Battery Efficiency Improved 400 Times by Accident!

Everything these days uses batteries of some kind or another, from the smartphone you use to text your friends to the tablets and electronic tools you use at work or school every day. In a surprising twist, researchers at UC Irvine may have discovered a way to increase the time a battery holds the charge by complete accident.

The discovery comes as the researchers were looking at creating a solid-state battery using an electrolyte gel, similar to the ones developed by Cockrell School of Engineering in Texas. The idea was to use the gel to replace the lithium inside a battery, a component that corrodes and creates the nasty smelling ooze you get on batteries you find at the back of your kitchen draws when you go looking for just one more battery.

Using gold nanowires to store the electricity within the battery, the new design lasted through 200,000 recharges without any significant decline in battery life or corrosion, something which they can’t explain. Reginald Penner, the lead author of the paper, stated that they “don’t understand the mechanism of that yet”.

Lasting more than 400 times longer than a traditional battery, Penner explained their experiment was like pouring water between two cups, the end results was the new batteries losing only 5% of their charge over 200,000 times.

While a great start to making effective batteries, introducing gold to any electrical component increases its cost and raises the question, could this new style of battery, combining a gel with thin wires of metal, use something other than gold to achieve similar results?

Clean Energy Rules Backed by Leading Tech Companies

People like the idea of clean energy, the ability for us to generate more energy than we use all from renewable sources that don’t damage the environment. France requires that new buildings have solar panels or grass on the roofs, and an Indian airport has decided that solar power is the way they want to go. In a move to help further our advances towards clean energy governments are making more and more pushes, this time, it would seem that the clean power plan in America is getting some backing from rather large companies in the technology industry.The Clean Power Plan is designed to cut carbon pollution 32 percent below 2005’s levels, all by the time we reach 2030. With more and more pressure on reducing our CO2 output, coal-fired plants are under increased pressure to become more efficient (same energy, less CO2,

The Clean Power Plan is designed to cut carbon pollution 32 percent below 2005’s levels, all by the time we reach 2030. With more and more pressure on reducing our CO2 output, coal-fired plants are under increased pressure to become more efficient (same energy, less CO2) while also groups and companies are under more pressure to promote and use renewable energy sources like solar or wind farms.

Considering themselves “major purchasers of electricity”, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have come together and formally backed the Clean Power Plan in the United States Court of Appeals where the act is currently on hold.

With both large tech companies and the Obama administration pushing for this act to go through, it is hard to see how anything supporting renewable energy could be seen as negative but some claim the rules are onerous and overreach the abilities of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Solar Cells So Small They Don’t Even Pop Bubbles

Solar panels are hardly small things, they are so big that some places even create large fields covered in just the devices, some laws even state that you either use them on your roof or you have grass. With recent advances in the field, increasing both how much energy each solar panel can absorb but also what they look like, it was no surprise that people are more and more keen to adopt the new technology, but sometimes giant panels, even hidden ones, are just too inconvenient to be considered useful; introducing the solar cells so small that they don’t even pop bubbles.

The solar cells were created by researchers at MIT, who while they state they are years away from commercial products, the proof-of-concept means that soon your phones and even your clothes could soon be powering all your gadgets. The process involves a vacuum chamber and avoids the use of solvents, something that differs from the traditional approach of high temperature and chemicals in solar cell production.

The researchers were able to demonstrate how light and thin their solar cell was by placing it atop a soap bubble, the bubble then remained intact. The problem with the cell though is it may be too small, making it maybe a little too prone to blowing away in the wind or after a heavy breathe.

Would you like to see solar panels integrated into more things? Your house windows or your roof, why not your watch or the back of your phone? The possibilities are endless!

US Researchers Develop Light-Based CPU

A group of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of technology have created a CPU that eschews electricity to transfer data in favour of light, which operates at astronomical speeds but uses a fraction of the energy required to run a standard processor. The remarkable photonic chip has been revealed in a new paper published in the academic journal Nature.

“Light based integrated circuits could lead to radical changes in computing and network chip architecture in applications ranging from smartphones to supercomputers to large data centers, something computer architects have already begun work on in anticipation of the arrival of this technology,” Miloš Popović, Assistant Professor at CU-Boulder’s Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering and a co-corresponding author of the study, told CU News Center.

Measuring in at 3mm by 6mm, the photonic CPU operates at a bandwidth density of 300 gigabits per second per square millimetre, a rate of up to 50 times higher than that of the conventional electrical-based microprocessors of the current market. The chip uses 850 optical input/output (I/O) components to transmit data at superfast speeds.

“One advantage of light based communication is that multiple parallel data streams encoded on different colors of light can be sent over one and the same medium – in this case, an optical wire waveguide on a chip, or an off-chip optical fiber of the same kind that as those that form the Internet backbone,” he Popović, adding, “Another advantage is that the infrared light that we use – and that also TV remotes use – has a physical wavelength shorter than 1 micron, about one-hundredth of the thickness of a human hair,” said Popović. “This enables very dense packing of light communication ports on a chip, enabling huge total bandwidth.”

Want To Live In A Modern Windmill?

Remember that old TV series “Around The Twist” with the family that lived in the lighthouse? How long did people spend talking with their friends and family about living in a lighthouse or windmill? Well, people in the Netherlands might be closer to the dream than everyone else thanks to a dutch architect.

Doepel Strijkers designed the building, set to stand at a giant 173 metres tall and is designed to use not only  wind and water, but also electric fields in an attempt to generate not only sufficient energy to power itself but also enough to power nearby buildings, with an estimated output of 1 megawatt. Just for reference 1 megawatt would be enough to power on average 1000 U.S. homes.

Designed for low maintenance and quiet running, the building will not only generate electricity but will contain a restaurant, a seven-story hotel, a whopping 72 apartments and some space for offices as well.

With everything from solar panels on the outside of the building, a pipe to deliver industrial heat from the local port to help heat the building and a system of negatively charged water molecules within the air in a fashion similar to thunder clouds, which when it strikes (in small amounts) the charge can be converted to useable energy.

The design allows for the creation of miniature thunder clouds and uses them to harness the natural energy stored within the air and generated by molecules hitting the highly charged beams that will run across the wind tunnel.

Ultra-cool looking building – Check. Green Energy – Check. Dream house – Check! Oh and did I mention that it would pay for itself in just 10 years?

Thank you PopSci for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Doepelstrijkers.

Solar Power At Home Now More Popular Than Commercial Solar Power

In the modern world, Solar Power is popular, with everything from solar-powered planes flying from Japan to Hawaii to advances allowing the absorption of infrared light to increase their efficiency. Either way you look at it solar power is becoming more and more popular and is constantly becoming a bigger part of the world.

In the US, the leading source of energy information has come from (no surprises here) the Energy Information Agency. This hasn’t been a very up to date system to measure energy though as it was geared towards traditional power grids, such as those fed into the system from large companies. As a result of the changing situation with commercial and home-generated energy though they analyzed the residential energy being fed into the US power grid.

Turns out that in 2014 Solar power generated by residential users accumulated at around 3.3 Gigawatts while large-scale facilities only accounted for around 2.9GW. The information gathered showed that Californians accounted for almost half of the residential energy, followed by Arizona and Hawaii.

Alongside this information, another piece of data was revealed, one that renewable energy enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy. The use of coal as a power supplier has dropped by over 10% in the last year.

More green energy, fewer greenhouse gasses and cheaper electricity for everyone? What’s not to like about this news?

Thank you ArsTechnica for the information.

Man Arrested For Stealing Electricity On A Train

Anyone who’s been on a train recently for a long journey will understand that most modern trains come with some power outlets. I have travelled quite a bit in recent years on trains and can safely say these power outlets have given my laptop and my phone some much-needed charge in their final moments. An artist in London, however, found that this was not always welcome after being arrested for stealing electricity on a train.

The artist in question, Robin Lee, was travelling on a train in London when he spotted the power outlet and decided to charge his iPhone. When Robin left the train though he was met by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), for those who aren’t aware a Community Support Officer is a person who has been given some police abilities in order to bridge the gap between the public and the police. The PCSO stated that he had been “abstracting electricity” and according to Robin it was at this point that she called to four police officers who were on the platform and requested that he be arrested.

Robin was arrested after trying to push past the police and taken to the British Transport Police in Islington before being de-arrested for the “abstracting electricity” charge while being reported for the “unacceptable behaviour” of pushing past the police officers.

Transport for London has released a statement saying that there are signs near the plugs stating they are for cleaners use and they are not for use by the public.

I don’t know about you but next time I go on a train I will be reading all those signs a little more carefully. Do you think that it’s acceptable to be arrested for a little bit of electricity? Do you charge your devices on the trains?

Thank you Standard for the information and the image.

There is a Home Battery War Brewing

We’re fans of the clean energy here at eTeknix, especially that brought forward by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. The fact that the cars can push you to 60mph in the blink of an eye (Okay maybe 3-4 blinks), is something that twigged our interests.

With the turn of the electric revolution, Tesla brought forward the “Powerwall”; a single or series of batteries that can store energy ‘for a rainy day’. They can store energy on the grid or off if you have the facilities to harness electrical energy. With the popularity of the Tesla creation, they are sold out and off the pre-order list until sometime in mid-2016.

To jump on the same wagon and steal some of the thunder, Mercedes has now designed its own home battery. The storage capacity of just 2.5kWh is lacking behind that of Tesla’s offering, these can be combined with up to 7 other home batteries to store a huge 20kWh or electricity; or twice the capacity of Powerwall.

Mercedes bosses have held this close to their chests, with the release as early as September; this might be your chance to get a home battery before the Powerwall comes available again.

Thank you to engadget for providing us with this information.

Blade-less Turbines Could Be The Future!

17

We’ve all seen them. The giant fans that spin (on occasion) and are said to help power the world without needing to worry about the pollution that may be generated. The problem is a lot of people don’t like the look of them (bar the fact that unless you have the right conditions the fans won’t spin), but what if someone came up with a new design?

A company in Spain is looking to do just that, Vortex Bladeless are looking to remove the unsightly blades and change how the wind can help power your homes. The giant metal pillars are instead designed to shake, a movement created by the air flowing around the pillars rather than forcing and pushing a giant blade instead. Typically buildings are designed to avoid the kind of wind and vortices that these pillars are instead designed to capture and use. While normally utilizing these by creating a building to oscillate at a specific frequency that the wind may occur at. Instead, Vortex states that by using magnets they are able to adjust the turbines in real time, getting the most out of the wind without having to wait for the opportune moment.

By converting the movement into electricity, Vortex claims to be able to reduce the cost of turbines by almost 40%. The reason for this price reduction is simple, very little maintenance is required if there are no gears or moving mechanics instead. While also cutting initial build costs by almost half due to the lack of expensive blades the blade-less design also has a small problem. The design only captures on average around 30% less energy than a regular turbine, something you could argue is offset by the smaller pieces of land they occupy and silent almost continuous running.

I’m all for environmental energy. Be it solar, wind or tidal renewable energy and electric vehicles are going to help cut pollution and make the world a better place to life very soon in the future, anything that helps bring that future closer can only be good right?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

MIT Says Solar Panels Alone Can Handle Electricity Burden

An extensive study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that, despite unevidenced claims to the contrary, current solar panel technology is capable of delivering all the electricity a modern household could need. According to the 356-page report – The Future of Solar Energy – solar panels could, with the proper investment, deliver terawatts of electricity by 2050. MIT maintains that it is not the technology that is holding solar power back, but the investment, with researchers calling for increased funding from the US government.

“The recent shift of federal dollars for solar R&D away from fundamental research of this sort to focus on near-term cost reductions in c-Si technology should be reversed,” the report reads.

Richard Schmalensee, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said, “What the study shows is that our focus needs to shift toward new technologies and policies that have the potential to make solar a compelling economic option.”

“Massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change,” reads the conclusion of the study. “Fortunately, the solar resource dwarfs current and projected future electricity demand. In recent years, solar costs have fallen substantially and installed capacity has grown very rapidly.”

Thank you Engadget and Computer World for providing us with this information.

Costa Rica Has Been Fully Powered by Renewable Energy for 75 Days Straight

Costa Rica has achieved a major milestone in clean energy, having the country be fully powered by renewable energy for 75 straight days.

“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” the state-owned power supplier Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE) said.

The milestone has been achieved with the help of heavy rainfall at four of its hydroelectric power facilities during the first quarter of 2015. What this means is that no fossil fuel was used during the months of January, February and March so far, having the country being powered by hydro power primarily, in conjunction with a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass and solar energy.

To be noted is that the country is fairly small, having an area of 51,100 square km and a population of around 4.8 million. Another thing to take into account is that the country focuses more on tourism and agriculture, rather than heavy industry such as mining or manufacturing.

Still, Costa Rica has done an excellent job in developing its electricity sector, having the World Economic Forum ranking it as the second in Latin American countries behind only Uruguay with regards to electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

Back in mid-2014, the Costa Rica government approved a $958 million geothermal energy project, having the first plants expected to generate about 55 MW and cost approximately $333 million to build, while two other are expected to output 50 MW.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information

Tesla is Working on a Battery For Your Home

Tesla is working on a battery to power people’s homes. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced the development of such a product during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. Musk said that the battery will enable people to live ‘off grid’, allowing people to power their own homes without using energy from utility companies.

Musk revealed the project during Tesla’s earnings call and said that the batteries will based on the same lithium-ion technology used in their car batteries. He also said that development of the batteries is finished and that they would start producing them for sale in 6 months.

Despite this news being a relatively small tidbit of Tesla’s earnings call, it’s actually quite significant. If Tesla’s success with its cars is anything to go by, a product like this could significantly shape the future of home energy, allowing people break away from utility companies.

Of course, we’ll have to see whether it really works first, but it certainly is an exciting prospect.

Source: OffGridQuest

Asian ‘Super Ants’ Are Invading the UK

The Telegraph reports a new hazard for all our beloved technology, and it is not an new fancy virus or piece of sophisticated mal-ware. No it’s ants, yes you read right. The Asian ‘super ant’ that is better known as fire ant has taken up a solid residency in the UK.

They were already discovered back in 2009 where a colony of 35 thousand was found near Gloucestershire. As ants are, they haven’t been lazy. They have since multiplied and spread out in all directions. Recently a colony invaded a house in Hendon, north west London and they’ve also been spotted in Buckinghamshire.

The whole problem is that the ants are attracted to electricity, making the modern home the go-to place number one for these tiny creatures.

“The problems with them are they seem to get attracted to electricity and they can take up residence in plug sockets and power sources, creating a fire hazard.” said Jo Hodgkins, a wildlife and countryside adviser at the National Trust.

They have no problem with the climate in Britain and established themselves well. They are pretty tough small creatures and it would be no surprise if the have gone a lot further.

I guess this gives the term firewall a whole new meaning.

Thank you The Telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AntWeb.org.

India to Build World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm

India is running short on space, so building their huge solar farm on land was hardly practical given that the land value alone would have made it a financial waste of time. Following in the footsteps of Japan’s solar farm which was built on water (see picture above), India plan to build a their solar farm at sea as well. The new plan will not only save them a fortune in land costs, but it will even help prevent evaporation in hot months.

A partnership has been struck between India’s National Hydroelectric Company and Kolkata’s college of renewable energy, who plan to build the massive 50-megawatt floating solar farm. Making it one of the largest solar farm installations in the world.

