BURN: Technology

Batteries and How They Work

Web Extra: Batteries: The Unsung Hero of Modern Man – and How They Work

Batteries are everywhere and play an integral role in our lives. They’re also way under-appreciated. Here is a simple explanation of how the Unsung Hero of Modern Man actually works.

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November 13, 2012 more »

The Power of One: Energy & The 2012 Election

This year’s election is about power — the power to shape the nation’s domestic and foreign priorities; the power to lead, to legislate, to govern. Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years.

September 17, 2012 more »

The Power of One (Fall 2012)

This is the Fastest Car in the world. And it’s Green. Upcoming segment from “The Power of One”

photos by Hugh Hamilton


Okay, strictly speaking, it’s not the fastest car in the world. But it has an arguable claim to being the quickest (zero-to-60: three seconds). And unlike hyper-Ferraris and Porsches,…

July 17, 2012 more »

Storing Energy: Fuel Cells and Beyond

Storing energy is important for both long-term and short-term uses: to meet changes in energy supply and demand and to iron out irregularities in energy output, whether that’s in a car engine or on the power grid. Unfortunately, we can only store a tiny fraction  of the electricity we produce in a single day. Instead, power plants have to send their thousands of megawatts of electricity to the right place, at the right time.

April 13, 2012 more »

Wind Science, Energy, and Growing Prevalence

Wind energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy available because it doesn’t require a fuel or produce greenhouse gas or other bi-products, outside of those from production and maintenance of equipment and transmission.

April 12, 2012 more »

The Hydrogen Economy, Hydrogen Sources, and the Science Behind These

Hydrogen-filled Hindenburg 1936 or 1937.

The “hydrogen economy” is a hypothetical future in which energy can be bought, sold, stored, and transported in a currency of hydrogen, much like today’s energy is often exchanged in electricity. Because hydrogen doesn’t need to be attached to the electricity grid, it can be used in forms of transportation like buses and cars.

April 12, 2012 more »

Photovoltaic Cells, Solar Power, and LEDs

Most of the world’s energy can go back to our sun. Every day we are heated by its electromagnetic rays, and plants use the sun’s energy to make sugars and ultimately proteins and other good things to eat. Fossil fuels were also once made from these plant and other organisms that relied on the sun’s…

April 12, 2012 more »

Physics and How Machines Work

Machines are so complicated these days it’s difficult to quickly explain how they work. Nonetheless, today’s machines were built using the basic scientific principles that we began harnessing hundreds of years ago.

August 5, 2011 more »

Basics of Electricity and Circuits: How Energy Moves Through the Home

The first major use of electricity began in 1879, when Thomas Edison began installing incandescent lighting in notable locations like Wall Street in New York City. Edison wasn’t alone in his pursuit of electricity development, but he was the first to install integrated systems in conspicuous places.

August 5, 2011 more »

Energy Efficiency, Principles of Consumption, and Conservation

When trying to lower your energy use, a good place to start is getting a picture of the many ways you use energy now. An average American uses more than four times as much energy per year than the global average, 308 million British thermal units (Btu) annually, compared to 73 million Btu per person per year globally,according to recent U.S. government estimates.

June 15, 2011 more »