UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal. Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true – zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply. Perhaps the biggest roadblock to adopting fusion energy is that the economics haven't penciled out. Fusion power designs aren't cheap enough to outperform systems that use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. University of Washington engineers hope to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output. The team published its reactor design and cost-analysis findings last spring and will present results Oct. 17 at the International Atomic Energy Agency's Fusion Energy Conference in St.
The UW's reactor, called the dynomak, started as a class project taught by Jarboe two years ago. There are several ways to create a magnetic field, which is crucial to keeping a fusion reactor going. NREL Maps U.S. Renewable Energy Potential | Jeanne Roberts. Crow Lake Wind Farm, image courtesy Electric Co-op Today Zoomable and draggable like a Google map , with potentially prime locations for various clean energy technologies delineated in gradations of color, the newest offering from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( NREL ) allows everyone from renewable resource enthusiasts to project developers to quickly, accurately and effectively locate the best places for particular types of clean energy development.
Not only does the map identify prime locations for every clean energy technology from hydro through wave power – including ground-source and enhanced geothermal, biomass residue (such as corn husks, prairie grasses), solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar (CSP), and onshore and offshore wind – but it does so by address, city, state, zip code, or latitude and longitude, or within states, counties, congressional districts, U.S. How Steve Perlman's "Revolutionary" Wireless Technology Works - and Why its a Bigger Deal than Anyone Realizes.
Smart Forecasts Lower the Power of Wind and Solar. Breakthrough Ultra-accurate forecasting of wind and solar power. Why It Matters Dealing with the intermittency of renewable energy will be crucial for its expansion. Key Players Xcel Energy GE Power National Center for Atmospheric Research Wind power is booming on the open plains of eastern Colorado. Travel seven miles north of the town of Limon on Highway 71 and then head east on County Road 3p, a swath of dusty gravel running alongside new power lines: within minutes you’ll be surrounded by towering wind turbines in rows stretching for miles. Every few seconds, almost every one of the hundreds of turbines records the wind speed and its own power output. The forecasts are helping power companies deal with one of the biggest challenges of wind power: its intermittency. Before the forecasts were developed, Xcel Energy, which supplies much of Colorado’s power, ran ads opposing a proposal that it use renewable sources for a modest 10 percent of its power.
Chasing the Wind Virtual Energy. Bionic plants: Nanotechnology could turn shrubbery into supercharged energy producers -- ScienceDaily. Plants have many valuable functions: They provide food and fuel, release the oxygen that we breathe, and add beauty to our surroundings. Now, a team of MIT researchers wants to make plants even more useful by augmenting them with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give them completely new functions, such as monitoring environmental pollutants.
In a new Nature Materials paper, the researchers report boosting plants' ability to capture light energy by 30 percent by embedding carbon nanotubes in the chloroplast, the plant organelle where photosynthesis takes place. Using another type of carbon nanotube, they also modified plants to detect the gas nitric oxide. Together, these represent the first steps in launching a scientific field the researchers have dubbed "plant nanobionics. " "Plants are very attractive as a technology platform," says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and leader of the MIT research team.
Lean green machines. Scientists find the 'missing heat' of global warming 700 meters below the sea. Total ocean heat content shown in violet, while grey shows 0 to 300 meters and blue shows 300 to 700 meters. Vertical colored bars show volcanic eruptions that cooled the Earth for a short period and the 1997-98 El Nino event. Chart from Balmaseda et al. Critics of climate change often claim that warming has stopped since the late 1990s. While this is categorically false (the last decade was the warmest on record and 2005 and 2010 are generally considered tied for the warmest year), scientists do admit that warming hasn't occurred over land as rapidly as predicted in the last ten years, especially given continually rising greenhouse gas emissions. But a recent study in Geophysical Research Letters has found this so-called missing heat: 700 meters below the surface of the ocean. "Increasingly in the past decade, more of that heat has been dumped at levels below 700 meters, where most previous analyses stop.
CITATION: Magdalena A. Related articles U.S. Solar Beads Could Cut Costs By 50% Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change. The Most Amazing Invention. Evidence Meltdown. The green movement has misled the world about the dangers of radiation. By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 5th April 2011 Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health.
The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice. I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott(1). First she sent me nine documents: newspaper articles, press releases and an advertisement. I pressed her further and she gave me a series of answers that made my heart sink – in most cases they referred to publications which either had little or no scientific standing, which did not support her claims or which contradicted them.
But it gets worse; much worse. Www.monbiot.com References: 2. Super-efficient solar-energy technology: ‘Solar steam’ so effective it can make steam from icy cold water. Rice University scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The new "solar steam" method from Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics is so effective it can even produce steam from icy cold water.
