Tag Archives: power


Smaller, quieter wind turbines could boost public support

Vertical axis wind turbines, which may have fewer effects on birds and nearby people, could increase public support for new wind energy installations, new research suggests.

With global carbon emissions on the rise, wind power continues to be an attractive option for states and countries looking to limit fossil fuel use and increase renewable energy. Wind already accounts for over 5 percent of electricity generation in the United States.

A number of issues plague the low-carbon energy source, however, such as complaints from nearby residents about noise and the killing of hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year that collide with turbine blades.

Last week, in a setback to wind energy proponents, the Vermont Public Utility Commission adopted new regulations that limited the amount of sound new wind projects are allowed to produce. And in counties across California, similar restrictions have been passed limiting wind energy expansion. While some states are growing their wind power sectors, California has seen a plateau in growth over the last four years.

wind turbines in rural setting
Researchers surveyed Californians on how they felt about traditional versus vertical axis wind turbines in a rural setting. (Credit: Iris Hui/Stanford)

To better understand these concerns over wind energy, researchers conducted a poll examining how receptive people in California are to vertical axis wind turbines in various settings.

“For California, even with the state’s support for climate action and reducing emissions, wind farms can be a tough sell for residents,” says Iris Hui, a coauthor of the paper and senior researcher with the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.

“We wanted to see if the potential for lower impacts from vertical axis turbines might persuade Californians to be more receptive to large-scale wind projects,” Hui says.

‘Opinion matters’

Vertical axis turbines have been around for decades but have been less popular options for large wind farms because of concerns that current models are less reliable and produce less energy per unit. But the tide could turn with public concern over the effects that wind energy has on people as well as birds and other wildlife.

“Because vertical axis turbines operate at lower speeds, lower height, and have a different visual signature than conventional wind turbines, we anticipated that they would have less impact on birds and wildlife,” says coauthor John Dabiri, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of mechanical engineering at Stanford University.


wind turbines in openspace
The researchers also asked how Californians felt about traditional versus vertical axis wind turbines in an open space setting. (Credit: Iris Hui/Stanford)

“Our field testing over the past eight years has shown this to be anecdotally true. We also expected the fact they they’re less noisy and harder to see from a distance would make them more attractive for communities. But it was important to test these assumptions in practice.”

This results of the poll could help California and other states make better use of abundant wind energy, says coauthor and political science professor Bruce Cain.

“The issue is both a technical engineering problem and a political science problem because opinion matters so much to which technologies get adopted and implemented. That’s why we brought people from both disciplines together on this,” says Cain.

Better for bats and birds

The team devised an online opt-in survey that asked respondents about their feelings on the different turbine technologies. The most desirable feature for vertical axis turbines was the idea that they may kill fewer birds and bats.

Cost remained a big concern, however, as did where to put the turbines. While support for installation was 75 percent for turbines that would be 50 miles from their home, support plummeted significantly as the distance from the turbine installation to the respondent’s home got smaller.

Wind turbines change visitors to tortoise burrows

Dabiri’s lab is working on ways to develop vertical axis turbines that can reach parity on energy output with horizontal axis turbines and has research showing the potential of deploying smaller vertical axis turbines (about 30 feet high compared to the iconic white horizontal axis turbines stretching over 300 feet tall) in clusters to further perpetuate wind.

Due to their smaller stature, there is also more potential to deploy these turbines in a more urban setting than is possible with larger horizontal axis turbines. However, neither of these ideas gave vertical axis wind turbines a significant advantage over conventional wind turbines with the respondents.

Respondents with higher educational levels who value action on climate change were more likely to support integrating vertical axis turbines into an urban setting.

The researchers stress these findings indicate that, rather than being competing technologies, vertical and horizontal wind turbines can be complementary.

“Vertical axis turbines could be favored in areas of significance to wildlife or in certain urban settings where larger turbines are not viable,” says Hui.

In addition to this study, Dabiri’s lab has funding through the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Realizing Environmental Innovation Program to study how to lower the impacts of wind energy expansion on birds and ecosystems.

“The real challenge that remains is to do more rigorous testing on how vertical axis turbines impact birds,” says Dabiri. “If our anecdotal evidence of lower avian impacts can be supported by formal biological studies, it could make a real difference in public acceptance.”

To cut power use, put a price tag on carbon

The researchers report their findings in the journal Energy Policy. The Bill Lane Center for the American West funded the work.

Source: Stanford University

The post Smaller, quieter wind turbines could boost public support appeared first on Futurity.

projects • Re: Induction (Wireless) Charging Earbuds

I get what you’re trying to achieve but I feel that induction charging is inefficient for this application.

For this to work, you have to go battery (DC) – inversion (go to AC) – induction (wireless) – rectification (AC back to DC) – decoupling and regulation – charge the earbud battery. Each of those processes has an energy loss that quickly mounts up.

Wireless charging is really only effective if your original power supply is AC. With a battery supply, you may as well design some sort of connection so the process can become: external battery – connector – charge earbud battery. The concepts you already have could be easily adapted to facilitate this.

The Tesla Semi electric truck exceeds the hype

When fully laden and travelling at 65 mph, the Tesla Semi can cover an astonishing 500 ...

