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318: Globally-transmitted wireless power

Problem:

The world is becoming exponentially hungry for electrical energy and every possible solution should be examined.

Solution:

Globally-transmitted wireless power

In 1901, Croatian electric engineer, Nikola Tesla persuaded a millionaire J.P. Morgan to finance $150,000 (today’s $4.2 million) for the building of a 187 ft (57m) tall wood and copper structure called “Wardenclyffe Tower” in Shoreham on Long Island, about 65 mi (100 km) from New York City. Power for the entire system was to be provided by a coal fired 200 kilowatt Westinghouse alternating current industrial generator.

Tesla’s tower was intended to excite the planet Earth’s natural electrical resonances, where high-power waves of electrical energy flow repeatedly around the entire planet many times before eventually dying away. Tesla claimed it could transmit free electricity across the Atlantic and beyond, with no wires.

A number of experiments were made to perform trans-Atlantic wireless power transmission, as well as commercial broadcasting and wireless telephony and even facsimile images, based on his theories of using the Earth to conduct the signals. Experiments were discontinued through lack of finance and the tower was eventually disassembled in 1917.

Tesla’s invention was considered crackpot until more recent discoveries about electro-magnetic waves, in particular with a high Q-factor, all the way around the Earth many times, over and over before eventually dying away, suggested that it could work.

In 2014, Leonid and Sergey Plekhanov, graduates of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, claimed they had spent years scrutinizing the Nikola Tesla’s patents and diaries and that Tesla came very close to wireless power transmission. The enthusiasts say they need about $800,000 to reconstruct the famous.

According to the authors of the project, as of today all human civilization’s electric energy needs could be covered with a single installation of solar panel measured approximately 316 x 316 km (100,000 km²) positioned in a desert somewhere near the Equator. They believed the only stumbling block to such a project is the delivery of electric energy to final consumers, as the loss of energy directly depends on the distance of transmission.

Unable to find the necessary finance, the Tesla/Plekhanov solution has not yet been built. On a smaller scale, their Global Energy Transmission (GET) enables battery-powered drones to fly forever by safely and quickly recharging while still in flight.

In order to charge, drones just need to hover over one GET’s hotspots for a few minutes. This creates the opportunity to build Wireless Power Networks to enable drones to do things that were previously unavailable due to low battery limitations.

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306: Oxygen evolving nickel foam catalyst

Problem:

Scientists already have the technical ability to both desalinate seawater and split it to produce hydrogen, which is in demand as a source of clean energy. But existing methods require multiple steps performed at high temperatures over a lengthy period of time in order to produce a catalyst with the needed efficiency. That requires substantial amounts of energy and drives up the cost.

Solution:

Oxygen evolving nickel foam catalyst


Zhifeng Ren Anderson Professor of physics and a team at the University of Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH) have developed an oxygen evolving catalyst that takes just minutes to grow at room temperature on commercially available nickel foam.

Paired with a previously reported hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst, it can achieve industrially required current density for overall seawater splitting at low voltage.

Ren’s research group and others have previously reported a nickel-iron-(oxy)hydroxide compound as a catalyst to split seawater, but producing the material required a lengthy process conducted at temperatures between 300 Celsius and 600 Celsius, or as high as 1,100° Fahrenheit. The high energy cost made it impractical for commercial use, and the high temperatures degraded the structural and mechanical integrity of the nickel foam, making long-term stability a concern.

To address both cost and stability, the researchers discovered a process to use nickel-iron-(oxy)hydroxide on nickel foam, doped with a small amount of sulphur to produce an effective catalyst at room temperature within five minutes. Working at room temperature both reduced the cost and improved mechanical stability. They developed a one-step surface engineering approach to fabricate highly porous self-supported S-doped Ni/Fe (oxy)hydroxide catalysts from commercial Ni foam in 1 to 5 minutes at room temperature

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305: Molten salt storage system

Solution:

Ouarzazate Solar Power Station (OSPS), also called Noor Power Station (نور, Arabic for light) is a solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 6.2 mi (10 km) from Ouarzazate town, in Ghessat rural council area: The gateway to the Sahara Desert.

At 510 MW, it is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. Unlike popular solar panels, which provide electricity only when the sun is out, the Noor complex is a thermal solar plant.

