FUTURE ENERGY eNEWS
COLD FUSION IS HOT AGAIN
On Sunday, April 19th, CBS "60 Minutes" aired what may be the most encouraging news broadcast on cold fusion ever seen on television. Even a skeptical professor appointed by the American Physical Society, who took two days to examine an overseas cold fusion lab, came back convinced. Mike McKubre from SRI is quoted as saying, "There is ten times more energy in a gallon of water containing D20 (e.g., seawater) than a gallon of gasoline" and "Cars will soon come with three years of fuel built in." Now the experiments show 70% success in generating excess heat. If you missed the episode, click on:
Don't forget to advance register for the upcoming COFE3 before the end of the summer to save $45 (coupon below). The International Conferences on Future Energy hosted by IRI have now been imitated but never duplicated. It still is the ONLY place to hear and see the cutting edge of futuristic energy.
Thomas Valone, PhDPresident
|Wireless Electricity is Here |
By Paul Hochman , FastCompany magazine
January 6, 2009
I'm standing next to a Croatian-born American genius in a half-empty office in Watertown, Massachusetts, and I'm about to be fried to a crisp. Or I'm about to witness the greatest advance in electrical science in a hundred years. Maybe both.
Either way, all I can think of is my electrician, Billy Sullivan. Sullivan has 11 tattoos and a voice marinated in Jack Daniels. During my recent home renovation, he roared at me when I got too close to his open electrical panel: "I'm the Juice Man!" he shouted. "Stay the hell away from my juice!"
He was right. Only gods mess with electrons. Only a fool would shoot them into the air. And yet, I'm in a conference room with a scientist who is going to let 120 volts fly out of the wall, on purpose.
"Don't worry," says the MIT assistant professor and a 2008 MacArthur genius-grant winner, Marin Soljacic (pronounced SOLE-ya-cheech), who designed the box he's about to turn on. "You will be okay."
We both shift our gaze to an unplugged Toshiba television set sitting 5 feet away on a folding table. He's got to be kidding: There is no power cord attached to it. It's off. Dark. Silent. "You ready?" he asks.
If Soljacic is correct -- if his free-range electrons can power up this untethered TV from across a room -- he will have performed a feat of physics so subtle and so profound it could change the world. It could also make him a billionaire. I hold my breath and cover my crotch. Soljacic flips the switch.
Soljacic isn't the first man to try to power distant electronic devices by sending electrons through the air. He isn't even the first man from the Balkans to try. Most agree that Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, who went on to father many of the inventions that define the modern electronic era, was the first to let electrons off their leash, in 1890.
Tesla based his wireless electricity idea on a concept known as electromagnetic induction, which was discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831 and holds that electric current flowing through one wire can induce current to flow in another wire, nearby. To illustrate that principle, Tesla built two huge "World Power" towers that would broadcast current into the American air, to be received remotely by electrical devices around the globe.
Few believed it could work. And to be fair to the doubters, it didn't, exactly. When Tesla first switched on his 200-foot-tall, 1,000,000-volt Colorado Springs tower, 130-foot-long bolts of electricity shot out of it, sparks leaped up at the toes of passersby, and the grass around the lab glowed blue. It was too much, too soon.
But strap on your rubber boots; Tesla's dream has come true. After more than 100 years of dashed hopes, several companies are coming to market with technologies that can safely transmit power through the air -- a breakthrough that portends the literal and figurative untethering of our electronic age. Until this development, after all, the phrase "mobile electronics" has been a lie: How portable is your laptop if it has to feed every four hours, like an embryo, through a cord? How mobile is your phone if it shuts down after too long away from a plug? And how flexible is your business if your production area can't shift because you can't move the ceiling lights?
The world is about to be cured of its attachment disorder.
Here is the link to the latest news that is hitting the technology world. In Consumer Technology Tradeshow (CES) at Las Vegas this year, one the biggest thing this year is the wireless transfer of electricity. http://tech.msn.com/guides/CES/video_wirelesselectricity.aspx
WIRELESS JUICE: A PRIMER
TECH 1: Inductive Coupling
>> THE FIRST WIRELESS POWERING SYSTEM to market is an inductive device, much like the one Tesla saw in his dreams, but a lot smaller. It looks like a mouse pad and can send power through the air, over a distance of up to a few inches. A powered coil inside that pad creates a magnetic field, which as Faraday predicted, induces current to flow through a small secondary coil that's built into any portable device, such as a flashlight, a phone, or a BlackBerry. The electrical current that then flows in that secondary coil charges the device's onboard rechargeable battery. (That iPhone in your pocket has yet to be outfitted with this tiny coil, but, as we'll see, a number of companies are about to introduce products that are.)
The practical benefit of this approach is huge. You can drop any number of devices on the charging pad, and they will recharge -- wirelessly. No more tangle of power cables or jumble of charging stations. What's more, because you are invisible to the magnetic fields created by the system, no electricity will flow into you if you stray between device and pad. Nor are there any exposed "hot" metal connections. And the pads are smart: Their built-in coils are driven by integrated circuits, which know if the device sitting on them is authorized to receive power, or if it needs power at all. So you won't charge your car keys. Or overcharge your flashlight.
The dominant player in this technology for the moment seems to be Michigan-based Fulton Innovation, which unveiled its first set of wirelessly charged consumer products at the Consumer Electronics Show early this year. Come April, Fulton's new pad-based eCoupled system will be available to police, fire-and-rescue, and contractor fleets -- an initial market of as many as 700,000 vehicles annually. The system is being integrated into a truck console designed and produced by Leggett & Platt, a $4.3 billion commercial shelving giant; it allows users to charge anything from a compatible rechargeable flashlight to a PDA. The tools and other devices now in the pipeline at companies such as Bosch, Energizer, and others will look just like their conventional ancestors. Companies such as Philips Electronics, Olympus, and Logitech will create a standard for products, from flashlights to drills to cell phones to TV remotes, by the end of this year.
TECH 2: Radio-frequency Harvesting
>> THE INDUCTION SYSTEMS are only the beginning. Some of the most visually arresting examples of wireless electricity are based on what's known as radio frequency, or RF. While less efficient, they work across distances of up to 85 feet. In these systems, electricity is transformed into radio waves, which are transmitted across a room, then received by so-called power harvesters and translated back into low-voltage direct current. Imagine smoke detectors or clocks that never need their batteries replaced. Sound trivial? Consider: Last November, to save on labor costs, General Motors canceled the regularly scheduled battery replacement in the 562 wall clocks at its Milford Proving Ground headquarters. This technology is already being used by the Department of Defense. This year, it will be available to consumers in the form of a few small appliances and wireless sensors; down the road, it will appear in wireless boxes into which you can toss any and all of your electronics for recharging.
TECH 3: Magnetically Coupled Resonance
Availability: 12-18 months
>> INVENTED BY MIT'S SOLJACIC (who has dubbed it WiTricity), the technique can power an entire room, assuming the room is filled with enabled devices. Though WiTricity uses two coils -- one powered, one not, just like eCoupled's system -- it differs radically in the following way: Soljacic's coils don't have to be close to each other to transfer energy. Instead, they depend on so-called magnetic resonance. Like acoustical resonance, which allows an opera singer to break a glass across the room by vibrating it with the correct frequency of her voice's sound waves, magnetic resonance can launch an energetic response in something far away. In this case, the response is the flow of electricity out of the receiving coil and into the device to which it's connected. The only caveat is that receiving coil must be properly "tuned" to match the powered coil, in the way that plucking a D string on any tuned piano will set all the D strings to vibrating, but leave all other notes still and silent. (This explains why Soljacic considers the machinery that create these frequencies, and the shape of the coils, top secret.)
Importantly, then, WiTricity doesn't depend on line-of-sight. A powered coil in your basement could power the rest of the house, wirelessly. Will the cat be okay? "Biological organisms are invisible to, and unaffected by, a magnetic field," Soljacic says.* While I am mulling that statement, he tells me the company will not yet reveal the name of its partners because those partnerships haven't been formalized, but they include major consumer electronics brands and some U.S. defense customers.
As has been the tradition since Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison angrily parted ways in 1885, the enormous consumer demand for wireless electricity is begetting intense competition. Last November, a consortium of manufacturers coalesced around Fulton's eCoupled system. But Fulton and WiTricity aren't the only companies fighting to bring wireless electricity to market. WiPower, in Altamonte Springs, Florida, has also created an induction system and says it, too, is close to announcing partnerships. And Pittsburgh-based Powercast, an RF system, sells wireless Christmas ornaments and is testing industrial sensors for release this summer.
Just as Tesla derided his doubters as "nothing more than microbes of a nasty disease," some name-calling is inevitable in this increasingly heated battle. WiPower, for example, insists that the eCoupled technology approach has several problems. "Their system is very sensitive to alignment, and I've heard there's a heating issue," says CEO Ryan Tseng. "Our system is more elegant, much less expensive, and easier for manufacturers to integrate." Meanwhile, Powercast calls Dave Baarman, Fulton Innovation's director of advanced technologies, "irresponsible" for wondering aloud whether RF power solutions could be dangerous around pacemakers and powered wheelchairs. "It's competitive drivel," says Steve Day, Powercast's VP of marketing and strategic planning. "Baarman has been saying this for a couple of years, because what we do will eventually replace what he does."
But as I stand, covering myself, in that featureless suburban conference room, such bickering fades to background noise. Because with Tesla's 100-foot-long lightning bolts and blue grass vivid in my mind, I have a big question: Will Soljacic, the MacArthur Foundation fellow, be able to turn on that Toshiba TV from across the room? Or will I be bathed in a magnetic field so intense my molecules all align to face true north?
After he flips the switch, the little television, 5 feet away, springs to life. Wirelessly. The DVD player inside spins up to a low whine. Colors flicker on the moving screen. And Soljacic's eyes dance with the reflected light of the image.
--------* Soljacic's comment here is grossly misinformed. The science of bioelectromagnetics (See Electromagnetic Fields and Life Processes by T. Valone available at: http://www.integrityresearchinstitute.org/catalog/bioenergy2.html
) was given public visibility during the 1987 NY State Powerline Project Report that correlated three (3) epidemilogical studies showing TWICE the cancer risk to CHRONIC exposure to 60 Hz magnetic fields which are above three (3) milligauss. This is the type that Soljacic seeks to install in homes everywhere which will intentially create chronic exposure (more than eight hours per day). -- FE eNews Ed. note
TECH 4: Tesla's Pulsed Wireless Electricity
Availability: 12 months
Invented by Nikola Tesla and demonstrated in 1903 on Long Island, the 187-foot Wardenclyffe Tower design with a large Van de Graaff mushroom cap for 95% efficient longitudinal transmission of high voltage electrical wavefronts through the earth-ionosphere cavity still has not been equalled by anyone on earth a century later. That is not to say that there is no one that understands how to avoid the Soljacic 60-cycle magnetic fields and choose the much more biologically compatible pulsed EMF style that Tesla invented.
Professors James Corum, Elizabeth Rauscher and Drs. Andrija Puharich, Kurt Van Voorhees, Robert Bass and engineers Toby Grotz, Oliver Nicholsen all understand it and contributed papers to the amazing anthology called, Harnessing the Wheelwork of Nature: Tesla's Science of Energy, edited by Thomas Valone, PhD, PE. It is available through Amazon.com (with 4 book reviews online), the IRI order page
) and your favorite bookstore. Dr. Jim Corum has a working business plan for erecting a prototype tower offshore of the U.S. to broadcast useful electricity that is only dissipated when a receiver actively couples to it miles from the tower. -- FE eNews Ed. note
|US Investigation Into Gravity Weapons 'Nonsense'|
If you think the idea of gravitational waves propelling interplanetary spacecraft sounds like science fiction, you're in good company - any astrophysicist will rubbish the idea out of hand.
However, that didn't stop the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from commissioning a report to investigate whether the elusive waves could pose a threat to US security.
The JASON Defense Advisory Group were also asked to judge whether high-frequency gravitational waves could image the centre of the Earth, or be used for telecommunications.
Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by the movement of an extremely large mass, such as a very dense star.
Yet even those from huge stellar events have been too weak to trip the most sensitive detectors. The best evidence is indirect, coming from observations of how superdense, binary neutron stars lose energy.
Nevertheless, the JASON team was asked to consider a funding proposal from US company GravWave to the DIA that claimed humans could generate strong gravitational waves on Earth, using the Gertsenshtein effect.
This describes how electromagnetic waves travelling through a very strong magnetic field can be converted into gravitational waves.
When the JASON team did the maths, however, results were not good for the plan's supporters.
The technique is so inefficient that it would take longer than the lifetime of the universe for every power station on Earth to produce a gravitational wave with the energy of one ten millionth of a Joule. Accelerating a spacecraft at 10 metres per second squared, a rate that just exceeds the pull of Earth's gravity, would require 1025 times (a 1 followed by 25 zeroes) the electricity output of the world. The report (pdf format) concludes: "These proposals belong to the realm of pseudo-science, not science."
Physicists striving to actually detect gravitational waves expressed surprise that a committee needed a 40-page report to come to that conclusion.
"The proposal is utter nonsense," says Karsten Danzmann from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, Germany, and member of the GEO600 project to detect gravitational waves.
"I'm a bit surprised the agency bothered to commission an investigation - it would probably have been enough to just ask an in-house science advisor," he says.
David Shoemaker, from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a member of the LIGO project to detect gravitational waves, agrees that a quick phone call to a physicist may have been sufficient.
But he quips that given the US defence establishment's history of funding bad science, over-long reports that rubbish such ideas at an early stage may not be a bad thing. "The Department of Defense always have a few projects on the go that disobey the rules of thermodynamics, so I wish they would commission this kind of in-depth study in more cases."
In the mid-1990s and early 2000s the Pentagon spent millions of dollars on developing a quasi-nuclear weapon called the hafnium bomb that was actually based on junk science. When put into that context, perhaps the money spent on a report that prevents similar spending on gravitational wave weapons was actually a good investment.
|A global champion for the massive proliferation of renewable energy: The International Renewable Energy Agency |
Article published in: Droege, P. Ed. 2009. 100 Per Cent Renewable - Energy Autonomy in Action. Earthscan. Reproduced with permission.
From Hermann Scheer, German Parliament Member, Founding President Eurosolar, General Chair, World Council for Renewable Energy
"Mandated by governments worldwide, IRENA aims at becoming the main driving force in promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale. Acting as the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity.
The agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise." (IRENA 2009)
The future of power lies with renewable energies. The limits of fossil and nuclear energy are more than obvious. Civilisation stands at a critical decision point. The global community can continue down the path to self-annihilation by wasting trillions of precious funds in oil drilling, shale, tar sand and frozen methane production, and pursuing hopeless nuclear fission and fusion research. Or it can end the madness of a bygone era and focus its remaining resources on a strategy of survival and prosperity by building an efficient, equitable and sustainable power infrastructure based on renewable energy.
Recognise the limits, in order to overcome them.
The first limitation of the conventional power system is physical. The energy demand of a growing world population increases at a faster pace than the gains in energy efficiency and conservation. Mineral resources are limited. Every thinking person understands that oil, gas, coal and uranium reserves are finite: but not everyone yet understands that production capacity is very likely to be already declining today - while demand continues to soar. This inexorably results in spiralling energy prices, supply shortages in many national economies and social problems for an increasing number of countries and their citizens. Access to energy has become a global political issue. But as long as all eyes are on the old paradigm of power control there is little hope of transcending this dreadful policy and action conundrum, this state of paralysis. The call for 100% renewable energy is essential - to help focus on the far more advanced, essential new energy paradigm.
The direct costs of conventional energies can only rise while those of renewable energies can only fall. Renewable energies are by definition in infinite supply and, with the exception of biomass, their primary source is free. Costs for the production of energy deriving from renewable sources have to be paid for the required technologies, the hardware and services associated with it, but not for fuels. Only biomass derived energy creates source costs due to the agricultural, forestry and other inputs required to grow, manage, harvest and process plants. Cost of technology falls due to economies of scale and the predicted rise in the productivity of the deployed technologies, still comparatively young. Today's higher costs for renewable energies, where these still apply, are essential for an economically viable future energy supply, available everywhere and for everyone. This promising future is closer than most people think, or have us believe, particularly those who have ignored or underestimated the potential of renewable energies. Among these culprits are governments, scientists and dominant sections of the conventional energy sector.
The second limitation imposed by the conventional system of energy supply is ecological. Even if vast new oil, gas or coal reserves were to be found, world civilisation could ill afford their use. The ecosphere's capacity to mitigate damages has already been breached. The switch to renewable energies has to occur now -long before fossil fuels are depleted. The window of effective action may be as small as ten years, perhaps less. We are in a race against time.
But even if man-made global warming or fossil-fuel depletion did not exist, the global energy system would still not be healthy. Their environmental, social and economic costs are enormous. Current energy prices do not reflect these costs - but they are being paid nonetheless. Only renewable energy can liberate society from these shackles.
And yet there are those who regard any sensible response to this existential challenge as an economic burden. This argument is built upon a short-sighted fallacy that has been long unmasked - but continues to cast a heavy shadow on the current energy discussion, in this lingering climate of so-called economic rationalism. The switch to renewable energy promises a number of powerful political, economic, social and ecologic benefits, many of them quantifiable. These are usually overlooked in the laser-like focus at microeconomics, or in the terribly limited and insular cost-comparisons of various energy investments. A macroeconomic, comprehensive view leads to a dramatically different understanding.
Yet while macroeconomic benefits are powerfully evident they cannot deliver microeconomic benefit for every player in the national economy. Well-informed and far-sighted political measures and instruments are mandatory to translate macroeconomic benefits into microeconomic gains and incentives. A good example for this principle is the German renewable energy sources, or feed-in-tariff law. Since renewables so clearly have macroeconomic benefits for society as a whole, they have been supported by law in Germany, initially in the production of electricity. Guaranteed grid-access for renewable electricity, a guaranteed feed-in-tariff - without cap - dramatically lowers the of investment risk for renewable energy producers. This law abolished market barriers stimulating investments effectively.
While it has been obvious for some time that renewable power is essential for a survivable future, most countries are not very well prepared for the inevitable transition. It began to dawn on world governments only recently that renewable policies have to be focused on and promoted. Hence implementation lags massively behind. Many countries encourage the production and use of renewable energy at political and economic levels, but woefully few have drafted and implemented any ambitious policies so far, with the necessary scientific, technological and industrial prerequisites at their disposal. It is no small wonder: the limitless sources of the sun have been marginalised effectively, and methodically rendered irrelevant in the global energy discourse throughout the 20th century.
Institutionalising energy innovation after World War II
In the 1940s and 50ies, energy policy focus began to be trained on nuclear power, in the United States starting with the founding of the Atomic Energy Commission (1947) and President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program (1953). The attitude towards nuclear energy then was the opposite of how renewables are treated until recently: potentials were wildly overstated and the risks woefully underestimated. Virtually all industrialised countries of any ambition felt compelled to bias their national energy strategies towards nuclear. To support this trend, two international institutions were established in 1957: EURATOM in Western Europe, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with its global focus. The establishment of the latter was welcomed by the United Nations but not embraced as part of the UN family. 82 UN member states negotiated the Treaty in 1956 which entered into force the following year.
The IAEA is not only charged with preventing the abuse of fissile material. It also carries the mandate to help governments develop nuclear energy programmes, to facilitate technology transfer and build human resource capacities. Yet atomic energy's star, once shining so bright, has long been eclipsing, even if the industry refuses to accept this. The IAEA, half a century old, does well in this self-perpetuating demi-world, with some ,000 employees and an annual budget of more than US$ 250 million.
The quest for an energy agency of the future
Renewable energies represent the very future of global energy supply and yet no adequate agency was created to promote their spread. This glaring imbalance between societal demand and policy support alone provides a powerful motive for setting up an agency chartered with the massive spread of renewables: IRENA. The call to establish an International Renewable Energy Agency was raised for the first time 28 years ago in the context of the North-South Commission's Report chaired by former German Chancellor Willy Brandt. The establishment of such agency has been recommended in the final resolution of the first UN conference on renewable energy in Nairobi in 1981, the Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy. Nevertheless, these recommendations remained largely unheeded. It was argued that it would suffice to entrust existing UN-organisations with the promotion of renewable power.
Yet the need to squarely focus on promoting renewables internationally grew steadily. The 1973 oil crisis showed plainly that the oil age would not last forever. To primarily help monitor and manage security of fossil supplies, the OECD countries established the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974, called for by Henry Kissinger a year earlier:
"... the answer could only be ... a massive effort to provide producers an incentive to increase their supply, to encourage consumers to use existing supplies more rationally and to develop alternative energy sources" (Henry Kissinger, December 1973)
Because of its focus on the needs of industrialised, largely oil-consuming countries the IEA did not evolve into a UN Agency either - it was soon regarded as a "Club of the Rich." After EURATOM and IAEA a third international organisation covering energy matters had thus been established. All three maintain powerful industry and government links - part of a dangerous collusion to exclude renewable energy from mainstream discourse and policy platforms.
Although most industrialised nations announced initial research and development programmes for renewable energy after the oil crisis, the priority of research and development funding lay elsewhere. When oil prices declined in the early 80ies, most countries scaled back their nascent renewable initiatives. This soon triggered unrest. The eighties and nineties witnessed a growing and widespread unease about the mounting nuclear and fossil energy dependence, its risks and its costs. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the Three Mile Island near-melt down in 1978 a year after the plan's commissioning, and a series of other mishaps combined with the madness of the atomic arms race to compound the strong resistance to nuclear power. The nineties, with climate change reports growing increasingly alarming, saw a further surge in criticism of the fossil energy conundrum. But these calls reached the mainstream international energy discussion terribly late - so entrenched was the belief that there would not be a realistic alternative to conventional energies.
To help counter this myth, various scientific studies were conducted, to show that a complete energy supply with renewables would be feasible. Examples include a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States in 1979; a publication of the Club de Bellevue, an initiative of scientists from leading French research institutes; or a Europe-wide study released by the Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg (Austria) in 1982. The technical capacity to transform the global energy system clearly existed, the societal need clearly existed, and yet there were no international policy sources or high-level advocates to help bring about choices, and pave the way for a massive shift towards renewables.
In 1990, the European Association for Renewable Energies, EUROSOLAR drafted the first comprehensive memorandum on establishing IRENA, publishing it widely. At the invitation of the former energy commissioner of the UN Secretary General, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, I presented this memorandum at the United Nations headquarter in New York. UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar responded by establishing a task force, the UNSEGED, United Nations Solar Energy Group on Environment and Development. UNSEGED, chaired by Prof. Thomas Johansson, concluded that the establishment of an International Renewable Energy Agency was necessary. This proposal was aiming at the Rio-Conference of 1992 - it was expected that this conference would establish the agency. At the invitation of the US Senate, the Interparliamentary Conference on the Global Environment took place in Washington in 1991, chaired by Senator Al Gore. At this conference, I proposed that the Conference's resolution should also speak in favour of the establishment of an IRENA. This proposal was adopted unanimously.
But opposition soon rose, for various reasons. Existing UN organisations that were partly active in the field of renewables, but with far less sweeping capability than what the IRENA initiative implied, spoke out against the establishment of the agency. Some OPEC states saw IRENA as potential threat opposing its establishment. The idea was also rejected by those that simply lacked the vision to see the potential for renewable energy sources to supply the world's energy needs. Finally and predictably, the conventional energy organisations resisted the emergence of a new and focused agency. Until this date, even though the need for a renewable world vision has become so overwhelming no-one has been able to explain how the global spread of renewables can be carried without an appropriately empowered and newly chartered institution dedicated to the global renewable revolution, and matching the charters and impact of, say, an IAEA or IEA.
For many years, at international conferences in numerous countries, I have advocated the establishment of IRENA. Prerequisite for the founding has always been that one or more governments would take the initiative and build a coalition of like-minded countries. To avoid the notorious compromises and lack of a clear focus of past United Nations and other efforts the focus was on purely intergovernmental alliances, an entirely new initiative free of historical shackles. One important recent milestone on the way towards establishing IRENA has been the 2004 International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies, which was hosted by the German Parliament, taking place in parallel to the governmental conference 'Renewables2004'. I convened 300 members of parliament from 70 countries to take part in this conference.
The Final Resolution states:
"Promoting renewables requires new institutional measures in the field of international cooperation. To facilitate technology transfer on renewables and energy efficiency and to develop and promote policy strategies, the most important institutional measure is to establish an International Renewable Energy Agency ..., which should be set up as an international intergovernmental organization. Membership would be voluntary, and all governments should have the opportunity to join at any time. The Agency's primary tasks would be to advise governments and international organizations on the development of policy and funding strategies for renewables use, to promote international non-commercial technology transfer, and to provide training and development."
On 26 and 27 January 2009 IRENA's founding conference and inaugural preparatory commission meetings were held in Bonn, with 75 inaugural signatories and more than 120 participating nations. This move was necessary and long overdue, for reasons that have now become plain and commonplace. IRENA's success will be measured by how effectively it pursues the goal of a fossil-fuel and nuclear free world.
Contact: Nina Alsen, office of Hermann Scheer MP
Tel: 0049 30 227 73836
World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE)
c/o EUROSOLAR e.V.
GermanyPhone +49 (0)228 / 36 23 - 73 or - 75
Fax: +49 (0)228 / 36 12 - 13 or - 79
|Abu Dhabi Pushes for Renewable Energy Headquarters|
Abu Dhabi will become a founding member of a global organisation dedicated to renewable energy and aggressively push to have the group's headquarters in the emirate, the chief executive of Masdar said on Wednesday.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will lead a delegation to Bonn, Germany, next week to sign the founding treaty of the International Agency for Renewable Energies (Irena), said Dr Sultan al Jaber, the Masdar chief who will also attend.
"We will express our keen interest in hosting the Irena in Masdar City," Dr al Jabar said on the last day of the World Future Energy Summit in the capital. "We are going to aggressively pursue that."
Irena will compile information on renewables and co-ordinate technology sharing between member states. Irena organisers say that about 40 countries are expected to sign the treaty, including Germany, Spain and Denmark.
The founding conference is scheduled in Bonn on Monday and Tuesday.
Abu Dhabi has rapidly assumed a leading global position in alternative energy development, with an initial investment of US$15 billion (Dh55bn) in Masdar, the alternative energy company backed by Mubadala, the business-investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government.
Mr al Jaber said Abu Dhabi wanted Irena's headquarters to be at Masdar City, the world's first carbon emission-free urban development, which is being built on the outskirts of the capital.
At the energy summit's closing ceremony yesterday Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, called on world leaders not to lose sight of the urgency of the climate crisis because of the global financial crisis.
"It is hard with this immediate challenge to focus on the long-term challenge of climate change but it is necessary," Mr Blair said. "Now is the moment when our responsibility to future generations should be answered."
He congratulated Barack Obama on his inauguration as US president and called for an active US role in a new global climate treaty, expected to be sealed in Denmark at the end of the year.
"2009 should be the year we summon the will and wit to conclude a new treaty on climate change, one that should have the United States as a signatory," Mr Blair said.
"The decisions of 2009 will determine the world in 2029 or 2049. Let us put economic growth and combating climate change in alliance, not opposition."
Mr Blair said the developing world and oil-producing states must contribute to solutions to the problem of global warming, as emission reductions in the industrialised world alone would not be enough to stabilise greenhouse-gas levels.
"Over time, the same reduction in emissions will have to happen in the developing world too, notably India and China." Mr Blair said. "The climate does not distinguish upon the origin of emissions."
He stressed the importance of setting medium-term targets for reducing carbon emissions, not just a long-term target for 2050, to show "seriousness of intent and give business a clear and unequivocal signal that it should invest in a low-carbon future".
Mr Blair said that to enable developing nations to meet their obligations, the industrialised world must be prepared to share technology, but some solutions were simply a matter of increasing efficiency and enhancing conservation.
Available technologies can achieve more than 70 per cent of all climate change reduction needs, but other technological solutions need to be developed further to become mainstream.
Mr Blair referred to solar power, electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage - technology that is still in its infancy, but which he believes must be pursued.
"More than 70 per cent of new power stations in China and India in the next decade will be coal-fired," he said, explaining that while efforts to ban coal altogether will not be realistic, making coal cleaner is a must.
He also called for a "renaissance for nuclear power", while conceding that might be opposed by some environmental groups.
Abu Dhabi is on the verge of starting a nuclear energy programme and is also investing heavily to build the world's first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project.
Mr Blair saw the Masdar initiative as an extension of the beliefs of the late Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the nation.
"Sheikh Zayed was a conservationist and environmentalist long before it was fashionable," he said. "Well done, Masdar, on what you have done and what you will do. You are an example to the world."firstname.lastname@example.org@thenational.ae
|Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Receives $1.2 Million to Test Hydrogen-Born Fusion|
After IRI helped Eric Lerner to incorporate and wrote a business plan, with several original graphs and drawings six years ago, for Eric's focus fusion project, along with posting it on the old IRI website, investors kept showing their support for his lab. Now Eric's company has received the final phase of funding from The Abell Foundation and individual investors to undertake a two-year experimental project to test its scientific feasibility. - Ed note
Adapted by Sterling D. Allan, Pure Energy Systems Network.
Imagine a non-polluting power plant, the size of a local gas station, that would quietly and safely power 4,000 homes, for a few tenths of a penny per kilowatt-hour, compared to 4-6 cents/kw-h of coal or natural-gas-powered plants. One technician could operate two dozen of these stations remotely. The fuel, widely available, is barely spent in the clean fusion method, and would only need to be changed annually.
That is what physicist Eric Lerner envisions with his focus fusion technology in which hydrogen and boron combine into helium, while giving off tremendous amounts of energy in the process. Hydrogen-boron fuel produces almost no neutrons and allows the direct conversion of energy into electricity.
The size and power output would make it ideal for providing localized power, reducing transmission losses and large-grid vulnerabilities. The cost and reliability would make it affordable for developing nations and regions.
We first reported on Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) Inc., a small research and development company based in West Orange, NJ, back in Nov. 2, 2005. They were the very first technology we at the New Energy Congress added to out Global Top 100 Clean Energy Technologies listing.
In December, LLP announced that they had received $1.2 million in funding for the initiation of a two-year-long experimental project to test the scientific feasibility of Focus Fusion, controlled nuclear fusion using the Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) device and hydrogen-boron fuel. The goals of the experiment are first, to confirm the achievement the high temperatures first observed in previous experiments at Texas A&M University; second, to greatly increase the efficiency of energy transfer into the tiny plasmoid where the fusion reactions take place; third, to achieve the high magnetic fields needed for the quantum magnetic field effect which will reduce cooling of the plasma by x-ray emission; and finally, to use pB11 fuel to demonstrate greater fusion energy production than energy fed into the plasma (positive net energy production).
In a phone interview on Feb. 10, Eric Lerner, President of LPP, said that they are under way, renting a facility, hiring two physicists, and ordering equipment.
The experiment will be carried out in an experimental facility in New Jersey using a newly-built dense plasma focus device capable of reaching peak currents of more than 2 mega-amps. This will be the most powerful DPF in North America and the second most powerful in the world. For the millionth of the second that the DPF will be operating during each pulse, its capacitor bank will be supplying about one third as much electricity as all electric generators in the United States.
A small team of three plasma physics will perform the experiments: Eric Lerner; Dr. XinPei Lu and Dr. Krupakar Murali Subramanian. Mr. Lerner has been involved in the development of Focus Fusion for over 20 years. Dr. Lu is currently Professor of Physics at HuaZhong Univ. of Sci. & Tech., Wuhan, China, where he received his PhD in 2001. He has been working in the field of pulsed plasmas for over 14 years and is the inventor of an atmospheric-pressure cold plasma jet. Dr. Subramanian is currently Senior Research Scientist, AtmoPla Dept., and BTU International Inc., in N. Billerica, Massachusetts. He worked for five years on the advanced-fuel Inertial Electrostatic Confinement device at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received his PhD in 2004 and where he invented new plasma diagnostic instruments.
To help in the design of the capacitor bank, LPP has hired for two months a leading expert in DPF design and experiment, Dr. John Thompson. Dr. Thompson has worked for over twenty years with Maxwell Laboratories and Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation to develop pulsed power devices, including DPFs and diamond switches.
The $1.2 million for the project has been provided by a $500,000 investment from The Abell Foundation, Inc, of Baltimore Maryland and additional investments from a small number of individuals.
The basic technology of LPP's approach is covered by a patent application, which was allowed in full by the US Patent Office in November. LPP expects the patent to be issued shortly.
Previous Coverage by PESN
- Focus Fusion poses competition to Tokamak - Purports to be a far more feasible and profoundly less expensive approach to hot fusion, in contrast to what the international project (ITER) in France is pursuing. Lawrenceville Plasma Physics is currently researching and developing the Plasma Focus Device for hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion. (PESN; Nov. 2, 2005)
- Top 100: Fusion / Focus Fusion >
U.S., Chilean Labs to Collaborate on Testing Scientific Feasibility of Focus Fusion - Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and Chilean Nuclear Commission initiate a three-year, three-phase experimental collaboration to duplicate earlier results, improve and optimize efficiencies, and test alternate input fuels in the focus fusion process. (PESN; Mar. 18, 2006)
- Top 100: Fusion / Focus Fusion >
Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Submits Patent Application - The patent covers the use of high magnetic fields in the production of fusion energy, the injection of angular momentum into the plasma sheath, and a new method of converting X-ray energy into electricity; as well as how to combine these into a functional fusion energy reactor. (PESN; Mar. 18, 2006)
- Top 100: Fusion / Focus Fusion >
Sandia Z-Pinch and Texas A&M Focus Fusion Compared - Billion-degree fusion reported by Eric Lerner, et al. at Texas A&M University in 2001 has been duplicated recently by a variation set-up at Sandia National Laboratories. The two processes are compared. (PESN; Mar. 18, 2006)
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Tiny Solar Cells Built to Power Microscopic Machines (AIP)
Published: November 10, 2008, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Some of the tiniest solar cells ever built have been successfully tested as a power source for even tinier microscopic machines. An article in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE), published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), describes an inch-long array of 20 of these cells -- each one about a quarter the size of a lowercase "o" in a standard 12-point font.
The cells were made of an organic polymer and were joined together in an experiment aimed at proving their ability to power tiny devices that can be used to detect chemical leaks and for other applications, says Xiaomei Jiang, who led the research at the University of South Florida.
Traditional solar cells, such as the commercial type installed on rooftops, use a brittle backing made of silicon, the same sort of material upon which computer chips are built. By contrast, organic solar cells rely upon a polymer that has the same electrical properties of silicon wafers but can be dissolved and printed onto flexible material.
"I think these materials have a lot more potential than traditional silicon," says Jiang. "They could be sprayed on any surface that is exposed to sunlight -- a uniform, a car, a house."
Jiang and her colleagues fabricated their array of 20 tiny solar cells as a power source for running a microscopic sensor for detecting dangerous chemicals and toxins. The detector, known as a microeletromechanical system (MEMS) device, is built with carbon nanotubes and has already been tested using ordinary DC power supplied by batteries. When fully powered and hooked into a circuit, the carbon nanotubes can sensitively detect particular chemicals by measuring the electrical changes that occur when chemicals enter the tubes. The type of chemical can be distinguished by the exact change in the electrical signal.
The device needs a 15-volt power source to work, so far and Jiang's solar cell array can provide about half of that -- up to 7.8 volts in their laboratory tests. The next step, she says, is to optimize the device to increase the voltage and then combine the miniature solar array to the carbon nanotube chemical sensors. Jiang estimates they will be able to demonstrate this level of power with their next generation solar array by the end of the year.
Read the full text article "Fabrication of organic solar array for applications in microelectromechanical systems."
Listen to the co-editor of the journal, P. Craig Taylor, discuss the article and the new journal (NPR.org).
Fabrication of organic solar array for applications in microelectromechanical systems
J. Renewable Sustainable Energy 1, 013101 (January 2009);
Published 6 November 2008
Jason Lewis, Jian Zhang, and Xiaomei Jiang
Department of Physics, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA
We have developed an innovative way to fabricate organic solar arrays for application in dc power supplies for electrostatic microelectromechanical systems devices. A solar array with 20 miniature cells interconnected in series was fabricated and characterized. Photolithography was used to isolate the individual cells and output contacts of the array, whereas the thermal-vacuum deposition is employed to make the series connections of the array. With 1 mm2 for single cell and a total device area of 2.2 cm2, the organic solar array based on bulk heterojunction structure of -conjugated polymers and C60 derivative [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester produced an open-circuit voltage of 7.8 V and a short-circuit current of 55 µA under simulated air mass (AM) 1.5 illumination with an intensity of 132 mW/cm2. The procedure described here has the full potential for use in future fabrication of microarray with the size as small as 0.01 mm2. ©2009 American Institute of Physics
History:Received 11 August 2008; accepted 11 September 2008; published 6 November 2008
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