Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

battery_ev

Typical electric car set-up

Reducing both costs and mining waste sounds good, if it can be developed to industrial scale.
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A UK-based company has unveiled its what it believes to be the world’s most sustainable motor for electric vehicles, says ElectricHybridVehicleTechnology.

Its new motors are completely free of rare earth magnets, yet are said to be able to offer all of the performance and efficiency benefits and more of a conventional permanent magnet motor, without their considerable environmental drawbacks.

Unlike today’s standard EV motors, its HDSRM and SSRD motors do not feature rare earth magnets so do not require the harmful mining of materials such as neodymium and dysprosium.

According to independent research, every tonne of rare earth material mined produces up to 1.4 tonnes of radioactive waste, 200m3 of acid-containing sewage water, 60,000m3 waste gas containing hydrochloric acid and 27.6 tonnes of CO2.

Based on a global car production of 97 million vehicles, AEM’s technology could save the production of 133 million tonnes CO2 per year as well as 300,000 tonnes of radioactive waste.

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Struc_batt

Schematic of a laminated structural battery cell containing carbon fiber electrodes and a structural battery electrolyte [image credit: Quay2021 @ Wikipedia]

Another day, another battery ‘breakthrough’, you may be thinking. The idea being to make the battery part of the device itself, rather than being inserted into it. Tesla has already designed its own version of the idea.
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Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have produced a structural battery that performs ten times better than all previous versions, says TechXplore.

It contains carbon fiber that serves simultaneously as an electrode, conductor, and load-bearing material.

Their latest research breakthrough paves the way for essentially ‘massless’ energy storage in vehicles and other technology.

The batteries in today’s electric cars constitute a large part of the vehicles’ weight, without fulfilling any load-bearing function.

A structural battery, on the other hand, is one that works as both a power source and as part of the structure—for example, in a car body.

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clouds17

Credit: airbus.com

Another attention-seeking billionaire with too much time on his hands, dreaming up Hollywood-style schemes? A planned small-scale test is in the offing.
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The Microsoft co-founder, who has donated about $50 billion to various charitable causes, considers climate change one of the most acute problems humanity is facing and has spearheaded several initiatives on research and development of clean energy, says Sputnik News.

A Bill Gates-backed project aims to stop climate change by dropping tonnes of chalk dust into the stratosphere, The Times reported.

According to the newspaper, the initiative funded by several private donors, including the Microsoft co-founder, will be the first serious attempt to deal with the issue of climate change by dimming the Sun.

Essentially, scientists will attempt drop chalk dust in the atmosphere hoping it will create sunshade that will reflect some of the Sun’s rays and heat back into space and dim those that get through, thus preventing our planet from getting warmer.

This summer scientists plan to launch a large balloon carrying 2 kg of chalk above the Swedish town Kiruna and then drop the chalk. Researchers will then monitor how it interacts with the atmosphere.

This information will be used to run simulation tests to see whether increasing the amount of chalk dust will help deal with the issue of climate change.

The scientists behind the project were inspired by the 1991 volcano eruption in the Philippines. Back then, Mount Pinatubo released an enormous ash cloud containing millions of particles of sulphur dioxide, which then formed into droplets of sulphuric acid that floated in the air for more than a year and acted as sunshade.

Scientists say that global temperatures went down 0.5 Celsius as a result of this.

Excuse for Politicians and Potential Impact on Weather System

Despite its popularity, the project has raised concerns among the scientific community.

Full article here.

A model for California? [image credit: Hitesh vip @ Wikipedia]


Worth asking what is meant by ‘could be economically feasible’ in this context. Running power stations 24/7 looks a lot simpler than having thousands of miles of solar panels to install and maintain, which sit idle without sunlight.
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UC Santa Cruz researchers published a new study—in collaboration with UC Water and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced—that suggests covering California’s 6,350 km network of public water delivery canals with solar panels could be an economically feasible means of advancing both renewable energy and water conservation.

The concept of “solar canals” has been gaining momentum around the world as climate change increases the risk of drought in many regions, claims TechXplore.

Solar panels can shade canals to help prevent water loss through evaporation, and some types of solar panels also work better over canals, because the cooler environment keeps them from overheating.

Pilot projects in India have demonstrated the technical feasibility of several designs, but none have yet been deployed at scale.

