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  • richardmitnick 2:48 pm on December 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dis­cussing cli­mate-neu­tral flight", , Clean Energy, , , Producing and collecting hydrogen, The coming age of Hydrogen, , The German Federal Government is aiming for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045., Up to 18 litres of very pure water are required to make one kilogram of hydrogen. So when building a hydrogen economy it has to be ensured that there is sufficient water available.   

    From The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE) : “Dis­cussing cli­mate-neu­tral flight” 

    DLR Bloc

    From The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)

    The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany.

    Jannik Häßy
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Propul­sion Tech­nol­o­gy
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne

    Katrin Dahlmann
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of At­mo­spher­ic Physics

    Veatriki Papantoni
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Net­worked En­er­gy Sys­tems

    Vi­sion of a fu­ture hy­dro­gen econ­o­my. Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

    EXACT – Conceptual study for future climate-neutral flight.

    Discussion about climate-friendly flying from the perspective of propulsion technology, atmospheric research and energy systems.

    Focus: Aeronautics, energy, hydrogen, emission-free flying

    Discussion about climate-friendly flying from the perspective of propulsion technology, atmospheric research and energy systems.
    Focus: Aeronautics, energy, hydrogen, emission-free flying

    What would airborne mobility have to be like to radically reduce the emissions caused by air transport? The whole world is talking about hydrogen as a possible solution. However, flying with hydrogen not only requires completely new propulsion systems, but it will also have to be produced and transported to the airport. How can these changes be made while ensuring that air transport remains economically feasible? Climate researcher Katrin Dahlmann, aircraft propulsion engineer Jannik Häßy and renewable energy researcher Veatriki Papantoni gathered to discuss how low-emission air transport might be achieved.

    With the Climate Protection Act, the German Federal Government is aiming for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045. What role will air transport play in this?

    Häßy: In 2019, before the pandemic, air traffic was responsible for approximately three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Business and leisure travel will likely rebound as vaccination rates increase. In addition, the global demand for air travel is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades.

    Dahlmann: Particularly in the case of air transport, other effects, in addition to carbon dioxide, also have a considerable impact on the climate. Currently, air transport contributes five percent of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. There is a pressing need for action to reduce air transport emissions and their impact on the climate.

    Do you necessarily have to travel less if you want to protect the climate?

    Häßy: In my opinion, the world is too diverse and beautiful to do without long-distance travel entirely. Intercultural exchange is important for world peace. That said, we need to ask ourselves whether every plane journey we make is necessary. Radically innovative aircraft concepts could achieve a significantly lower climate impact. The issue is that aircraft engines have long development times.

    Dahlmann: In the shorter term, changes to flight patterns and route planning could reduce the climate impact. Flying in a lower atmospheric layer could reduce the climate-warming effect by up to 42 percent. One problem with this, however, is that the aircraft use more fuel and have to fly more slowly due to higher drag. Another possibility would be to fly around areas that are particularly prone to contrail formation. Flying long-haul in formation could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the formation of contrails. This would require solutions in the areas of flight control and air traffic management.

    Are there any technical innovations that could help to protect the climate?

    Häßy: Today’s aircraft gas turbines can become more efficient and emit fewer greenhouse gases through larger fans, new materials such as ceramics, or more advanced cooling technologies. In addition, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), can be used. They lead to a closed carbon cycle, because when they are burned, they only release the carbon dioxide that was captured during their production. The use of hydrogen as a fuel makes an aircraft engine carbon-free. Hydrogen is either burned in an aircraft gas turbine or converted electrochemically in a fuel cell. However, this requires many innovations. One example is different tanks, because liquid hydrogen has a higher volume compared to kerosene and must be stored at extremely low temperatures.

    Dahlmann: New aircraft wing designs can also help to reduce fuel consumption. This would make flying at lower altitudes significantly more cost-effective, although it would still be somewhat more expensive. Policy changes such as emissions trading could make this easier to implement in practice and create incentives for airlines.

    Has the COVID-19 pandemic been a good time for driving innovation?

    Dahlmann: In April 2020 passenger air traffic dropped by 90 percent because of the pandemic, resulting in less carbon dioxide, ozone and contrails. This meant less impact on the climate in the short term. But we need long-term effects in order to protect the climate. I think the Fridays for Future campaign and the storms that occurred in Germany in summer 2021 have made the general public more aware of the problem. Even though the pandemic has had a severe impact on the entire aviation industry, now is an important time for change.

    Ms. Dahlmann, carbon dioxide is often cited as the culprit of climate change, but at the beginning you mentioned other factors. What effect do these have?

    Dahlmann: In addition to carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOX) are also produced during the combustion of conventional fuels. These react with oxygen and generate ozone. The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects living things on Earth from excessive solar radiation. In the lower layers of the atmosphere, specifically the upper troposphere – where air transport takes place today – ozone has a global warming effect. In addition, we should not underestimate the effect of contrails. These are artificial clouds, which can retain heat within the atmosphere.

    Mr. Häßy, do you already have plans for propulsion systems that could also solve these problems?

    Häßy: A gas turbine that is powered exclusively by hydrogen does not produce any carbon dioxide, just primarily water vapour. In addition, fewer nitrogen oxides could be produced than with the combustion of conventional or synthetic fuels. Also, no soot particles are formed, resulting in reduced contrail formation. If hydrogen is converted in fuel cells, nitrogen oxide emissions can be completely eliminated.

    Is water vapour also not a powerful greenhouse gas?

    Dahlmann: Yes, that is correct. However, water vapour in the upper troposphere only remains there for a very short time. At higher altitudes water vapour has a longer lifetime and thus a greater impact on the climate. Direct hydrogen combustion produces more water vapour, but studies show that this accounts for just 10 percent of the climate impact. We are currently investigating this impact with our AirClim climate model.

    Today’s aircraft all operate in a similar way – with conventional gas turbines. How can new technologies be used while ensuring that airfares remain affordable?

    Häßy: At the moment, it is not quite clear which technology will prove itself for which application. We currently believe that fuel cells are more suitable for powering small, short-haul aircraft. For medium- to long-haul flights, the combustion of hydrogen in gas turbines could become established. The short-term alternative would be SAFs. Fuel currently accounts for approximately 20 to 30 percent of the operating costs of a commercial aircraft. SAFs will initially increase these costs. However, DLR is working on ways to reduce them again. This could be achieved, for example, through a modified fleet deployment plan. Airlines could cover shorter distances with smaller, more efficient and fully utilised aircraft. However, ticket prices will certainly increase.

    And does the carbon dioxide from the combustion of SAFs not have different effects in the atmosphere than on the ground, in the same way as ozone?

    Dahlmann: No, carbon dioxide is evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere due to its very long lifetime.

    If aircraft undergo these changes, then will the infrastructure, such as airports, also have to adapt?

    Papantoni: The more aircraft are powered by hydrogen, the greater the amount required. Lorries can carry small quantities of hydrogen to the airports. As demand increases, the expansion of a corresponding supply network becomes necessary. In regions with a high potential for renewable energies, it would be cost effective to carry out electrolysis on site.

    How much hydrogen is needed to fuel large fleets?

    Häßy: The energy content of hydrogen per kilogram of fuel is about three times that of kerosene. Approximately 10 million tonnes of kerosene are consumed in Germany every year, so it would only need a third of that when using hydrogen. But supply in Germany alone is not enough; the destination airports would also need to have a hydrogen infrastructure.

    How can sufficient hydrogen be produced sustainably and economically for global air transport?

    Papantoni: Air transport is not the only sector requiring hydrogen; industries that would be difficult to decarbonise otherwise, such as the steel and chemical industries or shipping, also require hydrogen. Production of energy from renewable sources needs to be stepped up to meet that demand. The energy system needs to become more efficient. However, regions with little wind or sunlight will depend on imports. A higher price for carbon dioxide, for example through EU emissions trading, will make hydrogen more attractive as an alternative energy carrier.

    What is the environmental impact of producing hydrogen by electrolysis? Is this not inefficient if SAFs and hydrogen have to be produced at great expense?

    Papantoni: The climate impact is only one element of the overall environmental impact. Producing hydrogen requires electricity, water and the necessary plants. Up to 18 litres of very pure water are required to make one kilogram of hydrogen. So when building a hydrogen economy it has to be ensured that there is sufficient water available. We are also investigating the environmental impact of extracting the raw materials needed to construct the plants. SAFs and hydrogen are probably less relevant for applications that are easy to electrify, such as passenger cars. For long-haul flights or maritime applications, these energy sources provide an eco-efficient alternative. There are also synergetic effects in the production of SAFs and hydrogen. Seasonally, the amount of renewable energy that can be generated will fluctuate. It is possible to store surplus electricity in hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

    As scientists, how do you manage to foresee all of this with such clarity?

    Häßy: Aircraft are very complex systems. There are many interdependencies between the individual components. At DLR, there are specialists for the respective systems and disciplines. The difficulty lies in combining all of this expertise and making it usable as a whole. In the EXACT project, we are developing software that combines the capabilities of the various DLR institutes. This enables us to evaluate a whole range of scenarios involving different propulsion concepts and aircraft types, including their climate impact. Findings from the project could help industry to decide for or against a particular technology.

    Dahlmann: Our AirClim model allows us to determine changes in global near-surface temperatures due to emissions and contrails. In combination with other DLR software tools, we are evaluating possible solutions for reducing the impact of future air transport on climate change, despite an increase in traffic.

