Thursday, May 22, 2014

A David and Goliath Fight to Tap World-class Solar

What if Roads Were Made of Solar PV Panels?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eight Simple Ways Business can Save Energy - 22 Nov 2013 - Industry Voice: a blog from BusinessGreen.

Saving money should be as important as making profit for every business all over the world, but unfortunately it is something that is neglected all too often.
However, reducing the energy they use does not have to be difficult or expensive. Read on as the energy efficiency experts at SolarTech offer eight simple ways your company can save money.
Unplug all chargers
Most chargers, be they for phones or laptops, consume a small amount of energy even they not plugged into the device. They are just some of the various electricals that are known as 'vampire' appliances - named as such due to the energy they feed on when not in use.
A good way to tell if a device is using power is to feel it for warmth, while they will often be identifiable by a small light as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

13-year-old inventor cracks the secret of trees to revolutionize solar energy
A 13-year-old boy named Aidan Dwyer has an idea that can vastly improve solar energy technology. His idea is so revolutionary that it might make flat panel solar designs extinct.
Aidan discovered a spiral mathematical formula in trees based on the Fibonacci sequence. When he recognized this design in the placement of tree branches, he began applying the secret knowledge to solar panel designs. His discovery could maximize solar panel sunlight collection in new, efficient ways.


On a winter hiking trip, Aidan noticed something unique about tree branches. After collecting photographs of various trees, he began to see a pattern among the random display of branches and leaves. Aidan realized that the overall branch pattern of trees resembled a spiral. Furthermore, he found a mathematical pattern behind the spiral of branches. To investigate further, he began building test models.


Upon investigating, Aidan discovered a pattern based on a number sequence invented by medieval mathematician Fibonacci. Fibonacci discovered a pattern when experimenting with a math puzzle. Through solving a problem about the rate at which rabbits reproduce over time, Fibonacci invented a sequence of numbers. Fibonacci invented a mathematical pattern, starting with zero and one. By adding two numbers to the series together, the new sum became the next number in the sequence. This sequence starts out with the numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and 21.
This Fibonacci sequence and its ratios appear in nature, in many forms of life. According to Aidan, examples of this pattern can be found in the seeds of a sunflower, systems of the human body and even galaxies in space.
Aidan found that tree trunks contain similar patterns based on the Fibonacci sequence.
According to Aidan, “Tree branches follow a Fibonacci formula.” He reports that, in an oak tree, branches are arranged in a two to five sequence. “Five branches spiral around the trunk two times to reach the same starting point on the trunk,” he reports.
Shankar Sharma
Shankar SharmaShankar Sharma is a Power Policy Analyst based in Thirthahally, Karnataka. He can be contacted at shankar.sharma2005 @
A version of this paper was submitted at the people’s hearing on nuclear power policy at New Delhi on 22.8.2012
The debate as to whether nuclear power is a safe, suitable and essential option for India has been going on for many decades. While the proponents of the nuclear power have been offering many arguments in favour of the option, there have been any numbers of issues raised by those who consider it to be not a credible solution to meet the legitimate electricity requirements of our society on a sustainable basis. Whereas such a debate has been going on in other countries also, a densely populated and poor country like India should consider the nuclear option from the perspective of overall welfare of its communities.
Overarching principles on societal welfare
While the contentious issues on safety, sustainability and economics of nuclear power may not be settled in the near future there is an urgent need to look at nuclear power from the perspective of Precautionary Principle as adopted by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), and as per the spirit of our Constitution. The Precautionary Principle is an approach to uncertainty, and provides for action to avoid serious or irreversible environmental harm in advance of scientific certainty of such harm. According to this principle, those activities which are likely to pose significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that the expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature, and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed. Since the economic costs and risks associated with nuclear power to our society is not negligible, since many implications/consequences of a nuclear accident are not known yet, and since the total cost to the society of safeguarding the spent nuclear fuel for hundreds of years is not known, the basic need for additional nuclear power capacity can be and must be analysed objectively.
Major issues for the society with Nuclear power technology
Economic Issues
Demands large tracts of forests and fertile land; huge capital and decommissioning costs; long term waste management costs; serious shortages of nuclear fuels in India; impact on food availability subsequent to accidents; true costs to society can be huge; massive costs to society subsequent to an accident
Social Issues
Peoples’ displacement and health; long term health implications; concerns in birth and genetic deformities; inter generational implications of nuclear waste;
Mining related pollution; radiation emission during operation and from nuclear wastes for centuries ; radiation contamination of air, water and land; contamination of food products
In the overall context of the societal welfare some fundamental questions need to be raised. The primary objective of a nuclear power station is the production of electricity. There are many benign ways of producing the electricity. Has our society harnessed all the benign alternatives available for us to the maximum extent?  What is the efficiency of the usage of the existing electricity infrastructure in the country?  Is there a scope for meeting all the legitimate demand for electricity of our society by a combination of these benign alternatives?  Can an objective analysis of Costs V/S Benefits of a nuclear power project as compared to these benign options prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is in the best interest of our society?
Also, since the declared objective of nuclear power policy in the country is to meet the electricity demand of our communities, a dispassionate analysis of the very need for nuclear power and suitable alternatives in Indian context has become urgent. As of 30 June 2012 the nuclear power capacity in the country was 4,780 MW out of the total power capacity of 2,05,340 MW. Whereas this small percentage (2.32%) of nuclear power has been less than 5% of the total installed power capacity for decades, the time has come to rationally view the role of such a small percentage in the overall context of the power sector.
CEA data reveals that for the year 2011-12 the electrical energy demand was 936,568 MU, whereas the demand met was 857,239 MU, which meant a short fall of 8.5%. Similarly, for this period the peak power demand was 130,250 MW and the demand met was 115,847 MW with resultant shortfall of 11%. The contribution of nuclear power during this period was 32,287 MU (3.4% of the total). Assuming 80% PLF and 10% auxiliary consumption the maximum power output by nuclear power sector during the peak demand period could be about 3,440 MW, though it could be much less if one or more reactors were not operating at that time. This works out to about 3% of the total power met during peak demand period.
With such a low share of electricity produced how critical has been the nuclear power to our society?
Between 2006-07 and 2011-12 the capacity utilisation factor of the nuclear power plants around the country has varied between 50% and 71% of the installed capacity, as per NPCIL website data. RAPS units 1 & 2 have been de-rated to 100 MW and 200 MW respectively as compared to original designed capacity of 220 MW each.
Nuclear power authorities had promised a much larger share of nuclear power in the country. Dr. Homi J Bhabha had announced that there would be 8,000 MW of nuclear power in the country by 1980. By 1962, the prediction went upto 20,000 – 25,000 MW by 1987, and by 1969 the AEC predicted that by 2000 there would be 43,500 MW of nuclear generating capacity.
The reality has been quite different. Installed nuclear power capacity was only 4,780 MW in mid-2012. The difficulties faced by the nuclear power sector in meeting its own capacity addition target since independence has to be kept in proper perspective before we plan for additional power plants. There have also been issues with the reliable supply of nuclear fuel. The Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) has estimated that the Uranium reserve in the country can support only about 10,000 MW of nuclear power capacity. If the country were to rely on import of nuclear fuel and technology, the energy security becomes a major issue.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

