Can Nuclear Power Meet Future Energy Demands?

nuclearenergy

An international team of scientists suggests that we must ramp up energy production by nuclear power if we are to succeed in warding off the worst effects of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change. Writing in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues [Citation below], the team suggests that beginning in 2020, we could achieve an annual electricity output of 20 terawatts without needing to develop carbon dioxide trapping and storage technology for the tens of billions of tons of emissions that would otherwise drive global warming to catastrophic levels. Read More →

Exploring the Future of Wind Power in the U.S.

Image Credit: GE Energy

Image Credit: GE Energy

Wind power is currently the fastest growing source of energy worldwide. In the United States, the industry expanded by as much as 50% a year between 2000 and 2010, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). During that decade, federal tax breaks and state initiatives facilitated the construction of hundreds of turbine farms around the country. Several regions of the United States in particular have aggressively developed wind harvesting industries. Rockport, Missouri, for example, was the first American community to receive the majority of its energy from wind in 2008. Several other states currently lead the implementation of wind harvesting – California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Texas, however, leads all of the states in wind power initiatives, generating one-fourth of the nation’s wind energy with 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity.  Read More →

Let’s Explore ‘Cold Fusion’

CF

Cold Fusion, or LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions) reactors have purportedly been built in recent years that offer new possibilities in terms of energy production.  These reactors use very small amounts of nickel and hydrogen, combining them with trace amounts of other ingredients.  Once these reactors are brought online, there is hypothetically an anomalous amount of heat generated internally, an amount which cannot be explained by chemical or nuclear reactions alone. However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and the idea is not without its skeptics. Even the name itself has come under fire. Nonetheless, scientists working on the technology remain adamant about its future potential. Read More →

Methane Hydrate: The Next Energy Revolution

Methane Hydrate Energy

Hidden beneath the permafrost of the Arctic and under the sediment of the deep sea floor surrounding most continents lies an energy resource that could fuel the world for generations: methane hydrate. Also known as fire ice, this solid form of methane gas is abundant and clean burning (relative to coal). It also has the potential to be converted into a fuel we could use in our cars. Read More →

Let’s Explore Hydrogen-Powered Cars

Credit: Aston Martin

Credit: Aston Martin

Hydrogen powered motor vehicles might best be described as a technology that started to emerge, stopped, went through several changes, and now has started to emerge once again. According to even rather old statements by researchers present at the Emerging Technologies Conference symposium at MIT, hydrogen cars are now a real possibility as a result of changes in design ethics. Read More →

Examining Minerals Present in Biomass

Image: © Ashley Cooper/Corbis

Image: © Ashley Cooper/Corbis

As the search for low carbon fuels continues, biomass has become increasingly more attractive to various industries. Biotechnology researchers are therefore looking into pyrolysis — gasification and combustion methods that would take regular organic material and convert it into a high-yield energy source. Several substances in ash chemistry influence corrosion and slag creation after combustion has occurred. Researchers are also looking into this to see if anything can be done to increase the amount of thermal energy that industries can get out of these fuels. Read More →

Neural Networks Could Make Automated Oilrigs a Reality

Offshore Drilling Rig

Geologists are constantly searching for new sources of energy, but offshore drilling remains controversial. Environmentally sensitive areas can be damaged by oil spills, and water supplies are easily poisoned. Researchers feel that a majority of oil spills are caused by human error. Read More →

Let’s Explore Flywheel Energy Storage Devices

Credit: Flybrid Systems, L.P.

Credit: Flybrid Systems, L.P.

Flywheel energy storage devices could be looked at as a radical application of very traditional technology. They work by maintaining rotational energy by moving a flywheel. This same idea is used to keep a mechanical watch ticking.

A majority of modern FES devices use electricity to put the flywheel in motion, but some researchers are interested in the idea of using mechanical energy to start and stop the wheel. Read More →

How is Solar Energy Stored?

Many people with solar panels installed in their home don’t realize that the thermal energy collected by the panels can be stored for later use. There are indeed several ways to store solar energy. It can be stored in a packed bed, in a heat-of-fusion storage unit or even in water.

Image Credit: Optics InfoBase

Packed Bed
Also known as thermal energy storage systems, packed beds are containers that hold small objects capable of storing solar energy. Read More →

Solar Winds – Energy From Space

The relationship between the Earth and Sun is interwoven and intimate. The high temperature and pressure creates disturbances in the Sun’s corona that produce solar winds. These winds affect the atmosphere not only on Earth, but also other planets throughout the solar system as well. The image above displays solar winds around Venus. Stunning! Read More →