Realistic Reasons to Back Solar Power

Realistic Reasons to Back Solar Power

To think that humans know everything there is to know about science and the natural evolution of our planet is nothing short of asinine. Technology has been developed to allow us to understand our position in the cosmos better, but should we call ourselves experts? There is still so much to learn about how our planet behaves. Although global warming extremists push the envelope on reasons why we should invest in renewable energies, there is a truth behind all of the rhetoric. Our current methods are grossly antiquated.

1. Renewable Resource – The Sun will continue to produce consumable power to humans for billions of years. As soon as it’s done producing power, we’re going to have more pressing problems than global warming. Even cloudy days are able to produce enough power to maintain a home. It is a resource that everyone can agree that we have in an abundant supply.

2. Oil Wars – Regardless of personal views on the economics of the world, were are riled by those who would dare cut off our oil supply. We are willing to sacrifice lives over dead plants and life-forms. If we were to do away with oil as a whole, would there still be a cause for war? It would no longer be a driving force to have relations with a country we know to be corrupt. The demand would be gone, as would the power these countries have over a large portion of the world.

3. Costs – Even with subsidies and tax credits, one would still have to live in their homes for more than 10 years in order to experience the benefits from solar power thanks to the effects of financing. However, the cost of photovoltaic equipment manufacturing has already began to decrease since 2012. As many locations around the globe are looking more and more at this renewable energy source, more innovative technologies supporting photovoltaic equipment is being produced in order to reduce costs of installation in order to entice sales. Before long, everyone will have one – much like cell phones morphing into smartphones.

4. Less Dangerous – Nuclear power plants are catastrophes waiting to happen. A simple breakdown of a nuclear power plant can render the entire location unlivable by human standards. Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi disasters are prime examples of how little we truly care about human life over the need to power our computers and cash registers. If a solar panel breaks, it could take a matter of a day or two to replace it without having to call in a HAZMAT crew.

5. Cumulative – For every household and business that erects a solar array to put power back into the grid, more power is conserved reducing the chances of brownouts. For every kilowatt hour produced by these units, one kilowatt hour can be used at your neighbor’s house. Theoretically, many solar arrays within an area should decrease the electric bills of everyone since less power is being consumed as a whole.

Set aside the views of those who propagate global warming as a scare tactic. There are real life reasons why we should be investing in alternative energy sources, none of which concern the natural evolution of Earth. The planet will be here long after humans have perished. We should be more concerned with saving ourselves.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

 

Photovoltaic PV Solar Panels on the rise

Lowered costs and increasing efficiency have helped the steady increase in the use of Solar PV panels.
There have been some incredible advances in the methods used to capture solar energy.  Solar paint and thin plastic cells are some of the new technologies but PV panels are still the most efficient way to capture energy from the sun.

The modular nature of solar cells are also being used in more creative and aesthetically pleasing ways. Each cell must have a separate connection because stringing them together has the same effect as Christmas lighting, if one goes out, there all do. Being modular, however, increases the versatility of the panel placement.

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Increased efficiency has also made the technology workable in areas that don’t receive a huge amount of direct sunlight. Solar power is a small thing that most landowners can take advantage of to reduce costs and stabilize energy bills.

Siemens Performance on Renewable Energy Market

Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

Siemens is one of the companies, which are focused on the innovative fields, as well as on markets with a good potential for expanding. These features are essential for renewable energy industries. In this context, Siemens finds it as an attractive market to invest money and technologies. Production of renewable energy and electricity became one more industry the company works in, along with electronics, IT technologies, medicine and urban infrastructure. Siemens is interested in specific branches of renewable energy sector, related research and innovations, which, by the way, receive nearly 4 billion dollars annually. Energy-saving technologies are of big priority, being the company’s goal all over the world.

Siemens Wind Power is the most advanced alternative energy branch of the company. About 7000 wind power generators are operated globally with total capacity of 6000 MW. The statistics features that such energy production can provide for 7 million households and prevent 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Especially, Siemens is focused on European countries, putting its projects into operation in Denmark, Germany, Northern Ireland, etc. Much of attention was paid to company’s innovative project, executed in collaboration with Hydreo, – floating wind power stations that can alter their location in order to get matching air flows. In addition, Siemens is engaged in construction of such wind farms as Teesside (UK), Cape Wind and Block Island (USA), Meerwind Sud/Ost (Germany), Horns Rev II (Denmark) and may others.

Hydro power production is one more industry Siemens is interested in. To provide some details, construction of hydro power stations is more expensive, but energy prime cost is lower. Therefore, energy demand outranges company’s expenses on hydro power projects. Since late 1970s hydroelectric power has become one of the investment items of the company. To be more précised, Siemens AG started to supply generators to the biggest hydro power station in the world – Itapúa, on Brazilian-Paraguayan border. To date, Siemens deals with technological developments for small hydropower plants up to 30 MW, as well as with reconstruction of existing power plants. In fact, in recent years Russian rivers alerted an attention of company’s executives. Depending on the power plant, Siemens offers to equip the turbine with adjustable or fixed blades of all currently available designs. Technologies introduced by the company ensure a high safety margin of small hydroelectric power stations and low operating costs.

