Archive | Electricity

U.K. Begins Geothermal Effort

REDRUTH, England, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Britain could soon have its first operating commercial geothermal plant after exploratory drilling was authorized in Cornwall, officials said.

Engineers will begin drilling a 2.8-mile-deep borehole early next year at a site near Redruth, England, The Guardian reported this week.

It is the first project in an emerging geothermal power sector in the United Kingdom, where the government hopes the technology could provide between 1 and 5 gigawatts of renewable electricity by 2030, the British newspaper said.

Geothermal energy involves pumping water up to 3 miles underground where it is heated by naturally occurring hot rocks before being pumped back up to the surface to either be converted into electricity or used as a source of renewable heat.

Unlike wind power, geothermal can operate steadily 24 hours a day.

Cornwall is expected to prove the best site for geothermal power, as research in the 1970s and ’80s found significant opportunities within the county’s granite bedrock, The Guardian said.

If successful in its exploratory drilling, the Redruth project would produce 10 megawatts of electricity and 55 megawatts of renewable heat for the local community.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Geothermal, Other0 Comments

Australia Looks to Ocean Waves for Energy

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Researchers say ocean waves off the southern coast of Australia have the potential to generate as much as half of the country’s current electricity needs.

Interest is growing in wave energy as a viable source of renewable electricity generation as the world faces dwindling fossil fuels supplies, an American Institute of Physics release said Monday.

Wave-energy developers, however, face the problem that all previous estimates of wave-energy potential were based on data from deep ocean waters, while “wave-energy generation systems are typically positioned near to shore,” Australian physical oceanographer Mark Hemer says.

In a journal article, Hemer and his colleagues have made new estimates of the wave-energy potential of Australia’s southern near-shore regions, and have calculated what percentage of the country’s energy needs could be supplied by wave energy alone.

Hemer says if 10 percent of the near-shore wave energy available along Australia’s Southern coastline could be converted into electricity, it could meet half of the country’s present-day annual electricity consumption of 130,000 gigawatt-hours.

Wave energy offers a “massive resource” to contribute to the Australian Government’s aim of producing 45,000 gigawatt-hours a year of additional renewable energy before 2020, Hemer said.

“Convert 10 percent of available wave energy from a 1000-km stretch in this area to electricity, ” Hemer says, and “the quota could be achieved by wave energy alone.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumption, Electricity, Other0 Comments

Method Proposed for Power Demand 'spikes'

LEEDS, England, Aug. 11 (UPI) — British and Chinese researchers say they’ve found a way to deal with sudden peak demands for electricity that could cut fuel costs in half.

Scientists at the University of Leeds and the Chinese Academy of Sciences looked at ways to cope with demands on a national power grid that can vary widely at different times of the day, a Leeds university release said Wednesday.

Power demands usually peak in the early evening after the mass exodus toward home from school and work, and short-lived spikes in demand are common after televised sports events or during commercial breaks, the release said.

Energy companies typically deal with the demand spikes with electricity from power plants that are only switched on to cope with the peaks. But the gas-fired generators often used to feed these peaks are notoriously inefficient and expensive to run, and sit idle for long periods of time, researchers say.

University of Leeds Professor of Engineering Yulong Ding and colleagues propose a more environmentally friendly system that would store excess energy made by a plant supplying the “base” demand and use this to supply the “peaks” in demand as and when they happen.

The key idea would be to use excess energy — not needed during “base” demand times — to power a unit producing liquid nitrogen. At times of peak demand, the nitrogen would be boiled, using heat from the environment and waste heat from the power plant, to drive a turbine or engine generating “top up” electricity to deal with demand spikes.

“On paper, the efficiency savings are considerable. We now need to test the system in practice,” Ding said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Engineering, Other0 Comments

Africa Cellphone Benefits Need Support

DALLAS, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The explosive growth of cellphone use in Africa isn’t enough to drive the continent’s economic growth without accompanying infrastructure, economic experts say.

Researchers at Southern Methodist University say that while there is evidence of positive short-term impacts, so far there’s limited evidence mobile phones have led to large-scale improvements in African countries, a university release says.

Cellphones can do only so much, the researchers say, as long as many Africans still struggle in poverty and still lack reliable electricity, clean drinking water, education or access to roads.

“It’s really great for a farmer to find out the price of beans in the market,” said SMU economist Isaac Mbiti, who has seen the impact of the cellphone boom firsthand in his native Kenya.

“But if a farmer can’t get the beans to market because there is no road, the information doesn’t really help. Cellphones can’t replace things you need from development, like roads and running water.”

Mobile phone coverage has jumped from 10 percent of the population in 1999 to 60 percent in 2008 despite the extreme poverty of many Africans, Mbiti’s research found.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Education, Electricity, Infrastructure, Other0 Comments

Canada Looks to Utilize Wind Energy

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, Aug. 6 (UPI) — Energy companies in Canada’s Maritime Provinces say they are studying ways for their customers to help them utilize wind energy more efficiently.

Wind power is environmentally friendly but unpredictable compared to carbon-fueled sources of electricity, which are always available as needed, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.

A $32 million Power Shift Atlantic project hopes to recruit consumers to help solve the problem by developing ways to use wind-generated power whenever it is available.

“So what we’re looking at is being able to manipulate customer usage, whether it be refrigeration, or air conditioning or process-related,” said John Gaudet of Prince Edward Island’s Maritime Electric.

“So like if the wind blows in the middle of the night, potentially processes could be operated in the middle of the night,”, he said.

Power Shift Atlantic wants 2,000 commercial and residential customers to take part in the pilot project.

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick are studying wind patterns in the region to determine peak wind-generation times, so customers will be able to plan their power usage.