    Papantoni: In addition to the climate impact caused by emissions, as part of the EXACT project we are examining the environmental impact of operating and producing aircraft. To do this, we are carrying out a lifecycle assessment that analyses energy and material flows over the entire life cycle. This enables us to estimate the impact on the ecosystem and human health.

    See the full article here .


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    DLR Center
    The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.] (DE) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organisation for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 8000 employees at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

  • richardmitnick 9:51 pm on December 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What it will take to unleash the potential of geothermal power", , Clean Energy, , , Geothermal power is really ready for prime time., The “forgotten renewable.”,   

    From The MIT Technology Review (US) : “What it will take to unleash the potential of geothermal power?” 

    From The MIT Technology Review (US)

    December 8, 2021
    Casey Crownhart

    Four new pilot plants funded by the US infrastructure bill could help expand the range of the “forgotten renewable.”

    Credit: Getty.

    There’s enough heat flowing from inside the earth to meet total global energy demand twice over. But harnessing it requires drilling deep underground and transforming that heat into a usable form of energy. That’s difficult and expensive, which is why geothermal power—sometimes called the forgotten renewable—makes up only about 0.3% of electricity generation worldwide.

    Now, though, it’s getting a boost. The recently passed US infrastructure bill set aside $84 million for the Department of Energy to build four demonstration plants to test enhanced geothermal systems, an experimental form of the technology.

    The funding is only a tiny fraction of the DOE’s $62 billion allocation in the infrastructure bill, which also includes money to build more long-distance transmission lines, strengthen the supply chain for batteries, and help nuclear power plants stay afloat. But geothermal researchers say even these limited funds could go a long way in helping transition enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to commercial use.

    “Geothermal is really ready for prime time,” says Tim Latimer, founder and CEO of the EGS startup Fervo.

    Geothermal’s appeal is all about consistency: while the electricity output of wind and solar plants varies with the weather and time of day, geothermal power is always on, providing a stable source of electricity.

    “It’s really the only baseload renewable,” says Jody Robins, a geothermal engineer at The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US). Nuclear power (which is carbon-free but not renewable) can serve a similar role, although cost, issues with waste, and public perception have limited its deployment.

    Modern geothermal power plants have been running in the US since the 1970s. These plants generally pump hot water or steam from underground up to the surface to move a turbine and generate electricity. Then the water is pumped back down to maintain pressure underground, so the process can keep going.

    Prime geothermal sites share certain characteristics: heat, rock with fractures in it, and water, all close to each other and within a couple of miles of the surface. But by now the most accessible geothermal resources—in the US, they’re largely concentrated in the west—have been tapped. Though researchers think there are many more potential sites yet to be found, it’s hard to figure out where they are. And in most of the eastern US and many other places around the world, the rock underground isn’t the right type for traditional plants to work, or the water isn’t there.

    Some researchers and startups are trying to expand geothermal into new places. With EGS, they’re attempting to engineer what’s underground by pumping fluid down into impermeable rock to force cracks open. This creates space where water is free to move around and heat up, producing the steam needed for power. The process has the potential to trigger earthquakes, as early projects in South Korea and Switzerland have shown. However, EGS is similar to fracking, which is widespread across the US, and the risks are likely manageable in most places, Robins says.

    This approach could expand geothermal to places that don’t have the groundwater or rock types needed for traditional plants.

    Still, reaching these resources won’t be easy. Commercial drilling doesn’t usually go much deeper than seven kilometers (four miles)—for cost reasons, it’s often even less than that—and many places that might benefit from geothermal aren’t hot enough at that depth to reach the 150 °C needed to generate electricity economically. Reaching sufficient temperatures may mean going deeper, which would require new techniques and technologies that can withstand high heat and pressure.

    Courtesy The Department of Energy (US) Geothermal Technologies Office.

    Fervo is working out some of those details in its own projects, including one announced earlier this year with Google to install geothermal capacity near the company’s data centers in Nevada. It’s also recently gotten involved in a DOE project in central Utah, called FORGE (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy).

    Academic and industry researchers at FORGE are trying to find the best practices for deploying EGS, including drilling and reservoir maintenance. The site was chosen because its geology is fairly representative of places where other EGS plants might be built in the US, says Lauren Boyd, EGS Program Manager in the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office.

    With the new funding from the infrastructure bill, the DOE will fund four additional demonstration sites. That will widen what researchers understand about setting up EGS facilities, since they’ll be able to work in different places and with different kinds of rocks. At least one plant will be built in the eastern US, where geothermal is less common.

    But technological barriers aren’t all that has slowed the progress of geothermal power, says Susan Hamm, director of the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office. Building a geothermal plant can take up to a decade because of all the permits involved. Streamlining that paperwork could nearly cut that time in half and double the projected geothermal capacity by 2050.

    See the full article here .


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    The mission of The MIT Technology Review (US) is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.

  • richardmitnick 2:27 pm on November 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ESO adopts new measures to improve its environmental sustainability", Clean Energy, ,   

    From European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL) : “ESO adopts new measures to improve its environmental sustainability” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL)

    12 November 2021

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Media Manager
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: press@eso.org

    The solar power plant at ESO’s La Silla Observatory.

    As one of the world’s leading astronomy organisations, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is fully committed to fighting climate change by reducing the environmental impact of its activities. The ESO Directors Team has now approved a new set of measures to gradually decrease the organisation’s carbon footprint over the coming years. The measures are inspired by the United Nations guidelines and build upon the actions ESO had already adopted in the past.

    ESO carries out the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities, providing astronomers worldwide with some of the best tools for their research and discoveries. This work leads to invaluable scientific and technological progress and other societal benefits, but also unavoidably places demands on resources, energy and the environment. In a carbon audit conducted in 2019, ESO’s 2018 footprint budget was estimated to be around 28 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (tCO2e/yr) [1], with energy consumption, purchases (including maintenance and equipment), and transporting of people and goods representing the largest sources of emissions.

    In a key step towards sustainability, ESO has now committed to new measures addressing a range of environmental issues, such as saving energy and water, reducing waste and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. These include:

    Implementing a large 9 MW solar array serving the future Integrated Paranal Observatory in Chile, which will host the upcoming ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT, on the nearby Cerro Armazones [below]) and the ESO-operated Čerenkov Telescope Array Observatory South [example below], in addition to the already existing facilities. This could save up to 1700tCO2e/yr.

    Wherever operationally feasible, preferring sea freight over air freight for shipments of materials from Europe to Chile. This could save up to 1400 tCO2e/yr.

    Reducing business travels, especially flights, opting for virtual meetings over physical meetings whenever possible, for a potential saving of up to 800 tCO2e/yr.

    Optimising the electricity consumption at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, Germany by regularly investigating and addressing sources of energy consumption, for a carbon footprint reduction up to 250 tCO2e/yr.

    Finalising the ongoing transition to renewable energy of ESO’s offices in Vitacura, Chile. The corresponding saving may reach up to 200 tCO2e/yr when completed in four years.

    Extending the lifetime of IT equipment and exploring ways to repair broken devices, only resorting to new purchases where necessary. These actions may save up to two tCO2e/yr.

    Move progressively towards taking sustainability into account during the design phase of new projects and procurement, working with contractors who share ESO’s concerns on sustainability and acting together to minimise CO2 emissions.

    Continuing to increase the share of electric vehicles at ESO sites.

    Monitoring ESO’s emission sources on a periodic basis in the coming years and producing regularly updated roadmaps for the reduction of the organisation’s carbon footprint.

    Identifying the specific activities that result in the highest emissions is a complex process in an organisation like ESO that works with multiple companies and institutes. The measures now announced focus on the areas ESO has identified thus far where it is possible to achieve emission reductions in the immediate future. In addition, ESO is carrying out more analysis and has begun to elaborate a detailed action plan to systematically address environmental sustainability in the long term.

    “ESO’s current and planned environmental sustainability actions represent a starting point. ESO is committed to regularly analysing its sources of emissions and to continue to take steps to reduce its carbon footprint,” says Claudia Burger, ESO’s Director of Administration and Chair of ESO’s Environment Committee.

    These measures are in line with sustainability actions taken by ESO Member States, which have committed to reducing carbon emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement. Developed by ESO’s Environment Committee, the measures follow the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the United Nations’ body responsible for deepening our understanding of climate change, how it affects our planet and what emission reductions are needed to limit it.

    The new measures build on ESO’s previous and ongoing environmental sustainability actions. These include the use of geothermal heating as a sustainable energy source at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, and rainwater use for watering the park at ESO’s offices in Vitacura. In addition, at ESO’s observing sites in Chile, significant steps towards economic and environmental sustainability were taken with the connection of ESO’s Paranal Observatory to the Chilean national grid in 2017. Grid electricity is produced with a lower percentage of fossil primary energy, reducing the observatory’s carbon footprint. Further sustainability improvements have been made at ESO’s La Silla Observatory [below], with the installation of a 1.7 MW solar farm, which covers an area of over 100 000 square metres providing clean energy to the site, and saving more than 400 tCO2e/yr.

    More generally, ESO is also looking into ways to address sustainability in a broader sense, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, by also promoting social and economic sustainability. “We are proud of taking the first steps in charting a more sustainable future,” says ESO Director General Xavier Barcons. “Addressing our environmental impact is a key aspect of this, but we are also working on devising the long-term financial sustainability of our research infrastructures, while ensuring our activities remain harmonised with and supportive of the social environment in our member states and partners.”

