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by Izaac Post
Energy & Food
Everything Energy, from Activation Energy
Zero Point Energy
In Manila there have been over 10,000 solar lights using soda bottles. The poor families lives in shanty houses covered with corrugated metal roofs. The 1 liter PET soda bottle contains water, with a little bleach to prevent mold. The light comes in from a hole in the roof like a solar tube. The bottles disperse the light 360 degrees. The brightness is equal to a 55 or 60 watt light bulb, but this light comes from the sun.
Here is the link to "A Liter of Light" non profit organization.
More videos in English and tagalog:
NUCLEAR PLANT SITE WILL HOST REGION'S
THREE BUSINESSES COMMIT TO 100-PERCENT NEW
OREGON IOU RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS CAN SOON
NORTHWEST UTILITY ENERGY SAVINGS DROP 40
PERCENT FROM 1997 TO 2000, RTF SURVEY FINDS
"To imply that we're flattening Appalachia is so untrue. We're creating level land for Appalachia."
-- Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, claiming that the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining- blowing the tops off mountains to get at the coal beneath- performs the "necessary" function of creating flat land for development.
The government of Belize has decided to approve construction of a massive
hydroelectric dam in a jungle valley, destroying some of the richest rainforest
habitat in the country. The Chalillo Dam is expected to flood 1,100 hectares (2,718
acres) of pristine forest, engulfing the valleys of the Macal and Raspaculo rivers.
BONN, Germany, December 4, 2001 (ENS) - The reservoirs of the world are losing their capacity to hold water as erosion brings silt down to settle in behind dams, the chief of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned today.
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/dec2001/2001L-12-04-03.html
PLANNING FOR NORTHWEST COAST
This venture is spearheaded by the Electricity Innovation Institute, an affiliate of the Electric Power Research Institute, with partners including several Northwest utilities, Bonneville Power Administration and governmental energy agencies.
"It's an energy resource that's just too important to overlook," said E2I's Roger Bedard, noting the recent emergence of international wave energy trials. "The technology is now ready for demonstration in this country to overcome the naysayers."
Potential sites have been identified off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, Maine and Hawaii, and conceptual design along with power and economic assessments are in progress for a demonstration facility in each of three of those states. A decision is expected soon whether to start detailed design, permitting and pursuit of construction financing. The Washington state portion involves environmental review assistance for an already- proposed wave energy pilot venture, a 1-megawatt-capacity plant envisioned off the Olympic Peninsula coast by developer AquaEnergy Group.
Mid-2006 would be the earliest debut for a demonstration plant under the E2I project, Bedard told Con.WEB. E2I initial reports suggest a 0.5-MW- capacity project, although specific size, cost and locations remain undetermined.
Ocean wave power is touted as a clean, abundant renewable resource that can tap the immense energy contained in endless wind-generated waves. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council in the early 1990s suggested a technical potential of up to 2,500 average megawatts from regional ocean wave energy, at an estimated cost of 22 cents per kilowatt-hour generated.
But the Council has not substantially updated that assessment, and wave energy uncertainties continue regarding costs, technology, siting, transmission, environmental impacts, maintenance and durability in harsh marine conditions, among other issues.
The potential of wave energy is big. We mean, really, really big. How big? Consider this: A sliver of ocean, roughly the size of Lake Washington, could power the entire state of Washington. No wonder a worldwide race is shaping up to harness all this power. And our state of Washington is in the middle of the action.
(Below is an excerpt from this newsletter.)
So How Does This Wave-Energy Stuff Work?
These are interesting times for wave energy. The energy stored in ocean waves is enormous -- easily able to rival wind or coal or nuclear as a major energy source. The $64,000 question is how to build the best gizmo to capture that energy. Lots of different technologies and lots of talented engineers are in the hunt.
(1) The buoy itself is just a giant bobber, about 18 feet in diameter. It goes up and down with the waves.
