Archive: International

"Smart Turbine Blades" to Improve Wind Power

Engineers at Purdue University and Sandia National Laboratories have developed a technique that uses sensors and computational software to constantly monitor forces exerted on wind turbine blades. Their achievement could one day improve the efficiency of wind turbines by providing the blades’ "smart" structure with necessary data to adjust to rapidly changing wind conditions.

Energy Storage Efforts Making Progress

The intensifying spotlight on renewable energy seems to be casting a brighter light on the energy storage problem, with lawmakers, researchers, and investors scrambling to seek out the most feasible solution to bridge the intermittent nature of renewable power sources.

PG&E Makes a Deal for Space-Based Power

Just as reports emerged earlier this year that NASA had abandoned, for lack of financial resources, its research into space-based solar power that would be harnessed via orbiting solar arrays beaming microwaves to earthly receivers, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) wrote the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requesting its approval of a power purchase agreement from a similar technology.

Major Advancements for Polymer Solar Cell Technology

Denmark’s Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in late April announced it had connected the world’s first polymer solar cell plant to the grid. The achievement follows years of research into the novel photovoltaic (PV) technology that has been touted as a future inexpensive, flexible, and customizable alternative to silicon crystal solar cells. The […]

Hungary Building High-Efficiency Gas-Fired Plant

Germany’s E.ON laid the foundation stone in late March for a 433-MW combined-cycle power plant in Gönyü (Figure 6), a power-stricken region in northwestern Hungary. The power plant, expected to begin operation in 2011, will operate with a net efficiency of more than 58% — making it one of the most efficient power plants in […]

Microbe Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane

Microbe Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane A team of Penn State engineers say that a tiny self-perpetuating microbe can take electricity and directly convert carbon dioxide and water into methane, potentially producing a portable energy source with a carbon-neutral footprint. Methanogenic microorganisms produce methane in marshes and dumps, but scientists thought that the organisms turned […]

South Korea to Install Longest Superconductor Cable System

South Korea is gearing up to install the world’s longest distribution voltage superconductor cable system near Seoul by mid-2010. This April, the nation’s largest power cable manufacturer, LS Cable, ordered about 50 miles of 344 superconductors — American Superconductor Corp.’s (AMSC) second-generation high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. It plans to strand that wire into a 22.9-kV […]

China Begins Construction of World’s First AP1000 Reactor

Construction of the world’s first nuclear power plant to use U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactor technology commenced this April in China, with the pouring of 5,200 cubic meters of concrete at the nuclear island at Sanmen in Zhejiang province (Figure 3). The two-unit Sanmen plant will be built in three phases, with the first reactor […]

Australia Faces Imminent Power Supply Issues, Groups Say

Australia, the world’s second-largest exporter of thermal coal and uranium, and a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), faces inevitable electricity rationing and the threat of blackouts unless the government acts urgently to ensure large-scale investments are made in new power-generating capacity, experts from five nations said in April. The Australian Academy for Technology […]