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Energy crises lead to technological breakthrough. Some of these breakthroughs survive. The charcoal crisis in England centuries ago boosted coal mining and the development of the steam engine. More recently, the shortages of many goods such as energy after the Second World War promoted nuclear energy supported by the µAtoms for Peace¶ program. The oil crisis in the seventies of the last century gave birth to modern wind energy technology. In all these periods of energy crisis, attention was given to and development spent on a number of new energy technologies. Among them we find coal gasification, nuclear fission, geothermal energy utilization, solar energy including concentrated solar power (CSP), ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), tidal and wave energy and salinity gradient power. Although world oil production is predicted to peak within the next five years, there is no direct energy crisis due to shortage. Coal is still abundant throughout the world. Geopolitical instabilities in the OPEC countries in the seventies and eighties were a second factor in promoting the search for alternatives. The same geopolitical argument has continued in recent years and has reawakened interest in alternatives to oil. But now a new incentive is contributing to the further development of other energy sources. Reduction of greenhouse gases such as CO2, formed by the production of fossil-fired power generation, is the main goal.
Current Power Generation Techniques
Conventional energy sources used for power generation are: y y y y y y y y Oil-fired power Gas-fired power Coal-fired power Nuclear power Solar energy: Photovoltaic/Solar electric power Wind power Geothermal power Hydroelectric power
There are many promising energy sources of which some of them are currently being used in mini scale power generation or still in the development stages. Some of them are discussed in the next section:
Tidal power / Marine current power:
Tidal power is the power achieved by capturing the energy contained in moving water mass due to tides. Two types of tidal energy can be extracted: kinetic energy of currents between ebbing and surging tides and potential energy from the difference in height (or head) between high and low tides. Many coastal sites worldwide are being examined for their suitability to produce tidal energy. Tidal power is classified as a renewable energy source, because tides are caused by the orbital mechanics of the solar system and are considered inexhaustible within a human timeframe. Electricity produced from tidal power typically costs around $0.02-0.05 per kWh. Several small tidal power plants have recently started generating electricity in Norway and United Kingdom. Several prototypes have shown promise. But this technology is at the early stages of development and will require more research before it becomes a significant contributor. Tidal power can be classified into two main types:
Tidal stream systems make use of the kinetic energy from the moving water currents to power turbines, in a similar way to wind mills use moving air. This method is gaining in popularity because of the lower cost and lower ecological impact. Barrages make use of the potential energy from the difference in height or Hydraulic head between high and low tides. Barrages suffer from the problems of very high civil infrastructure costs, few viable sites globally and environmental issues.
Modern advances in turbine technology may eventually see large amounts of power generated from the ocean especially tidal currents using the tidal stream designs. Tidal stream turbines may be arrayed in high velocity areas where natural flows are concentrated such as the west coast of Canada, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Bosporus, and numerous sites in south East Asia and Australia. Such flows occur almost anywhere where there are entrances to bays and rivers, or between land masses where water currents are concentrated. A factor in human settlement geography is water. Human settlements have often started around bays, rivers, and lakes. Future settlement may one day be concentrated around moving water, allowing communities to power themselves with non-polluting energy from moving water. Working Principal: One method of extracting tidal energy involves building a barrage and creating a tidal lagoon. The barrage traps a water level inside a basin. Head is created when the water level outside of the basin or lagoon changes relative to the water level inside. The head is used to drive turbines. In any design this leads to a decrease of tidal range inside the basin or lagoon, implying a reduced transfer of water between the basin and the sea. This reduced transfer of water accounts for the energy produced by the scheme. The root source of the energy comes from the slow deceleration of the Earth's rotation. The Moon gains energy from this interaction and is slowly receding from the Earth. Tidal power has
great potential for future power and electricity generation because of the total amount of energy contained in this rotation. Tidal energy is around 200 times more energy dense than wind or solar. not actual probability. which only have "statistical probability". in contrast to air (wind). Figure: Tidal Lagoon Advantages: y y y 60% of the World's human population resides near coastal areas. The amount of energy obtainable from a tidal energy varies with location and time. Tide phases are very predictable. Output changes as the tide ebbs and floods each day. making tidal energy much more predictable in terms of scalability. Water (tide) is non-compactable. However. power is reliably predictable (unlike wind energy and solar power) in both amount and timing. which is compactable. y y . 14-15 knots water speed found in some tides is comparable to 700km/h wind speed in its energy. unlike solar and wind phases.
as capacity with short starting and stopping times (such as hydropower or gas fired energy plants) will have to be available to alternate power production with the tidal power scheme. A conventional design. the energy production cycle will not always be in phase with the demand cycle. y y . Tidal energy plants do not produce energy 24 hours a day. in any mode of operation. would produce energy for 6 to 12 hours in every 24 and will not produce energy at other times. This causes problems for the electric energy transmission grid.8 hours) and the demand for electricity is based on the period of revolution of the Sun (24 hours). Grid power vulnerability due to possible bad weather destruction and other environmentbased acts. As the tidal cycle is based on the period of revolution of the Moon (24.Disadvantages: y Huge cost of additional for transmission lines from the electro-generation source to the points of use.
