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Renewables
#43
So, in thinking about this thread over the last few days, I was reminded of a book I had purchased a bit ago on my Kindle but hadn't gotten around to reading yet.

Titled: Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

It talks about a number of the issues facing the world and why there is more hope than one might think. I need to actually just sit down and read it cover to cover, but in the immediate term, I started looking at the chapters on energy and water.

Regarding water - some interesting developments:

The Slingshot - Developed by Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway):

From the book:

It's the size of a dorm room refrigerator, with 'a power cord, an intake hose, and an outflow hose'. Stick the intake hose into anything - arsenic-laden water, salt water, the latrine, the holding tanks of a chemical waste treatment plant; really, anything wet - and the outflow is one hundred percent pure pharmaceutical-grade injectable water.

The current version can purify 1,000 liters (250 gallons) of water per day using the same amount of energy it takes to power a hair dryer. The power source is an updated version of a Sterling engine, designed to burn anything. Over a six-month field trial in Bangladesh, the engine ran only on cow dung and provided villagers with enough electricity to charge their cell phones and lights.

It's also designed to run maintenance free for at least five years.

Kamen is apparently partnering with Coca-Cola to distribute the machines across Africa in a pilot program.

But wait, there's more:

A British engineer named Michael Pritchard has invented a filter with pores only 15 nanometers wide. That's sufficient to remove pretty much everything apparently - bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi, etc. One filter lasts long enough to produce six thousand liters of water and the system automatically shuts off when the cartridge expires.

The original tech was designed for disaster relief (Pritchard saw the situation after Hurricane Katrina and was inspired to invent this), but the book goes on to talk about a 'jerry can version of the system', that can produce 25,000 L of water - enough for a family of four for 3 years. It costs just half a cent a day to run.

The inventor says that for 8 billion dollars the system could hit the Millennium Goals target of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water. And for 20 billion, everyone on the planet could have access to safe drinking water.

But wait, there's more:

Researchers at IBM and a Tokyo based company called Central Glass have developed a nanofilter capable of removing both salt an arsenic from water.

A company in the UAE has developed a form of hydrophobic sand. A 10cm layer placed beneath desert topsoil decreases water loss by 75 percent.

A Los Angeles based company called NanoH2O has developed a filter for use in reverse osmosis desalination plants that uses 20% less energy while producing 70% more water.

The book goes on to talk about efforts underway to create a 'smart grid for water' in which sensors and computers would be embedded into pipes, sewers, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, harbors and oceans with the goal detect leaks, drive increased efficiency in water usage, reduce food wastage as side effect. etc. Still early days on this, but at least one person involved believes that such a smart grid could save the US somewhere between 30% and 50% of its total water use.

And so on and so forth. The book continues talking about water and water related stuff for a good bit longer - this is just the stuff I got from an initial skim.

Then there's the issue of energy. Again, this is just some highlights from a quick skim. Need to sit down and read the full book:

Engineers at MIT have developed solar concentrators using carbon nanotubes that made PV solar panels 100x more efficient than traditional models.

A company in Maryland has developed a way to turn ordinary windows into PV solar panels using organic solar cells. It can generate energy using both natural and artificial light sources.

A researcher at the U of Michigan has discovered that light, traveling at the right intensity through a non-conductive material such as glass, can create magnetic fields 100 million times stronger than previously believed possible. Apparently, in experiments the fields are strong enough to allow for energy extraction. If it works out, the result could be a way to make PV panels without using semi-conductors, apparently reducing their cost by 'orders of magnitude'.

But wait, there's more:

In the field of bio-fuels, algae are apparently a big deal. The US Dept of Energy says that algae can produce 30x more energy per acre than conventional biofuels.

Pond scum is apparently being tested at several major power plants as a CO2 scrubber. Smokestacks feed their output into ponds and the algae 'eat' the CO2.

Exxon has partnered with Synthetic Genomics to develop an algae that uses CO2, sunlight,and sea water (to avoid taking water away from irrigation). The algae use sunlight to split water into H2 and O2, then combine it with CO2 to create a hydorcarbon fuel called 'bio oil'. Plants naturally use this at night for repair apparently. They researchers have figured out a way to make the algae voluntarily secrete this bio oil for harvesting (so you don't have to harvest and destroy the algae themselves).

They compare the potential output of the algae to that of corn and palm oil. Corn produces 18 gallons per acre per year and palm oil about 625 gallons per acre per year. Using the gengineered algae, their goal is 10,000 gallons per acre per year produced in a 2 square mile facility. Call it 12.8 million gallans per year - enough to power about 26,000 cars. It is calculated that it would require around 18,750 square miles of production facility(ies) to fuel the entire US fleet of cars. Or about .49 percent of the US land area (or about 17% of the state of Nevada).

The same chapter mentions 7 other bio-fuels initiatives studying ways to produce algae based or other biofuels.

The chapter also acknowledges that there are challenges with scaling any of these up to national production levels, but also notes that such scaling has been done with other products such as anti-malaria drugs.

The chapter than goes on to talk about a host of other, non-biofuel things being worked on, including artificial photosynthesis, It then goes on to start talking about the need for better storage and the challenges associated with that, stating that until the storage problem is figured it, it won't matter how cheap renewables get. Liquid Metal Batteries that cost less than a tenth of current lithium ion devices have apparently been developed. It continues from there (4th generation nuclear reactors that both the GW Bush and Obama Administrations support research on and that are also supported by 'greens' such as Stewart Brand, James Lovelock, and Bill McKibben), but I haven't read that far yet. And need to get to bed anyway.

More later as/when more cool stuff shakes out of this.

ToddSmile
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Messages In This Thread
Renewables - by xsampa - 09-19-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: Renewables - by Cray - 09-19-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-19-2014, 06:22 PM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-20-2014, 12:09 AM
RE: Renewables - by FrodoGoofball - 09-19-2014, 11:44 PM
RE: Renewables - by Cray - 09-20-2014, 12:32 AM
RE: Renewables - by FrodoGoofball - 09-20-2014, 03:30 AM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-20-2014, 05:42 AM
RE: Renewables - by FrodoGoofball - 09-20-2014, 06:28 AM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-20-2014, 06:53 PM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-20-2014, 08:55 AM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-20-2014, 06:34 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-20-2014, 07:04 PM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-20-2014, 09:42 PM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-20-2014, 09:36 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-20-2014, 10:54 PM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-20-2014, 11:42 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-21-2014, 12:54 AM
RE: Renewables - by Dalex - 09-21-2014, 01:15 AM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-21-2014, 01:19 AM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-21-2014, 05:28 AM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-21-2014, 02:36 AM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 09-21-2014, 03:11 AM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-21-2014, 03:36 AM
RE: Renewables - by kch49er - 09-21-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-22-2014, 04:24 AM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-22-2014, 07:56 AM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-22-2014, 11:13 AM
RE: Renewables - by kch49er - 09-22-2014, 05:43 AM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-22-2014, 06:17 AM
RE: Renewables - by kch49er - 09-22-2014, 07:57 AM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-22-2014, 11:29 AM
RE: Renewables - by radtech497 - 09-22-2014, 04:17 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 09-22-2014, 08:57 PM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 09-22-2014, 08:22 PM
RE: Renewables - by kch49er - 09-22-2014, 08:37 PM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 09-22-2014, 11:47 PM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-23-2014, 12:40 AM
RE: Renewables - by radtech497 - 09-23-2014, 02:49 AM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 09-23-2014, 08:25 AM
RE: Renewables - by xsampa - 09-23-2014, 10:44 AM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-23-2014, 01:00 PM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 09-24-2014, 01:26 PM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 10-09-2014, 11:15 AM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 10-10-2014, 06:41 AM
RE: Renewables - by Drashner1 - 10-10-2014, 11:23 AM
RE: Renewables - by Fsci123 - 10-16-2014, 10:50 PM
RE: Renewables - by Cray - 10-17-2014, 09:12 PM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 01-13-2015, 06:59 PM
RE: Renewables - by Rynn - 01-13-2015, 09:49 PM
RE: Renewables - by iancampbell - 01-14-2015, 01:17 AM
RE: Renewables - by kch49er - 10-18-2014, 09:04 PM
RE: Renewables - by tmazanec1 - 01-13-2015, 12:38 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 01-13-2015, 08:55 PM
RE: Renewables - by Rynn - 01-13-2015, 09:56 PM
RE: Renewables - by stevebowers - 01-13-2015, 09:12 PM
RE: Renewables - by Dalex - 01-14-2015, 05:21 AM

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