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About: <p>Fossil&nbsp;fuels&nbsp;are non-renewable, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of&nbsp;renewable energy&nbsp;resources such as wind and solar&nbsp;energy are constantly replenished and will never run out.<br />Wind turbines and solar panels are an increasingly common sight. But why? What are the benefits of renewable energies and how do they improve our health, environment, and economy?</p> <p>The WhatsOrb category &lsquo;Energy&rsquo; explores and shows the many positive impacts of clean energy, including the benefits of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/wind">wind</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/solar">solar</a> and&nbsp;geothermal. Next to it critical articles about nuclear and unknown energy sources.</p> <p>If there was an urge to come up with renewable energy forms and to ​​change energy use, it is now! WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-change Platform is for you, storytellers and influencers to write about these topics and share them with the world. How you minimalize your energy consumption, the solar panels you choose and how did you isolate your house. In a nutshell; how to change your and other people&rsquo;s lifestyle.</p> <p>Global sustainability X change, that is what you can do together with WhatsOrb. <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/blog/your-shared-sustainable-ideas-make-our-earth-a-better-place">What's in it for me</a>?</p>
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Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers
With global warming and carbon emissions dominating headlines, countries are turning to hydrogen-powered technology as a secure, clean, and affordable alternative to fossil fuels.  Tracing its origins back to ancient Olympia, the Olympic torch - an eternal symbol of the hallowed sporting event - is set to shine brightly in Japan’s capital next year.  But when the flame is lit at Tokyo’s New National Stadium, it will be hydrogen fuel cells, not fossil fuels, which will sustain its fire. Hydrogen Fuel And The Tokyo Olympic Games The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will be powered by hydrogen technology, from the use of hydrogen cells for the electricity supply in the Athletes’ Village to the building of over 160 hydrogen stations for fuel cell vehicles. As an early pioneer in embracing and developing hydrogen-powered technology, Japan is on a quest to reduce emissions to less than a tenth of current levels by the year 2050. The benefits of the technology have not gone unnoticed by the international energy community, including Japan, where hydrogen took centre stage at the 2019 G20 Summit. From rendering freight transportation carbon-free to the convenient use of portable hydrogen “capsules”, here are five reasons why hydrogen is a secure, clean and affordable alternative. (G20) hold in Osaka where 'Green Hydrogen' was featured prominently Zero Emission On The Roads With Hydrogen Fuel Heavily dependent on fossil fuels for energy, the transportation sector contributes to a staggering 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Hydrogen-powered vehicles could be the answer to this problem, as fuel cell vehicles, which use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor, emit only heat and water as by-products. In China, hydrogen-powered transportation is gaining traction, with over 1,500 fuel cell vehicles currently plying the streets. Wan Gang, China’s Science and Technology Minister and the visionary leader of its electric vehicle economy, has predicted that hydrogen-powered vehicles will be the future of transportation not just in China, but also the world. Hydrogen-powered technology can also play a significant role in decarbonizing long-haul road freight, given that heavy vehicle lorries produce almost 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Global logistics giant DHL and electric vehicle start-up Street Scooter have teamed up to launch the H2 Panel Van, the world’s first 4.25-ton electric vehicle with an added fuel cell that allows it to travel up to 500 kilometres. As part of its mission to 'green' the logistics industry, DHL plans to have 100 of such fuel cell delivery vehicles on the roads between 2020 and 2021 Recommended:  Hydrogen Powered Car That Emits Water No CO2: The Rasa Hydrogen Gives A Longer Driving Range With a relatively short refuelling time, vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells can also travel for longer on lesser energy. In China, hydrogen-powered buses can drive beyond 500 kilometres on a full tank of hydrogen – a considerable jump from the 200 kilometres that electric buses typically achieve. Hydrogen-powered cars in Europe are traveling even farther, up to 800 kilometres or more, on a single tank. Another example is Toyota’s leading hydrogen-powered car, the Toyota Mirai, which can complete a 3,500-kilometer journey from Northern to Southern Europe and back on just 40 kilograms of hydrogen. {youtube}                                                 Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers                                                     Toyota Mirai Hydrogen fuel cell car goes for a drive While the costs of producing hydrogen have been cited as a barrier to widespread adoption, companies like Electric Global are coming up with innovative ways to tackle the challenge. The Israeli-Australian firm’s new hydrogen-based technology allows drivers to travel up to twice the usual distance while paying less than half the price of gasoline. The best part? The technology is entirely emission-free. Hydrogen Fuel Is Decarbonizing The Industrial Sectors Owing to the large amounts of fossil fuels used, the steel-making and chemicals production industries have long been regarded as emissions-heavy sectors. But hydrogen-powered technology is slowly changing things. The petrochemical and chemicals sector, which produced up to 1.25 gross tonnage of carbon emissions in 2017, is turning to electrolytic hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels. Hydrogen is seen as an alternative energy source for emissions-heavy industries. Within the steelmaking industry, the development of breakthrough technologies has led to a large number of promising projects, including a steelmaking factory in Hamburg, which uses an innovative hydrogen-based process to produce steel with low carbon emissions. In Sweden, steel production firm Hybrid is developing the world’s first fossil-free hydrogen-powered steel plant that aims to use biofuels to produce iron ore pellets. As more industries embrace hydrogen energy, the cost of producing it from renewable energy could become more affordable by 2030, said the International Energy Agency in a recent report. Hydrogens Fuel Is Easy To Store And Easy To Use One key benefit of hydrogen is the ease at which it can be stored, shipped, and used. This means that countries with little space for wind and solar equipment will still be able to benefit from carbon-free energy. Solar power plants usually require a large land area. Energy companies are constantly finding effective ways to store and harness the potential of hydrogen. In Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, technological giant Siemens has launched the world’s first energy storage demonstrator, which can store and transport carbon fuel safely and effectively. Hydrogen fuel is so versatile that in 2016, a Japanese research team designed and created hydrogen “capsules” that allow consumers to store hydrogen batteries in their pockets and use them for day-to-day activities. Space Travel Uses Successfully Hydrogen Fuel Contrary to popular belief, the use of hydrogen energy is not new. Hydrogen was used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a rocket propellant and fuel cell unit to operate auxiliary power units in space since the early 1960s. That same decade, internationally acclaimed American industrial designer Brooks Stevens launched the Utopia Concept, a series of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion cars that revolutionized the motor industry. But the most memorable use of hydrogen has to be the Apollo moon landing missions in 1967 when NASA used 363 feet tall valves fuelled by liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, and kerosene to power its rockets. Named the 'Saturn V' rockets, they were, and still are, considered to be the most powerful rockets ever built. Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers Fuel cells, are they the future? In the future, fuel cells could power our cars, with hydrogen replacing the petroleum fuel that is used in most vehicles today. Many vehicle manufacturers are actively researching and developing transportation fuel cell technologies. Stationary fuel cells are the largest, most powerful fuel cells. Which is better hydrogen or electric cars? Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles tend to be more frugal than their battery electric counterparts. According to Autocar, the Hyundai Nexo comes with a real-world range of 414 miles and filling up takes just five minutes, whereas electric charging can be an hour-long affair at the best of times. Hydrogen cars, are they quiet? A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) is a vehicle powered by an electric motor. ... Fuel cell vehicles provide the same benefits as BEV cars, quiet operation and zero emissions, but have a range comparable to gasoline vehicles and can be refueled in less than 5 minutes. Hydrogen, why is it a fuel? Hydrogen is high in energy, yet an engine that burns pure hydrogen produces almost no pollution. ... A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Fuel cells are often compared to batteries. Both convert the energy produced by a chemical reaction into usable electric power. Hydrogen fuel cells, how long do they last? 5,000 to 10,000 hours. H2 fuel cells currently in production have a life expectancy of from 5,000 to 10,000 hours. If we apply that to an average driving speed of 45 mph (a combination of in-town on highway driving), we should expect to get 225,000 to 450,000 miles. Hydrogen Production Although abundant on earth as an element, hydrogen is almost always found as part of another compound, such as water (H 2 O), and must be separated from the compounds that contain it before it can be used in vehicles. Once separated, hydrogen can be used along with oxygen from the air in a fuel cell to create electricity through an electrochemical process. Production Hydrogen can be produced from diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, biomass, and water electrolysis with electricity. The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends on how it is produced. Some projects are under way to decrease costs associated with hydrogen production. There are a number of ways to produce hydrogen: Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: Synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide, is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam. The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce additional hydrogen. This method is the cheapest, most efficient, and most common. A synthesis gas can also be created by reacting coal or biomass with high-temperature steam and oxygen in a pressurized gasifier, which is converted into gaseous components—a process called gasification. The resulting synthesis gas contains hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is reacted with steam to separate the hydrogen. Hydrogen from oil Recommended: Renewable Energy Breakthrough: Hydrogen Extract From Oil Electrolysis:  An electric current splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electricity is produced by renewable sources, such as solar or wind, the resulting hydrogen will be considered renewable as well, and has numerous emissions benefits. Power-to-hydrogen projects are taking off, where excess renewable electricity, when it's available, is used to make hydrogen through electrolysis. Renewable Liquid Reforming:  Renewable liquid fuels, such as ethanol, are reacted with high-temperature steam to produce hydrogen near the point of end use. Fermentation:  Biomass is converted into sugar-rich feedstocks that can be fermented to produce hydrogen. A number of hydrogen production methods are in development: High-Temperature Water Splitting: High temperatures generated by solar concentrators or nuclear reactors drive chemical reactions that split water to produce hydrogen Photobiological Water Splitting: Microbes, such as green algae, consume water in the presence of sunlight, producing hydrogen as a by-product Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: Photoelectrochemical systems produce hydrogen from water using special semiconductors and energy from sunlight If you have any questions or remarks! Please comment below. Recommended:  Breaking News! Hydrogen Cheaply Produced By Solar In Belgium Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
With global warming and carbon emissions dominating headlines, countries are turning to hydrogen-powered technology as a secure, clean, and affordable alternative to fossil fuels.  Tracing its origins back to ancient Olympia, the Olympic torch - an eternal symbol of the hallowed sporting event - is set to shine brightly in Japan’s capital next year.  But when the flame is lit at Tokyo’s New National Stadium, it will be hydrogen fuel cells, not fossil fuels, which will sustain its fire. Hydrogen Fuel And The Tokyo Olympic Games The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will be powered by hydrogen technology, from the use of hydrogen cells for the electricity supply in the Athletes’ Village to the building of over 160 hydrogen stations for fuel cell vehicles. As an early pioneer in embracing and developing hydrogen-powered technology, Japan is on a quest to reduce emissions to less than a tenth of current levels by the year 2050. The benefits of the technology have not gone unnoticed by the international energy community, including Japan, where hydrogen took centre stage at the 2019 G20 Summit. From rendering freight transportation carbon-free to the convenient use of portable hydrogen “capsules”, here are five reasons why hydrogen is a secure, clean and affordable alternative. (G20) hold in Osaka where 'Green Hydrogen' was featured prominently Zero Emission On The Roads With Hydrogen Fuel Heavily dependent on fossil fuels for energy, the transportation sector contributes to a staggering 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Hydrogen-powered vehicles could be the answer to this problem, as fuel cell vehicles, which use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor, emit only heat and water as by-products. In China, hydrogen-powered transportation is gaining traction, with over 1,500 fuel cell vehicles currently plying the streets. Wan Gang, China’s Science and Technology Minister and the visionary leader of its electric vehicle economy, has predicted that hydrogen-powered vehicles will be the future of transportation not just in China, but also the world. Hydrogen-powered technology can also play a significant role in decarbonizing long-haul road freight, given that heavy vehicle lorries produce almost 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Global logistics giant DHL and electric vehicle start-up Street Scooter have teamed up to launch the H2 Panel Van, the world’s first 4.25-ton electric vehicle with an added fuel cell that allows it to travel up to 500 kilometres. As part of its mission to 'green' the logistics industry, DHL plans to have 100 of such fuel cell delivery vehicles on the roads between 2020 and 2021 Recommended:  Hydrogen Powered Car That Emits Water No CO2: The Rasa Hydrogen Gives A Longer Driving Range With a relatively short refuelling time, vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells can also travel for longer on lesser energy. In China, hydrogen-powered buses can drive beyond 500 kilometres on a full tank of hydrogen – a considerable jump from the 200 kilometres that electric buses typically achieve. Hydrogen-powered cars in Europe are traveling even farther, up to 800 kilometres or more, on a single tank. Another example is Toyota’s leading hydrogen-powered car, the Toyota Mirai, which can complete a 3,500-kilometer journey from Northern to Southern Europe and back on just 40 kilograms of hydrogen. {youtube}                                                 Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers                                                     Toyota Mirai Hydrogen fuel cell car goes for a drive While the costs of producing hydrogen have been cited as a barrier to widespread adoption, companies like Electric Global are coming up with innovative ways to tackle the challenge. The Israeli-Australian firm’s new hydrogen-based technology allows drivers to travel up to twice the usual distance while paying less than half the price of gasoline. The best part? The technology is entirely emission-free. Hydrogen Fuel Is Decarbonizing The Industrial Sectors Owing to the large amounts of fossil fuels used, the steel-making and chemicals production industries have long been regarded as emissions-heavy sectors. But hydrogen-powered technology is slowly changing things. The petrochemical and chemicals sector, which produced up to 1.25 gross tonnage of carbon emissions in 2017, is turning to electrolytic hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels. Hydrogen is seen as an alternative energy source for emissions-heavy industries. Within the steelmaking industry, the development of breakthrough technologies has led to a large number of promising projects, including a steelmaking factory in Hamburg, which uses an innovative hydrogen-based process to produce steel with low carbon emissions. In Sweden, steel production firm Hybrid is developing the world’s first fossil-free hydrogen-powered steel plant that aims to use biofuels to produce iron ore pellets. As more industries embrace hydrogen energy, the cost of producing it from renewable energy could become more affordable by 2030, said the International Energy Agency in a recent report. Hydrogens Fuel Is Easy To Store And Easy To Use One key benefit of hydrogen is the ease at which it can be stored, shipped, and used. This means that countries with little space for wind and solar equipment will still be able to benefit from carbon-free energy. Solar power plants usually require a large land area. Energy companies are constantly finding effective ways to store and harness the potential of hydrogen. In Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, technological giant Siemens has launched the world’s first energy storage demonstrator, which can store and transport carbon fuel safely and effectively. Hydrogen fuel is so versatile that in 2016, a Japanese research team designed and created hydrogen “capsules” that allow consumers to store hydrogen batteries in their pockets and use them for day-to-day activities. Space Travel Uses Successfully Hydrogen Fuel Contrary to popular belief, the use of hydrogen energy is not new. Hydrogen was used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a rocket propellant and fuel cell unit to operate auxiliary power units in space since the early 1960s. That same decade, internationally acclaimed American industrial designer Brooks Stevens launched the Utopia Concept, a series of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion cars that revolutionized the motor industry. But the most memorable use of hydrogen has to be the Apollo moon landing missions in 1967 when NASA used 363 feet tall valves fuelled by liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, and kerosene to power its rockets. Named the 'Saturn V' rockets, they were, and still are, considered to be the most powerful rockets ever built. Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers Fuel cells, are they the future? In the future, fuel cells could power our cars, with hydrogen replacing the petroleum fuel that is used in most vehicles today. Many vehicle manufacturers are actively researching and developing transportation fuel cell technologies. Stationary fuel cells are the largest, most powerful fuel cells. Which is better hydrogen or electric cars? Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles tend to be more frugal than their battery electric counterparts. According to Autocar, the Hyundai Nexo comes with a real-world range of 414 miles and filling up takes just five minutes, whereas electric charging can be an hour-long affair at the best of times. Hydrogen cars, are they quiet? A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) is a vehicle powered by an electric motor. ... Fuel cell vehicles provide the same benefits as BEV cars, quiet operation and zero emissions, but have a range comparable to gasoline vehicles and can be refueled in less than 5 minutes. Hydrogen, why is it a fuel? Hydrogen is high in energy, yet an engine that burns pure hydrogen produces almost no pollution. ... A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Fuel cells are often compared to batteries. Both convert the energy produced by a chemical reaction into usable electric power. Hydrogen fuel cells, how long do they last? 5,000 to 10,000 hours. H2 fuel cells currently in production have a life expectancy of from 5,000 to 10,000 hours. If we apply that to an average driving speed of 45 mph (a combination of in-town on highway driving), we should expect to get 225,000 to 450,000 miles. Hydrogen Production Although abundant on earth as an element, hydrogen is almost always found as part of another compound, such as water (H 2 O), and must be separated from the compounds that contain it before it can be used in vehicles. Once separated, hydrogen can be used along with oxygen from the air in a fuel cell to create electricity through an electrochemical process. Production Hydrogen can be produced from diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, biomass, and water electrolysis with electricity. The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends on how it is produced. Some projects are under way to decrease costs associated with hydrogen production. There are a number of ways to produce hydrogen: Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: Synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide, is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam. The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce additional hydrogen. This method is the cheapest, most efficient, and most common. A synthesis gas can also be created by reacting coal or biomass with high-temperature steam and oxygen in a pressurized gasifier, which is converted into gaseous components—a process called gasification. The resulting synthesis gas contains hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is reacted with steam to separate the hydrogen. Hydrogen from oil Recommended: Renewable Energy Breakthrough: Hydrogen Extract From Oil Electrolysis:  An electric current splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electricity is produced by renewable sources, such as solar or wind, the resulting hydrogen will be considered renewable as well, and has numerous emissions benefits. Power-to-hydrogen projects are taking off, where excess renewable electricity, when it's available, is used to make hydrogen through electrolysis. Renewable Liquid Reforming:  Renewable liquid fuels, such as ethanol, are reacted with high-temperature steam to produce hydrogen near the point of end use. Fermentation:  Biomass is converted into sugar-rich feedstocks that can be fermented to produce hydrogen. A number of hydrogen production methods are in development: High-Temperature Water Splitting: High temperatures generated by solar concentrators or nuclear reactors drive chemical reactions that split water to produce hydrogen Photobiological Water Splitting: Microbes, such as green algae, consume water in the presence of sunlight, producing hydrogen as a by-product Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: Photoelectrochemical systems produce hydrogen from water using special semiconductors and energy from sunlight If you have any questions or remarks! Please comment below. Recommended:  Breaking News! Hydrogen Cheaply Produced By Solar In Belgium Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers
Hydrogen Is The Fuel Of The Future: Questions & Answers
Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion
There are new nuclear reactors that might stop the climate change. Through sodium-cooled nuclear fission to advanced fusion, a new generation of projects hopes to regain confidence in nuclear energy. You might not go to BP for the environmental news, but climate watchers recommend their annual energy review. The story of 2018 was pretty dark: we all know and read about global warming, but coal was responsible for 28 per cent of the world's power in 2017. That is the same level as 20 years ago when the first global climate treaty was signed. Unfortunately, that is not even the saddest news: greenhouse-gas emissions increased by 2.7 per cent last year, the most significant increase in seven years. A lot of policymakers and environmental groups concluded that we need more nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants closure Nuclear energy could be an option, but is that the way we are headed? If we look at the plans, Germany should shut down its nuclear plants by 2022. Even back in 2011, Italy voted to close all the nuclear power plants. And of course, there is this other problem: money. Nuclear energy is incredibly expensive. The United States mentioned they could not compete with cheap shale gas. If this problem continues, more energy power plants will close and will be replaced by natural gas which help the emissions to rise, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. It is predicted that if all these plants were to close, CO2 emissions would increase by six per cent. Recommended:  Nuclear Floating Power Plants: A Floating Chernobyl: Russia Fission of Nuclear Reactors Since the beginning of 2018, there were more than 75 fission projects in North America, trying to split atoms. Traditional reactors do this job for decades. At this moment, one of the pioneering technologies is the small modular reactor, or SMR: a downsized version of conventional fission systems that promises to be cheaper and safer. NuScale Power, located in Portland, Oregon, has a 60-megawatt design that is almost up and running (a high-cost conventional fission plant could produce about 1,000 MW of power). NuScale has an agreement to install twelve small reactors to supply energy to a coalition of 46 utilities in the west of the US. This project can only go forward if the members of the group agree to finance it before the end of this year. History has taught us that this will not be easy. {youtube}                                                         Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission                                      How This Rare Natural Fission Reactor Could Solve Our Nuclear Waste Problem In 2011, Generation mPower, another SMR developer, had a deal to build up to six reactors, similar to those of NuScale. Generation mPower had the support of business owners Babcock and Wilcox, one of the world's largest energy builders. After less than three years, the pact was suspended because no new customers had arrived. No orders meant that prices would not decrease, which made the deal untenable. Recommended:  Nuclear Power: Will It Destroy Or Save The World? Nuclear Reactors: sodium-cooled NuScale uses traditional light-water-cooled nuclear reactors, but there are also so-called generation IV systems which use alternative coolants. For example, China is building a colossal scale sodium-cooled reactor in Fujian province, which should be working by 2023. Washington produces a similar system, but Donald Trump's administration has a restriction on Chinese trade, so we cannot tell you if the agreement is still on the table. Nuclear Reactors: molten salt In addition to the sodium-cooled generation IV variant, the molten-salt reactor is also a variant, a much safer variant than earlier designs. It can cool itself, even if the system loses power entirely. The Canadian company Terrestrial Energy wants to build 190 molten-salt reactor plants in Ontario, and it should be producing power before 2030. The costs are comparable with natural gas. A team from the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) the Netherlands has built the first molten salt reactor powered by thorium Nuclear Reactors: fusion Many people are hoping for nuclear fusion. Fusion reactors mimic the sun's core process, compress lighter atoms to turn them into heavier atoms and release vast amounts of energy in the meantime. In the sun, this process is driven by gravity. Engineers aim to replicate fusion condition with extremely high temperatures, but the process is complicated (they need plasma to fuse atoms, and that seems very hard). ITER, previously known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is building a solution in France. Unfortunately, the costs are very high - $22 billion -, so the first experiments are not scheduled until 2025. Will these companies succeed? Advanced fission substantially decreases nuclear waste - even when used as a fuel - and reduces the risk of tragedies such as Fukushima or Chernobyl. However, such reactors are not licensed or deployed outside of China or Russia. Many of the voters do not believe companies if they promise that new technologies will be able to avoid old mistakes. Nuclear energy is less dangerous than expected, but the costs are still very high, and the timelines are very long. What will the future bring? Experts are all for nuclear, but to convince sceptical voters... that might be a challenge. R ecommended:  The Artificial Sun Is Heating Up: Nuclear Fusion On Earth Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
