Impacts of Energy Use Due to Change in Chinese Economy

by Aurora Silva

This is a very interesting article that illustrates the implications o the change of economic structure on the emissions and energy use in China. The Chinese CO2 intensity and energy intensity targets are rather stringent. Reaching the CO2 intensity target is difficult even with the optimistic assumption of fast expansion of renewable energy capacity and fast structural change. The Chinese economy is in a transitional state: Chinese leadership hopes to steer the economic development away from exports and investment and towards serving the Chinese domestic market, increasing the living standard of the Chinese citizenry as well as reducing the environmental impact that the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. In addition to the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. Among the global economies, China is the largest emitter of CO2 emissions and the development of its economic system in the next fifteen years will have great weight in determining cumulative global emissions. Continue reading

The Significance of the Paris Agreement in Climate Change Policy

by Katy Schaefer

One of the most hotly contested subjects in America over the past ten years has been the issue of climate change. Is it real, how will it affect the citizens of America and the world, what can we do to lessen if not reverse the impacts of global warming? Until recently, it seemed like we might never reach an answer. You might recall the infamous, failed meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 which was called to address a possible worldwide plan to attack this issue. However, this year, there is better news. Continue reading

Everything is Better Deep-Fried

by Briton Lee

Scientists have been searching for a way to make batteries hold longer charges, on both a commercial and industrial scale. South Korean researchers have made headway in this development, creating a form of 3D graphene “pom-poms” that have a much more efficient energy capacitance than normal graphene.

Graphene can be used as a supercapacitor due to its stability, high conductivity, and large surface area. 3D graphene capacitors are even better because their greater surface area enhances their capacitance. Graphene capacitors are relatively simple, with a carbon-only structure, and versatile enough to incorporate into batteries as electrodes. However, current ways of manufacturing graphene electrodes yield thin films that may stack and aggregate, which decreases surface area and makes the resulting material more difficult to process. These issues have led to the development of graphene foams and aerogels, but these can’t be used as electrodes because they’re too irregular and not as carbon-dense. Thus, scientists are currently looking to develop ways to create 3D carbon nanostructures for potential use as battery electrodes. Continue reading

Thailand Has the Necessary Wind Conditions to Reach Renewable Energy Goals

by Tim Storer

Many developing economies are undergoing an energy transformation, and in the face of global warming, there has been a push towards investment in renewable sources, such as wind power. Chingulpitak and Wongwises (2014) review the current status of wind energy development in Thailand. The Thai government has stated goals of increasing its use of renewable fuels to 25% by 2021, and wind energy is a large component of this transformation. In 2012, only 111.7 MW of wind power was generated, but the Thai government aims to increase production to 1800 MW in this timeframe. In addition to its own worth, Thailand’s energy transformation can provide insight into the challenges of other developing nations around the globe. Continue reading

Pumped Hydroelectric Storage: Putting Gravity to Work

by Chad Redman

Damming natural flowing rivers is an ancient and effective method for generating renewable energy. However, sufficient rivers are a scarce resource and modern dams produce an array of undesirable environmental effects. In response to the drawbacks of traditional dams, the main commercial technique for storing potential energy in water is pumped hydroelectric storage (PHS). Traditionally, these facilities use a massive pump and two reservoirs, one elevated above the other. During off-peak hours, excess energy produced from sources such as wind farms and nuclear power plants is used to power a pump which moves water into the elevated reservoir. When energy demand rises, the water is released back into the lower reservoir, spinning the pump which effectively becomes a generator. Continue reading

CorPower’s Recent Breakthrough in Wave Energy Technology

by Melanie Paty

In a recent article posted on KTH, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, Peter Larsson reports on the wave energy technology breakthrough of CorPower. Ocean Wave energy technology has been limited by its cost, but CorPower Ocean, a Swedish company, has designed a gearbox system that generates four times more energy than competing systems at one third of the cost. The CorPower converter, developed in collaboration with KTH researchers, is a point absorber system, using a bobbing buoy to turn gears that drive the generator below the surface. Continue reading