(2) Attached to the bottom is a very long and very large tube, maybe 100 feet long and about seven feet in diameter. It's called an acceleration tube. It's open at both top and bottom, so it moves up and down with thbuoy, although the water inside the tube doesn't move.
That's the easy part. From here on it gbets tricky, so let's add just one part at a time to the explanation.
(3) The third part is a piston, which is neutrally buoyant and submerged inside the acceleration tube. Like an engine piston, the diameter of the wave piston is just slightly smaller than the diameter of the cylinder, which in this case is the acceleration tube.
At this point, if we added nothing else, we'd have the buoy and acceleration tube bobbing up and down while the water and the piston inside the tube remain pretty much in place.
(4) But we're going to add two more elements that are the key to the AquaBuOY: two hose pumps. The hose pumps are long rubber hoses about a foot in diameter. One end of the top hose pump is attached to the top of the acceleration tube, just below the buoy. The other end is attached to the top of the piston.
The second hose pump is attached to the bootom of the acceleration tube and the bottom of the piston. You could think of the piston as being held in place in the middle of the acceleration tube by two giant rubberband-like hoses, one gently pulling at it from the top and the other pulling at it from the bottom.
So here's what happens:
Please submit your wave-energy ideas to
By Bjorn Carey
The main light source of the future will almost surely not be a bulb. It might be a table, a wall, or even a fork. An accidental discovery announced this week has taken LED lighting to a new level, suggesting it could soon offer a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative to the traditional light bulb. The miniature breakthrough adds to a growing trend that is likely to eventually make Thomas Edison's bright invention obsolete. LEDs are already used in traffic lights, flashlights, and architectural lighting. They are flexible and operate less expensively than traditional lighting.
"I was surprised when a white glow covered the table," Bowers said. "The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow."
Then Bowers and another student got the idea to stir the dots into polyurethane and coat a blue LED light bulb with the mix. The lumpy bulb wasn't pretty, but it produced white light similar to a regular light bulb. The new device gives off a warm, yellowish-white light that shines twice as bright and lasts 50 times longer than the standard 60 watt light bulb. This work is published online in the Oct. 18 edition of the Journal f the American Chemical Society.
Better than bulbs
Other scientists have said they expect LEDs to eventually replace standard incandescent bulbs as well as fluorescent and sodium vapor lights. If the new process can be developed into commercial production, light won't come just from newfangled bulbs. Quantum dot mixtures could be painted on just about anything and electrically excited to produce a rainbow of colors, including white. One big question remains: When a brilliant idea pops into your mind in the future, what will appear over your head?
Iceland has an abundance of geothermal energy
By Richard Black
BBC science correspondent in Iceland
The UN climate change negotiations, now getting under way in Delhi,
have focused international attention once
Experts agree there is a need to switch to renewable forms of energy
if production of greenhouse gases is to
The Thermator could play a major role in the non-polluting economies of the future.
The Thermator contains a semi-conductor crystal ©Varmaraf
It works by something called the thermo-electric effect, which scientists have known about for many years.
But while thermo-electric generators have mainly been used to power
spacecraft, such as Voyager and Galileo
Professor Thorstein Sigfusson, of the University of Iceland, says it
works by translating the difference between
He explains: "In between the hot and the cold side are crystals made of semi-conductors.
"As the heat is transferred through these crystals part of it is converted from heat energy into electric energy."
Professor Sigfusson said there was potential for using all sorts of
excess heat to fuel Thermators and he
Read more on LED lights
The average electricity consumption of a family of four in the USA
about 30 kiloWatt hours per day.
On one hand, Japanese homes are smaller than most American
On the other hand, many Japanese homes have 'all' the latest electrical
appliances, toys, games, devices, etc, down to the heated toilet
Want to see how Japanese communities are focused on reducing waste,
energy, and improving efficiency?
Despite their substantial energy saving benefits,
compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) present a unique challenge for
environmental and energy efficiency communities. Even though CFLs
only a very small amount of mercury – about 100 times less than an
home thermometer – many stakeholders, including solid waste departments
and mercury-reduction advocates, are working to keep large
of bulbs out of landfills. Utilities can play a leading or supporting
a choice that needs to be made on the local level.
Eying alternative energy
By PAUL H.B. SHIN
President Bush said in his State of the Union speech that he wants
reduce our oil imports from the Middle East by at least 75% by 2025.
Some of the technologies that Bush mentioned — such as clean coal, solar, wind and nuclear — would be used mainly to produce electricity, so they wouldn't make much of a dent in the country's oil addiction.
So how realistic is the President's goal? Here's a look at the
However, the technology and production infrastructure are still in their infancy. Companies would need to build multimillion-dollar plants relatively close to farms to make cellulosic ethanol economically feasible.
"It's going to need a dramatic infusion of dollars to make it happen," said Marchant Wentworth, a clean-energy specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Grain ethanol has been around for more than a decade, but it still
for only 2% of what goes into gas tanks.
"It's so far in the future that it's not something you can hang your
hat on right now," said Karen Wayland, an energy specialist at the
Resources Defense Council.
"Clean coal does exist, but it's no more cost-effective than solar
said Severin Borenstein, an energy economist at University of
at Berkeley. "A 22% increase in funding is just not a Manhattan
effort that we need."
Nuclear and hydroelectric
Solar and wind
"It could increase vastly, but it depends entirely on policy," Borenstein said. Solar technology in particular is expensive. It costs about 35 cents to produce a kilowatt-hour of solar power, compared with about 5 cents for coal and 9 cents for wind. Solar power isn't for every region, and it wouldn't be feasible in the New York area.
Wind power could be harnessed almost anywhere in the country, including the Appalachian Mountains and on – or off – Long Island.
If this breakthrough, which has actually been around for a couple of
years now, lives up to its claims, we are indeed on the verge of an
major revolution in the world energy scene! In a similar
I have been corresponding with a company in New Zealand seeking to
a TPV cell (developed by a Boeing engineer!) that can convert thermal
(from my biomass-fueled furnaces) quietly
electricity at theoretically 100 times the energy density of solar
Lots is happening to unseat king oil from the despot’s throne in the
future. Read the two articles below.
SA solar research eclipses rest of the world
In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun. This means high electricity bills and frequent power failures could soon be a thing of the past.
The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies. The panels are able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.
Nothing else comes close to the effectiveness of the SA invention. The new technology should be available in South Africa within a year and through a special converter, energy can be fed directly into the wiring of existing houses. New powerful storage units will allow energy storage to meet demands even in winter. The panels are so efficient they can operate through a Cape Town winter. While direct sunlight is ideal for high-energy generation, other daytime light also generates energy via the panels.
A team of scientists led by University of Johannesburg (formerly Rand Afrikaans University) scientist Professor Vivian Alberts achieved the breakthrough after 10 years of research. The South African technology has now been patented across the world. One of the world leaders in solar energy, German company IFE Solar Systems, has invested more than R500-million in the South African invention and is set to manufacture 500 000 of the panels before the end of the year at a new plant in Germany.
Production will start next month and the factory will run 24 hours a day, producing more than 1 000 panels a day to meet expected demand. Another large German solar company is negotiating with the South African inventors for rights to the technology, while a South African consortium of businesses are keen to build local factories.
More details of the technology are given in this article:
This article has been reproduced from the SA edition of
Solar cell technology has remained essentially unchanged since the phenomenon was first noted in the 1800s. The standard for today’s devices is still the silicon-based panels that have been steadily refined over the past half-century. Present conversion efficiencies are between 10 and 15 percent. In direct sunshine you can bank on between 100 and 150 watts per square metre of panel.
How to improve on that? Consider this telling comparison: a typical conventional panel uses silicon slabs over 350 microns thick because of the material’s poor absorption properties; the Alberts method produces a five-micron film. That’s a quarter of the thickness of a human hair.
