Wave Energy – An Ocean Full of Potential

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Wave Energy - An Ocean Full of Potential

Wave technology Wave Energy also known as ocean wave power, is another type of ocean based renewable energy source that uses the power of the waves to generate electricity. The Earth has not been called the "Blue Plant" without a good reason. Nearly three-quarters of the plant is covered in water, so it is only natural that the search for a clean, renewable source of energy should lead us to the oceans around us. Using the potential energy stored in the oceans and seas to generate electricity ensures that power being generated will be pollution free. Using the power of the waves and ocean currents is not new as wave, tidal and hydro power has been used for many thousands of years. What is new however, is the way in which we now harness, store and generate electricity from it. Making use of the energy that can be produced by the ocean waves is not easy as the worlds oceans are obviously vast. But these oceans contain a massive amount of usable energy just waiting to be tapped. One only needs to look back a few years to the tsunami in Japan to understand this. While it is clear there is plenty of energy present in the oceans and seas, the question is whether we can convert this stored energy into a continuous renewable energy source. The answer is we are already starting to. Unlike tidal energy which uses the ebb and flow of the tides, wave energy uses the vertical movement of the surface water that produce tidal waves. The oceans waves are full of kinetic energy (movement) as they move around the oceans, and it is this energy which can be used to power a turbine or an electrical generator. Wave energy collection is a passive process in which the energy of the waves is automatically converted by turbines. This type of renewable energy source is also environmentally friendly, as it creates no atmospheric pollution and has a small carbon footprint. While the oscillating motion of the waves may be the same around the oceans, there are a few different ways in which we can harness the energy from the moving waves. Wave power converts the periodic up-and-down movement of the oceans waves into electricity by placing equipment on the surface of the oceans that captures the energy produced by the wave movement and converts this mechanical energy into electrical power. The four main types of wave energy devices are: Point Absorbers - which are tethered to the ocean floor. Wave Attenuators - which are long horizontal semi-submerged snake-like devices. Oscillating Water Column - which converts wave energy into air pressure. Overtopping Devices - where the sea waves are driven up the ramp filling-up a small tidal reservoir. These four types of wave energy devices need not be placed way out into the oceans to benefit from the power of the waves. Depending on the distance between the wave energy conversion device and the shoreline, there are three possible locations were these four energy converting devices can be placed and these are classified as: shoreline, nearshore and offshore. Each location and energy conversion device has its own advantages and disadvantages. Wave energy has great potential as Mother nature provides a large supply of renewable wave energy every day. The technology already exists for extraction of this free energy as there are many wave energy conversion devices in the oceans around the world at this time generating renewable energy, but there but there is still a long way to go as there are many technical challenges to be solved. One of the challenges to overcome in using the energy of the waves is that the ocean waves, although consistent in the fact that the worlds oceans are constantly moving (especially near coastal areas), they are variable as weather conditions and seasonal changes affect wave height. Another major challenge to effectively harnessing the energy is figuring out a way to construct devices that can survive the harsh oceanic conditions as some devices have already been destroyed by the energy carrier itself: "the sea". However, if the technology and efficiencies are improved offshore wave energy can provide many advantages compared to other forms of renewable energy sources. One of its main advantages is that wave energy is generally considered to provide a clean source of renewable energy with limited negative environmental impacts with very low or zero CO2 emissions. Wave energy also has negligible land use and large scale implementation of wave power technologies could help stimulate declining shipbuilding and dockyard industries that could help fabricate these metal bodied wave energy devices. Despite the challenges of harnessing the power of the waves, there are still plans to build wave energy farms throughout the world. Like battery charger power, wave power is completely green, completely clean and completely sustainable. The challenge is to figure out how to do it effectively, efficiently and economically.

The Renewable Industry Could Destroy Hull

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The Renewable Industry Could Destroy Hull

At the moment all we are hearing is about it how great Siemens and the wind turbine project is for the city of Hull. When I spoke to Sam Pick, director of The Renewables Network, he described it as 'an opportunity of a life time for this region.' I agree that it certainly is the case, but if Hull is not careful the economic boost from this multi-billion pound industry will all go offshore. If this happens it could destroy the town's opportunity for long-term business growth, leaving its tattered remains on the side of the bank of the Humber. Looking out to sea at Green Port Hull and The Enterprise Zone wishing they could have been a part of it all and wondering what on earth happened. Did you know that the Siemens part of this project is the third phase of the project and that the first two phases have come and gone with locals getting very little of the business from it? Phase three is by far the biggest part of this wind farm project but what I'm asking is 'what are you doing differently compared to phases one and two to benefit from it?' Do you want your business to grow and be financially comfortable for years to come or do you want to be left complaining that you never got a fair go, which is what happened with the other projects in the North Sea in the 70's and 90's? I am an Australian living in Hull so I can give an outsiders view on what I see going on. What I see is a group of European businesses coming over here and stealing the profits and livelihoods of the hard-working business people of Hull. Green Port Hull is the manufacturing and export facility of offshore wind turbines set up by Siemens. On their website they've said that Green Port Hull has the potential to be the single biggest influence on Hull's economy for generations. The key word there is 'potential' and that means nothing unless you change how you think and feel about taking advantage of the opportunity that is available. I say this because even though our government and our local council have given 30 million pounds to Siemens to build the thing here, most of the business is currently going to other countries in Europe. It sickens me to see this great town, that is steeped in history and that I now call my home, getting treated in this way. We have a chance of making the most of this fantastic opportunity but first we need to change the negative attitudes as I have witnessed in the average person in Hull. So many people are lacking pride in our city, they have limiting beliefs that this success is possible, they feel hard done by, and they feel that they are owed for the loss of the fishing industry as well as the lack of support after the bombings in World War 2. Do you know anyone who shares some or all of these beliefs? If you do then I have something to let you know. If things don't change then what we have seen in phases one and two will continue to happen in phase three. The Europeans, mainly the Danish, will come across the water on their Viking ships and they will steal from you once again. You will be as helpless as before to do anything about this unless you arm yourself with the right mindset, the right tools and the courage to fight for what is rightly yours! It is my passion to help this picturesque city with its white carved fountains on the roundabouts, the majestic structure of the Humber Bridge and the fabulous KC stadium. In this sporting year I am teaching the business people of Hull to develop and train their mind muscles to go the extra mile, to train when others aren't, and to get ready for the race of their life. To be ready so that when that gun goes off they will have the culture and capacity to out bid, out work and outperform the European threats to win their own gold medals for their town and country! There are old businesses in Hull that have stopped growing and have gone stale. There are new businesses that are struggling to get going. There are also businesses who just don't know what to do next to survive. Are you one of those businesses? Are you wondering what it is you need to do turn things around? Are you desperate for a bit of good fortune to get your business through these tough economic times? Well the age of The Renewable Industry is among us and this wind turbine project can give this previously unlucky city the bit of luck it has been waiting for. I'm ready to help anybody who wants it or needs it. The Renewable Industry could destroy Hull but it is up to people like you and me to stop that from happening. The real question is 'are you ready to do what it takes to grow your business and reap the financial rewards for many years to come?'

Lithium Battery Revolution

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Should the Petro-Automotive Complex Be Concerned About the Lithium Battery Revolution?

