Archive | Renewable energy

Solar Wind Energy Tower may be built near Mexico border. I’m skeptical


The Solar Wind Energy Tower, promoters say, can produce power 24/7 in hot dry areas using recycled water. Pumps spray water at the top of a ginormous 1,200 foot diameter, 2,250 ft tall tower. Hot, dry air evaporates the water. The air inside the tower becomes cooler and heavier than outside air, creating wind speeds up to 50 mph, which then powers multiple turbines. San Luis, Arizona has just approved construction of a $1.5 billion structure.

Can this be built? Will the company find financing and pass regulatory and NIMBY hurdles? We shall see. Those commenting in an article by The Atlantic are openly skeptical, especially since the technology has not been proven at scale. And, um, what happens when birds get sucked into the turbines?

So, in this tower the moist air is heavier than the dry air? When did they learn to do that? Moist air used to be less dense where the airplanes fly.

I find it hard to believe people are falling for this.

“When water vapor content increases in the moist air the amount of Oxygen and Nitrogen decreases per unit volume and the density decreases because the mass is decreasing.”

The farce is strong with this one

From the company:

Solar Wind Energy’s Tower is unique in that it does not have any operational limitations in terms of time. It’s capable of operating around the clock, 24 hours per day, and seven days per week. Whereas there are operational limitations with solar collectors that work only when the sun shines, and with wind turbines that work only when the wind blows.

It also has the ability to be operated with virtually no carbon footprint, fuel consumption, or waste production. It generates clean, cost effective and efficient electrical power without damaging effects.

Posted in Renewable energy, Solar power, Wind turbines

Smart house by UC Davis / Honda


Treehugger has detailed specs, photos, and videos of this innovative smart house. It has passive solar, complex heat pumps, LED lighting, solar power, software that controls power coming in from and out to the grid, and an electric car.

This is where the idea of the smart house makes sense for the average homeowner and builder. Who cares if your fridge is talking to your washing machine; what matters is that your house is talking to your car and working together with it to make them both net zero energy and net zero carbon, dealing with our two biggest sources of CO2, the house and the car.


Posted in Renewable energy, Solar power

Build Tesla factory at Salton Sea to use lithium from recycled brine


The inland, saline Salton Sea in California is in desperate condition, filled with dead fish and toxins for agricultural runoffs. If Tesla built their planned battery manufacturing gigafactory there, they could extract lithium from the brine to use in the batteries. Plus, they could create much of their own power from wind and solar. The factory would create 6,000 jobs in an area that really needs them. It’s a bit of a longshot as there is plenty of competition from other areas.

Let’s hope it happens. A big manufacturing plant would revitalize the area, create lots of subsidiary businesses, and help efforts to save the Salton Sea.

Posted in Renewable energy

Solar bridge in London now operational, Blackfriar’s Bridge


Blackfriar’s Bridge in London, part of a railway station, now has 4,400 solar PV panels and generates 50% of power needed for the station. It is the largest solar bridge in the world. Construction was a bit tricky, as the panels were installed atop an aging Victorian era bridge while trains ran underneath. Solar PV, clearly, can work anywhere, not just in baking deserts.

During the renovations, the railway station was also fitted with other energy saving measures such as a rain harvesting system and sun pipes that will provide natural lighting throughout the building.

Posted in Renewable energy, Solar power

US kills IPPC climate change proposal to help poor nations

Photo: Gruenenrw on Flickr

Photo: Gruenenrw on Flickr

US hypocrisy over climate change is nauseating. Our government bleats sanctimoniously about stopping global warming then kills calls for funding poor nations in the IPPC report. Poor nations are the biggest victims of climate change yet the least responsible. The World Bank estimates helping poor nations deal with global warming will require $100 billion a year. The IPPC report mention this in all versions except the final version.

The need for $100 billion in crisis funds to aid poor nations was removed from the 48-page Summary, the only document that will be read outside the scientific community.

The U.S. led the push to remove the statement.

Thus, we have gasbags like Secretary of State John Kerry babbling about how we must stop climate change while he and his ultra-wealthy ilk work secretly to make sure it never happens. As Secretary of State it is inconceivable Kerry wasn’t responsible for removing the IPPC statement.

Your three take-aways from this material should be:

1. There will never be international cooperation, because the rich will never pay a dime to offset anyone’s cost to deal with this crisis.

2. Any nation can embark on a Zero Carbon energy economy the minute it wants to.

3. The rich will have to be moved aside to solve the climate crisis. And by that I mean forcefully.

Posted in Climate change, Renewable energy

Dissent within IPPC over alarmist conclusions in coming report


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is facing internal dissension over whether their upcoming update, the first in seven years, is too alarmist. Some IPCC scientists say the challenges of climate change will be manageable, not apocalyptic, and want the report to reflect that. It’s important to note these criticisms are coming from scientists in IPCC and not from climate change deniers.

“The message in the first draft was that through adaptation and clever development these were manageable risks, but it did require we get our act together,” he told BBC News.

“This has completely disappeared from the draft now, which is all about the impacts of climate change and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is a missed opportunity.”

Posted in Climate change, Renewable energy

Water-based heat pump in Thames to provide hot water to homes, hotel


A next-gen heat pump powered by warmer water two meters down in the Thames is fed through filters and heat exchangers, raising its temperatures from 50 F to 113F, suitable for hot water. This is a first. Until now heat pumps were not able to generate hot water. The pumps used a small amount of solar-power electricity, making it essentially carbon-neutral.

This is at a really early stage, but it is showing what is possible. You never have to buy any gas – there are upfront costs but relatively low running costs.”

The government plans to map the entire UK looking for other suitable locations. Deeper water in the Thames stays at 45-50 F year round, making the heat pump feasible.

Posted in Renewable energy

Buoyant Airborne Turbine to be tested in Alaska

BAT taking off

BAT taking off

Wind speeds at 1,000 feet are 5-8x stronger than on the ground. Altaeros will test their Buoyant Airborne Turbine for 18 months in Fairbanks AK at 1,000 feet. If successful, BAT could provide power for disaster relief, remote areas, military operations, and more. It produces power at 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, much more than land turbines. However, it provides power when other technologies can’t and is an alternative to noisy, polluting diesel generators.

The Alaska project will deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000 feet above ground, a height that will break the world record for the highest wind turbine in the world. Altaeros has designed the BAT to generate consistent, low cost energy for the remote power and microgrid market, including remote and island communities; oil & gas, mining, agriculture, and telecommunication firms; disaster relief organizations; and military bases. The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground.

Posted in Renewable energy

NASA did not say civilization will end soon due to climate change


A widely circulated headline from Policymic says a NASA study concludes we are doomed. The headline is misleading. The report was a NASA-funded study written by Safa Motesharrei, an applied mathematician at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. I bet you never heard of them or him. There’s a good reason for that. SESYNC, a small think tank, has been in existence for just 18 months. Motesharrei, according to SESYNC, is a graduate research assistant. And I can not find his article on their own website.

Look at the screenshot. Motesharrei is reading a book by es-NASA head James Hansen who, most would agree, is an extreme believer in the we’re-all-doomed theory of climate change. How cozy is that?

The real problem here is such gloomy predictions are counterproductive. If you want to rally people to join your cause, you must give them hope. If instead, you say civilization will end soon, they will probably just give up.

Posted in Renewable energy

Ivanpah solar thermal plant blinding pilots, scorching birds



The recently opened, ginormous Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California near Primm NV is a hazard, says airplane pilots. Ivanpah uses huge mirrors to reflect heat from the sun to a central tower to power turbines. The glare is so pronounced that pilots say it was hugely distracting, even blinding.

“Daily, during the late morning and early afternoon hours we get complaints from pilots of aircraft flying from the northeast to the southwest about the brightness of this solar farm,” reported an air traffic controller at a FAA center that monitors the airspace in southern California. A pilot of a commercial jetliner told him the light reflected from the Ivanpah mirrors “was nearly blinding.”

In addition, birds have been killed by having their feathers burned off.

Of 34 birds reported dead or injured at Ivanpah in September, 15 had melted feathers. Dozens of other bird carcasses, not singed but with critical injuries, have been found in recent months at two solar projects about to go online on public land between Joshua Tree National Park and Blythe, Calif.,

Regulatory authorities have been curiously slow in reporting this, much less taking action.

Posted in Renewable energy, Solar power


Bob Morris


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