Tag Archives | Solar Energy

Wall Street Journal: Solar a “Mortal Threat” to Utilities

Picture: NASA (PD)

Peter Sinclair writes at Climate

Denial Crock of the Week:

Three weeks ago, I had my 5 minutes at a local “listening session” on energy, put on by the Governor of my fair state.

My main message was that a technological sea change is coming in energy production – and if regulatory and utility policy do not anticipate the further build out of wind, solar, and distributed energy, the transition is going to be ugly.  Traditional energy producers who think they can hold back the tide will be like typewriter makers trying to bad-mouth word processors. They are going to go away.

Last week had coffee last week with a well-informed friend, who agreed with me that this is an oncoming freight train. He pointed me to some new survey results from Ernst & Young.

Renewable Energy World:

We conducted a telephone survey of executives involved in corporate energy strategy at 100 companies with revenues of US$1 billion or more.

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Germany Sets New Solar Record By Meeting Nearly Half of Country’s Weekend Power Demand

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

This story from inhabitat has the sustainable energy movement incredibly excited, and rightly so methinks:

Germany fed a whopping 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour into the national grid last weekend, setting a new record by meeting nearly half of the country’s weekend power demand.

After the Fukushima disaster, Japan opted to shut down all of its nuclear power stations and Germany followed suit after considerable public pressure. This seems to have paved the way for greater investment in solar energy projects. The Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster announced that Saturday’s solar energy generation met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs AND was equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity! …

By meeting a third of its electricity needs on a work day and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed, Germany’s solar power industry has broken all previous records.

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In France, A Reactor Is Being Built Which Will Make Stars

To_Pit_Radial_2Soon we may have a glimpse of the world’s first star garden — imagine sitting within its confines on a summer night. BLDG BLOG writes:

An artificially excavated limestone pit in the south of France will soon host star-making technology. Construction involves inserting a supergrid of rebar into the quarried pit, securing the limestone walls with concrete foundation work, then pouring seismically-stabilized plinths that will support the so-called International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a kind of concrete garden that produces stars.

Nestled in its semi-subterranean, mine-like site and buzzing inside with radiation-resistant robot elevators, the ITER will recreate, again and again, “the process that powers the sun and most other stars. At extremely high temperatures, hydrogen nuclei will fuse to form helium, spitting out more energy than the process consumes, something that has never yet been achieved by a human-made device.”

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Israel To Demolish Palestinian Solar Energy Program

West BankVia Common Dreams:

A sustainable energy program in ‘Area C’ of rural West Bank is being threatened by Israeli authorities. The program, which recently installed solar panels and wind turbines in 16 communities, is providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity — who were formerly without reliable energy.

The foreign aid program, thus far successful, has become a new target for Israel as it threatens to demolish the structures that supposedly lie within Israeli ‘administration’.

Der Spiegel reports:

The best part is when the lights in the tents go on, one by one, says Elad Orian. Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines.

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Solar Paint Your House With Nanoparticles

This paste of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles could turn large surfaces into solar cells. (Credit: ACS Nano)

This paste of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles could turn large surfaces into solar cells. (Credit: ACS Nano)

Via ScienceDaily:

Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light — electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside. A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.

“We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology,” says Prashant Kamat, John A. Zahm Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry and an investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), who leads the research.

“By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”…

Read more here.… Read the rest

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Robotic Clouds Could Help Cool 2022 Qatar World Cup (Animation)

Qatar 2022BBC Sport reports:
Scientists at Qatar University claim to have developed artificial clouds to provide shade for stadia and training grounds at the 2022 World Cup. The fierce summer heat in the Gulf has led to concerns about conditions for players and fans at the tournament. Temperatures in June and July can reach up to 50 C. Qatar were announced as hosts in December, and Fifa president Sepp Blatter initially said he expected the 2022 competition to be moved to winter. But Blatter has since stated that he feels the tournament will go ahead as planned in the summer months. Qatar plan to air condition their World Cup stadia via solar power, and now scientists have designed the 'clouds', which can be produced at a cost of $500,000 (about £310,000) each.
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Ray Kurzweil: No Energy Or Water Shortages, Climate Change Is No Problem

Ray Kurzweil. Photo by Michael Lutch. Courtesy of Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

Ray Kurzweil. Photo by Michael Lutch. Courtesy of Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

Lauren Feeney elicited some gems from futurist Ray Kurzweil in her interview for PBS. Among his predictions:

  • “In 20 years we’ll be meeting all of our energy needs with solar.”
  • Life extension technology is about to take off — meaning far greater life expectancy.
  • There will be no water shortage as we use the abundant electricity to convert polluted water.
  • We are going to have plenty of food from “vertical agriculture, where we grow plants, fruits, vegetables and meat in computerized factories by artificial intelligence; hydroponic plants tended by intelligent robots to create fruits and vegetables, in-vitro cloned meats, basically just cloning the part of the animal that you want to eat, which is the muscled tissue.”
  • We shouldn’t worry about climate change — the new technologies we’re developing will beat it.

Crazy stuff! I’m not sure I want to eat cloned portions of animals grown in a lab…

Read the whole interview at PBS.… Read the rest

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Teenager Builds His Own Homemade ‘Death-Ray’ (Video)

Solar Death RayWhat a great hobby for the budding comic book super-villain. Could Lex Luthor do this in his youth? Nice work. Via Eric Jacqmain's YouTube:
The R5800 is my latest and greatest solar creation. Made from an ordinary fiberglass satellite dish, it is covered in about 5800 3/8" (~1 cm) mirror tiles. When properly aligned, it can generate a spot the size of a dime with an intensity of 5000 times normal daylight. This intensity of light is more than enough to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant. It stands at 5'9" and is 42" across.
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Jellyfish ‘Smoothie’ Could Have Solar Solutions

Barry Neild at CNN reports:

Putting thousands of jellyfish in a blender to make a smoothie sounds like the start of bad joke. In fact, it’s one way to source ingredients for a new generation of solar power solutions that could aid medical science and offer cheap energy.

Scientists say by liquidizing the humble Aequorea victoria — a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish commonly found off the western coast of North America — they can use the green fluorescent protein (GFP) it contains to create miniature fuel cells.

These, say their creators, could be used to power microscopic “nanodevices” that could operate independently inside the human body, helping reverse blindness or fight tumors.

Nanotechnology — the manipulation of matter at an atomic scale (one nanometer is equivalent to one billionth of a meter) — is seen by many as the future of medicine, but the science of powering nano-machinery is still in its infancy.

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