Lithium battery technology is currently focused on developing improvements in several areas. The quest often involves implementing advances in nanotechnology and micro-structures. For example: * Increasing cycle life and performance (decreasing internal resistance and increasing output power) by changing the composition of the material used in the anode and cathode, along with increasing the effective surface area of the electrodes and changing materials used in the electrolyte. * Improving capacity by improving the structure to incorporate more active materials. * Improving the safety of lithium-ion batteries. We should see big advances in efficiency and power in the near future. In 2006, a group of scientists at MIT announced a process which uses viruses to form nano-sized wires. These can be used to build ultra-thin lithium-ion batteries with three times the normal energy density. In 2009 a report in New Scientist claimed that MIT had succeeded in producing the first full virus-based 3-volt lithium-ion battery. Later in 2009, engineers at the University of Dayton Research Institute developed the world's first solid-state, rechargeable lithium air battery which was designed to address the fire and explosion risk of other lithium rechargeable batteries and make way for development of large-size lithium rechargeables for a number of industry applications, including hybrid and electric cars! Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have quickly become the most widely utilized battery chemistry in today's portable electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, and PDAs. Due to high energy density, the lightweight, and the construction flexibility, Li-ion and Li-ion polymer batteries have replaced nickel rechargeable batteries! All top battery manufacturers have introduced next generation Li-ion cells. Lithium-ion batteries will power the hybrid and electric car revolution. And revolution is not too strong a word for it. The Energy Independence and Security Act toughened up fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg by 2020. Obama stiffened the standards even more in May, raising fuel economy standards to 39 mpg for cars and 27 mpg for trucks. The deadline was moved up four years to 2016. The new rules guarantee the lithium-ion battery is the only way car makers can meet the new standards. Since a vehicle battery requires 100 times more lithium carbonate than a laptop battery, there is a need to build large-scale manufacturing facilities. The Energy Department just announced $8 billion in low-cost loans to Ford, Nissan and Tesla to build new battery factories. Metal Miner reports, "Johnson Controls and Saft of France are building a battery production facility in Michigan supported by $220 million of state aid." The government has committed $25 billion via the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to nurture the emerging Lithium Battery industry. Meanwhile, our new Prius is using the NiMH battery, and the current state of non-lithium battery technology isn't bad! The Prius uses a Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery (Ni-MH, for short) with a power output of 28 horsepower (21 Kw) and 201.6V Voltage. There is another smaller auxiliary battery (12 Volts), which powers the Prius computer. The Prius battery is designed to last the life of the car. According to Toyota, this is around 180,000 Miles. The batteries can actually be recycled. A summary of the process can be found on Toyota's website. It should be noted that the Prius traction batteries are under warranty for 8-10 years or 100,000 miles, and so will be replaced for free before then in the case of failure. However, should the battery fail outside this time-line, the estimated cost of traction battery replacement is $3,000. When rapid acceleration is needed, the battery power will "help" the gasoline engine, reducing the consumption of fuel during this period. Our 2010 Model II is getting over 50 miles per gallon and we still have under 2,000 miles on it. We just love watching the mpg indicator hover between 60 and 100 mpg when running on flat road! The bottom line is we have reduced our gas expenditure by two thirds and more importantly, our carbon footprint by two thirds! From 2003 to 2007 as Blackberry's and iPods exploded on the scene, demand doubled for lithium carbonate, the refined form of Lithium used in batteries. Lithium's ultra-light weight and volatility make it the perfect fuel for powering small batteries. Lithium ion 18650 batteries are lighter, smaller and pack more power than conventional batteries. So they're perfect for cell phones and laptops. And soon will be for EV's!! The current state of electric car development is only a consumer test by the auto makers. They will drag their feet, wallowing in their ignorance, greed, and arrogance until the general public shouts 'Enough!' Global warming is a way bigger long range problem than the petro/auto industries narrow minded, short term myopic focus on stock returns and their blatant lack of concern for carbon emissions. The Federal government should be giving every buyer of hybrids and electrics a significant 'Tax Credit' until the emissions problem is under control. Consumers need to be enticed to go electric! The major car manufacturers will not give up on their brain washed public (which they created) until they have milked the 'SUV' and 'PU' (pick up) cow dry! Is OPEC the culprit? No! Its our own Petro-Automotive Industrial complex! What's happening in the automotive industry with forward looking companies? * Mercedes launches its S400 HYBRID sedan early in 2010. E-Class, M-Class, and GL-Class will be tailing it closely. * Tesla Motors has delivered its American-made Roadster, an all-electric two-seater sports car and plans to debut its Model S sedan in 2011. The Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, attains speeds of up to 160 mph, and travels over 200 miles on a single charge. * Nissan has retooled a factory in Tennessee to produce 150,000 pure electric cars, called The Leaf. * Ford is bringing out the pure electric Transit Connect commercial fleet van in 2010 and plans to invest $550 million to retool a Michigan truck plant to manufacture a pure electric Focus in 2011. * Chinese car makers Hafei and Coda are planning to bring a mass-produced electric car to market in California in fall 2010. * The BMW MINI-E gives you all the fun and nimble handling of its gas cousin, but costs 40% less to operate a month. A test fleet was launched in the US this past May (2009). * The Jeep Patriot SUV, Dodge sports car, four-door Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler minivan are supposedly pulling Chrysler into the electric car race. * The Chevy Volt is supposedly already in production and will be available in 2010. GM's rebirth as a viable company may depend on the Volt! The Volt is powered by advanced Lithium Ion smart batteries with associated computer controls for cooling and recharging.  Should OPEC be concerned? The Volt will cruise for up to 40 miles without touching a drop of gas. The 40 mile range is no coincidence. It's the average distance 75% of Americans travel on their daily commute. After 40 miles, an on-board internal combustion engine recharges the batteries. It's expected to get 230 mpg in the city and give the Volt a 640-mile range on a single tank. The Volt will average 100 to 230 miles per gallon of gas. What's happening on the global scene regarding the use of Lithium for the production of batteries? * China announced plans to jack up the production of refined Lithium for use in batteries 461% by 2011. * An Australian company recently agreed to produce 17,000 tons of this wonder substance in China's Jiangsu province. * The Obama administration has earmarked a whopping $25 billion, an increase of 6,250 times over previous expenditures, to develop refined supplies of this super-green fuel. If the growing Lithium Producers and Lithium Battery developers pick up the pace, we should see real progress in the EV industry very soon, not one minute too soon.

