This is more than a little bit of a “well, duh, somebody has to have thought of that before” thing, but I can’t recall anybody actually proposing it prior to this: installing solar panels in (or next to) a wind farm facility.
The biggest problems (other than cost) for wind and solar energy is that they’re both inconsistent and produce more energy in areas that tend to be unpopulated. This means that they require large capital costs to build power storage and transmission infrastructure in order for them to function like gas/coal/oil power plants, which can be turned up or down as needed and can be built right next to where the power’s needed.
So GE and Invenergy have teamed up to construct a solar facility right next to a wind farm in Illinois, allowing the two facilities to use the same transmission lines and support each other in their respective low-production periods. Efficient, no? Like I said, I’m wondering why I can’t recall hearing about this before. Other than my memory being faulty (which it is, sadly) are there reasons this hasn’t been done up till now?
Take a large kite, shaped sort of like an airplane. Launch it into a wind stream at altitude that’s fast enough to keep it airborne. Then use the motion of the kite (transferred through its tether) to drive generators on the ground.
That’s the general concept behind the Makani Airborne Wind Turbine. They’re still in the early testing stage, so this is something to keep an eye out for, not something that’s about to hit center stage.
- NASA’s always looking at ways to explore space – the trick is getting a good idea and sufficient funding to pull it off. Space.com’s got an article here about possible “next steps” beyond low Earth orbit.
- Incentives are critical when you’re looking at systems involving humans. Change the incentives, and you can radically change the behavior of people in the system. So what happens when you reward people for doing well, but require that they pass all their rewards to the people that helped them? Suddenly, you have a strong incentive for people to help each other so that they can get rewards from their friends.
- Normally, I try not talk about tablets and phones – I’m not enough of a gadgethead to know the pros and cons of Android over iOS, or iPads over… whatever other tablets that are out there. But! When I see a tablet that’s specifically designed for gaming, that gets my attention (I’m a gamer, if you hadn’t guessed). Considering how much time people spend playing games on their mobile devices, this doesn’t really surprise me.
- As the man in the video says, CES is full of interesting toys, gadgets, and appliances, but what really matters is finding something to drive your pet nuts. Enter the Sphero, a ball that rolls where you direct it, controlled by your iOS device.
- Brace yourself, the ridiculosity in this one is really high: An Iranian has claimed that Iran grabbed that US drone with “advanced space technology” and “field forces” (he meant force fields or tractor beams). George Little, the Pentagon’s spokesman, said “We have no comment on this individual’s claims, but tell him the Secretary would like his lightsaber back.”
More talk about how water is going to be a huge crisis point sometime down the road:
80% of Brazil’s latest power supply auction (to provide power to the government) bids were for wind power:
USGov approves new nuclear reactor design:
A Hawaiian windfarm using batteries to smooth out its power production:
Apple’s designs and patents of fuel-cells for laptops:
A battery that runs on paper:
Nano-engineered solar-power paint: