May 31, 2013 Energy Talks
High energy costs and an environmentally battered planet affect each one of us in one way or another. The fact of the situation is it is really quite possible for a good percentage of us to cut our monthly bill while helping to save the planet. Yes, kill two birds with a single stone just by turning to renewable energy and the best and practical technique to do that’s arguably thru the use of home made wind generators.
Having having said that , it’s not always feasible or practicable. And are they inexpensive over the conventional form of power?
Wind power generation is based on the concept of energy conversion. Basically, the wind power turns the windmill which is attached to a turbine alternator or converter to provide electrical power. Traditional windmills are just water pumps but modern wind power generators are complete power systems that come with safety, high-wind survival, lightning and electrical overload protection and emergency shutdown features. The majority are equipped with options for storage and interconnection to area utility grids for credit or sale of overflow power.
Ideally, the house sits on a good-sized plot in a comparatively spaced-out rustic or sub-urban neighborhood. Surrounding wind resource is steady and even. The local supply grid also supports the interconnection of excess power for reverse credit or sale.
That is the reason why wind power generators are sometimes employed in mutual complement with another renewable energy source specifically solar power, sunlight supply of which intrinsically is also not continuous thru either.
It isn’t rocket science to make wind energy. A handful of those DIY handbooks essentially do a particularly neat job in guiding even the fully uninitiated to construct their own wind power generators from nothing. It’s possible to not only chop your power bills but also receive payment for the excess that is channeled back onto the utility grid. On top of that, there’s the sensation of gratification from understanding that you have made a contribution to the green movement.
Original Wind Power Energy Ideas and Solutions
May 31, 2013 Energy Talks
A Better Lithium Battery
Dr. Stefan Koller with his team at the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials Graz University of Technology has developed a new method to utilize silicon in lithium-ion anode materials. The news stories are saying silicon applied to the anodes raises theoretical storage capacity ten times higher than the graphite substrate, which has been used up to now, and promises considerable improvements for users.
Koller, who is familiar with the research in lithium from his doctoral thesis, explains that modern electronic devices need more energy and even the automotive industry is striving for increasingly powerful energy storage systems. The technological development of battery research has been inadequate for some time now. Koller says, “A real revolution is needed for the development of the next generation. We need new storage materials for lithium-ion batteries.”
The prize to Koller, his team and the financial supporters is he has managed to develop a substrate material using silicon for electrochemical reactions at a low price.
For the process the team utilizes a silicon-containing gel and apply it to the graphite substrate material. “In this way the graphite works as a buffer, cushioning the big changes in volume of the silicon during the uptake and transfer of lithium ions,” explains Koller. Silicon if you recall, changes dimensions as it flows electrons in and out during the course of discharges and recharges and the graphite heats up, two actions that consume the energy of the battery.
The team says silicon can exploit a substantial part of theoretical lithium-ion storage capacity some ten times higher than the up-to-now commercially used graphite. The team’s new material can now store more than double the quantity of lithium ions without changes to the battery lifetime. The difference in those quantities is that the silicon is a coating over the graphite rather than a replacement.
The team’s new silicon process is far cheaper than the previous ones in which the silicon is separated in the gas phase. “The (remaining) challenge lies in the poor storage density of materials in the counter electrode in the whole battery, something which we have been doing intensive research on,” says Koller.
Should the silicon process be commercial it seems that a doubling of lithium batteries could be practical for a very low cost. Lithium is already expensive, but a doubing of capacity for a low price could reduce the lithium content perhaps by half. It seems this team’s research has a ready home. The new findings – which came to light in the “NanoPoliBat” EU project – have been recently submitted to the patent office by researchers together with their co-operation partner Varta Microbattery.
A lithium – graphite – silicon compound battery sounds good, simple and cheaper per stored watt. Lets hope the researchers get closer to the 10x mark soon.