To trial their technology, a smaller 12-megawatt installation will be developed on lake Kerela in south-west India later this year. It’s great to see such a big investment in renewable energy and it will no doubt help bolster the rapidly developing Indian nation. If all goes well, it could pave the way for similar installations around the world.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Walking Bio-Bots Powered By Muscles Becoming a Reality

First of all, a ‘bio-bot’ is a machine which uses synthetic 3D-printed material with biological muscle tissue. Having stated the latter, researchers from the University of Illinois have apparently developed the so-called bio-bots in question, taking us one step further into the future of technological advancements.

Some might wonder how the bio-bots work and what is so special about them. The answer lies in the muscle fibers, having them spiked with electricity in order to contract. The muscles are attached to flexible 3D-printed skeleton frameworks, resulting in bending the skeleton when the muscles contract and reverting back to its original state when they relax. This in the end produces movement, combining biological and synthetic material to achieve such an action, thus the name ‘bio-bot’.

It is said that researchers have been working on similar projects since 2012. At that time, a walking bio-bot prototype used rat heart cells in order to provide motion. However, the researchers found out that the rat cells were not responding well to the induced electricity and couldn’t control when they fired. However, it appears that the ‘new version’ has solved this problem.

“Skeletal muscles cells are very attractive because you can pace them using external signals,” head researcher Rashid Bashir said. “We want to have different options that could be used by engineers to design these things.”

The group of researchers from Illinois sees bio-bots potentially useful for surgical aids and drug delivery vehicles. The group also emphasized that, having their own neurons, they could even recognize and respond to light and chemical stimuli. The group has apparently published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is a good place to get more details about the bio-bots in question.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The University of Illinois and Nature World News

Pouring Saltwater Over Graphene Generates Electricity

When it comes to generating electricity out of water, most people probably think of dams and the use of the water pressure to turn large turbines and generate electricity by means of magnetic turbines. Scientists are looking at another method though.

Specifically, they are once again exploring other prospects of hydroelectricity, like dragging water over nano-structures. And with graphene being one of the most popular nano-structures to date, it was obvious that someone would eventually test out the idea on it.

The results, as it turns out, are very promising. Researchers from China were able to generate electricity from graphene by dragging small droplets of salt water over it.

Normally, to harvest electricity from nano-structures needs an ionic fluid (liquid with charged ions in it) to be pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. The amount of energy that can be acquired this way is small  because the gradient needs to push the ionic fluid through a small tube.

The Chinese team grew a layer of graphene instead, and placed a drop of salt water on it, which they dragged at various speeds. There seemed to be a linear relationship between the speed and the energy (faster was better). A drop made of copper chloride and placed on a graphene surface generated 30 mV when the surface was tilted to one side and gravity came into play. The technology should not only be usable in small devices, but eventually can be applied to larger scaled applications as well.

Thank you to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Bill Gates Foundation Funding Urine Battery Research

Next time your phone needs charging, spare a thought for the fact that not every part of the world is equipped with a USB socket, wall charger or similar device. The Bill Gates Foundation is now funding the research by Bristol Robotic Laboratory who have discovered a new power source, pee.

The pee powered batteries use a microbial fuel cell, in which micro-organisms take the urine, and break it down into an electrical output. It passes through several tubed that break down the urine to create electricity and the end product is actually a cleaner waste which is easier to dispose of. The cells are powerful enough to charge a smartphone or similar device.

There are short sides to the technology, one being that you need to pour pee into the battery, not exactly the sort of thing that would go down well at your local bus stop, office work place or supermarket for example, especially since it’s not the most compact of devices. Yet in parts of the world where power isn’t abundant, these special batteries could be a truly ground breaking invention and one that finds a carbon friendly solution to something that would otherwise just be a waste product.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/4LTprRQTKAw[/youtube]

Thank you Pocket Lint for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Pocket Lint.

