Alternative Energy

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Tinted solar panels allow plants to grow efficiently on ‘agrivoltaic’ farms

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-10 Thu 10:25

Tinted solar panels could allow land to be used to grow crops and generate electricity simultaneously, with financial gains, according to researchers in the UK and Italy. The orange solar panels absorb some wavelengths of light, while allowing those that are best for plant growth to pass through. The…

US Approves First Small-Scale Nuclear Reactors

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-09 Wed 11:01

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the regulatory body that governs nuclear energy, just approved designs for the country’s first scaled-down, low-cost fission reactor.

The small modular reactor (SMR) build by NuScale Power is the first of its kind in the U.S., Scientific American reports, and experts suggest it could revitalize the country’s dormant nuclear energy industry by providing cleaner energy at a more local scale. But there’s a long way to go before any of these reactors can actually be built.

Step One

For now, the NRC approval means that utility companies can apply to construct the NuScale reactors, which are about 65 feet tall and nine feet in diameter. Before they can build them, however, further safety evaluations need to be completed.

“I am sorry to say that what lies ahead is risky and expensive,” M. V. Ramana, a nuclear expert at the University of British Columbia, told SciAm.

Quick Fix

Advocates for SMRs suggest that they could serve as a way to quickly transition away from fossil fuels and cut down on carbon emissions, according to SciAm. As such, NuScale expects to deliver its first reactors in 2027 and have it online by 2029.

But it’s possible that there will be delays down the road, experts told SciAm, as gaps in current safety reports for the smaller, modular nuclear reactors give them pause.

SPRHOUT generates solar thermal power for greenhouse farm

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-28 Fri 09:26

The team with Solho (Solar Horticulture) recently went and visited the SPRHOUT (Solar Powered Off-grid Horticultural UniT) in France. Read more about this installation in this article.  The novel control unit and software for safe and autonomous operation was installed successfully, and is now generating solar…

Generating clean energy while growing food

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-27 Thu 09:22

In a future world, leafy vegetables may not be grown in rows of crops under the sun. Instead, they may be grown indoors beneath tinted semi-transparent solar panels that will allow farmers to grow food and produce energy. That’s the future imagined in a recent study that shows how the use of this…

New Zealand’s first food waste-to-bioenergy facility gets underway

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-10 Mon 06:29

New Zealand’s first large-scale food waste-to-bioenergy facility gets underway at Reporoa, in the central North Island. Following the blessing of the land by Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, construction will begin on the new anaerobic digestion facility which is owned by Ecogas – a joint venture between Pioneer…

Scientists Start Construction of World’s Largest Fusion Reactor

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-28 Tue 09:43

Today, engineers started construction of the world’s largest nuclear fusion project in southern France, The Guardian reports, with operations planned to begin in late 2025.

The project, called ITER, is an international collaborative effort between 35 countries with enormous ambitions: prove the feasibility of fusion energy with a gigantic magnetic device called a “tokamak,” as per the project’s official website.

“Enabling the exclusive use of clean energy will be a miracle for our planet,” ITER director-general Bernard Bigot said during today’s virtual celebration, as quoted by The Guardian.

Fusion power, in theory, works by harnessing the energy released by two lighter atomic nuclei fusing to form a heavier nucleus, and turning it into electricity.

Tapping into the power of photosynthesis for clean energy

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-15 Wed 11:34

In a big step forward toward making BIO-photoelectrochemical cells (BIOcells) a mainstream clean energy source in the future, researchers from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have overcome an efficiency hurdle by successfully combining the power of…