Naturally, solar power is a crucial part on renewable energy market, but not for Siemens as once could guess. The key thing is that solar power was much of company’s priority during decades, until the 2012, when Siemens refused to succeed on the solar power market. In particular, the company refused to manufacture solar panels m and to convert solar energy into electricity, mainly because of price pressure on the market. Since then wind and hydro power remain primary renewable energy targets of Siemens, which are promised to provide 30 per cent of energy worldwide by 2030.

Interesting Bio-fuel solutions

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Guest Post by Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

Search of new renewable energy solutions has embraced most of the countries recently. Indeed, growth of oil and gas prices and shortage of fuel deposits contributed a lot in referring to alternative power facilities, such as solar stations, wind farms and tidal power systems. However, these are the prerogative of those lands possessing suitable climate conditions and favoring national policy. On the contrary, the other states have many benefits for biofuels production, converting wastes and unnecessary materials into promising energy resources. Some examples testify on how creative and effective new technologies might be.

Germany is a vivid example of how biofuels might invest in national energy balance. For several decades German scientists have been working on biofuel technologies, and some of the concepts alerted governmental attention. To date, economic discussions are engaged in related issues, which are focused on how to make biofuels cheaper.  One of the received results is directed on car fuels production out of agricultural and wood wastes. The released technology features synthetic gasoline made of sawdust and straw, including two major stages: gathering basic material straightforward on farms and timber factories and gasoline production on the plant. Its price is expected to be 0,5 Euro per liter and the first supplies are scheduled on 2012.

Wageningen University and Research Centre in Ukraine is working on the concept of thermal and electrical energy from biomass gathered in Chernobyl restricted zone. It is appropriate to mention that this country still copes with consequences of tragic events of April 26th 1986, when there was a huge explosion on the local nuclear plant. However, biomass is offered to be cultivated on the lands cleared from radioactive effects.  All in all, the idea of any activity in Chernobyl zone is quite unpleasing and it might influence negatively on reputation of Ukrainian businessmen. Many scientists conclude that this area should be a testing ground for scientific experiments and investigations for many decades in future.

In contrast, Ukraine can boast of certain biomass advancement. It is the first country in Eastern Europe to establish a production of mobile industrial facilities that convert organic wastes into fuel pellets. These biofuel complexes, called “Forward”, are embedded on the truck platforms. Forward’s average capacity is about 2 tons per hour. The other advantage of these mobile platforms is their cost, which twice cheaper than foreign equipment – 300 thousand dollars.

During recent decades many countries in Europe opened huge biodiesel plants, using different primary materials. One of them is located in Spanish port Ferrol with a total capacity of 200 thousand tons of biodiesel fuels per year. It produces biodiesel from refined and unrefined vegetable oil, mainly soybean and canola oils. Giant biomass recycling plant was put in commission in Kalundborg city in Denmark. This facility performs several important tasks, which include recycling wheat straw, corn stalks and cobs, sugar bagasse and grass; usage of waste steam in biomass production and manufacturing lignin biofuel. Palm oil and rapeseed oil and animal fats are used in three biofuel plants in Rotterdam, which belong to Neste Oil Corp (Finland).  Their total capacity is 800 thousand tons of biodiesel annually.

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HIT Solar Cells

Cheaper Manufacturing for HIT Solar Cells

This is a guest post by Mathias Aarre Maehlum of  Energy Informative

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig, Germany, has been working on making the manufacturing of HIT solar cells cheaper by engineering an improved coating process.

Hetorjunction with Intrinsic Thin layer (HIT) solar cells are currently one of the most promising new technologies in the PV industry. They have consistently shown high performance in laboratory conditions – in some cases up to 23% – significantly higher than the majority solar modules on today`s market.

Fraunhofer IST`s new way of producing HIT solar cells includes hot wires instead of the plasma-CDV process, which allows for cheaper mass production. The plasma-CDV process is dependent on large quantities of silane gas to function. Somewhere of 85-90% is lost through the process and becomes waste, which of course brings costs up.

By using the hot wire method “we can use almost all of the silane gas, so we actually recover 85 to 90 percent of the costly gas. This reduces the overall manufacturing costs of the layers by over 50 percent. The price of the wire that we need for this process is negligible when compared to the price of the silane” states Dr. Lothar Schäfer, department head at Fraunhofer IST.

The generators that power the manufacturing system are also ten times less expensive in terms of energy consumption than those that power the plasma CDV-process.

Even though the technology seems to have significant advantages over convetional ways of producing solar cells, it is still nowhere near being released on the market. It will likely be another three to five years until Fraunhofer IST`s new technology will be used for large-scale manufacturing of solar panels.

