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Archive for the ‘energy’ category

Dec 18, 2022

Vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes for energy storage and the electronics industry

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, nanotechnology

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have created vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes on metal foils that could be a boon for energy storage and the electronics industry.

Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) have exceptional mechanical, electrical and in addition to an aligned architecture, which is key for applications such as membrane separation, thermal management, fiber spinning, electronic interconnects and energy storage.

To date, widespread integration of VACNTs into next-generation technologies is thwarted by a lack of compatible, economic, mass-production capabilities. High-quality VACNTs are typically made on substrates such as silicon (Si) or quartz wafers that are rigid, expensive and electrically insulating.

Dec 17, 2022

Norwegian companies submit record $20.5 billion fossil fuel investment plans amid Russia-Ukraine war

Posted by in category: energy

This does not bode well for eco-friendly renewables.

Last month, Europe supported a call by India to phase down fossil fuel use as part of a COP27 deal. Now, partially due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, it seems to be changing its mind.

These projects amount to total investments of more than NOK 200 billion (around $20.

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Dec 17, 2022

How do wind turbines spin during winter? The science behind frozen blades

Posted by in categories: energy, physics, science, sustainability

Building a wind power operation that can thrive in icy conditions requires a keen understanding of the underlying physics.

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power — the winds are more potent, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

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Dec 16, 2022

Cooking with Phason Gas

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

Heat-transport measurements and neutron-scattering spectroscopy probe a form of thermal conduction based on excitations called phasons.

The understanding of how substances conduct heat is of great significance in materials science. It is needed for many important technological applications—from heat management in electronics to temperature control in buildings [1]. Therefore, when an unusual form of thermal transport is identified, materials scientists take notice. Michael Manley of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and his colleagues have shown that excitations called phasons can provide the main contribution to thermal transport in a material known as fresnoite [2]. Phasons are collective lattice oscillations that occur in certain crystals with an aperiodic lattice structure—fresnoite being one of the best known. The researchers’ demonstration could pave the way for new heat-management strategies.

Thermal conductivity is a measure of a material’s ability to transfer heat. It is a property that we are all abruptly reminded of when we accidentally place our hand on a hot kitchen stove. The temperature gradient between our cooler skin and the hotter surface facilitates a transfer of energy into our hand, resulting in an unpleasant sensation. The notion that different materials conduct heat at different rates is similarly experienced when we perceive the cooling sensation of holding a metal spoon relative to a wooden one.

Dec 15, 2022

New Lantern Is Better Than Solar and Can Be Charged

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

Colombian renewable energy startup E-Dina developed a wireless lantern, called WaterLight, that converts salt water into electricity and is more reliable than solar-powered lamps, a Dezeen article explains. And it can also be charged by urine in emergency situations.

The portable device acts as a mini generator that produces light using ionization — by filling it with 500 milliliters of seawater, the salt in the water reacts with magnesium and copper plates inside the device, converting it into electrical energy.

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Dec 15, 2022

Tesla launches ‘Tesla Electric’ to become an electricity retailer

Posted by in category: energy

Tesla has launched “Tesla Electric” to become an electricity retailer through its Powerwall owners – starting with some markets in Texas.

After gaining experience through its virtual power plants (VPPs), Tesla is taking things a step further with the launch of “Tesla Electric.”

Instead of reacting to specific “events” and providing services to your local electric utilities, like Tesla Powerwall owners have done in VPPs in California, Tesla Electric is actively and automatically buying and selling electricity for Tesla Powerwall owners – providing a buffer against peak prices.

Dec 14, 2022

Singing inverters show electrical harmony for renewable power systems

Posted by in categories: energy, finance, sustainability, transportation

Standing among solar arrays and power grid equipment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), you might hear a faint, distorted melody buzzing from somewhere. You are not hallucinating—that gray box really is singing the Star Wars Theme, or the ice cream truck song, or Chopin’s Waltz in A minor. Power system engineers are just having some fun with an NREL capability that prevents stability problems on the electrical grid.

Usually, the engineers send another kind of waveform through the inverters and load banks: megawatts of power and voltage vibrations at many frequencies. The purpose of their research is to see how and the grid interact—to get them “in tune” and prevent dangerous electrical oscillations that show up like screechy feedback or a booming sub-bass.

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Dec 14, 2022

Lucy’s in the Sky with Diamonds: Meet the Most Expensive Star Ever Found

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Deep in the Constellation of Centarus lies a star 50 light-years away from the Earth. This star is so…unique that astronomers nicknamed it “Lucy.” Lucy, also known as V886 Centauri and BPM 37093, is (at first glance) an ordinary white dwarf star. But it seems to hide something rather special.

As many of you may know, a white dwarf is the hot cinder left behind when a star uses up its nuclear fuel and, in essence, dies. It is made mostly of carbon and oxygen and surrounded by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.

In 1992 it was discovered that Lucy pulsates as a result of its core temperature dropping below 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit (6,600 Celsius). And in 1995 scientists decided to use Lucy for an experiment. They wanted to see what she was made of. The experiment was to use the pulsation of the star to see if the crystallization theory was true.

Dec 13, 2022

Becoming a Kardashev Type I Civilization

Posted by in categories: energy, media & arts, space, sustainability

The Kardashev Scale has become a standardized way of classifying (hypothetical) advanced civilizations. The lowest rank, Type 1, is still way ahead of us — but by how much? When will we achieve Type 1 status and exactly how could we plausibly do so? In this video, we go through some estimates of when humanity might become Type 1, and in particular what kind of energy sources we could harness to achieve this feat.

You can now support our research program and the Cool Worlds Lab at Columbia University: https://www.coolworldslab.com/support.

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Dec 12, 2022

This Floating ‘Pyramid’ Wind Turbine Will Produce More Energy at a Lower Cost, Company Says

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

Clean energy will reduce dependency on Russia and Arab countries for oil and gas.


What if the weight could instead be distributed between multiple support poles? That’s the design Eolink has in mind; its floating turbine swaps out the single large pole for four thinner ones angled towards each other in a pyramid shape. This not only distributes the weight of the turbine’s pieces, it allows the whole structure to be lighter.

The turbine Eolink plans to build as a proof of concept will have a generating capacity of five megawatts and weigh 1,100 tons. Its base will be a square with each side 171 feet (52 meters) long, and its rotor’s diameter will be 469 feet (143 meters). For reference, that’s about one and a half Big Bens, or four-fifths of the Washington Monument.

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