Don't forget to register for our upcoming Seventh Conference on Future Energy which gives you the option of two conference concurrently: www.futurenergy.org. Registration fee for COFE7 and ExtraOrdinaty Technology grants access to both conferences at the same time for three full days and two extra half days. Also, the Embassy Suites Hotel discount conference rate of $94 per night will expire July 1st.
Never like being a naysayer since I always look for the silver lining in dim predictions. Hopefully the silver lining will be an a
Future Energy realization process worldwide. And I mean really
in five years or less. This month a memo leaked from
says that they are preparing for a 4
C temperature rise (7
"We do not see governments taking steps now that are consistent with a 2
). This is also the same 7
C) temperature rise indebtedness that
IRI predicted back in 2006
Dr. Jim Hansen's graph of CO2
(now reaching 400 ppm), temperature and sea level and presented at COFE3 that year and posted on our homepage,
updated for 2015
. The same temperature rise has also been confirmed as a likely prediction by two climate committees in 2012 and now an internal memo from Shell, along with the IPCC prediction of sea level rise of 5 to 20 meters (
, June 13, 2015, p. 8) expected as West Antarctica ice collapses rapidly. IRI projects a clean energy breakthrough that will supplant fossil fuel motors in the next five years and then geoengineering will be agreed upon to mop up the excess CO2 to bring it down to pre-industrial levels.
Help us make it happen since no one group, company, or organization has any comparable solution and IRI has many.
With Story #1, we revisit the
fusion scenario that keeps looking better at a snail's pace. General Fusion has emerged with a new era in nuclear fusion with a magnetized target fusion system creating a vortex they hope will accelerate the hot plasma fusion process. We hope they are right on target.
Story #2 gives a sunny answer to Saudi oil fields with the world's largest desalination plant and large solar photovoltaic (PV) installation farms (see embedded video), since there has been an 80% decline in manufacturing costs for solar in the past six years.
Story #3 is a fascinating concept for a spaceship that can run on sunlight pressure against a graphene sheet. Of course it is not as powerful asthe Boeing Mach 5 scramjet but any idea is better than the old rocket engines we are using now, if we want to colonize Mars for example.
Story #4 expands upon the discovery reported in our Future Energy eNews, January 2013 from MIT about a polymer that generates electricity upon evaporating a film of water on its surface. Now Columbia University is getting on the bandwagon with tiny rotary or piston engines that turn from the energy of evaporation. Someday soon the surfaces of bodies of water will generate electricity without wind or tidal currents.
Our last Story #5 is surprising since it is about a wind turbine without blades. Vortex Bladeless is the name of the company where vibration is the result of wind energy driving a linear generator with 70% efficiency, similar to wave energy generators. It seems to be able to handle high wind speeds too.
Help IRI be a more effective agent for rapid change to clean energy...become a member of IRI!
Onward and Upward,
Integrity Research Institute
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1) Has the Holy Grail of Clean Energy been Found?
By Anmar Frangoul | CNBC Money June 2015
For many, nuclear fusion is the Holy Grail of energy, offering the possibility of limitless clean energy through harnessing the very same chemical reaction that keeps our Sun burning.
While the potential of fusion is huge, it is a process that requires vast resources and effort, with the International Energy Agency stating that, "extreme temperatures and pressure are needed to initiate and sustain the fusion reaction, making it challenging."
Fusion is different from the fission power that is used in our nuclear power stations in that energy is generated when atoms are brought together rather than blown apart, which causes radiation.
British Columbia-based General Fusion are hoping that the technology and methods they are developing will herald a new era in nuclear fusion. They have developed what they describe as a "Magnetized Target Fusion system."
According to the company's website, the system makes use of a sphere which is filled with molten lead-lithium. This is pumped to create a vortex, into which 'magnetically confined plasma' -- an electrically charged gas -- is injected. Pistons surrounding the sphere are used to drive a wave of pressure into its center, "compressing the plasma to fusion conditions."
"Fusion is done... [in] two ways," Michel Laberge, founder and chief scientist of General Fusion, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy. "Usually... you make a magnetic field and that hold[s] the plasma - which is the hot gas - together, or you have no magnetic field and you crush it very fast with lasers."
"What we want to do is something in between: we want to make a plasma, a hot gas, with the magnetic field, and then crush the thing with the magnetic field, and because [with] the magnetic field the heat will not escape so fast... that will work a lot better," Laberge added.
Currently, General Fusion is developing what they describe as 'full scale subsystems' that will demonstrate that they can meet performance targets. In the future, they are hoping to build a full scale prototype which they say will be, "designed for single pulse testing, demonstrating full net energy gain on each pulse, a world first."
"Humanity... needs a source of energy for the future, and we cannot keep on burning fossil fuels," Laberge said. "Fusion will be powering humanity in the future," he added.
2) The New Saudi Oil Field: Solar
By Mark Dansie, Revolution Green.com June 2015
Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, is predicting that within just 25 years we could no longer need fossil fuels.
Solar power will benefit the economy even more than fossil fuels
Saudi Arabia finds itself in the fortunate position whereby it can effortlessly switch from dominating the energy market of the 20th century through oil to dominating the 21st century with renewables. Al-Naimi believes that solar power will benefit the economy even more than fossil fuels. The evidence for this is that global investment in renewables jumped 16% in 2014, with solar attracting over half the total funding for the first time, driven by a 80% decline in manufacturing costs for solar in the last six years.
Saudi Oil wealth is no doubt a big investor in renewable energy around the world. They are setting the example in their own country by building the worlds largest Solar desalination Plant (see second video). Large Solar PV farms are also being built.
Big Oil and Energy Suppression
This makes a mockery of people claiming big oil or governments are suppressing "Free Energy" or anything that may be a threat to oil consumption. We hear claims that big oil is paying for "Trolls" with disinformation programs to suppress new technologies. They have also been accused of buying up technologies and shelving them. Possibly this may have been the case a few years ago but not now. They are putting their money where their mouth is. I privately know of 100 million USD fund from the Middle East available to develop any disruptive energy technologies. The only catch is you need to demonstrate your claim as a proof of concept. and they will use scientist and engineers to verify claims through reputable third parties. That counts out anything you might see listed at PESWIKI. (the exception being LENR)
The Saudi investors are smart. They made there money out of energy and will continue to do so. The form or source of the energy does not matter, who owns the infrastructure to supply it does.
3) Spaceship built from Graphene can run on Nothing but Sunlight
GRAPHENE to the stars. The material with amazing properties has just had another added to the list. It seems these sheets of carbon one atom thick can turn light into action, maybe forming the basis of a fuel-free spacecraft.
Graphene was discovered accidentally by researchers playing with pencils and sticky tape. Its flat structure is very strong and conducts electricity and heat extremely well. Yongsheng Chen of Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and his colleagues have been investigating whether larger arrangements of carbon can retain some of these properties. Earlier this year they published details of a "graphene sponge", a squidgy material made by fusing crumpled sheets of graphene oxide.
While cutting graphene sponge with a laser, they noticed the light propelled the material forwards. That was odd, because while lasers have been used toshove single molecules around, the sponge was a few centimetres across so should be too large to move.
The team placed pieces of graphene sponge in a vacuum and shot them with lasers of different wavelength and intensity. They were able to push sponge pieces upwards by as much as 40 centimetres. They even got the graphene to move by focusing ordinary sunlight on it with a lens.
But how was this movement happening? One explanation is that the material acts like a solar sail. Photons can transfer momentum to an object and propel it forwards, and in the vacuum of space this tiny effect can build up enough thrust to move a spacecraft. Just last week, the Planetary Society in Pasadena,
California, launched a small solar sail to test the technology. But the forces the team saw were too large to come from photons alone.
The team also ruled out the idea that the laser vaporises some of the graphene and makes it spit out carbon atoms.
Instead, they think the graphene absorbs laser energy and builds up a charge of electrons. Eventually it can't hold any more, and extra electrons are released, pushing the sponge in the opposite direction. Although it's not clear why the electrons don't fly off randomly, the team was able to confirm a current flowing away from the graphene as it was exposed to a laser, suggesting this hypothesis is correct (arxiv.org/abs/1505.04254).
Graphene sponge could be used to make a light-powered propulsion system for spacecraft that would beat solar sails. "While the propulsion force is still smaller than conventional chemical rockets, it is already several orders larger than that from light pressure," they write.
"The best possible rocket is one that doesn't need any fuel," says Paulo Lozano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He thinks a graphene-powered spacecraft is an interesting idea, but losing electrons would mean the craft builds up a positive charge that would need to be neutralised, or it could cause damage.
LightSail Spacecraft Wakes Up Again, Deploys Solar Sail
4) Evaporation Can Power a Piston or Rotary Engine
By Richard Martin, MIT Technology Review, June 2015
Harnessing the power from a fundamental process that's happening constantly, all over the world, a team of scientists at Columbia University have devised tiny engines powered by evaporation. The devices generate electricity from the energy produced by bacterial spores known as Bacillus subtilis, which exhibit strong mechanical responses to changing relative humidity.
The spores expand when they absorb water and contract when they dry out. By controlling the moisture in the air, produced by evaporation, that the spores are exposed to, the devices grab the energy of these expansions and contractions to drive rotary or piston engines. The research was published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
The idea sprang from research into the mechanical properties of the subtilisspores, which can exist in a dormant state for hundreds of years. "It struck me as amazing how much mechanical energy they seem to have," says Ozgur Sahin, an associate professor of biological sciences at the university. "They are so rigid that as the material's shape changes it produces a lot of energy."
Sahin glued the spores to a tape made of polyimide-a polymer used in fuel cells, computer displays, and various military applications-and surrounded them with a shutter mechanism that controls the passage of moisture. The shutter is essentially an oscillator, a mechanical switch like an electrical circuit, that opens and closes in response to the force produced by the spore changing shape. The opening and closing of the switch produces the regular pulsing of the swelling and shrinking spores. When the shutter is open, moisture escapes to the air and the spore dries out; when it closes, moisture fills the gap, the humidity increases, and the material expands.
An eight-centimeter by eight-centimeter water surface can produce about two microwatts of electricity (a microwatt is one-millionth of a watt), on average, and can burst up to 60 microwatts, says Sahin. That doesn't sound like a lot of electricity; so far Sahin and his team have used the evaporation engines to power an LED and a miniature car that weighs a tenth of a kilogram.
"We made a lot of compromises in creating this version in hopes of creating a self-sufficient device," he says. "We know actually that it can be made 100 times more powerful by solving a number of problems."
Those solutions include adjusting the size of the moisture cavities and the mechanism of the shutters that control the flow of moisture. Sahin believes that arrays of the devices on the surface of lakes or other bodies of water could produce a scalable renewable energy technology, but that is likely years off, if it ever happens at all. One possible use could be to create battery-size "bricks" of spores than can be activated to produce electricity-just add water.
The tiny engines may have no practical applications in the near term, but they're still a useful demonstration of the ubiquity of natural energy that can-at least in theory-be harnessed by relatively simple and cheap devices.
As Sahin says, unlike solar and wind power, "Evaporation is not intermittent."
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5) Bladeless Wind Turbines May Offer more Form than Function
By Philip Mckenna, MIT Technology Review, June 2015
Startup Vortex Bladeless makes a turbine that looks intriguing, but it may not solve wind power's challenges.
Wind power has become a legitimate source of energy over the past few decades as larger, more efficient turbine designs have produced ever-increasing amounts of power. But even though the industry saw a record $99.5 billion global investment in 2014, turbine growth may be reaching its limits.
Transportation is increasingly challenging because of the size of the components: individual blades and tower sections often require specialized trucks and straight, wide roads. Today's wind turbines are also incredibly top heavy. Generators and gearboxes sitting on support towers 100 meters off the ground can weigh more than 100 tons. As the weight and height of turbines increase, the materials costs of wider, stronger support towers, as well as the cost of maintaining components housed so far from the ground, are cutting into the efficiency benefits of larger turbines.
The alternative energy industry has repeatedly tried to solve these issues to no avail. But the latest entry promises a radically different type of wind turbine: a bladeless cylinder that oscillates or vibrates.
Spanish startup Vortex Bladeless has developed turbines that harness vorticity, the spinning motion of air or other fluids. When wind passes one of the cylindrical turbines, it shears off the downwind side of the cylinder in a spinning whirlpool or vortex. That vortex then exerts force on the cylinder, causing it to vibrate. The kinetic energy of the oscillating cylinder is converted to electricity through a linear generator similar to those used to harness wave energy.
David Y??ez, one of the company's cofounders, first came across the concept as a student studying the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington. The bridge collapsed in 1940 due to excessive vibrations formed by the spinning motion of wind as it blew past the bridge and is a textbook engineering failure. Y??ez, however, learned a different lesson. "This is a very good way to transmit energy from a fluid to a structure," he says.
Vortex's lightweight cylinder design has no gears or bearings. Y??ez says it will generate electricity for 40 percent less than the cost of power from conventional wind turbines. The company has received $1 million in private capital and government funding in Spain and is seeking another $5 million in venture capital funding. Y??ez says the company plans to release a four-kilowatt system in 2016 and a much larger one-megawatt device around 2018.
The Vortex turbine sounds promising, but like any radical new alternative energy design, bladeless turbines have plenty of skeptics.
"If you have a common propeller-type wind turbine, you have a big area swept by the blades," says Martin Hansen, a wind energy specialist at the Technical University of Denmark. "Here you just have a pole."
In addition to capturing less energy, oscillating cylinders can't convert as much of that energy into electricity, Hansen says. A conventional wind turbine typically converts 80 to 90 percent of the kinetic energy of its spinning rotor into electricity. Y??ez says his company's custom-built linear generator will have a conversion efficiency of 70 percent.
Y??ez concedes that the oscillating turbine design will sweep a smaller area and have a lower conversion efficiency, but says significant reductions in manufacturing and maintenance costs will outweigh the losses.
As Vortex builds bigger devices that catch higher-speed winds further from the ground, it will also run up against other challenges inherent to the physics of fluid mechanics. Air or other fluids moving at low speeds past small-diameter cylinders flow in a smooth, constant motion. Increase the diameter of the cylinder and the speed at which the air flows across it, however, and the flow becomes turbulent, producing chaotic eddies or vortices. The turbulent flow causes the oscillating frequency of the cylinder to vary, making it difficult to optimize for energy production.
"With very thin cylinders and very slow velocities you get singing telephone lines, an absolutely pure frequency or tone," says Sheila Widnall, an aeronautics and astronautics professor at MIT. "But when the cylinder gets very big and wind gets very high, you get a range of frequencies. You won't be able to get as much energy out of it as you want to because the oscillation is fundamentally turbulent."
Widnall also questions the company's claim that its turbines will be silent. "The oscillating frequencies that shake the cylinder will make noise," she says. "It will sound like a freight train coming through your wind farm."
Oscillating cylinders are just one of several emerging technologies aimed at harvesting more of the wind for less. Makani Power is developing a tethered "energy kite" (see "Flying Windmills"). It flies in a large circle similar to the tip of a conventional turbine blade while harnessing wind power via smaller onboard turbines. Astro Teller, head of Google X, Google's semi-secret research facility that acquired Makani in 2013, said in March that the company would soon begin tests of a full-scale, 600-kilowatt kite.
John Dabiri, an aeronautics and bioengineering professor at Caltech, is testing different configurations of vertical axis turbines, which are essentially windmills that spin like a merry-go-round rather than on a horizontal axis like a bicycle wheel. Typically wind turbines are placed far apart from each other to optimize energy production. Drawing on the same principles that fish use to conserve energy by schooling, Dabiri found that turbines placed close to each other could produce more energy than those that are far apart.
"You can co?rdinate the operation of multiple wind turbines such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," he says.
Dabiri says such synergistic effects could also apply to conventional, horizontal axis windmills or even oscillating turbines. The latter pose a greater challenge because the wake of such turbines is very chaotic but also a potential benefit because the wake packs a lot of energy, he says.
Much remains to be seen with Vortex's oscillating turbine, Dabiri says, but he adds that he is excited by the company's concept. "Anyone who says the three-bladed turbine is the best we can do is lacking in vision."
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