Stories tagged green energy

It's Friday, so it's time for a new Science Friday video.

Science Friday
Science FridayCourtesy Science Friday

How would you describe the size of a wind turbine? There's no right answer. Turbines come in different varieties tuned for different uses. Compare the 256-foot-tall Gamesa G87 turbines, found at Bear Creek Wind Park in Penn., with the mini turbines developed by Bergey Windpower in Norman, Okla. The scale of both may surprise you.

Oct
13
2009

A friendly bear provides heat for the benches: A nice change from what bears sometimes do, right?
A friendly bear provides heat for the benches: A nice change from what bears sometimes do, right?Courtesy HolgerE
Since the dawn of humanity, we Homo sapiens sapiens have lived in fear of non-human animals, hiding in shadows, flinching at every sudden movement, lest it be the leaping of a huge, saber-toothed cat, a swipe of the massive paw of a bear, or, like, some sort of big snake.

Defenseless, we have eked out our existence in the puddles and dusty corners of the world, powerless against the animal threat.

Until now!

We’ve finally figured out how to destroy animals: with fire!

Check it out: on the 12th there was a news story about a Jordanian shepherd inadvertently witnessed the spontaneous combustion of a flock of sheep, and by today I found a story about a Swedish facility burning spare rabbits to heat the nearby town. (Those Scandinavians are so green!

We’re taking back the planet!

For anyone interested (not sure why you would be), here’s the rest of the story: The burning sheep thing had to do with a local waste treatment facility leaking methane and “organic material” into the ground. The soil became saturated, and when sparks from a grassfire hit the fumes… boom! Roast mutton. Also, this was probably a horrible, horrible thing to see.

The rabbit burning, amazingly, is slightly controversial. Stockholm’s parks are over populated with rabbits, so thousands of them are culled (killed) each year. Last year alone, over six thousand of the rabbits were frozen and trucked to a heat producing facility in Karlskoga, in central Sweden, where they were burned to produce heat for the province of Varmland. How… practical. Some folks have claimed that pet bunnies (or at leat the descendants of released pet bunnies) have been rounded up as well, for chewing on the flowers and shrubs in the parks of Stockholm. They aren’t happy about thee bunny burning, and suggest that a system of shelters be arranged for captured (living) rabbits. Tell that to the shivering people a Varmland. Tell them you’re taking their cheap rabbit-heat.

Jul
27
2009

Green energy? What about trying a little blue energy for a change? Blue seems just as wholesome and non-threatening, right?

In a similar vane to my last post on algae the geniuses of the world have come up with another truly brilliant "why didn't I think of that" kind of idea. It seems to make so much sense! It's so big ... and powerful ... and blue ...
We Have Come A Long Way: Now, just imagine that...but under water!
We Have Come A Long Way: Now, just imagine that...but under water!Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Engineers at Blue Energy have developed, with support from the Army Corps of Engineers a turbine for the ocean. No no, not a wind turbine ON the ocean (my mom just made that mistake) but an underwater turbine that will harness the powerful ocean currents to create possibly the most sustainable energy source we know of!

Here is what we know: Water turbines will be placed in the Gulf Stream near Florida and they will work much like land wind turbines (using a rotater blade, which when made to spin by wind or water, creates energy!).

There is still a considerable amount of work to do before water turbines can be utilized. Frederick Driscoll, director of Florida Atlantic University's Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology strives to be realistic about the future of water turbines. A resource assessment of the Gulf Stream is underway to help understand exactly how much energy can be safely extracted from the ocean, where exactly it should be extracted from and how to get the energy safely and efficiently to our homes without disrupting the ocean environment. So much to think about!
Always Something There: The strength of the Gulf Stream has been evident for hundreds of years.
Always Something There: The strength of the Gulf Stream has been evident for hundreds of years.Courtesy Library of Congress

Florida is the fourth largest state in the U.S. and the third largest consumer of energy. They are in dire need of a new energy source as many experts insist that Florida is on the brink of a very serious energy crisis. Much still needs to be done in the way of turbine technology in order to move ahead with incorperating them into the fleet of renewable energy sources. This past spring four acoustic Doppler current profilers were lauched off the coast of Florida to gather information about the currents, mainly to learn about the speed of the ocean currents. Ocean energy may become the crown jewel of the fleet.