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.

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.

Blade-less Turbines Could Be The Future!

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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.

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

Fear the Wind No More with These Windscreens for Your Smartphone

For a while now, smartphones have had built-in software that eliminates background noise caught by the microphone, but the one thing it hasn’t fully tackled is wind. Which is why we still see foam covers over most microphones on big headsets used at outdoor events. Ever think that would be great to have for your phone? Now you can thanks to Windblockers.

Designed to gently clamp onto the edge of a smartphone, or a tablet if you must, it will prevent wind, “weather” it’s a gust or constant breeze, from overpowering your voice, and making sure your important words get heard. Being so small and easily removed, this is a nifty addition when you need it most.

Only recently revealed at Mobile World Congress, they don’t have a price yet, but hopes are that they won’t cost much.

Source: Gizmodo

Scientists Solve the Mystery on Moving Death Valley Rocks

No matter how advanced we get, there still are dozens of unsolved mysteries everywhere. One of them is, or rather was, about the rocks that moved in strange patterns and seaminly by themselves through the death valley. And we aint talking small pebbles here, these stones weigh up 700 pounds each.

This however is one of the mysteries that was possible to solve definitive using our modern technology, and it was just a matter of time before someone with the right equipment found interest in it. A group of scientist led by paleobiologist Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have published a study in the journal PLOS One last week, showing just how it actually happens.

I was taught in high-school that the reason was enormous ice layers and heavy wind that made this possible, but shortly after I left school I learned that this was just one of many theories. Another was that it simply was the wind that moved the stones across the flat area. Other theories have involved sudden tilting of the earth as explanation, as well as magnetic influences.

The stones however didn’t seem to move in any logic pattern and could suddenly change direction completely while at other times they would lay still and not move for decades. Using motion activated cameras and GPS sensors embedded in some of the rocks, it was possible to figure out this mystery.

The theory I learned in school wasn’t entirely wrong though, as ice is involved. But not thick layers, but rather very thin. This unusual combination of ice and slow winds in an otherwise extremely hot area is the cause for the phenomena.

That happens when the dry lake bed they are in freezes over with a thin layer of ice which then breaks apart in a light wind, sending large sheets of ice against the rocks with enough force to move them a few yards per minute, Norris said.

Because of the ability of the large ice sheets to catch the wind, and aided by the underlying flow of water, the rocks, which weigh as much as 700 pounds (318 kg), are pushed along in a way that could not occur from the force of the wind alone, he said.

Norris went on to say that he thinks it will have a massive popular appeal, because it is one of these things that’s very widely known about but kind of marveled at. He went on to say that other people undoubtedly have witnessed the phenomenon before, but didn’t understand what was going on.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of imgur.