California’s canal network is the world’s largest water conveyance system, and the state faces both a drought-prone future [Talkshop comment: evidence-free assertion] and a rapid timeline for transitioning to renewable energy.

Solar canals could target both challenges, but making the case for their implementation in California requires first quantifying the potential benefits. So that’s exactly what researchers set out to do in their paper published by Nature Sustainability.

“While it makes sense to cover canals with solar panels because renewable energy and water conservation is a win-win, the devil is in the details,” said Brandi McKuin, lead author of the new study and a UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher in environmental studies. “A critical question was whether the infrastructure to span the canals would be cost-prohibitive.”

Canal-spanning solar panels are often supported either by steel trusses or suspension cables, both of which are more expensive to build than traditional support structures for ground-mounted solar panels.

But McKuin led a techno-economic analysis that showed how the benefits of solar canals combine to outweigh the added costs for cable-supported installations. In fact, cable-supported solar canals showed a 20-50 percent higher net present value, indicating greater financial return on investment.

In addition to benefits like increased solar panel performance and evaporation savings, shade from solar panels could help control the growth of aquatic weeds, which are a costly canal maintenance issue. Placing solar panels over existing canal sites could also avoid costs associated with land use.

Now that the new paper has provided a more concrete assessment of these benefits, members of the research team hope this could lead to future field experiments with solar canals in California.

Full article here.

Credit: Vortex Bladeless


The makers say: ‘Vortex Bladeless is a vortex induced vibration resonant wind generator. It harnesses wind energy from a phenomenon of vorticity called Vortex Shedding. Basically, bladeless technology consists of a cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. The cylinder oscillates on a wind range, which then generates electricity through an alternator system.’
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New tech developments are happening in the wind power sector, says ZME Science.

Wind power is mostly associated with sweeping white blades, taking advantage of the strong gusts that blow over the land or the sea.

But what if we could forget about the blades and even the wind and instead just have a turbine?

That’s the idea of a group of European companies, who have come up with new ways to expand wind energy without the limitations of a conventional turbine.

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Posted on  by Green Alliance blog

This post is a reblog of an article by Dr Robert Sansom, independent consultant and member of the IET’s Energy Policy Panel.

Recently, Professor Cebon wrote on this blog that pursuing the hydrogen economy would be a mistake. I am neither an advocate of hydrogen nor am I associated with the oil and gas industry, but I was the lead author of a report, produced by the IET in 2019, which focused on the engineering questions that need to be addressed if the UK is to transition to hydrogen.  There are also major questions around the electrification of heat. Until these questions are dealt with, I do not believe anyone can say that one technology is better than another.

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Upper reservoir (Llyn Stwlan) and dam of the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage Scheme in north Wales
[credit: Arpingstone/English Wikipedia]


The idea would be to have either a smaller site or a lower site, compared to a standard pumped hydro scheme, or a combination of both. Reasonable cost is suggested.
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An energy storage system from RheEnergise could be installed on thousands of hills around the UK, according to the company.

It uses dense liquid, which is two-and-a-half-times denser than water, and could therefore potentially provide two-and-a-half-times the power of equivalent conventional systems, reports Elemental.

As reported by Professional Engineering, the High-Density Hydro systems would be built underground.

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Boeing 767 flight deck [image credit: Continental Airlines]


In the midst of pandemic-related hard times, airline survival means looking for fuel savings ahead of trivia like emissions of harmless trace gases. A mix of nature and new tech might do the trick.
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Airlines could save fuel and reduce emissions on transatlantic flights by hitching a better ride on the jet stream, new research has shown.

Scientists at the University of Reading have found that commercial flights between New York and London last winter could have used up to 16% less fuel if they had made better use of the fast-moving winds at altitude, says TechXplore.

New satellites will soon allow transatlantic flights to be tracked more accurately while remaining a safe distance apart.

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Let’s keep pretending the climate will notice if a few hundred wind turbines are dotted around the seas. Better still, let’s make them even more expensive and unwieldy by adding some new technology that we can’t easily service as it’s miles offshore. It’s claimed that ‘brilliant minds’ will be working on this, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the flaws in the plan.
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Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy have today announced plans to invest €120m ($146m) in a five-year strategy to unlock the potential of harvesting green hydrogen from offshore windpower, reports Power Engineering International.

The companies are collaborating on a solution to integrate an electrolyzer into an offshore wind turbine as a single synchronized system to directly produce green hydrogen.