Noor uses concentrated solar power (CSP) by storing heat, allowing it to continue to produce electricity for hours after sunset. Its 797 ft ( 243 m) tower, the tallest in Africa, houses molten salt which is melted to create energy. A cylinder full of salt is melted by the warmth from the mirrors during the day, and stays hot enough at night to provide up to three hours of power.

This system had been patented in 2009 by Jesús Maria Lata Pérez of Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA in Getxo, Basque Country, Spain. Its first commercial use was Gemasolar, located located within the city limits of Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville, Spain. Gemasolar consists of a 75 ac (30.5 ha) solar heliostat aperture area with a power island and 2,650 heliostats, each with a 1,300 foot² (120 m²) aperture area and distributed in concentric rings around the 460 ft (140 m.)-high tower receiver. The total land use of the Heliostats is 480 ac (195 has).

Managed by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) working with ACWA power, Noor has been built in four overlapping phases.

Construction began in May 2013, Noor I, with an installed capacity of 160 MW. was connected to the Moroccan power grid on 5 February 2016. Using half a million mirrors, it covers 1,112 ac (450 ha) and is expected to deliver 370 GWh per year. The plant is a parabolic trough type with a molten salt storage for 3 hours of low-light producing capacity. The design uses wet cooling and the need to regularly clean the reflectors means that the water use is high – 60 million ft³ (1.7 million m³) per year or 19.7 pints (4.6 liters) per kWh.

Water usage is more than double that of a wet-cooled coal power station and 23 times the water use per kWh of a dry cooled coal power station though life-cycle GHG emissions of solar thermal plants show that generating comparable energy from coal typically releases around 20 times more carbon dioxide than renewable sources. During 2017, Noor I produced monthly between 20 and 40 thousand MWH of electricity.

For the construction of Noor II and Noor III, Morocco called on the services of chief engineer Liang Xinfeng and a team from Shandong Electric Power Construction Co., Ltd (SEPCO III) in China. Construction started in February 2016 and after more than 1,000 days and nights of hard work,

Noor II was commissioned in January 2018. It is a 200 MW CSP solar plant using parabolic troughs. It has a 7 hours storage capacity. It covers an area of 1,680 ac (680 has) and is expected to supply 600 GWh per year. It uses a dry cooling system to decrease water use.

Noor III is a 150 MW using a CSP tower mirror field with 7 hours energy storage, it covers an area of 1,359 ac (550 ha) and it is expected to supply 500 GW·h per year. At 150 MW, the Moroccan unit, 820 ft (243m) high, is the most powerful CSP tower unit built. In September 2018 it was synchronized to the power grid. In December Noor III completed a 10-day reliability test demonstrating that the project can provide continuous rated power even in the absence of sunlight. The model HE54 heliostat has 54 mirrors with a total reflective surface of 1,921 ft² (178.5 m²). The solar field has 7,400 of such mirrors.

Built by Chint of Hangzhou (China) and Sterling & Wilson of Mumbai (India), the 72 MW Noor IV is nearing completion.

Once completed the Noor Ouarzazate complex will cover an area the size of 3,500 football fields, it generates enough electricity 580 MW to power a city the size of Prague, or twice the size of Marrakesh, protecting the Planet from over 838,000 tonnes (760,000 tonnes) of carbon emissions World Bank financed construction with a US$400 million loan combined with US$ 216 million provided from the Clean Technology Fund. (masen.ma)

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293: Passive Downdraught Evaporative Cooling (PDEC)

Problem:

Leaking CFC and HCFC-based air conditioners contribute to GHG and ozone depletion.

Solution:

Eastern architecture as an alternative to air conditioning. Chimney-like towers, (Persian: بادگیر‎ bâdgir: bâd “wind” + gir “catcher”) have been used for centuries to deliver passive cooling in arid desert regions.


Their function is to catch cooler breeze that prevail at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings. During archaeological investigations conducted by Masouda in the 1970s, the first historical evidence of windcatcher was found in the site of Tappeh Chackmaq near the city of Shahrood, Iran which dates back to 4000 BC.

A painting depicting such a device has been found at the Pharaonic house of Neb-Ammun, Egypt, which dates from the 19th Dynasty, c. 1300 BC (British Museum), while similar edifices can be found in Hyderabad, southern Pakistan.

