Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Peak Nuke Now

According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, the highest year of nuclear electric production was 2006.


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Wind Turbine Creates Fresh Water Out of Thin Air

Eole Water has designed a revolutionnary wind turbine, the WMS1000 which is able to create drinkable water only by using air. The turbine is fully self-sufficient, featuring the most eco-friendly water production system ever designed.


Alexander Dugin visits the LSE

Alexander Dugin visits the London School of Economics and discusses geopolitics, the Heartland, Mackinder, Carl Schmitt and the idea of Grossraum, Eurasianism, multipolar world, Russia as a civilisation rather than a national state. Dugin accepts the world model as presented in the Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington and rejects the idea of unipolar moment, globalism or US hegemony and defines the emerging model as post-modernist, post-positivist. Dugin rejects the idea that western values like democracy, human right, modernity, enlightenment, liberalism, etc., are universal. Rejection of the United Nations in its present form (‘Westphalian model‘). Alexander Dugin has close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Dugin speaks for 50 minutes, after that discussion with listeners.

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Bill Rees – Why We Are In Denial

Post Carbon Institute Fellow Bill Rees discusses cultural denial and how we could start adapting to our ecological challenges through a new cultural narrative. From the recent International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas.

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Richard Heinberg Counters Big Energy PR Hype

Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg explains how ‘Big Energy’ tries to mislead the American public through false claims about resources, technology and economic growth.

Toby Hemenway about Permaculture

Hemenway is a frequent teacher, consultant and lecturer on permaculture and ecological design throughout the U.S. and other countries. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Natural Home, Whole Earth Review and American Gardener. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Graduate Education at Portland State University, a Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and a biologist consultant for the Biomimicry Guild.

A Farm For The Future

BBC documentary from 2009 about the worldwide food- and agriculture-crisis, in cooperation with Martin Crawford (Agroforestry Research Trust), Fordhall Farm, Richard Heinberg and others.

Rebecca Hosking, a farmers daughter who became documentary-filmer, discusses the use of energy in farming, that will become critical in the coming years, without getting into panic. By showing examples in England she explores the possibilities, like environmental friendly agriculture that could change our lives. She chooses to return to the farm where she grew up in order to take it over from her father. But HOW is she going to farm?

[wikipedia – permaculture]
[Dutch subs]

Agri-cube produces 10,000 vegetables per year

Production and consumption of vegetables at the same location in a closed circuit environment. No need for water. Yearly operational cost: 4,500$, yielding 10,000 vegetables. Could be useful in urban environments, near restaurants, hospitals and community centers.

The Bakken Formation

People who reject the peak-oil theory, like to point at the potential for extracting large amounts of fossil fuels by means of new technologies, first and foremost hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Many point at the Bakken Formation on the US-Canadian border as one of the most promising territories. This post presents arguments pro and con.


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Tablet World

The tablet has the potential to combat the dire consequences of resource depletion and soften its effect. Microprocessors are underway that merely use 100 milliwatt. Touch screens are being designed that use zero energy as long as the screen content does not change (like the Amazon kindle). The potential for education for example is enormous. You only need to record the teachings of a high quality teacher once and distribute it nationwide via the network, eliminating needs for school buildings, school buses, school books. Local teachers can make sure that the knowledge has been absorbed by taking regular tests. Setting up an internet based network for tablet clients could make more sense than investing in road infrastructure for Africa or India.

[40$ HCL Sakshat Tablet for the Indian market]
[TED repository as an example of a large inventory of free educational material]

[An iPad costs $1.36 on electricity/year]
[iPad energy stats]

An iPad2 uses 3 W idle with screen on and WIFI and 0.4 W in standby mode with screen switched off.
An iPad3 running apps with heave computing demand consumes 10 W.

ARM Cortex A7 100 milliwatt microprocessor

ARM produced an energy efficient microprocessor that promises smartphone price reduction from 500$ to 100$ due to chip size reduction of factor five. The chip is intended to be used in cheaper smartphones and tablets.

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Animation of Hydraulic Fracturing

[What Is Fracking? This Animation Is The Best Guide We’ve Seen Yet]

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World’s First Floating Windturbine

Animation of the world’s first floating wind turbine that was towed out into the North Sea in 2009. The 2.3MW Hywind was built by Siemens and is now on stream, according to owners Statoil. By 2011 they plan to build a 10MW floating turbine 533 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 475 feet.


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Siemens 6 MW No-Gear Windturbine

Reducing the complexity of windpower by eliminating the nead for a (heavy) gearbox, simplifying maintence. According to Siemens this is the way windturbines will be like in the future.

[Wind turbine with the world’s largest rotor goes into operation]

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Wind-Coal Break-even in India

The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India (like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh) for the first time as improved turbine technology and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its competitiveness, Greenko Group Plc said. The current cost to build wind farms in India is about $1.25 million a megawatt.


Airborne Wind Turbines

First public video of the 35-foot-wide Airborne Wind Turbine. The scale prototype harnessed strong winds up to 350 feet high to produce over twice the power of traditional wind turbines.

The prototype was tested in Limestone Maine by Altaeros Energies, a wind energy company formed out of MIT. The Airborne Wind Turbine uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to ascend to higher altitudes where winds are more consistent and over five times stronger than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. The automated lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of passenger blimps that for decades have lifted heavy communications and radar equipment into the air for long periods of time. Altaeros is developing its first product to reduce energy costs by up to 65 percent by displacing expensive fuel used to power diesel generators at remote industrial, military, and village sites.


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Epic Ethanol Breakthrough?

Michigan State University researchers came up with a biofuel rocess that produces 20 times more energy than existing methods. If these promises materialize the breakthrough could be best described as epic. In essence microbes produce biofuel and hydrogen, based on agricultural waste feedstock.


Solar Champs in 2011

Germany (7.5 GW), Italy, China (2 GW) and the US (1.8 GW).


Price Development Solar Panels in Germany

Between 2006 and 2011 prices for solar panels more than halved.
We are reminded of the price decay of personal computers.


Germany 2012 H1 – 26% Electricity from Renewables

During the first half of 2012, the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity supply has risen significantly in Germany, rising to a sensational 25.97%. That’s a massive increase compared to 20.56%, the percentage during the same period in 2011, and 18.3% in H1 2010.

Breakdown of that 26%:
1. Wind power with a share of 9.2% (+19.5%)
2. Biomass with a share of 5.7% (+7.5%)
3. PV-Solar with a share of 5.3% (+47%)
4. Hydropower with 4.0% (+25%)
5. Other Renewables 0.9% (+10%)


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