director, Rutgers Undergraduate Meteorology Program

Nuclear Energy Is Not a Solution for Global Warming

There have been several recent calls from people and organizations concerned about global warming to use nuclear electricity generation as part of the solution. This includes The New York Times, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change), and a group of leading climate scientists, James Hansen, Tom Wigley, Ken Caldeira, and Kerry Emanuel.
Don't get me wrong. Global warming is real, it is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, it is bad (as described in detail by the new National Climate Assessment), and we have to do something about it. But solar and wind power, combined with increased efficiency and conservation, can do the trick. Elimination ofexorbitant government subsidies to the nuclear and fossil fuel industries, and a gradually increasing carbon taxfee and dividend, or a cap and trade system like the one that worked to tame acid rain, will push us to do the right thing.
More than 99 percent of the current 437 nuclear power systems in the world use highly enriched uranium to produce heat and boil water, which drives turbines. Plutonium and many other highly radioactive elements are waste products. The benefits of nuclear power include minimal emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, and a fairly reliable continuous source of electricity.
But nuclear power presents many downsides. These include:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Boston Scientists Develop New Probiotic Supplement to Manage Weight | How Life Works

(Boston) – Healthcare experts continue to regard probiotics as one of the most powerful tools in the management of everything from constipation and bloating to diarrhea and skin health.
Historically, yogurt has been a primary source of probiotics, but yogurt products loaded with sugar have their own health implications for the tens of millions of Americans who are trying to lose weight. Sales of the healthier Greek-style yogurt were up 50% in 2012, showing that Americans are looking for healthier probiotic options. Unfortunately, even most Greek yogurt is loaded with sugar and calories.
So, how is the weight-conscious American supposed to get their probiotics?
Luckily for the millions of Americans trying to lose weight and improve their digestive health, Boston researchers recently developed a breakthrough probiotic supplement that actually assists in weight loss. ProbioSlim, the groundbreaking new probiotic supplement, utilizes the LS3664 compound, which not only helps you lose weight, but also has all of the digestive benefits that probiotics are traditionally known for, as well.

