Contra-rotating Wind Turbine more Efficient and Quieter


By Tyler Hamilton

There was a time not so long ago that seeing a single wind turbine spinning in the distance was a novel experience for most people.

Not so much any more. There are now hundreds of wind turbines scattered across the province, representing 1,700 megawatts of wind capacity in Ontario alone — or just over a third of all capacity in Canada.

Hundreds more are in the queue waiting to be installed. Most are large turbines, about 2 megawatts or more in size, and between 80 and 100 metres high. All look pretty much the same: a big tall white tower with three spinning blades attached by rotor to a massive nacelle, which houses the generator and gearbox.

But as researchers continue to improve the efficiency of wind power generation it’s quite possible that the turbine of tomorrow will look dramatically different.

There are proposals for two-bladed turbines. There are vertical-axis turbines that look and spin like egg beaters. One company called FloDesign has a turbine that looks like a jet engine on an airplane, while Toronto-based WhalePower wants future turbine blades to resemble humpback whale flippers.

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Preventing Methane Gas while Composting

Turning a compost pile for viticulture

Image via Wikipedia

Guest Post by Anthony Garcia

Composting, the process of consciously collecting waste to decompose and use as a soil amendment, offers many benefits. Gardeners, whether they are going green as a stress relief from online graduate programs or working outside in professional landscaping, are keenly aware of the nutrients and soil-improving qualities of compost in the vegetable or flower garden. Many people compost to be more environmentally friendly. However, compost does release some amount of methane during decomposition, which can sometimes lead to accidental pollution.

By understanding the natural processes that occur during composting, and promoting good management practices, you can diminish the chance of your compost releasing too much methane gas.

Carbon dioxide is often cited as the main greenhouse gas regarding climate change, but methane is another Read more »

Cool Solar Gadgets For The Solar Power Addicted


by Gloria Campos

I think solar powered gadgets are amazing, so I have put together a list of solar powered gift ideas for Father’s Day.  If you still need to buy a gift for your dad or your baby’s daddy take a look at the list below. You might just find what you are looking for or think of something better along the way. Either way, I hope it helps.

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3M Transparent Solar Windows to Charge Your Gadgets



Slowly it seems that solar power is emerging and sometimes unexpected forms. In this case, 3M shows a new type of transparent solar panels that can attach to a window literally. The panels have an efficiency such as a square meter is capable of recharging the battery of a current smartphone while receiving sunlight.

The funny thing is that this changes the way we understand the traditional solar panels that until now were composed of large plates difficult to install in specific buildings. With such an invention would be literally invisible panels and open to the possibility of use in a home with an internal battery that is charged during the day, also seem much more simple to install.

The drawback of these panels is that they get 20% less energy than traditional solar panels, but at the sale price will be half. This is interesting, because like any new technology over time reducing the price just as it popularized its use. You can easily imagine the surface of a building covered with these transparent panels without making their presence converted into high walls or electric power generators smaller versions that you can incorporate in cars or as covers for laptops.

The most interesting is that 3M just showed the Japanese sample Ceatec a few days ago, but will be available commercially in a few months.

Solar Powered mPowerPad Charges Your Way

But wait it does so much more!  This device almost belongs in an infomercial.  It might actually take an infomercial to explain how it works and everything it does.

The mPowerPad is produced by Third Wave Power.  The device is about the size of a large tablet but thicker.  It houses solar panels that charge the mPowerPad in about six hours or you can use an AC/DC adaptor and charge it in one hour.  It has two USB ports for charging gadgets and will charge them in the same amount of time as it would take a wall charger.

The device has more functions besides just working as a solar charger.  It has a built-in flashlight, reading light, AM/FM radio and ultra sonic bug repellent. Even more interesting is the fact that there are no knobs.  In order to turn on one of its features, you tilt and turn it.  You have to see this video to really get the idea.

A 2500mAh battery runs the thing and when fully charged gives about 20 hours of flashlight, reading light, radio or bug repellent each.  If you use it to charge your phone while listening to the radio, repelling bugs and using the reading light, that 20 hours slips to only four or five hours of use.

The flashlight and reading light features use LEDs which provide the equivalent light of an eight watt bulb.  That might not seem like a lot of light but in a tent while camping it will seem quite bright.

That brings us to the intended audience for whom Third Wave Power created it.  While the item can be useful at home, especially if your power goes out or you live in an area without electricity, home isn’t the primary target.  The primary target are outdoor enthusiasts for whom an all in one compact device would be a plus.

Read more: mPowerPad