background preloader

Hydropower from Reuse

Hydropower from Reuse
Reused: a small stepper motor as found in a printer 2 discarded CD-ROMs a foam tray some long stick (I used a piece of 20mm diameter PVC tube from demolition) a LED one or two tie-wraps a small piece of scrap paper Non-reused: The only non-reused part is the hot melt glue (I recommend the low temp type, especially when working with kids). Tools: scissors, screwdriver to disassemble the printer (not shown), cutting pliers or desoldering tools for (optional, not shown). With a bit of luck the LED can also be found in the discarded printer. To keep within the spirit, you can also reuse tie-wraps: when you cut them loose carefully near the “ratchet”, you end up with a shorter, but still usable tie wrap. Now to start building, see the next step.

How I built an electricity producing wind turbine Several years ago I bought some remote property in Arizona. I am an astronomer and wanted a place to practice my hobby far away from the sky-wrecking light pollution found near cities of any real size. I found a great piece of property. The problem is, it's so remote that there is no electric service available. That's not really a problem. No electricity equals no light pollution. One thing I noticed right away about my property is that most of the time, the wind is blowing. Let me state up front that I probably won't be able to help you out much if you decide to build your own wind turbine. Since no one seems to be reading the FAQ, I will answer the No. 1 question I get many, many times a day right here up front. Update: Here is a video of the wind turbine in operation. Update: Here is a video of me assembling and setting up the wind turbine on my remote off-grid property. I started the process of designing my wind turbine by Googling for information on home-built wind turbines. .

Peak Opportunities The Problem of Growth That source is the hierarchal structure of human civilization. Hierarchy demands growth. Growth is a result of dependency. The solution to the problem of growth, then, is the elimination of dependency. I. Why must hierarchy continually grow and intensify? Human Psychology Drives Growth Humans fear uncertainty, and this uncertainty drives growth. One of the seeds of hierarchy is the desire to join a redistribution network to help people through bad times—crop failures, drought, etc. Still today, our fear of uncertainty and desire for stability and security create an imperative for growth. The Structure of Human Society Selects for Growth The psychological impetus toward growth results in what I consider the greatest growth-creating mechanism in human history: the peer-polity system. In a peer-polity system, where many separate groups interact, it was not possible to opt-out of the competition to create more surplus. The Development of Modern Economics & Finance Requires Growth II. III.

Installing a Solar Energy System Like many of you reading this article, I am fairly new to the realization that our future may not turn out the way we originally planned. A little over two years ago, after the financial turmoil set in, I began to wake up from my comfortable, relatively uncomplicated life and take a closer look at what was going on around me. I was first introduced to the Crash Course by an attendee at the 2009 CPAC Liberty Forum in Washington, DC where I had gone to hear Ron Paul speak. Little did I know how dramatic an impact that one conversation would have on my life. I hope reading about the thermal and photovoltaic solar systems we have installed will encourage you to think about actions you can take to prepare for our uncertain future. Our House – NOT a Model of Sustainability I think it is important for you to know the environment and initial problem in order to make sense of some of the design/implementation decisions we have made. The Panic Goals Thermal Solar System Control System Performance

Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities Solar power and other distributed renewable energy technologies could lay waste to U.S. power utilities and burn the utility business model, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century, to the ground. That is not wild-eyed hippie talk. It is the assessment of the utilities themselves. Back in January, the Edison Electric Institute — the (typically stodgy and backward-looking) trade group of U.S. investor-owned utilities — released a report [PDF] that, as far as I can tell, went almost entirely without notice in the press. That’s a shame. It is one of the most prescient and brutally frank things I’ve ever read about the power sector. I’ve been thinking about how to convey to you, normal people with healthy social lives and no time to ponder the byzantine nature of the power industry, just what a big deal the coming changes are. So, just a bit of background. This complexity makes it difficult to generalize about utilities … or to discuss them without putting people to sleep.

Could New York run on renewable energy alone? Three times now, Mark Jacobson has gone out on the same limb. In 2009 he and co-author Mark Delucchi published a cover story in Scientific American that showed how the entire world could get all of its energy — fuel as well as electricity — from wind, water and solar sources by 2030. No coal or oil, no nuclear or natural gas. New York state could end fossil fuel use and generate all of its energy from wind, water and solar power, according to Mark Jacobson. [An edited transcript of the interview follows.] At first glance, your proposals to convert society wholesale to renewable energy, and relatively soon, sound wild. Mostly, it’s pretty positive. Why did you dive down into New York state after having done the entire world? To get any traction I figured we had to do a plan with higher resolution, because otherwise it’s just too massive for anyone to actually do anything about it. The main obstacles are political and social — getting politicians onboard. So then how do you sell the plan?

