Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New hydrogen-powered bike

The chinese company, Shanghai Pearl Hydrogen Power Source Technology Co, just came out with a new hydrogen bike at the 9th China International Exhibition on Gas Technology, Equipment and Applications.

The hydrogen bike can reach speeds of 15 mph with a range of around 60 miles. The tanks on the hydrogen bike which are mounted behind the seat take approximately half an hour to recharge and compare favorably to an electric bicycle that takes upwards of 3 hours. The 20” wheel prototype weighs 32kg.

The bike's price is $2600 right now, but will go down to $500 when mass produced.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Solar island for green power

United Arab Emirates has just contracted with a Swiss firm, CSEM to purchase a floating solar island. The construction of a prototype is now underway in the Gulf. It will have a diameter of 100 metres, one-tenth of the size of an actual solar island with a peak power generation of roughly 1 megawatt. Because of its floating structure, the island could be easily turned to always face the sun, generating maximum power.

The plant will produce energy by concentrating solar power onto pipes containing water. The water will boil, and be used to spin turbines. Once shipped off-shore, the islands could be used to convert seawater to hydrogen, allowing them to be autonomous and untethered to the shore. They hydrogen could be picked up by barges, instead of having to transport the electricity to shore via a physical connection

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zephyr Solar Plane Flies for 54 Hours Straight

High altitude, long endurance aircraft flies into the night for the first time

QinetiQ’s Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) solar powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has achieved its longest flight to date during a set of flight trials at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at the end of July. One of the three aircraft flown in the trials flew for 18 hours, including 7 hours of flying in the dark, the first time Zephyr has flown at night. The aircraft flew using solar power for the ascent, reverting to battery power as dusk fell.

Zephyr is an ultra-lightweight electrically powered aircraft, with a wingspan of up to 16 metres but weighing less than 30 kg. The aircraft uses a combination of solar array and rechargeable batteries and, when fully developed, is expected to operate for months at a time at an altitude above 50,000 feet providing a sustained and persistent earth observation platform.

In addition to confirming the anticipated flight performance, the trials demonstrated a suite of payloads flown onboard two of the aircraft. The UAV platform was successfully used for the first time as a communications relay, demonstrating capability beyond line of sight between handsets on the ground at significant distances in mountainous terrain. A number of different electro-optical and infra-red payloads were also successfully operated, providing a mix of images and video transmitted from the aircraft in real time.

Zephyr has been developed by QinetiQ under a jointly funded programme with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement, praised the Zephyr programme during his key note address at the recent Farnborough International Air Show, describing it as “a truly unique capability”.

Paul Davey, Zephyr development director at QinetiQ, said: “I am delighted by our recent flight achievements. The latest trials have validated the design goal for long endurance operations at altitudes above the weather and air traffic and support our goal of being able to offer an operational low cost persistent military capability from 2008.”

In addition to supporting defence and security requirements, Zephyr is an ideal platform for a variety of civilian mapping, earth observation and atmospheric sensing applications, for example for pipeline, crop and forestry fire monitoring, fisheries protection and border control.

Two Zephyr aircraft were first trialled at White Sands in December 2005, achieving a maximum duration of 6 hours and an altitude above 26,000 feet. Both aircraft were successfully recovered and subsequently reflown in the recent July trials. The principal aims of the latest trials were to extend significantly the flight envelope and to demonstrate payload capability. Both were achieved - the maximum flight duration was trebled and the maximum altitude increased by a further 10,000 feet to 36,000 feet.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ericsson's Tower Tube: innovative cellphone stations

The Ericsson Tower Tube is an innovative construction that houses base stations and antennas, fully encapsulating them in an aesthetic, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly tower. It employs cutting-edge design and building materials, and can be built in a variety of shapes and sizes, with customized finishes that make it a natural fit for any landscape.

The Tower Tube replaces conventional telecommunication sites with a sleek, architecturally designed, aesthetically pleasing tower. It can be regarded as a feature of any landscape.

It employs modular concrete construction that allows the structure to be deployed quickly and easily. The tower can be erected in a variety of heights, shapes and styles. The exterior’s color, pattern and finish can also be adapted to help it fit into rural or urban settings, and win public acceptance for a new site.

The tower is a self-contained site. It safely houses all equipment within its slim design (about 5m in diameter), reducing the need for more land.

The tower’s concrete exterior protects equipment effectively from the elements and provides a stable internal environment. Indoor equipment can be used and antennas are protected by a radome, or weatherproof enclosure. The robust concrete membrane provides additional protection from vandalism and lightning.

Radio base stations (RBS) are enclosed within the tower. They are initially installed at the bottom of the tower and then raised to the top by an elevator. By positioning a RBS at height, there is very low feeder loss, which allows improved network coverage and capacity

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

World's First Hydrogen Powered Race Car

Engineers at the University of Hertfordshire have developed the first hydrogen-powered racing car which they will race this weekend.

A £5,000 grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry has made it possible for John Goddard and James Waters, two PhD students in the University's new Sustainable Energy Technologies Centre to convert a Formula Student racing car into a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

This is the first time that a hydrogen-powered racing car has been developed anywhere in the world.

It will produce zero CO2 emissions, will be fuelled by "green" hydrogen produced from farm waste, and will be equally as fast as a petrol-fuelled one.

The engineers are very optimistic about the car's chances in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Formula Student Race when it races on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July at Silverstone.

This particular car won the Best UK Car category in the competition in 2005.

The University set up the Sustainable Energies Technology Centre in December 2006 to develop research into sustainable technologies and other uses of hydrogen.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Taiwan mulls current power generation

The government is now discussing the possibility of large-scale ocean current power generation, using the strong Kuroshio current off the east coast of Taiwan to generate up to 1.68 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, officials at the Council for Economic Planning and Development said on Monday.

The project task force, led by Chen Fa-lin - director of Energy and Environment Research Laboratory under Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute, is currently working on fine-tuning the guidelines, which will be presented to CEPD senior officials in August or September.

After the project is green-lighted, the possible first step should be setting up a five-megawatt marine turbine off Taiwan's east coast on a trial basis, with the goal of testing both related technologies and power-generating efficiency, CEPD officials, adding that hopefully, the project can enter the next stage in three years.

"Current power generation is not a new idea," officials noted. "Countries like Britain, Canada, Norway, and Australia all have experience in deploying offshore marine turbines with capacities ranging from one megawatt to eight megawatts to support the electricity demand of hundreds to thousands of households."

"The problem is not the technology itself but how to locate a suitable site - with a current strong enough, an undersea shelf not too deep, and a distance short enough to achieve power supply efficiency," they added.

However, they explained that based on the surveys done by National Taiwan University, the sea area of some 6,000 square kilometers between the eastern county of Taitung and the outlying Green Island in the Pacific Ocean appears to meet all the requirements, and that the maximum potential capacity there exceeds 1.68 trillion kilowatt- hours per year - while Taiwan's current annual demand of electricity is only about 98 billion kilowatt-hours.

According to the estimates of the project task force, a given site of 25 square kilometers located in the "shallow, high-speed zone" could support the deployment of 1,000 one-megawatt marine turbines, which would have a peak capacity of 1,000 megawatts: equal to the output of Taiwan's second nuclear power plant.

Chen, the project leader, noted that once the turbines enter commercial operation, Taiwan's coal power plants could be retired, while the nuclear power generators could be used as a backup system - thereby resulting in a great reduction in Taiwan's total carbon dioxide emissions.


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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Magnetic refrigerator needs no electricity

Scientists at the Technical University of Denmark have created a refrigerator that cools using magnets instead of electricity

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