    [1] CO2 equivalent is a metric converting a given quantity of a greenhouse gas to the CO2 amount with the same global-warming potential. ESO’s 2018 carbon footprint was estimated through an external audit from the consulting firm Carbone 4. It does not include activities related with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which ESO is partner, nor construction activities related to ESO’s upcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), which is not yet in operation.

    See the full article here .


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    ESO Bloc Icon

    European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    European Southern Observatory(EU)La Silla Observatory 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO New Technology Telescope at Cerro La Silla , Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) , Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ) •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ) •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star). Elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo.

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky aboveESO’s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT, a major asset of the Adaptive Optics system.

    European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte] (EU)/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) ELT 39 meter telescope to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    European Southern Observatory(EU) MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) ESO’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment(CL) high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft).

    A novel gamma ray telescope under construction on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. A large project known as the Čerenkov Telescope Array composed of hundreds of similar telescopes to be situated in the Canary Islands and Chile at ESO Cerro Paranal site. The telescope on Mount Hopkins will be fitted with a prototype high-speed camera, assembled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and capable of taking pictures at a billion frames per second. Credit: Vladimir Vassiliev.

  • richardmitnick 10:32 am on November 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "pv magazine", "UNSW Exclusive- Heated climate scenarios will adversely affect Australia’s PV generation capacity", , Clean Energy, ,   

    From The University of New South Wales (AU) via pv magazine: “UNSW Exclusive- Heated climate scenarios will adversely affect Australia’s PV generation capacity” 

    U NSW bloc

    From The University of New South Wales (AU)



    pv magazine

    November 4, 2021
    Natalie Filatoff

    Although heatwaves such as depicted by this image recorded in January 2017 should reinforce the case for strong renewable-energy policies, the reality is that global warming is upon us, and it will increasingly impact the distributions of the best solar irradiance resource across the country, and affect PV performance at a cellular level. Image: The NASA Earth Observatory (US)/Wikimedia Commons.

    “PV power output is directly driven by meteorological conditions, and its drivers are likely to change in the future.” This statement, a few pages into a just published paper [Environmental Research Letters] by researchers at the University of New South Wales seems obvious, but its implications as temperatures rise and weather patterns alter due to climate change will inform our expectations of solar output to 2079 and beyond.

    The conclusions reached by the paper provide insights into where solar farms could best be located as this century progresses; what solar researchers and manufacturers should be selecting for — performance at higher temperatures — in future cell technologies; and together with a companion paper on wind resource under climate change, published in 2018, they have implications for the siting of hybrid solar and wind generation that is expected to fuel Australia’s touted future hydrogen economy.

    Since solar PV has become a vital pillar of the world’s transition to renewable energy, it’s essential that researchers are provided license to look up and beyond the immediate and very pressing horizon, to ensure PV development is following a reliable, sustainable, investable path.

    This is the first study to use high-resolution regional climate projections in Australia to forecast changes in PV potential due to variations in shortwave downwelling radiation, temperature and wind speed; and the first ever to consider the additional impact of changes in cell temperatures.

    Global temperature rises mean a hotter operating environment for solar cells

    Shukla Poddar, PhD student at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic Energy and Engineering (SPREE) and lead author on the paper told pv magazine Australia that the most surprising outcome of this research “is the cell temperature effect”.

    In other words, it’s obvious that changes in irradiation might cause increases or decreases in solar PV output in the decades-distant future, but in fact ever-increasing ambient temperatures implicit in global warming will also reduce cell efficiency and likely accelerate degradation of solar cells so that their output over time will further decrease, as will their risk of failure.

    Preparing for performance under a worst-case scenario

    As UNSW Scientia Professor Martin Green has famously said, “Solar cells would prefer to be operating in a fridge”. Instead, their operating environment is typically hot, and becoming relentlessly hotter.

    Poddar and co-authors have measured the effect on polysilicon solar cells of temperature rises under a high emissions scenario that projects warming of 3.4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

    It’s not that the researchers are pessimists — far from it. But high-resolution climate simulations available from the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) project used the high-emissions A2 scenario, and the previous study into wind resource by one of Poddar’s co-authors, Jason Evans had also used the NARCliM data. Using the same data, ensures the two studies are relatable, to give an overall picture of how Australia’s renewable resources will fare under climate change.

    A third co-author, Dr Merlinde Kay, tells pv magazine Australia, “When you’re thinking about this work, it serves as a risk management strategy.

    “It describes what could happen in the future and gives people enough time to prepare for what the most extreme outcome could be.”

    Projected changes in radiation, temperature, wind speed, PV potential, cell temperature and
    number of days cell temperature exceeds the threshold for minimum 15% efficiency loss averaged over Australia for the near future (2020-2039) and far future period (2060-2079) obtained with respect to the historical period (1990-2009).Credit: UNSW SPREE.

    PV potential declines as meteorological conditions change

    The paper found that PV potential across Australia is projected to decline during the 21st century: during both a near-future period, defined by NARCliM as 2020-2039 (which has already begun), and the NARCliM-defined far-future period of 2040-2079.

    However, some geographies will experience more pronounced changes due to evolving weather patterns under climate change: “The maximum decline in PV power generation is expected to occur in Northern Australia during the near-future period and South-East Australia during the far future period,” say the authors, with the greatest decreases due to elevated temperatures, and the next most significant effect due to a projected decline in radiation.

    There will be more days each year when PV power generation is significantly less than the rated generation capacity.

    The contribution of meteorological variables to future PV potential change over Australia, according to new research by the UNSW School of Photovoltaic Renewable Energy and Engineering.
    Credit: UNSW SPREE.

    Cell-cooling technologies being developed by Prof. Martin Green

    These findings make Professor Martin Green’s research into technologies that will lower the operating temperature of solar cells even more urgent.

    Green’s recent desktop study into the effectiveness of cooling cells by various methods was carried out in collaboration with 5B, the suppliers of prefabricated, “foldout” arrays of solar panels to the world’s biggest solar PV and battery storage project known as Sun Cable. Some components of the project are scheduled to commence construction in the Northern Territory’s Barkly region in late 2023, and it is expected to achieve full capacity — between 17 GW and 20 GW of solar generation, and 36-42 GWh of storage — in late 2028. That is, the project will be operating within the near-future period defined by the UNSW study.

    “For a researcher, it would be an amazing case study to measure what occurs there,” says Kay.

    5B itself closely monitors its innovative ground-mounted Maverick system, verifying performance under different conditions. It has a reciprocal research arrangement with UNSW, sharing data with UNSW and is now participating in experimental research to lower field operating temperatures of solar cells, which will help mitigate the effects of climate change.

    The historical and projected changes in the cell temperature and number of days beyond 15%
    relative cell efficiency losses over Australia. (Stippling indicates a significant change.)
    Credit: UNSW SPREE.

    Concentrating the fields of solar cell research to meet future conditions

    Like recent groundbreaking UNSW research into the sustainability of silver, indium and bismuth use in the solar industry as it moves toward multi-terrawatt production and installation, the Estimation of future changes in PV potential… paper could also serve to narrow the field for future viable PV technologies — specifically those that deliver efficiency at high temperatures.

    Poddar says that cadmium telluride and other thin-film technologies look promising.

    Such cell structures are already being deployed by some solar manufacturers: for example, US solar module manufacturer, First Solar, this year announced that its Series 6 CuRe panels have achieved what it claims to be the lowest degradation rate in the PV industry, and can operate at high efficiency, even when cell temperatures reach 85 degrees Celsius.

    Overall, this latest future-focused UNSW research hopes to “help in the assessment of resources and site allocation before deployment of large-scale projects in Australia”, says the paper.

    And, it concludes, “It is highly recommended to incorporate a detailed intercomparison of various PV technologies in future for the areas expecting a high temperature rise due to global warming” — appropriate PV material selection will ensure maximum power generation in future heated climate scenarios.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    The The University of New South Wales is an Australian public university with its largest campus in the Sydney suburb of Kensington.

    Established in 1949, UNSW is a research university, ranked 44th in the world in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and 67th in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UNSW is one of the founding members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, and of Universitas 21, a global network of research universities. It has international exchange and research partnerships with over 200 universities around the world.

    According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UNSW is ranked top 20 in the world for Law, Accounting and Finance, and 1st in Australia for Mathematics, Engineering and Technology. UNSW also leads Australia in Medicine, where the median ATAR (Australian university entrance examination results) of its Medical School students is higher than any other Australian medical school. UNSW enrolls the highest number of Australia’s top 500 high school students academically, and produces more millionaire graduates than any other Australian university.

    The university comprises seven faculties, through which it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The main campus is in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Sydney CBD. The creative arts faculty, UNSW Art & Design, is located in Paddington, and subcampuses are located in the Sydney CBD as well as several other suburbs, including Randwick and Coogee. Research stations are located throughout the state of New South Wales.

    The university’s second largest campus, known as UNSW Canberra at ADFA (formerly known as UNSW at ADFA), is situated in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ADFA is the military academy of the Australian Defense Force, and UNSW Canberra is the only national academic institution with a defense focus.

    Research centres

    The university has a number of purpose-built research facilities, including:

    UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is Australia’s first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers, as well as one of the country’s largest cancer-research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.
    The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre is a centre for the faculties of science, medicine, and engineering. It is used to study the structure and composition of biological, chemical, and physical materials.
    UNSW Canberra Cyber is a cyber-security research and teaching centre.
    The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management (SARCCM) has a multidisciplinary focus, and works collaboratively with the Ocean University of China [中國海洋大學](CN) in coastal management research.