The much-awaited reveal of the Tesla Semi electric truck took place in Hawthorne, California, in typical Elon Musk style. Speculation prior to the presentation was substantially exceeded with its claimed range well beyond the 300 miles (500 km) expected and acceleration figures that place the unladen tractor unit in sports car territory.

Continue Reading The Tesla Semi electric truck exceeds the hype

Category: Automotive


Related Articles:

Swytch may have electric bike conversion in the bag

The Swytch power pack includes a 500-lumen headlight

For many people, an electric bike makes sense for longer commutes, but it isn’t needed for shorter jaunts or recreational rides. As a result, we’ve seen a number of kits that allow cyclists to temporarily turn their existing bike into an e-bike, by swapping one of its wheels with an electrified one. It’s a pretty simple solution, although the Swytch eBike Conversion Kit may be even simpler and easier yet.

Continue Reading Swytch may have electric bike conversion in the bag

Category: Bicycles


Related Articles:

footwear & softgoods • Re: Velcro vs. Laces

For your average schlub, probably doesn’t make one whit of difference in performance.

Many cycling shoes are velcro only. The very expensive ones aren’t and tend to talk about lightness, stiffness, power transmission and a lot of other phony baloney marketing gibberish. You can put me in the “best” most-expensive shoe, a professional cyclist in flip-flops and they will drop me like a bag of wet sand. Crush my soul.

Buy whatever floats your boat.

footwear & softgoods • Re: Velcro vs. Laces

iab wrote:
For your average schlub, probably doesn’t make one whit of difference in performance.

Many cycling shoes are velcro only. The very expensive ones aren’t and tend to talk about lightness, stiffness, power transmission and a lot of other phony baloney marketing gibberish. You can put me in the “best” most-expensive shoe, a professional cyclist in flip-flops and they will drop me like a bag of wet sand. Crush my soul.

Buy whatever floats your boat.

By “performance” I mean the amount of support my feet/ankles get. Not “these are going to make me faster” performance. It’s a matter of whether or not I’m sore the next day. But I like your example, and 100% agree with you in that regard.

ralphzoontjens wrote:
I also prefer the comfort of velcro but don’t wear them because of the sound and ‘patched on top of’ look, how about Hickies?

Never seen those before! I might give those a shot. I wish they were a little more minimally styled though. I want just a straight band without the bulge around the fastening point.


How HIV ‘hacks’ cells to spread itself

Using a computer model, researchers have uncovered previously unknown details about how HIV “hacks” cells to make them spread the virus to other cells. Their findings may offer a new avenue for drugs to combat the virus.

A key part of HIV’s success is a nasty little trick to propagate itself inside the body. Once HIV has infected a cell, it forces the cell to make a little capsule out of its own membrane, filled with the virus.

The capsule pinches off—a process called “budding”—and floats away to infect more cells. Once inside another unsuspecting cell, the capsule coating falls apart, and the HIV RNA gets to work.

HIV snapshot
Scientists modeled how the HIV protein Gag is involved in forcing a victim’s cell to make a capsule of HIV to infect other cells, a process called “budding.” (Credit: Gregory Voth/U. Chicago)

Scientists knew that budding involves an HIV protein complex called Gag protein, but the details of the molecular process were murky.

“For a while now we have had an idea of what the final assembled structure looks like, but all the details in between remained largely unknown,” says Gregory Voth, professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago and corresponding author of the paper.

Since it’s been difficult to get a good molecular-level snapshot of the protein complex with imaging techniques, Voth and his team built a computer model to simulate Gag in action.

Simulations allowed them to tweak the model until they arrived at the most likely configurations for the molecular process, which experiments in the laboratory of Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz at the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus then validated.

Potential HIV vaccine works in a new way

They built a model of missing parts of the Gag protein complex, and tweaked it until they could see how the proteins assemble by taking advantage of cellular infrastructure in preparation for the budding process.

“It really demonstrates the power of modern computing for simulating viruses,” Voth says.

“The hope is that once you have an Achilles’ heel, you can make a drug to stop Gag accumulation and hopefully arrest the virus’s progression.”

The team plans next to study the structures of the Gag proteins in the HIV virus capsule after budding, he says.

Is HIV cured or still lurking? New test can say

The researchers report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: University of Chicago

The post How HIV ‘hacks’ cells to spread itself appeared first on Futurity.

general design discussion • Re: We have $10,000 – what should we buy?

I agree with all the previous sentiments of warning against “cutting edge” technology that will not actually be utilized or out of date in 2 years. (robotic arm, VR, etc)
The design school I went to went through the process of getting 2 kuka robotic arms and they were definitely underutilized show pieces just there for tour groups.

Basic electronics lab is definitely a great way to go! Soldering station, power supply, oscilloscope, assorted components, ect.
Hell, even a set of “littlebits” electronics would be a great reusable set of electronics.
Knowledge in this area can create some amazing creative output. Prototypes that can move, speakers designs that actually make music, and the ability to talk intelligently about the hardware we are designing around.
Its one of the biggest areas I had gotten more education in through school. (recent graduate)

general design discussion • Re: We have $10,000 – what should we buy?


seriously check out little bits. They have a lot of power, great hardware, and compatiblity with Arduino etc.
Don’t be fooled by the “toy” aspect. You can easily configure a minimally viable prototype that works! throw them in your 3D printed parts.
Pull them out and they are reusable!
Some of their hardware is really cool – like a smart home tech kit