Posts Tagged ‘solar’

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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Nyngan solar plant, Australia [image credit: Wikipedia]


This sounds every bit as inefficient as the UK importing wood pellets from North America on an industrial scale, to generate electricity. How the hydrogen might be sent across the world in a ‘green’ way is not mentioned.
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A bilateral agreement aimed at increasing German imports of hydrogen produced from solar power plants in Australia could set a milestone in efforts to establish a global hydrogen market, says Euractiv.

Australia said it wants to become “a powerhouse in hydrogen production and exports” after signing what it described as “a landmark agreement” with Germany on 11 September.

The agreement initiated a joint feasibility study that will look into establishing a green hydrogen supply chain between the two countries.

Australia’s partnership with Germany came in addition to similar deals on green hydrogen made with other countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore, the Australian trade minister said in a statement.

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Time for climate obsessives to look the other way — again.

PA Pundits - International

By Duggan Flanakin ~

The problem of solar panel waste is now becoming evident. As environmental journalist Emily Folk admits in Renewable Energy Magazine, “when talking about renewable energy, the topic of waste does not often appear.” She attributes this to the supposed “pressures of climate change” and alleged “urgency to find alternative energy sources,” saying people may thus be hesitant to discuss “possible negative impacts of renewable energy.”

Ms. Folk admits that sustainability requires proper e-waste management. Yet she laments, “Solar presents a particular problem. There is growing evidence that broken panels release toxic pollutants … [and] increasing concern regarding what happens with these materials when they are no longer viable, especially since they are difficult to recycle.”

This is the likely reason that (except in Washington state), there are no U.S. mandates for solar recycling. A recent article in Grist reports that most used solar panels are…

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Solar Cycle 25 is here, says NASA

Posted: September 17, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, News, solar system dynamics
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The Sun from NASA’s SDO spacecraft


Solar Cycle 25 has begun, according to this NASA press release.

During a media event on Tuesday, experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed their analysis and predictions about the new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth, as well as astronauts in space.

The Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA, announced that solar minimum occurred in December 2019, marking the start of a new solar cycle.

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It may not even have been the biggest one in recent centuries, and the Quebec Blackout of 1989 wasn’t far behind in intensity.

Spaceweather.com

Sept. 1, 2020: On Sept. 1st, 1859, the most ferocious solar storm in recorded history engulfed our planet. Named “the Carrington event” after British scientist Richard Carrington, who witnessed the flare that started it, the storm rocked Earth’s magnetic field, sparked auroras over Cuba, the Bahamas and Hawaii, set fire to telegraph stations in North America, and wrote itself into history books as the Biggest. Solar. Storm. Ever.

But sometimes what you read in history books is wrong. Modern researchers looking into the Carrington Event are coming to new and different conclusions.

“The Carrington Event was not unique,” says Hisashi Hayakawa of Japan’s Nagoya University, whose recent study of solar storms has uncovered at least two other events of comparable intensity (in 1872 and 1921). “While the Carrington Event has long been considered a once‐in‐a‐century catastrophe, historical observations warn us that this may be something that occurs much more frequently.”

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Reuse, Recycle, Or Just Reduce Solar Panel Waste?

Posted: August 30, 2020 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy
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A preview of ‘the coming panel-demic’.

PA Pundits - International

By Duggan Flanakin ~

Is solar power truly Green?

This question is important, because in today’s world, that which is Green is favored even if it is more expensive and less reliable. We have been taught that solar is Green. But does it pass the Three R’s Test that for 50 years has been the Green standard?

Legend has it that the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” entered the collective consciousness somewhere before or after the first national EARTH DAY in 1970. Shortly afterward, President Nixon created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Logic indicates that a Green product should therefore reusable (with reasonable effectiveness) or recyclable (at reasonable cost). If it is neither, then should we not ask whether we just need to reduce its supply (especially since solar energy is intermittent and still requires backup power)?

The EPA website, for…

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Which brings us back to the old conundrum: do cosmic rays affect the Earth’s weather / climate, and if so, how and how much?

Spaceweather.com

August 11, 2020: Cosmic rays are bad–and they’re probably going to get worse.

That’s the conclusion of a new study entitled “Galactic Cosmic Radiation in Interplanetary Space Through a Modern Secular Minimum” just published in the journal Space Weather.

“During the next solar cycle, we could see cosmic ray dose rates increase by as much as 75%,” says lead author Fatemeh Rahmanifard of the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center. “This will limit the amount of time astronauts can work safely in interplanetary space.”

spacewalk

Cosmic rays are the bane of astronauts. They come from deep space, energetic particles hurled in all directions by supernova explosions and other violent events. No amount of spacecraft shielding can stop the most energetic particles, leaving astronauts exposed whenever they leave the Earth-Moon system.

Back in the 1990s, astronauts could travel through space for as much as 1000 days before they…

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The Solar Minimum Superstorm of 1903

Posted: July 31, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, solar system dynamics
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A message from the past: “The timing of the storm interestingly parallels where we are now–near Solar Minimum just after a weak solar cycle.”