  • richardmitnick 12:22 pm on November 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Technical feasibility of sustainable fuels production demonstrated", , Clean Energy, Researchers at ETH Zürich have developed the process technology that can produce carbon-​neutral transportation fuels from sunlight and air.,   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Technical feasibility of sustainable fuels production demonstrated” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    Peter Rüegg

    Researchers at ETH Zürich have developed the process technology that can produce carbon-​neutral transportation fuels from sunlight and air. Now, in a Nature publication, they demonstrate the stable and reliable operation of the solar mini-​refinery under real on-​sun conditions. And they show a way to introduce solar fuels to the market without additional carbon taxes.

    The solar mini-​refinery at ETH Zürich has proven itself in two years of test operations. Photograph: Alessandro Della Bella / ETH Zürich.

    For the past two years, researchers led by Aldo Steinfeld, Professor of Renewable Energy Carriers at ETH Zürich, have been operating a solar mini-​refinery on the roof of the Machine Laboratory in the centre of Zürich. This unique system can produce liquid transportation fuels, such as methanol or kerosene, from sunlight and air in a multi-​stage thermochemical process.

    In an interview, project architect Steinfeld and study co-​author Anthony Patt, a professor in ETH’s Department of Environmental Systems Science, explain what the experiments revealed, where optimisation is needed and how solar kerosene can succeed in entering the market.

    The solar mini-​refinery on the roof of an ETH building has now been in operation for two years. How would you sum up this work?
    Aldo Steinfeld: We have successfully demonstrated the technical viability of the entire thermochemical process chain for converting sunlight and ambient air into drop-​in transportation fuels. The overall integrated system achieves stable operation under real conditions of intermittent solar radiation and serves as a unique platform for further research and development.

    In the title of your paper in Nature you refer to “drop-​in fuels”. What do you mean by that?
    Aldo Steinfeld: Drop-​in fuels are synthetic alternatives for petroleum-​derived liquid hydrocarbon fuels such as kerosene and gasoline, which are fully compatible with the existing infrastructures for storage, distribution, and utilisation of transportation fuels. These synthetic fuels can help in particular to make long-​haul aviation sustainable.

    Are these carbon-​neutral fuels?
    Aldo Steinfeld: Yes, they are carbon neutral because solar energy is used for their production and because they release only as much CO2 during their combustion as was previously extracted from the air for their production. The solar fuel production chain’s life-​cycle assessment indicates 80 percent avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions with respect to fossil jet fuel and approaching 100 percent, or zero emissions, when construction materials (e.g. steel, glass) are manufactured using renewable energy.

    A refinery that produces fuels from sunlight and air…it sounds like science fiction. How does it work?
    Aldo Steinfeld: This is no science fiction; it is based on pure thermodynamics. The solar refinery consists of three thermochemical conversion units integrated in series: First, the direct air capture unit, which co-​extracts CO2 and H2O directly from ambient air. Second, the solar redox unit, which converts CO2 and H2O into a specific mixture of CO and H2 so-​called syngas. And third, the gas-​to-liquid synthesis unit, which finally converts the syngas into liquid hydrocarbons.

    Solarreaktor Animation EN. Here is an animation explaining the entire process chain of the mini solar refinery. Video: ETH Zürich.

    How was the yield of syngas / methanol?
    Aldo Steinfeld: Our solar mini-​refinery is indeed a “mini” system for research purposes. And although we produced relatively small quantities of fuel, we did it under real field conditions with the not-​so-optimal solar irradiation of Zürich. For example, during a representative day run, the amount of syngas produced is about 100 standard litres, which can be processed into about half a decilitre of pure methanol. Several components of the production chain are not yet optimised. Optimisation is the next phase.

    What went well, and what was not so optimal?
    Aldo Steinfeld: What went exceptionally well is that we obtained total selectivity for the splitting of H2O to H2 and ½ O2, and of CO2 to CO and ½ O2, that is, no undesired by-​products of the thermochemical reactions. Further, and crucial to process integration, we were able to tailor the syngas composition for either methanol or kerosene synthesis. However, the energy efficiency is still too low. To date, the highest efficiency value that we measured for the solar reactor is 5.6 percent. Although this value is a world record for solar thermochemical splitting, it is not good enough. Substantial process optimisation is still required.

    How can the system be further improved to increase efficiency?
    Aldo Steinfeld: Heat recovery between the redox steps of the thermochemical cycle is essential because it can boost the efficiency of the solar reactor to over 20 percent. Furthermore, there is room for optimisation of the redox material structure, for example by means of 3D-​printed hierarchically ordered structures for improved heat and mass transfer. We are investing major efforts in both directions, and I’m optimistic that we will soon be able to report a new record value of energy efficiency.

    For the chemical process, CO2 and H2O must first be extracted from the air and fed into the system. How much energy must be invested for this?
    Aldo Steinfeld: The specific energy requirements per mole CO2 captured are about 15 kJ of mechanical work for vacuum pumping and 500–600 kJ of heat at 95°C depending on the air relative humidity. In principle, we can use waste heat to drive the direct air capture unit. But a huge quantity of high-​temperature process heat is needed for splitting the H2O and CO2, and this is supplied by concentrated solar energy.

    Scaling up to industrial scale: is this feasible?
    Aldo Steinfeld: Certainly. A heliostat field focusing on a solar tower can be used for scaling up. The current solar mini-​refinery uses a 5 kW solar reactor, and while a 10x scale of the solar reactor has already been tested in a solar tower, an additional 20x scale is still required for a 1 MW solar reactor module. The commercial-​size solar tower foresees an array of solar reactor modules and, notably, can make use of the solar concentrating infrastructure already established for commercial solar thermal power plants.

    Will you and your group take care of this?
    Aldo Steinfeld: No, this is up to our industrial partners. We at ETH focus on the more fundamental aspects of the technologies. But we also take care of the technology transfer to industry, for example through the licensing of patents. Two spin-​offs have already emerged from my group, founded by former doctoral students: Climeworks commercialises the technology for CO2 capture from air, while Synhelion commercialises the technology for the production of solar fuel from CO2.

    Anthony Patt, as a co-​author on the study, you examined how solar fuels could enter the market and become competitive. What sorts of policies would it take to help make this possible?
    Anthony Patt: Our analysis of policy instruments shows a need for technology support similar to what has existed for solar and wind energy. Both of these used to cost roughly ten times as much to build and operate as fossil generators, back when governments first started to support them. The current price ratio for solar kerosene compared to fossil is of the same order. A comparison with other renewable energy technologies shows that with a similar support mechanism, it ought to be possible to bring the cost of solar kerosene down to the current cost of fossil aviation fuel.

    What are the most important barriers?
    Anthony Patt: The hardest part is overcoming the high initial price barrier. Carbon taxes are not likely to be effective. If we were to tax fossil aviation fuel to the point where its cost to airlines was the same as solar fuels, which is what would be needed, it would mean making it ten times more expensive. Nobody would want to pay this additional cost for flying, and politicians would be unwilling to impose this burden on people. With solar and wind power, however, other policy instruments fit the context much better. They imposed a small additional cost on the total electricity consumed, and used this revenue to fund the cost that wind and solar added to the system. Similarly for fuels, we would need to impose only a small additional cost on flying, thanks to the current market dominance of fossil fuels, in order to finance investments in renewable fuel production. This would certainly help the solar reactor and solar fuels to take hold in the market.

    In your opinion, what would be the ideal policy instrument to help solar fuels in the market?
    Anthony Patt: The instrument most suited to the fuels market would be a quota system. This would function as follows: airlines and airports would be required to have a minimum share of renewable fuels in the total volume of fuel that they put in their aircraft. This would start out small, e.g. such as 1 or 2 percent. It would raise the total fuel costs, but only minimally; the initially small quota would add only a few Swiss francs to the cost of a typical European flight. The quota would rise each year, eventually towards 100 percent, meaning only solar fuels would be burned. The rising quota would lead to investment, and that in turn to falling costs, just as we observed with wind and solar. By the time solar fuels reach 10–15 percent of the fuel volume, we ought to see the costs for solar fuels nearing those of fossil kerosene. It is a strategy that is politically feasible and straightforward to implement.

    What locations would be suitable for large production facilities?
    Anthony Patt: A solar reactor needs direct sunlight, with no clouds in the way. It makes sense to build them in arid environments, such as those in South Spain and North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Australia, in the southwest of the United States, in the Gobi desert of China, or in the Atacama desert of Chile. The process chain does condense water from the air as one input, yet even desert air is moist enough to supply the needed quantities. Finally, desert land is relatively inexpensive, without competing uses. Solar fuels would be a global commodity similar to fossil fuels today, and indeed would rely on the same basic infrastructure for shipping and delivery.

    Aldo Steinfeld: Suitable locations are regions for which the annual direct normal solar radiation is higher than 2000 kWh/m2 per year. In contrast to biofuels, which are limited by resource provision, global jet fuel demand can be met by utilizing less than one percent of the worldwide arid land, which does not compete with food production. To put this in context, 2019 global aviation kerosene consumption was 414 billion liters; the total land footprint of all solar plants required to fully satisfy global demand would be about 45,000 km^2, equivalent to 0.5 percent of the area of the Sahara Desert.

