Archives for category: enerji

Amidst growing outcry that the world is not headed to its doomsday as fast as previously thought, comes a new revelation. Called the Bloombox and designed by an Indian scientist, who was once advising NASA on how to sustain life by producing oxygen on Mars, this technology is now being touted as life changing. The scrapped NASA program led the scientist to tweak his product to use oxygen in addition to biofuel, natural gas, or other renewable fuels to produce clean energy.

Fuel cells have been expensive to produce and this has been the primary reason why this technology has not taken off. This is also the case with solar energy, where you need huge spaces to generate feasible quanta of energy.  Unless the creator of Bloombox Dr. Sridhar has unlocked the secret to creating fuel cells in a cost efficient way, this product also may be doomed to the dust bin of history. However, to its credit, the Bloombox has been already successfully installed in major companies like Google, Ebay, Fedex among 20 other Fortune 500 companies that have been trying this technology out. A commercial version, having a small footprintwhich can produce enough energy  to power homes, produced at a reasonable cost and reduces the burden on consumer pockets sounds like a winner.

While there has been a lot of secrecy surrounding the technology, Arnold Schwarzenneger has announced it tax free,  big corporates and even Gen. Colin Powell are putting their weight behind it. There must be something to it.

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DOW chemicals has recently announced their latest product. Solar shingles. Called the POWERHOUSE, this will  lead the case-NatureCenter way in changing how solar energy has been harnessed. A major part of the cost of implementing a solar power plant, lay in the production of solar panels and their installation. With this new invention there will be huge cost cuts in both these factors, leading to easy accessibility and adoption by the general public.

The shingles (roof tiles) are made of low cost, thin film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) technology which is  proven to be cost effective for building integrated photovoltaics. The installation is easier, and is installed along with roof shingles using the same methods for ordinary roof shingles. The arrays are not complicated and would be easily connectible.

Dow invests $1.5 billion annually in R&D and has been the recipient of US government funding up to the tune of $20 million. That is one grant that has paid off.

Up until now, the biggest barrier to installation and adoption had been the cost of implementing a solar generation power plan, but with these cheaper shingles that is all set to change. The new panels are slated to be available by mid 2010. But from then on, it would be green technology in the hands of the common man. If governments are serious about reducing green house gas emissions, then they should subsidize roofing or energy bills for those who adopt the new shingle.

VoteEarth_WVE Vote Earth is the global election, where the world will be able to vote for our planet by switching off lights for an hour on March 28th. This hour is known as Earth hour and it started in Sydney when 2.2 million homes switched off their lights for an hour to increase awareness about global warming and green house emissions and what needs to be done to reduce them. Last year this had become a world phenomenon with all major cities participating by switching off or dimming their lights. This resulted in a lower consumption of electricity, which translated into lesser carbon di-oxide being produced.

This year the target is to reach have 1 billion lights switched off and WWF has asked everyone world over to participate by voting for the earth. The results of this voting (by turning of a light switch) will be presented to World leaders meeting at the global climate change conference which is being held in Copenhagen.

Its only an hour, on one day of a whole year.

A search on Google requires as much energy and emits as much greenhouse gases as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea. While boiling water in a kettle for a cup of tea emits about 15g of CO2, a search on Google emits 7g. These are the results of research carried out by Harvard Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, who is working on a report on the environmental impact of computing. Google comes under the scanner due to the large number of huge data centers that it operates in secret locations and the number of searches that are carried out using Google daily.

Google  has refuted these claims and says that the physicist is off by at least a factor of 10. It claims that its data centers are highly energy efficient and as their servers take only a fraction of a second on an average to return results, due to its technologies like indexing, pigeon ranking etc. the emissions are negligible.

The Sunday Times which reported this story, it seems had sexed up the story by naming Google and comparing it with the boiling water paradigm, as the scientist claims that he did not name Google in the report and was speaking generally. It will always be the biggest player in the market that comes under the scanner as they make an easy target.

The story has gotten me thinking of the impact of all things online, all of which requires servers connected to power sources, which will be spewing away gases as we send out an email, search for something, do just about anything online…Individually the impact may be negligible but combine together a gadzillion people from around the world doing whatever they do online…

This is perhaps how science touches your life. The Tankpitstop, is a robotic arm which opens the fuel cap and actually fills your tank. You needn’t get out of the car. The robot is pre-programmed to know your car, and the fuel it requires through an RFID sticker. The sensors, tell you where to stop, and the robot does the rest.

So you needn’t get out of your car, waste precious drops of fuel, or tip the station attendant. There is however no mention on how these electronics work in a fumey environment, given that we are not allowed to operate cell phones, or leave the engine running when we are at a gas station.