Solar energy generation in California is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013, coming from utility-scale plants such as the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo. Here, 140 megawatts were brought online in December 2012. By December 2013, the project is expected to deliver its full capacity of 250 megawatts. (Source: US Department of Energy/NRG Solar)
Yes, Mydesign, I've actually written about hybrid energy harvesters that can do this sort of thing, but so far the hybrid harvesters have been solar/vibration and solar/heat. It seems like this is where this technology is trending, though. A hybrid solar-wind generator would be an amazing invention.
That's interesting, Ann. It seems like there is a lot of work being done in this area; I've actually covered a bit how researchers are trying to make solar cells both cheaper and more efficient. Nanotechnology is coming into play. Also I'm sure you've seen the story I wrote about Ambri, which is developing a giant liquid-metal battery that company founders think could solve the energy-storage problem: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=259497
In 2000 and again in 2004, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force quantifying the deaths and other health affects attributable to the fine particle pollution from power plants. In this newly updated study, CATF examines the progress towards cleaning up one of the nation's leading sources of pollution. The report finds that over 13,000 deaths each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants. This is almost half the impact that our 2004 study found and is reflective of the impact that state and federal actions have had in reducing power plant emissions by roughly half. However, much more still needs to be done.
"This is really promising news! Would be great if the rest of the country could follow, especially Midwestern states where there is a lot of wind, as well. California and Arizona are lucky to get so much sunshine, but in the summer months much of the rest of the country could really harness solar power more as well, and as storage improves, that energy could be stored up to use in the darker months."
Elizebeth, the basic idea behind hybrid power generator is using the available resources at that particular point of time..
well Ann, I look forward to clear road map that leads the way to removing fossil fuel deaths in a few decades, that is cost effective enough to resoundly displace coal/gas/oil for industry, business, residential and transportation, without balance of trade economic problems, or massive public debt.
Elizabeth, the problem in solar energy production is not always in collecting--how many days of sunshine per year, e.g.--but in efficiency, conversion and storage. Existing solar technologies used in rooftop panels could be a lot more efficient than they are at present if they had not had to be engineered and produced as cheaply as possible for a consumer market. These technologies are often tweaked, altered and even replaced for utility-scale solar installations. I'll be writing about this in future blogs.
patb2009 is right both about PV solar costs dropping, and about the fact that many of our ideas regarding the state of alternative energy are (extremely) out of date. Stay tuned for more posts on the subject.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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