Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future.
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Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future.
Oil is the enemy of Mankind. Our destiny lies in space.
Curated by Khannea Suntzu
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Ikea to Sell $9,200 Solar-Panel Kits in All U.K. Stores

Ikea to Sell $9,200 Solar-Panel Kits in All U.K. Stores | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Ikea, the biggest home-furnishing retailer, tied up with Hanergy Solar Group Ltd. to sell solar- panel systems in its 18 U.K. stores for the first time.
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Mining Asteroids Will Create A Trillion-Dollar Industry, The Modern Day Gold Rush?

Mining Asteroids Will Create A Trillion-Dollar Industry, The Modern Day Gold Rush? | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Big Dreams Live: Revolutionizing the Economics of Space Travel Claiming they have identified the new “Iron Range of Minnesota” the vast store of natural resources upon which the US automobile industry was built over decades, a new company called Deep...
Khannea Suntzu's insight:

Sadly the emergence of such a technology would also threaten old and outdated industries on Earth. Nonetheless there is a monumental capital clog on the planet that is going nowhere. Maybe the elites should consider mobilizing their stagnant, directionless money mountains and put it somewhere meaningful before the ravenous hordes come and take it away? 

Me I wouldn't mind me a nice increase in my welfare .. but I'd rather go hungry for a decade and see that money invested in a viable future for the species. 

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Heat over Arctic: 'Oil & gas may fuel militarization of the region'

As world powers team up to secure the ecology in the Arctic, the rivalry over its rich oil and gas resources is heating up. Michel Chossudovsky from the Cent...
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The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn't This Happen (and why is now the right time?)

Google Tech Talk December 16, 2011 Presented by Kirk Sorensen
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The Era of Cheap Gasoline is Over

Tuesday marked the 1000th consecutive day with a national average above $3.00 per gallon, the longest streak on record. The AAA believes that gasoline below $3.00 is history
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France to cut fossil fuels by 30% by 2030, president says

France will reduce use of fossil fuels by 30 percent by 2030 as part of a strategy to halve overall energy use by 2050, President Francois Hollande announced on Friday.
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Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

Let's face it: The planet is heating up, Earth's population is expanding at an exponential rate, and the the natural resources vital to our survival are running out faster than we can replace them with sustainable alternatives.
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Is Anything Stopping a Truly Massive Build-Out of Desert Solar Power?: Scientific American

Is Anything Stopping a Truly Massive Build-Out of Desert Solar Power?: Scientific American | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Engineers and industry agree that although challenges abound in utility-scale solar in the sunniest places on Earth, we have the technology to go big in the desert
Khannea Suntzu's insight:

The vast and glittering Ivanpah solar facility in California will soon start sending electrons to the grid, likely by the end of the summer. When all three of its units are operating by the end of the year, its 392-megawatt output will make it the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world, providing enough energy to power 140,000 homes. And it is pretty much smack in the middle of nowhere.

 

The appeal of building solar power plants in deserts like Ivanpah’s Mojave is obvious, especially when the mind-blowing statistics get thrown around, such as: The world’s deserts receive more energy beamed down from the sun in six hours than humankind uses in a year. Or, try this one: Cover around 4 percent of all deserts with solar panels, and you generate enough electricity to power the world. In other words, if we’re looking for energy—and of course, we are—those sandy sunny spots are a good place to start.

But statistics are one thing, building a few thousand gigawatts of solar power is quite another. Deserts are dusty, windblown and remote. So far, only a few hundred megawatts of utility-scale desert solar power have been built. Most projects are in the American Southwest, with a few in the Middle East and north Africa as well. Though progress has been slow and significant technical challenges remain, experts and industry leaders seem to agree that engineering difficulties alone are not holding us back from a big desert solar build-out. “From the technical side, I think we can do it. In fact, I know we can do it,” says Seth Darling, a solar researcher at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. “I don’t know that we can do it from a policy side, but I sure hope we can.”

 

Water and dust
On the engineering side, though, Darling says that there are one or two challenges that still could be “deal breakers,” at least for some technologies. The big one is water. Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, like traditional power plants, need to be cooled to run, and cooling takes water—lots of it. And of course, if water were abundant in the desert, it wouldn’t be the desert. At Ivanpah, on-site wells supply the plant with water, but that solution won’t always be feasible. “I can’t think of any technical way around that unless a dry cooling technology that’s effective and affordable is developed,” Darling says. “No one has really come up with a way to do that.”

 

For photovoltaics (PV), water is only needed to clean the panels, which brings up the second large problem with desert solar: dust. Solar panels and mirrors need to be cleaned almost daily if efficiencies are to stay where they need to be. Dust is not transparent, so even just one gram of dust per square meter of solar panel area can reduce efficiency by around 40 percent. At that rate, it doesn’t take long in a dusty desert for the problem to become intractable.

 

In the desert near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates the Middle East’s first large CSP plant recently faced down the dust issue. In order to reach the 100-megawatt-capacity goal of the Shams 1 plant, developers had to add substantiallymore mirrors to the plant than planned due to dust in the atmosphere. Scott Burger, an analyst at Greentech Media’s GTM Research who focuses on the region, said the plant probably ended up costing three times the initial estimate, thanks in part to dealing with that dust. And now that it is built, Shams 1 sends a series of trucks up and down the lines of 250,000 mirrors every day, using robot arms to spray that precious water and clean away the dust.