Offshore Wind Power On Track For 7th Consecutive Year Of Record Growth

Electricity forms the basis of modern society and so new ways of generating electricity are always welcomed. Inhabitat reports that offshore wind power, one of those new ways of generating electricity, is having a great year so far in 2013 and looks set to record its 7th consecutive year of record growth.

Countries leading the charge towards offshore wind include the UK, with a capacity of 3461 MW and Denmark, with a capacity of 1274 MW. China, Belgium and Germany are also following suit with a strong investment into offshore wind.

As it stands 1080 MW went online in the first six months of 2013, which has increased global offshore wind power capacity by 20% to 6500 MW across 15 countries. Offshore Wind capacity is currently growing at a rate of about 40% per year.

The UK managed to add 500 MW of offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2013 with an additional 12000 MW of offshore wind capacity under construction or in the planning stages. The USA on the other hand continues to disappoint with just 0.2 MW of installed capacity despite the Eastern Seaboard of the USA being one of the best places in the world from which to extract offshore wind energy. The Eastern Seaboard of the USA is estimated to have the potential to provide 530,000 MW of electricity – that is 81X the current global capacity of offshore wind energy.

Image courtesy of DEFRA

World’s Second Largest Offshore Wind Farm Up And Running In The UK

Business Green reports that UK’s Greater Gabbard wind farm off the coast of Suffolk has now been officially opened. The new offshore windfarm is made up of 140 wind turbines capable of generating an average of 1750 GWh of electricity a year, enough to power 450,000 homes. This makes the project the world’s second largest offshore wind farm and the project provides 14% of the UK’s offshore wind farm electric generation capacity.

The wind farm is located 12 miles from the shoreline of Suffolk. The project is expected to be extended and will reportedly double in size by 2017 under the planned Galloper wind farm extension. The total cost of the project is £1.3 billion and was jointly developed by SSE renewables and RWE npower renewables. The world’s largest offshore wind farm in the world is located in the Thames estuary and is called the London Array.

Despite all the positives surrounding this new opening the UK government still faces criticisms about its commitments to carbon-neutral electricity generation. Business Green states that:

“The government has faced criticism over the extent to which foreign companies have supplied the turbines for the UK’s offshore wind farms and led the development of new projects. The industry has repeatedly warned that without stronger reassurances that the market will continue to develop post 2020 manufacturers will remain reluctant to locate manufacturing plants in the UK, arguing that the government should introduce a decarbonisation target for the power sector for 2030 and sign up to post-2020 EU renewables targets.”

Image courtesy of Business Green

 

How To Save Some Money: Different Light Bulbs

GELighting.com – Infographic

Is it important to be energy efficient? Of course it is, but usually it isn’t worth it. How many light fixtures do you have in your home? I have a grand total of… Fourteen, many of which use more than one bulb. If I were to replace every single bulb in my house I would end up getting at least 30 bulbs, and I live in a small house.

A LED Bulb cost is down from what they were a few years ago, but they are still high. A LED bulb uses up to 85% less energy than an incandescent bulb and lasts up to 20 years longer.

GE  or General Electric posted an infographic on their Facebook page recently, giving us a little information on light bulbs.

Good.is – Infographic

Over the past few years we have seen quite the evolution, from incandescent to halogen to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) to LED. As technology has bettered us to be more energy efficient many governments have banned the use of old incandescent bulbs, working them out of the marketplace.

Many of the products that we purchase to better our lives may take a very long time to pay for themselves, sometimes they never do, but those are the steps that we may take to reduce our footprint. LED lighting may be one of the better options. LED bulbs use less energy, and emit less heat than traditional bulbs. They are not made with mercury or lead, and they last up to 40 times longer. Less time wasted changing bulbs, as they last a very long time, 35,000 – 50,000 hours.

Some math to help you, based on 13 watts of electricity, which many lights are rated for being equal to 65-75 watts for incandescent bulbs, and if  you were to use the light for 6 hours a day for 1 full year.

13 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 28,470 watts or 28.47 Kilowatts.

If you were to use an incandescent bulb at a rating of 65 watts for the same time.

65 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 142,350 watts or 142.35 Kilowatts.

On the low end at 13 cents per KWh it would cost $18.46 per year for one incandescent bulb versus $3.64 for an LED bulb. A HUGE difference for those paying attention.

For me in California, electricity costs range from .13 – .35  per KWh

Comparatively there is a huge difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED bulb, the difference between CFL and LED bulbs is a lot slimmer. I would recommend that if you even have one incandescent bulb in your home you should replace it with an LED, but if that is too expensive, you should at least put in a CFL.

You can find even more fun facts on bulb comparisons from designrecycleinc.com

China Preparing New World’s Tallest Mega Dam

According to news coming out of China, they are preparing another Mega dam project. Information made available to the public suggests this dam will be the world’s tallest at a height of 314 metres (1030 feet). The new mega dam will be a subsidiary of one of China’s state owned power companies the Guodian Group.

The location of this new Mega dam is to be in South-Western Sichuan province on the Dadu river. The estimated cost is a huge £2.9 billion / $4.40 billion and the construction will take approximately 10 years from start to finish.

The design engineers believe this new dam could generate 8 billion KW-hours of electricity every year. Though it certainly doesn’t come without envirornmental costs, the Chinese environmental authorities gave the project the green light despite knowing the potential devastating effects of doing so.

“The project will affect the spawning and movement of rare fish species, as well as the growth of endangered plants, including the Chinese yew, which is under first-class state protection.”

The scale of the project implies that people will need to be relocated and nature relocated where possible. The costs may be large but China desperately needs new ways to meet its rapidly rising electricity demand in a more green way. By 2020 it aims to have 15% of energy supplied by “Green” sources.

China’s state council is currently debating whether or not to approve this new mega dam or not.

What are your thoughts? Are China leading the way with their green energy projects?

Source, Via

Electric Wind Farm Proposal In Scotland Challenged By Donald Trump

Whether you believe in climate change or not, the issue of electricity generation is one that we will face for a long time. With growing electricity demand we need new ways to generate electricity, particularly in the UK where we are reliant on gas, coal, oil and an ageing stock of nuclear power plants. That is to say, irrelevant of what your opinion is on climate change we still need more electricity and more cost effective long-term ways of generating it.

The proposal to build an offshore windfarm in Scotland’s Aberdeen bay was hoping to be exactly that. The 11 turbines promised to generate enough electricity to power 49,000 homes – while small, it is still a positive start to adding extra capacity to the UK grid that doesn’t rely on expensive imports. However, Donald Trump is now trying, and will probably succeed, in blocking this proposal.

Donald Trump owns a golf course and is in the process of planning luxury hotel buillds in Aberdeen and he believes these wind farms will kill the value of his businesses. He has also made other objections such as he believes the wind farms will actually raise the cost of electricity,  he says they will need to be rebuilt every 4 to 5 years and he claims they cause cancer to nearby people. While you might disagree with Donald Trump’s objections, money does speak, already Swedish energy investors Vattenfall are looking to sell their shares in the project, if you believe media speculation.

What is Donald Trump up against? Well, he is up against the Scottish National Party and minister Alex Salmond, both of whom are strongly committed to the success of the renewable wind energy sector. Donald Trump recently launch an anti-wind farm advertising proposal which fell through as the advertising standards agency said it was misleading.

This type of situation certainly isn’t new as wind farms have always suffered from strong NIMBY (not in my back yard) sentiments. Will business interests prevail or will the windfarm get the go ahead? It is a tough one and it is also hard to call which one is more “in the public’s interest” but as a technology lover I would like to see offshore windfarms grow, succeed and lower energy costs particularly in the UK where electricity costs have been spiralling out of control.

What are your thoughts on this story? We know it isn’t what we usually cover but electricity is the lifeblood of the technology sector.

Source