Tag Archive | Electricity

The Cost-Efficient, and Energy Efficient Future of Power Bars

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!cactus-outlet-green-2

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North America’s First Zoo Biogas Plant to be Built at the Toronto Zoo

_toronto-zoo-project

ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc., a non-profit renewable energy co-operative, is set to develop the first North American zoo biogas facility at the Toronto Zoo. Biogas is a type of renewable energy that converts organic waste into energy and fertilizer using a process called anaerobic digestion. The specific types of organic waste that the ZooShare Biogas Co-operative will use at the Toronto Zoo will be animal waste and food waste from local grocery stores. The animal and food waste will be converted into electricity, heat and fertilizer, benefiting both the local community and the environment.

The process of anaerobic digestion begins with the waste being fed at regular intervals into an anaerobic digester. ZooShare Biogas Executive Director Daniel Bida likens the anaerobic digester to a big concrete stomach, wherein the organic waste is heated to 38 degrees Celsius and continuously mixed. About sixty days into this process, the waste is transformed into biogas (which consists of 65% methane and 35% carbon dioxide gas) and digestate (fertilizer). The resulting biogas can be used to create electricity, piped into the natural gas grid, or converted into vehicle fuel, and the fertilizer is suitable for farms or backyard gardens.

biogas-infographic

Biogas has a number of benefits:

  1. It can generate electricity for twenty-four hours a day and for seven days a week.

  2. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  3. It diverts waste from landfills.

  4. It can be produced from any organic waste source.

  5. The end product is a nutrient-rich, odour-free fertilizer.

Construction of the Toronto Zoo biogas plant is slated for July of 2014, which could make the plant operational by December of 2014. The plant will consist of input and output tanks, an engine room and a classroom. All in all, it will occupy one and a half acres of the zoo’s land.

Although the construction cost is estimated at $5.4 million, the benefits of the biogas plant will be worth the cost. The 500-kilowatt plant will provide enough electricity to power over 250 households. In addition, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 tonnes (the equivalent of removing 2,100 cars off the road).

To learn more about the ZooShare Biogas Co-operative, click here.

To read The Toronto Observer article on the ZooShare Biogas’ Toronto Zoo project, click here.

Icelandic Drilling Project Opens Door to Volcano-Powered Electricity

Water + Heat = Power.

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.

Peru’s poorest to get power through government solar plan

More than two million of Peru’s poorest residents will have access to electricity for the first time by 2016 thanks to new $200m solar power program.

 

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.

Carbon Dioxide Power Plants: Could The Greenhouse Gas Be Used To Generate Electricity?

Greenhouse gas.

 

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 Dries Up Dams, Threatening Hydropower

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.

Deforestation Dries Up Dams, Threatening Hydropower

Green Nuclear Junk – In Praise of Waste

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

Swedes use more than twice the electricity per person of the Spanish. In fact, at 15,000 kWh/person/yr, the Swedes use more electricity than almost anybody, even more than couch potato Australians and Americans, but they have far lower CO2 emissions.

Swedes use more than twice the electricity per person of the Spanish. In fact, at 15,000 kWh/person/yr, the Swedes use more electricity than almost anybody, even more than couch potato Australians and Americans, but they have far lower CO2 emissions.

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:

Green Nuclear Junk – In Praise of Waste