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May 25, 2013 - 10:04:44 PM
Source: SustainableBusiness.com News
Solar Impulse, an airplane powered solely by solar energy, began its flight across the US on May 3rd 2013.
It took off at 6:15AM PST from Moffett Field in south San Francisco, a civil-military airport, and is headed to Phoenix first. That leg of the trip took 15-20 hours.
After that it stopped in Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and finally ended up at JFK in New York. The whole trip will take about two months, flying day and night, depending on the weather. It can't fly in cloudy or rainy conditions or in strong wind or fog.
The plane was initially meant to demonstrate it could fly during both day and night, but just for 24 hours. But it has performed so well that it's flown across Europe and Africa (separate trips) and now it will fly across the US.
It doesn't have the technology needed for its ultimate goal - to fly around the world in 2015. A more advanced version is being developed for that.
"Our future depends on our ability to convert rapidly to the use of renewable energies. Solar Impulse is intended to demonstrate what can be done already today by using these energies and applying new technologies that can save natural resources," says Bertrand Piccard, who co-founder and co-pilot with Andre Borschberg.
The plane gets its power from 207-foot wings - the wingspan of a jumbo jet - covered with 12,000 solar cells.
The solar cells keep four large batteries charged that are under the wings, storing about as much energy as Tesla's electric car. Also on the bottom of the wings are tiny motors, which provide about 25% of its torque.
It is very light - about the weight of a small car - because it's made from carbon fiber. And it travels at about 43 miles per hour.
In 2010, Impulse completed a 24-hour test flight that demonstrated its ability to fly through the night with power stored during daylight hours. Last June, it flew the first intercontinental flight, from Spain to Morocco.
The project has $112 million in backing with various manufacturers involved in the technology that are using it as a way to test new materials and gain brand recognition.
A similar effort is underway but using a solar-powered boat, MS Tûranor PlanetSolar. It completed its first trip around the world last May using SunPower solar panels.
Learn more about Solar Impulse:
May 25, 2013 - 09:03:22 PM
Construction has begun on Antelope Valley Solar Project, the largest solar PV project in the world - at 579 megawatts.
Buffet's MidAmerican Solar bought the project from SunPower for $2 billion in January, and SunPower is developing it using its own panels. 650 people will be employed to build the project on 3200 acres, and in 2015 it will begin providing power to 400,000 homes.
It is one of several large solar projects being built in the area of Lancaster, the first city to require solar on all new homes.
Unlike some solar projects which have been given the go-ahead even though they are on sensitive lands, the Sierra Club praises this one for environmentally responsible development. From the outset, it was planned and sited in a way that protects native plants and wildlife, they say.
Antelope is being built on former agricultural lands that were planted with alfalfa and other crops that require heavy irrigation. Since it is located on disturbed land there are no threatened or endangered species.
Because it is near existing transmission lines, including a major
"The developers listened to our concerns about the local lands and wildlife in the Antelope Valley and incorporated them into the planning and siting for the project," says Georgette Theotig of
Some locals have criticized the project however because it creates a feeling of industrialization in the rural area.
SunPower's Oasis® Power Plant is a modular solar technology that can be rapidly deployed for utility-scale projects that also minimizes land use. Its high-efficiency solar panels are mounted on trackers that follow the sun during the day, increasing energy capture up to 25%.
In January, MidAmerican Solar purchased the project for $2 billion. It also owns the world's second-biggest solar plant - the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm under development in California. And it has a 49% stake in the 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Arizona.
Since it began acquiring renewable energy projects last year, MidAmerican Renewables has quickly grown to an 1830 megawatt (MW) portfolio in wind, geothermal, solar and hydro. When current wind projects are completed, it will have 2284 MW in that sector alone, making it the largest owner of US wind farms by an investor-owned utility. The utility also recently agreed to retire seven old coal plants.
Dust Is An Issue
Antelope Valley also has an approved re-vegetation plan to control dust, which is an emerging concern.
Antelope Valley Solar Project is different from another nearby - Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, under construction by First Solar. Los Angeles County recently halted the project because of health issues caused by dust.
Building a solar plant in the desert requires considerable scraping and clearing to make way for thousands of acres of solar panels. That kicks up dust, which can cause "Valley fever" when people working at the site or living nearby breathe in fungal spores that are released when desert soils are disturbed.
Agricultural workers have long contracted this illness when working in the desert, but the risk is rising with the enormous solar projects being built now. About half the people that get infected develop flu-like symptoms. Wearing a respirator can prevent it, but workers often take it off when working in such hot conditions.
November 17, 2011 - 10:00:49 PM
The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is an open technological platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts. (Website)
A modern, comfortable lifestyle relies on a variety of efficient Industrial Machines. If you eat bread, you rely on an Agricultural Combine. If you live in a wood house, you rely on a Sawmill. Each of these machines relies on other machines in order for it to exist. If you distill this complex web of interdependent machines into a reproduceable, simple, closed-loop system, you get these Key Features:
February 22, 2010 - 10:01:05 AM
September 29, 2009 - 11:34:19 PM
StatoilHydro has decided to build the world’s first full scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, and test it over a two-year period offshore Karmøy. The The company is investing approximately 400 million NOK. Planned startup is autumn 2009. HyWind is based on floating concrete constructions familiar from North Sea oil installations. In this way we exploit the wind where it is strongest and most consistent — far out to sea. The project combines known technology in an innovative way. A 2.3 MW wind turbine is attached to the top of a so-called Spar-buoy, a solution familiar from production platforms and offshore loading buoys. READ MORE »
September 23, 2009 - 11:37:14 PM
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