Category Archives: Energy & emissions

Views from the Solar System (223)


Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures Images of a Late Summer Flare

NASA – On Aug. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.

Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This flare is classified as an M5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, called X-class flares.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

NASA technology (105)


Testing Electric Propulsion

NASA – On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane, and that could revolutionize air travel?

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are studying the concept with models such as the unmanned aerial system GL-10 Greased Lightning. The GL-10, which has a 10-foot wingspan, recently flew successfully while tethered. Free-flight tests are planned in the fall of 2014.

This research has helped lead to NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate efforts to better understand the potential of electric propulsion across all types, sizes and missions for aviation.

Image Credit: NASA Langley/David C. Bowman

How California Could Power Itself Using Nothing but Renewables


[ SMARTER ENERGY ]

By John Upton – Under the plan, all new energy generation in the Golden State from 2020 onward would be from renewable sources.

By 2030, 80 to 85 percent of the state’s current energy supply would be replaced with clean sources.

And starting in 2050, the state wouldn’t need to burn another drip of oil, hunk of coal, or molecule of natural gas—and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant wouldn’t be needed. more> http://tinyurl.com/ml379zq

Thomas Piketty, climate change and discounting our future


BOOK REVIEW

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, Author: Philip Mirowski.

By David Hodgkinson – Emissions trading is a an elaborate “bait-and-switch” strategy, in which politicians are diverted from an original intention to reduce emissions into the endless technicalities of instituting and maintaining markets for carbon permits. The not unintended consequence is that the level of emissions continues to grow apace.

It’s well understood, Mirowski continues, that emissions trading stifles technological innovation to curb emissions. Funds that ordinarily might have been used to alter energy infrastructure are “pumped into yet another set of speculative financial instruments, leading to bubbles, distortions of capital flows, and all the usual symptoms of financialization”. more> http://tinyurl.com/o68vvsa

The business case for urban regeneration


[ SMARTER CITY ]

By Howard Bassford – The garden city must be locally led, with a strong local jobs offer that is “linked by rapid transport providing a full range of employment opportunities”.

The growing number of one person households is more easily accommodated in denser areas too.

That in turn results in opportunities for new products – the company that owns or manages the home you rent can be as important as the bank or energy company that you use.

A healthy PRS (private rented sector) begets competition, and that drives service standards and quality housing stock. more> http://tinyurl.com/n6amc4t

Updates from GE


Why The Queen Smashed A Perfectly Good Bottle of Whisky on Her Navy’s Largest Ship

GE – The whisky came from a special barrel set aside in 1980, when the Queen came to Bowmore, her first and only visit to a whisky distillery in an official capacity.

The 65,000-ton steel ship was assembled in Rosyth, Scotland, hence the use of whiskey instead of champagne. It is the first of two ships in the Royal Navy’s new class of aircraft carriers called the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC). When completed, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be the second largest aircraft carriers in the world after America’s Nimitz Class ships.

The British vessels will also be the world’s first all-electric aircraft carriers. They will rely on technology from GE’s Power Conversion unit, which built the aircraft carrier’s integrated full electric propulsion systems and electrical power control and management systems.

The electrical systems allowed ship builders to shrink the overall size of the cables, equipment and propulsion machinery that power the propellers, and leave more room for crew and aircraft. The Royal Navy will be also able to operate the vessels more efficiently. more> http://tinyurl.com/nhk97m8

Views from the Solar System (220)


Iberian Peninsula at Night

NASA – ISS040-E-081320 (26 July 2014) — One of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the International Space Station recorded this early evening photo of the entire Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal and San Marino) on July 26, 2014. Part of France can be seen at the top of the image and the Strait of Gibraltar is visible at bottom, with a very small portion of Morocco visible near the lower right corner.