    The sun-​tracking parabolic reflector delivers concentrated sunlight to a solar reactor (seen via the secondary reflector) which converts water and CO2 extracted from the air into a syngas mixture, which in turn is further processed into drop-​in fuels such as kerosene (Photograph: ETH Zürich).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas the University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and the University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Three ways we’re targeting net zero", 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (or COP26 for short), , Clean Energy, , ,   

    From CSIROscope (AU): “Three ways we’re targeting net zero” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope (AU)


    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    1 Nov, 2021
    Fiona Brown

    You’ve probably been hearing quite a bit about the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (or COP26 for short) lately. There has also been a lot of talk about net zero and emissions reductions targets.

    You might be wondering why you’re hearing about them again from your national science agency. Well, it’s because we’ve got the scoop on the science and technology that we’re taking to the conference. And we thought you might want you to know about it too.

    Copping a lot of COP lately?

    COP26 started overnight in Glasgow, United Kingdom (UK), and will run for the next two weeks. During this time some pretty complex negotiations between officials from nearly every country in the world will take place.

    A few years ago now, at COP21 in Paris, negotiations resulted in a legally binding international treaty on climate change. Almost all the world’s nations agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. And so, The Paris Agreement was born.

    The COP26 organisers have been very vocal about their goal for this year’s negotiations. They want to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Time will tell what they’re able to achieve.

    More than targets and treaties

    Alongside the negotiations, COP26 provides an opportunity for countries to showcase the actions they’re taking to tackle climate change.

    For the first time, Australia is hosting a pavilion at the conference, which will include a variety of displays and events. You can find out more about the pavilion, join events online (including two we’re leading), and read about the full array of Australia’s climate action at http://www.industry.gov.au/auscop26

    Take a virtual step inside the Glasgow Science Centre as we bring the science of COP26 to you.

    In today’s context, it’s probably pretty unlikely that many of us Aussies will be heading over to Glasgow. So instead, we thought we’d bring a bit (the science-y bit) of COP26 to you.

    First up, you can watch our online events, which are part of Australia’s COP26 program. Tune in to both events live on Tuesday 9 November. And if you can’t make it, they’ll be available as recordings until the end of November.

    Towards Net Zero event will explore how we are providing Australian regions and industries with the tools to achieve net zero emissions. And how we can realise the opportunities of a low carbon economy.
    Mission Innovation’s Clean Hydrogen Mission event will bring together a panel of leading national and international hydrogen industry experts. Together they will discuss international hydrogen research, development and demonstration priorities and directions.

    Secondly, here are three ways our science and technology innovations are helping pave the way to net zero. For more on what it actually means to reach net zero and the challenges in getting there, check out our net zero emissions explainer.

    How we’re helping reach net zero
    1. Tracking emissions and projecting our future climate

    To curb human-induced climate change, governments, industries and the community need comprehensive information about the climate system. That’s where we come in.

    Without certain knowledge, it can be hard to develop effective plans to reach net zero. Like knowing where emissions are coming from, where they are going, and whether they are increasing or decreasing.

    Enter the Global Carbon Project, to which we proudly contribute (in fact, the Project’s Executive Director is our very own Pep Canadell). The Project develops annual global budgets that provide a complete picture of the cycles (including natural and human drivers) of the main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These are the three greenhouse gases that contribute most to human-induced global warming.

    We’re also working with colleagues from Australia and around the globe to deliver enhanced climate models, such as ACCESS. Climate models like ACCESS underpin the future climate projections that help society understand and plan for the impacts of climate change. This includes the assessments produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    2. Developing low emissions technologies

    No single technology will take us to net zero – there’s no silver bullet. Instead, it will take a combination of existing and emerging technologies. And to implement them across a range of sectors. We’re working with partners to develop low emissions technologies and explore their potential for uptake.


    One example of this is hydrogen. We made a major contribution to the development of the National Hydrogen Roadmap, which represented a major turning point in the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry. Now, we are supporting Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy through the Hydrogen Industry Mission. The Mission is helping build Australia’s clean hydrogen industry. Through our research, we’re aiming to drive down the cost of hydrogen to under $2 per kilogram. All in the hopes of delivering a secure and resilient energy system and supporting our transition to a low emissions future.


    Another example is our direct air capture (DAC) technologies. DAC is a process where CO­­­2 is captured from air using filters or adsorbents, reducing the amount of CO­­­2 in the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can be used in a range of different applications. All the way from making cement to carbonating beverages and helping farmers produce better yielding crops in greenhouses. We’ve developed some DAC materials that are cheap, robust, and easy to make. They are low in toxicity and highly efficient at capturing CO2. And, because they’re hydrophobic, they work just as well in humidity.


    The final – and somewhat surprising example – is livestock feed. Cattle feed may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of low emissions technologies. But, working with Meat & Livestock Australia and James Cook University (AU), that’s exactly what we’ve developed. About 15 per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production. To combat this, scientists developed a cost-effective feed ingredient called FutureFeed. The technology is actually based on seaweed that grows in waters around Australia. FutureFeed has been shown to reduce methane emissions by more than 80 per cent when just a handful is added to cattle’s feed.

    3. Applying our science to reach net zero

    We have also set net zero emissions targets for our own operations that will help Australia navigate the path to net zero emissions. As part of our Sustainability Strategy, our plan is to bring together the best of our science expertise and technology to demonstrate net zero emissions by 2025 at our Newcastle Energy Centre, and by 2030 across all of our sites.

    Our aim as an organisation is to go beyond net zero by 2050. We hope to do this by taking into account the emissions through our supply and value chains. We are looking at how we can accelerate the transition to net zero through the application of cutting-edge technologies. Including those in hydrogen, next-generation batteries, predictive analytics and energy efficiency as well as through our resource use, property footprint, electrification of plant, equipment and vehicles and purchasing of renewable energy.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Land and Water
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Parkes Observatory, [ Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name] , located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Mopra radio telescope

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US)

    CSIRO Canberra campus

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster

    Others not shown


    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

  • richardmitnick 8:04 am on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "EaRTH District at U of T Scarborough aims to make eastern GTA a hub for green-tech training and innovation", , Clean Energy,   

    From The University of Toronto (CA) : “EaRTH District at U of T Scarborough aims to make eastern GTA a hub for green-tech training and innovation” 

    From The University of Toronto (CA)

    October 28, 2021
    Don Campbell

    A proposed net-zero vertical farm at U of T Scarborough is part of a broader partnership between the university and Centennial College that is focused on advancing the clean-tech sector (rendering courtesy of U of T Scarborough and Centennial College.)

    A new partnership involving five universities and colleges across the eastern Greater Toronto Area is bringing a training and innovation hub for green technology to the University of Toronto Scarborough.

    The Environmental and Related Technologies Hub (EaRTH), located on the U of T Scarborough campus, will develop the region’s green and sustainable technology sector through research, academic programming and commercialization of advanced technology.

    “EaRTH will enable the next generation of green-technology innovators to thrive,” says Andrew Arifuzzaman, U of T Scarborough’s chief administrative officer.

    “We’re in an environmental crisis and the urgency of the situation requires immediate action that can only be solved with the greatest minds working together, which we have right here.”

    The partnership, which includes U of T Scarborough, Centennial College (CA), Ontario Tech University (CA), Durham College (CA) and Trent University (CA), will foster world-class environmental science research, training opportunities for existing and future jobs in the green-tech sector, as well as translating new knowledge and innovation into entrepreneurship.

    Professor Wisdom Tettey, vice-president and principal of U of T Scarborough, says being able to help empower community members to play an active role in combatting climate change was a key element in developing the EaRTH District.

    “We are well-positioned to help with this effort by being an active leader – along with our partners – in transforming and facilitating access to the benefits of green and sustainable technologies.”

    He says that creating a district in the eastern GTA for community members to live, work and play also meets the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    A major priority of the EaRTH District is to address an urgent need for sustainable solutions to tackle the challenges of climate change by developing technological and social innovations. It will do that by filling a skills gap that currently exists through access to educational programs in the green-tech sector that include joint degrees, micro-credentialing and experiential learning.

    The district includes facilities for research, training and innovation. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by all five partner institutions on Oct. 28 to formally launch the initiative.

    The partnership institutions will work with the public and private sectors, as well as Indigenous communities, in the development of green and sustainable technologies. Each institution will contribute its unique expertise and training in the environmental sciences, advanced technology and emerging areas of the green-tech economy.

    Several activities are already underway in support of the EaRTH District. They include U of T Scarborough’s Environmental Science and Chemistry Building, which opened in 2015, and plans to build Canada’s first net-zero vertical farm dedicated to advancing urban farming techniques. A third phase will include the Advanced Environmental Technologies Building, which will house facilities for developing sustainable industrial technologies and fostering green-tech entrepreneurship.

    Professor Irena Creed, vice-principal, research and innovation at U of T Scarborough, says there are many projects underway that take a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research and development that align with the EaRTH District. These include developing technologies that can reverse groundwater pollution, capturing energy from vehicle brake systems to re-charge batteries, and using smart materials and microbes to create alternative fuel sources.

    “As a leader in environmental science research, U of T Scarborough is uniquely qualified to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time,” she says.

    “Developing innovative solutions to these complex challenges is an exciting opportunity, and one that will hopefully help lead to more resilient communities better able to face the climate crisis.”

    Canada’s $61.9-billion green-tech industry currently employs more than 282,000 people, mostly in waste management services, energy efficient technologies, transportation, environmental remediation and renewable energy services.