Free Money: How Investing in Energy Can Save

by Jackson Cooney

A small organization called the Sustainable Endowments Institute (S.E.I) provides colleges and universities with help on the retrofitting issue. They set up “Green Revolution Funds”, to encourage universities to save capital to invest in green projects. They also provide a software that enables institutions to track savings from these projects. The S.E.I has brought together $110 million to the G.R.F that can be used for green projects. Dension University and the University of New Hampshire are active partners in the S.I.E’s billion-dollar Green Challenge, an initiative introduced in 2011 to build momentum for the G.R.F. The University of New Hampshire started with $600,000 in the fund and now has $1.3 million. As this example shows, investing in the G.R.F and using the money for energy efficiency can have significant effects on savings. Investing in energy efficiency is not only monetarily beneficial but will also lead to healthier environmental conditions. Continue reading

Perovskite Solar Cells

by Dylan Goodman

Recent research from Stanford University has produced a promising new outlook on Solar Panel efficiency. Perovskite, a mineral composed of calcium titanate, has been found to increase the efficiency of conventional solar cells. Functionally, solar cells work by converting light energy, in the form of photons, into electrical energy. With the future of energy uncertain, this extremely unique process allows humans to harness energy from the sun, a non-diminishing resource. If the technology to exist to harness the suns energy with perfect efficiency, we could easily power the entire planet. Continue reading

Two new books from CloudRipper Press

Front Cover CC&TH      Front Cover 6x9 border EI2015

by Emil Morhardt

CloudRipperPress.com announces its second and third books published in 2015.

Energy Innovations 2015

Because it seems likely that there is money to be made by reducing fossil fuel use, and energy use in general, there is currently an intense amount of entrepreneurial activity surrounding all aspects of our energy supply and usage. This book is an attempt to make some sense of the overwhelming amount of information about this activity streaming down the web (and in the scientific and engineering journals). It is a result of three months in early 2015 of combing through entrepreneurial websites, news items in the press, and a variety of other sources (all well documented in the book) to see what new and exciting developments are occurring in energy.

The result is a fascinating look at the types of changes in our energy mix in the near future through over 250 vignettes of innovative energy projects, many in their earliest stages, organized by type of energy activity being considered. Sections of the book include energy efficiency, energy storage, improving the grid, novel energy applications, photovoltaics, solar thermal, hydro/tidal/wave energy, wind, geothermal, nuclear, vehicles, biofuels and synfuels, hydrogen, hydraulic fracturing, carbon sequestration, energy governance, and energy finance and economics. $19.95 at Amazon.com

Climate Change & The Humanities

In 2011 Mike Hulme published an opinion piece, Meet the Humanities, in Nature Climate Change, one of the premier scientific journals dealing with climate change. He asserted that “Although climate is inarguably changing society, social practices are also impacting on the climate. Nature and culture are deeply entangled, and researchers must examine how each is shaping the other. But they are largely failing to do so” (Hulme 2011)*. This was likely the first time that many climate scientists had thought much about the humanities as relevant to what they were studying.

This book sets out to rectify that, documenting what a broad selection of academics, journalists, artists, and others working in the humanities and social sciences have been writing about climate change recently. It consists of over 200 summaries of such works and provides a good introduction to the range of thinking about climate change addressed by non-scientists, and a good entry point to a growing literature. $19.95 at Amazon.com

*Hulme, M., 2011. Meet the humanities. Nature Climate Change 1, 177-179.

Price Premiums for Homes with Rooftop Solar

by Liza Farr

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently released a study on solar PV systems housing premiums using the largest data set to date (Hoen et al. 2014). PV costs have dropped drastically in the past several years, and innovative financing options such as Power Purchase Agreements and solar leasing have made solar an increasingly popular addition to residential homes. The new study, using a hedonic pricing model, reveals an average of around $4 per watt increase in housing price for a PV home over a non-PV home. This approximates to about a 0.92% increase in value for each kilowatt installed. There also appears to be a “green cachet,” meaning buyers are willing to pay a base amount for having PV at all, with incremental increases in willingness to pay with increases in the size of the system. Unfortunately, although to be expected, there is a clear decrease in price premiums as the systems age. Since one of the biggest drawbacks of solar panels are the high input costs, this return in the form of a housing price premium could convince many homeowners to make the purchase (Hoen et al. 2014). Continue reading