- Company Perspectives: SiGNa Chemistry Brings Smart Hydrogen Fuel Cells to the Renewables Marketplace
- 143,000 MW of Solar and Wind for Pakistan?
- US Reaches 50 GW of Wind Energy Capacity in Q2 of 2012
- IEA Calls for More Support for Solar Thermal Power
- DARPA Funds a Robot that Moves Like a Worm, But Why?
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 10:59 AM PDT
Company Perspectives: SiGNa Chemistry Brings Smart Hydrogen Fuel Cells to the Renewables Marketplace (via http://greenbuildingelements.com)
In this business of championing green energy solutions that are sustainable, too much in the way of bad news is found when chemical companies and their convoluted product supply chains get dissected. SiGNa Chemistry stands as an exceptional green chemistry company in its manufacture of hydrogen fuel…
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 10:53 AM PDT
The report also said one area — the Sindh corridor — has a wind power potential of 40,000 MW. Another source says wind power potential in this area is actually 50,000 MW.
Overall potential is one thing, but getting there is obviously quite another. In the short-term, however, there are plans to add an additional 800 MW of wind power in this region, and that new growth could be completed by 2013. Wind speeds in the Sindh corridor have been measured at 7.5 and 7.7 m/s, which puts the area in the “Excellent” category for wind power.
Pakistan has been experiencing an energy crisis. For example, the Punjab this summer has had its power cut up to twenty hours a day in some periods. The difference between supply and demand reached 7,500 MW at one point.
Peak demand in summer is about 18,000 MW. Approximately one third of that is for air conditioning. Energy demand is rising by 1,500 MW per year, and the country of 180 million people is growing constantly. Already, there are riots and protests over the lack of energy and how the government is managing the situation.
Articles such as this one about the massive potential of renewable energy sometimes are not well-received because readers point out the potential exists on paper but there are many obstacles which appear to make it nearly impossible to realize. In some cases, this frustration may be fully warranted, but having a very large potential is a good thing, and recognizing it can reference a direction for the future, when currently there isn’t a clear picture what should be done.
Image Credit: Asjad Jamshed
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 07:36 AM PDT
The announcement was made by Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) at the National Clean Energy Summit in Los Vegas, Nevada.
So far this year, according to the AWEA, 2,800 megawatts (MW) of wind, along with 1,400 wind turbines have been installed across the US, helping the wind industry reach this fantastic achievement. Many of the new installations have come from new projects in Nevada, Idaho, Iowa, Hawaii Oklahoma, and California. Some of the key projects that are going in across six of these states, according to the AWEA include:
What has occurred in the wind industry with the US reaching that plateau is quite remarkable. Consider the following:
The next question you are going to wonder is how much 50 GW of wind energy gets you. This beautiful infographic below, supplied by the AWEA, shows just how much impact 50 GW of wind power can do:
The most interesting fact I found out from this infographic was that wind potential is enough to take out coal power plants in the US. 50 GW of wind provides the same amount of energy as 44 coal fire power plants, or 11 nuclear power plants. The future potential to move at a lighting-fast pace and replace these sunset energy sources is very realistic, especially when you consider that 39 states now have utility-sized wind farms, according to the AWEA.
Politicians were pleased with the US wind energy's latest milestone. "This milestone for wind-energy production marks continued success for this clean, renewable and domestically produced energy source," said Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in a statement. "Wind energy has exceeded expectations since I first authored the tax incentive, in 1992, and offers an ideal for expanded production and use of alternative energy sources in the future."
"It is amazing that 50,000 megawatts of our nation's power is generated from clean and affordable wind energy," Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas Said.
"This is a very big milestone for the wind industry, and I am proud the Rocky Ridge Wind Project has contributed to this great success. As a leader of Congress, representing Oklahoma's Third Congressional District, I have supported the wind energy in the past, and I will continue to support it in the future," he said.