    An important goal of EaRTH is to bring investment in that sector to the eastern GTA.

    Arifuzzaman says the industry will continue to grow and create an environment where new and innovative technologies are being developed locally, generating high quality, in-demand jobs for residents of Scarborough and the Durham Region.

    He points to a report prepared by the partner institutions that finds EaRTH has the potential to generate $8.4 billion in economic output, educate 35,000 students and create more than 4,400 direct jobs once fully operational.

    “Collaboration among the five post-secondary institutions working on solutions amplifies this effort exponentially,” says Arifuzzaman.

    “It’s time for us to contribute on a global level and EaRTH is the gateway to doing so.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.


    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

  • richardmitnick 7:37 am on November 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How public pension funds can help address climate change", , Clean Energy, Cliamte Change, , ,   

    From The University of Washington (US) : “How public pension funds can help address climate change” 

    From The University of Washington (US)

    October 29, 2021
    Kim Eckart


    With public pension funds managing $4 trillion nationally and essentially representing the retirement plans of 20 million U.S. workers, where that money is invested has a lot of ramifications.

    In recent years, attention has focused on the fossil fuel industry, where public pension fund investors play a growing role.

    As Michael McCann, political science professor at the University of Washington, and Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer, a graduate student in political science and former research director for the UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, point out, private equity firms – including the Blackstone Group, KKR and the Carlyle Group – own and are expanding fossil fuel operations such as pipelines and gas- and coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, reports from the International Energy Agency and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provide dire warnings about global warming.

    “It is time that private equity also acts upon information the rest of the world seems to already understand,” said Mehta-Neugebauer. “Willfully expanding fossil fuel infrastructure amid intensifying opposition exposes pension fund investors and retirees to investment risks, and exposes all of us to more dangerous climate and public health outcomes.”

    Ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference that begins Oct. 31, the Harry Bridges Center released a report on the issue, following a spring panel discussion with representatives from labor, public pension funds, Indigenous groups and grassroots organizations around North America. The goal: collaboration and change.

    McCann and Mehta-Neugebauer discussed the relationship among public pension funds, private equity and climate change with UW News.

    What do you think people overlook, or perhaps don’t even know, about this issue? And what are the consequences?

    RMN: Private equity firms benefit immensely from a structure of secrecy. Through regulatory exemptions, private equity assets are, by definition, private and not subject to most public disclosure rules, like other publicly listed companies such as Chevron or ExxonMobil. As a result, neither the public nor government regulators fully understand the environmental and community impacts of private equity investments.

    At the same time, private equity firms extoll their commitment to environmental and sustainable goals, but they fail to disclose the thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines they manage, or the acres of oil wells they own, or the extent to which communities and ecosystems are impacted by their operations. Thus, private equity’s pension fund investors do not have an accurate understanding of the public health and climate risks associated with private equity’s ever-expanding fossil fuel footprint and run the risk of making investment decisions based on inaccurate and incomplete information — a serious fiduciary risk.

    For instance, the same day that private equity firm Brookfield Asset Management raised $7 billion for a new clean energy fund, its $6.7 billion bid to takeover Inter Pipeline, an oil sands pipeline company, was recommended by the company’s board for shareholder approval. Brookfield failed to discuss this connection, and very few industry analysts observed how Brookfield’s attempts to mitigate climate change were immediately nullified.

    Systematic, detailed and comprehensive disclosure of private equity portfolio’s climate risks, and plans to shift toward a pollution-free energy portfolio are necessary to enable the public, investors and regulatory agencies to effectively monitor and mitigate negative financial risks as well as climate and health impacts.

    Financial returns are often considered the priority for investments, but you argue not only that other issues are important, but also that private equity investment in the fossil fuel industry is risky. Can you explain?

    MM: The majority of private equity energy funds have underperformed comparable buyout funds over the past decade. On the other hand, over a similar period, renewable energy stocks beat a fossil fuel-focused strategy by more than threefold. Yet total investment in renewable energy assets is still lagging. And the heavy debt that private equity firms typically load onto their portfolio companies resulted in private equity-owned oil and gas companies dominating the unusually high number of bankruptcies in the energy sector last year.

    Looking to the future, major oil companies are acknowledging a permanent decline in oil demand. In February 2021, Royal Dutch Shell joined other major oil companies in saying that the world reached peak oil production in 2019, and going forward, it expects annual declines. Governments and auto manufacturers are also responding to the writing on the wall, setting 2035 as a goal: California, one of the largest markets for vehicle sales, established that target for a phaseout of gasoline-powered cars; the United Kingdom mandated that any car sold after 2030 must have at least a hybrid drivetrain capable of running on a battery; and General Motors announced plans to completely phase out vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035. GM also plans to use renewable energy for its U.S. factories by 2035, and for overseas plants by 2040.

    How can labor unions — or any of us — be part of the solution?

    MM: Public pension funds are essentially labor’s retirement capital. Investment decisions are made by pension fund trustees, who are often union members, state elected representatives, and investment experts. These trustees can demand robust climate risk reporting standards that take community and environmental impacts into account. Assessing a private equity fund’s performance by financial benchmarks alone underestimates the full costs associated with these energy investments.

    RMN: Labor unions can do a better job of committing resources to educating themselves and their trustee representatives on how their pension fund invests their retirement capital. Workers and retirees can demand from their pension funds more transparent climate-related disclosures as a condition for future private equity funding.

    MM: Much political analysis has focused on the reluctance of labor organizations to fully support a clean energy future. However, greater engagement of labor within the pension fund investment sphere can bring about an alliance between labor and environmental interests. Better understanding the climate risks associated with private equity investments can help protect not only the environment, but also investment returns — ensuring a more sustainable future for retirees as well as the planet.

    As the climate crisis impacts all of us, we can also engage on this issue by providing comment at pension fund meetings — after all, they are open to the public. And we can demand that our elected representatives take bolder climate-related actions. Aside from ensuring public pension fund investments are made more responsibly, we all have a stake in ensuring a healthier planet.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The University of Washington (US) is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

    The University of Washington (US) is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. Founded in 1861, University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast; it was established in downtown Seattle approximately a decade after the city’s founding to aid its economic development. Today, the university’s 703-acre main Seattle campus is in the University District above the Montlake Cut, within the urban Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. The university has additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Overall, University of Washington encompasses over 500 buildings and over 20 million gross square footage of space, including one of the largest library systems in the world with more than 26 university libraries, as well as the UW Tower, lecture halls, art centers, museums, laboratories, stadiums, and conference centers. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through 140 departments in various colleges and schools, sees a total student enrollment of roughly 46,000 annually, and functions on a quarter system.

    University of Washington is a member of the Association of American Universities(US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UW spent $1.41 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 5th in the nation. As the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state, it is known for its medical, engineering and scientific research as well as its highly competitive computer science and engineering programs. Additionally, University of Washington continues to benefit from its deep historic ties and major collaborations with numerous technology giants in the region, such as Amazon, Boeing, Nintendo, and particularly Microsoft. Paul G. Allen, Bill Gates and others spent significant time at Washington computer labs for a startup venture before founding Microsoft and other ventures. The University of Washington’s 22 varsity sports teams are also highly competitive, competing as the Huskies in the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA Division I, representing the United States at the Olympic Games, and other major competitions.

    The university has been affiliated with many notable alumni and faculty, including 21 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars.

    In 1854, territorial governor Isaac Stevens recommended the establishment of a university in the Washington Territory. Prominent Seattle-area residents, including Methodist preacher Daniel Bagley, saw this as a chance to add to the city’s potential and prestige. Bagley learned of a law that allowed United States territories to sell land to raise money in support of public schools. At the time, Arthur A. Denny, one of the founders of Seattle and a member of the territorial legislature, aimed to increase the city’s importance by moving the territory’s capital from Olympia to Seattle. However, Bagley eventually convinced Denny that the establishment of a university would assist more in the development of Seattle’s economy. Two universities were initially chartered, but later the decision was repealed in favor of a single university in Lewis County provided that locally donated land was available. When no site emerged, Denny successfully petitioned the legislature to reconsider Seattle as a location in 1858.

    In 1861, scouting began for an appropriate 10 acres (4 ha) site in Seattle to serve as a new university campus. Arthur and Mary Denny donated eight acres, while fellow pioneers Edward Lander, and Charlie and Mary Terry, donated two acres on Denny’s Knoll in downtown Seattle. More specifically, this tract was bounded by 4th Avenue to the west, 6th Avenue to the east, Union Street to the north, and Seneca Streets to the south.

    John Pike, for whom Pike Street is named, was the university’s architect and builder. It was opened on November 4, 1861, as the Territorial University of Washington. The legislature passed articles incorporating the University, and establishing its Board of Regents in 1862. The school initially struggled, closing three times: in 1863 for low enrollment, and again in 1867 and 1876 due to funds shortage. University of Washington awarded its first graduate Clara Antoinette McCarty Wilt in 1876, with a bachelor’s degree in science.