Author: New Energy and Fuel
May 30, 2013 Sponge
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Author: Home Controls
May 30, 2013 Energy Talks
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee Florida has been awarded nearly $3 million to build a novel kind of superconducting magnet that’s expected to break records for magnetic field strength, make possible new types of science and save vast amounts of energy and money. Of interest is the technologies that could benefit from improved magnetic fields such as the Bussard Fusion team.
The magnet is funded by a National Science Foundation grant of $2 million and a matching award from The Florida State University of $1 million. The goal is to generate a magnetic field of 32 Tesla, the scientific unit of measure of magnetic field strength. The National High magnetic Field Lab press release says, “That is more than 3,000 times stronger than a typical refrigerator magnet, and about 45 percent more powerful than the strongest superconducting magnets available today.”
Brian Wang’s NextBigFuture site offers these applications:
- Better quantum oscillation measurements
- Hopefully advanced the understanding of superconductivity physics
- Should lead to even better superconducting magnets and hopefully breakthroughs in understanding that lead to room temperature superconductors.
- It will allow more detailed investigation of other superconducting materials
- It will provide low cost permanent high field magnets instead of pulsing to this field strength or using resistive magnets that are expensive to get up to high field strength.
This is just the tip of the scientific iceberg. The material that will be used for this magnet, a type of high-temperature superconductor called yttrium barium copper oxide, or YBCO, promises to revolutionize research in high magnetic fields.
Non-superconducting electromagnets, called resistive magnets, consume massive amounts of electricity. At the magnet lab, the average cost to run a resistive magnet is $774 per hour – 40 times more than a 20-tesla superconducting magnet. A current example is superconducting magnets have been powering hospital MRI machines for decades at about 1 to 3 tesla, and are commonly used in other high-field research. They are valuable in part because they are made with special superconducting materials that conduct electricity without any friction, and therefore use very little electricity.
Opposite to that are the downsides to superconducting magnets in that the materials they are built with work only at temperatures so low that expensive cryogens, such as liquid helium, are needed to operate them. Also, traditional superconducting materials stop working inside a magnetic field above about 23 tesla, so resistive magnets have always been able to outperform them.
But YBCO oversteps both these hurdles. It belongs to a class known as high-temperature superconductors. These materials perform at much higher temperatures than their “low-temperature” cousins, making them more practical and cheaper to operate – and they continue to operate beyond the point at which low-temperature superconductors cease working.
YBCO has another huge benefit: Superconducting magnets create more stable magnetic fields than resistive magnets, which produce better data for scientists. All of this means the 32-tesla project will be the first of a whole new generation of powerful, low-cost superconducting magnets.
William Denis Markiewicz, principal investigator on the project says, “The objective is to develop and demonstrate the technology that can be used in magnets that will eventually replace the resistive magnets in our facility. The advantages that will follow include lower operating costs and quieter field conditions for the scientist.” Markiewicz isa veteran engineer at the lab whose design achievements include the lab’s world-record 900 megahertz, ultra-wide-bore superconducting magnet.”
Stephen Julian, a University of Toronto physicist who sits on the magnet lab’s External Advisory Board and is a co-principal investigator on the grant said, “To have 32 tesla, at such high quality, for such a bargain price will be nothing less than a boon for physics. This magnet opens up new possibilities for measurements that we have previously only dreamed of. With these new magnets, researchers will be able to stay at these very high magnetic fields for as long as they like. This will dramatically increase the quality of data for many measurements. We can look forward to breakthroughs in biomedical magnetic resonance imaging, studies of protein structure, semiconductor physics and the physics of metals.”
The project is already making connections. David Larbalestier, chief materials scientist at the lab and the other co-principal investigator on the grant whose primary interest is the high temperature superconductors, expects the new magnet will advance superconductor research.
The research team expects to get the magnet built and running in the Fall of 2012. They’re going to use about 5 miles of the YBCO wire, some 8 kilometers. One can fairly expect the project will yield a high quality magnet at a field uniformity of 5