Warm surface seawater is pumped through a heat exchanger where the lowboiling-point fluid is vaporized.Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) Ocean thermal energy conversion. The expanding vapor turns the turbo-generator. Rather than using heat energy from the burning of fuel. The method utilizes the temperature difference that exists between deep and shallow waters ± within 20°C of the equator in the tropics to run a heat engine. The concept of a heat engine is very common in engineering. which is then recycled through the system. or OTEC. the engine extracts some of the heat in the form of work. which could potentially be tapped for human use. open cycle and hybrid systems: Closed Cycle System: Closed-cycle systems use fluid with a low boiling point. A heat engine involves a device placed between a high temperature reservoir (such as a container) and a low temperature reservoir. Because the oceans are continually heated by the sun and cover nearly 70% of the Earth's surface. to rotate a turbine to generate electricity. and nearly all energy utilized by humans uses it in some form. deep seawater ± pumped through a second heat exchanger ± condenses the vapor back into a liquid. cold. but the small size of the temperature difference makes energy extraction difficult and expensive. this temperature difference contains a vast amount of solar energy. such as ammonia. The total energy available is one or two orders of magnitude higher than other ocean energy options such as wave power. . Then. Working Principle: An OTEC power plant makes use of a heat engine. Classification: OTEC systems can be classified as three types based on the thermodynamic cycle ± closed cycle. OTEC power draws on temperature differences caused by the sun's warming of the ocean surface. As heat flows from one to the other. is a way to generate electricity using the temperature difference of seawater at different depths. while refrigerators reverse the natural flow of heat by "spending" energy. This same general principle is used in steam turbines and internal combustion engines.
Figure: Diagram of the open-cycle OTEC process .Figure: Diagram of the closed-cycle process Open Cycle System: Open-cycle OTEC uses the tropical oceans' warm surface water to make electricity. The steam. It is condensed back into a liquid by exposure to cold temperatures from deep-ocean water. When warm seawater is placed in a low-pressure container. The expanding steam drives a lowpressure turbine attached to an electrical generator. it boils. is almost pure fresh water. which has left its salt behind in the low-pressure container.
Fresh water production. OTEC is inherently not exothermic. will be minimal. impacts on the atmospheric temperature or concentration of carbon dioxide. Nearly all human energy requirements can be supplied from this one source without significantly affecting the overall temperature structure of the ocean. OTEC plants can produce fresh water as well as electrivity. for example fossil fueled and nuclear plants. Since the cold or mixed water will be discharged at depth. especially compared with other energy sources of comparable size. a greenhouse gas. This is a significant advantage in island areas or deserts were fresh water is limited. so it does not adversely contribute directly to global warming. Figure: Diagram of the hybrid OTEC process Advantages: Advantages of OTEC power production include: y Clean energy production. as do. warm seawater enters a vacuum chamber where it is flash-evaporated into steam. The steam vaporizes a low-boiling-point fluid (in a closed-cycle loop) that drives a turbine to produce electricity. In a hybrid system. similar to the open-cycle evaporation process. Open-cycled and hybrid plants can directly produce fresh water as well as electricity and closed-cycle plants can produce similar volumes by condensation from the atmosphere. OTEC has remarkably little adverse environmental impact. y .Hybrid System: Hybrid systems combine the features of both the closed-cycle and open-cycle systems.
Mineral extraction. Combining the air-conditioning with OTEC and/or aquaculture systems can make the technology even more attractive. Deep seawater discharged from an OTEC plant is cold. OTEC systems could not provide the opportunity to mine for some of the elements in the ocean water solution. only 1 m3 s-1 of 7°C deep ocean water is required to produce 5800 tons (roughly equivalent to 5. Space cooling is by far the most economically valuable use of deep cold seawater available now. the cost of the extraction process is the only remaining factor. Since the ocean doesn't change temperature at night. However. most economic analyses showed that mining the ocean for trace elements dissolved in solution would be unprofitable because so much energy is required to pump the large volume of water needed and because it is so expensive to separate the minerals from seawater. y y y y y . and available in large quantity. such as hydrogen. rich in nutrients. OTEC power plants can produce electricity 24 hours a day. Suitable mixing of the warm and cold water discharges.800 rooms) of air conditioning. Unlike most other sources of renewable energy which vary with weather and time of day. Energy independence. compared to 5000 kW for a conventional AC system. Worldwide applicability. For example. In the past. Investigations are underway to determine the feasibility of combining the extraction of uranium dissolved in seawater with ocean energy production. relatively free of pathogens.000 ton system saves Cornell over 20 million kw-hrs annually. The deep-ocean cold water can be used as a chiller fluid in air-conditioning systems. because OTEC plants will already be pumping the water. Air-conditioning/refrigeration. The savings would be even greater in the tropics where OTEC systems are viable. by tropical OTEC plants can provide the benefits of low-cost OTEC power to the whole world. the solar energy stored in the seas is always available. can provide large volume flows of seawater at any temperature between those of the surface and deep seawater. depending on the specifics of the pipeline installation.y Continuous power. OTEC plants built on the coast or moored offshore could provide enough power and water to make tropical areas independent of costly fuel imports. Production of fuel. This 20. Aquaculture enterprises. This will typically require a pipeline about 1 m in diameter and the pumping power required will be about 360 kW. This is an excellent medium for growing phytoplankton (microalgae). even though the air conditioning is only needed in the summer time. allowing temperature optimization throughout the growth cycle of cultured organisms -merely by turning a valve. Cornell University installed a "Lake Cooling" system in 1999 that uses 100 m deep water from Cayuga Lake to cool the campus. which in turn can support the production of a variety of commercially valuable fish and shellfish. The investment payback period for a stand-alone air-conditioning system can be as little as 3 to 4 years. 365 days per year.
