A flywheel battery is a system that stores electricity as kinetic energy, in the form of a a wheel that spins at tens of thousands of RPM. Made of carbon fiber and levitated in a vacuum using magnetic bearings, hundreds of flywheels are about to join the power grid in New York.
One of the problems with implantable electronic medical devices like pacemakers, is that you need to get a new one installed with fresh batteries every few years. This tiny power turbine could end that routine, by using your own blood flow to generate power for recharging the pacemaker.
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a special metal alloy that can spontaneously split saltwater into hydrogen and oxygen, generating both hydrogen fuel and clean fresh water at the same time.
Remember as a kid when your mom would declare "that could put an eye out" every time you found a cool new toy? Well I wonder if Patrick Priebe's mom ever told him that, because his DIY pulse laser gun is that kind of thing that should get moms everywhere running for the first aid kit.
Energy harvesters are devices that suck electricity out of the world as you go about your normal daily routine, the idea being that your gadgets will always be charging themselves. Fujitsu has made a harvester that's twice as efficient by stealing energy from both light and heat at once.
The reason you're probably not using a wireless charger right now is that most of your gadgets don't work with them. ElectroHub is a wireless charger that can work with absolutely anything, as long as it takes ordinary batteries.
Cow dung releases huge amounts of methane gas when it sits around, but few farms do anything to put that waste to use, other than using it as fertilizer. Now a huge plant is being built in China, that will use the waste from 60,000 cows to provide electricity to thousands of homes.
Everybody poops. Even astronauts. And when you live in a couple metal boxes 200 miles above the Earth, poop can be a real problem. The UN is launching a satellite full of excrement-eating bacteria that'll do some pooping of their own, powering a fuel cell as they go.
Piezoelectric generators take motion and turn it into electricity. They've been used to convert muscle movement into energy to run medical implants, but it's been hard to get them to scale up enough to power stuff that's bigger and more fun. Researchers at Georgia Tech have been able to create a tiny piezoelectric nanogenerator that's capable of powering an LED and a liquid crystal display, and your iPod is going to be next.
Jellyfish populations are growing all over the world, so a group of Swedish scientists is looking at ways to harness the power that makes jellyfish glow in various colors.