With Presidential direction and Congressional support, NASA's wellspring of talent could help foster the creation of solar power satellites - spacecraft that circle the Earth and beam the energy they generate down to the ground for distribution as electricity.
Third-generation thin-film solar devices are beginning to emerge in the marketplace after approximately 20 years of research and development, due to the insight of leading material developers such as Konarka and Plextronics in the organic photovoltaics (OPV) domain, and Dyesol, EPFL, G24i, Mitsubishi and Peccell on the dye-sensitized cells (DSC) front. Both DSC and OPV technologies lag far behind on the efficiency curve when compared to conventional solar (i.e., >20 percent efficiency), so they will likely succeed in markets where their low cost, substrate flexibility, and ability to perform in dim or variable lighting conditions provide them with a significant competitive advantage.
Six Degrees Could Change the World is the latest in a steady stream of documentaries to focus on concerns about the environment and global warming since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Six Degrees , though, takes these concepts in a fresh, new direction and in now way, shape or form attempts to imitate Gore's film.
Christy Cunningham-Saylor is an environmental specialist with St. Louis-based Vertegy, a firm which specializes in consulting services for clients seeking to develop green and sustainable facilities.
The challenges from agricultural requirements to produce food and energy can only be met if we use all options available for increasing productivity and safeguarding harvests. Innovative crop protection products and plant biotechnology provide solutions to reduce the energy consumption in agriculture while conserving natural resources and contributing to mitigate the effect of climate change.
Fuel cells have the potential to dramatically change how the military carries out its missions, and how soldiers operate in the field. With the largest, most technologically advanced military in the world, the U.S. armed services use an immense amount of fuel and electricity, and any use of alternative energy would have positive effects on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, fuel cells are of particular interest to the military not for their environmental savings, but because of unique technical features that can aid soldiers in the field.
Not all the alternative generation of energy is really taken into account because numerous small-scale projects are inevitably overlooked. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) does make available figures on the economy, crude oil prices, and alternative resources to the best of their data collecting ability. This information is almost constantly revised as more data is available but the changes and revisions are not especially dramatic. The change in energy consumption and sources of energy is an evolutionary process and not a revolutionary process.
As a recognized solar industry pioneer, Gary is 2008 and 2009 President of CALSEIA - the California Solar Energy Association - and a board member of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility and Build It Green - using his three decades of knowledge to grow the solar industry for all companies.
This article deals with the present energy mix and tries to discover how the future energy mix should look in order to be sustainable and significantly reduce environmental impact, for example reduced CO2 emissions. It should be less dependent on the fossil fuels, have increased reliability, have fuel cost with reduced price fluctuations and be able to successfully meet the future demand for energy that just gets larger and larger as world energy requirements increase with the new lifestyle choices.
The US has installed over 25 gigawatts of wind, and thanks to hodge-podge of policy incentives, research and development, and private investment wind has become the poster-child of renewable energy and at the utility-scale has achieved grid-parity with conventional fossil-fuel energy. However not a single kilowatt of offshore wind has been developed, despite it being a stronger and more consistent energy source than its counterpart on land, closer to large populations where the energy is needed, and already proven commercial technology.
"Buildings like trees, cities like forests." When Michael McDonough, author and sustainability architect, suggested this be the new paradigm for the future, he was referring to the creation of buildings and communities that are self-sufficient. He also reminds us that "waste is a human phenomenon", so the concept of recycling and efficiency is central to the attainment of environmental stewardship. Through integration, energy management, efficiency techniques and technologies it is now possible to create buildings that are 'greener' and more ecologically synergistic than ever before.
Here is a short summary of some of the hot stories reported on in the last month or so.
Wind power development doesn't deal with a single industry. There are steel workers, engineers, precision manufactures, boat builders, construction crews, composite technologies, and marine technologies. The Maine Wind Industry Initiative brings these partners under one roof, so that they can network and solve problems working together.
As the PV business continues to grow, new backsheet constructions are continually being introduced. But the products we use in our efforts to be more sustainable have a bigger footprint than we think. Currently, there are at least ten commercial manufacturers of traditional PV backsheets, with traditional products in the development stage. Traditional backsheets, the protective covering on solar cells, are produced mainly from polyester and Tedlar films. Polyester is made from petroleum and Tedlar is solvent-cast using DMAC, a highly toxic industrial solvent. Both of these products defeat the purpose of clean, green energy, and as the demand for solar energy increases, so does this issue.
Each wind generator, each solar farm absolutely requires a stable grid to feed into and are not and can not be prime power sources. Meters record the amps passing thru the transformers which connect the wind units to the grid, but very little real power goes very far (see notes on AC power). They are simply dispersed, independent power producers which cannot supply any load without the base loading power of coal or natural gas. In truth, not one ounce of coal, programmed to be burned in a coal fired power system has ever been offset by the introduction of wind or solar power into the grid.
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