having little impact on the surface layer where most life exists.400. These piplines must extend to 3.or coal-fired steam plants. the discharge flow from 60. would equal the of a major river . Remember. the greater the efficiency of an energy-conversion system." In other words. To compensate for its low thermal efficiency. High capital costs for initial construction. and 1/5 of the Nile). Siting considerations. for example. the water will need to be discharged at a depth below the bottom of the surface layer in order to avoid contaminating the surface water intake. have thermal efficiencies around 30 to 35 percent. The resulting changes in temperature could have an impact on the local ecology. they will have an intermediate temperature near 18°C (64°F). an OTEC plant has to move a lot of water.equivalent to the nominal flow of the Colorado River into the Pacific Ocean (1/30 the Mississippi. A 100-megawatt plant. these large discharges will not significantly affect the salinity of the receiving waters.000 megawatts (0. The flow of water from a 100-megawatt OTEC plant. If means can be found to install and operate the large pumps at the bottom end of the pipelines. About 75% of the capital cost of current OTEC designs will be for the deep seawater pipeline. OTEC-generated electricity has a lot of work to do at the plant before any of it can be made available to the community power grid. the discharge will be denser than the water at that depth and will disperse gradually downward.8 ft.Drawbacks Drawbacks of OTEC power development include the following: y Low efficiency. If the warm and cold discharges are mixed. The small temperature difference between the heat source (warm surface water) and the heat sink (cold deep water) temperature gives OTEC plants a typical thermal to electrical energy conversion efficiency of less than 3 percent.000 ft. In comparison.). For plants larger than about 10 megawatts. that the ocean can provide effectively infinite amounts of the seawater "fuel" for free. Such large pipelines would currently be made of fiberglass-reinforced-plastic (FRP) or reinforced concrete pipe (RCP). both very expensive materials.000 gal/min) of deep seawater. necessitating a minimum pipe diameter of 10 m (32. In fact. conventional oil. inflatable pipes made of polyethylene or other flexible materials might allow dramatic reductions in materials and installation costs. Since the salinity of the ocean is nearly uniform. At that depth. however.mostly limited to tropical waters. for example.6 percent of present world consumption) of OTEC plants would be equivalent to the combined discharge from all the rivers flowing into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. somewhere below 100 m. Ocean depths must be y y y . about 25% of the "gross" power will go to pump the water through the intake and discharge pipes of the OTEC system. The greater the temperature difference between the heat source and a heat sink. That means OTEC plants have a large "hotel load. depth and allow the pumping of very large volumes of water. which may have temperature differences of 500°F. In any event. or 1/10 the Danube. OTEC plants must be located where a difference of at least 20°C (36°F) occurs year round . will require about 215 m3 s-1 (3. Potential ecological consequences. The temperatures of the seawater discharges will be some 3°C (6°F) above or below their initial temperatures.
. Floating plant ships could provide more flexibility. eventually. These obstacles can be overcome only by progressing beyond the present experimental testing and evaluation of small-scale demonstration plants to the construction of pilot-sized and.400 MW will be viable. For the near-term future development of OTEC systems. OTEC has tremendous potential to supply the world¶s energy. commerical-sized plants to demonstrate economic feasibility. OTEC systems must overcome the significant hurdle of high initial capital costs for construction and the perception of significant risk compared to conventional fossil fuel plants.available fairly close to shore-based facilities for economic operation. This potential is estimated to be about 1013 watts of baseload power generation. isolated niche markets with high conventional energy costs and a need for energy independence may provide a viable venue for market penetration in the size range of 1 MW to 15 MW. serving as sources for fuel for distant regions. These may provide the demonstration required for penetration into larger markets where economically competitive plants of 50 . However. y Must operate in a corrosive marine environment.
