giovedì 16 luglio 2009

Ambitious European initiative will bring solar energy from Sahara

Investing in the desert!

A consortium of European companies, mainly from Germany, starts an ambitious 400 billion plan to build giant power plants in the Sahara and the Middle East, which will cover 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050.

The draft Industrial Desertec Initiative will cover a total area of 9000 square kilometers-about-Crete as in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The collection of solar energy will occupy 2,500 square kilometers, while the rest are in an advanced distribution network.

Approximately 80% of energy supplies will be producing countries, while the remainder will be distributed in Europe.

H Desertec initiative says the French News Agency, was officially launched Monday in Munich with the signing of an agreement among 12 companies, most based in Germany. Support project also companies from Algeria and Spain, and officials in Egypt and Jordan.

It also welcomed the initiative by Greenpeace, which found that «a quarter of global electricity production could come from solar energy in deserts.


«In the Sahara, the duration of sunshine reaching the 4,800 hours a year [...] solar units will cover an area of 90,000 square kilometers could meet the energy needs of the world» appreciates the energy sector of Siemens, which involved in Desertec with solar and wind technologies and power systems.

The initiative is based on the technology of photovoltaics, which convert sunshine directly into electricity.

The design is based on thermal plants, which consist of arrays of mirrors that reflect radiation in a central focal point. From there the heat is transported through pipes to a liquid filled atmoilektriki generator that produces electricity.

The plan also provides for the construction of wind farms and desalination plants for producing countries.

Transnational action

A study completed jointly by the Desertec, Greenpeace and the environmental research institute of Voupertal estimates the project will generate around two million jobs.

It will also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in Europe and countries of production, and support the economies of North Africa, perhaps limiting the wave of immigration from Europe.

Obstruction in the overall project could be the huge cost of 400 billion, although the Desertec estimates that 10 billion is enough for the first phase of the project.

The cost of energy production could also be prohibitively expensive for poor countries' production and therefore the Greenpeace calls to subsidize the purchase cost.

Potential obstacle is the political instability in the region, which Desertec hopes to avoid increasing the number of participating countries and supporting their economic development.

Reservations for the initiative was the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, which described the project «eco-colonialism».

giovedì 12 marzo 2009

Revolutionary lithium battery is charging instantly!!

A «ntoped» lithium battery developed by researchers at MIT promises to lead a few years in mobile phones loaded in seconds, laptop computers «fill» a minute and electric cars have to stay in the outlet just five minutes.

The new battery, which is presented in leading British journal Nature, is constructed from materials that are already in mass production of battery-this means that new technology could be exploited commercially within two to three years.


The lithium ion batteries currently used in a huge range of electrical appliances, from mobile phones to hybrid vehicles. Although capable of storing large amounts of energy per unit weight, have the disadvantage of slow be recharged.

The problem is due to the low rate at which lithium ions move through the device.

The lithium batteries «essentially devices that move lithium ions between two electrodes» explains on the website of the Nature o Gkermprant Senter Massachusetts Institute of Technology, headed the study.

Batteries generate electricity when the ions released from the anode electrode, pass through an electrolyte, and ultimately bound by the opposite electrode descent. To recharge the battery, the process is simply reversed.

The researchers were able to dramatically accelerate the process with a small modification to the equipment already used in the cathode electrode of lithium batteries (lithium-iron phosphate).

The coating of the electrode with a thin layer of lithium phosphate facilitates the entry of ions in microscopic tunnels that are in the crystalline structure of the material and thus drastically reduces the recharge time.

Using this new technique, researchers have created prototype battery to fully charged within 9 to 20 seconds.

Since they did not use «exotic» materials, say confident that the technique could easily be adapted for commercial use. Manufacturers of batteries «could do a few years,» said Senter to Reuters.

The only problem, the researcher noted, is that the wiring used for recharging should be strengthened to withstand the extra power.

domenica 15 febbraio 2009

Will Jatropha save the biofuel revolution?

The fruit pods plucked from Jatropha trees have seeds that produce burning diesel fuel (clean). And doesn't compete with food crops for arable land. It grows like weeds even in the worst of soil!
Jatropha and algae can revive the biofusel movement acused to divert too much crops from too many mouths.
Only India set aside 100.000.000 acres for jatropha cultivation and expects that oil produced will be 20% of its diesel consumption just by 2011!Also Australia, Brazil, Cina and Kenya are interested on it. A boing 747 was successfuly tested by Air New Zealand using a 50-50 blend of Jatropha and normal aviation fuel!!
The trees are native to the Caribbean (jatrophas curcas) and were taken to India by portugese sailors in the 1600s who used the seed for long burning lamp oil.
The fuel emits very little green house gases and the trees can capture 9 tons of CO2 per hectare, so that growers can ask carbon credits on the global markets.