Spaceweather.com

July 29, 2020: Don’t let Solar Minimum fool you. The sun can throw a major tantrum even during the quiet phase of the 11-year solar cycle. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the July 1st edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

“In late October 1903, one of the strongest solar storms in modern history hit Earth,” say the lead authors of the study,  Hisashi Hayakawa (Osaka University, Japan) and Paulo Ribeiro (Coimbra University, Portugal). “The timing of the storm interestingly parallels where we are now–near Solar Minimum just after a weak solar cycle.”

redlineAbove: The red line marks the 1903 solar superstorm in a plot of the 11-year solar cycle. [ref] The 1903 event wasn’t always recognized as a great storm. Hayakawa and colleagues took an interest in it because of what happened when the storm hit. In magnetic observatories around the world, pens…

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Credit: OH 237 @ Wikipedia


Natural climate variability similar to what we see today has been going on for thousands, if not millions of years, whether ‘greenhouse gas’ theorists moaning about modern human activities like it or not.
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The Roman Empire coincided with warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the Med, says The GWPF.

The Mediterranean Sea was 3.6°F (2°C) hotter during the Roman Empire than other average temperatures at the time, a new study claims.

The Empire coincided with a 500-year period, from AD 1 to AD 500, that was the warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the almost completely land-locked sea.

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World climate classification map [credit: Beck, H.E., Zimmermann, N. E., McVicar, T. R., Vergopolan, N., Berg, A., & Wood, E. F. @ Wikipedia]


The Homeric seems to have started about 2400 years before the Spörer (or Maunder?) Minimum, which may be its more recent equivalent. Researchers have found evidence of a ‘2400-year cycle in atmospheric radiocarbon concentration’ – for example, see here.

Much of the article below appears to have come from Wikipedia, but there it also says:
“Variations in the solar output have effects on climate, less through the usually quite small effects on insolation and more through the relatively large changes of UV radiation and potentially also indirectly through modulation of cosmic ray radiation. The 11-year solar cycle measurably alters the behaviour of weather and atmosphere, but decadal and centennial climate cycles are also attributed to solar variation.”

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The Homeric Minimum is a grand solar minimum that took place between 2,800 and 2,550 years before present, says the Grand Solar Minimum website.

It appears to coincide with, and have been the cause of, a phase of climate change at that time, which involved a wetter western and drier eastern Europe.

This had far-reaching effects on human civilization, some of which may be recorded in Greek mythology and the Old Testament.

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Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit: space.com]


The idea being proposed is described as a reverse piezo-electrical effect.
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Ground-shaking earthquakes occur all across the globe. And according to a new study, many of them might be triggered by the Sun, says Astronomy.com.

Through decades of research, scientists have learned that large, powerful earthquakes commonly occur in groups, not in random patterns. But exactly why has so far remained a mystery.

Now, new research, published July 13 in Scientific Reviews, asserts the first strong — though still disputed — evidence that powerful eruptions on the Sun can trigger mass earthquake events on Earth.

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Solar Cycle Update

Posted: July 15, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, Solar physics
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SC 25 – are we nearly there yet?

Spaceweather.com

July 14, 2020: NOAA has released a new interactive tool to explore the solar cycle. It lets you scroll back through time, comparing sunspot counts now to peaks and valleys of the past. One thing is clear. Solar Minimum is here, and it’s one of the deepest in a century.

progression

Solar Minimum is a natural part of the solar cycle. Every ~11 years, the sun transitions from high to low activity and back again. Solar Maximum. Solar Minimum. Repeat. The cycle was discovered in 1843 by Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, who noticed the pattern after counting sunspots for 17 years. We are now exiting Solar Cycle 24 and entering Solar Cycle 25.

During Solar Minimum, the sun is usually blank–that is, without sunspots. The solar disk often looks like a big orange billiard ball:

hmi1898 The spotless sun on July 13, 2020

In 2019, the sun went 281 days without sunspots, and…

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Ionized gas inside the Sun moves toward the poles near the surface and toward the equator at the base of the convection zone (at a depth of 200,000 km/125,000 miles).
Credit: MPS (Z.-C. Liang)


The title of the study cited in this report gives us the clue: ‘Meridional flow in the Sun’s convection zone is a single cell in each hemisphere’. The full cycle takes about 22 years on average, with a magnetic reversal halfway through.
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The sun’s magnetic activity follows an 11-year cycle. Over the course of a solar cycle, the sun’s magnetic activity comes and goes, says Phys.org.

During solar maximum, large sunspots and active regions appear on the sun’s surface. Spectacular loops of hot plasma stretch throughout the sun’s atmosphere and eruptions of particles and radiation shoot into interplanetary space.

During solar minimum, the sun calms down considerably. A striking regularity appears in the so-called butterfly diagram, which describes the position of sunspots in a time-latitude plot.

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Sunspots [image credit: NASA]


The researchers’ sun clock looks like this.
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Extreme space weather events can significantly impact systems such as satellites, communications systems, power distribution and aviation, says a Warwick University press release.

They are driven by solar activity which is known to have an irregular but roughly 11 year cycle.

