Future energy
Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Thursday, April 29, 2004


New production of solar thermal dishes:  Phoenix-based Stirling Energy Systems Inc. and Schuff Steel Co. unveiled a prototype generator that could bring the cost of solar electricity down to 5 cents to 6 cents a kilowatt. .. Arizona Public Service Co., which is under an Arizona Corporation Commission mandate to generate 1.1 percent of its electricity through renewable resources by 2007, has agreed to buy 10 of the units next year. Southern Nevada Water Authority wants 40. "  Sandia has ordered a number of them this year.  They are 38-foot dishes with a Stirling engine, each generating 25 Kw.  

"the Stirling units use no water, in contrast to so-called solar trough generators that use the sun's energy to produce steam to turn turbine generators. "  Prototype units cost $300,000 each.  "Stirling believes it can bring the cost down to about $25,000 per unit if they are mass-produced. That would make them competitive with conventional power plants, Liden said. "

  9:38:17 AM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, April 24, 2004


Material grabs more sun: "Most photovoltaic materials absorb a relatively narrow range of light energy [from one band gap].. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, and MIT have engineered a single material that contains three bandgaps and is capable of capturing more than 50 percent of the sun's energy. The researchers made the material by forcing oxygen into a zinc-manganese-tellurium crystal. The oxygen split the crystal's band gap and formed a third one of its own. ..

It will take to three years to assess the technical feasibility of the multiband solar cell, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the December 12, 2003 issue of Physical Review Letters".  See also here.

  9:13:15 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, April 23, 2004


AquaEnergy Group Ltd.:  Washington state company with wave power buoys.  Phots and animation.  12:47:37 PM  permalink  

MODEL U CONCEPT CAR: "the Model T of the 21st century... Powered by the world's first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine, equipped with a hybrid electric transmission and pioneering green materials and processes, Model U is a vision for the future. It is Ford's model for change - exploring the benefits a vehicle provides to its users, the way it is manufactured and how it impacts the world."  Contributions from many sources, including William McDonough, Sun Micro, MIT MediaLab.  12:27:07 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, April 22, 2004


The Heavyweight Sea Snail: Tidal power plans off Scotland.  The unique feature is positioning underwater without expensive attachment to the sea bed.  "The Snail is a 15x12 meter (roughly 49x39 feet) anchoring device that uses hydrofoils -- what scientists describe as wings that "fly" in water -- to generate more than 200 tons of downward force to the seabed."  The press release says "At present the potential to use tidal energy is limited by installation methods for turbines, which require firm attachment to the seabed. This is very expensive and, at present, requires turbines to be placed in water depths greater than 25 m and less than 50 m. The full size SNAIL is a prefabricated tidal device that can be cheaply installed in shallow and deep water. This will significantly increase the number of suitable sites for turbines and reduce installation costs."  First installation is 5 MW in 2007.  5:16:47 PM  permalink  

Greener Freezers: Progress on thermoacoustic coolers:  "Ben & Jerry's teamed with Penn State University to build 'green'-technology freezers which will replace existing ones inside its stores. These new greener chillers use sound waves for cooling."  4:29:10 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, April 08, 2004


New Scientist Interview with William McDonough: He "wants to reinvent everything from tennis shoes to cars so we can consume as much as we wish without harming the planet. He explains why he takes nature as a perfect model for human design, and why effective is better than efficient"  12:10:26 AM  permalink  

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Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:21:01 PM.
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