Renewable Energy Makes Things Tough On The Grid, But New Software Could Help
By Bruce Watson – In 2016, more than two-thirds of power in Europe came from nonrenewable sources. Globally, renewables are expected to reach parity with coal and gas around 2040.
Nevertheless, the speed with which intermittent renewables — the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow — are coming on board is making it harder for European utilities to balance the grid. That’s because the grid, as large as it is, is also a delicate system where supply must match demand at all times or there’s a risk of blackouts.
In France, for example, strong winds in the north mixed with a sunny week on the Riviera in the south can lead to a surfeit of electricity that puts the balance at risk.
The intermittency also makes profits hard to find, with European utilities on average struggling to increase profits 1 percent in 2016. Countries around the world are watching how Europe uses thermal generation to keep the grid balanced; prioritizes low-cost, clean and renewable energy; and keeps utilities profitable amid a rapidly changing energy network. more> https://goo.gl/iC532f
Posted in Broadband, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Nature, Technology
Tagged Black out, Climate change, Electricity grid, GE, Power generation, Renewal energy
The Time To Invent The Technologies That Will Power Our Future Is Now
By David Danielson – The year 2050 sounds pretty far away, doesn’t it? But in terms of the world our children and grandchildren will inherit, 2050 is today: it’s right around the corner.
By 2050, there will be almost 10 billion people on Earth, one-third more than there are today, with essentially all of this population growth predicted to be in currently less-wealthy nations around the world. And the approximately 9 billion people living in these nations in 2050 will be hungry to consume more energy, requiring an almost doubling of energy usage per person to achieve a good standard of living by some estimates.
At the same time, the world’s best scientists have determined that we must simultaneously reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or more by 2050, relative to today’s levels, in order to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
Scaling and improving today’s clean energy technologies can take us part of the way to the future we all want. Technologies like wind power, solar power, LEDs, electric vehicle batteries, and many others are already rapidly approaching widespread cost-competitiveness with traditional forms of energy.
But these technologies alone will not be enough: it has become clear now that to provide universal energy access around the world while simultaneously achieving required emissions reductions, we must unleash an unprecedented Energy Innovation Revolution today – and over the next few years – to develop the transformative new energy technologies that will be needed to close the gap between the 2050 we are headed for and the 2050 we want. more> https://goo.gl/57jCZr
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Clean energy, Climate change, GE, Paris Agreement, Population
By Steve Paulson – Consciousness is a buzzing business in neuroscience labs and brain institutes. But it wasn’t always this way. Just a few decades ago, consciousness barely registered as a credible subject for science.
Why were humans able to create civilizations that have transformed the planet?
We don’t have a precise answer. We have big brains and are, by some measure, the most intelligent species, at least in the short term. We’ll see whether we’ll actually survive in the long term, given our propensity for mass violence. And we’ve manipulated the planet to such an extent that we are now talking about entering a new geological age, the Anthropocene.
But it’s unclear why whales or dolphins—some of which have bigger brains and more neurons in their cortex than we do—why they are not called smarter or more successful. Maybe because they have flippers and live in the ocean, which is a relatively static environment. With flippers, you’re unable to build sophisticated tools.
Of course, human civilization is all about tools, whether it’s a little stone, an arrow, a bomb, or a computer. more> https://goo.gl/bmNgK6
New Projects Create a Foundation for Next-Gen Flexible Electronics
By Josh Brown – Four projects set to move forward at the Georgia Institute of Technology aim to lay the groundwork for manufacturing next-generation flexible electronics, which have the potential to make an impact on industries ranging from health care to defense.
Researchers at Georgia Tech are partnering with Boeing, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, General Electric, and DuPont as well other research institutions such as Binghamton University and Stanford University on the projects.
Flexible electronics are circuits and systems that can be bent, folded, stretched or conformed without losing their functionality. The systems are often created using machines that can print components such as logic, memory, sensors, batteries, antennas, and various passives using conductive ink on flexible surfaces. Combined with low-cost manufacturing processes, flexible hybrid electronics unlock new product possibilities for a wide range of electronics used in the health care, consumer products, automotive, aerospace, energy and defense sectors.
“Flexible electronics will make possible new products that will help us address problems associated with food supply, clean water, clean energy, health, infrastructure, and safety and security,” said Suresh Sitaraman, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, who is leading Georgia Tech’s flexible electronics activities. more> https://goo.gl/qjx3UT
- CauteryGuard Wins the InVenture Prize, Laura Diamond
- Empathy from the Sick May be Critical to Halting Disease Outbreaks, John Toon
- China’s Severe Winter Haze Tied to Climate Change, John Toon
- From the Butterfly’s Wings to the Tornado: Predicting Turbulence, Ben Brumfield
- Radiation from Nearby Galaxies Helped Fuel First Monster Black Holes, Says Study, Jason Maderer
- Stem Cell Treatment May Restore Vision to Patients with Damaged Corneas, Charlene Betourney
- New Nanofiber Marks Important Step In Next Generation Battery and Water Electrolysis Development, Josh Brown
- Understanding What’s Happening Inside Liquid Droplets, John Toon
- Brake Dust May Cause More Problems Than Blackened Wheel Covers, Josh Brown
- Study Reveals Complication Predictors in Children with Crohn’s Disease, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
- Chiral Metamaterial Produces Record Optical Shift Under Incremental Power Modulation, John Toon
- Once Overlooked, Uninitialized-Use ‘Bugs’ May Provide Portal for Hacker Attacks, Ben Snedeker
- Triboelectric Nanogenerators Boost Mass Spectrometry Performance, John Toon
- How Protein Misfolding May Kickstart Chemical Evolution, Carol Clark
- Howard Chosen for Atlanta Magazine Honor, Jackie Nemeth
- Letting the Structure Do the Work, Massimo Ruzzene
- Study sheds light on key role for ‘rare’ aquatic microbes in dealing with pollution, balancing ecosystems, Kostas T. Konstantinidis
- Danger in the air? Brown wins NSF CAREER grant to find out, Joe Brown
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, Nature, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Climate change, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Health, Internet, Manufacturing, Technology
By Leonid Bershidsky – The hyped-up electric vehicle revolution, driven by a fear of being left behind and overzealous regulation, may be forcing car companies to make expensive mistakes. The modern electric vehicle is conceptually inconsistent with how people want to use cars, and in many countries the environmental effect of switching to EVs is negligible.
To spend heavily on electrification, companies have to believe forecasts from experts who don’t have skin in the game. McKinsey, for example, recently put out a report arguing that consumer interest in electric cars is growing. All automakers need to do is keep up incremental improvements and advertising more to increase awareness.
That could turn out to be wishful thinking, because the modern EV caters to a specific-use scenario that increasingly doesn’t work for today’s consumers. more> https://goo.gl/kg48lX
Posted in Broadband, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, Product, Regulations, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Climate change, Ecology, Electric car, Government, Technology