The technology's inventors said they expect it will first be used in sanitation and water-purification applications in the developing world. Rice University scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The new "solar steam" method from Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) is so effective it can even produce steam from icy cold water. Details of the solar steam method were published online November 19 in ACS Nano. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have an overall energy efficiency around 15 percent. Steam is one of the world's most-used industrial fluids. 'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution. Nitrogen cycle: Difference Engine: End of the electric car?
One step closer to controlling nuclear fusion. Using a heating system, physicists have succeeded for the first time in preventing the development of instabilities in an efficient alternative way relevant to a future nuclear fusion reactor. It’s an important step forward in the effort to build the future ITER reactor. Scientists have achieved a milestone: they have managed to stop the growth of instabilities inside a nuclear fusion reactor. How? Here’s a look at this energy source, which despite being challenging to control, is nevertheless extremely promising. Nuclear fusion is an attempt to reproduce the energy of the Sun in an Earth-based reactor system. When gas is heated to several million degrees, it becomes plasma. The challenge is to reduce the instabilities deep within in the interior of the plasma so that they don’t amplify, while at the same time allowing the reactor to continue to function normally.
From theory to practice Explore further: How 'frustrated' magnets escape magnetic deadlock at low temperatures. Researchers harness viruses to split water: Crucial step toward turning water into hydrogen fuel. (PhysOrg.com) -- A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth.
In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It's only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.
Other researchers have made systems that use electricity, which can be provided by solar panels, to split water molecules, but the new biologically based system skips the intermediate steps and uses sunlight to power the reaction directly. Sun-Less Solar Cells Could Make Energy From Anything Hot. Photovoltaic cells are best known for turning sunlight into electrical power--and they're big business. But did you know that there's a type of PV cell that eats heat instead of light to make power? It could replace the Li-ion battery in your cell phone, and it may also be used to scavenge waste heat from almost anything that normally dumps it into the environment, from your TV's electronics to your car's engine (even an electrical one).
Thermal PV tech has been around ages, and works the same way as the solar variation: Incoming radiation excites the atoms in its semiconductor structure, which then push electrons out--generating current. And much as is the case for solar PV cells, the advances in the tech have all been about improving their efficiency.
Right now, MIT is building the tech into tiny silicon micro-reactors. [Image: Flickr user Mr.Thomas] Top-secret Zero-emission Bloom Box Revealed (Kind of) | Science on GOOD. The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today's technology, in 20-40 years, says Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson | Stanford News Release. January 26, 2011 A new study – co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi – analyzing what is needed to convert the world's energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today's technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy.
But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen. By Louis Bergeron If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources – nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today – why wouldn't you do it?
According to a new study coauthored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. The world they envision would run largely on electricity. Jacobson said that the variability can be overcome. The Good Reactor | A Thorium documentary. Why we are poles apart on climate change. Understandably anxious to explain persistent controversy over climate change, the media have discovered a new culprit: the public. By piecing together bits of psychological research, many news reporters, opinion writers and bloggers have concluded that people are simply too irrational to recognize the implications of climate-change science.
This conclusion gets it half right. Studying things from a psychological angle does help to make sense of climate-change scepticism. But the true source of the problem, research suggests, is not that people are irrational. Instead, it is that their reasoning powers have become disabled by a polluted science-communication environment. Social-science research indicates that people with different cultural values — individualists compared with egalitarians, for example — disagree sharply about how serious a threat climate change is. The positions on climate change of both groups track their impressions of recent weather.
Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done. One of the unfortunate memes that has made repeated appearances in the climate debate is that money isn't just influencing the public debate about science, but it's also influencing the science itself. The government, the argument goes, is paying scientists specifically to demonstrate that carbon dioxide is the major culprit in recent climate change, and the money available to do so is exploding. Although the argument displays a profound misunderstanding of how science and science funding work, it's just not going away. Just this week, one of the sites where people congregate to criticize mainstream climate science once again repeated it, replete with the graph below.
That graph originated in a 2009 report from a think tank called the Science & Public Policy Institute (notable for using the serially confused Christopher Monckton as a policy advisor). Who's got the money? This displays an almost incomprehensible misunderstanding of how science research works Where's that money going? Scientists see the solar future, and it's all about 'nanodomes' and 'plasmonics' Images courtesy of Michael McGehee Acting like a waffle iron, silicon nanodomes, each about 300 nanometers in diameter and 200 nanometers tall, imprint a honeycomb pattern of nanoscale dimples into a layer of metal within the solar cell. Titania within the solar cell is imprinted by the silicon nanodomes like a waffle imprinted by the iron.