The impact of the wind industry isn't just on the environment but also economically, on the domestic level. Most of the capacity growth has come from turbines made in the USA, around 60%, according to the statement.
Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy in the statement also agreed with the positive economic impact the wind industry has had.
"We're very proud that Spring Valley Wind is not only Nevada's first wind power facility but also helps America reach 50 gigawatts of clean wind generation."
"Spring Valley Wind brought over 250 jobs to Nevada and will now power up to 45,000 local homes with zero emissions. This project will also generate significant tax revenue and community benefits for decades to come, demonstrating that wind energy is a meaningful long-term investment in the economic health of local communities."
However, uncertainty about the Production Tax Credit (PTC), credited for spurring the development of the domestic wind industry, has plagued wind developers and threatens jobs, according to Denise Bode:
However, hope is on the horizon, as the Senate Finance Committee on August 7th passed the "Family and Business Tax Cut Act." The act would help extend the PTC, vital for further industrial growth.
Overall, 50GW of wind electricity capacity is something to be celebrated by everyone.
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 07:29 AM PDT
The report outlined a roadmap for development and deployment of solar heating and cooling by 2050 to produce 16.5 exajoules of solar heating annually and 1.5 exajoules of solar cooling.
“Awareness is growing of the urgent need to turn political statements and analytical work into concrete action,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. “To spark this movement, at the request of the G8, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is leading the development of a series of roadmaps for some of the most important technologies.
“The global energy need for heat is significant in both OECD and non-OECD countries: in 2009 the IEA reported that global energy demand for heat represented 47% of final energy use. Solar heat thus can make a substantial contribution in meeting climate change and security objectives.”
The key findings of the report are detailed below:
Source: IEA (PDF)
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 04:13 AM PDT
Resilient Robots for the U.S. Military
Meshworm has the ability to survive a frightening degree of misuse, and that provides one clue into DARPA’s interest in the new technology.
As described by writer Jennifer Chu, the field of soft robotics is of growing interest to engineers. With little or no need for bulky hardware, soft robots are more durable and lend themselves to miniaturization more easily than their mechanical counterparts.
In terms of military purpose, soft robots like Meshworm could be air-dropped, launched or thrown over relatively long distances, land without damage, and set about crawling silently around, squeezing through tight openings and conducting surveillance.
That kind of unobtrusive mobile robot could also be useful in environmental monitoring, among other applications in the civilian world.
The Inner Workings of a Robotic Worm
One particular challenge for soft robots is developing a means of propulsion that adds little or no bulk. The MIT team overcame this by integrating propulsion into the infrastructure of the robot.
Earthworms provided the inspiration because they move along by teaming longitudinal muscles with another set of muscles that wrap around their bodies in circles.
To mimic these muscles, the team developed a springy mesh tube (yes, just like a link sock) and wrapped it with wires made of a “very bizarre material,” a nickel-titanium alloy.
“Depending on the ratio of nickel to titanium, the alloy changes phase with heat. Above a certain temperature, the alloy remains in a phase called austenite — a regularly aligned structure that springs back to its original shape, even after significant bending, much like flexible eyeglass frames. Below a certain temperature, the alloy shifts to a martensite phase — a more pliable structure that, like a paperclip, stays in the shape in which it's bent.”
A miniature battery and circuit board provided the juice to heat and cool the alloy, and a series of stress tests (the aforementioned hammer, plus a stomping) proved its durability.
The Future of Soft Robotics
Phase-changing material like MIT’s alloy fall into the programmable matter category, so look for many more Meshworm-type devices to make an appearance as this field develops apace with soft robotics.
It’s also worth noting that one key advantage of small robots, soft or hard, is their ability to perform tasks while using a minimal amount of energy.
Along those lines, engineers at Virginia Tech have been working with the U.S. Navy to develop Robojelly, a robot that swims like a jellyfish. Energy is provided by a fuel cell that scavenges power from seawater, with an assist from a platinum catalyst.
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
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