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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #61
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^^^^
Interesting read Gordguide, thanks....never knew about this before!
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #62
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Yeah incredible story.....sort akin to building the Blackbird with slide rulers but THIS was one guy.

There was some talk of an orbital capable "gun" based on his designs for payloads that could withstand high gee acceleration.



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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 04:28 PM   #63
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One of the great criticisms of electric vehicles is the power they rely on often comes from fossil fuels, leading critics to question how "green" they are. A British firm has a solution for that a carport topped with photovoltaic cells that can charge an EV.
Specialty glass and plastic manufacturer Romag says the PowerPark is just the thing for parking lots where electric vehicles may one day compete for spots to plug in. The first PowerPark was installed at the company's headquarters, and Romag says additional installations are planned around the United Kingdom.
"Interest has been received from supermarket chains, schools, airports, train stations, hospitals [and] commercial office buildings in the U.K., Middle East and Far East," Kevin Webster, the company's technical director, told Wired.com. "The U.S. would be an excellent market for the canopy."
About 70 percent of the electricity generated in the United States comes from fossil fuels, according to the Energy Information Agency. Still, the Electric Power Research Institute says shows plug-ins and EVs could cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 450 million metric tons annually by 2050. That's the equivalent of eliminating 82.5 million gasoline vehicles about a third of the number currently on the road in America. That figure will only climb as renewable sources become more common, EPRI says.
Romag wants to help that along. Each PowerPark canopy is rated at 1.5 kilowatt peak, a measure of a photovoltaic system's peak output. Even in misty, foggy Northern England, the company estimates each parking space could generate about 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The canopies are linked to the electric grid so energy "can be generated for use in the associated buildings when cars are not being charged," Webster said. "No electricity is wasted."
PowerPark is a great way to promote broader acceptance of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. It provides emissions-free charging without taxing the existing electrical grid. Plus, it's got a distinctive shape that advertises itself and just might end up the most attractive piece of engineering in a Walmart parking lot. It could even help to drive sales, as customers might linger a little longer in the store waiting for their Aptera to charge.
So far, the cost of installation and materials varies based on volume and location, but Webster said that the canopies could be purchased singly or in groups. Pricing "should be competitive with other forms of BIPV." That's Building Integrated Photovoltaics, for those of you who are really off the grid.
I am really liking the decentralisation of power production. This is a great step towards that.


Solar Carport Gives Plug-Ins a Charge | Autopia from Wired.com
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 06:51 PM   #64
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I noticed Shell has bailed on solar and wind.....makes sense....
This looked VERY intriguing

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'First Economical Process' For Making Biodiesel Fuel From Algae


This is the feedstock transferring system for algae biodiesel. (Credit: United Environment & Energy LLC)

ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2009) Chemists reported development of what they termed the first economical, eco-friendly process to convert algae oil into biodiesel fuel a discovery they predict could one day lead to U.S. independence from petroleum as a fuel.

The study was presented recently at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

One of the problems with current methods for producing biodiesel from algae oil is the processing cost, and the New York researchers say their innovative process is at least 40 percent cheaper than that of others now being used. Supply will not be a problem: There is a limitless amount of algae growing in oceans, lakes, and rivers, throughout the world.

Another benefit from the "continuously flowing fixed-bed" method to create algae biodiesel, they add, is that there is no wastewater produced to cause pollution.

"This is the first economical way to produce biodiesel from algae oil," according to lead researcher Ben Wen, Ph.D., vice president of United Environment and Energy LLC, Horseheads, N.Y. "It costs much less than conventional processes because you would need a much smaller factory, there are no water disposal costs, and the process is considerably faster."

A key advantage of this new process, he says, is that it uses a proprietary solid catalyst developed at his company instead of liquid catalysts used by other scientists today. First, the solid catalyst can be used over and over. Second, it allows the continuously flowing production of biodiesel, compared to the method using a liquid catalyst. That process is slower because workers need to take at least a half hour after producing each batch to create more biodiesel. They need to purify the biodiesel by neutralizing the base catalyst by adding acid. No such action is needed to treat the solid catalyst, Wen explains.

He estimates algae has an "oil-per-acre production rate 100-300 times the amount of soybeans, and offers the highest yield feedstock for biodiesel and the most promising source for mass biodiesel production to replace transportation fuel in the United States." He says that his firm is now conducting a pilot program for the process with a production capacity of nearly 1 million gallons of algae biodiesel per year. Depending on the size of the machinery and the plant, he said it is possible that a company could produce up to 50 million gallons of algae biodiesel annually.

Wen also says that the solid catalyst continuous flow method can be adapted to mobile units so that smaller companies wouldn't have to construct plants and the military could use the process in the field.

The National Science Foundation funded Wen's research.
Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAA
S
'First Economical Process' For Making Biodiesel Fuel From Algae



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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 06:56 PM   #65
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Looks interesting, MacDoc. We can't sustain more biofuels from corn.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 07:09 PM   #66
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Looks interesting, MacDoc. We can't sustain more biofuels from corn.
Sadly the more we learn about GMO corn the more it appears that Biodiesel is the only reasonably safe place to use it.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 07:11 PM   #67
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Interesting and alarming point, eMacMan.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 08:26 PM   #68
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Yeah biofuels from foodstock is a non starter and even tho I think some of the plants are a good in marginal lands idea algae is really a flexible source and a solid state catalyst really puts in into main stream contention.
Still it's a long ways away - your NL oil and gas shall rule a while yet.



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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 08:36 PM   #69
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"... your NL oil and gas shall rule a while yet." We shall see, MacDoc. We shall see.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #70
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New Generation Of Solar Cells Promises Efficiency

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The laboratory for photovoltaics of the University of Luxembourg has produced its first thin film solar cells made from compound semiconductors, already reaching a 12 percent efficiency. Thin film solar cells are considered the next generation of solar cells and are expected to be considerably cheaper because they need much less material and energy in their production than today's photovoltaic modules.
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