So it’s thinner. That doesn’t necessarily make it better. But it is. “Let me put it this way,” says Alberts. “From the solar energy point of view, what we have developed is the best-absorbing material known to us.” Not only that, but it’s cheaper to produce.
He is talking about a patented semiconductor material, copper indium gallium selenium sulphide or Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 for short. Five elements that, taken separately, are pretty pointless as collectors of sunlight. But then they’re subjected to a bit of high-tech alchemy… or should that be domestic science?
“You know, it’s a recipe… the whole thing is much like baking bread,” he says. “You start off with ingredients that have certain characteristics, and after mixing, preparing and baking you have a product whose characteristics are completely different to what you started with.”
Professor Alberts says the thin film technology he and his team developed can generate up to 150 watts of electrical power at a cost below R10 per watt peak. He adds that it has demonstrated not only high efficiency, but also long-term performance stability. “The pilot plant demonstrated that these thin film solar modules could be produced by highly scalable and proven industrial technologies such as physical vapour phase deposition and diffusion processes.” Commercial-scale thin film modules are being produced with output powers between 10 and 40W in direct sunlight.Quoted costs of R10/Wp look highly favourable against the cost of “traditional” electricity. And better still against the R35 per watt production cost of conventional modules. The import price locally of a silicon-based 50W solar panel is about R2000 (R40/Wp).
Published on Thursday, November 15, 2012 by TruthDig.com
How Germany Is Getting to 100 Percent Renewable Energy
There is no debate on climate change in Germany. The temperature for the past 10 months has been three degrees above average and we’re again on course for the warmest year on record. There’s no dispute among Germans as to whether this change is man-made, or that we contribute to it and need to stop accelerating the process.Solar panels cover the rooftops of a German farming village. (InsideClimate News/Osha Gray Davidson)
Since 2000, Germany has converted 25 percent of its power grid to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. The architects of the clean energy movement Energiewende, which translates to “energy transformation,” estimate that from 80 percent to 100 percent of Germany’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2050.
Germans are baffled that the United States has not taken the same path. Not only is the U.S. the wealthiest nation in the world, but it’s also credited with jump-starting Germany’s green movement 40 years ago.
“This is a very American idea,” Arne Jungjohann, a director at the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation (HBSF), said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. “We got this from Jimmy Carter.”
Germany adopted and continued Carter’s push for energy conservation while the U.S. abandoned further efforts. The death of an American Energiewende solidified when President Ronald Reagan ripped down the solar panels atop the White House that Carter had installed.
Since then, Germany has created strong incentives for the public to invest in renewable energy. It pays people to generate electricity from solar panels on their houses. The effort to turn more consumers into producers is accelerated through feed-in tariffs, which are 20-year contracts that ensure a fixed price the government will pay. Germany lowers the price every year, so there’s good reason to sign one as soon as possible, before compensation falls further.
The money the government uses to pay producers comes from a monthly surcharge on utility bills that everyone pays, similar to a rebate. Ratepayers pay an additional cost for the renewable energy fund and then get that money back from the government, at a profit, if they are producing their own energy.
In the end, ratepayers control the program, not the government. This adds consistency, Davidson says. If the government itself paid, it would be easy for a new finance minister to cut the program upon taking office. Funding is not at the whim of politicians as it is in the U.S.
“Everyone has skin in the game,” says writer Osha Gray Davidson. “The movement is decentralized and democratized, and that’s why it works. Anybody in Germany can be a utility.”
The press conference the foundation organized with InsideClimate News comes two weeks after one of the biggest storms in U.S. history and sits in the shadow of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would unlock the world’s second-largest oil reserve in Canada. The event also comes one day after a report that says that the U.S. is on track to become the leading oil and gas producer by 2020, which suggests that the U.S. has the capability to match Germany’s green movement, but is instead using its resources to deepen its dependency on fossil fuels.
Many community organizers have given up on government and are moving to spark a green movement in the U.S. through energy cooperatives.
