Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Are Electric Cars the Future?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

CommUnity of Minds— Donald B. Halcom writes: The automobile industry is undergoing a revolution. This is about the new Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf all electric automobiles. I thought it would be interesting to estimate some of their impacts upon the future. These calculations are exaggerated but make some strong points.

Current registered automobiles in California = 22,083,049 (I picked this state as the example.)

Current Total Electric Power production capacity in California = 69,709 megawatts

Tesla Model S Super Charger = 120 kilowatts (fully charge a Tesla Model S in about two hours). The current lithium-ion batteries overheat if charged too fast.  Longer charging times mean that fewer Tesla’s can be serviced per day.

A back calculation is as follows:

California Total Electric Power = 69.7 gigawatts = 69.7 E 9 watts

Tesla Super Charger 120 kilowatts = 12 E 4 watts

Maximum Total Charging Units Equivalent = 69.7 E9 / 12 E 4 = 5.808 E 5 Tesla Super Chargers

This equals 5.808 E 4 Charging Stations with ten super chargers per station or 58,000 charging stations in the state of California. How many Tesla Model S electric cars can the state’s electric system support? Assume that 8.33 % (2 hours out of 24 hours per day) of all of the Tesla’s are being fully charged every day. What is the absolute maximum number of Tesla’s that California could support? This number is:

5.808 E 5 / 0.0833 = 6,972,389 Tesla’s or 32% of the total registered automobiles currently in California.

This is the equivalent of one full charge per day for 6,972,389 Tesla’s. These Tesla’s could only travel about 250 miles per day. The power rating for the Tesla is about 350 hp.  There would be no electricity to power the rest of California. (06/24/2013)


Energy Intelligence

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Arabidopsis BBC Plant Science — Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night, research suggests. UK scientists say they were “amazed” to find an example of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation in biology. Mathematical models show that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals, a John Innes Centre team reports in e-Life journal.

Birds may use similar methods to preserve fat levels during migration.

The scientists studied the plant Arabidopsis, which is regarded as a model plant for experiments. Overnight, when the plant cannot use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch, it must regulate its starch reserves to ensure they last until dawn. Experiments by scientists at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, show that to adjust its starch consumption so precisely, the plant must be performing a mathematical calculation – arithmetic division.

“They’re actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way – that’s amazing, it astonished us as scientists to see that,” study leader Prof Alison Smith told BBC News. “This is pre-GCSE maths they’re doing, but they’re doing maths.”

The scientists used mathematical modelling to investigate how a division calculation can be carried out inside a plant. During the night, mechanisms inside the leaf measure the size of the starch store. Information about time comes from an internal clock, similar to the human body clock. (06/24/2013)


Solar Impulse Plane Over USA

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Solar impulse plane infographicBBC Science & Technology The Solar Impulse solar-powered plane has set off on the second leg of its trans-American journey. It took off at 04:47 local time (12:47 BST) from Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 bound for Dallas, Texas. The craft will also stop over in St Louis and Washington DC before heading to New York in early July.

It has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but at a weight of just 1.6 tonnes, its backers hope to show off the capabilities of renewable energy. By comparison, a fully laden A340 weighs about 370 tonnes.

The Across America bid is the first cross-continental flight of a solar-powered plane. It is the last showpiece with the prototype aircraft before the Solar Impulse co-founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, attempt a trans-oceanic flight and an eventual around-the-world flight in 2015. Solar Impulse already holds records for the first night flight of a solar-powered craft in 2010, the first international flight in 2011, and first inter-continental flight in 2012.

The plane’s wing and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which drive its four propellers and charge the plane’s 400kg of lithium-ion batteries for night-time flying. The plane completed its first leg, between San Francisco and Phoenix in early May, in a flight lasting 18 hours. (05/22/2013)


Oneness Peace Festival

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Higgs Boson-like Particle Discovered

Monday, July 9th, 2012
Peter Higgs

Peter Higgs joined three of the six theoreticians who first predicted the Higgs at the conference.

BBC Physics — Cern scientists reporting from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have claimed the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. The particle has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains its mass. Both of the Higgs boson-hunting experiments at the LHC see a level of certainty in their data worthy of a “discovery”. More work will be needed to be certain that what they see is a Higgs, however.

The results announced at Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research), home of the LHC in Geneva, were met with loud applause and cheering. Prof Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, wiped a tear from his eye as the teams finished their presentations in the Cern auditorium. “I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved in this achievement,” he added later. “It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime.”

Prof Stephen Hawking joined in with an opinion on a topic often discussed in hushed tones. “This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize,” he told BBC News. “But it is a pity in a way because the great advances in physics have come from experiments that gave results we didn’t expect.” …

A confirmation that this is the Higgs boson would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century; the hunt for the Higgs has been compared by some physicists to the Apollo programme that reached the Moon in the 1960s. Scientists would then have to assess whether the particle they see behaves like the version of the Higgs particle predicted by the Standard Model, the current best theory to explain how the Universe works. (07/09/12)