 

The good news on the dust front, though, is that some water-free ideas exist for cleaning PV panels—they just haven’t been produced at large scale yet. The best possibilities are electrostatic cleaning, where a charge flowing over a panel can essentially push the dust out of the way (the technology was developed initially by NASA for lunar and Mars missions) or mechanical systems that would just brush off a panel once a day. For CSP plants where windblown dust and sand can permanently erode the mirrors, tilting them down out of an oncoming sandstorm is one way to keep the plants viable.

 

From deserts to market
And then there’s transmission, which Randy Hickok, the senior vice president of asset management at Ivanpah co-owner NRG Solar, says could be the biggest hurdle. “Traditionally power plants haven’t been in deserts, so you don’t have a lot of high-voltage transmission running to these out-of-the-way locations,” he says. “For a lot of your best solar resource, you don’t have available transmission, and siting transmission is not an easy task.” High-voltage lines can cost millions of dollars per mile.

But again, the technical side of this is not the deal breaker. Darling says we are perfectly capable of building long lines to remote locales, and with high-voltage direct current (HVDC) the efficiency losses are quite low, on the order of only a few percent every thousand kilometers.

 

Hickok says that developers have rushed to build new facilities in locations where few upgrades to a transmission system are needed, but those “low-hanging fruit” possibilities get exhausted relatively quickly. The really big desert-solar ideas, likeDESERTEC’s plan to power all of Europe with HVDC lines across the Mediterranean from north Africa, would require such a massive investment in transmission lines that they’re unlikely to move forward on meaningful timescales.

 

And even DESERTEC—which had led the calls for massive desert renewables development—has scaled back its planet-saving rhetoric in recent years as the challenge of getting started has grown. Thiemmo Gropp, director of DESERTEC, says the foundation’s main goal now is to help build some impressive pilot projects that will illustrate to the rest of the world that building big in the desert is doable. The group has partnered with Saudi Arabia, which hopes by 2030 to build an astonishing 54 gigawatts of renewable energy (41 GW from solar, essentially all of it in the vast Saudi desert) and is also on board with some initial projects in Morocco. Gropp agrees that the engineering challenges are not the primary obstacle, although of course the technology will continue to improve. “There are no serious hurdles,” he says. “Right now we have a car like in the 1920s or 1930s, we don’t have mass production of 2013; but it’s got an engine, it’s got 4 wheels, it works. I don’t see any technical principle hurdles.”

 

Out in the Mojave, Ivanpah is clearly a desert success story, but it can’t obscure the ongoing struggles that accompany it. BrightSource Energy, co-owner of the plant along with NRG Solar, has this year shelved a full gigawatt of other desert solar ideas. Many CSP plants have either been canceled or switched to more modest PV designs as panel prices have plummeted in recent years, showing again that the effort remains at the whims of fickle market dynamics. It is good to know, though, that whereas other planetary saviors (like, say, carbon capture and storage) languish in technological and cost purgatory, building solar power where the sun shines brightest doesn’t seem to worry those who are doing the building.

 

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Declining energy quality could be root cause of current recession, expert suggests

An overlooked cause of the economic recession in the US is a decade long decline in the quality of the nation's energy supply, according to an energy expert.
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Cost of Renewable Energy has Fallen 50% Since 2008

a recent analysis of the levelized cost of electricity for renewable energy sources has shown that they have fallen by over 50% since 2008 in the US. Renewables are proving cheaper than fossil fuels
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Solar Energy Revolution Reaching Full Speed

Solar Energy Revolution Reaching Full Speed | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Solar power is here, and it isn’t just environmentalists saying it anymore.
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Renewable energy‘s evolution to change mining economics

Renewable energy‘s evolution to change mining economics | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Until quite recently, if one asked miners to describe renewable power, one would often hear words like “unreliable”, “expensive” and “risky”, consulting engineering firm Hatch director of solar and wind Rob Lydan said on Wednesday at the Renewable...
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Easy-to-extract oil to be depleted in Kazakhstan

Kazakh Minister for Oil and Gas Uzakbay Karabalin said that the period of easy-to-extract oil was coming to an end in Kazakhstan, Trend reports.He added that rising oil prices had impact on petroleum
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Cost Of Solar Power 60% Lower Than Early 2011 In US

Originally published on Cost of Solar.

The US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research recently released their latest quarterly report regarding the US solar energy market.
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Pedro Mentado's curator insight, September 22, 2013 12:58 AM

Las energías renovables poco a poco empiezan a ser competitivas con las energías tradicionales... México tiene que apostar a las renovables.

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AAA Predicts No More Sub 3 Dollar A Gallon Gas

AAA Predicts No More Sub 3 Dollar A Gallon Gas | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
UNDATED (KDAL) - On Tuesday, the national average price of gasoline will mark a thousand days at or above 3 dollars a gallon. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) ...
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The Peak Oil Crisis: Labor Day 2013

While awaiting further developments in the Syrian poison gas crisis, it is good time to review the general deterioration going on across the Middle East and the outlook for oil production from the ...
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How We Learned Not to Guzzle

How We Learned Not to Guzzle | Fossil Fuels are of the past, Space Solar is the future. | Scoop.it
Over the past 40 years, we have found so many innovative ways to save energy that we more than doubled the economic productivity of our oil, natural gas and electricity.
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World oil reserves at 'tipping point'

The world's capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at a tipping point, according to new research.
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Germany's Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good

Germany's agressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power has come with a hefty pricetag for consumers, and the costs often fall disproportionately on the poor. Government advisors are calling for a completely new start.
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