Many traditional water reservoirs (ab anbars) are built with windcatchers that are capable of storing water at near freezing temperatures during summer months. The evaporative cooling effect is strongest in the driest climates, such as on the Iranian plateau, leading to the ubiquitous use of windcatchers in drier areas such as Kerman, Kashan, Sirjan, Nain, Bam and Yazd, the latter known as the “City of Windcatchers”.

The modernisation of windcatcher’s efficiency was proved in 1997 by Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri of Abhikram Architects designed the 1 million ft² (93,000m2) Torrent Research Centre for Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in Ahmedabad, India. It is a complex of windcatchers saved around 200 tonnes of air conditioning load.

The Kensington Oval cricket ground in Barbados (2007) and the Saint-Étienne Métropole’s Zénith (2008) with their aluminum windcatcher rooves both use this method. Since 2004, over 7000 X-Air windcatchers have been installed by Monodraught Ltd. of High Wycombe on public buildings across the UK.

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Energy Materials Uncategorized

282: Hydrogen-powered steel

Problem:

Worldwide steel production currently totals about 1.5 billion tons (1.36 billion tonnes) per year, and each ton produced generates almost two tons of carbon dioxide, This accounts for about 5 % of the world’s GHG emissions.

Solution:

In 2016, Swedish-Finnish steelmaker SSAB, iron pellet supplier LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag), and electricity generator Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, in the direct reduction of iron (DRI) ore, using hydrogen.


During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. Trials are set to run from 2021–2024, then scaling up to a demonstration capacity of 500,000 t/y in 2025 with completion set for 2035. the goal being to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035.

Hybrit is a significant part of the road towards SSAB’s goal of being fossil-free by 2045 If successful, HYBRIT means a reduction of Sweden’s CO₂ emissions by 25%. and Finland’s by 7%. (hybritdevelopment.com)

In 2019 steel and mining company ArcelorMittal with an annual production volume of 8 million tonnes crude steel, launched a project in Hamburg, Germany using hydrogen on an industrial scale to directly reduce iron ore for steel production.

The company aims to enable low-CO₂ steel production. In ArcelorMittal’s process, 95% pure hydrogen will be separated from the top gas of an existing plant by pressure swing adsorption. To allow economical operation, the process will initially use grey hydrogen produced at gas separation.

Grey hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced as a waste or industrial by-product. ‘Green’ hydrogen – produced using renewable energy – will be used in the future, when sufficient quantities are available. ArcelorMittal, working with academia, will test the procedure in the coming years at a site in Hamburg. Reduction will initially be carried out at demonstration scale – 100,000 t/y.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, steelmaker Thyssenkrupp also plans to phase out CO₂-intensive coke-based steel production and replace it with a hydrogen-based process by 2050. It has partnered with Air Liquide and the non-profit research institute BFI to convert a blast furnace to hydrogen operation.

On November 11, 2019, in an initial test phase, hydrogen was blown into one of the 28 Cu cooler tuyeres on Blast Furnace 9 in Duisburg. The NRW state government is funding this initial project phase under its IN4climate initiative. Following analysis of the test phase, hydrogen is then to be used at all 28 tuyeres of the blast furnace in 2023.

On the same day, what is currently the world’s largest pilot plant for the CO₂-neutral production of hydrogen successfully commenced operation at voestalpine AG in Linz, Austria. As part of the EU-funded H2FUTURE project, partners voestalpine, VERBUND, Siemens, Austrian Power Grid, K1-MET and TNO are researching the industrial production of green hydrogen as a means of replacing fossil fuels in steel production over the long term. (voestalpine.com)

Since November 2020 a 1.2 Mt DRI production plant powered by hydrogen enriched gas is being set up in China by the HBIS Group including a 600,000 ktpy Energiron DRI plant jointly developed by Tenova and Danieli in Italy. The HBIS DRI plant will use make-up gas with approximately a 70% hydrogen concentration, with a final net emission of just about 125kg of CO2 per ton. This is a historic step forward for the decarbonisation of the Chinese steel industry, which represents more than half of global steel production and related carbon dioxide emissions. It is scheduled to begin production by the end of 2021.

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281: Sea grass

Problem:

Mitigation and adaptation to extreme weather conditions is particularly applicable to small islands.

Solution:

Similar to several Indo-Pacific islands, the Maldives is committed to building a strong business case to protect tropical coastal wetlands given their importance for fish production, coastal protection, water purification and carbon storage (i.e., Blue Carbon). One solution to this is the cultivation of sea grass (angiosperms).


Sea grass produces oxygen, stabilises sediment, protects shorelines, and gives food and shelter to marine life. A sea grass meadow creates a home for up to 20 times more fish. Up to 100,000 fish can live in just one hectare of sea grass. 2.5 ac (1 ha) of sea grass can be a home for up to 19 turtles.

In 2016 the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), along with luxury resort Six Senses Laamu joined together to demonstrate how sea grass and tourism can coexist and generate positive outcomes. As their work gained momentum, the collaboration launched the

“ProtectMaldivesSeagrass” campaign, asking resorts, as well as the public, to pledge their support for the protection and preservation of sea grass beds in Maldives.

Sea grass bed restoration is also taking place elsewhere.

As of 2019 the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre of Central Queensland University has been growing seagrass for six years and has been producing seagrass seeds. They have been running trials in germination and sowing techniques.

In a study of a species of seagrass called Posidonia oceanic, Anna Sanchez-Vidal, a marine biologist Department of Stratigraphy, Paleontology and Marine Geosciences at the University of Barcelona has discovered that plastic debris on the Mediterranean seafloor can be trapped in seagrass remains called “Neptune Balls”, eventually leaving the marine environment through beaching.

With no help from humans, the swaying plants – anchored to shallow seabeds – may collect nearly 900 million microplastic items in the Mediterranean alone every year, nearly 1,500 pieces per kilo of Neptune Balls or up to 600 bits per kilo of leaves.

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280: Radiative passive cooling system

Problem:

With the melting of Arctic ice and mountain glaciers which had previously reflected back solar heat and maintained global cooling, alternatives must be found, particularly for the air conditioning of buildings which traditionally use chemicals and electricity.

Solution:

Qiaoqiang Gan, Electrical Engineering Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, working with staff from King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabian University have has developed an air conditioning system using a unique plastic on a roof that allows heat to pass back into the sky.


The ideal material for radiant cooling is such as a mirror or white paint. They will scatter or reflect most of the solar light. Therefore, the solar light will not heat the object. Then it’s easier to cool it down. Gan’s Newtact system, going beyond simple white paint, consists of an inexpensive polymer/aluminium film that is installed inside a box at the bottom of a specially designed solar “shelter.”

Taken together, the shelter-and-box system the engineers designed measures about 18 in. tall (45.72 cm), 10 in. (25. cm) wide and 10 in. long (25.4 cm). As a commercially viable alternative, the researchers fabricated their thermal emitter from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and either silver or aluminium.

The PDMS film absorbs heat from the environment and then transmits the heat to cool down its surroundings. The metal reflects the solar light to prevent the transmission of sunlight to materials under the emitter, such as a roof.

The film helps keep its surroundings cool by absorbing heat from the air inside the box and transmitting that energy into outer space. The shelter serves a dual purpose, helping to block incoming sunlight, while also beaming thermal radiation emitted from the film into the sky.

Outdoor experiments performed in Buffalo, NY, to test the device provided cooling of up to 9 °C. To cool a building, numerous units of the system would need to be installed to cover its roof.

America
Working in Stanford University, Shanhui Fan, Eli A; Goldstein, and Aaswath Pattabhi Raman have also developed a flat rectangular metal panel covered in a sheet of the material: a high-tech film which reflects the light and heat of the sun so effectively that the temperature beneath the film can drop 5 to 10° C (9 to 18° F) lower than the air around it.

A system of pipes behind the RC panel is exposed to that colder temperature, cooling the fluid inside before it is sent out to current-day refrigeration systems. More efficient than any vapour-compression based cooling system, the panel can also prevent the emissions of CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases. It can be roof-mounted as a simple add-on to new and existing cooling systems

To commercialise their innovation, Fan, Goldstein and Raman started up a company, SkyCool Systems in Davis, California. As a pilot study, they installed an array of RC panels on the roof a supermarket as a subcooler and were pleased to observe a 10% to 15% efficiency improvement target, although subcooling could be as much as 20°F (11°C) below the outlet of the condenser. Other studies have followed.

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