Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bloom Box - The disruptive energy device by Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy a Silicon Valley based start up has created quite a stir in the energy industry. It is about to launch its Bloom Box - A fuel cell based energy technology which will generate relatively affordable and clean energy. Top companies like Google, eBay, Loakheed Martin, Walmart, and Bank of America are already testing the device. Impressive personalities like Collin Powel, Vinod Khosala, and John Doerr are on the board.The Company is developing the technology since last 8 years and is able to successfully develop a fuel cell that is efficient and requires relatively less maintenance according to K Sridhar, a former NASA scientist and CEO of Bloom Energy. 

$2 Billion in sales order in backlog
Bloom energy is making waves in top media like NY Times, CBS 60 minute and Greentech.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Though fuel cell technology is well know across the world, its relative high cost is the major barrier for large scale adoption.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Smart Grid - The Internet of the Electricity

Smart Grid is a nebulous term used to define collection of technologies, processes, and approaches, which will alter the whole Electricity Industries including the end users. The end users will no longer be passive players and will participate in the process as energy conservators, energy producers, smart consumers, and through many other ways. The Electricity all over the USA and throughout the world was designed 50 -60 years back. The electricity capacity and the network got expand as more growth demanded more energy, however, the Grid's overall architecture remained same with few technological changes.

US Dept of Energy defined following characteristics for the Smart Grid: "
  1. Informed, involved, and active consumers - demand response and distributed energy resources.
  2. Many distributed energy resources with plug-and-play convenience focus on renewable.
  3. Mature, well-integrated wholesale markets, growth of new electricity markets for consumers.
  4. Power quality is a priority with a variety of quality/price options - rapid resolution of issues
  5. Greatly expanded data acquisition of grid parameters - focus on prevention, minimizing impact to consumers
  6. Automatically detects and responds to problems - focus on prevention, minimizing impact to consumer
  7. Resilient to attack and natural disasters with rapid restoration capabilities"
Europe is leading the way in Smart Grid application. One of the Italian company has comprehensively installed Smart Grid for all consumers. However, Boulder, Colorado has begun the work and will be the first Smart Grid city in the world. The technology and system used at Boulder, Colorado is going to be way better than the Italian company.

According to Technology Review the network of sensors and control will provide detail minute level state of the Electric grid in real time. Which will allow to monitor the health of the grid and also measure the variations in Energy demand with respect to time and geography. It will be easy to Integrate various sources of energy located at disperse place including the buildings that generate electricity.

With the smart meters and smart grid the Utility companies can provide information of the energy price to the consumers, which will help consumer save money by using the heavy load equipment during normal or low usage duration. Simultaneously, it will save energy and reduce the cost for the Utility companies. For Example, if 250,000 Smart Cloth dryers were installed in consumers home,during peak periods it will offset the energy demand equivalent to an entire coal burning power plant.

Companies Operating in Smart Grid domain

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Google Wave - Email 2.0 (Communiate and collaborate in real time)

Google Wave is the new Email communication tool that will chage the email and instant messaging. Google recentenly announced about Google Wave at Google I/O conference. The tool is still in the development stage and is available only to selected developers. The tool is web-based communication platform, which is designed to merge email, instant messaging, social networking, and wikis. However, its major benefit is real-time collaboration. Two people can simultaneously create a document, share images by just drag and drop.
According to Google, the Wave allows to do all of the followings.

"A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wireless Electricity... Progressing Ahead

Intel Corp has recently demonstrated a prototype which recharged an iPod speaker using wireless method. The iPod speaker was attached to a 3o-cm diameter copper coil and was recharged through another coil double the diameter located at 1-meter distance from the iPod speaker. The Intel project is similar to that of earlier project demonstrated by MIT Researchers. Both the projects uses magnetic fields to transfer energy which is non-radiative and is confined to a distance of less than 2 meters. After MIT scientist demonstration of wireless electricity project in 2007, number of companies and researchers have started working on this areas.

The technique is based on resonant coupling, which means the objects can exchanges energy when they are tuned at same frequency. In the case of Intel project, large coil was hooked up to electronics which generated currents oscillating energy at 7 mhz. The receiving coil was also tuned at the same frequency and the energy was transferred at 80% efficiency. The picture displays coil and the iPod speaker attached to it. Josh smith is the lead researcher on this project at Intel. MIT Scientists,who first pioneered the concept have started a company named as WiTricity . According them there are number of technical challenges (one of them is shrinking the coil into a miniature device) before such concept become reality and other companies need to do lot of catch up and there may be Intellectual property issues. WiTricity has applied for patent in 2007.

More details available at : TechReview

Conceptual illustration of the wireless electricity by WiTricity (Source WiTricity Corporation).

Videos :

CES 2009 -- Wireless electricity
CES 2009 -- Wireless electricity

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flying Car

Since the inception of cars and airplane, human had imagination,dream, and desire for a car that can fly and also can run on road/streets. It seems that dream has become reality. A Boston based company Terrafugia has recently developed the first such prototype of a car. The price tag is $ 194 K, not so expensive, considering it provides both driving and flying.

Terrafugia is founded by MIT trained aeronautical Engineers and MBAs, who happens to be passionate private pilots. The company calls it the roadable aircraft. It can fly 500 miles on the single tank of a gas. Drive on the road, fly in the sky, and park in the home garage, seems quite exciting. The roadable aircraft will be available to customer beginning 2010.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mobile phone projector - Part 2

As it was discussed in the earlier blog that Mobile phone projector will become reality, it seems time has arrived. 3M has unveiled first prototype of mobile phone projector at the recent CES 2008 conference. 3M has promised to bring into market by end of this year or early next year. The projector is capable of displaying 50in image. According reports, it has impressive VGA resolution. I presume, initially it will be used for impromptu business presentation, photos, and short videos. Similar to other products we will get refined and better version in next 2-3 years.

Check out this cool photos..

So, that will be the size of the projector, which will be embedded into mobile phone, so your mobile phone display can be projected on any surface to get bigger display.

Hence, when other technologies like processor and memory chip also matures and can hold large memories into very tiny chip(IBM is already working on such memory chip that can store 1 terabyte of data) and nano processors with high processing power, computers and TV will become obsolete. Mobile will become all purpose device. I presume it will happen in next 5 years.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sports Amphibious Plane Icon A5

I was thrilled to see the Icon A5 sports plane. It is compact, has flexible wings, and can land or fly from water, truly an amphibious plane. According Icon aircraft (Icon) It costs around 140k to own the plane. A person needs to spend 2 -3k for 20 hours of training to get the pilot license. Interesting thing is that it can be parked in the garage just like a boat, if you have large house. check out this snaps and video.