In this way fuel cells are seen as being significantly more environmentally friendly than other hydrocarbon fueled power sources. The simple nature of their design and operation makes them highly reliable. On one side (the anode side) of the fuel cell is fuel in the form of hydrogen gas. because of the charge imbalance and the electron-impermeable .they convert it from one form to another.500 per kW price would achieve market penetration nationwide in a number of different applications. An electrical circuit connects the anode to the cathode and provides the mechanism to power electrical devices. Fuel cell technology offers the potential to revolutionize electricity generation. gas tight. Working Principle: The combination of the materials used to make the fuel cell components.000 per kW. One company currently markets fuel cells that use natural gas as a fuel for $3. Sandwiched between the anode and cathode is the very thin. they do not store energy . The reaction starts with the oxygen on the cathode side being ionized at the cathode and generating negatively charged oxygen ions that then flow through the cathode and across the electrolyte. However. their cost will determine the applications and locations that make economic sense in the near term. the modular design allows the fuel cells to be stacked in such a way to match the specific output power needs without significant additional design work or capital requirements. A number of companies are actively developing fuel cell technology for commercial applications. unlike a battery. Fuel cells can serve a number of niche markets from on-site generation to transportation. They operate quietly and can operate on a variety of fuel types. the type of fuel used and the operating temperature allow electricity to be generated via a chemical reaction rather than burning the fuel. At the anode side the oxygen ion combines with a positively charged hydrogen ion and releases an electron that then. Fuel cells are significantly more efficient than equivalent internal combustion engines because they convert chemical energy directly to electrical current rather than via an efficiency sapping mechanical intermediate phase. although. heat and water vapor. fuel cells only make sense in certain niche markets where electricity prices are very high and natural gas prices are very low. and on the other side (the cathode side) is oxygen (in air). technologies currently under development may eventually result in robust and cost-efficient versions. In some ways they can be considered to be a continuously fuelled battery. Currently. electrolyte layer. In addition to the size and performance of fuel cells. In addition. If pure hydrogen is used as a fuel then the only outputs are electricity. fuel cells are costly to produce and fragile.Hydrogen power (Fuel Cell) Fuel cells are devices that produce electrical power using the chemical properties of hydrogen and oxygen. This technology is well suited for ushering in a new. decentralized energy production and delivery system. At this price. electrically insulating but ion conducting. A recent study suggests that fuel cells with a $1.
This high quality. direct current will continue to be produced as long as there is a supply of fuel and air to the fuel cell.electrolyte. Figure: How Fuel Cell Works . flows around the electrical circuit to the cathode side generating direct current.
which use chemical reactions to create electricity. or almost 1 ton per year most of which is disposed in municipal solid waste landfills. The EPA has estimated that 1 million tons of waste typically generates 300 cfm of landfill gas.300 acres of trees. . This produces landfill gas. and collecting the gases through pipes. Though not a renewable resource. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all large landfills to install collection systems at landfill sites to minimize the release of methane. Landfill gas may also be used in fuel cell technologies. Landfill gas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. Working Principle: Landfill gas is collected from landfills by drilling "wells" into the landfills. a major contributor to global climate change. Microorganisms that live in organic materials such as food wastes. typically comprised of roughly 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide.100 cars from the road for one year or planting 8. The EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program reports that Pennsylvania has 20 current landfill-gas-to-energy projects generating 30. Once the landfill gas is processed. Each person in the United States generates about 4. landfill gas will be in great supply absent major innovations in solid waste management systems and could supply up to 1% of the United States¶ energy demand.Waste-to-energy: Landfill gas Large municipal or industrial landfills produce gas that can be tapped to generate electricity. it can be combined with natural gas to fuel conventional combustion turbines or used to fuel small combustion or combined cycle turbines.3 million cubic feet per minute (cfm) per day of methane.5 pounds of waste per day. Landfill gas is generated by the anaerobic decomposition of organic refuse deposited in landfills. This amount of gas could generate 7 million kWh per year. Utilizing 300 cfm/year of landfill gas has the same greenhouse gas reduction as removing 6. and are much more efficient than combustion turbines. paper or yard clippings cause these materials to decompose. which is enough energy to power 700 homes for a year.
The level of pre-combustion processing varies among facilities. incineration of waste materials converts the waste into heat (that can be used to generate electricity). grass clippings. industries and institutions. y Working Principle: Incineration is a solid waste treatment technology involving combustion of waste at high temperatures. It could be debated that the energy generated from the biodegradable waste fraction is renewable however many countries do not credit this. clothing. Incineration functions as an alternative to land filling and biological treatment methods such as composting and anaerobic digestion. there are currently two main WtE facility designs: y Mass Burn is the most common WtE technology. furniture. MSW consists of everyday items such as product packaging. Refuse-derived fuel facilities process the MSW prior to direct combustion. Incineration has particularly strong benefits the treatment of certain waste types in niche areas especially for clinical wastes and certain hazardous wastes where pathogens and toxins must be destroyed by high temperatures. but generally involves shredding of the MSW and removal of metals and other bulky items. gaseous emissions to the atmosphere and residual ash. which must be treated separately. bottles. in which MSW is combusted directly in much the same way as fossil fuels are used in other direct combustion technologies. appliances. Burning MSW converts water to steam to drive a turbine connected to an electricity generator. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are described as "thermal treatment". The term MSW describes the stream of solid waste ("trash" or "garbage") generated by households and apartments.Waste-to-energy: Municipal solid waste Waste-to-energy (WtE) in its strictest sense refers to any waste treatment that creates energy in the form of electricity or heat from a waste source that would have been disposed of in landfill. In effect. newspapers. In the United States. . are designed to dispose of MSW and to produce electricity as a byproduct of the incinerator operation. MSW incinerators and WtE plants are generally considered not to produce renewable energy as a large fraction of the power which is generated comes from plastics (derived from fossil fuels) and other non-renewable sources. commercial and industrial hazardous or radioactive wastes. The shredded MSW is then used as fuel in the same manner as at mass burn plants. commercial \establishments. food scraps. It does not include medical. The potential of electricity generation using incineration and other non-thermal methods of waste to energy such as anaerobic digestion are being increasingly looked at as a potential energy diversification strategy. also called energy recovery. paint and batteries. also called WtE plants. MSW power plants.