Researchers in solar energy speak of a day when millions of otherwise fallow square meters of sun-drenched roofs, windows, deserts and even clothing will be integrated with inexpensive solar cells that are many times thinner and lighter than the bulky rooftop panels familiar today. So, when your iPod is on the nod, you might plug it into your shirt to recharge. It is not hard to envision a time when such technologies will be ubiquitous in our increasingly energy-hungry lives. Waves of energy In an article published in Advance Energy Materials, the Stanford/EPFL team announced a new type of thin solar cell that could offer a new direction for the field.
Wave Power Desalination Plant Coming Soon to Texas. PM: How does your wave-powered system work? Mark Thomas: The Seadog Pump is essentially a mechanical conversion device. What we're doing is taking the energy resonant in the waves by having it flow through our device. When it flows through it, we're able to set up a circumstance where we can convert the wave's potential into mechanic energy.
Once it's mechanical energy, we use that energy to pump water. At this point, the system is just a pump that is fueled by the waves. Then we take that energy and pump the water to an elevated area--to the shore, or a platform like we're planning to do in the Gulf of Mexico. The wind lease from the state of Texas gives us enough space to put in an 18-pump system. PM: Why has wave power failed so far? MT: There are two simple, basic reasons. Let's assume you canister it somehow to protect it from the nature of the salt interfering with your hydraulics.
PM: Why not use offshore wind turbines to pump the water? MT: [Fresh water] is a tangible product. Malcolm Bull reviews ‘A Perfect Moral Storm’ by Stephen Gardiner · LRB 24 May 2012. What_if_solar_was_subsidized_like_fossil_fuels.jpg (JPEG Image, 550 × 1117 pixels) - Scaled (81. Secrets of the first practical artificial leaf. Can Geoengineering Solve Global Warming?
A dash of lime -- a new twist that may cut CO2 levels back to pre-industrial levels. Waterworld? Ball of dust, more like - all the water on, in and under the Earth would fit into one 860-mile wide bubble. Limitless clean energy from wastewater? Nah, let's stick with clean coal. A New Approach to Fusion. Nanowire battery can hold 10 times the charge of existing lithium-ion battery. 02.15.2007 - Researchers convert heat to electricity using organic molecules, could lead to new energy source. Molten Salt And Rocket Science To Make Solar Work At Night. Scientists Discover New Way to Generate Electricity -- Science & Technology. MIT researchers engineer viruses to split water in search of hydrogen. Hydrogen: Energy Unbound. Amory Lovins on winning the oil endgame. TED Talk on Liquid Thorium Fluoride Reactors. Yes, I'm advocating this kind of nuclear power. Black Solar Cell Absorbs 99.7% of All Light.
Tim Minchin on human logic. Tim Minchin I Hate Papists (Catholics) Pope Song. WoodyAllenJesus. IBM, partners enable smarter charging for electric vehicles. Airborne power generator to produce energy at 1,000 feet. Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy. Counting the cost: the hidden price of coal power. Cheap Solar Power at Night
Jevons' Paradox and the Perils of Efficient Energy Use. Will Solar Energy Ever Pay for Itself? - Solar Energy Payback. Plans for solar thermal, PV, Wind, Heating, Cooling, Cooking, and energy saving projects for Do It Yourselfers. Nuclear fusion-fission hybrid could contribute to carbon-free energy future. Wavelight - Rescue Lights by Zhang Yakun, He Siqian, Zhu Ningning, Chen Chen & Mu Zhiwei. One Per Cent: Giant desert greenhouse inspired by camel's nostrils.
Saul Griffith's kites tap wind energy. A Machine That Turns Plastic Back Into Oil. MIT’s photonic crystals lead towards nuclear batteries everywhere. MIT creates solar cell from grass clippings. DIY Geothermal Heating Systems and Pump - Geothermal Desuperheater. Driving on Glass? Inventor Hopes to Lay Down Solar Roads.
Kirk Sorensen: Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel. Discovery of a 'dark state' could mean a brighter future for solar energy. A novel way to concentrate sun’s heat. Windbelt Micro-wind, 10 Times Cheaper Wind Energy!! Making a light-harvesting antenna from scratch: Biomimetic antenna for gathering sunlight may one day transform solar-powered devices. Light from a water bottle could brighten millions of poor homes (w/ video) Clever! Geothermal Power Plants Could be a Massive Source of Lithium for Batteries. Temperature differences give rise to electricity. Quantum Dots and Next-Gen Solar Cells - Solar PV Power Research. Printable Solar-Cell Material Reaches a Milestone. Researchers use river water and salty ocean water to generate electricity.