The project is also looking at systems that will provide power with minimum inconvenience to the customer.

“Can we control customer apparatus at these times so we can turn them on, use that electricity, and turn them off when the wind isn’t blowing, all without the need to consult or inform or contact the customer?” Gaudet said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other, Wind0 Comments

Hawaii is Ideal for Ocean Energy Plant

HONOLULU, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Researchers in Hawaii say the islands may be an ideal spot for future ocean-based energy plants using seawater to produce sustained amounts of renewable energy.

A technology called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion uses seawater to drive massive heat engines, an article in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy says.

In an OTEC system, a heat engine is placed between warm water from the ocean’s surface and cold water pumped from the deep ocean. Heat flowing from the warm water reservoir to the cool one drives the heat engine to spin a turbine and generate electricity, the article says.

The technology is almost 50 years old but cannot compete with the relatively low cost of fossil fuel energy.

An OTEC plant would be the most cost-competitive in places on Earth where ocean temperature differentials are the greatest — which includes the western sides of the Hawaiian Islands, a University of Hawaii researcher says.

An OTEC plant in this location could produce up to 15 percent more power than in other locations, Gerard Nihous says.

Such an improvement could help overcome one of the biggest hurdles to bringing the technology to the mainstream, he says.

“Testing that was done in the 1980s clearly demonstrates the feasibility of this technology,” Nihous says. “Now it’s just a matter of paying for it.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other0 Comments

College to Be First 'grid Positive'

OROVILLE, Calif., Aug. 4 (UPI) — A California college says it is set to become the nation’s only grid-positive college, producing more energy from its own on-site solar power than it uses.

Butte College in Oroville, Calif., will add 15,000 solar panels to its existing 10,000 by May 2011 to become the largest solar-producing college in the world, a college release said Wednesday.

“Once this solar project is completed, Butte College will provide enough clean renewable energy to cover all of our electricity needs and generate slightly more than we use — which will be a source of additional revenue for the college,” Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College President, said.

The school’s solar panels will generate more than 6.3 million kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power more than 9.200 average-sized homes, the release said.

The 15,000 new solar panels will be placed atop rooftops and will create covered parking areas and walkways.

The project will cost $17 million, with $12.65 million coming from federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which are low-interest loans that can be used for clean energy projects.

The college will fund the remainder, up to $4.35 million.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other, Solar0 Comments

College to Be First 'grid Positive'

OROVILLE, Calif., Aug. 4 (UPI) — A California college says it is set to become the nation’s only grid-positive college, producing more energy from its own on-site solar power than it uses.

Butte College in Oroville, Calif., will add 15.000 solar panels to its existing 10,000 by May 2011 to become the largest solar-producing college in the world, a college release said Wednesday.

“Once this solar project is completed, Butte College will provide enough clean renewable energy to cover all of our electricity needs and generate slightly more than we use — which will be a source of additional revenue for the college,” Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College President, said.

The school’s solar panels will generate more than 6.3 million kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power more than 9.200 average-sized homes, the release said.

The 15,000 new solar panels will be placed atop rooftops and will create covered parking areas and walkways.

The project will cost $17 million, with $12.65 million coming from federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which are low-interest loans that can be used for clean energy projects.

The college will fund the remainder, up to $4.35 million.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other, Solar0 Comments

Researchers Report Solar Energy Advance

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 2 (UPI) — Scientists say a new process utilizing both the light and heat of solar radiation could double the efficiency of electricity-generating solar panels.

Stanford University researchers say the technology, called “photon enhanced thermionic emission,” could lower the costs of solar energy production to the point where it is competitive with oil as an energy source, a university release said Monday.

Unlike current solar panels, which become less efficient as temperatures rise, panels using the PETE process excel at higher temperatures, the release said.

“This is really a conceptual breakthrough, a new energy conversion process, not just a new material or a slightly different tweak,” Stanford Professor Nick Melosh said. “It is actually something fundamentally different about how you can harvest energy.”

Such devices could be made with cheap and easily available materials, the release said.

Melosh’s team found that coating a piece of semiconducting material with a thin layer of the metal cesium produced a material able to use both light and heat to generate electricity.

“The PETE process could really give the feasibility of solar power a big boost,” Melosh said. “Even if we don’t achieve perfect efficiency, let’s say we give a 10 percent boost to the efficiency of solar conversion, going from 20 percent efficiency to 30 percent — that is still a 50 percent increase overall.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other, Radiation, Solar0 Comments

U.S. Researchers Claim Solar Enegy Advance

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 2 (UPI) — Scientists say a new process utilizing both the light and heat of solar radiation could double the efficiency of electricity-generating solar panels.

Stanford University researchers say the technology, called “photon enhanced thermionic emission,” could lower the costs of solar energy production to the point where it is competitive with oil as an energy source, a university release said Monday.

Unlike current solar panels, which become less efficient as temperatures, panels using the PETE process excel at higher temperatures, the release said.

“This is really a conceptual breakthrough, a new energy conversion process, not just a new material or a slightly different tweak,” Stanford Professor Nick Melosh said. “It is actually something fundamentally different about how you can harvest energy.”

Such devices could be made with cheap and easily available materials, the release said.

Melosh’s team found that coating a piece of semiconducting material with a thin layer of the metal cesium produced a material able to use both light and heat to generate electricity.

“The PETE process could really give the feasibility of solar power a big boost,” Melosh said. “Even if we don’t achieve perfect efficiency, let’s say we give a 10 percent boost to the efficiency of solar conversion, going from 20 percent efficiency to 30 percent; that is still a 50 percent increase overall.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electricity, Other, Radiation, Solar0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement