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Renewable energy

Researchers Successfully Turn Abandoned Oil Well into Giant Geothermal Battery

in Enviroment 166 views

The Biden Administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to close abandoned oil and gas wells across the country, but what if they could solve the problem of renewable energy storage instead?

3,000 feet below the Midwestern state in a geological structure of porous sandstone, researchers from the University of Illinois deposited excess energy as heated water which could be used to generate electricity in the same way that geothermal power plants function.

The Illinois Basin is ideal for oil extraction, but has no subsurface source of heat to produce geothermal power. The same reasons however that make it ideal for extracting oil make it perfect for a potential new method of solving the problems with renewable energy storage.

The Illinois Basin boasts the correct thermal conductivity for the deposition of water heated through excess renewable energy production from solar or wind. Minerals with high conductivity are sandwiched between insulative layers, creating the conditions for the water to retain its heat enough to generate electricity.

“Many of the same properties that make a subsurface rock formation ideal for oil and gas extraction also make it ideal for geothermal storage,” said lead researcher Tugce Baser, an environmental engineering professor at the University of Illinois, in a statement. “And because our test site is a former gas well, it already has most of the needed infrastructure in place.”

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Fusion Breakthrough Announced by Scientists at US Department of Energy

in Uncategorized 222 views

Today the U.S. Department of Energy announced a breakthrough in nuclear fusion where more energy was gained from the process that was needed to heat atoms to temperatures hotter than the sun.

The electricity generated was only enough to boil 10 kettles of water, British fusion energy experts told CNN in anticipation of the release, but who nevertheless described it as “a true breakthrough moment which is tremendously exciting.”

Nuclear fusion is a potential new energy source with increasingly real potential to solve the West’s energy needs. It replicates the process of melding two atomic nuclei together which happens at the center of our sun, a function of physics which releases intense amounts of energy as heat through escaping neutrons.

Today the U.S. Department of Energy announced a breakthrough in nuclear fusion where more energy was gained from the process that was needed to heat atoms to temperatures hotter than the sun.

The electricity generated was only enough to boil 10 kettles of water, British fusion energy experts told CNN in anticipation of the release, but who nevertheless described it as “a true breakthrough moment which is tremendously exciting.”

Theoretically, it has the potential to generate enough energy to power a household for a human lifetime on a single glass of seawater, remarks MIT’s fusion company. It produces no emissions, and unlike nuclear fission, the currently-used method of nuclear power, generates no radioactive waste.

The breakthrough was achieved at the National Ignition Facility located in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, where giant lasers bombarded a hydrogen fuel source, likely the heavy hydrogen isotope deuterium, with an array of 200 lasers. It produced around 5.6 kilowatt hours of energy.

Last year, GNN reported that this facility achieved a fusion reaction that put the equipment there on the cusp of generating clean energy at a rate greater than its expenditure.

“This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

The press release also said the DoE is currently restarting a broad-based, coordinated fusion energy program in the United States. Combined with private-sector investment, there is a lot of momentum, they claim, to drive rapid progress toward fusion commercialization.

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Startup is Recycling Solar Panels Turning Waste into Valuable Material

in Enviroment 219 views

An American firm called Solar Cycle is transforming broken solar panels from landfill waste to valuable raw materials—perfect for making more solar panels.

Copper, aluminum, silver, and silicon are all recovered from panels at the end of their lifecycle, with the company’s new recycling method reducing them to just 2% of their material weight.

A 2016 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency found that likely by the mid 2030s, millions of metric tons of solar panels will be decommissioned, and if a method wasn’t found to economically recycle them, they would probably end up in the landfill.

Some Australian scientists however found a method of electrostatically separating waste streams from solar panels fed into large machine-grade shredders. By removing the aluminum frame, and then shredding the solar cells, the process is profitable and advantageous when shredding small amounts of solar arrays.

The process can chew up 220,000 pounds (1,000 tonnes) of solar panels a year, the rough equivalent to 50,000 panels a year, says lead author Dr. Pablo Dias.

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Mini Wind Turbines For Rooftops: ‘Up to 50% More Power’ and No Spinning Blades’

in Uncategorized 199 views

A company has shrunk the wind turbine from being as tall as the Statue of Liberty to a 10-foot bladeless box that provides more power than 15 solar panels.

They are designed for small-scale, commercial use, as they’re noise free, and incapable of killing birds. Because they sit on the edge of roofs, they pair well with solar panels. If a building also has batteries to store the energy, it could be near to total self-sufficiency.

The relentless march of innovation in renewable energy continues at breakneck speed. Perhaps more so than solar, wind power is plagued criticism of the danger it presents to wildlife, and high maintenance requirements.

Called Aeromine, their boxy turbines generate energy in 50% greater amounts then a solar panel, and 16-times as much when the wind is right.

It takes works off the fact that when wind strikes a flat building wall, it accelerates as it rushes up and over the obstacle. Catching these wind gusts through a small opening, it channels the force towards an internal propeller located at the bottom of the unit.

“I like to think of this as kind of disruptive and complimentary to the solar business,”  Aeromine cofounder and CEO David Asarnow told Fast Company. “Our production can be stronger. At the same time, when you pair the two, you really have a path for on-site energy independence.”

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Renewable energy company proposes 520-acre solar project in Rutland, Watertown

in Enviroment/Local Business/Local News 440 views

WATERTOWN — A San Diego-based renewable energy company is proposing a 110-megawatt, 520-acre solar project in the towns of Rutland and Watertown.

The Rutland Center Solar Project would be built along Route 126 and Route 12, straddling the town lines of Rutland and Watertown. Borrego Energy is the developer.

One of the biggest solar projects proposed in the north country, the solar array is expected to produce enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes, according to Borrego company officials.

The company has not started the application process with the state Office of Renewable Energy Siting. Construction is planned start in 2024 and it would not be in operation until a year later. The project would follow ORES’ 94-c permitting process and environmental review for large solar projects.

Borrego plans to file the application by the end of the year. The company also has a contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority under the 2020 Renewable Energy Standard solicitation.

“It’s in the early stages,” Borrego Senior Project Developer Leah Grossman said.

The company held an open house on Thursday at the Watertown Fire Department station, giving residents a chance to find out more about the project.

A few residents attending the open house said they had been aware of the project for a couple of years. The company was not required to start the public outreach for another four months.

“We wanted to get some public input early on,” Ms. Grossman said.

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