Anya Schoolman is a D.C. organizer who has started many co-ops in the district although she began with no experience. She says that converting to renewable energy one person at a time would not work in the U.S. because of legal complexities and tax laws that discourage people from investing in clean energy.
Grid managers in the U.S., she explains, often require households to turn off wind turbines at night, a practice called “curtailment.”
“It’s a favor to the utility companies,” she says, which don’t hold as much power in Germany as they do in the United States.
Individuals and cooperatives own 65 percent of Germany’s renewable energy capacity. In the U.S. they own 2 percent. The rest is privately controlled.
The largest difference, panelists said, between Germany and the U.S. is how reactive the government is to its citizens. Democracy in Germany has meant keeping and strengthening regulatory agencies while forming policies that put public ownership ahead of private ownership.
“In the end,” says Davidson, who spent a month in Germany studying the Energiewende, “it isn’t about making money. It’s about quality of life.”
This article was made possible by the Center for Study of Responsive Law.
© 2012 Thomas Hedges
AlterNet / By Tara Lohan
While Germany Is Headed for 80% Renewable Energy, We're Getting Left in the Dust
Osha Gray Davidson discusses his new book "Clean Break," about the keys to Germany's success with renewables and why the U.S. is getting its butt kicked.
November 21, 2012 |
Photo Credit: © manfredxy/ Shutterstock.com
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.
When you think of places with great potential for solar energy, what comes to mind? Maybe the American Southwest, perhaps the Middle East. What probably doesn’t come to mind is Germany — and yet Germany is leading a global revolution in renewable energy, with solar playing a key part.
In the U.S., we now get 6 percent of our energy from renewables, which is exactly where Germany was in 2000. And then it passed the Renewable Energy Act and jumpstarted a movement known as Energiewende. Twelve years later, Germany gets over 25 percent of its energy from renewables and it is surpassing all of its benchmarks to be 80 percent renewable-powered by 2050.
In his new book, Clean Break: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn From It , Osha Gray Davidson explains how Germany made such a significant leap. Here are some shocking numbers he breaks down in the book:
AlterNet interviewed Davidson about his new book, and got his take on whether or not the U.S. can catch up to the green energy revolution.
Tara Lohan: You went to Germany interested in its clean energy revolution. Despite the research you’d done, were you surprised by what you found there?
Osha Gray Davidson: No matter how much I read about it beforehand, it couldn’t prepare me for what I saw. I write in the book about traveling by train from Hamburg in the north down to Freiburg in the very south. It was something like a five-hour train ride but there wasn’t more than 15 minutes that went by without seeing either wind turbines on the hills or farm fields or solar panels on roofs of houses, barns, anything that had a south-facing roof. Even knowing how much energy they get — now it is 26 percent — from renewables, it doesn’t prepare you for what’s it’s like to live or visit a society that is moving in a big way to renewable energy.
TL: Does hitting their goal of 80 percent renewable power by 2050 seem realistic?
OGD: The reason it does seem realistic to me is they started out in the year 2000 with 6 percent renewable power and they’ve had a series of targets and so far they’ve been surpassing the targets. In the year 2020 their target was 30 percent, they are so far along now that they’ve moved that target to 35 percent. Everyone I’ve talked to there across the political spectrum says that 35 percent renewable energy by 2030 is completely doable.
When you look at how much money they’re putting into this and how it’s designed, and it’s not universal support, but there is overwhelming support for this transformation throughout Germany. Knowing all that, yes, I can see them getting to 80 percent by 2050.
TL: What has been the key to their success so far?
OGD: A couple of things. One, they made a decision to do this and I think when a government and a population make a decision to do something and it’s widespread that changes a whole lot because it’s always a matter of political will, not technological will, that makes the difference. The support is key and the way that they got that support is they designed policies that would give everybody — all residents of Germany — a way to have skin in the game. Sixty-five percent of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individuals and cooperatives and groups of small investors.
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