The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

October 10, 2017 by  
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What if the world’s energy problems could be solved with one deep-sea wind farm ? A new study, conducted by the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, California, suggests it could. Scientists determined that if a renewable energy project the size of India were to be constructed in the ocean, enough electricity could be generated to fulfill the energy needs of every nation on earth. In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doctors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira wrote: “On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.” The duo noted that wind speeds are on average 70 percent higher over the Earth’s oceans than on land. In order to generate the equivalent of all energy used today, a deep-sea wind farm would need to span three million square kilometers. On land, the concept would never work. This is because when more wind turbines are added to a farm, the combined drag from the turning blades limits the amount of energy that can be obtained. As a result of this effect, electricity generation for large wind farms on land is limited to about 1.5 watts per square meter . In the North Atlantic, however, the limit would be much higher — more than six watts per square meter. Related: The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK The Independent reports that this is possible because more heat pours into the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the problem of “ turbine drag” is essentially overcome. Said Possner, “We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources.” During the summer, the output from the vast North Atlantic wind farm would drop to one-fifth of the annual average. Despite this, enough energy would still be generated to meet the electricity demands of all countries in the European Union . The scientists added that a deep sea wind farm would have to operate in “remote and harsh conditions,” where waves heights often reach more than 3 meters. If these hurdles were overcome, political and economic challenges would need to be tackled next. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons [1] , Wikimedia Commons [2] , Wikimedia Commons [3] and Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

October 10, 2017 by  
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This incredible floating tent is one of those things you never knew you needed. Ohio-based outdoor equipment company SmithFly has designed what they describe as the world’s first floating tent , the Shoal Tent . With it, according to SmithFly, “the world is your waterbed.” SmithFly’s floating tent looks like way too much fun. The base is an inflatable raft, covered by a tent topper. There are no tent poles necessary, according to the company, because the tent structure is inflatable. They also say when it is inflated, it can endure high winds. Naturally, the tent fabric is waterproof . And it seems the Shoal Tent would be a pretty cozy place to spend the night; the “six inch thick drop stitched” floor basically acts as an air mattress. Related: See-through dome lets you immerse yourself in nature and sleep beneath the stars “The tent topper sides all attach and detach using heavy duty hook and loop for the ability to use just the top and get in and out easily through the sides if the need arises suddenly,” the company said in their product description, and the floor inflates to 10 pounds per square inch (psi), while the tubes inflate to three psi. The floating tent is eight feet by eight feet, measured from outside to outside. Inside, a person 6’3″ tall can lay down or stand up in the middle. The tent weighs around 75 pounds, and can fold down to a burrito shape to fit inside a storage bag that’s around 60 by 24 by 18 inches. The company suggests camping on “your favorite farm pond, salt water flat, spring creek, or eddie on your favorite river .” SmithFly launched in 2010, the brainchild of designer and fly fisherman Ethan Smith, who aimed to create a better fly fishing vest pack. The company offers products manufactured in the United States and lists sustainability as one of their top priorities. They aim to make multi-generational products, with the hope customers “only buy one of our vests and that it lasts long enough that your great-grand kids can use it.” The Shoal Tent costs $1,499 and is available to pre-order online; SmithFly says they’re not in stock yet but the first batch will be going out in December or January. The tent kit comes with a storage bag, manual foot pump, and patch kit. + SmithFly Images via SmithFly

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This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

Scientists locate half of the universe’s missing ordinary matter

October 10, 2017 by  
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Scientists have discovered the location of the universe’s missing matter, the other half of ordinary matter that could not be previously observed but which scientists knew to exist. Two independent teams of astronomers, one at  the Institute of Space Astrophysics (IAS)  in Orsay, France and the other from the University of Edinburgh, have recently released studies that outline how they may have uncovered this missing matter and where it may be. Spoiler alert: it isn’t between the cushions of your couch. Both teams concluded that the universe’s previously astray ordinary matter can be located in the filaments of hot dispersed gas between galaxies . The teams’ work focused on the universe’s ordinary matter, matter composed of protons, neutrons and electrons, as opposed to mysterious dark matter , which make up most of the known universe. Up until these studies were released, we knew approximately how much ordinary matter existed in the universe, but we did not know where this matter was found. Now that it has been accounted for, scientists can feel more confident in their work. “This goes a long way toward showing that many of our ideas of how galaxies form and how structures form over the history of the universe are pretty much correct,” said Ralph Kraft, a professor at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts . Related: Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space Although strands of baryon, the ordinary-matter holding gas linking galaxies, were thought to exist, the phenomenon was not observable through X-ray telescopes . To solve this challenge, both teams incorporated the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, which occurs when enduring light from the Big Bang travels through hot gas. This interaction leaves behind markers of the gas that can be captured and studied. Using data from over 1 million pairs of galaxies, both teams discovered that the baryon gas strands were three to six times denser than normal matter in the universe. This breakthrough confirms what scientists have suspected for decades. “Everybody sort of knows that it has to be there,” said Professor Kraft, “but this is the first time that somebody – two different groups, no less – has come up with a definitive detection.” Via Futurism Images via NASA (1)

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Report:solar power is the fastest growing source of new energy

October 5, 2017 by  
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The world is going green at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, renewable energy accounted for two-thirds of all new power added to the world’s grid, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) — with more solar brought on board than any other technology. Overall, the growth in renewable power is estimated to be twice as large as gas and coal combined over the next five years. According to the report, new solar growth even overtook the net growth in coal,  which was previously the largest source of power generation. In many countries, the switch toward solar was propelled by falling prices and more favorable government policies. Now, the agency — which was funded by 28 member governments — predicts that in five years, the global capacity for solar will be greater “than the current combined total power of capacity of India and Japan.” Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, said, “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics [PV]. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022.” The agency said it has “underestimated” the speed solar is growing. Based on figures from 2016, the IEA now expects one-third more solar in China and India by 2022. China, which is notorious for being the most polluted country in the world, is leading the expansion of renewable energy. The United States is the second-fasting growing market, despite President Trump’s adamant anti-climate change stance. India is set for a “solar boom” over the next five years. Already, solar farms integrated with the grid are common, and innovation in the country is ensuring even the poorest residents have access to eco-friendly inventions . Because India’s renewable energy capacity will double by 2022, it will likely overtake the EU on growth. In terms of solar, the UK is expected to lag behind. The amount of solar forecast to be installed by 2022 is one-fifth the amount installed over the past five years. Offshore wind farms are expected to account for most of the UK’s renewable energy growth. Related: The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power The world’s acceptance of clean energy means technologies — including wind, solar, and geothermal — are becoming comparable in price to fossil fuels. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable energy division at the IEA, said, “Renewables may well become even cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives [over the next five years].” Within five years, coal may still be the biggest source of power. But renewables’ share of electricity will increase from 24 percent in 2016 to 30 percent by 2022. Via The Guardian  Images via Pixabay

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Report:solar power is the fastest growing source of new energy

The worlds largest floating wind farm is planned for the California coast

August 4, 2016 by  
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The world’s largest and America’s first major offshore wind farm is planned to open in 2021 off the coast of California. One hundred floating turbines will produce 765 megawatts of energy, leaving the 630 MW London Array in the dust. The system commissioned by Trident Winds is expected to power over 200,000 homes. The Morro Bay Offshore project will be located off the shore of Pt. Estero, California, 33 miles from the coast. Floating platforms supporting the turbines will be anchored to the seabed 2,600 to 3,300 feet under the water. The fastest coastal winds in the U.S. are located too far off shore for traditional undersea platforms, which use concrete or steel pilings. Floating platforms are an innovative solution only currently used in test projects. Related: Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island While cheaper to install, the amount of steel used and longer power cables needed to reach shore bring the price per megawatt from $4 million to $9 million with the floating platform project. If the wind farm is ever decommissioned, however, all of the materials could be brought back ashore instead of being left to litter the seabed. There is some concern that the Morro Bay Offshore project could encounter particularly turbulent seas or the cables could even interfere with multiple whale species who migrate there. Trident Winds is plowing forward, however, with a four-year plan to start producing wind power by 2025. As technology improves, the growing pains of cost and negative impact on the environment should decrease. + Trident Winds Via New Atlas Images via Wikipedia , Flickr

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IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing

August 4, 2016 by  
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IBM researchers in Switzerland have created an artificial neuron that behaves just like the real thing . For the first time in history, artificial phase-change neurons have been grouped together (in a population of 500 synthesized in a lab) to process a neurological signal in more or less the same way that biological neurons transmit messages. They can be made exceptionally small and are similar in power and energy usage to biological neurons, and can even produce results with random variations, also just like biological neurons. For non-scientists, the importance of this discovery may not be immediately apparent. IBM ’s artificial neuron , developed by a research team in Zurich, is quite literally the next best thing to a naturally created biological neuron. The lab-created version has all the same components of a biological neuron, including inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). Likewise, its functions mimic those of its biological counterpart. Related: Scientists create the world’s first enzymes using synthetic biology In addition to all that, the artificial neurons are durable, made from well-known materials that can withstand trillions of switching cycles. They are tiny (around 90 nanometers) and researchers believe they can make them even smaller, possibly as minuscule as 14nm. The researchers started by creating 500 artificial neurons together in a chain capable of sending signals, which means the IBM team has created the closest artificial version of a biological neuron. In the next phase of research, the team will create a much larger population of artificial neurons, with thousands of individual units, and write software to push their capabilities to the limit. The study results were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Via Ars Technica Images via IBM

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Tiny bacteria ‘wind farms’ could power your smartphone

July 12, 2016 by  
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Bacteria are often associated with disease – but in the future they could serve as a potent power source. University of Oxford researchers recently used bacteria to spin rotors in tiny ‘ wind farms ‘ – and they think these microscopic engines could power small electronic components like smartphone microphones. If you’ve ever looked at bacteria under a microscope, you’ve probably seen a lot of random movement. Under ordinary circumstances, there’s not yet a way to get power from that spontaneous motion. Oxford researchers immersed a ” lattice of 64 symmetric microrotors ” into fluid filled with bacteria, and found the bacteria organized their movement in such a way that the microrotors spun in opposite directions – kind of like a wind farm. This organized movement creates a steady stream of power. Related: Can bacteria help curb the spread of the Zika virus? The paper’s co-author Tyler Shendruk said in an Oxford press release , “When we did the simulation with a single rotor in the bacterial turbulence, it just got kicked around randomly. But when we put an array of rotors in the living fluid, they suddenly formed a regular pattern, with neighboring rotors spinning in opposite directions.” We probably won’t be powering homes with bacteria any time soon – but this teeny power source could be beneficial for micromachines . The team said these little wind farms could also drive ” devices that are self-assembled and self-powered .” Another paper co-author, Julia Yeomans, said ” Nature is brilliant at creating tiny engines, and there is enormous potential if we can understand how to exploit similar designs.” + Science Advances Via Gizmag Images via Sumesh P. Thampi1, Amin Doostmohammadi, Tyler N. Shendruk, Ramin Golestanian, and Julia M. Yeomans

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World’s tallest hybrid timber tower by Shigeru Ban coming to Vancouver

July 12, 2016 by  
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Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban has been tapped to design his first building in Canada: an innovative high-rise set to be the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower once complete. Created in collaboration with real estate developer PortLiving , the luxury tower will be developed in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood. As with all of Ban’s projects, the Vancouver project will showcase an environmentally sustainable design approach and a pioneering use of materials. ? Shigeru Ban has designed residential projects around the world, from the Metal Shutter House in Manhattan to the Curtain Wall House in Tokyo, however, the Vancouver residential development will be the architect’s tallest structure designed to-date. The building will be set in one of the last available locations in Coal Harbor, and is expected to set a new standard for luxury urban development, sustainability, and engineering innovation. Related: 10 Incredible Designs by Pritzker Prize Laureate Shigeru Ban ? “We are honoured to be working with Shigeru Ban and his team to bring a visionary design and new landmark to the City of Vancouver ,” said Macario (Tobi) Reyes, founder and CEO of PortLiving. “We are extremely excited by Shigeru Ban’s decision to bring his craft to the Pacific Northwest, where we expect he will be embraced for his environmentally-sustainable approach, creative integration of outdoor living, and his leadership in innovation.” Specific project details and designs will be revealed later this year. + Shigeru Ban Images via PortLiving

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57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

April 5, 2016 by  
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A new report published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that 57.7% of Scotland’s electric consumption came from renewable sources in 2015, exceeding the country’s 50% target for the year. This milestone comes in spite of the UK government’s recent decision to end public subsidies for onshore wind farms a year earlier than initially planned. Read the rest of 57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

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Artist hides miniature homes in Milan’s manholes

April 5, 2016 by  
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Artist Biancoshock is filling Milan’s manholes with minuscule homes . Called “Borderlife,” the street art project is meant to create a dialogue about the extreme living conditions many people are forced to endure. Specifically, Biancoshock was inspired by Bucharest, where over 600 people are living in the city’s sewers. Read the rest of Artist hides miniature homes in Milan’s manholes

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