Ash disposal and the air polluting emissions from plant combustion operations are the primary environmental impact control issues. Generally. Such toxics pose an environmental problem if they are released into the air with plant emissions or if they are dispersed in the soil and allowed to migrate into ground water supplies and work their way into the food chain. Unlike modern ones. and trace organics. those plants usually did not include materials separation to remove hazardous or recyclable materials before burning. These incinerators endangered the health of the plant workers and the nearby residents. cadmium and mercury. The onsite land use impacts are generally equal to those of coal or oil fueled plants. . and most of them did not generate electricity.Modern WtE incinerators are very different from the incinerators that were commonly used until a few decades ago. MSW contains a diverse mix of waste materials. an environmental benefit. Toxic materials include trace metals such as lead. The control of such toxics and air pollution are key features of environmental regulations governing MSW fueled electric generation. some benign and some very toxic. Effective environmental management of MSW plants aims to exclude toxics from the MSW fuel and to control air pollution emissions from the WtE plants. such as dioxins and furans. Drawbacks: Burning MSW can generate energy while reducing the volume of waste by up to 90 percent. WtE plants produce comparatively high rates of nitrogen oxide emissions.
The Solar Updraft Tower thus functions as a solar thermal power plant and can have different capacity scales (from 30 ± 200 MW). The heated air will tend to go upwards and the only possibility for that is through the tower. On the other hand. The collector itself functions as a greenhouse and could be used for growing cash crops. Heat can be stored inside the collector area greenhouse. with its relatively high specific heat capacity. a solar updraft tower would be placed in the same asset class as dams. Working Principle: Solar towers make use of differences in temperatures of air near the ground and at the top of the tower or chimney. A solar updraft power plant consists of a chimney. a collector area and wind turbines. The solar updraft power technology has a relatively low conversion efficiency and has relatively high investment costs per MWh of electricity produced. the air is heated by the sun so that it functions as a greenhouse. Through the 'chimney effect' (forcing the air through a relatively small opening) the wind force can become strong. the operating costs are low. to be used to warm the air later on. The solar updraft tower is a proposed type of renewable-energy power plant. air is heated under a large transparent collector roof constructed around the base of the tower. By placing wind turbines inside the tower the force can be used to produce electricity. The technology is particularly suitable in remote areas (for instance. can be filled in tubes placed under the collector increasing the energy storage as needed. By placing a wind turbine or ring of turbines inside the tower. In a solar updraft tower. In the case of the latter it could serve communities and the scale of the plant could vary by what is needed. tunnels. motorways and other similar large infrastructure projects. . In the collector area air is heated by solar radiation under a glass or plastic roof. no costs for consumables and relatively constant income over the life of the project.Solar Updraft Tower (Solar Thermal Energy) Solar thermal energy refers to the idea of harnessing solar power for practical applications from solar heating to electrical power generation. Under the roof. Solar updraft towers can be used both for grid connected services and off-grid services. With a very large initial capital outlay. Water. this updraft force can be used to produce electricity. This heat is thus forced upwards through the chimney thereby creating a wind force. bridges. areas in developing countries) where low-value land can be used for the heat collection. Financial viability would be assessed on a similar basis.
For example. which serves as a greenhouse. The collector area could be covered with a double glazed roof or a durable plastic. capital costs would be relatively high as it requires a concrete base and a solid construction. the air collector area should be 38 km2 wide and the chimney 1000 metres tall. the maintenance of a solar tower is relatively cheap. as well as using solar collectors and photovoltaics underneath the collector. a relatively large area is required for collecting the heated air in combination with a tall chimney. Once established. for a capacity of 200 MW. a concentrating solar plant could have efficiency levels of between 20 and 40%. In a pilot plant in Spain plastic was used and it was estimated to last for about 10 years. The requirement of a relatively large area implies that the technology is particularly suitable in those developing countries which have large areas with low value or degraded land. Then the collector area could also be smaller. such as a smaller tower with thin plates which is held in position with ropes. smaller scale applications are also possible. A 200 MW solar updraft tower could produce electricity for approximately 200. then this might need regular maintenance. Such a plant would reach a conversion efficiency of 0. In comparison. Therefore.5% or 1 kWh/m2. In the above example of a 1000 m tower. when plastic is chosen as the cover for the collector area. The technology can be applied at different scales.Figure: Schematic overview of solar tower principle Feasibility: The efficiency of the technology in terms of energy conversion is relatively low. However. The feasibility of the technology could be enhanced by making combinations with land use activities under the collector area.000 households. . However.
