Their invention looks a lot like a solar panel. A flat metal panel is covered in a sheet of the material—a high-tech film—the trio invented. The material reflects the light and heat of the sun so effectively that the temperature beneath the film can drop 5 to 10-degrees Celsius (9 to 18-degrees Fahrenheit) lower than the air around it. A system of pipes behind the metal panel are exposed to that colder temperature, cooling the fluid inside before it’s sent out to current-day refrigeration systems.
Planes are rarely used for regional travel, representing less than 1% of trips under 500 miles, according to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Airlines have shied away from shorter flights largely because most of the fuel is burned during takeoff, meaning longer routes are far more economical. And given the high costs and hassles of flying, consumers largely opt for cars, trains, or buses instead for this travel range.
This year, the race regulations are a clear sign of how rapidly solar technology is changing. Teams have to use a smaller solar collector than before: cars in the Challenger class can have no more than 43 square feet of solar cells versus nearly 65 square feet for the previous race, in 2015. That’s half the area allowed on cars from the original 1987 race. In other words, technology is advanced enough now (both in solar cells and the underlying vehicle designs) that you don’t need a sea of panels to keep a car running.
Globally, the price of solar panels has fallen 50% between 2016 and 2017, they write. And in countries with favorable wind conditions, the costs associated with wind power “can be as low as one-half to one-third that of coal- or natural gas-fired power plants.” Innovations in wind-turbine design are allowing for ever-longer wind blades; that boost in efficiency will also increase power output from the wind sector, according to Morgan Stanley.
Iceland’s decision to harness the heat inside the earth in a process known as geothermal energy dates back to the 1970s and the oil crisis.
But the new geothermal well is expected to generate far more energy, as the extreme heat and pressure at that depth makes the water take the form of a “supercritical” fluid, which is neither gas nor liquid.
This is the first big project from Tesla and SolarCity since the acquisition. Both companies believe this station is the biggest combination solar panel and storage facility in the world. With approximately 55,000 solar cells spread over about 45 acres, it’ll be tough to find anything larger.
GE and Deepwater Wind, a developer of offshore turbines, are installing five massive wind turbines in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They will make up the first offshore wind farm in North America, called the Block Island Wind Farm.
Over the past several weeks, the teams have worked to install the turbines 30 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, and are expected to finish by the end of August 2016. The farm will be fully operational by November 2016.
CSP uses either lenses or parabolic mirrors to concentrate the sun’s light onto a small point where water or another substance is heated.
The heat is used to create steam, which runs a turbine that produces electricity. In the Noor CSP, concave mirrors focus on molten salt, heating it anywhere from 300 degrees to 660 degrees Fahrenheit.
Currently, the Noor CSP can generate 160 megawatts (MW). But as additional phases are completed, in two years it’s expected to generate more than 500MW — enough power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans.
Solar power projects intended to turn solar heat into steam to generate electricity have struggled to compete amid tumbling prices for solar energy from solid-state photovoltaic (PV) panels. But the first commercial-scale implementation of an innovative solar thermal design could turn the tide. Engineered from the ground up to store some of its solar energy, the 110-megawatt plant is nearing completion in the Crescent Dunes near Tonopah, Nev. It aims to simultaneously produce the cheapest solar thermal power and to dispatch that power for up to 10 hours after the setting sun has idled photovoltaics.
Five floating turbines will be built off the coast of the island, which currently relies on diesel generators for its power—and pays a dollar more per gallon than the mainland does to get it. Those turbines will be connected to an undersea power cable that links not just the island, but to the US mainland.
The result will be a huge price drop in the islanders’ electricity bills, and an influx of clean energy piped into the grid from across the sound. The 30 megawatt plant is expected be generating power for thousands of New England homes by fall next year.