As we prepare to begin our
Seventh Conference on Future Energy
in Albuquerque NM this midweek coming up, the local NBC-
affiliate KOB-TV has agreed to send a couple of reporters to the conference since we have breakthrough energy presentations. We also are admitting ALL young people between 15-25 years old for FREE to COFE7 in order to help a few students who may take advantage of this great educational opportunity.
My presentation at COFE7 this year, we be on
Wednesday at 5:00 pm
will focus on the "
Spiral Permanent Magnet Motor
which this month just received an honorary recognition for a 400 download milestone on
. It is my most popular published paper.
Though we have reported on Energy Harvesting in many previous Future Energy eNews articles, the latest is an industrial report just released on July 23, 2015 which costs about $5000 for 1-5 viewers! However, it probably is the most comprehensive report ever assembled http://www.energyharvestingjournal.com/.
Our Story #1 is on one of my favorite topics, getting up close and personal with measuring zero-point energy fluctuations as reported by the prestigious science network, Phys.org. Click on the picture to see the video. Quite exciting to see something which never is truly at rest. Now physicists are amplifying "noisy" ZPE fluctuations to vibrate a drum. Free energy harvesting anyone? If you can measure it, anyone can use the signal with a rectifier for a useful energy output but the team is simply measuring it at this time.
Story #2 is a far out concept for laser fusion combined with a fission hybrid jet propulsion system with deuterium and tritium with a little bit of U-238 for more heat. Leave it to Boeing to find funds for this futuristic approach to propulsion. We at IRI are more excited about inertial propulsion which relies on a simple gyroscopic motion that rectifies centrifugal force, also developed by Boeing and about a 100 other patentees in the IRI Inertial Propulsion Patent Collection. See Mike Gamble's presentation on Friday, July 31 at COFE7 for more information on this already-developed propulsion method.
Story #3 looks at cutting lithium-ion battery costs in half, which is a great breakthrough. MIT has come up with a new two-layered design which simplifies manufacturing with a spinoff company called 24M.
Story #4 is an interesting change for us: a global energy market business report by Bloomberg. It predicts the upsurge of renewables, especially solar, along with other flexible capacity and a decline of fossil fuels by 2040.
Story #5 is a great article for those into wearable electrical clothing products. With global warming coming our way and even Shell corporation admitting this month that it is preparing for a 4C (7F) degree change by 2050 or so, what better way to get ready for the heat than to simply cool your clothes as you continue to burn through all the coal, oil, and natural gas you can buy? Hopefully, that is not everyone's thinking but it is nice to know this new clothing product by ApplySci also creates an environmental energy savings by adapting the thickness of a fabric to the outside temperature. This product will therefore allow a person to use less energy-intensive heating or cooling as a result.
Onward and Upward,
Integrity Research Institute
OUR LATEST CONFERENCE
JULY 30-AUG 1, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE , NM
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1) ZERO POINT FLUCTUATIONS RESOLVED
By Raymond Simmonds, July 5, 2015 Phys.org
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE VIDEO.
In this universe, anything that can vibrate will vibrate, and no oscillator is ever truly at rest.
Even when an object such as an atom or subatomic particle is cooled into its lowest possible energy condition, or "ground state," it still experiences random fluctuations in its position and momentum thanks to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: The better defined the position is, the more uncertain the momentum, and vice versa.
In short, it's impossible to be motionless. This is not just true on the atomic scale, but also for extremely small, yet still macroscopic objects containing billions of atoms.
These fluctuations are very difficult to detect by conventional means because traditional linear amplification techniques always add some classical noise that can masquerade as "quantum fluctuations." Worse yet, trying to directly measure the energy of these fluctuations is impossible because this so-called "zero-point energy" cannot do any real work - that is, exert a force to move an object-making it in some sense "unreal."
Now Ray Simmonds and colleagues in NIST's Quantum Devices Group have devised and demonstrated a unique measurement system that is able to resolve quantum fluctuations of a tiny aluminum drum that vibrates at shortwave radio frequencies.
The system, which fits on a microchip, comprises three elements: the drumhead mechanical resonator; an attached inductor coil (which, combined with the drum element, functions as a microwave "cavity"-a structure that electrically resonates at about 10 GHz); and an electrically coupled "artificial atom" made from a superconducting Josephson junction (a tiny metal-insulator-metal sandwich).
Previously, the NIST researchers had worked extensively with the drum-and-coil cavity (an "optomechanical" combination) exploring how to cool the mechanical motion to its ground state and how to mechanically store or transfer information. The latest work, reported in Nature Physics, adds the artificial atom circuit, providing an ultra-sensitive detector of individual microwave photons trapped inside the electrical cavity.
Using the artificial atom as a new measurement resource, the researchers performed two important, separate tests on the optomechanical system in order to convincingly show the presence of the zero-point fluctuations of the mechanical resonator.
First, they wanted to confirm that the mechanical resonator could be cooled to its ground state by showing that, in this state, it is impossible to remove energy from it. This involves the ability to exchange or "swap" energy back and forth between the mechanical phonons (quantized vibrations) and the photons of microwave light in the cavity. Next, they used a technique known as "parametric amplification" in order to amplify the zero-point fluctuations, which in turn altered the dimensions of the cavity, making the fluctuations "real" and affecting the cavity photons detectable by the artificial atom.
Both the swap and amplification processes are achieved through a coherent pumping of microwave radiation into the inductor coil of the optomechanical system. (See animation.) These processes originate from the fact that when the mechanical drum vibrates, its motion changes the resonant frequency of the electrical cavity.
Like FM radio, the motion of the drumhead is encoded in the changing frequency of the electrical cavity's tone. Pumping the system at a frequency below the resonance of the cavity by an amount equal to the mechanical vibration frequency produces the swap process, while pumping a mechanical frequency above the cavity resonance provides the amplification process.
Before performing these two experiments, the researchers tested the artificial atom measurement strategy, by creating known amounts of energy within the electrical cavity and reading those out using the artificial atom. This allowed them to characterize not only a coherent input of energy (basic oscillatory motion with a well-defined amplitude and phase) but also a noisy amount of energy -random amplitude and phase, equivalent to thermal heating. That distinction provided a way to differentiate between coherence and random fluctuations.
For each experiment, the researchers began by using the cold electrical cavity (precooled by a liquid helium refrigerator to 25 mK) to cool the mechanical drum's motion to nearly its quantum ground state using previously established techniques. After swapping the mechanical phonons for electrical photons, they used the artificial atom to verify that there was below a single phonon (0.25 on average) in the mechanics.
For the second test, a parametric pump tone is turned on in order to amplify any motion in the mechanical drum. Simmonds described it like this, "The parametric amplification process adds more photons to the cavity and more phonons to the mechanics proportional to how many phonons started in the drum, even if those phonons are coming from noisy quantum fluctuations. After the pump is on for a little while, these real photons fill the cavity and look like excess heat that can be measured by the artificial atom."
Every amplification process has a "gain" or the multiplicative amount by which the number of photons and phonons is increased from their initial value. The team's Florent Lecocq, who fabricated the chip and performed the experiments, put it this way, "Classically, if nothing is there to begin with, then any number (or gain) times zero is still zero. Even a large gain cannot reveal what's not there. But, due to quantum physics, as Heisenberg realized long ago, this strange, incessant random motion must persist, and this can be amplified."
The researchers determined the gain of their system by amplifying a known amount of coherent motion. After amplifying the system from its ground state, they divide the result by their known gain and thereby reveal that there must have been exactly one quantum of zero-point fluctuations to begin with.
The same system, with modifications, could be used in reverse: The artificial atom could generate specific phonon states on-demand. It could also be employed to explore the quantum dynamics of the mechanical oscillator, or to generate quantum entanglement between phonons and photons.
"Controlling the quantum states of long-lived mechanical oscillators is important for testing these kinds of fundamental, natural properties, like quantum mechanics. A system like this may also become a resource for applications in quantum information," Simmonds says, "and, as demonstrated here, it provides us with a new, powerful, quantum-enhanced platform for developing new detection methods for unbeatable precision measurements."
Explore further: Mechanical micro-drum cooled to quantum ground state
More information: Resolving the vacuum fluctuations of an optomechanical system using an artificial atom," F. Lecocq, J. D. Teufel, J. Aumentado & R. W. Simmonds, published on-line in Nature Physics. June 15, 2015. DOI: 10.1038/nphys3365
2) Boeing and NASA's Fusion-Fission Hybrid Jet Propulsion Systems
By Next Big Future, July 13, 2015
Boeing has a patent for a laser fusion - fission hybrid jet propulsion system.
Boeing claims energy-efficient thrust can be produced by firing lasers at deuterium and tritium and then having the neutrons activate uranium 238 to generate more heat.
* Hot gases produced by the laser induced fusion are pushed out of a nozzle at the back of the engine, creating thrust.
* a neutrons hit a shell of uranium 238 which causes fission and generates lots of heat
* a heat exchanger uses the heat from the fission reaction to drive a turbine that generates the electricity that powers the lasers
They have different configurations
* one configuration generates ISP of about 2000 to 5000 seconds
* another configuration has an ISP of about 5000 to 25000 seconds
* another configuration an ISP of about 100,000 to 250,000.
I am not sure where there is enough innovation in the Boeing concepts for a patent. There have been several prior proposed fusion-fission hybrid propulsion systems.
I look at some other work and focus on the NIAC NASA Pulsed Fission-Fusion design. There is a lot more detailed modeling and work towards experimentation in the NASA Pulsed Fission-fusion design.
Other fusion-fission hybrid propulsion work and pure laser fusion work
Ted Kammash, Ricky Tang and Michael Hartman had a bi-modal fusion propulsion system in which Q-values of about unity or less are needed since the GDM will serve mainly as a neutron source. It is well known that fusion reactions are neutron rich but energy poor, while fission reactions are energy rich but neutron poor. We make use of this fact by considering a system in which the GDM device serves as a fast neutron source surrounded by a blanket of Th232 , which we utilize to breed U233 and simultaneously burn it to produce energy. For a reasonable size blanket and a D-T plasma density, size and temperature, we find that the proposed hybrid system is capable of producing tens of gigawatts of thermal power per centimeter. If we use this power to heat a hydrogen propellant, we find that a seven meter long engine can generate a specific impulse of about 59,000 seconds at a thrust of about 8 mega-newtons at a propellant flow rate of about 130 kg/sec. Such a propulsion capability would allow many meaningful space missions to be carried out in relatively short times. Furthermore, such a hybrid system can generate large amounts of electric power for surface power applications once destination is reached.
The use of fusion energy to propel vehicles in space has been investigated for several decades. Much of the earlier work focused on inertial fusion where laser beams are employed to ignite target pellets containing fusion fuel to produce the needed energy. With the realization that laser systems are massive and complicated, other drivers were examined to see if they can deliver the required energy to the target at much lower mass. Here, the use of antimatter was found to be especially effective. Modest amounts of antiprotons are found to be adequate to trigger fusion propulsion but the engineering challenges associated with this approach6 have to be addressed vigorously in order for it to be realizable. The major issue associated with the use of antimatter is availability since the current annual worldwide production rate stands at nanograms while most fusion propulsion schemes appear to require quantities on the order of several micrograms. With the world effort in achieving fusion power for terrestrial use focused on toroidal devices, such as tokamaks, very little attention was paid to magnetic fusion for propulsion applications.
These devices do not appear to lend themselves geometrically for exhausting energetic plasma particles to generate thrust. Open-ended magnetic devices, on the other hand, are found to be especially suitable because they can confine a plasma long enough to be heated before being ejected from one of the mirror ends to produce thrust. Of particular advantage in this regard is the gasdynamic mirror (GDM) whose confinement properties are based on plasmas of such density and temperature as to make the ion-ion collision mean free path much shorter than the length. Under these conditions, the plasma behaves much like a fluid, and its escape from the system is analogous to the flow of a gas from a vessel with a hole. We focus on the GDM as the fusion component of the system we propose in this paper and demonstrate its usefulness for both space power and propulsion applications.
Kammash, Terry, Tang, Ricky and Hartman, Michael, "Fusion-Fission Hybrid Revisited - Potential for Space Applications", AIAA 2009.
Hyde, R. A., Wood, L., and Nuckolls, J., "Prospects for Rocket Propulsion with Laser-Induced Fusion Microexplosions," 8th
Joint Propulsion Specialist Conference, New Orleans, LA, 1972, AIAA-1972-1063.
Martin, A. R., and Bond, A., "Project Daedalus," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Supplement Volume, 1978.
Kammash, T., and Galbraith, D. L., "A Fusion Reactor for Space Applications," Fusion Technology, Vol. 12, No. 11, 1987
NASA Rob Adams talks about fusion propulsion and hybrid pulsed fission fusion propulsion
NASA Scientist Dr Rob Adams speaks about Pulsed Fusion Propulsion, dense plasma focus fusion, z pinch fusion and the possibilities of high density compression of fusion fuels.
NAIC - Pulsed Fission-Fusion (PuFF) Propulsion System
Fission-ignited fusion systems have been operational - in weapon form - since the 1950's. Leveraging insights gained from the weapons physics program, a Z-Pinch device could be used to ignite a thermonuclear deuterium trigger. The fusion neutrons will induce fission reaction in a surrounding uranium or thorium liner, releasing sufficient energy to further confine and heat the fusion plasma. The combined energy release from fission and fusion would then be directed using a magnetic nozzle to produce useful thrust. This type of concept could provide the efficiency of open cycle fusion propulsion devices with the relative small size and simplicity of fission systems; and would provide a radical improvement in our ability to explore destinations across the solar system and beyond. This proposal is modified version of last year's proposal - addressing issues raised during that evaluation.
PUFF hybrid vehicle design and mission analysis showed concepts which could reach Mars in 37 days, and 1,000 astronomical unit (AU) interstellar precursor distances in 36 years
phase 1 proposal included modeling the above process first under steady state assumptions and second under a time variant integration. We proposed including these results into a Mars concept vehicle and finally proposing promising conditions to be evaluated experimentally in Phase II. In phase I we quickly realized that we needed to modify our approach. Our steady state work was completed as proposed, and the results indicated that one, a two stage compression system was not needed and two, that we wanted to move away from UF6. The steady state model shows much more margin than expected, to the point that we may well reach breakeven with the Charger - 1 facility, a 572 kJ Marx bank currently under refurbishment at UAH. Additionally we found that using gaseous D-T and UF6, provided a relatively simple prospect of using a pulsed injector, made reaching criticality more difficult. The introduction of large amounts of fluorine meant a radiative sink, sapping power from the fusion plasma and was harder to handle. Therefore we moved to a solid uranium target that held D-T under pressure. In so doing we could move our target closer to criticality and remove any material that did not sustain the reaction.
However in moving to a solid target we complicated our time-variant model, now requiring us to develop phase change algorithms and stress-strain calculations for the solid matrix. We have continued efforts along this line but as expected we did not complete this model. After discussions with NIAC management we moved some of our resources to preparing existing equipment to support an experimental program testing various target configurations under a variety of z-pinches at different power levels. Contained in this report are our results preparing 200 J, 1kJ and 4-8 kJ pulsed power systems as well as a vacuum chamber and diagnostic equipment to evaluate generated plasmas.
We have also completed a point design of PuFF using the results of our steady state model. This design was then used to evaluate a couple missions of interest. At the behest of NIAC management we considered a more advanced version of the Mars mission, resulting in a vehicle that could reach Mars, one way, in 37 days with 25 mT of payload.
Long Range Plans
* NIAC Phase II
* Complete Charger 1 refurb
* Ignite PuFF plasma
* Continue magnetic nozzle research
* Charger II
* Construct breadboard PuFF system capable of 10-20 Hz operation
- Upgrade to flightweight hardware - NASA
- Optimize pulse for maximum power output - DOE
- Astrodynamics, radiation protection, other research goals - Various
SOURCES - US Patent, Youtube, NASA, NIAC, Rob Adams
Author: brian wang on 7/13/2015
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3) Improved Lithium Battery
Researchers at MIT and spinoff company 24M have developed an advanced manufacturing approach for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The researchers claim the new process could cut the manufacturing and materials cost in half compared to existing lithium-ion batteries, while also improving their performance, making them easier to recycle as well as flexible and resistant to damage.
"We've reinvented the process," says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Ceramics at MIT and a co-founder of 24M (and previously a co-founder of battery company A123). The existing process for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, he says, has hardly changed in the two decades since the technology was invented, and is inefficient, with more steps and components than are really needed.
By 2020, Chiang estimates, 24M will be able to produce batteries for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour of capacity - considered the threshold for mass adoption of electric vehicles, according to most analysts within the EV industry, Clean Technica notes, adding that the planned Tesla Gigafactory 1 also hopes to hit that figure by 2017.
Today, the estimates of battery costs range wildly between $300 per kilowatt-hour and $500 per kilowatt-hour, notes The Wall Street Journal. Because the battery is the most expensive part of an electric car, like the Tesla Model S or the forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt, lowering the cost of the battery significantly could have a big impact."
A "semisolid" battery
The new process is a hybrid between a conventional solid battery and a "flow battery" design, in which the electrodes are actually suspensions of tiny particles carried by a liquid and pumped through various compartments of the battery. The flow battery was developed five years ago by Chiang and colleagues including W. Craig Carter, the MIT POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
In this new version, while the electrode material does not flow, it is composed of a similar semisolid, colloidal suspension of particles. Chiang and Carter refer to this as a "semisolid battery."
This approach greatly simplifies manufacturing, and also makes batteries that are flexible and resistant to damage, says Chiang, who is senior author of a paper on the new battery design in the Journal of Power Sources. This analysis demonstrates that while a flow-battery system is appropriate for battery chemistries with a low energy density (those that can only store a limited amount of energy for a given weight), for high-energy-density devices such as lithium-ion batteries, the extra complexity and components of a flow system would add unnecessary extra cost.
Almost immediately after publishing the earlier research on the flow battery, Chiang says, "We realized that a better way to make use of this flowable electrode technology was to reinvent the [lithium ion] manufacturing process."
Instead of the standard method of applying liqquid coatings to a roll of backing material, and then having to wait for that material to dry before it can move to the next manufacturing step, the new process keeps the electrode material in a liquid state and requires no drying stage at all. Using fewer, thicker electrodes, the system reduces the conventional battery architecture's number of distinct layers, as well as the amount of nonfunctional material in the structure, by 80 percent.
Having the electrode in the form of tiny suspended particles instead of consolidated slabs greatly reduces the path length for charged particles as they move through the material - a property known as "tortuosity." A less tortuous path makes it possible to use thicker electrodes, which, in turn, simplifies production and lowers cost.
Bendable and foldable
The new design also produces a battery that is more flexible and resilient. Conventional lithium-ion batteries are composed of brittle electrodes that can crack under stress; the new design produces battery cells that can be bent, folded, or even penetrated by bullets without failing. This should improve both safety and durability, he says.
The company has so far made about 10,000 batteries on its prototype assembly lines for testing. The process has received eight patents and has 75 additional patents under review; 24M has raised $50 million in financing from venture capital firms and a U.S. Department of Energy grant.
The company is initially focusing on grid-scale installations, used to help smooth out power loads and provide backup for renewable energy sources that produce intermittent output, such as wind and solar power. But Chiang says the technology is also well suited to applications where weight and volume are limited, such as in electric vehicles.
Another advantage of this approach, Chiang says, is that factories using the method can be scaled up by simply adding identical units. With traditional lithium-ion production, plants must be built at large scale from the beginning in order to keep down unit costs, so they require much larger initial capital expenditures.
Venkat Viswanathan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who was not involved in this work, says that 24M's new battery design "could do the same sort of disruption to [lithium ion] batteries manufacturing as what mini-mills did to the integrated steel mills."
A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher was also involved in the study. The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Energy Storage Research, based at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
4) GREEN REVOLUTION IS HERE
ByTom Randall, Bloomberg.com July 2015
THE WAY HUMANS GET ELECTRICITY IS ABOUT TO CHANGE FOREVER
The renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That's according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 2040.
Here are six massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:
. Solar Prices Keep Crashing
The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher.
Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance.
2. Solar Billions Become Solar Trillions
With solar power so cheap, investments will surge. Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide.
3. The Revolution Will Be Decentralized
The biggest solar revolution will take place on rooftops. High electricity prices and cheap residential battery storage will make small-scale rooftop solar ever more attractive, driving a 17-fold increase in installations. By 2040, rooftop solar will be cheaper than electricity from the grid in every major economy, and almost 13 percent of electricity worldwide will be generated from small-scale solar systems.
4. Global Demand Slows
Yes, the world is inundated with mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and air conditioners. But growth in demand for electricity is slowing. The reason: efficiency. To cram huge amounts of processing power into pocket-sized gadgets, engineers have had to focus on how to keep those gadgets from overheating. That's meant huge advances in energy efficiency. Switching to an LED light bulb, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by more than 80 percent.