There are new nuclear reactors that might stop the climate change. Through sodium-cooled nuclear fission to advanced fusion, a new generation of projects hopes to regain confidence in nuclear energy. You might not go to BP for the environmental news, but climate watchers recommend their annual energy review. The story of 2018 was pretty dark: we all know and read about global warming, but coal was responsible for 28 per cent of the world's power in 2017. That is the same level as 20 years ago when the first global climate treaty was signed. Unfortunately, that is not even the saddest news: greenhouse-gas emissions increased by 2.7 per cent last year, the most significant increase in seven years. A lot of policymakers and environmental groups concluded that we need more nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants closure Nuclear energy could be an option, but is that the way we are headed? If we look at the plans, Germany should shut down its nuclear plants by 2022. Even back in 2011, Italy voted to close all the nuclear power plants. And of course, there is this other problem: money. Nuclear energy is incredibly expensive. The United States mentioned they could not compete with cheap shale gas. If this problem continues, more energy power plants will close and will be replaced by natural gas which help the emissions to rise, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. It is predicted that if all these plants were to close, CO2 emissions would increase by six per cent. Recommended:  Nuclear Floating Power Plants: A Floating Chernobyl: Russia Fission of Nuclear Reactors Since the beginning of 2018, there were more than 75 fission projects in North America, trying to split atoms. Traditional reactors do this job for decades. At this moment, one of the pioneering technologies is the small modular reactor, or SMR: a downsized version of conventional fission systems that promises to be cheaper and safer. NuScale Power, located in Portland, Oregon, has a 60-megawatt design that is almost up and running (a high-cost conventional fission plant could produce about 1,000 MW of power). NuScale has an agreement to install twelve small reactors to supply energy to a coalition of 46 utilities in the west of the US. This project can only go forward if the members of the group agree to finance it before the end of this year. History has taught us that this will not be easy. {youtube}                                                         Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission                                      How This Rare Natural Fission Reactor Could Solve Our Nuclear Waste Problem In 2011, Generation mPower, another SMR developer, had a deal to build up to six reactors, similar to those of NuScale. Generation mPower had the support of business owners Babcock and Wilcox, one of the world's largest energy builders. After less than three years, the pact was suspended because no new customers had arrived. No orders meant that prices would not decrease, which made the deal untenable. Recommended:  Nuclear Power: Will It Destroy Or Save The World? Nuclear Reactors: sodium-cooled NuScale uses traditional light-water-cooled nuclear reactors, but there are also so-called generation IV systems which use alternative coolants. For example, China is building a colossal scale sodium-cooled reactor in Fujian province, which should be working by 2023. Washington produces a similar system, but Donald Trump's administration has a restriction on Chinese trade, so we cannot tell you if the agreement is still on the table. Nuclear Reactors: molten salt In addition to the sodium-cooled generation IV variant, the molten-salt reactor is also a variant, a much safer variant than earlier designs. It can cool itself, even if the system loses power entirely. The Canadian company Terrestrial Energy wants to build 190 molten-salt reactor plants in Ontario, and it should be producing power before 2030. The costs are comparable with natural gas. A team from the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) the Netherlands has built the first molten salt reactor powered by thorium Nuclear Reactors: fusion Many people are hoping for nuclear fusion. Fusion reactors mimic the sun's core process, compress lighter atoms to turn them into heavier atoms and release vast amounts of energy in the meantime. In the sun, this process is driven by gravity. Engineers aim to replicate fusion condition with extremely high temperatures, but the process is complicated (they need plasma to fuse atoms, and that seems very hard). ITER, previously known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is building a solution in France. Unfortunately, the costs are very high - $22 billion -, so the first experiments are not scheduled until 2025. Will these companies succeed? Advanced fission substantially decreases nuclear waste - even when used as a fuel - and reduces the risk of tragedies such as Fukushima or Chernobyl. However, such reactors are not licensed or deployed outside of China or Russia. Many of the voters do not believe companies if they promise that new technologies will be able to avoid old mistakes. Nuclear energy is less dangerous than expected, but the costs are still very high, and the timelines are very long. What will the future bring? Experts are all for nuclear, but to convince sceptical voters... that might be a challenge. R ecommended:  The Artificial Sun Is Heating Up: Nuclear Fusion On Earth Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion
Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion
Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide
Lithium batteries. Most of us will be familiar with the term, if only for the way in which airlines nowadays expressly tell you to not put them in your checked luggage. They could explode mid-flight, release toxic fumes and incite electrical fires.   Those who have done a bit more research will know that these commonly house in our personal electronics, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. This makes them a crucial element of today’s world and therefore susceptible to a steady production flow. Yet lithium batteries can also be found in e-bikes and electric cars, which are definitely on the rise.   In short? Lithium batteries power a significant part of our lives and will continue to do so even more in years to come. Environmental costs lithium battery production Unfortunately, they are not exactly helping us in our struggle to replace fossil fuels with cleaner alternatives. The environmental costs of lithium battery production are huge, with entire communities polluted by the toxic metals that make up its core components. Lithium mines are located in some of the world’s poorest regions, making it a particularly harrowing dilemma. Just a couple of years ago, back in 2016, the Ganzizhou Rongda lithium mine, located in China, experienced a toxic chemical leak. As a result, the Liqi river was polluted and ecosystems all the way up to the Tibetan plateau were destroyed. Dead animals floated in the water, both fish and livestock depending on this river for their water supply. Reliance on lithium It was not an isolated incident. In the past few years, there have been numerous instances of lithium mining causing irreversible damage to the environment and those living in it. Ironic, considering how many people are looking at it for its ability to help ‘green up’ the world. Electric cars rely on it, with Tesla averaging 12 kilograms of lithium in their batteries, as do grid storage solutions for renewable energy sources, requiring many times this number for their operations. ( Recommended:  Electric Cars: Truly Green Or A New Kind Of Liability? ) So, it is hardly surprising that demand numbers for lithium have grown pretty much exponentially and will continue to do so in the future. Recent forecasts predict an industry growth of 800% in the next decade, from 100 gigawatt hours in 2017 to 800 gigawatt hours in 2027. All a result of the increasing number of products containing lithium - and their successes. Lithium is a reactive alkali metal known for its durability and power, that can be obtained through hard-rock mining and brine water mining. The latter is responsible for 87% of the world’s lithium supply, mostly found in the salars or brine lakes in South America. The so-called Lithium Triangle, an otherworldly landscape of salt flats, covers Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and is home to over half of the world’s supply of this metal. People filling a truck with salt from the saltflacs in Chile Water issues The main issue here? Water. These lands are notoriously dry, yet significant amounts of water are needed to extract the lithium. It requires up to 500,000 gallons of water for each ton of lithium, a pretty hefty water bill. Chile has dedicated about 65% of its total water supply to the mining activities in the region, effectively robbing their quinoa farmers and llama herders of much sought after water.   In the example of China, on the other hand, the problem is not so much the lack of water, but more the abundance thereof. In order to extract lithium, holes are drilled and filled with water and toxic chemicals, including hydrochloric acid. When these pools leak or overflow, these chemicals infiltrate rivers and other water sources in the region. This also affects regions that use hard-rock mining to obtain lithium, including large areas in Australia and North America. Traditional methods are used to extract the lithium, but even these methods still require the use of damaging chemicals. In Nevada, for instance, lithium mining has led to rivers and streams being polluted and fish inhabiting those bodies of water being impacted - for up to 150 miles downstream.   ( Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam ) Environmental costs Even experts admit that it is far from green. It leaves behind devastating marks in the landscape, while draining water supplies and polluting wells, streams, ground water and rivers. This is a well-known fact that has led to many furious protests in countries currently engaging in lithium mining activities. As bad as this sounds, it does not even make lithium the most dangerous component of modern batteries. At least the material itself is relatively harmless, when compared to some of its counterparts. Just look at cobalt, for instance, a naturally occurring mineral in central Africa. It is very toxic when pulled from the ground and requires careful handling.   Unsafe and unethical practices As luck would have it, it can mostly be found in one country - one that is not exactly well known for its far-reaching environmental policies and favourable working conditions, the Democratic Republic of Congo. With prices quadrupling in recent years, it is understandable why there has been such a rush to mine the material - the country is relatively poor and could really use this ‘cash cow’.   