There’s a new plan being hatched in North Africa that will see solar panels placed all along the region. The energy produced by the solar farms would then be transfered to Europe using undersea power cables.
Billions of watts of power could be generated this way, enough to provide Europe with a sixth of its electricity needs and to allow it to make significant cuts in its carbon emissions. At the same time, the stations would be used as desalination plants to provide desert countries with desperately needed supplies of fresh water.
Last week Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan presented details of the scheme – named Desertec – to the European Parliament. ‘Countries with deserts, countries with high energy demand, and countries with technology competence must co-operate,’ he told MEPs.
The project has been developed by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Corporation and is supported by engineers and politicians in Europe as well as Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Jordan and other nations in the Middle East and Africa.
Google is at it again, we’ve covered Google quite a bit, more than any other company I think. It’s just so nice to see a company with billions of dollars at their disposal directing their energy at improving the world (and yes, I know that Google is nowhere near perfect and Sun is more the environmentally friendly tech company).
This time around they are contuning their solar power drive by investing in companies that will encourage the use of renewable energy. They emphasize solar power, but they are not limiting the hundreds of millions of dollars they want to invest in solar power.
“Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades,” Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and president of products, said in a statement.
One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.
Google is seeking to capitalize on the recent excitement among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to apply the risk taking that computer, biotech and Internet businesses are famous for to the field of alternative energy production.
Google’s latest moves come as the price of a barrel of oil nears $100 and coal, which produces 40 percent of the world’s electricity, faces regulatory and environmental pressures that could drive up prices.
The blistering sun that shines down on the people down under will be lighting more than jsut heir sky. A small town in Australia’s north is going to make a 10-megawatt solar power plant that uses the power of the sun, and not in any regular way. Indeed, to make themselves unique, the town will be using solar energy by reflecting 8,000 mirrors at some graphite, then pour water on the stone, thus making steam. The steam will then power turbines; as a result, the power plant can run all day and night.
The Queensland state government said on Sunday it would build the A$7 million ($6.5 million), 10-megawatt power station as part of a push to make Cloncurry one of the first towns to rely on solar power alone.
“The town of Cloncurry has long claimed the title of having recorded Australia’s hottest day — 53 degrees (Celsius) in the shade in 1889, so I reckon we’re on a winner,” Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press.
Solar thermal power differs from photovoltaic panels that make power directly.
IBM has started a new program that recycles old computer chips and converts them into solar panels. They are taking computer chips (which are usually chopped to bits) and ‘erasing’ the chip pattern then putting them as wafers in solar panels. This will surely make solar power cheaper in the future!
The 3 million scrapped wafers each year could be used to create solar panels to power 6,000 houses, IBM said.
“It’s a simple process but it really returns benefits on so many different levels,” Jagielski said. “Not only do we reduce our overall use of silicon, but then to be able to create a raw material for the solar panel industry is kind of a good story all the way around.”
A solar plane that flew without a human to control it stayed aloft for 54 hours. That’s right a plane that relies on energy from the sun continued to operate overnight. The plane, the QinetiQ’s Zephyr, broke the previous record for a solar plane staying the air.
The Zephyr, developed by UK based QinetiQ, is a lightweight unmmaned aircraft which uses a combination of a solar array and batteries to power its flights. The plane weights a relatively low 31kg and has a wingspan of about 16 metres. The total flight lasted for a total of 54 hours, which, if you do the math, is a very impressive number for a solar powered vehicle. The Zephyr went for two straight nights without stopping or refueling relying on its solar powered batteries for flying. It made it all the way up to 18,000 meters (58,000 ft).