Multi-directional wind turbines for the home. Vertical Axis Wind Turbine VAWT

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines VAWT.  These have been around for a while but no one design or company has really taken off.

The most efficient ones are generally shaped like a helix so that it spins no matter what direction the wind is blowing.  One significant problem with the standard large windmill design is they only work well if the wind is blowing hard and steadily in one direction.  There are places with those conditions but they are not exactly abundant.

The VAWT work on a different kind of wind. They could be effective on a small scale and could be owned privately like solar panels.  The other probably more untactful use would be to put them on the top and sides of skyscrapers.

As anyone who has stood on a NYC rooftop can tell you, the wind coming up from the street is srong and constant so attaching turbines could ease the electric demand where it is most needed.

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The future of energy storage

What is the best way to store energy in the long run?

and by long run I mean after all the fossil fuels have been used up.

Batteries
It is safe to say that eventually the power we get will originate as electricity whether from geothermal, solar, or wind (I exclude bio-fuels because it is not a long term energy solution and should be abandoned at some point)
Electricity isn’t very portable though, very difficult to pick up and carry. Batteries are the traditional way to store direct current but with the current design of a battery, I don’t think we have enough battery making material to hold the energy we need. There have been some developments in Supercapcitor technology that would greatly help the battery problem but I think there is probably a better solution.

My suggestion would be hydrogen.  Use electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen (hydrolysis) and when hydrogen is used as fuel the only by-product is water. (I’m sure many of us did this experiment in high school)

The first element, from which all other elements descend, hundreds of times more abundant than any other substance.

Let’s take advantage.

hydrogen_gen1

Solaren and Pacific Gas and Electric take on Space based Solar Power

These two companies are implementing the proven along with some mysterious new technology to make Space based Solar economically feasible.  I wrote a post a while ago about this subject and now with a serious commitment (albeit without the space elevator), I’m very excited to see how well it works.  Have to wait until 2016 though unless California politicians decide to fast track the necessary approvals.

PGE Blog

Tree Found in Man’s Lungs

Poor Guy

Imagine if we could just produce oxygen internally?

tree-lungs

Diatoms and Solar Nanotechnology

Article HERE

Microscopic algae called diatoms could help triple the electrical output of experimental, dye-sensitized solar cells, according to researchers at Oregon State University and Portland State University.

I won’t bother to summerize…

diatoms3a

The Carbon cycle

Go back two hundred years

The carbon cycle has been occurring for four billion years.  Plants take carbon from the air and store it in themselves. When the plants die the carbon is either composted or trapped underground to become coal. Animals take carbon from plants and become oil in death.

As a result the level of carbon dioxide is the air has been steadily decreasing since life started to flourish.

Present day

We are putting all the carbon back in the air.

Perhaps a good way to explain the complex phenomenon of global warming is just to say we are turning back the clock, rapidly. The earth will find it’s equilibrium again but it might be a bumpy ride.

carboncycle

Who will stop burning coal? Transferring our Carbon footprint to the Third World

Nobody.

By most estimates we have used about a third of the coal deposits on the planet.

Led by western Europe, industrialized nations are moving towards a sustainable future.  Unfortunately this may mean that developing nations will reject sustainable technology in favor of the technologies we left behind.

With the rise of Nanosolar it may eventually become more cost effective than coal, particularly given our dependence on cheap oil for extraction.  Most likely we will sell our coal to countries that want it.

So we will all feel better about getting our energy in a clean way but is it possible to stop the use of coal?

US Coal Deposits:

coal_regions_us_reserves_1996

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