Energy waste can take many different forms, such as failing to turn the lights off when leaving a room. Now, with Cactus, this is no longer an issue. Cactus is a power bar which connects to the household WiFi, and allows users to turn devices which are plugged into it on and off using a smartphone. It also has a sensor that turns the lights on when someone enters a room and then turns them off again when they leave. On average, “standby power” accounts for 10% of American energy bills, which can total over $100 a year. With Cactus this can be easily managed. The video posted below was made by the inventors to promote Cactus as a crowd sourcing project, but it also shows the device in action. They have since met their monetary goals and are developing their prototypes. These power strips can currently be ordered for about forty dollars, which is the least expensive of the smart power bars on the current market. Check out the article that creator Giuseppe Crosti wrote for the Huffington post about his journey to make Cactus an energy saving reality, and developer Paul Rolfe’s blog entry about the device!
Can enormous heat deep in the earth be harnessed to provide energy for us on the surface? A promising report from a geothermal borehole project that accidentally struck magma – the same fiery, molten rock that spews from volcanoes – suggests it could.
The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has been drilling shafts up to 5km deep in an attempt to harness the heat in the volcanic bedrock far below the surface of Iceland.
But in 2009 their borehole at Krafla, northeast Iceland, reached only 2,100m deep before unexpectedly striking a pocket of magma intruding into the Earth’s upper crust from below, at searing temperatures of 900-1000°C.
This borehole, IDDP-1, was the first in a series of wells drilled by the IDDP in Iceland looking for usable geothermal resources. The special report in this month’s Geothermics journal details the engineering feats and scientific results that came from the decision not to the plug the hole with concrete, as in a previous case in Hawaii in 2007, but instead attempt to harness the incredible geothermal heat.
Wilfred Elders, professor emeritus of geology at the University of California, Riverside, co-authored three of the research papers in the Geothermics special issue with Icelandic colleagues.
Read the full story here.
A new solar power initiative launched by Peru will see more than two million of its poorest residents gain access to electricity for the first time.
Energy and mining minister Jorge Merino said the scheme will ensure 95% of the country has electricity by the end of 2016, compared to 66% at present.
“This programme is aimed at the poorest people, those who lack access to electric lighting and still use oil lamps, spending their own resources to pay for fuels that harm their health,” he said.
Read the full story here.
What if the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power plants while they generate electricity could be converted into a source of additional electricity?
A team of researchers in the Netherlands, describes how CO2 could be mixed with a fluid electrolyte, generating electrical energy in the process. A press release from the American Chemical Society, which publishes the journal, calls this a “trash-to-treasure” story, saying it could help produce billions of kilowatts of energy every year while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Read full story here.
Deforestation may lead to electricity shortages in tropical rainforest regions that rely heavily on hydropower, as fewer trees mean less rainfall for hydropower generation, a study shows. Researchers had presumed that cutting down trees near dams increases the flow of water and hence energy production. This is because crops and pastures that replace trees take less water from the ground and lose less moisture by evaporation.
“If forest loss doubles by 2050 — that is, if 40 per cent of the Amazon or Xingu river watershed has been deforested by that date — rainfall loss will reduce Belo Monte’s energy production by one third over that projected,” -Stickler
Lead author Claudia Stickler and colleagues looked at the link between trees and power generation at Brazil’s Belo Monte hydropower complex, which is being built on the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon. It is set to be the third largest hydropower project in the world when it is completed in 2015 and is expected to supply 40 per cent of Brazil’s energy needs by 2020.
This article highlights some terrific work from Geoff Russell and Ben Heard that has hit the ‘net over the past few weeks. These are all ‘must reads’ – with the first of them going viral in the retweet world!
1. A devastating critique of Jim Green’s anti-science nonsense — who recently shot a ‘junk science’ attack against respected climatologist James Hansen:
Green Nuclear Junk: In their determination to attack nuclear power and those who support it, anti-nuclear activism has walked away from the scientific process. As a result, nearly the entire community of environmental organisations in Australia is currently standing behind figures that are completely mathematically incorrect. Will they correct these blatant errors and open their publications to expert external review? Or is correct maths and good science optional when you wear the colour green?
In Praise of Waste
What can possibly be wrong with promoting energy efficiency?
The Spanish generate 5.8 tonnes of CO2 per person your year (t-CO2/person/yr) while the Swedes produce almost 20 percent less at 5.07 t-CO2/person/yr. So can the Spanish turn off more lights, watch less TV, drive less, eat more raw food, use smaller more efficient fridges, cars, computers and so on to save 20 percent and get themselves down to the Swedish level?
For more information, the full article can be found here: