We are finalizing our speaker
list for the upcoming Conference on Future
Energy section (www.futurenergy.org ) of
the ExtraOrdinary Tech Conference in July, 2016 and still can
accept abstract submissions from potential speakers on energy,
propulsion, or bioenergetics at email@example.com .
Another relevant topic to IRI
is the annual Commercial Space Transportation
Conference which will be held here in DC on Feb. 2-3,
2016 where the FAA, DARPA and SpaceX are contributing
speakers http://www.faacst2016.com/ .
For those wondering about how a homopolar motor could ever
produce a self-propelled device, check out the latest
"Magnet Car with AA Battery" on the K&J Magnetics
website, which includes a How-To video http://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp .
It may revive interest in my book, The Homopolar Handbook,
which is still in print from IRI. Thanks to Ron Kita for the
Magnet Car info.
How about global warming
effects? Well, I attended "Arctic Matters" at the
National Academy of Science here in DC and got an eye-opener
regarding the arctic climate events. Alaska, for example, has
more renewable energy power plants than any other state in the
nation and I have invited the presenter to come to our COFE8 as
well. If you would like to get an Arctic Matters
poster, suitable for framing, visit http://nas-sites.org/arctic/2015/08/20/arctic-matters-poster/ and
you can print one out or have it mailed to you. Also, another big
concern lately has been the California methane leak at 50
megagrams/hour for six months. Doing the math, including a rough
estimate of about 20x more potent than CO2, the total effect that
the leak will contribute to the atmosphere is equivalent to
about 5 million tons of CO2. However, when we look at the
several billion tons of CO2 every major country is
emitting each year (see PDF poster http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/31/world-carbon-dioxide-emissions-country-data-co2 ),
the methane leak is sadly about a thousand times less
This month we start off with
Story #1 as a summary article of Energy Transformation of 2015,
which amazingly, shows a trend away from fossil fuels last year
in what is called a "decisive shift" comparable to 1973
during the oil embargo. The adoption of renewable, clean energy
hit record rates which were not diminished by cheap oil.
Story #2 is a similar trend
with the Faraday car emerging as competition to the Tesla car but
in a new class of sports car, with four electric motors, one for
each wheel, embedded smartphone, and top speed of 200 mph.
Ever wonder how to create your
own "Energy Harvester"? Well, Mark Dansie has the
answer with Story #3, complete with diagrams and photos. Time to
start on "zero-power" electronics for your projects and
our projects too, here at IRI.
We always like big power output
from new energy concepts. Our Story #4 delivers such a
breakthrough with 7 kW from a bunch of plastic grass strips that
sway in the wind on a 300 sq. m. rooftop, which is not that big
(maybe 30 meters by 10 meters for example). The triboelectric
effect from the indium tin oxide coating seems to be a long
lasting product, not dependent on certain wind speeds but even
wind gusts that turbines often miss. Full article "Lawn
Structured Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Scavenging Sweeping
Wind Energy on Rooftops" from Wiley Advanced Materials is at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/adma.201504462/full .
Lastly, for those wondering
about commercial plants, the largest fuel cell plant has just
been approved for 63 megawatts from a hydrogen fuel source in our
Story #5. In a related story, the update on clean nuclear
reactors for hundreds of megawatts that are designed to be safe
and emission-free, such as the molten-salt reactors, includes one
that finally has been approved for construction by private
investors. A Canadian startup pursuing an advanced
molten-salt nuclear reactor just received significant outside
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Transformation in 2015
By Richard Martin,
MIT Technology Review
Like 1973, the year 2015 marked a decisive shift in
the world's energy economy.
The ongoing decline in oil
prices, which began as early as 2012, accelerated noticeably in
2015. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil price fell to
$34.53 a barrel on December 18, lower than it's been since before
the financial crash of 2008, with no floor in sight. Goldman
Sachs has predicted that oil could fall as low as $20 a barrel, a
development that would cripple most oil-producing economies and
have geopolitical ripple effects for years to come. At the same
time, the price of natural gas remains near historic lows. Cheap
oil and natural gas are conventionally thought to be negative
influences on the adoption of renewable energy, lessening the
incentives of businesses and consumers to give up fossil fuels.
But that doesn't seem to have slowed the shift away from fossil
fuels in 2015.
Electricity generation from fossil fuels through the first nine
months of 2015 barely climbed from the same period in 2014, while
power from solar PV increased 48 percent. And oil consumption in
the United States, the world's largest oil market, is on a
long-term downward trend: between now and 2040, according to the
International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook, U.S. oil
consumption will fall by nearly four million barrels per day,
returning to the levels of the 1960s.
Indeed, the adoption of clean energy hit record rates in 2015.
Analysts at GTM Research, in their report "The Future of
U.S. Solar," noted that total solar power installations to
date in the United States reached 26 gigawatts at the end of
2015-and forecast that they'll reach nearly 10 times that by 2030.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for 140 gigawatts
of installed solar capacity by 2020, a goal that would entail
adding as much capacity each year for the next five years as had
been installed, in history, in the U.S. up until the end of 2014.
Because solar power is intermittent, its capacity factor-the
percentage of generation capacity that is actually used-is low
compared to, for instance, coal or nuclear plants. And solar will
remain in the low single digits as a source of electricity. But
it is by any measure the fastest growing segment of the
electricity industry. As the International Energy Agency put it,
"An energy sector transition is underway in many parts of
Helping to make such forecasts plausible was the move by Congress,
at the end of the year, to extend the tax credits for solar and
wind power projects for another five years (see "Congress
Extends Tax Credits for Renewables"). That piece of
legislation alone will lead to $40 billion in new investment between
now and 2020, according to GTM Research, resulting in 25
gigawatts of additional solar capacity over the next five years.
Clean energy progress in the
U.S., though, is dwarfed by the ambitions of India and China.
India alone intends to add 160 gigawatts of new renewable
capacity by 2022, including 100 gigawatts of solar, which would
represent by far the largest addition of new renewable power
generation in history (see "India's Energy Crisis").
The plans laid out in 2015 by India's prime minister, Narendra
Modi, and his minister of energy, Piyush Goyal, could mark a new
path to development for poor countries that lack oil reserves.
China and India both have huge ambitions for nuclear power as
well. Beijing plans to build six to eight nuclear reactors a year
through 2020, and by 2030, if its hopes materialize, should have
the 110 reactors, the largest nuclear power fleet in the world.
The year also marked the first time in history that carbon
emissions fell even as the world economy grew. U.S. coal
consumption fell by 10.5 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to
the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and while coal use in
growing economies like India (now the fastest growing emitter of
greenhouse gases) and China is expected to keep climbing for some
years, the rate of growth is already slowing. Indeed, coal demand
in China plateaued in 2015, indicating that the burning of coal
by the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide could level off
well before analysts expected it to.
The biggest signpost on the energy highway was the signing of the
Paris accord on climate change (see "Paris Climate Agreement
Rests on Shaky Technological Foundations"). While the
agreement failed to achieve what most climate activists hoped
for-legally binding targets for emissions cuts, curbs on the
production of fossil fuels, and a price on carbon-it nevertheless
marked the first time that world leaders agreed to specific
measures to reduce greenhouse gases and limit the rise of global
temperatures. It was not the end of the fossil fuel era, but it
may well have been the beginning of the end.
2) There's Way More
To Faraday Future Than a Crazy Concept Car
FARADAY FUTURE, THE long
secretive electric car startup, has come out of stealth mode.
It's been hiding something crazy.
In Las Vegas tonight, Tesla's
newest competitor unveiled the FFZERO1, a wild-eyed, single-seat
concept that combines elements of the Batmobile, a Le Mans racer,
some switchblades, and a fighter jet.
The four electric motors (one
at each wheel) combined deliver more than 1,000 horsepower,
enough to send the car from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds
and to a top speed of 200 mph. The driver sits at a 45-degree
angle, the steering wheel seems nicked from an F1 car, and has an
But the concept-as
brain-swirling and nonsensical as it is-isn't the most
interesting thing about Faraday. The Los Angeles-based company
insists it's more than another automotive startup with a
crazy-looking, over-powered car. It says it's here to
fundamentally rethink how cars are made, and what they're made
"We must anticipate the
future and act upon it with speed," says Nick Sampson,
Faraday's head of R&D.
The startup promises a
subscription model, which, paired with the car's ability to drive
itself, will let you order the car up to your door whenever you
want it. Faraday says it will build cars on a "variable
platform architecture," allowing it to produce a variety of
models with different battery packs and motor configurations. The
idea is to move much faster than the auto industry's
traditionally pokey pace, and building everything off one
platform helps that along.
Faraday is backed by Chinese
Internet billionaire Jia Yueting-the founder of "China's
Netflix," LeTV. It has already signed a $1 billion deal to
build a factory in North Las Vegas, and plans to break ground in
a few weeks. It has more than 500 employees, and expects that to
double this year. They include design head Richard Kim, who
designed BMW's striking i8 and funky i3 electric cars.
That's a good start, but the
auto industry is notoriously unwelcoming to newcomers. Faraday
promises a lot-Sampson compares it to Apple at the launch of the
iPhone-but it hasn't done anything just yet. Now it's got to
By Mark Dansie,
Revolution Green, Dec, 2015
Mark found a good analysis of
what free energy flows are around and how they can be harvested,
and we thought this would be useful as a reference for people who
want to make real devices that actually work. The download link is;
here, and it's around 3.8Mbyte.
It covers what sort of energy
you might expect to find in the environment and how efficiently
you can convert it to usable power, and so rather than spend a
long time talking about what it says I'll quote some bits and
pieces here and leave you to read the original document and make
your own decisions.