The technology can produce electricity day and night as long as a difference in temperature exists between the collector area and the top of the tower. daytime heat can be 'stored' via heat absorbing surface material or salt water ponds. . at day time this difference will be larger. However. In order to keep the temperature under the collector roof high at night.
Actually it was the heliostats that were used for cooking. On a small scale it was also used for cooking. the Solar Trees Power Tower installed by Sener in Spain having a capacity of 17 MW. The high energy at this point of concentrated sunlight is transferred to a substance that can store the heat for later use. allowing that energy to be stored and drawn off throughout the evening. Sodium is a metal with a high heat capacity. PS10 Solar Power Tower a predecessor of PS20 Solar Power Tower again installed in Spain by Abengoa with a capacity of 11MW. The only drawback of this solar thermal energy is that it is available only during the day when the sunlight is present and cannot be of any help at night.Solar Power Tower (Solar Thermal Energy) Solar Power Tower is a technology for utilizing the solar thermal energy of the sun. The concentrated solar energy is one of the best alternate energies available in the renewable energy section. It is designed to capture the solar thermal power using mirrors. in turn. Some require air cooling rather than water cooling. and lastly an under construction solar tower. . The solar energy is one the best alternate sources of energy. Utilization: Initially this energy was used to heat water by directing it towards a boiler and then used in turbines. Sierra Sun Tower installed in United States by the eSolar and having the capacity of 5MW. This technology is totally based on sunlight and the heliostat device. PS20 Solar Power Tower installed in Spain by Abengoa and having a capacity of 20MW. In general the normal areas covered by solar power towers undertake 150 to 320 acres of land. The different solar power towers have different design criteria based on the type of application they have there. The most recent heat transfer material that has been successfully demonstrated is liquid sodium. Water had originally been used as a heat transfer medium in earlier power tower versions (where the resultant steam was used to power a turbine). be used to boil water for use in steam turbines. Heliostat is a device which by the help of mirrors captures the sun¶s thermal energy. In the mirrors of the heliostat it is not necessary that you have to use the expensive curved glass you can even go for the less expensive flat glass. Some of the major solar power towers of the world are. Working Principle: A solar power tower uses an array of flat. Solar power tower also goes by the name of central tower power plants or heliostat power towers. for example in desert areas. moveable mirrors (called heliostats ) to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower (the target). The name heliostat power tower suits its functioning and is therefore the most appropriate name for it. It is purely harmless and extremely eco friendly and does not cause any kind of pollution at all. It is accentuated at a particular angle with the help of distant target towards the sun and this way it receives the sunlight throughout the day and you get your required solar thermal energy. That energy can. But this problem has been solved by use of heat capacity which helps to generate energy even when the sun is not up. In fact it is the renewable source of energy.
In operation. After construction is complete. or ACM. however. No fuel is required or consumed to produce the power. the projected lifespan of installations is considerably longer than any other generation method. wind speeds approaching sonic levels can be generated within ACM pipelines. technology is capable of generating power by leveraging the differences in atmospheric pressure at geographically separated locations. This energy may then be converted to a variety of desired forms using existing technology. . selected on the basis of historical information indicating a useful difference in barometric pressure. At present. and no environmental externalities are produced. each having open ends in different geographically spaced sites. maintenance is minimal. No pollutants are introduced into the atmosphere as the result of the generation process. the air flow in the conduit will accelerate to a high velocity wind without the consumption of any materials and without the use of any mechanical moving parts.in the order of many miles long. A plurality of conduits. and comprises at least one long conduit . The ACM conduit configuration of the invention can transform even barometric pressure differences in the order of one-tenth pound per square inch into wind velocities in the sonic range. and implementing the Atmospheric Cold Megawatts technology. Endpoints are placed to maximize historical atmospheric pressure differentials. A power converter. Working Principle: ACM is a system for the generation of energy based upon differences in the atmospheric pressure at geographically spaced sites. such as a wind turbine. In addition. Cold Energy LLC is the only company that is developing. no raw materials are required. The opposite open ends of the conduit are located at geographically spaced sites.01 per kWh. marketing. The company claims that the electricity production using ACM costs around $0. and will produce higher and more consistent levels of energy production. in the conduit converts the high wind velocity generated by even small pressure differences into energy of any desired type.0003-0. may be interconnected to maximize the existing pressure differences.Atmospheric Cold Megawatts The Atmospheric Cold Megawatts. Typical installation requires 1±2 pipelines approximately 300 km in length.
In principle. It is generated in places where fresh water and salt water meet.Blue Energy (Reverse Electro dialysis) Blue energy is a promising source of renewable energy. while the other half are negatively charged. RED utilizes the electric potential which arises when permselective membranes separates electrolyte solutions of different concentrations. Electricity can be generated where a concentrated salt stream (seawater) mixes with less concentrated (fresh) water. for example where rivers flow into the sea. This process is known as reverse electrodialysis (RED). Half of these ions carry a positive charge. Blue energy can be produced using devices based on a natural process ± when a river runs into the ocean a huge amount of energy is unleashed because of the difference in salt concentration. it splits into charged particles (ions). Working Principle: When salt is dissolved in water. One method involves the use of special membranes. Salt water therefore contains many more charged particles than fresh water. Energy is generated by the difference between the salt content of fresh water and that of salt water. This results in a difference in charge across the membranes. Figure: Reverse Electro Dialysis . which can be converted into electricity. and you can use this difference to generate electricity. Blue energy is the energy retrieved from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water with the use of reverse electro dialysis (abbreviated RED) (or osmosis) with ion specific membranes. The only waste product in this process is brackish water. which selectively allow either positively or negatively charged particles to pass through. sustainable energy can be derived from the difference between the chemical potentials of concentrated and diluted salt stream.
The river Rhine. recent developments show these costs can be reduced considerably. However. The potential in Norway alone is estimated at 10% of its annual power needs. The production potential in Europe is estimated at 200 terawatt hours a year. Challenges: At present many aspects of RED remain unknown. or nearly twice the electricity consumption of a country like Norway. A few decades ago. A major factor that needs to be investigated to optimize the RED performance is the prevention of (bio-) fouling of the membranes. for instance.Feasibility: Although RED seems to be a promising concept. researchers have stated that RED is not economically feasible because of the high membrane price. Experiments identifying the fouling behavior of electro dialysis membranes and spacers with seawater and fresh water (and also with brine and sea water). could deliver 3. . Test concepts to reduce the fouling behavior. This research consists of three main activities: y y y Literature study on the fouling behavior of electro dialysis membranes and the effect of pre-filtration to reduce fouling.000 MW of power where it flows into the sea in the Netherlands ± the equivalent of five big coal-fired plants. the amount of research performed is very limited and outdated.
This is similar to a mechanical dynamo in which the motion of a metal conductor through a magnetic field creates a current in the conductor except that in the MHD generator the metal conductor is replaced by a conducting gas plasma. Demonstration plants with capacities of 50 MW or more have been built in several countries but MHD generators are expensive. Several MHD projects were initiated in the 1960s but overcoming the technical challenges of making a practical system proved very expensive. Typical use could be in peak shaving applications but they are less efficient than combined-cycle gas turbines which means there are very few installations and MHD is currently not considered for mainstream commercial power generation.Magnetohydrodynamic power generation Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generation provides a way of generating electricity directly from a fast moving stream of ionised gases without the need for any moving mechanical parts . When a conductor moves through a magnetic field it creates an electrical field perpendicular to the magnetic field and the direction of movement of the conductor. MHD power generation has also been studied as a method for extracting electrical power from nuclear reactors and also from more conventional fuel combustion systems. This is the principle. Figure: MHD principle . Working Principle: The MHD generator can be considered to be a fluid dynamo.no turbines and no rotary generators. behind the conventional rotary electricity generator. Interest consequently waned in favour of nuclear power which since that time has seemed a more attractive option. discovered by Michael Faraday.
The diagram below shows possible system components. The MHD System: The MHD generator needs a high temperature gas source. including coal. This limits the MHD's potential applications as a stand alone device but they were originally designed to be used in combination with other energy converters in hybrid applications where the output gases (flames) are used as the energy source to raise steam in a steam turbine plant.The flow (motion) of the conducting plasma through a magnetic field causes a voltage to be generated (and an associated current to flow) across the plasma. perpendicular to both the plasma flow and the magnetic field according to Fleming's Right Hand Rule. at the same time. which could be the coolant from a nuclear reactor or more likely high temperature combustion gases generated by burning fossil fuels. in a combustion chamber. Total plant efficiencies of 65% could be possible in such arrangements. Unfortunately. the pressure drop causes the plasma temperature to fall (Gay-Lussac's Law) which also increases the plasma resistance. Figure: Schematic of MHD System The expansion nozzle reduces the gas pressure and consequently increases the plasma speed (Bernoulli's Law) through the generator duct to increase the power output. . so a compromise between Bernoulli and Gay-Lussac must be found. The exhaust heat from the working fluid is used to drive a compressor to increase the fuel combustion rate but much of the heat will be wasted unless it can be used in another process. Typical efficiencies of MHD generators are around 10 to 20 percent mainly due to the heat lost through the high temperature exhaust.
In general. and wave power can be exploited in many more locations. water desalination. producing microseisms. Wave power generation is not currently a widely employed commercial technology although there have been attempts at using it since at least 1890. Ireland and the UK ± could produce five percent or more of their electricity from wave power. as well as friction on the water surface by the wind. or the pumping of water (into reservoirs). The waves propagate on the ocean surface. measured by the slowing of the lunar orbit) is 2. and water density.Wave Power Wave power is the transport of energy by ocean surface waves. fetch (the distance over which the wind excites the waves) and by the depth and topography of the seafloor (which can focus or disperse the energy of the waves). While the industry has suffered many failures. Wave power will only be competitive if total cost of generation (cost per kWh) is reduced. When this limit has been reached the sea is said to be "fully developed". larger waves are more powerful but wave power is also determined by wave speed. Machinery able to exploit wave power is generally known as a wave energy converter (WEC). Wave power is distinct from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. making the water to go into the shear stress causes the growth of the waves. Wave height is determined by wind speed. The energy potential of waves is certainly greater. it has benefited in recent years from increases in support from governments. A given wind speed has a matching practical limit over which time or distance will not produce larger waves. there is an energy transfer from the wind to the waves.5 terawatts. These pressure fluctuations at greater depth are too small to be interesting from the point of view of wave power. parallel to a wave crest. Several promising prototypes are now in operation. Wave power could yield much more energy than tidal power. and the wave energy is also transported horizontally with the group velocity. Waves are generated by wind passing over the surface of the sea. which must not be confused with the actual power generated by a wave power device). wave energy is also present as pressure oscillations at great depth. the duration of time the wind has been blowing. Countries with large coastlines and strong prevailing winds ± notably. electricity generation. . As long as the waves propagate slower than the wind speed just above the waves. Both air pressure differences between the upwind and the lee side of a wave crest. universities. However. and the capture of that energy to do useful work ² for example. Tidal dissipation (friction. for standing waves (clapotis) near a reflecting coast. Oscillatory motion is highest at the surface and diminishes exponentially with depth. wavelength. and angel investors. is called the wave energy flux (or wave power. The mean transport rate of the wave energy through a vertical plane of unit width.
Needs a suitable site. Not expensive to operate and maintain. sometimes almost nothing. where waves are consistently strong. so are waves. Some designs are noisy. Can produce a great deal of energy.Advantages: y y y The energy is free . Disadvantages: y y y Depends on the waves . Must be able to withstand very rough weather. But then again. so any noise is unlikely to be a problem.no fuel needed. no waste produced. y .sometimes you'll get loads of energy.
when demand for power across the country is low. which take half an hour or so to crank themselves up to full power. we'd be in trouble. When there's a sudden demand for power. Demand for electrical power changes throughout the day. The problem is that most the power is generated by fossil fuel power stations. The water then collects in the bottom reservoir. Working Principle: Water is pumped up to the top reservoir at night. and water rushes down the tunnels to drive the turbines. They're a way of storing energy so that we can release it quickly when we need it. Little effect on the landscape. No pollution or waste Disadvantages: y y Expensive to build.Pumped Storage Pumped storage reservoirs aren't really a means of generating electrical power. ready to be pumped back up later. Once it's used. the "headgates" (huge taps) are opened. . Figure: Pumped Storage Method Advantages: y y y Without some means of storing energy for quick release. which drive the powerful generators. you can't use it again until you've pumped the water back up. Nuclear power stations take much longer.
But homeowners have the option of producing more ice to sell for income. A person can spend two hours a day collecting wood to burn in a fire that is so wasteful that 93 percent of the energy generated goes up in smoke. The fire heats compressed air that has been pumped into specially shaped pipes located inside the stove's chimney and behind the stove. a mobile phone for charging. It takes about two hours of stove use to produce enough ice that will keep the fridge cold for 24 hours. the heated. the noise is 100 times louder than a jet taking off. As it expands. the sound waves have nowhere to go. But because the pipes are stiff and do not vibrate. For refrigeration. which is captured by wires and converted to the proper voltage. and/or generate electricity. compressed air is sent through a different part of the pipe. As the wire coil vibrates about 50 times per second . The stove has electrical sockets. people hear only a faint hum. Refrigeration and Electricity. The sound waves vibrate a diaphragm located at the end of the pipe. Traditional cooking over a fire is notoriously inefficient.Thermo-Acoustic Engine (SCORE Project) Thermoacoustic engines are thermoacoustic devices which use high-amplitude sound waves to pump heat from one place to another. The heated air begins to vibrate and produce sound waves. for example. Inside the pipes. cool.it generates an electrical current. The diaphragm is attached to a coil of metal wires that sit inside a magnet. . Working Principle: Wood is placed inside the stove and burned. So outside the pipe. or conversely use a heat difference to induce highamplitude sound waves. it cools to a temperature that can produce ice." or SCORE. could help improve the health and quality of life for the two billion or so people in the world who cook over open fires. where sound waves cause the air to expand. The "Stove for Cooking. The SCORE thermoacoustics technology promoted by a multi-institutional project converts heated gas into sound waves which can be used to cook. where the homeowner can plug in.
Figure: Block diagram of SCORE .
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