The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled the first U.S. National Broadband Plan on Tuesday morning. And — what we're particularly interested in — there's an entire chapter on Energy and the Environment (Chapter 12, Page 245) . The National Broadband Plan looks at how broadband can be used to build out a smarter power grid, make information technology more efficient and make transportation cleaner. Some recommendations include: States should reduce impediments and financial disincentives to using commercial service providers for Smart Grid communications. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) should start a proceeding to explore the reliability and resiliency of commercial broadband communications networks. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC should continue their joint efforts to identify new uses for federal spectrum and should consider the requirements of the Smart Grid. Congress should consider amending the Communications Act to enable utilities to use the proposed public safety 700 MHz wireless broadband network.
Cooling applications represent 25% of all electricity use in the United States, consuming over 7 quadrillion BTUs of energy and generating nearly 600 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), is developing a new form of refrigeration that could be three times as efficient as existing forms. It's based on thermoacoustics, a technology that works for cooling at extremely low temperatures (such as for liquefying gases), but hasn't been used for cooling at room temperature (what you need for household refrigeration). PARC has developed a proprietary thermoacoustic refrigeration technology that can achieve double the efficiency of the best current residential and commercial air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Wide adoption of PARC's technology could lead to dramatic energy savings and greatly reduced CO2 emissions. PARC's approach could: Double the efficiency of air conditioning Save 4 quadrillion BTUs (13% of total U.S. electricity use) per year Reduce CO2 emissions by 311 million metric tons annually
Maud Olofsson, Sweden's Enterprise and Energy Minister, announced recently the addition of 2,000 wind turbines to the country's alternative energy regimen. The move, which would be rolled out over the next ten years would add 10 terawatt hours of clean energy per year to their grid. But is that enough for the Scandinavian country? Apparently not because they've also set a goal for themselves to have 50 percent (yes, half!) of their electricity come from renewable sources by 2020!
BrightSource Energy Inc. has won a $1.4 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to build three concentrated solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, just weeks after the company scaled back plans to address concerns over the desert tortoise. The complex will generate 392 megawatts of electricity using thousands of mirrors to focus the power of the sun to create steam that drives electrical turbines. It'll produce enough power for about 140,000 homes. Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison Co. signed up to buy power from the plants, which will be built by Bechtel and create about 1,000 construction jobs and 86 permanent jobs. Construction on the first plant is expected to begin in the second half of 2010.
Valentin Technologies has given the public its first glimpse of its IngoCar, currently in development. The vehicle's estimated mileage is 170 mpg based on a mix of city and rural driving. This extraordinary fuel efficiency is achieved by a revolutionary hydraulic-fluid drive. This hybrid gasoline/hydraulic drive system can deliver acceleration from 0-60 in 4 seconds. Using a small engine, fluid is pumped into an accumulator. The fluid then drives hydraulic wheel motors for shiftless acceleration. During braking, motors are reversed and pump the entire recuperated braking energy back into the accumulator. This innovative technology and the car's light weight give an estimated range of 1,000 miles for a full 6 gallon tank of fuel.
Five to ten years from now, you could have a $3000 fuel cell power generator the size of a clock radio in your basement, turning natural gas into electrical power at twice the efficiency possible today. That's the promise of the Bloom Box , a tiny power plant that combines oxygen and natural gas, a biogas or solar energy, and creates electricity. So far, Bloom Boxes are the size of about four refrigerators, costing $700,000 to $800,000. Early adopters are companies such as eBay and Google, already saving money using these boxes.
Construction has begun off Oregon's coast on the first commercial U.S. wave-energy farm, planned to supply power to about 400 homes, according to a USA TODAY report. Wave power draws from the energy of ocean surface waves. A float on a buoy rises and falls with the waves, driving a plunger connected to a hydraulic pump that converts the vertical movement into electricity. The first buoy will measure 150 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weigh 200 tons and cost $4 million, according to Phil Pellegrino, spokesman for New Jersey-based developer Ocean Power Technologies, which is developing the project.
