Where might we get the energy from
Tuesday, 09 January 2007 09:59
One question I'm asked is where we might get the energy, below are a few links to some of the significant technologies I see coming along. I plan on updating this post as technology develops.
This paper from the Australian Solar Energy Society shows how a variety of renewables can meet the needs for a 60-80% reduction by 2050. The executive summary is a quick relevant read. In particular it points to over half the savings coming from Energy Efficiency.
The big improvements in Solar come not from efficiency (watts per square meter) but from cost-efficiency, (watts per dollar). Typically this means low cost devices that take advantage of the large area available on homes. Interesting examples include.
Roof tiles combining solar hot water, with solar electricity to reduce overall costs - status: research project.
Nanosolar announceed 100m funding and costs as low as 10% of current.
For wind there are huge economies of scale in building large, high, windmills in ideal spots, and we are seeing a lot of this in the UK and the US.
An interesting area is, as for Solar, domestic wind generators. The plus side is that the windmill is competing with the retail, rather than wholesale, cost of power. The minus side is that winds near houses are usually turbulent, and noise and vibration issues are significant. A number of companies have formed to address it. Some interesting ones include:
Skystream: Tower mounted (35-110 feet), 3 blades with an unusual shape. (Jan 07) In production.
Aerotecture: This is a vertical or horizontally mounted turbine using a unique combination of rotor and aerofoil to allow starting at low speeds, and low noise/vibration. (Jan 07) Still in pre-production.
Mag Wind: An interesting shaped windmill on magnetic bearings, though there are some questions about their claims?
Recent articles from Mitra's blog