CalWave, an underwater mechanism of springy fiberglass “carpets,” generates electricity from ocean waves more efficiently and less obtrusively than wave-energy systems at the surface now in use in Hawaii and other places.
CalWave plans to switch on an 8-foot-by-30-foot prototype plant off the San Diego coast late this year. Lehmann says it will cost about $80,000 to build and generate 80 kilowatts of power, enough to run 180 homes. For commercial operations, multiple units will link together to form wider carpets. Lehmann and Haji are talking with IDE Technologies, which is building a $1 billion desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif., about using CalWave as a power source.
In a windowless conference room in Anchorage, a dozen Royal Dutch Shell employees report on the highest-profile oil project in the multinational’s vast global portfolio. Warmed by mid-July temperatures, Arctic ice in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of the Alaskan mainland, is receding. Storms are easing; helicopter flights will soon resume. Underwater volcanoes—yes, volcanoes—are dormant. “That’s good news for us,” Ann Pickard, Shell’s top executive for the Arctic, whispers to a visitor.
Overhead, a bank of video monitors displays blinking green radar images of an armada of Shell vessels converging on a prospect called Burger J. Company geologists believe that beneath Burger J—70 miles offshore and 800 miles from the Anchorage command center—lie up to 15 billion barrels of oil. An additional 11 billion barrels are thought to be buried due east under the Beaufort Sea. All told, Arctic waters cover about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered petroleum, or enough to supply the U.S. for more than a decade, according to government estimates.
“The P90D is Tesla’s most advanced electric car to date. The P is for “performance,” and D refers to the dual-motor setup that enables all-wheel drive. The 90 is a nod to the 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which Tesla says boosts range by about 6 percent. That’s good for nearly 270 miles, though you get closer to 300 in the slightly less potent 90D. Pretty much every other EV on the market delivers 100 miles, max.”
China has been installing more renewable-power capacity than fossil fuels for several years, a gap that's growing. In 2015, China will install 15 gigawatts to 18 gw of solar power alone, double the solar deployment in the U.S., according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
The chart below shows how, in the next 15 years, China is on track to have more low-carbon electricity than the entire capacity of the U.S. power grid. "Think of what their grid will look like in 2030," Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, said at the organization's annual summit last week in New York. "A very competitive advantage."
“Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply. Automated, compact and simple to install, Powerwall offers independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup.”
Each digital wind farm begins life as a digital twin, a cloud-based computer model of a wind farm at a specific location. The model allows engineers to pick from as many as 20 different turbine configurations – from pole height, to rotor diameter and turbine output - for each pad at the wind farm and design its most efficient real-world doppelganger. “Right now, wind turbines come in given sizes, like T-shirts,” says Ganesh Bell, chief digital office at GE Power & Water. “But the new modular designs allows us to build turbines that are tailor-made for each pad.”
But that’s only half of the story. Just like Apple’s Siri and other machine learning technologies, the digital twin will keep crunching data coming from the wind farm and providing suggestions for making operations even more efficient, based on the software’s insights. Longtin says that operators will be even able to use data to control noise. “If there is a house near the wind farm, we will be able to change the rotor speed depending on the wind direction to stay below the noise threshold,” he says.
Renewable energy firm Urban Green Energy installed two wind turbines inside the metal scaffolding of the tower. The turbines will produce 10,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power the the first floor, home to restaurants, a souvenir shop, and exhibits about the history of the tower.
The turbines are part of a plan to reduce the environmental impact of the tower. The group that runs the tower is also installing rainwater collection systems, LED lights, and solar panels on the tower.
But, wait, as the old infomercials said, there's more to Solar Roadways than just free daytime electrons. Silicon in a roadway brings intelligence and opportunity. You don't really want to paint over photovoltaic cells with lane markers, so LED lighting will serve that purpose, making the lines easier to see at night, and able to change as traffic conditions dictate (or turn off when nobody's around). They can even provide real-time warning signs for upcoming traffic hazards.
Since snow also kills the power collection, heating elements will melt and dry the road, greatly improving safety, slashing plowing budgets, and building the case for this technology in the northern latitudes where less solar energy can be collected. Built-in pressure sensors could detect animal or pedestrian traffic, triggering illumination and warning messages. Finally, the smart panels will know when a neighbor gets damaged and summon a crew to quickly swap out the 110-pound panel. The latest design envisions 2-foot-wide hexagonal panels supported by a roadway underlayment similar to normal roads, the whole works sloped to drain water into a trough with an adjacent cable run that carries power and smart-roadway wiring. These troughs could also be sized to accommodate telecommunications and power cabling, eliminating fragile and unsightly overhead lines.
Just as Toyota is working to replace the gasoline in its cars with hydrogen fuel cells, Japanese companies are leading the charge to convince homeowners they’re better off using hydrogen to power their lamps and TVs, too. The electricity is generated by so-called energy farms, or ene-farms, about the size of a refrigerator. They’re made by companies such as Panasonic and Toshiba and sold by leading utilities, including Tokyo Gas. Ene-farms dangle the promise that the most abundant element in the universe will offer a safer, cleaner, more efficient alternative to nuclear power or fossil fuels. Because a standard home unit costs about $16,700, most consumers have been hesitant to buy.
Since commercial sales began in 2009, more than 100,000 Japanese households have installed generators that use hydrogen. That’s a long way from where the government wants to be. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set a goal of 5.3 million hydrogen-powered homes, roughly 10 percent of Japan’s total, by 2030.