This has resulted in largely unethical and unsafe mining practices, often involving child workers handling the dangerous material with their bare hands. All to make a quick buck. {youtube} Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide. Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children And honestly? We cannot really blame governments and industry leaders in China, Chile and The Congo. They have found a way of lifting some of the burden of poverty that they have historically been suffering from, having quite literally found themselves sitting on a goldmine. As long as the demand is there, they will keep on delivering.   ( Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation ) Search for greener alternatives As such, we need a green alternative to these batteries. Some kind of rechargeable, durable energy source that uses environmentally friendly materials instead. Researchers are already looking at ways of maintaining battery performance while cutting out lithium and cobalt. They key phrase here is ‘maintaining battery performance’: if these ‘greener’ batteries are in any way less effective or durable, chances are that they could eventually be just as bad for the environment. Simply because an electric car with a less effective battery will have a higher environmental footprint. Another solution is the recycling of lithium, through the re-use of unwanted tablets, phones and laptops. This could be a win-win, requiring less mining and reducing pollution from lithium leaking in landfills when lithium-containing products are haphazardly dumped. Yet it has been an uphill struggle so far, due to the lithium’s characteristic of degrading over time and not being able to clearly pinpoint its life stage; as well as the secrecy surrounding the exact contents of each producer’s battery, making it harder to recycle as well. The issue of ‘greening up’ the batteries to power our smart devices, electric cars, and other ‘sustainable’ inventions will hopefully receive plenty of attention over the coming years. Finding ways of saving the world will, after all, require a steady energy source that is already green in its own right.   All about Solar Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Lithium batteries. Most of us will be familiar with the term, if only for the way in which airlines nowadays expressly tell you to not put them in your checked luggage. They could explode mid-flight, release toxic fumes and incite electrical fires.   Those who have done a bit more research will know that these commonly house in our personal electronics, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. This makes them a crucial element of today’s world and therefore susceptible to a steady production flow. Yet lithium batteries can also be found in e-bikes and electric cars, which are definitely on the rise.   In short? Lithium batteries power a significant part of our lives and will continue to do so even more in years to come. Environmental costs lithium battery production Unfortunately, they are not exactly helping us in our struggle to replace fossil fuels with cleaner alternatives. The environmental costs of lithium battery production are huge, with entire communities polluted by the toxic metals that make up its core components. Lithium mines are located in some of the world’s poorest regions, making it a particularly harrowing dilemma. Just a couple of years ago, back in 2016, the Ganzizhou Rongda lithium mine, located in China, experienced a toxic chemical leak. As a result, the Liqi river was polluted and ecosystems all the way up to the Tibetan plateau were destroyed. Dead animals floated in the water, both fish and livestock depending on this river for their water supply. Reliance on lithium It was not an isolated incident. In the past few years, there have been numerous instances of lithium mining causing irreversible damage to the environment and those living in it. Ironic, considering how many people are looking at it for its ability to help ‘green up’ the world. Electric cars rely on it, with Tesla averaging 12 kilograms of lithium in their batteries, as do grid storage solutions for renewable energy sources, requiring many times this number for their operations. ( Recommended:  Electric Cars: Truly Green Or A New Kind Of Liability? ) So, it is hardly surprising that demand numbers for lithium have grown pretty much exponentially and will continue to do so in the future. Recent forecasts predict an industry growth of 800% in the next decade, from 100 gigawatt hours in 2017 to 800 gigawatt hours in 2027. All a result of the increasing number of products containing lithium - and their successes. Lithium is a reactive alkali metal known for its durability and power, that can be obtained through hard-rock mining and brine water mining. The latter is responsible for 87% of the world’s lithium supply, mostly found in the salars or brine lakes in South America. The so-called Lithium Triangle, an otherworldly landscape of salt flats, covers Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and is home to over half of the world’s supply of this metal. People filling a truck with salt from the saltflacs in Chile Water issues The main issue here? Water. These lands are notoriously dry, yet significant amounts of water are needed to extract the lithium. It requires up to 500,000 gallons of water for each ton of lithium, a pretty hefty water bill. Chile has dedicated about 65% of its total water supply to the mining activities in the region, effectively robbing their quinoa farmers and llama herders of much sought after water.   In the example of China, on the other hand, the problem is not so much the lack of water, but more the abundance thereof. In order to extract lithium, holes are drilled and filled with water and toxic chemicals, including hydrochloric acid. When these pools leak or overflow, these chemicals infiltrate rivers and other water sources in the region. This also affects regions that use hard-rock mining to obtain lithium, including large areas in Australia and North America. Traditional methods are used to extract the lithium, but even these methods still require the use of damaging chemicals. In Nevada, for instance, lithium mining has led to rivers and streams being polluted and fish inhabiting those bodies of water being impacted - for up to 150 miles downstream.   ( Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam ) Environmental costs Even experts admit that it is far from green. It leaves behind devastating marks in the landscape, while draining water supplies and polluting wells, streams, ground water and rivers. This is a well-known fact that has led to many furious protests in countries currently engaging in lithium mining activities. As bad as this sounds, it does not even make lithium the most dangerous component of modern batteries. At least the material itself is relatively harmless, when compared to some of its counterparts. Just look at cobalt, for instance, a naturally occurring mineral in central Africa. It is very toxic when pulled from the ground and requires careful handling.   Unsafe and unethical practices As luck would have it, it can mostly be found in one country - one that is not exactly well known for its far-reaching environmental policies and favourable working conditions, the Democratic Republic of Congo. With prices quadrupling in recent years, it is understandable why there has been such a rush to mine the material - the country is relatively poor and could really use this ‘cash cow’.   This has resulted in largely unethical and unsafe mining practices, often involving child workers handling the dangerous material with their bare hands. All to make a quick buck. {youtube} Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide. Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children And honestly? We cannot really blame governments and industry leaders in China, Chile and The Congo. They have found a way of lifting some of the burden of poverty that they have historically been suffering from, having quite literally found themselves sitting on a goldmine. As long as the demand is there, they will keep on delivering.   ( Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation ) Search for greener alternatives As such, we need a green alternative to these batteries. Some kind of rechargeable, durable energy source that uses environmentally friendly materials instead. Researchers are already looking at ways of maintaining battery performance while cutting out lithium and cobalt. They key phrase here is ‘maintaining battery performance’: if these ‘greener’ batteries are in any way less effective or durable, chances are that they could eventually be just as bad for the environment. Simply because an electric car with a less effective battery will have a higher environmental footprint. Another solution is the recycling of lithium, through the re-use of unwanted tablets, phones and laptops. This could be a win-win, requiring less mining and reducing pollution from lithium leaking in landfills when lithium-containing products are haphazardly dumped. Yet it has been an uphill struggle so far, due to the lithium’s characteristic of degrading over time and not being able to clearly pinpoint its life stage; as well as the secrecy surrounding the exact contents of each producer’s battery, making it harder to recycle as well. The issue of ‘greening up’ the batteries to power our smart devices, electric cars, and other ‘sustainable’ inventions will hopefully receive plenty of attention over the coming years. Finding ways of saving the world will, after all, require a steady energy source that is already green in its own right.   All about Solar Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide
Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide
The Illusions Of Renewables. Solar And Wind Will Not Save Our Climate