The innovative hybrid technology featured in the car has been developed especially for racing, standing out significantly in its configuration and components from conventional hybrid systems. In this case, electrical front axle drive with two electric motors developing 60 kW each supplements the 480-bhp four-litre flat-six at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. A further significant point is that instead of the usual batteries in a hybrid road car, an electrical flywheel power generator fitted in the interior next to the driver delivers energy to the electric motors. The flywheel generator itself is an electric motor with its rotor spinning at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm, storing energy mechanically as rotation energy.
Japanese solar-module manufacturers shipped a record-high 1.4 gigawatts (GW) in 2009 , galvanized by the election of a new solar-friendly government, and a dramatic up-tick in the domestic rooftop market. Domestic shipments more than doubled to 484 megawatts (MW), even as exports slid a modest 2.4% to 903MW on the back of the weakened European market, according to figures published by the Japanese Photovoltaic Energy Association. The spike in domestic demand has outpaced Japanese firms' ability to keep up, leading to a surge in imports from neighboring countries such as Taiwan.
The revolutionary Power-Generating Floor , works by converting physical pressure into electricity and has a wide range of potential applications. Part of the appeal of this device is that it emits no greenhouse gases or other pollutants. It consists of tiles that convert vibrations caused by people or automobiles passing overhead into electricity. Within each roughly 50-centimeter-square tile is a crystalline substance called a piezoelectric element. When outside pressure is placed on these elements, electrical polarization occurs and generates an electric potential in proportion to the amount of force applied. While output varies depending on the number of tiles, two steps by a person weighing 60 kilograms normally generates 0.1 Watts of power.
Helioculture: The idea is to create hydrocarbons with a little help from the sun. Sewage: Using microbial fuel cells, sewage can be used in bio-electrochemical systems to create power. Evaporation: Apparently, scientists are working on ways to harness the difference in electrical properties that exist between air and water. Human movement: Could the expanding planetary population actually power itself through movement? Moon: One Russian company, RKK Energiya, thinks that moon mining for Helium-3 could be a possibility by 2020. Source
New wind-turbine generation capacity grew by a record 10,000 megawatts in 2009, picking up the pace from 8,400 megawatts added in 2008, the American Wind Energy Association said Tuesday. Put another way, the 10,000 megawatts of new wind generation added in 2009 will provide enough power for 2.4 million U.S. homes. Texas continues to lead America in installed wind power, with 9,410 megawatts, followed by 3,670 megawatts for Iowa and 2,794 megawatts for California. Together, wind and natural gas make up about 80% of the new generation capacity added in the country in 2009.
When Bertrand Piccard came up with his audacious plan to fly around the world in an aircraft powered only by the sun, he found that airplane manufacturers were skeptical such a plane could be built. So who built the first model of " Solar Impulse ," Piccard's $72-million solar-powered craft? A company that makes ships. And now the airplane is built. The first flight was achieved on the third of December and in the spring and summer this year, we're going to make the high-altitude flights and the cycle of [flying] one day, one night and one day. This little airplane is not a Piper or Cessna with a couple of solar cells. It's a really high-tech carbon fiber airplane which is 200 feet in wingspan. It weighs 1.6 tons. The plane will travel very slowly. Otherwise it would take too much energy. The average speed will be 40 knots, roughly 55 miles per hour. The entire budget is 100 million U.S. dollars, coming from private sponsors.
Toyota's FT-CH Hybrid Concept and Plans for a Prius Family --- Ford's New Plug-in Focus --- General Motors' Volt Roll out and Upcoming Plug-in Converj --- Honda's 2011 CR-Z Hybrid Debut --- PLUS --- Ford has announced that it plans to invest $450 million in Michigan for production of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles . The company expects to create up to 1,000 new jobs through its electrification efforts, in part by moving battery pack production to Michigan from current facilities in Mexico.
Nine European countries have teamed up to plan a 30-billion-euro (43-billion-dollar) sustainable energy project in the North Sea as part of efforts to address climate change and expand renewable energy, officials said Wednesday. The plan is to connect up the alternative energy projects of the nine nations to create Europe's first renewable electricity grid through a 6,000-kilometer network. The network would link the wind turbines off from the northern coast of Scotland with Germany's solar power industry and include the wave power plants dotted along the Danish and Belgian coasts and hydroelectric dams in Norway. It is expected to take a decade to complete the building work for the network, with the nine nations to unveil a feasibility plan later this year.
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