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Seven Next-Generation Energy Technologies like silicon carbide switches that would make transformers 80 times smaller

1. This is a model of a generator being developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology that looks to take advantage of natural air movements in hot areas. When the sun’s heat hits the ground, a layer of hot air forms at ground level. If that ground-level air is hotter than the air above, it can create upwardly moving whirlwind. In nature, this columnar vortex phenomenon creates “dust devils,” or spinning whirlwinds that lift dirt off the ground. In the device, hot air rises through the turbine, generating electricity.

2. Early-stage startup Ubiquitous Energy has developed solar cells that absorb ultraviolet and infrared light, rather than the visible light portion of the spectrum. That allows it to make solar cells that generate electricity but are transparent. This photo shows its cells layered onto glass next to traditional window glazing on the table. The company hopes the technology will be used on power-generating windows or placed over screens of e-readers and tablet computers to recharge them.

3. AC Kinetics debuted control software for electric motors (such as the one shown here) that improve performance and efficiency. The company says its algorithms reduce energy consumption by 10 percent to 40 percent, which could extend the range of electric vehicles or make factories more efficient.
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