Artificial Photosynthesis System as efficient as plants and can reduce CO2 levels A group at Panasonic has developed the Artificial Photosynthesis System, which produces organic materials with a world-leading efficiency in terms of solar energy conversion. The recently achieved efficiency, 0.2%, is on a par with that for real plants used in biomass energy. Artificial photosynthesis is a technology that uses sunlight to produce oxygen and organic substances from water and carbon dioxide, like plants do. As an ideal technology that could solve both global warming and energy issues, artificial photosynthesis is currently being researched worldwide. "This device is a demonstration model of the artificial photosynthesis system we've developed. Here's how the reaction works. To convert CO2 in this way, electrons must be excited to a high-energy state using light. This is an experiment using sunlight. In addition, by designing the material for the metal catalyst, it's possible to vary the type of organic substances produced.

What if we never run out of oil? As the great research ship Chikyu left Shimizu in January to mine the explosive ice beneath the Philippine Sea, chances are good that not one of the scientists aboard realized they might be closing the door on Winston Churchill’s world. Their lack of knowledge is unsurprising; beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill’s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. Churchill’s proposal led to emphatic dispute. Churchill fired the starting gun, but all of the Western powers joined the race to control Middle Eastern oil. All of this was called into question by the voyage of the Chikyu (“Earth”), a $540 million Japanese deep-sea drilling vessel that looks like a billionaire’s yacht with a 30-story oil derrick screwed into its back. In the 1970s, geologists discovered crystalline natural gas — methane hydrate, in the jargon — beneath the seafloor.

Why Bill Gates is wrong Bill Gates is sad that David Roberts thinks he’s wrong.Photo: redmaxwell via FlickrBill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, made waves last week when, at the much-celebrated tech conference TED, he proclaimed that climate change is the most important problem facing the planet. Wo0t! Obviously having someone of Gates’ stature supporting the clean energy race is an unqualified good. (See Alex Steffen on Gates’ talk.) That said, Gates has burst on to the energy scene with some rather ill-considered thinking. Now: it’s incontestably true that the U.S. investment in R&D is lower than it should be. There are two problems with Gates’ dichotomy between innovation and insulation. 1. I don’t know if Heinberg’s right. Getting maximum energy services out of each electron will be an overriding human imperative in the 21st century, and it will require every bit as much ingenuity and imagination as the pursuit of new generation technology. 2. Cool, right?! One could go on.

Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean "Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." The technology is being developed by Schramm's company, Subhydro AS. Really, the idea is very similar to that behind above-ground pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations which pump water from a low reservoir to a high one when energy is cheap or plentiful, and allow it to flow back down through turbines when more energy is required. Subhydro AS is working with Norwegian research organization SINTEF to develop the technology, which is designed for depths of between 400 and 800 m (1,300 and 2,600 ft). Like MIT, Subhydro and SINTEF are looking at concrete as the material of choice. MIT's technology is also patent pending, so gauging which team's plans are the more advanced is difficult. Sources: Subhydro AS , press release

The Emerging Climate Technology Consensus Update (Jul 16, 2010): Expanding on a Washington Post op-ed, Vinod Khosla delineates his argument "about the deficiencies of an isolated cap-and-trade or carbon-pricing bill," and joins the climate technology consensus. Khosla writes, "If we want to make a significant difference, we need to get on the path to reducing carbon worldwide by 80 percent now by focusing on what I call "carbon reduction capacity building" -- in other words, we need to develop radical carbon-reduction technologies. A utility cap (or a carbon price) won't build capacity -- it will just increase our utility costs and decrease our manufacturing competitiveness without any increase in our technological competitiveness. Update (Jul 14, 2010): Other observers have reached similar conclusions about the faltering pollution paradigm. Walter Russell Mead and Clive Crook weigh in on "The Big Green Lie" but can't agree on what it is. By Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (Click on a topic below to expand...) No.

SKWID harnesses the power of both the wind and the tide There are already a wide variety of renewable energy systems that harness the power of the wind, along with some that generate power via the flow of ocean currents. According to Japanese engineering firm MODEC (Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co.), however, its soon-to-be-tested SKWID system will be the first one to do both. SKWID stands for Savonius Keel and Wind Turbine Darrieus. This is appropriate, as it’s an anchored floating platform that contains both a Savonius tidal turbine below the waterline, and a Darrieus vertical-axis wind turbine up in the air. The two are connected by a central gearbox/generator, allowing the SKWID to generate power from the currents, the wind, or both. The design of the Darrieus turbine is such that it can spin to the left or to the right, so it works regardless of the wind direction. Source: MODEC via CBS News About the Author All articles by Ben Coxworth

World's largest fat-burning power station to burn blubber from London sewers East London is set to play host to the world's biggest power station to run solely on fat, which will provide a much-needed use for the discarded fat which can block the city's sewer system. The station will generate 130 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power about 39,000 houses. The power station is to be built in Beckton, East London, where some 75 GWh (58 percent) of the output will be sent directly to the nearby Beckton sewage works, run by Thames Water, as well as a local desalination plant brought online during droughts and emergencies. As part of the deal, Thames Water will provide more than half of the power station's fuel. Though much of this will be extracted from London's sewers, more will be gathered from traps which intercept fat in the city's kitchens before it can make its way down the drain. Sources: Thames Water , BBC