High-Performance Engineering Applications

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High-Performance Battery Engineering for Undersea Applications

Increasing demands are being placed on battery power for undersea applications such as vehicle propulsion, operating portable equipment such as cameras or measurement devices, and operating installed equipment such as telecom infrastructure. Factors such as longer missions and higher peak-energy demands from more sophisticated and intelligent systems call for greater energy density, improved reliability, greater safety and high resilience to the elevated pressures experienced in undersea environments. Overall, the design of the battery system must ensure high levels of reliability and safety, so as to minimize danger to personnel as well as disadvantages such as property loss, down time, mission failure, and high maintenance costs resulting from battery failures in the field. Lithium battery technology has several advantages over other types, particularly its higher energy density. However, creating a lithium-based battery system capable of delivering the optimum performance and meeting reliability and safety-acceptance criteria, at the right price, demands careful attention to aspects such as cell technology, cell balancing, charge control and production quality. This white paper describes these issues and discusses potential solutions that can be built into a lithium battery pack for undersea applications. Preferred Battery Chemistry Modern undersea missions require battery chemistry offering significantly higher energy density than existing chemistries such as Lead-Acid, Alkaline, Ni-Mh, or Ni-Cd. This is necessary to supply all the energy requirements of modern equipment, and to support longer manned or unmanned missions. More modern lithium-metal and lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies have matured and now offer up to four times greater energy density than the older technologies. They also overcome many of the associated limitations, particularly those related to operating or charging the battery in sealed conditions during use. Applications and Environment Because water has its densest phase a few degrees above freezing, temperatures near the sea bed are generally in the region of 4-5AC. This is comfortably within the usual operating range of a lithium battery. The pressure experienced by the battery pack can be very much greater than normal atmospheric pressure, depending on the depth at which the equipment is required to operate. The pressure exerted on equipment operated near or on the sea bed can be as high as 10,000 psi. High outside pressures are capable of deforming the battery casing and bursting seals, leading to effects such as contamination of the electrolyte and failure of the battery. To combat this, the battery pack and other subsystems may be mounted in a pressurized container, depending on the application, to minimize the pressure exerted on the battery module including any internal control circuitry. Lithium batteries are known for their suitability for use under high pressures in oil-filled or potted enclosures. For example, within other critical markets such as the down-hole oil and gas industry, lithium packs are operating in harsh applications where extreme pressure, high shock and vibration are commonplace during drilling and measurement operations. A suitable battery system for sub-sea applications must be able to operate below the surface in a sealed environment. Lithium-metal, Li-ion and Li- polymer batteries provide an ideal solution as they can be recharged with no need for venting, since (unlike lead-acid or Ni-Cd batteries) the battery generates no gases during recharging. Since there is no need to disturb the sealing mechanism, the risk of early seal failure is greatly reduced and batteries can be recharged more easily on the surface or in situ, if required. As with all cell chemistries, lithium-type batteries are not immune to failures in the field. There is a risk of fire or explosion if lithium batteries are overcharged or allowed to overheat. Some high-profile failures have been seen in the computer industry, which have resulted in the recall of large numbers of notebook PCs. The main causes of lithium battery failures are overheating, overcharging, and imbalances between cells. Proper control of charging, including temperature monitoring, is therefore essential to ensure robust and reliable performance in mission-critical applications. The rate of charging, for lithium battery technologies, is relatively inflexible, and is typically around 1C or less. The battery is initially charged at maximum charge current until the rated voltage is reached. The current then falls as the maximum voltage is reached, and charging terminates when the current falls to below 3% of the rated value. The maximum voltage for a lithium battery is typically around 4.1V-4.3V per cell. Overcharging to a higher voltage can cause instability, gassing and temperature increase giving rise to risk of fire. For this reason, protection circuits are implemented to prevent excessive charge voltage from being applied and to halt charging if the temperature increases to critical levels. It is also important to provide circuitry that will protect the battery against becoming over discharged, by shutting down the system when the battery voltage reaches a minimum level. This is typically in the region of 2.7V-3.0V per cell (in the design phase, it should be considered that, although the charged voltage is a nominal 4.2V, the typical on-load voltage may be reduced to 3.2V to 3.3V). Circuitry to control charging and prevent over discharge can be implemented externally, in a battery-specific charger, or internally within the battery itself. Either approach may have advantages: external charge control may permit smaller, lower-cost batteries; on the other hand, integrating the circuitry allows a variety of energy sources such as a DC power supply or a fuel cell (or a combination of sources) to be used more easily.