Far too often, the debate on climate change shifts to one of fossil fuels versus renewable energy. If we were to completely let go of the ‘wasteful’ and switch to energy generated by natural elements such as wind, solar or waves, it would - or so it is alleged - save our planet. This thought has been at the center of the climate debate for more than 30 years, setting in motion large-scale renewable energy projects. However, looking at today’s landscape, we see that there isn’t a single nation that has completely shifted its energy needs to renewable sources. Some Scandinavian countries are well underway to realising a near-zero carbon electricity supply, but what stands out here, is the fact that renewables like solar and wind only make up a small percentage of this. It is a well-documented fact that the number of solar panels or wind turbines required to even come close to the amount of energy generated by ‘regular’ producers is massive. At the same time, these enormous grids required will lead to higher costs of generating electricity, huge amounts of energy required for its production, and leave behind a large environmental footprint. Additionally, it is a rather unreliable source of energy.   In short, solar and wind energy are not just falling short of what they ought to be producing in order to be an adequate replacement, they are also largely unnecessary when looking at the bigger picture. Which will, eventually, really be a good thing. Renewables history When listening to a regular climate change debate, one will be quick to conclude that renewable energy - in particular solar and wind energy - is a relatively new invention. Wind turbines have, after all, not been recorded in modern history as a common sight until recently. Yet the reality is that wind and sunlight are some of the oldest sources of energy that we have. Already back in 1833, a man named John Etzler was involved in a proposal that sought to construct solar power plants. These would employ mirrors to concentrate sunlight on boilers. Solar panels that are capable of generating electricity have even been mentioned in literature back in the late 1800s. The schools of thought were there, waiting to be picked up - but unfortunately being overrun by the power of coal and other fossil fuels. Yet renewables were never far from our mind, as there have been numerous mentions of solar energy in publications throughout the 20th century - pointing at it as the next ‘big thing’ in power generation. This started in 1891, with The New York Times reporting that solar energy is not yet economical in an article titled “ Solar Energy: What the Sun's Rays Can Do and May Yet Be Able to Do ”, in which it concluded "… the day is not unlikely to arrive before long… ”. Solar and wind energy revolution! Did it arrive? That day did arrive, yet it never really ‘caught on’, despite the hype being attributed to it by journalists and experts alike. In 1931, another journalist of The New York Times had discovered this ‘hidden treasure’, writing about “ the evolution of civilization similar to that which followed the invention by James Watt of the steam engine ”. In the following decades, renewables slowly got more attention and found themselves at the center of scientific and political debate, with subsidies, tax cuts and grants being thrown at it. Especially around the turn of the century, it seemed as if the ‘big breakthrough’ was waiting to happen - only waiting on that last bit of funding. A massive $2 trillion was spent on wind and solar energy combined between 2007 and 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with governments spending up to 100 times more on its subsidies than it did for nuclear and fossil fuels.   The results? Far from as impressive: in 2016, solar and wind generated energy only made up 1.3 and 3.9 percent of the earth’s total, respectively. ( Recommended :  Vortex Wind Turbine: Energy Generator Without Blades ) Denmark and Germany as role model? Of course, these numbers above are merely an average. Some countries, like Denmark, show more promising numbers for its decarbonisation process: where wind energy in particular is thriving, making up 48 percent of the total electricity in the country. Does this make them the role model for renewables that we need to create a blueprint for other countries as well? Well, it is important to understand the specific reasons why this tiny Scandinavian country was able to achieve this. Firstly, it is small. Really small. It has fewer than 6 million inhabitants, occupies a piece of land that can be crossed in only a few hours, and is a minor player on the world’s economic stage.   While small, it is located in a favourable region, with many European neighbours willing to import the excess wind energy generated, lowering the risk of a costly surplus. Regardless, Denmark’s electricity prices are still amongst the highest in the world. And while this is justified by claiming that the industry is one of its most important export products, it is still striking.   Areas that are deploying solar energy on a large scale have seen similar uptakes in electricity price. Denmark’s neighbour Germany has long boasted a status as the poster child of renewables, but is facing similar issues. Their electricity is the second most expensive in Europe, after Denmark, while emissions are not declining as much as they would like.   Danish Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said that the Government should rethink the level of tax on electricity consumption, which is currently the highest in Europe. According to the Tax Ministry, approximately 40 percent of a household electricity bill is tax but these revenues were and are nessecarry in Denmmark to subsidize the development of renewable energy. Carbon emissions least production: France and Sweden Therefore, measuring the share of solar and wind based energy sources in the total energy production will paint a somewhat misleading image - and show the inefficiency of solar and wind. A much better benchmark can be found when looking at the amount of carbon emissions per capita. Here, France and Sweden are ranking high. The surprising thing? While those countries have successfully cut their carbon emissions, they have done so by employing only limited wind and solar sources. Sweden is deriving 95 percent of its electricity from zero-carbon sources, and France 88 percent. What these sources are? Nuclear and hydroelectric power. Other countries, including Norway, Brazil and Costa Rica, have harnessed hydroelectric power in a similar fashion, effectively decarbonising their economies. Nuclear is slightly more scalable and reliable, compared to hydroelectricity’s relatively large environmental impact. Hydroelectricity, as demonstrated by Brazil and California, is inherently unreliable and will not let itself be steered, meaning that countries will have to fall back on fossil fuels if production unexpectedly falls short. Thus, nuclear energy appears to be the only zero-carbon source that is capable of saving our planet - it is scalable, reliable, and efficient. Renewables not necessary to save the climate   Good news, so far: we do not need renewables to solve climate change. Renewables require a lot of land and specific wasteful ‘ingredients’ like concrete, steel and glass for its production - nuclear plants only need a fraction of this.   {youtube}                                              The Illusions Of Renewables. Solar And Wind Will Not Save Our Climate To demonstrate this: solar panels have been shown to rake up to 300 times more toxic waste than nuclear energy. And even after having been produced in a wasteful manner, they still harm the environment by occupying large areas of land, threatening the local ecosystem - all in exchange for a relatively minor share of electricity. ( Recommended :  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy ) Are we headed for a solar waste crisis? While people are up in arms about nuclear waste, only very few really seem to be concerned about the concept of solar waste. And solar waste there is: most countries do not have an adequate plan for safely disposing this often toxic waste, while its pile is growing steadily. Nuclear waste makes all the alarm bells in our heads go off, while solar waste seems to be regarded with something akin to indifference. Solar waste versus nuclear   Let’s start with some cold, hard facts. Every unit of energy generated by solar creates 3000 times more toxic waste than a unit of energy generated by nuclear energy. To put it in a perspective that hits home: Environmental Progress calculated that, if all waste generated over the next 25 years would be stacked on a football field, the pile of nuclear waste would be about the same height as the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste pile would be as high as two Mt. Everests (16 km). Developing countries, on the other hand, are facing similar issues. China, India and Ghana are dealing with those living in communities near waste dumps. Here, waste is often burned in an attempt to salvage copper wires, which are consequently resold. This process requires the burning of surrounding plastics, meaning that the smoke that is released is very harmful and straight-up toxic to human health. Nuclear waste, on the other hand, is carefully stored and managed. Using the highest levels of caution and safety, waste is contained in cement-filled drums and stored in secured facilities for decades or even centuries on end. When comparing this to the lacklustre way in which solar waste is simply ‘dumped atop the pile’ of electronic waste, it is not hard to see where we are doing something wrong. Solar panels contain a large number of dangerous materials, including lead, chromium and cadmium - not just harmful on direct impact, but also potentially capable of infiltrating drinking water supplies.   Actual dangers versus perceived dangers The dilemma is not as tough when carefully observing those facts. The share of nuclear energy in the world’s electricity market is larger, yet created using ‘less’. Less waste, less land area, less of an ecological and environmental footprint. While we are keen on implementing more solar and wind, the reality is that these energy sources are often showing far from rosy numbers below the line.   We would do well to move beyond this illusion of renewables and explore other zero-carbon sources of energy, in particular nuclear energy. There are relatively few drawbacks to this stable and secure source of energy, that has remained at the center of societal scrutiny since its earlier days. Nuclear energy is one way of tackling climate change in a meaningful manner - something that unfortunately cannot be said about wind or solar. It is time to make decisions based on facts rather than on dreams of renewables. Recomended: Man-Made Climate Change
