry to power health sensors.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Is This New Material a Game Changer for Thermoelectricity?

Researchers at the University of Utah have developed an inexpensive, non-toxic material that converts heat to electricity

The prototype

Could This Be the Most Efficient Solar Panel Ever?

Taking advantage of temperatures upwards of 1,000 Celsius, these hot solar cells could produce twice as much energy as the industry standard

Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a technology for incorporating food waste into rubber.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

From Trash To Treads: Turning Tomato Peels and Eggshells Into Tires

Scientists at Ohio State University are replacing the petroleum-based filler in tires with food waste

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Charging Ahead: The Future of Batteries

Battery research is at a tipping point, and it’s never been more important

Fulcrum BioEnergy converts household trash into biofuel for airplanes.

Future of Energy

Could Garbage Fuel Airplanes?

Fulcrum BioEnergy wants to divert trash from landfills and create cheap green energy

A Rolls Royce concept for an autonomous ship

What Will the Autonomous Ship of the Future Look Like?

Shipbuilding companies are experimenting with self-driving, remotely-operated and crewless vessels

Iowa State University scientists modeled their artificial leaves after cottonwood leaves.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Are Artificial Trees the Future of Renewable Energy?

While a new device's flapping leaves can generate a lot of energy, extracting it is far from a breeze

The 20-megawatt power facility is located east of Los Angeles in Ontario, California.

Five Questions You Should Have About California’s New Tesla-Powered Battery Bank

The storage facility will collect energy when it’s readily available, and release it when demand is high. What does this mean for the future of energy?

A California Startup Is Using Ashes to Protect Forests

Better Place Forests is accepting reservations from those who wish to have their remains scattered in a redwood forest in northern California

The process involves speeding up the fermentation of wood sugars. The resulting alcohol is then converted into jet fuel.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Could Wood Scraps Fuel Planes?

Alaska Airlines powered a cross-country commercial flight using a new biofuel derived from wood waste

University of California, Irvine chemist Shane Ardo is working to develop special plastic membranes and dyes that would enable a container to desalinate seawater.

Future of Energy

A Mission To Invent a Bottle That Takes the Salt Out of Saltwater

Scientists are exploring the potential of creating plastic containers that, with a little sun power, could desalinate seawater

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