The Time for Wind and Solar Energy Is Now

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The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report, which explores ways to cut carbon emissions, put the world on notice. Despite efforts in the United States, Europe and developing countries such as China to ramp up energy efficiency and renewable energy, global carbon emissions have been increasing at a much faster clip than they were just a few decades ago. To avoid the worst of the worst, IPCC scientists say emissions will have to be reduced 40 percent to 70 percent by 2050 and warn that we only have a 15-year window to reverse course.
"We cannot afford to lose another decade," said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who co-chaired the committee that wrote the report. "If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization."
As Edenhofer points out, the cost of doing nothing likely would dwarf whatever we might spend today to address climate change. That said, it makes the most sense to replace fossil fuels with the most cost-effective, safest, carbon-free and low-carbon options that can be deployed as quickly as possible.
For the biggest source of U.S. carbon pollution -- electric utilities -- the best solution is wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies, which, according to the new IPCC report, "have achieved a level of technical and economic maturity to enable deployment at a significant scale." In other words, renewables are now a lot cheaper and better than they were when the last IPCC report came out seven years ago.
Nuclear Not Economic
What about nuclear power? Although it now provides the most carbon-free electricity in the country, without a national carbon tax or cap-and-trade program, it's not economic, even with more than 50 years of generous federal subsidies.

The Lighted Path to Solar Power and Electrical Energy Dominance

By the year 2052, we may see the fall of fossil fuel-based energy and its megacorporations in accordance with the rise of renewable energy, producing a significant portion of our electrical energy with solar power.
By William W. Behrens 
May 7, 2014

By 2052, the control of the energy economy by a very few large megacorporations, a characteristic of the fossil-fuel age, will be over. Solar power generation will be as close to the consumers as possible, sustainable, and stable for decades, freely exchanged at real-time market prices through the interconnection of micro-grids and national grids.
Photo by Fotolia/umbertoleporini

The voting outcome of Ohio's Issue 2 is seen as a win for industrial agriculture.
What will our future on earth look like? In 2052, (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012) Jorgen Randers tries to predict what the world will actually be like in forty years, based on global forecasting tools, his own experience in sustainability and predictions of leading scientific and sustainable minds. The following excerpt, from William W. Behrens, explains the predicted shift from the current dependency on fossil-based energy to the dominance of solar power and electrical energy in 2052.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years.

Bright Solar Future

Between now and 2052, the world of energy will evolve more positively than many other aspects of human culture. And in that world, electrical energy will stand out, not just for replacing fuel energy in all sectors of the United States and the world, but also for doing it much more quickly than expected. The reason for this is simple: electrical energy will be produced with much less capital intensity than fuel energy.
Already, all fossil-based energy production requires heavy capital infrastructure. As the quality and quantity of fuel resources decline, the capital required to extract a gallon of fuel will increase dramatically (witness the intensity of capital required to develop the tar sands reserves). Yet, eventually, suppliers worldwide will be able to produce electricity with relatively small and modular hardware. As this trend develops, both transportation and space conditioning will turn toward increasingly efficient electricity-based hardware. By 2040, in the United States, electricity-supported transportation systems will be common in densely populated areas, and many homes and businesses will have been converted to air- and water-sourced heat pumps that operate on electricity from renewable sources, and will no longer rely on fuel-based boilers. The primary renewable electrical energy source will be solar.

The Rise of PV and Decentralized Energy

From 2012 to 2022, centralized utilities and corporations will still control the means of electricity production and will develop large-scale renewable energy plants to meet an increasing fraction of the electricity load. These plants will utilize all forms of renewable energy—whether produced by large-scale wind farms, photovoltaic (PV) farms, very large solar-thermal turbines, or even ocean energy. But as the second decade dawns, three influences will combine to create a rapid shift away from centralized electricity production and toward distributed production by micro-grids.
One driver will be political. In the United States, democratic political institutions will finally recognize the stranglehold that fossil-energy companies exert on public decision making. After public and governmental backlash, lawmakers will enact legislation that levels the playing field, removing the financial and regulatory advantages currently extended to these huge players. The government will require fossil fuels to carry their full cost of production, including their waste stream, and will redirect the resulting revenues into balancing the government budgets (a necessary response to the economic collapses of the United States in the 2010s).

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Human Global Warming: What Are the Main Causes? (via Planetsave)

  To understand how humans cause global warming, it is important that you are aware of the link between your daily activities and the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, once you understand this, it is easy to see that you have the power to help stop global…

Global Warming Effects and Causes: A Top 10 List (via Planetsave)

One of the biggest issues facing us right now is global warming. Its effects on animals and on agriculture are indeed frightening, and the effects on the human population are even scarier. The facts about global warming are often debated in politics…

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Microgrids — Benefits For Reliability & Renewables (via Clean Technica)

Originally published on ABB Conversations.By William Galton Microgrids offer advantages for reliability and bringing more renewables onto the grid. 1. What are the benefits of integrating renewable energy with microgrids? The obvious first benefit…