Far too often, the debate on climate change shifts to one of fossil fuels versus renewable energy. If we were to completely let go of the ‘wasteful’ and switch to energy generated by natural elements such as wind, solar or waves, it would - or so it is alleged - save our planet. This thought has been at the center of the climate debate for more than 30 years, setting in motion large-scale renewable energy projects. However, looking at today’s landscape, we see that there isn’t a single nation that has completely shifted its energy needs to renewable sources. Some Scandinavian countries are well underway to realising a near-zero carbon electricity supply, but what stands out here, is the fact that renewables like solar and wind only make up a small percentage of this. It is a well-documented fact that the number of solar panels or wind turbines required to even come close to the amount of energy generated by ‘regular’ producers is massive. At the same time, these enormous grids required will lead to higher costs of generating electricity, huge amounts of energy required for its production, and leave behind a large environmental footprint. Additionally, it is a rather unreliable source of energy.   In short, solar and wind energy are not just falling short of what they ought to be producing in order to be an adequate replacement, they are also largely unnecessary when looking at the bigger picture. Which will, eventually, really be a good thing. Renewables history When listening to a regular climate change debate, one will be quick to conclude that renewable energy - in particular solar and wind energy - is a relatively new invention. Wind turbines have, after all, not been recorded in modern history as a common sight until recently. Yet the reality is that wind and sunlight are some of the oldest sources of energy that we have. Already back in 1833, a man named John Etzler was involved in a proposal that sought to construct solar power plants. These would employ mirrors to concentrate sunlight on boilers. Solar panels that are capable of generating electricity have even been mentioned in literature back in the late 1800s. The schools of thought were there, waiting to be picked up - but unfortunately being overrun by the power of coal and other fossil fuels. Yet renewables were never far from our mind, as there have been numerous mentions of solar energy in publications throughout the 20th century - pointing at it as the next ‘big thing’ in power generation. This started in 1891, with The New York Times reporting that solar energy is not yet economical in an article titled “ Solar Energy: What the Sun's Rays Can Do and May Yet Be Able to Do ”, in which it concluded "… the day is not unlikely to arrive before long… ”. Solar and wind energy revolution! Did it arrive? That day did arrive, yet it never really ‘caught on’, despite the hype being attributed to it by journalists and experts alike. In 1931, another journalist of The New York Times had discovered this ‘hidden treasure’, writing about “ the evolution of civilization similar to that which followed the invention by James Watt of the steam engine ”. In the following decades, renewables slowly got more attention and found themselves at the center of scientific and political debate, with subsidies, tax cuts and grants being thrown at it. Especially around the turn of the century, it seemed as if the ‘big breakthrough’ was waiting to happen - only waiting on that last bit of funding. A massive $2 trillion was spent on wind and solar energy combined between 2007 and 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with governments spending up to 100 times more on its subsidies than it did for nuclear and fossil fuels.   The results? Far from as impressive: in 2016, solar and wind generated energy only made up 1.3 and 3.9 percent of the earth’s total, respectively. ( Recommended :  Vortex Wind Turbine: Energy Generator Without Blades ) Denmark and Germany as role model? Of course, these numbers above are merely an average. Some countries, like Denmark, show more promising numbers for its decarbonisation process: where wind energy in particular is thriving, making up 48 percent of the total electricity in the country. Does this make them the role model for renewables that we need to create a blueprint for other countries as well? Well, it is important to understand the specific reasons why this tiny Scandinavian country was able to achieve this. Firstly, it is small. Really small. It has fewer than 6 million inhabitants, occupies a piece of land that can be crossed in only a few hours, and is a minor player on the world’s economic stage.   While small, it is located in a favourable region, with many European neighbours willing to import the excess wind energy generated, lowering the risk of a costly surplus. Regardless, Denmark’s electricity prices are still amongst the highest in the world. And while this is justified by claiming that the industry is one of its most important export products, it is still striking.   Areas that are deploying solar energy on a large scale have seen similar uptakes in electricity price. Denmark’s neighbour Germany has long boasted a status as the poster child of renewables, but is facing similar issues. Their electricity is the second most expensive in Europe, after Denmark, while emissions are not declining as much as they would like.   Danish Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said that the Government should rethink the level of tax on electricity consumption, which is currently the highest in Europe. According to the Tax Ministry, approximately 40 percent of a household electricity bill is tax but these revenues were and are nessecarry in Denmmark to subsidize the development of renewable energy. Carbon emissions least production: France and Sweden Therefore, measuring the share of solar and wind based energy sources in the total energy production will paint a somewhat misleading image - and show the inefficiency of solar and wind. A much better benchmark can be found when looking at the amount of carbon emissions per capita. Here, France and Sweden are ranking high. The surprising thing? While those countries have successfully cut their carbon emissions, they have done so by employing only limited wind and solar sources. Sweden is deriving 95 percent of its electricity from zero-carbon sources, and France 88 percent. What these sources are? Nuclear and hydroelectric power. Other countries, including Norway, Brazil and Costa Rica, have harnessed hydroelectric power in a similar fashion, effectively decarbonising their economies. Nuclear is slightly more scalable and reliable, compared to hydroelectricity’s relatively large environmental impact. Hydroelectricity, as demonstrated by Brazil and California, is inherently unreliable and will not let itself be steered, meaning that countries will have to fall back on fossil fuels if production unexpectedly falls short. Thus, nuclear energy appears to be the only zero-carbon source that is capable of saving our planet - it is scalable, reliable, and efficient. Renewables not necessary to save the climate   Good news, so far: we do not need renewables to solve climate change. Renewables require a lot of land and specific wasteful ‘ingredients’ like concrete, steel and glass for its production - nuclear plants only need a fraction of this.   {youtube}                                              The Illusions Of Renewables. Solar And Wind Will Not Save Our Climate To demonstrate this: solar panels have been shown to rake up to 300 times more toxic waste than nuclear energy. And even after having been produced in a wasteful manner, they still harm the environment by occupying large areas of land, threatening the local ecosystem - all in exchange for a relatively minor share of electricity. ( Recommended :  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy ) Are we headed for a solar waste crisis? While people are up in arms about nuclear waste, only very few really seem to be concerned about the concept of solar waste. And solar waste there is: most countries do not have an adequate plan for safely disposing this often toxic waste, while its pile is growing steadily. Nuclear waste makes all the alarm bells in our heads go off, while solar waste seems to be regarded with something akin to indifference. Solar waste versus nuclear   Let’s start with some cold, hard facts. Every unit of energy generated by solar creates 3000 times more toxic waste than a unit of energy generated by nuclear energy. To put it in a perspective that hits home: Environmental Progress calculated that, if all waste generated over the next 25 years would be stacked on a football field, the pile of nuclear waste would be about the same height as the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste pile would be as high as two Mt. Everests (16 km). Developing countries, on the other hand, are facing similar issues. China, India and Ghana are dealing with those living in communities near waste dumps. Here, waste is often burned in an attempt to salvage copper wires, which are consequently resold. This process requires the burning of surrounding plastics, meaning that the smoke that is released is very harmful and straight-up toxic to human health. Nuclear waste, on the other hand, is carefully stored and managed. Using the highest levels of caution and safety, waste is contained in cement-filled drums and stored in secured facilities for decades or even centuries on end. When comparing this to the lacklustre way in which solar waste is simply ‘dumped atop the pile’ of electronic waste, it is not hard to see where we are doing something wrong. Solar panels contain a large number of dangerous materials, including lead, chromium and cadmium - not just harmful on direct impact, but also potentially capable of infiltrating drinking water supplies.   Actual dangers versus perceived dangers The dilemma is not as tough when carefully observing those facts. The share of nuclear energy in the world’s electricity market is larger, yet created using ‘less’. Less waste, less land area, less of an ecological and environmental footprint. While we are keen on implementing more solar and wind, the reality is that these energy sources are often showing far from rosy numbers below the line.   We would do well to move beyond this illusion of renewables and explore other zero-carbon sources of energy, in particular nuclear energy. There are relatively few drawbacks to this stable and secure source of energy, that has remained at the center of societal scrutiny since its earlier days. Nuclear energy is one way of tackling climate change in a meaningful manner - something that unfortunately cannot be said about wind or solar. It is time to make decisions based on facts rather than on dreams of renewables. Recomended: Man-Made Climate Change