So even as people rise from poverty to middle class faster than ever, BNEF predicts that global electricity consumption will remain relatively flat. In the next 25 years, global demand will grow about 1.8 percent a year, compared with 3 percent a year from 1990 to 2012. In wealthy OECD countries, power demand will actually decline.
5. Natural Gas Burns Briefly
Natural gas won't become the oft-idealized "bridge fuel" that transitions the world from coal to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The U.S. fracking boom will help bring global prices down some, but few countries outside the U.S. will replace coal plants with natural gas. Instead, developing countries will often opt for some combination of coal, gas, and renewables.
Even in the fracking-rich U.S., wind power will be cheaper than building new gas plants by 2023, and utility-scale solar will be cheaper than gas by 2036.
Fossil fuels aren't going to suddenly disappear. They'll retain a 44 percent share of total electricity generation in 2040 (down from two thirds today), much of which will come from legacy plants that are cheaper to run than shut down. Developing countries will be responsible for 99 percent of new coal plants and 86 percent of new gas-fired plants between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Coal is clearly on its way out, but in developing countries that need to add capacity quickly, coal-power additions will be roughly equivalent to utility-scale solar.
6. The Climate Is Still Screwed
The shift to renewables is happening shockingly fast, but not fast enough to prevent perilous levels of global warming.
About $8 trillion, or two thirds of the world's spending on new power capacity over the next 25 years, will go toward renewables. Still, without additional policy action by governments, global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector will continue to rise until 2029 and will remain 13 percent higher than today's pollution levels in 2040.
That's not enough to prevent the surface of the Earth from heating more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to BNEF. That's considered the point-of-no-return for some worst consequences of climate change.
COMMENT ON THE CLIMATE BY SANDRA BERNICK OF ENERGY CRUNCH
With fewer than six months to go until the UN climate summit in Paris, it's worth asking: what's been achieved in this very significant year for action on climate change? Recent news has certainly been positive, and from unusual suspects.
Wednesday saw the Dutch government set a new emissions target in a landmark judgement by their courts - a reminder to politicians of their constitutional duty to safeguard the environment and protect their citizens (we've written more on this here). In fact three quarters of the world's constitutions include some provision on the protection of the environment.
This ruling comes just a week after Pope Francis made a strong moral judgement on inaction on climate change, calling for a swift and fair transition from fossil fuels. He even went viral, partly due to phrases like "the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth". The divestment movement is still in full swing, too.
As demand for action gains ground, how are our current efforts measuring up? New analysis from the IEA shows that that nearly half of new worldwide electricity capacity added in 2014 was renewable, while Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts renewables will supply 56% of global power by 2040.
But even with this rollout of renewables the BNEF forecasts suggest the climate is still, in their words, "screwed": current emissions reduction promises are far from enough to keep warming below 2C. Reasons for this are rapid demand growth in developing countries, causing coal capacity to mushroom despite an impressive renewable investment boom. The optimistic idea of natural gas as a bridging fuel is dismissed by BNEF as a lacking solution.
In Britain the government is now honouring its election pledge to axe subsidies for onshore wind, currently the cheapest form of renewables, a year early. This casts doubts over whether Britain will be able to meet its 2020 target of 15% renewable energy at a low cost. The UK is now listed as the EU country furthest from its 2020 target, something that may undermine any strong words in advance of the Paris talks.
While the science, the technology and the economics are all in favour of a transition, inaction and low ambition still rule the political game. When will our elected representatives catch up?
Co-editor, Energy Crunch
Even Quintupling Its Wind and Solar Output Hasn't Altered the Makeup of China's Power Supply | MIT Technology Review
5) Temperature Adaptive Clothing can Cool and Heat Accordingly
Professor Joseph Wang continues to revolutionize health focused wearable technology. ApplySci recently described his totally noninvasive glucose monitoring tattoo, and his bio-ink pen for self monitoring.
Professor Wang is now developing clothes with integrated sensors that enable them to heat or cool wearers. He believes this can reduce energy costs by regulating the temperature around individuals instead of across rooms.
ApplySci sees this as another way to increase the independence of (cognitively or physically) disabled people - helping them stay warm or cool when their ability to add or remove clothing layers is limited.
The smart fabric will keep a wearer's skin temperature at 93 degrees fahrenheit by adapting to temperature changes. The fabric will become thicker when a room gets cooler, and thinner when it gets warmer. Polymers that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat will be incorporated into the clothing.
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