Tag Archives | Electricity

U.S. Plans To Survive An EMP Attack

EMP mechanismHave the House Republicans been watching too much Revolution on TV, or is there really a threat of an EMP that we should be worried about? From the Washington Examiner:

Amid growing fears of a massive electromagnetic pulse hit from either a solar flare or a terrorist nuclear bomb, House Republicans on Tuesday will unveil a plan to save the nation’s electric grid from an attack that could mean lights out for 300 million Americans.

Dubbed the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act, the legislation would push the federal government to install grid-saving devices such as surge protectors to protect against an attack.

“It is critical that we protect our major transformers from cascading destruction. The Shield Act encourages industry to develop standards necessary to protect our electric infrastructure against both natural and man-made EMP events,” said Rep. Trent Franks, the Arizona Republican who is offering up the bipartisan bill.

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British Inventor Claims Generator ‘Breaks The Laws Of Physics’

Via This Is Somerset:
A Wells inventor has put together a machine that he claims is the first step in creating free energy from perpetual motion. He says it produces more power than it consumes. But the patent office will not register the design — because if it works, it breaks the laws of physics. The machine, largely created out of leftover bicycle parts and a windscreen-washer motor uses high-powered magnets and a series of flywheels to apparently create energy from gravity.
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Orlando Uses Sewage To Produce Electricity

Photo:  wfmillar (CC)

Photo: wfmillar (CC)

Can poop be turned into power? The city of Orlando has been working with private-industry partners on turning sewage into electricity in an attempt to answer the age-old question: ‘What if you could take sewage and get rid of it cleanly and quickly, without dumping it in rivers or landfills — and generate pollution-free electricity at the same time?’ Orlando Sentinel reports:

Orlando officials think they’ve perfected a technology that has flummoxed scientists for decades — one they hope will be used worldwide to turn sewage into electricity and earn the city tens of millions of dollars in royalties.

If city officials and their private-industry partners are right, it could be the biggest thing in sewage treatment since the flush toilet.

“We call it poop to power in five minutes,” said project consultant Roy Pelletier.

While the five-year, $8.5 million project has drawn little attention locally, a small, experimental test plant off busy Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida has drawn visitors from Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Europe and elsewhere in recent weeks.

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Internet Uses More Electricity In U.S. Than Auto Industry

GlobalInternetThe Internet: not so green after all. Steve Hargreaves reports for CNN Money:

The Internet uses more electricity in America than the auto industry uses to make cars and trucks.

Yet despite all the talk about the nation’s aging power grid, utility experts say they can easily handle the additional demand.

In a way, for energy producers, the huge increase in usage by companies like Google and Facebook is a godsend. Electricity demand from many industrial clients has dropped by up to 20% over the last few years, largely due to the recession and greater efficiency.

Tech sector growth “has helped make that decrease not so bad,” said Steve Rosenstock, an engineer at the Edison Electric Institute, the utility trade association.

The electricity needed to power and cool the millions of servers that make the Internet hum has grown by more than 10% a year for the last decade, Rosenstock said.

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For the Christmas Season, It Costs $82,000/Month To Light This House

Christmas LightsCasey Chan writes on Gizmodo:
The Faucher Family in Delaware have built extravagant Christmas lights setups for 25 years now. How extravagant? They use 1,000,000 lights. So how much does it cost them to run the lights for a month? $82,320. Gulp. HouseLogic estimated the total cost by using the average price per kWh in the Faucher Family's region and assumed each of their 1,000,000 bulbs were the average 5 watt C7 bulb. They then figured the lights to run for 4 hours each night and 30 nights in total. The estimated cost came out to be $686/hour and $82,320 for those bright 30 nights. A lot of money to get in the Christmas spirit!
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Is Solar Power Too Powerful For Germany?

456px-Electricity_Grid_Schematic_EnglishUPI reports:

The German electricity grid faces instability because of too much solar power, an expert said.

Thanks to a generous feed-in tariff, the installation of rooftop solar panels and large-scale photovoltaic plants has exploded in Germany.

Stephan Kohler, chairman of the DENA agency, an energy adviser to the government, has warned that the green boom could turn into a disaster for Germany’s aging power grid.

“The network is facing a congestion due to solar power,” Kohler told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. “That’s why the expansion of solar power has to be cut back quickly and drastically.”

Experts have long called for an overhaul of the European power grid to integrate the fluctuating renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Experts forecast between 8 gigawatts and 10 GW of solar power capacity to be installed this year — the equivalent of roughly 10 large coal-fired power plants. In 2009, only 4 GW were installed.

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U.S. Electrical Grid Too Crappy to Be Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack, Say Physicists

Interesting article from Annalee Newitz on io9.com:

U.S. Electrical GridThe US government worries that terrorists could take down the country’s electrical grid just by hitting a small node in the system. But a new study reveals the grid is too unreliable for that kind of attack.

Last year, network theorists published some papers suggesting that terrorists could take down the entire US electrical grid by attacking a small, remote power station.

But new research shows that network theory models, which great for analyzing many complex systems, don’t work for patchwork systems like the US electrical grid. Basically, the grid was set up so haphazardly that you’d have to take out a major node before you’d affect the entire thing.

Science Daily sums up: [The] electric grid is probably more secure that many people realize — because it is so unpredictable. This, of course, makes it hard to improve its reliability (in another line of research, [study co-author Paul] Hines has explored why the rate of blackouts in the United States hasn’t improved in decades), but the up-side of this fact is that it would be hard for a terrorist to bring large parts of the grid down by attacking just one small part.

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Nikola Tesla – Mad Electricity

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” - Nikola Tesla, 1929
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Scientists Discover New Way to Generate Electricity

Original hochgeladen von Schwarzm am 30. Aug 2004; Selbst gemacht mit C4D/Cartoonrenderer, GNU FDL

This animation of a rotating carbon nanotube shows its 3D structure. By Schwarzm, made with C4D/Cartoonrenderer, GNU FDL

By Michelle Bryner for TechNewsDaily.com:

Researchers have found a way to produce large amounts of electricity from tiny cylinders made from carbon atoms.

The achievement could replace decades-old methods of generating electricity, such as combustion engines and turbines, the researchers say.

In the future, coated carbon nanotubes crafted from individual atoms could power everything from cell phones to hybrid-electric vehicles. The team envisions such nanotube-based power being available to consumers in the next five years.

Carbon nanotubes are thin sheets of carbon rolled up into teensy tubes each with a diameter about 30,000 times smaller than a strand of hair.

When carbon — one of the most abundant elements on Earth — is rolled up into tubes, it exhibits some extraordinary properties such as high heat conduction, which the team exploited in the new study….

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