The Silicon Car

A Mercedes at Comdex? There it was at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a CLK 55 coupe, and a test track, too – courtesy of its manufacturer, the first non-tech company to sponsor the world’s biggest computer trade show

Powering RF Photons

If you’re trying to power a Sun server, “clean power” is a perfect 60 Hz sine wave with rock-solid 110 volt peaks. For powering a Pentium-class chip on a motherboard, it’s a perfectly steady 1.2 volts DC.

Heavy-Iron Lite

So what about heavy-iron? The 15 to 250 MW turbines? In the Powercosm, or out? In. Some, at least. Leave it to the Economist, the Worldwatch Institute, the small-is-beautiful crowd, to tell you that micropower rules, that big power is finished, that utility-scale heavy iron has as much future as a thirty-year-old IBM 360. Micropower…

Gates in the Grid

It’s a clear day in Silicon Valley. We’re on Sun Microsystems (SUNW) sprawling corporate campus. Why is the air around us literally humming? That’s the sound of electrons, as they pulse through five main megawatt-level transformers — truck-sized gray boxes of copper wire.

Fuel Cells II: Big and Hot

As we discussed in Part 1 of this double issue, the membranes and rare-earth catalysts currently at hand push the small-and-cool fuel cell inexorably toward the fringe, toward the very small and the very cool. For now, the proton-exchange membranes (PEMs) are too imperfect, and the catalysts they depend on are too expensive, to be…