We're used to batteries powering a lot of devices, but the University of California, Riverside is upping that a notch by charging up a whole floor's worth. The school's Winston Chung Global Energy Center is walking the eco-friendly walk and has started using a huge bank of rare earth, lithium-ion batteries from Balqon to produce 1.1 megawatts, enough to keep Winston Chung Hall's entire first floor humming along while tapping renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. The batteries bank their energy overnight, keeping the throngs of students happy without having to recharge as much or use the regular power grid as a fallback. While it's considered a testbed, the university's giant battery is considered a blueprint for cellular towers and the green power sources themselves -- the combination of which could keep your smartphone up and running with a lot less of an environmental hit.
[Thanks, Justin B]