"Zero-power'' self-sustainable standalone electronics
operation is one of the most important issues in today's
low-power electronics for smart environments (Internet of Things,
smart skins, smart cities, etc.). Energy-harvesting
technologies harnessing energy from ambient power sources, such
as vibration, heat, and electromagnetic waves, have recently
attracted significant attention, and numerous energy-harvesting
systems, including energy-harvesting devices, topologies, and
circuitries, have been developed for ''zero-power''
self-sustainable standalone electronics. Among the multiple
ambient energy sources, the wireless energy-harvesting technology
has dramatically grown recently due to prevalence of wireless
signals, such as TV, radio, cellular, satellite, and WiFi
signals, especially after the early 1990s. The concept of
wireless energy harvesting has been raised by Nikola Tesla
and Heinrich Hertz: radiate wireless power to free space and
convert the wireless power to usable direct current (dc) power.
This concept of wireless power transfer requires no motion,
pressure, or heat flows to generate power.
4) Wind Whips Plastic Grass for Power
TECHNOLOGY NEWS 6 January 2016
THE wind flowing over your roof is packed with
energy, if you could only harness it. A new type of wind power
generator carpets a surface with plastic strips that sway in the wind
like grass, producing renewable energy where traditional
windmills would be impractical.
The generator is made by fixing flexible strips of
plastic to a board, so they stand upright like rows of dominoes.
The strips have nanowires etched on one side and a coating of
indium tin oxide (ITO) on the other. When the strips flail in the
wind, the nanowires slap against the ITO surface of neighbouring
strips. This temporary contact allows electrons to leap from one
material to the other, creating a current through a phenomenon
known as the triboelectric effect.
Covering a 300-square-metre rooftop with the strips
"would be expected to deliver an electrical energy of 7.11
kW, which should mostly power a household," says
Wigang Yang at Southwest Jiaotong University in
Yang worked on the project with Zhong Lin
Wang's group at the Georgia Institute of Technology in
Atlanta. The goal was to tap energy not just from steady wings,
but from the choppy gusts typical of built-up areas too.
"Compared with a wind turbine, our triboelectric
nanogenerator (TENG) is effective at harvesting the energy from
natural wind blowing in any direction," says Yang. He adds
that the harvesting system is simple to make, and easy to scale
to larger systems.
So far, the generator has only been tested in the
lab, aiming an electric fan at a model rooftop covered with 60
strips. This generated enough electricity to light up 60 LEDs.
The strips work at wind speeds as low as 21 kilometres per hour,
but the most useful power was generated with direct wind at
almost 100 km/h - or storm force 10.
That's neither easily available nor desirable, says
Fernando Galembeck, who investigates energy harvesting at
the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.
"Significant amounts of power are obtained but we are still
far from installing these devices on our rooftops and building
Galembeck says that, as with any energy scavenging
technique, energy storage will be crucial for the
system's success, allowing the variable amounts of power
generated in gentle winds to be stored until needed.
Yang says they are seeking a storage solution, as
well as working on integrating the nanogenerator with solar
panels to boost output.
Galembeck also points out that indium tin oxide isn't
a suitable material, due to its poor mechanical properties, cost
and toxicity. "The concept is highly promising but its
realisation depends on shifting to other materials," he
5) Largest Fuel Cell Plant
Approved in Connecticut
In news which many FuelCell
Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FCEL) shareholders had been waiting for, last
night it was reported that the state of Connecticut has approved
a massive fuel cell plant in Beacon Hill, which once constructed,
will be the world's largest. The Connecticut Council voted 5-0 to
approve this project, which FuelCell Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FCEL)
will be taking on. It will ultimately be four megawatts larger
than the previous record holding plant in South Korea. The new
63-megawatt plant, which will suffciently power 60,000 homes in
the Beaon Hill area, is expected to come online sometime in 2019.
The plant will be constructed
on 10 acres of land and take approximately 21 months to build
once ground is broken at the end of this year. Shares of FuelCell
Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FCEL) are trading up $0.83 or 15.6% in the
pre-market this morning as investors clearly see this as a
massive new contract for the company, which has a market cap of
just $139 million. The stock closed at $5.32 during the last
trading session. It is down 63.66% since June 4, 2015 and is downtrending.
It has underperformed the S&P500 by 58.97%.
The institutional sentiment
decreased to 0.94 in Q2 2015. It's down 0.77, from 1.71 in
2015Q2. The ratio is negative, as 13 funds sold all their
FuelCell Energy Inc shares they owned while 35 reduced their
positions. 11 funds bought stakes while 34 increased their total
positions. Institutions now own 73.96 million shares which is
2.71% more than the previous share count of 72.01 million in
Morgens Waterfall Vintiadis
& Co Inc holds 1.28% of its total portfolio in FuelCell
Energy Inc, equating to 3.15 million shares. Loeb Partners Corp
owns 1.93 million shares representing 0.52% of their total US
portfolio. Moreover, Ecofin Ltd has 0.33% of their total
portfolio invested in the company, equating to 2.31 million
shares. The New York-based Awm Investment Company Inc. has a
total of 0.25% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Cna
Financial Corp, a Illinois-based fund reported 774,276 shares
FuelCell Energy, Inc. is an
integrated fuel cell company. The company has a market cap of
$139.38 million. The Firm designs, makes, sells, installs,
operates and services ultra-clean, stationary fuel cell power
plants for distributed power generation. It currently has
negative earnings. It provides turn-key power generation
solutions to its customers, including power plant installations,
as well as power plant operation and maintenance.
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