For more information on the new technology, check out the official press release.

Tidal Power Then and Now

A while back I wrote a post on Tidal Barrages (https://lifekills.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/tidal-power-barrages-and-ebb-generation/). Here is another way to generate energy from tides.

Probably, everybody is aware of possibilities of energy production in case of extinction and depletion of fuel deposits.  The solution is found in renewable energy due to multiple opportunities provided by natural and environmental conditions. Tidal energy is the one secured by both cosmic gravitation of the Sun and the Moon, and oceanic spaces, of course. However, not all the regions on Earth can boast of favorable and promising tidal indicators. That is why it is better to feature on France and the English Channel as an area where tidal energy generation was organized for the first time and where the most powerful tidal station is going to be constructed this year.

It is interesting to know that the first registries of tidal energy usage are dated back to the 10th -11th centuries. There were lots of windmills and sawmills in England and France, which used tidal energy in industrial purposes. However, only one of these two states might be marked with erection of the first tidal energy system in the world. It was Rance Tidal Power Station, constructed on the estuary of Rance River (Brittany Peninsula) in 1966. Its capacity is pretty astonishing – 240 MW produced by 24 tidal generators, – which is preconditioned by comparatively high tides reaching 13,5 meters. The significance of Rance station is still of high value even nowadays, contributing 0,012% to energy demand in the country. Most of the power generated by the station is used during peak seasons (544 million kWh per year in total). However, high prices obstruct the enlargement of tidal energy industry. Speaking of energy production in France, nuclear power production keeps the lowest cost. In this case, the renovation of the Rance station is getting more appropriate and promising.

On the contrary, in 2012 Frenchmen might see the most powerful tidal project actualized. In particular, it is associated with the station near the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat in Brittany. The project was assigned to Irish company OpenHydro Group Ltd. and French company EDF, which already accomplished some magnificent and profitable projects on tidal energy in North America and the United Kingdom. Paimpol-Bréhat power station was designed in 2004 (estimated cost was 55 million dollars) and in 2008 the construction was started.

The basis of new tidal station is comprised of four large turbines with a weight of nearly 850 tones each. They are going to be established near the coast, attached to an anchor on the depth of 115 meters. The diameter of each turbine is 21, 5 meters. It is appropriate to note that tidal turbines have certain advantages in opposite to wind and solar cells, including invisibility under the water, quiet operation and less impact on environment. And, besides, a new station can provide energy for more than 4 thousand houses in the region of Paimpol-Bréhat.

Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

Eco-houses are on their way

 

Construction of environmentally friendly houses is a new trend in modern architecture, which benefits both to art and energy efficiency. Multiple definitions might be provided to enclose main purposes and peculiarities of such housebuilding, but the prime idea is finding a way to live in harmony with nature. To give some details, there are some requirements if to construct an eco-house.

Firstly, it should be made of local materials, which are low-cost in the context of production, processing, transportation methods and letting to apply the house building technology without heavy equipment. In this way, after accomplishment of exploit period the materials used might be utilized just on the site. Small financial expenses facilitate the availability of ecohouses to the majority of people. Secondly, energy efficiency systems contribute to living in a harmony with surrounding environment. In particular, they include solar panels embedded on the roofs, small wind turbines, geothermal power generators, etc. Thirdly, residence in ecohouses stipulates the engagement in essential biointensive technologies usage, which emphasizes processing and recycling of organic wastes and improvement of soil fertility. In the majority of cases it is associated with agricultural activity featuring cultivation of compost plants and organic farming. Ecohouse must ensure the accumulation of environmental resource area, on which it is built.

There are several magnificent examples of ecohouse building, which alert an attention by brave ideas and original construction. One of the recent advancements is observed in Peking, where this architect trend is performed not by single house, but the whole apartment complex. To be more précised, Linked Hybrid (the project name) is based on the geothermal power generators: the heating is provided by 660 geothermal springs located on the 100-meter depth. The entire complex consists of 8 linked buildings, maintaining 750 apartments, cinema, school, hotel, sport facilities and department stores. The total area is 220 thousand square meters. The other green technologies, embedded in Linked Hybrid Project, are recirculation of water and greenery on roofs. Hence, ecohouse building involves not only separate suburban houses, but the apartment complexes in the hearts of urban living nowadays.

It is also appropriate to name the best example of ecohouse construction in the world. Lumenhaus in the United States is a true reflection of scientific breakthrough and exquisite architect style. The achievements of Lumanhaus include low cost, simplicity and, of course, energy efficiency. The energy support of the building is ensured by 45 solar panels, implemented on the rooftop and along the perimeter (the total area is 72 square meters). The architect merits were estimated from the point of ergonomics: the house is opened and spacious enough to change a room configuration in correspondence to owner’s preference.

Notwithstanding architect art engagement, ecohouses appear to be systems with positive ecological resource. Therefore, their main value is in establishing a compromise with nature and further improvement of human-environment relationship.

This has been a guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

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