By devising a new, regular ‘sun clock’, researchers have found that the switch on and off of periods of high solar activity is quite sharp, and are able to determine the switch on/off times.

Their analysis shows that whilst extreme events can happen at any time, they are much less likely to occur in the quiet interval.

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During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s corona and prominences are visible to the naked eye [image credit: Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be ]


There’s an interesting time-series animation of the solar corona here. Clear differences in the corona at solar minimum compared to maximum were observed by the globetrotting researchers.
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While the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have been hard at work studying the solar corona, the outermost atmosphere of the sun which expands into interplanetary space, reports Phys.org.

This stream of charged particles radiating from the surface of the sun is called the solar wind and expands to fill the entire solar system.

The properties of the solar corona are a consequence of the sun’s complex magnetic field, which is produced in the solar interior and extends outward.

A new study by IfA graduate student Benjamin Boe, published Wednesday, June 3rd in the Astrophysical Journal, used total solar eclipse observations to measure the shape of the coronal magnetic field with higher spatial resolution and over a larger area than ever before.

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Image credit: MIT


Who wants to buy a secondhand EV after reading this? Maybe sellers should have to get a test certificate stating how much life there is left in the battery.
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Modeling study shows battery reuse systems could be profitable for both electric vehicle companies and grid-scale solar operations. — Technology.org reporting.

As electric vehicles rapidly grow in popularity worldwide [Talkshop comment – do they?], there will soon be a wave of used batteries whose performance is no longer sufficient for vehicles that need reliable acceleration and range.

But a new study shows that these batteries could still have a useful and profitable second life as backup storage for grid-scale solar photovoltaic installations, where they could perform for more than a decade in this less demanding role.

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Borrowed from ratepayers, strictly speaking. But there seems to be something rotten here anyway. Are solar farms an ‘investment’ of public money? Even if they are, they have an unfortunate reputation for going bust in some cases.
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A major investigation has revealed how Thurrock Council got into more than £1billion in debt, borrowing the money from around 150 local authorities across the UK, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

But instead of funding council services, the council gambled at least £604million in solar farms located outside of the borough.

Among Thurrock’s rundown council estates and neglected public parks, typical of many towns after a decade of austerity, there is nothing to suggest that over the past three years the local council has borrowed and then invested hundreds of millions of pounds of other councils’ money.

Under the direction of a senior council officer Thurrock borrowed from about 150 local authorities across the UK with little public scrutiny. These loans were not for direct funding of council services, or investing in infrastructure – instead they financed solar farms more than a hundred miles away.

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Assessing integrated solar roofs for EVs

Posted: May 15, 2020 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel
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Lightyear One prototype


A novel range extender, or just another way to make costly EVs even more expensive? Insurance costs could be eye-watering too.

High-tech mobility innovator Lightyear and Royal DSM will jointly scale the commercialization of Lightyear’s unique solar-powered roof for the electric vehicle market, reports Green Car Congress.

With this solution, both companies aim to accelerate the global adoption of a broad range of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Specifically, the partnership aims to integrate solar-powered roofs in a variety of electric vehicles, including cars, vans and buses, thus enabling users to charge their vehicle directly with clean energy.

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The Sun’s 11 year cycle is the most well known among many others we’ll cover in this series.

Now we’ve entered the minimum between solar cycles 24 and 25, this seems like a good moment to recap what we’ve discovered about the Sun and the planetary system that revolves around it here on the Talkshop during the last decade. The idea that the Sun’s activity cycles were somehow linked to the motion of the planets didn’t begin here of course. In fact, the idea goes all the way back to Rudolf Wolf, the Swiss astronomer who in the 1800s collated the old, and continued adding new sunspot observations. He was convinced that the orbit of Jupiter modulated sunspot numbers.

Wolf was an admirer of the work of Heinrich Schwabe, who was the first to discover an approximately decadal cyclic variation in sunspot numbers. Wolf refined and extended the observations and found that while some solar cycles were a little over ten years long, others were much closer to Jupiter’s orbital period of just under twelve years. The long term average was found to be around 11.1 years.

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Two Solar Cycles Active at Once

Posted: April 28, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, solar system dynamics
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Cycle 25 preparing to topple Cycle 24.

Spaceweather.com

April 27, 2020: Today, there are two sunspots in the sun’s southern hemisphere. Their magnetic polarity reveals something interesting: They come from different solar cycles. Take a look at this magnetic map of the sun’s surface (with sunspots inset) from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

latest_4096_HMIBC_labelled_crop

One sunspot (AR2760) belongs to old Solar Cycle 24, while the other (AR2761) belongs to new Solar Cycle 25. We know this because of Hale’s polarity law. AR2760 is +/- while AR2761 is -/+, reversed signs that mark them as belonging to different cycles.

This is actually normal. Solar cycles always overlap at their boundaries, sprinkling Solar Minimum with a mixture of old- and new-cycle sunspots. Sometimes, like today, they pop up simultaneously. We might see more such combinations in the months ahead as we slowly grind our way through one of the deepest Solar Minima in a century.

The simultaneous appearance of two solar…

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