Posts Tagged ‘electricity’


In terms of original power sources (i.e. not electricity), the runaway leaders were petroleum and natural gas which between them took over two-thirds of the total share. Coal and nuclear were a distant third and fourth. Best of the rest was biomass at just over 5% of the total, easily more than wind and solar combined.

Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Overall total energy consumption rose to 101.2 quadrillion BTU (or “quads”), reports TechXplore. The prior record, set in 2007, was 101.0 quads.

Energy use went up by 3.6 percent from 2017, which also is the largest annual increase since 2010.

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As the professor quoted below says: “Despite over 250 years of research, how lightning begins is still a mystery.” Tesla had a few ideas though (video).

In a first-of-its-kind observation, researchers from the University of New Hampshire Space Science Center have documented a unique event that occurs in clouds before a lightning flash happens, says Phys.org.

Their observation, called “fast negative breakdown,” documents a new possible way for lightning to form and is the opposite of the current scientific view of how air carries electricity in thunderstorms.

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Credit: telegraph.co.uk


It was always obvious that replacing on-demand power generation, like coal and gas power stations, with mainly intermittent power from weather-dependent renewables, was going to make reliability of the system an issue sooner rather than later. And here we are.

The UK’s electricity network is likely to become significantly weaker within five years, due to falling Short Circuit Levels that reduce the reliability of protection systems designed to limit the geographical extent of supply loss during a fault, and also make it more likely that asynchronous sources of electricity such as wind, solar and High Voltage Direct Current interconnectors will disconnect during a fault.

Ironically, Short Circuit Levels are falling because of a rising input from asynchronous sources, says The GWPF.

A remedy for this problem is unlikely to be cheap. Who will pay?

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Thermal battery


Various battery proposals sound promising, but few seem to survive the development stage and make it commercially. This outfit says it already has some sales, and plans to ‘build 100-megawatt-plus installations within a couple of years.’ Will it work out that way?

A South Australia-based startup says it’s built a thermal energy storage device with a lifetime of at least 20 years​ that can store six times more energy than lithium-ion batteries per volume, for 60-80 percent of the price, reports New Atlas.

South Australia has recently put the world’s biggest lithium battery into operation – but perhaps it should’ve waited.

Climate Change Technologies, also known as CCT Energy Storage, has launched its TED (Thermal Energy Device) with a set of remarkable claims.

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This looks like a ‘build it and they will come’ strategy. But the problems of EVs such as high cost, range anxiety and heavy depreciation mainly due to uncertain battery life, are not going away – as shown by the very low numbers of adopters compared to fuel-burners. Using EVs to help charge the grid, as proposed here, could adversely affect their battery life.

A consortium is preparing to start building solar-powered car parks across Scotland as part of a trial project for so-called Smart Hubs that will feature both EV charging points and battery storage, reports OilPrice.com.

The six trial sites will also include vehicle-to-grid facilities (V2G) so EVs can feed energy back into the grid when necessary.

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US coal train [credit: Wikipedia]


In the real world, concerted attempts to instil fear of a supposed man-made climate ’emergency’ seem to be having little effect on the popularity of large-scale fuel-burning.

Energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3 per cent last year – its fastest pace this decade, reports PEI.

And nearly 70 per cent of that demand growth came from China, the US and India.

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Typical electric car set-up


H/T Euronews

So this claimed solution turns out to be part of the supposed problem. Of course they are promoting their imaginary ‘climate crisis’ at the same time, while insisting that ‘the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses’. EV owners should be feeling as bad as their diesel counterparts by now, with such negative press.

Extracting the minerals for the lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and electronics is fossil-fuel intensive, the NGO warned on Thursday.

Amnesty International called out electric car manufacturers on Thursday for producing batteries through unethical and fossil-fuel intensive methods.

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Not the 2019 model [image credit: camaro5.com]


A short post from our Hollywood reporter, or something – amidst reports of ‘007 going green’ (is he ill?) and ‘Dr No…petrol’ – and we’re not making any of this up. You’d need to be on a big budget to afford his ride though – the price is shocking.

Silent EV in Her Majesty’s secret service will have all the gadgets, reports Autoblog.

England’s The Sun newspaper, in a piece fabulously titled “The Spy Who Plugged Me … In,” reports that James Bond will drive an Aston Martin Rapide E in the next franchise installment.

Quoting “an insider,” it’s said director Cary Joji Fukunaga is a “total tree-hugger” and pushed to include a more environmentally friendly set of wheels.

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Electric Tuk Tuk [image credit: cleantechnica.com]


But India makes a point of not handing any money to people wanting to buy the more expensive EVs, as Forbes News reports. Whether they can produce enough electricity to back up their policy is not clear. The majority of their power supply is from coal, plus some diesel generators.

To encourage the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry in India, the government has developed a two-pronged strategy aimed at both buyers and manufacturers: $1.4 billion in subsidies are to be offered, followed by a hike on import tariffs within the next year to spur domestic companies to build the vehicles.

The new policy, which was cleared by the cabinet late last month but the details of which were not available till now, kicks in with the new financial year in April.

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Maybe there’s some military angle to this. As the report says, it ‘will be difficult and costly’. Capturing the sun’s power will be cloud-free, but when transmitting to the ground the clouds are still there.

China wants to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050 and is building a test facility to find the best way to send power to the ground, reports MACH (NBC News).

As the green energy revolution accelerates, solar farms have become a familiar sight across the nation and around the world.

But China is taking solar power to a whole new level. The nation has announced plans to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050, a feat that would make it the first nation to harness the sun’s energy in space and beam it to Earth.