The Illusions Of Renewables. Solar And Wind Will Not Save Our Climate
The Illusions Of Renewables. Solar And Wind Will Not Save Our Climate
Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy
The green energy revolution continues to accelerate - solar parks are a familiar sight all over the world. But China wants to take solar energy to a whole new level. The nation’s ambition is to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050. With this power station, China will have access to the most reliable source of renewable energy, since the sun always shines in space. If this difficult and costly plan will work, it will make China the first nation to harness the sun’s energy in space and beam it to Earth. Are solar farms in spaces the answer to our prayers or a mission impossible? Solar energy: the inexhaustible source It seems to be a great idea: space-based solar power as an inexhaustible source of energy. "You don’t have to deal with the day and night cycle, and you don’t have to deal with clouds or seasons, so you end up having eight to nine times more power available to you," said Ali Hajimiri, a professor of electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and director of the university’s Space Solar Power Project for solar farms in space. ( Recommended: Solar Energy Turned Into Liquid Fuel Can Be Stored For 18 Years ) Energy demands So why haven’t anyone thought of this before? Well, the thought of using solar farms in space is nothing new. The idea was very vivid in the 1970s. The research stalled largely because the technological demands of a solar power station in space were thought to be too complex. But nowadays, there is a huge progression in technology compared to a few years ago. The improvements in the design and efficiency of photovoltaic cells and advances in wireless transmission are making it possible to pick up where researchers left off. How much of a difference will these improvements make? Asked John Mankins, a physicist who led the agency’s efforts in the field in the 1990s before NASA abandoned the investigating. “We’re seeing a bit of a resurgence now, and it’s probably because the ability to make solar farms in space is there, thanks to new technologies."   According to Mankins, there is another factor driving the revived interest in this kind of renewable power. The world’s population is growing – it’s expected to swell to 9 billion by 2050. Space-based solar power can become essential to meet the energy demands of people in parts of the world that aren’t particularly sunny. “If you look at the next 50 years, the demand for energy is stupendous. If you can harvest sunlight with solar farms in space where the sun is always shining and deliver it with essentially no interruptions to Earth — and you can do all that at an affordable price, you win." {youtube}                                                                       Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy                                                                                Mission impossible? Details of China’s plan remain a secret. According to Mankins, the nation can 'launch tens of thousands of 'solar satellites' that would link up to form an enormous cone-shaped structure that orbits about 22,000 miles above Earth. They would be covered with photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into energy, which would be beamed wirelessly to ground-based receivers. Such a solar facility could generate a steady flow of 2,000 gigawatts of power.’ There are still some hurdles to overcome, like the weight of the solar panels. ( Recommended: Waste In Space Will Be Fetched By The Cubesail carbage Truck ) It will also cost billions of dollars to make these solar farms in space happen. The research, the tests and the solar satellites itself (price tag: about ten billion each) will make this a very expensive project – to say the least. China hasn’t revealed how much it’s spending to develop its solar power stations, but the China Daily reported that the nation is already building a test facility in the southwestern city of Chongqing. It doesn’t seem like a mission impossible. China is taking a key position in the development of solar farms in space. According to John Mankins, a solar power station in space is a wonderful thing. “For a lot of locations, rooftop solar is fabulous, but a lot of the world is not like Arizona (or other sunny places). Millions of people live where large, ground-based solar arrays are not economical,” he said. Mankins hailed recent developments in the field and said he is keen to follow China’s new initiative. What do you think - is this next step in renewable energy? ( Recommended: All About Solar Energy )
The green energy revolution continues to accelerate - solar parks are a familiar sight all over the world. But China wants to take solar energy to a whole new level. The nation’s ambition is to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050. With this power station, China will have access to the most reliable source of renewable energy, since the sun always shines in space. If this difficult and costly plan will work, it will make China the first nation to harness the sun’s energy in space and beam it to Earth. Are solar farms in spaces the answer to our prayers or a mission impossible? Solar energy: the inexhaustible source It seems to be a great idea: space-based solar power as an inexhaustible source of energy. "You don’t have to deal with the day and night cycle, and you don’t have to deal with clouds or seasons, so you end up having eight to nine times more power available to you," said Ali Hajimiri, a professor of electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and director of the university’s Space Solar Power Project for solar farms in space. ( Recommended: Solar Energy Turned Into Liquid Fuel Can Be Stored For 18 Years ) Energy demands So why haven’t anyone thought of this before? Well, the thought of using solar farms in space is nothing new. The idea was very vivid in the 1970s. The research stalled largely because the technological demands of a solar power station in space were thought to be too complex. But nowadays, there is a huge progression in technology compared to a few years ago. The improvements in the design and efficiency of photovoltaic cells and advances in wireless transmission are making it possible to pick up where researchers left off. How much of a difference will these improvements make? Asked John Mankins, a physicist who led the agency’s efforts in the field in the 1990s before NASA abandoned the investigating. “We’re seeing a bit of a resurgence now, and it’s probably because the ability to make solar farms in space is there, thanks to new technologies."   According to Mankins, there is another factor driving the revived interest in this kind of renewable power. The world’s population is growing – it’s expected to swell to 9 billion by 2050. Space-based solar power can become essential to meet the energy demands of people in parts of the world that aren’t particularly sunny. “If you look at the next 50 years, the demand for energy is stupendous. If you can harvest sunlight with solar farms in space where the sun is always shining and deliver it with essentially no interruptions to Earth — and you can do all that at an affordable price, you win." {youtube}                                                                       Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy                                                                                Mission impossible? Details of China’s plan remain a secret. According to Mankins, the nation can 'launch tens of thousands of 'solar satellites' that would link up to form an enormous cone-shaped structure that orbits about 22,000 miles above Earth. They would be covered with photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into energy, which would be beamed wirelessly to ground-based receivers. Such a solar facility could generate a steady flow of 2,000 gigawatts of power.’ There are still some hurdles to overcome, like the weight of the solar panels. ( Recommended: Waste In Space Will Be Fetched By The Cubesail carbage Truck ) It will also cost billions of dollars to make these solar farms in space happen. The research, the tests and the solar satellites itself (price tag: about ten billion each) will make this a very expensive project – to say the least. China hasn’t revealed how much it’s spending to develop its solar power stations, but the China Daily reported that the nation is already building a test facility in the southwestern city of Chongqing. It doesn’t seem like a mission impossible. China is taking a key position in the development of solar farms in space. According to John Mankins, a solar power station in space is a wonderful thing. “For a lot of locations, rooftop solar is fabulous, but a lot of the world is not like Arizona (or other sunny places). Millions of people live where large, ground-based solar arrays are not economical,” he said. Mankins hailed recent developments in the field and said he is keen to follow China’s new initiative. What do you think - is this next step in renewable energy? ( Recommended: All About Solar Energy )
Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy
Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy
Energy

Fossil fuels are non-renewable, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar energy are constantly replenished and will never run out.
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