Over the next five years, Siemens Gamesa will invest €80m and Siemens Energy €40m in the initiative, with a view to unveiling a full-scale offshore demonstration by 2025/26.

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Nobel prize-winning physicist CTR Wilson


‘Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, CH, FRS (14 February 1869 – 15 November 1959) was a Scottish physicist and meteorologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cloud chamber.
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The invention of the cloud chamber was by far Wilson’s signature accomplishment, earning him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1927. The Cavendish laboratory praised him for the creation of “a novel and striking method of investigating the properties of ionized gases”. The cloud chamber allowed huge experimental leaps forward in the study of subatomic particles and the field of particle physics, generally. Some have credited Wilson with making the study of particles possible at all.’ — Wikipedia.

A potted biography, including cloud chamber images and a diagram of the global atmospheric electrical circuit, can be found here.

The link to the broadcast script is below the introduction.
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Credit: carsdirect.com


Critics may struggle to stifle a yawn, as battery ‘breakthroughs’ are regularly promised or hinted at, but the actual pace of change in EV battery tech seems quite slow. On the other hand, solid-state batteries may be the best way forward if tests can be successfully turned into full-scale production. The original report headline says: ‘VW and Bill Gates-backed QuantumScape releases performance data…’, so plenty of industrial and financial muscle behind the project. No cost estimates available.
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California-based QuantumScape Corp (QuantumScape), a company focussing on the development of next-generation solid-state lithium-metal batteries for use in electric vehicles (EVs), has released performance data, which it says demonstrates its capability to address fundamental issues holding back widespread adoption of high-energy-density solid-state batteries, including charge time (current density), cycle life, safety, and operating temperature. Autocar Pro reporting.
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The company says a commercially viable solid-state lithium-metal battery is an advancement that the battery industry has pursued for decades, as it holds the promise of a step function increase in energy density over conventional lithium-ion batteries, enabling electric vehicles with a driving range comparable to combustion engine-based vehicles.

QuantumScape claims its solid-state battery is designed to enable up to 80 percent longer range compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries.

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I usually avoid weather modification as a topic as it tends to bring out the ‘chemtrail’ theorists and other assorted window-lickers in force, but this is big enough to warrant an exception. So have at it Talkshoppers, does a project of this size have bad international implications, or are China using technology beneficially to reduce crop damage within their own borders?

This from CNN. As a concept, cloud seeding has been around for decades. It works by injecting small amounts of silver iodide into clouds with a lot of moisture, which then condenses around the new particles, becoming heavier and eventually falling as precipitation.

study funded by the US National Science Foundation, published earlier this year, found that “cloud seeding can boost snowfall across a wide area if the atmospheric conditions are favorable.” The study was one of the first to ascertain definitively that cloud seeding worked, as previously it had been difficult to distinguish precipitation created as a result of the practice from normal snowfall.

That uncertainty had not stopped China investing heavily in the technology: between 2012 and 2017, the country spent over $1.34 billion on various weather modification programs. Last year, according to state news agency Xinhua, weather modification helped reduce 70% of hail damage in China’s western region of Xinjiang, a key agricultural area.

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Porsche 911 of a certain vintage


Basically they will extract CO2 from the air and mix it with manufactured hydrogen. Whether the economics stack up remains to be seen. If not, it could end up as another pseudo-green attempt to curry favour with global climate miserablists. Or as an expensive way to keep a few old cars on the road.
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Porsche and Siemens Energy have announced plans to link arms for a new e-fuel factory, says CNET Road Show.

The German companies say the pilot project will result in the world’s first industrial-scale plant for carbon-neutral synthetic fuel.

The facility will be located in Southern Chile in a bid to capitalize on the country’s strong wind energy, which will be used to power the plant sustainably.

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


Billed as ‘A bright future for Levenmouth’, the claim that switching to hydrogen could ‘save energy customers across Britain billions of pounds’ looks rose-tinted to say the least. Maybe it’s easy to get carried away when you imagine you’re going to save the world, or something.
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Fife has leapt closer to launching the world’s first 100% green hydrogen network with the announcement of an £18 million funding boost, reports The Courier.

Three hundred homes across Levenmouth will be connected to the network, with residents becoming the first in the world to use zero carbon hydrogen for heating and cooking.

Householders will be invited to get involved in the four to five year trial from late next year.

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Solar power stations in space – part 2

Posted: November 19, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, ideology, innovation
Tags:

Credit: NASA


Re our recent article on the idea of space-based solar power stations, a new article at The Conversation tells us the European Space Agency is also looking at this. Another day, another distant green dream, as these extracts from the article suggest. But at least they’re openly admitting renewables alone will never cut the mustard, either in scale or reliability of supply.
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How solar power stations in orbit could become a reality in the coming decades.

Solar power stations in space could be the answer to our energy needs.
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Renewable energy technologies have developed drastically in recent years, with improved efficiency and lower cost. But one major barrier to their uptake is the fact that they don’t provide a constant supply of energy.

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Credit: IEEE Spectrum


Does this by any chance suggest that wind and solar power may not quite be the wondrous energy future our leaders keep trying to hoodwink the public with? No word on costs so far.
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It is thought that energy could be beamed anywhere on the planet, save for the poles, according to the UK Space Agency.

From an idea first mooted in 1941, the UK has launched research into whether solar power in space could be beamed back to Earth as a sustainable energy source, reports Sky News.

The concept was first thought up by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov; now the UK Space Agency and UK government are aiming to make the idea a reality.

Space-based solar power (SBSP) stations would capture the solar energy emitted by the sun that never makes it to Earth, and beam it back down using lasers to meet energy demands.

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UK energy plant to use liquid air

Posted: November 7, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

Liquid air energy storage: Highview’s 5 MW pre-commercial demonstrator [credit: ModernPowerSystems]


Under the heading ‘Cool air technology for a cooler planet’, the firm behind the scheme says:
‘Our CRYOBattery can deliver anywhere from 20 MW/80 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy and can power up to 200,000 homes for a whole day. We do this at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries and release zero emissions in the process.’
The system is intended to run on surplus night-time output from wind farms, but as ever, converting electricity to some form of storage and then back to electricity again is adding yet more costs and complexity to the system.

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Work is beginning on what is thought to be the world’s first major plant to store energy in the form of liquid air, reports BBC News.

It will use surplus electricity from wind farms at night to compress air so hard that it becomes a liquid at -196 Celsius.

Then when there is a peak in demand in a day or a month, the liquid air will be warmed so it expands.

The resulting rush of air will drive a turbine to make electricity, which can be sold back to the grid.

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[credit: green lantern electric]


Would it be churlish to ask what is powering this contraption? ‘Hunting for clean energy’ implies you want to use it exclusively. Now they try to justify the thing as potentially ‘tackling the climate crisis’, which looks like two illusions rolled into one. It took seven years just to build it.
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A pioneering nuclear fusion experiment based in Oxfordshire has been switched on for the first time, reports BBC News.

Mast Upgrade could clear some of the hurdles to delivering clean, limitless energy for the grid.

Fusion differs from fission, the technology used by existing nuclear power plants, because it could release vast amounts of energy with little associated radioactivity.

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Fuel cell bus from Wrightbus


The obvious problem for the imagined ‘hydrogen economy’ is that there isn’t any natural source of hydrogen gas. The viability of using electricity generated only from renewables to convert water into industrial-scale hydrogen supplies is questionable, to put it mildly. Brace for the usual ‘green jobs’ claims having a tendency to be wildly over-optimistic.
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The first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-decker bus has arrived in Aberdeen, reports Route One.

Aberdeen City Council (ACC) says the delivery, part of an £8.3m project funded by ACC, the Scottish Government and the European Union Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project, underlines the city’s role as the ‘energy capital of Europe’ and its commitment to the transition of green energy in a net zero vision.

Hydrogen offers greater range and faster refuelling while maintaining the efficiency of battery-electric equivalents, the council says.

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The plan is to use abandoned coal mining shafts globally as power storage plants, and/or drill their own shafts if necessary. Costs are estimated to be lower than other existing energy storage options (see report for details).
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Gravity has been the center of wonderment for physicists, mathematicians and thinkers of all kinds for centuries, says TechXplore.

In the early 1600s, astronomer Galileo dropped balls from the Tower of Pisa and declared that gravitational acceleration is the same for all objects.

Decades later, Isaac Newton expanded on those thoughts and devised his theory of gravity, that all particles attract all other particles with a force directly proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.

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