EDN's Senior Technical Editor Brian Dipert has written an excellent feature on wind turbines and how to site them. He also sides with Scientific American's proclamation that the debate is over: Global warming is a manmade problem.
Low cost, plentiful, clean, and, in all other respects, "green." These words describe wind power in a nutshell. So, why is it so unpopular? The devil is in the details, along with our reluctance to adopt an unknown technology. With fossil-fuel prices on the rise, their supply increasingly unstable, and global-warming effects growing, however, the wind-turbine alternative is garnering overdue attention.
The debate on global warming is over, according to Scientific American (Reference 1). With those no-holds-barred words, the respected journal introduced the theme of its September 2006 special issue, "Energy's Future: How to Power the Economy and Still Fight Global Warming." Diminishing but still lingering debate within the scientific community hasn't completely settled the question of whether — and, if so, to what degree — increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas concentration in the earth's atmosphere have caused global warming (Figure 1). But Scientific American's Special Projects Editor Gary Stix seems convinced that a material link exists: "Present levels of carbon dioxide — nearing 400 ppm in the earth's atmosphere — are higher than they have been at any time in the past 650,000 years and could easily surpass 500 ppm by 2050 without radical intervention. ... Almost all of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred since the 1980s. No one knows exactly what will happen if things are left unchecked — the exact date when a polar ice sheet will complete a phase change from solid to liquid cannot be foreseen with precision. ... But no climatologist wants to test what will arise if carbon-dioxide levels drive much higher than 500 ppm" (Reference ).
Lithium-ion battery prices will drop rapidly over the next 10 years, setting the stage for plug-in vehicles to reach 5%-10% of total automotive sales by the mid- to late-2020s, according to a new study.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
A recent Design News-exclusive study proves that engineering professionals are at the very forefront of this push into the future and making direct financial, performance, and value impact on their organizations by being personally involved or final decision-makers on automation solution and component choices.
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