    19th century relocation

    By the time Washington state entered the Union in 1889, both Seattle and the University had grown substantially. University of Washington’s total undergraduate enrollment increased from 30 to nearly 300 students, and the campus’s relative isolation in downtown Seattle faced encroaching development. A special legislative committee, headed by University of Washington graduate Edmond Meany, was created to find a new campus to better serve the growing student population and faculty. The committee eventually selected a site on the northeast of downtown Seattle called Union Bay, which was the land of the Duwamish, and the legislature appropriated funds for its purchase and construction. In 1895, the University relocated to the new campus by moving into the newly built Denny Hall. The University Regents tried and failed to sell the old campus, eventually settling with leasing the area. This would later become one of the University’s most valuable pieces of real estate in modern-day Seattle, generating millions in annual revenue with what is now called the Metropolitan Tract. The original Territorial University building was torn down in 1908, and its former site now houses the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

    The sole-surviving remnants of Washington’s first building are four 24-foot (7.3 m), white, hand-fluted cedar, Ionic columns. They were salvaged by Edmond S. Meany, one of the University’s first graduates and former head of its history department. Meany and his colleague, Dean Herbert T. Condon, dubbed the columns as “Loyalty,” “Industry,” “Faith”, and “Efficiency”, or “LIFE.” The columns now stand in the Sylvan Grove Theater.

    20th century expansion

    Organizers of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition eyed the still largely undeveloped campus as a prime setting for their world’s fair. They came to an agreement with Washington’s Board of Regents that allowed them to use the campus grounds for the exposition, surrounding today’s Drumheller Fountain facing towards Mount Rainier. In exchange, organizers agreed Washington would take over the campus and its development after the fair’s conclusion. This arrangement led to a detailed site plan and several new buildings, prepared in part by John Charles Olmsted. The plan was later incorporated into the overall University of Washington campus master plan, permanently affecting the campus layout.

    Both World Wars brought the military to campus, with certain facilities temporarily lent to the federal government. In spite of this, subsequent post-war periods were times of dramatic growth for the University. The period between the wars saw a significant expansion of the upper campus. Construction of the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, known to students as “The Quad,” began in 1916 and continued to 1939. The University’s architectural centerpiece, Suzzallo Library, was built in 1926 and expanded in 1935.

    After World War II, further growth came with the G.I. Bill. Among the most important developments of this period was the opening of the School of Medicine in 1946, which is now consistently ranked as the top medical school in the United States. It would eventually lead to the University of Washington Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten hospitals in the nation.

    In 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry in the Seattle area were forced into inland internment camps as part of Executive Order 9066 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. During this difficult time, university president Lee Paul Sieg took an active and sympathetic leadership role in advocating for and facilitating the transfer of Japanese American students to universities and colleges away from the Pacific Coast to help them avoid the mass incarceration. Nevertheless many Japanese American students and “soon-to-be” graduates were unable to transfer successfully in the short time window or receive diplomas before being incarcerated. It was only many years later that they would be recognized for their accomplishments during the University of Washington’s Long Journey Home ceremonial event that was held in May 2008.

    From 1958 to 1973, the University of Washington saw a tremendous growth in student enrollment, its faculties and operating budget, and also its prestige under the leadership of Charles Odegaard. University of Washington student enrollment had more than doubled to 34,000 as the baby boom generation came of age. However, this era was also marked by high levels of student activism, as was the case at many American universities. Much of the unrest focused around civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. In response to anti-Vietnam War protests by the late 1960s, the University Safety and Security Division became the University of Washington Police Department.

    Odegaard instituted a vision of building a “community of scholars”, convincing the Washington State legislatures to increase investment in the University. Washington senators, such as Henry M. Jackson and Warren G. Magnuson, also used their political clout to gather research funds for the University of Washington. The results included an increase in the operating budget from $37 million in 1958 to over $400 million in 1973, solidifying University of Washington as a top recipient of federal research funds in the United States. The establishment of technology giants such as Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon in the local area also proved to be highly influential in the University of Washington’s fortunes, not only improving graduate prospects but also helping to attract millions of dollars in university and research funding through its distinguished faculty and extensive alumni network.

    21st century

    In 1990, the University of Washington opened its additional campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. Although originally intended for students who have already completed two years of higher education, both schools have since become four-year universities with the authority to grant degrees. The first freshman classes at these campuses started in fall 2006. Today both Bothell and Tacoma also offer a selection of master’s degree programs.

    In 2012, the University began exploring plans and governmental approval to expand the main Seattle campus, including significant increases in student housing, teaching facilities for the growing student body and faculty, as well as expanded public transit options. The University of Washington light rail station was completed in March 2015, connecting Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington Husky Stadium within five minutes of rail travel time. It offers a previously unavailable option of transportation into and out of the campus, designed specifically to reduce dependence on private vehicles, bicycles and local King County buses.

    University of Washington has been listed as a “Public Ivy” in Greene’s Guides since 2001, and is an elected member of the American Association of Universities. Among the faculty by 2012, there have been 151 members of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences(US), 67 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 53 members of the National Academy of Medicine(US), 29 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 21 members of the National Academy of Engineering(US), 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, 15 MacArthur Fellows, 9 winners of the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 5 winners of the National Medal of Science, 7 Nobel Prize laureates, 5 winners of Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, 4 members of the American Philosophical Society, 2 winners of the National Book Award, 2 winners of the National Medal of Arts, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 1 winner of the Fields Medal, and 1 member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Among UW students by 2012, there were 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Marshall Scholars and 4 Gates Cambridge Scholars. UW is recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, ranking 2nd in the US in 2017.

    The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has consistently ranked University of Washington as one of the top 20 universities worldwide every year since its first release. In 2019, University of Washington ranked 14th worldwide out of 500 by the ARWU, 26th worldwide out of 981 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 28th worldwide out of 101 in the Times World Reputation Rankings. Meanwhile, QS World University Rankings ranked it 68th worldwide, out of over 900.

    U.S. News & World Report ranked University of Washington 8th out of nearly 1,500 universities worldwide for 2021, with University of Washington’s undergraduate program tied for 58th among 389 national universities in the U.S. and tied for 19th among 209 public universities.

    In 2019, it ranked 10th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. In 2017, the Leiden Ranking, which focuses on science and the impact of scientific publications among the world’s 500 major universities, ranked University of Washington 12th globally and 5th in the U.S.

    In 2019, Kiplinger Magazine’s review of “top college values” named University of Washington 5th for in-state students and 10th for out-of-state students among U.S. public colleges, and 84th overall out of 500 schools. In the Washington Monthly National University Rankings University of Washington was ranked 15th domestically in 2018, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on October 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bigger better blades for wind turbines", , As Europe’s wind turbines grow in size with individual blades-soon longer than a professional football pitch- the biggest challenge will be delivering more power with less wear., Clean Energy, Europe is full of wind–and making good use of it. Wind energy is set to make the largest contribution to EU renewable energy targets.,   

    From Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine : “Bigger better blades for wind turbines” 

    From Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine

    One of the biggest challenges is the repair of wind turbine blades to withstand the forces of nature © Adwo, Shutterstock.

    As Europe’s wind turbines grow in size with individual blades-soon longer than a professional football pitch- the biggest challenge will be delivering more power with less wear.

    Europe is full of wind–and making good use of it. Wind energy is set to make the largest contribution to EU renewable energy targets.

    This makes it a key component in Europe becoming climate-neutral, an objective the EU wants to reach by 2050. Home-grown technologies and tools will help Europe meet its climate goals while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU wind ecosystem on the global stage and create new green jobs.

    The winds of change

    In 2020, wind energy met about 16% of Europe’s electricity demand, including a majority of installations on land and a fraction offshore, both floating and fixed.

    Europe has plans to significantly up the ante, with projections to increase total wind-based power generation by about 50% over the next 5 years. Increasing power performance will be achieved not only by more installations but also wind turbines that can generate more power than their predecessors and that are out of commission less for maintenance and repairs.

    Wind turbines are huge, fast (considering their size and weight), and subjected to very harsh working conditions. Imagine a football pitch spinning around in the air at about 15 to 20 revolutions per minute in some of the gustiest places on Earth.

    From 2000 to 2018, the average length of wind turbine blades more than doubled. Newer models are expected to reach lengths exceeding 85 metres by 2025. Some offshore turbines could be sweeping the sky in the near future with blades 110 metres long – a rotational diameter of two football pitches end to end.

    The larger the blades, the faster the tips move – and the greater the erosion on their leading edges. The industry has made tremendous technological progress in materials, design and manufacturing. Still, putting up bigger blades that deliver more power with less wear is a tremendous challenge.

    Fortunately, the EU has a plan that includes improving resilience to degradation – which will only increase with larger blades and more and more extreme weather events – and better non-destructive monitoring to catch defects early, even during manufacture.

    A coat of armour that ‘gives’

    To withstand the forces of nature and the huge forces the rotation itself generates, blades are manufactured with a multilayer ‘coat of armour’. Typically, the outer layer erodes during operation and the inner layers can become detached.

    According to Asta Šakalytė Director of Research and Development at Aerox Advanced Polymers, SL, although the lifespan of a turbine is theoretically 25 years, current medium-sized systems typically require extensive maintenance at about 10 years due to blade deterioration. Newer ones with larger rotational diameters show severe erosion by the second year of service.

    To address the problem, Aerox developed AROLEP®, a pioneering proprietary leading edge protection system that is now market-ready thanks to work done by the LEP4BLADES project.

    Unlike conventional coatings you might find on pipes, Aerox’s coating is viscoelastic, meaning that it gives or, more precisely, deforms under stress and bounces back. As Šakalytė explained, ‘this is achieved with a combination of two polymers with different complementary properties. The AROLEP® coating can absorb high-speed and high-frequency impacts caused by raindrops and other particles hitting the leading edge of the blade. Tailor-made modification of polymer properties ensures the coating and blade materials work together so the impact effects are dissipated throughout the structure of the blade.’

    Independent performance tests showed AROLEP® protects the integrity of the blades better than any other available solution – and it can be used for new blades as well as those already in service.

    Market uptake should have significant ripple effects back to consumers: significant savings in maintenance, repair and downtime translating to lower energy costs. In the meantime, Aerox is continuing to improve the formulation while targeting novel coatings and adhesives for future blades that could help make wind turbine manufacture a zero-waste business.

    And an angel to watch over them

    Coatings are designed to minimise damage, but they cannot completely prevent it. Improved structural health monitoring technologies could catch defects early before the scales tip and repair or replacement creates financial and practical problems as large as the turbines themselves.

    Blade failures are a significant issue for the wind turbine industry. Approximately a third of the billions of euros annually that go towards operation and maintenance (O&M) of wind turbines is for inspection and/or repair of blade coatings.

    Until now, it had been impossible to identify internal defects in blade coatings. Visual inspection is the method of choice during manufacture and maintenance, but it misses defects lurking under the surface.

    Even technologically advanced methods of inspection like inductive and ultrasound technologies fall short when it comes to the coatings on wind turbine blades. They require contact that can damage blades and coatings, particularly if wet, and they cannot analyse individual layers, only total thickness.

    One way to see inside multilayer coatings may lie in the terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum – between microwave and infrared frequencies. It can ‘see’ through things and identify what is inside – and its chemical composition and electrical properties – in a non-destructive, non-invasive and non-ionising way.

    Until a few decades ago its potential was difficult to tap in part due to our inability to efficiently generate and detect the waves. But that is changing now with proprietary THz technology developed specifically for industrial use by das-Nano and introduced to the market in the context of the NOTUS project.

    According to Eduardo Azanza, Chief Executive Officer of das-Nano and NOTUS coordinator, ‘NOTUS is the first contactless tool for non-destructive material inspection specifically designed for wind turbine inspection. It can perform deep characterisation of individual layers of any coating structure and any blade, independent of materials, enabling quantification of interlayer adherence.’

    NOTUS is available in three versions for applications along the life cycle of blades supporting development, manufacturing, operation and even inspection by receiving personnel or insurance companies. It could save windfarm operators approximately 10% of O&M costs based on Azanza’s estimates.

    And windfarms are not the only ones who will benefit. NOTUS works with all sorts of multilayer substrates, including metal, composite and plastic. It accommodates flat and curved surfaces and dry, wet and cured paints.

    The THz technology also enables electrical characterisation of advanced materials such as graphene, 2D materials, thin films and bulk materials.

    Azanza said: ‘das-Nano has brought to market NOTUS, a harmless technology for fast and non-destructive inspection of every single product in a manufacturing line, identifying defective pieces at the earliest possible time.’

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:51 am on October 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Satellite solar-an explainer", , Clean Energy, Constant Aperture Solid-State Integrated Oribital Phased Array (CASSIOPeiA), , Multi-Rotary Solar Power Satellite (MR-SPS), Solar is proving itself the prime candidate to replace our reliance on fossil fuels., Solar Power Satellite Via Arbitrarily Large Phases Array (SPS-ALPHA)   

    From COSMOS (AU) : “Satellite solar-an explainer” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS (AU)

    26 October 2021
    Deborah Devis

    In space, no one can complain that the sun is an unreliable source of renewable energy.

    Credit: Mmdi / Getty Images.

    As the world prioritises the transition towards clean, renewable energy to (hopefully) avert a climate catastrophe, solar is proving itself the prime candidate to replace our reliance on fossil fuels.

    But defenders of fossil fuel energy sources often point to solar’s limitations, and the fact that cloud cover, let alone nightfall, reduces its availability.

    “On Earth, solar power generation is erratic during the day,” says Stephen Way, an engineer and senior consultant at Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd. “Solar panels are affected by light and dark, and clouds can block the amount of solar power that reaches them.”

    Which raises the question: where might solar panels be best positioned to completely avert these pitfalls? Scientists are now looking beyond the clouds to an uninterrupted source of solar power.

    “In space, satellites are not affected by day/night cycles, atmosphere or weather in the same way, so they are able to collect solar power constantly,” says Way.

    Solar collection

    The theory is relatively straightforward.

    Satellites powered by solar already routinely move around in their orbits of Earth. Plans are being devised to expand this harvesting potential, then direct the energy back to Earth as a constant, on-tap power source.

    “Photovoltaic panels are obviously the most important part of a satellite,” says Way. “The solar panels capture the photons and convert them into electrons. This is the form that can be beamed back to Earth.”

    This energy would be wirelessly dispatched via a large antenna down to a receiver – called a rectenna – on Earth, where the electromagnetic energy is converted into current and distributed.

    “These beams can be microwave beams,” say Way. “People can get concerned about having a big beam like that, but they won’t hurt you. There are safety limits that control the beam’s maximum intensity.”

    Of the models so far proposed, each satellite design aims to generate around 3.4GW of electricity, transmit the microwave power at 2.45GHz with a maximum beam intensity of around 230W/m2 (one quarter of the intensity of midday sunlight) to produce around 2GW of electrical power to the grid.

    The antenna needs to be directed towards Earth all times, while the rectenna will need to be kilometres wide to capture the microwave beam.


    There are several serious conceptual designs in circulation that have been proposed for solar satellites. They have a number of features in common:

    Highly concentrated solar photovoltaics;
    Minimal weight;
    Wireless transmission back to Earth;
    Robot assembly;
    A plan to dispense with them when they die.

    “These satellite solar stations would be massive – they would each weigh several thousand tonnes – so it would take a huge amount of resources to launch them into space,” says Way.

    But their potential promises an abundance of clean energy for an entire planet.

    Three concepts stand out.

    SPS-ALPHA concept. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US).

    1. Solar Power Satellite Via Arbitrarily Large Phases Array (SPS-ALPHA)

    This satellite concept involves large multiple solar panels in a familiar shape.

    “The mirrors are like a big umbrella that opens out towards the sun, and the photovoltaic cells are in the flat handle,” says Way.

    Each mirror is a heliostat that is motorised to independently adjust position to best catch the Sun. All this highly concentrated light is reflected to the cells on a round disk positioned between the mirrors and Earth.

    This hyper concentration acts like a magnifying glass, creating super intense heat. To mitigate that heat, a sandwich panel – made of an insulating material between two thin metal sheets – offsets the heat so the satellite doesn’t incinerate. If too much light and heat are accumulated, the mirrors can also be adjusted to reduce the load.

    The entire satellite is estimated to weigh 8,000 tonnes and has a huge, 1.7km diameter antenna that beams energy back to Earth. It has an estimated life span of 100 years.

    TSPS-ALPHA is geocentric – meaning it always stays above the same position on Earth so that the energy is delivered to the same location. The rectenna has a 6km diameter – clearly it would need to be positioned in an area with plenty of room.

    “The good thing about this satellite is that it is modular and can be easily maintained,” says Way. “Parts can be robotically assembled and swapped out.”

    CASSIOPeiA concept. Credit: I. Cash, “CASSIOPeiA solar power satellite,” 2017 IEEE International Conference on Wireless for Space and Extreme Environments (WiSEE), 2017.

    2. Constant Aperture Solid-State Integrated Oribital Phased Array (CASSIOPeiA)

    The CASSIOPeiA looks completely different to SPS-ALPHA. High concentration solar photovoltaic (HCPV) panels make up the bulk of its helices, which are topped by mirrors that reflect light back towards the panels.

    “It is almost like a baked-bean tin, but both ends are open, and the lids are two huge mirrors reflecting light into the middle,” says Way.

    Instead of one big antenna, several microwave antennae sit at right angles to the HCPV panels that send energy back as an array instead of a single beam. This means that it can transmit at 360°. Its mirrors remain facing the sun as the satellite moves around the Earth, but the intricate angles of the helix means there are sufficient antennae to constantly deliver power no matter its position.

    Unlike SPS-ALPHA, CASSIOPeiA has no moving parts, but it is also modular in design and single units can be removed as they degrade.

    The estimated mass is 2,000 tonnes, with a 1.6km diameter antenna beaming to a 5km wide rectenna.

    3. Multi-Rotary Solar Power Satellite (MR-SPS)

    Multi-Rotary Joints SPS

    This design looks like most rooftop solar panels. It is comprised of two rectangular wings with a flat antenna in the middle. Each wing has sections with solar panels attached to rotating joints that can move independently to best catch the sun.

    The energy collected passes through the rotating joints to a flat, 1km diameter antenna that beams the energy down to a 5km wide rectenna back on Earth.

    Multi-Rotary Joints SPS – 2015 SunSat Design Competition.
    Credit: China Academy of Space Technology[中国空间技术研究院](CN)

    The satellite can send 1GW and is 11.8 kilometres wide, 10,000 tonnes, and geostationary, with an estimated life span of 30 years.

    The benefits of this satellite are that it is relatively simple engineering compared to the other two. It also doesn’t heat up with concentrated light and doesn’t require the same thermal regulation. However, the rotary system requires a lot of energy to function, so it is not as productive in what it dispatches back to Earth.

    What will be see in the future?

    These designs are still concepts under review, and there is unlikely to be just one winner.

    “We will probably have a whole constellation of satellites beaming energy back to Earth,” says Way.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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