Future energy
Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Sunday, November 28, 2004


What a difference a battery makes:  A "radical eight-wheeled, 600kW rocket from Japan is proof that electric cars can be fast and fun. Called Eliica, short for Electric Lithium-Ion battery Car, it boasts a neck-snapping 0-100kmh time of just four seconds and a 0-160kmh time of seven seconds, which means the Eliica accelerates faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo."  Top speed is over 200 mph.  The key is the Li+ battery; expensive now in this quantity, but dropping in price as each generation of consumer electronics is built.  10:29:59 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, November 18, 2004


Wind power can affect climate: Impact is far less than CO2, but not zero:  "A group of Canadian and U.S. scientists reported Tuesday that computer simulations show that a large-scale use of wind farms to generate electrical power could create a significant temperature change over Earth's land masses. .. Specifically, if wind generation were expanded to the point where it produced one-10th of today's energy, the models say cooling in the Arctic and a warming across the southern parts of North America should happen. The exact mechanism for this is unclear, but the scientists believe it may have to do with the disruption of the flow of heat from the equator to the poles. Depending on how much energy is ultimately generated by wind power, the study's simulations say these changes could range from one-third of a degree to 2 degrees Celsius.  One unexpected finding to the study is that the hotter temperate zone/cooler Arctic effect exists in the simulations if the wind farms are concentrated in a few spots or scattered across the world.

Prof. Keith and others involved in the study strongly caution, however, against an anti-wind-power reading of their work. “This is really a ‘but, yes' article,” says Stephen Pacala, a professor of ecology at Princeton University, who is a co-author of the paper.  The “but” is the fact that wind farms would alter the climate, the “yes” is the paper's preliminary estimation that if wind power produced one-10th of today's energy, its climate-altering effects would be only one-fifth that of the carbon dioxide it would replace."  8:32:33 AM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, November 07, 2004


Suggest an X PRIZE: "The concept of the [World Technology Network] WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and .. launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century."  I think I'll suggest a few in sustainable energy, starting with catalysis of cellulose to liquid fuel, efficient electricity storage systems, small-scale low-grade heat to electricity conversion.  Desalination and other water purification would be another high-impact sustainability technology.  12:04:10 PM  permalink  

Distributed generation for development: Nature article endorses the idea. "The desire to mitigate climate change, and opportunities to empower consumers in the developed and developing worlds, all point towards a need for less-centralized energy generation. .. But for the 2 billion people without electricity, micropower could let them leapfrog the grid. Just as countries that had never seen an expensive copper telephone network jumped straight to mobile phones, so decentralized generation technologies offer the chance for them to leapfrog the grid and prosper. That was the take-home message from a meeting of energy companies, researchers and policy makers in Paris" in Feb 2004.  World Energy Technologies Summit Presentations are online.  11:57:19 AM  permalink  

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Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:21:55 PM.
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