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Virtual power plant concept


In a nutshell: when part-time renewables aren’t producing, something else – which has to be paid for and is likely to be expensive – must take over, because virtual electricity doesn’t work.

Norwegian energy group Statkraft has unveiled a virtual power plant in the UK which connects wind, solar and gas engines with battery storage and can respond to market demands in seconds, reports PEI.

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The delusional in pursuit of the impossible. Entertaining for outsiders perhaps, but bad news for residents picking up the tab and wondering where their reliable electricity went.

STOP THESE THINGS

Michael Daley: says, when the wind blows, my RET will be THIS big!

Australia’s energy policy crisis is like Game of Thrones starring complete idiots – every crazy plot twist is matched by something crazier still. The latest comes from New South Wales.

NSW Labor opposition leader, Michael Daley isn’t the first, and he won’t be the last, maniac to suggest the world can be powered entirely by sunshine and breezes.

Where the current Liberal Energy (and Arts) Minister, Don Harwin reckons his (secretly hoped-for) 50% Renewable Energy Target is big, Michael Daley’s goes all the way to 11.

Should Harwin get his 50% RET, NSW will find itself in the same category as that international laughingstock, South Australia. But if Michael Daley gets his way, it’ll be a case of the last man out, turning out all the lights.

Coal dead under Labor’s dramatic renewables plan
The…

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Top down view of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, ca. 1964 [image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory]


H/T Discover Magazine

The Oak Ridge molten salt program operated in the mid-1960s but was terminated in January 1973. Could something like it make a comeback in today’s climate-obsessed world? One obvious selling point is the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel from traditional nuclear reactors.

Molten salt nuclear reactors may be the key to producing clean power without the dangers of a meltdown, says The Crux.
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Troels Schönfeldt can trace his path to becoming a nuclear energy entrepreneur back to 2009, when he and other young physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen started getting together for an occasional “beer and nuclear” meetup.

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Any takers?


From next year EU-based carmakers will be hit with monster fines if, or far more likely when, they fail to sell enough ‘low emission’ vehicles to a public that has an increasing taste for SUV models but lacks interest in electric power.

European car makers complain they are being crippled by controversial EU emissions rules, rising US tariffs and uncertainty about UK leaving the bloc, says the South China Morning Post.

The Geneva Motor Show kicks off this week with carmakers eager to show off new electric models, even as they nervously eye a horizon coloured by trade wars and Brexit uncertainty.

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The coming revolution in LED lighting

Posted: March 1, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

LED street lighting



There’s more to LED lighting than meets the eye, for example in durability and reduced energy use, as Phys.org reports. But claims they can help the climate seem somewhat starry-eyed.

A revolution in energy-efficient, environmentally-sound, and powerfully-flexible lighting is coming to businesses and homes, according to a paper in latest special energy issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal.

The paper envisions the future of lighting—a future with widespread use of light emitting diodes (LEDs), which offer a number of obvious and subtle advantages over traditional light bulbs.

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Credit: carsdirect.com


As with all battery-related news, it has to be treated with caution. Such ideas more often than not fail to turn into practical realities.

New technology promises an end to motorists’ ‘range anxiety’, reports NBC News.

Electric vehicles are easier on the environment than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but their long charging times and the scarcity of charging stations can make life hard for the eco-conscious motorists who drive them.

Now help may be on the horizon.

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Lithium ion battery


As ever there’s a big gap to be bridged between lab tests and industrial-scale application, but tests seem promising.

The latest lithium-ion batteries on the market are likely to extend the charge-to-charge life of phones and electric cars by as much as 40 percent, says TechXplore.

This leap forward, which comes after more than a decade of incremental improvements, is happening because developers replaced the battery’s graphite anode with one made from silicon.

Research from Drexel University and Trinity College in Ireland now suggests that an even greater improvement could be in line if the silicon is fortified with a special type of material called MXene.

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The reality that can’t be faced by many is that the carbon dioxide theory of climate just doesn’t stack up, for many reasons. Expensive subsidies for part-time renewables create both economic and practical problems, as some are already finding out to their cost.

The GWPF – Press release: Rapid decarbonisation is “a delusion”

A prominent Canadian economist has called for the political classes to stop making claims that they cannot fulfil and to return to energy policies grounded in reality.

In a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Robert Lyman sets out the economic and technological constraints on delivering decarbonization over the next two or three decades.

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Image credit: energy-storage.news


No surprise there, but the points made deserve emphasis. No amount of ideology can defeat the realities of engineering and economics.

Engineer pours cold water on battery and hydrogen technologies – GWPF press release.
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A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) dismisses the idea that grid-scale electricity storage can help bring about a UK renewables revolution.

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The renewables malaise is spreading round the world like a cancer. The symptoms can be painful but are easily recognised, as Australians are finding out.

STOP THESE THINGS

Australia’s energy policy reads like a National suicide note: power prices went from the lowest in the world to the highest, in little over a decade.

Plotting the path to destruction is pretty easy: start by throwing $60 billion in subsidies at wind and large-scale solar, demonise cheap and reliable coal-fired power and put lunatics in charge of the whole operation.

Here’s Alan Moran, once again, detailing the source of Australia’s self-inflicted misery.

Reaping the fruits of political sabotage of the electricity industry
Catallaxy Files
Alan Moran
25 January 2019

The third world nature of Australia’s electricity industry was revealed this week with wholesale prices in Victoria and South Australia at the maximum $14,500 for lengthy periods in spite of thousands of customers being cut-off, major users agreeing to shut down demand in return for compensation paid by consumers, and even some oil plants being called in.

The…

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