Connect with us

Cleantech

From the Sublime to the Ludicrous

Published

on

By David Waterworth

Back in 2014 I took a Tesla Model S for a test drive. The salesperson sat beside me, he put it in Ludicrous mode and Autopilot.  I drove out to the motorway and he said: “Floor it!” Then, “Take your hands off the wheel.” As my body pressed back into the driver’s seat, I knew there was no way I could take my hands off the wheel. It was a back-to-the-future, out-of-body experience.

My wife and grandson were in the backseat. “Wow,” they said. “Do it again, grandad,” said Oscar. 

Unfortunately, I did not have the funds to buy a Tesla at that time. Six years later and I was able to make the stretch to a Model 3 SR+.

In the meantime I had purchased a lovely old Wolseley. Built by BMC in 1964, he was the poor man’s Rolls. Elegant wood — glowing burr walnut — and leather trim. And power brakes for safety. Soft, high-riding suspension for comfort. According to the brochure, the Australian 6 cylinder Blue Streak engine gives a “really vivacious performance.” Luxury for a reasonable price.

I used to joke that I could do 0–100 km/h in 4.7 weeks.

From old BMC Wolseley Mark II brochure.

Now I drive a Tesla. Tess is not as soft to drive as George T. Wolseley — I have to slow down for the speed bumps. But she is faster, safer, and has tech to the eyeballs. I have not lost my love of the old marques and still appreciate the engineering of the “old days,” but nothing can compare dragging of a motor bike at the traffic lights.

I don’t miss filling up with petrol, checking the oil, and waiting for the next thing to break — fan belt, radiator hose, tappet cover gasket.

The internal combustion engine has been a great asset to civilization — transport being only one of its many uses. Its time is now passing and we are able to go from traveling in the sublime luxury of six-cylinder car comfort to the ludicrous nature of Tesla.

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


 



 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/24/from-the-sublime-to-the-ludicrous/

Cleantech

Interview With Solarflux CEO & CTO On Solving The Problem Of Lack Of Fuels In Rural Areas With Solar

Published

on

A few days ago I got to sit down with Solarflux CEO Naoise Irwin and CTO John Fangman, who is also the inventor of Solarflux’s FOCUS parabolic dish concentrator, which converts 72% of solar energy into usable heat. The company also just announced a new tool called CASPER.

Diving into the interview, John and Naoise shared some background information on the technology and what inspired them to create it. Naoise explained that an MIT physicist from India approached him, John, and their other co-founder Professor Sudhakar Neti, chief technical advisor for Solarflux. The woman wanted help in creating some kind of solution for those living in rural areas in India as well as around the world who don’t have access to basic fuels for cooking and boiling water.

“They rely on woods that they harvest locally, biomass, cow dung in many cases, that they collect. It takes a lot of time to go out and harvest all of this fuel. And then they burn that fuel in their homes or by their homes. They breathe it and it causes respiratory problems. It’s fairly well documented that it causes major problems in terms of health and the environment. The local environment is getting deforested which is also a negative in terms of the climate.”

Naoise noted that in these rural areas where people don’t have access to fuels, there’s often abundant sunshine.

“Is there a solution out there that could help provide a ready source of fuel using just the available sunlight? This woman approached John and Sudhakar and the project kicked off to try to figure out what would be the best possible solution.”

He told me that over the past couple of years, they looked at a lot of research and criteria, which included looking at technologies that could be manufactured locally in the countries where the affected people are living. This would help create jobs in those countries. They wanted to focus on solutions that could be created using the current technologies available in the countries affected while also getting them installed and keeping them maintained with low cost and not too much labor.

“All of these criteria came together and the solution that seemed to be the best fit is our product today — the FOCUS, which is made from aluminum and steel. It can be relatively quickly installed and is formed with metal — a technology that exists in many countries — stamping of metals, casting.

“It was then realized that in order to really get this technology into the hands of the people who it was really intended for, the best path was to commercialize it. That way you can drive up the volume, drive down the cost, and make it accessible to a wider audience. That is the path we are currently on, is to try to commercialize the technology. There’s been a lot of development that’s gone into it. We have a test device and have gotten good performance.”

Naoise pointed out that energy consumption in the world will grow significantly in the future — 50% from today’s level was his forecast.

“We already have a big problem with carbon emissions and we really need a lot of sustainable solutions. If we look at the energy that’s consumed, about half of the energy that’s consumed today in the world is consumed as heat. What are the sustainable solutions for heat consumption? There are really not that many great solutions out there. So this is where we think there’s a huge opportunity to provide a great solution with FOCUS.”

He explained that looking at the statistics — growing heat consumption — what is needed is a sustainable solar solution that can help companies reduce their carbon emissions without sacrificing energy. Other uses for the technology include industrial processes, desalination — a critical necessity for areas that have mostly saltwater in abundance and/or need ways to clean the water they use.

“We think there’s a huge opportunity for the technology to play a really valuable role. Existing solutions are out there and the main one is parabolic troughs. That would be a system you could deploy locally to provide heat — solar-generated heat. That has a lot of drawbacks compared to our product. It’s less efficient, more costly to install, and takes up a lot more space.”

John Fangman, who invented the FOCUS, added, “Imagine you have a dairy factory. Dairy takes in milk from cows, pasteurizes the milk to kill various pathogens so you don’t get ill. Then it bottles the milk.

“To sterilize it, you need to heat up the milk, so you’re going to be burning natural gas in a boiler to provide the steam to pasteurize the milk. Instead of using natural gas, you could use solar heat from our technology. Or, either you migrate some percentage of your natural gas consumption over to solar-based heat.

“What our system does is that it tracks the sun. There’s a fluid that circulates through the receiver and all that energy gets absorbed into the fluid and the heat gets transferred into the system.”

John explained that they have a dish being used to pasteurize milk and it was working very well until the area was hit with a 160 mile per hour typhoon — which is similar to a category 5 hurricane. Naoise explained that the dish is engineered to be fairly wind resistant but these types of storms wreak havoc even on the best technology. John pointed out that at those wind speeds, there are more things to worry about than a solar dish — entire houses are blown away.

Future Plans

Naoise told me that they have been in talks with a few other companies about deploying a FOCUS parabolic dish. A large bottling company, a couple of food processing companies, and few others in various countries are interested in the product.

“Industrial process heat is probably our number one target market. You can just put these dishes in alongside a factory and have a heat exchanger that transfers the heat into their existing system. It’s fairly easy to seamlessly install and integrate with a plant. There’s a lot of other applications that are really cool but require extra equipment. For example, desalination needs some further development.”

I asked him how far along he was in that and he told me that they have a concept for a system that can be powered by solar thermal. It’s cost efficient and will consume thermal energy. John noted that proof of concept has been completed, and Naoise pointed out that this wasn’t new tech.

“There are people who have developed systems like this, so we’re looking into either using a version with their systems or building one of our own.

“There’s a lot of places in the world that have very, very big needs in terms of clean water. Israel relies heavily on desalinated water.”

This isn’t all we talked about. There will be a part two. Stay tuned.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/22/interviews-with-solarflux-ceo-cto-on-solving-the-problem-of-lack-of-fuels-in-rural-areas-with-solar/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

Interview With Solarflux CEO & CTO On Solving The Problem Of Lack Of Fuels In Rural Areas With Solar

Published

on

A few days ago I got to sit down with Solarflux CEO Naoise Irwin and CTO John Fangman, who is also the inventor of Solarflux’s FOCUS parabolic dish concentrator, which converts 72% of solar energy into usable heat. The company also just announced a new tool called CASPER.

Diving into the interview, John and Naoise shared some background information on the technology and what inspired them to create it. Naoise explained that an MIT physicist from India approached him, John, and their other co-founder Professor Sudhakar Neti, chief technical advisor for Solarflux. The woman wanted help in creating some kind of solution for those living in rural areas in India as well as around the world who don’t have access to basic fuels for cooking and boiling water.

“They rely on woods that they harvest locally, biomass, cow dung in many cases, that they collect. It takes a lot of time to go out and harvest all of this fuel. And then they burn that fuel in their homes or by their homes. They breathe it and it causes respiratory problems. It’s fairly well documented that it causes major problems in terms of health and the environment. The local environment is getting deforested which is also a negative in terms of the climate.”

Naoise noted that in these rural areas where people don’t have access to fuels, there’s often abundant sunshine.

“Is there a solution out there that could help provide a ready source of fuel using just the available sunlight? This woman approached John and Sudhakar and the project kicked off to try to figure out what would be the best possible solution.”

He told me that over the past couple of years, they looked at a lot of research and criteria, which included looking at technologies that could be manufactured locally in the countries where the affected people are living. This would help create jobs in those countries. They wanted to focus on solutions that could be created using the current technologies available in the countries affected while also getting them installed and keeping them maintained with low cost and not too much labor.

“All of these criteria came together and the solution that seemed to be the best fit is our product today — the FOCUS, which is made from aluminum and steel. It can be relatively quickly installed and is formed with metal — a technology that exists in many countries — stamping of metals, casting.

“It was then realized that in order to really get this technology into the hands of the people who it was really intended for, the best path was to commercialize it. That way you can drive up the volume, drive down the cost, and make it accessible to a wider audience. That is the path we are currently on, is to try to commercialize the technology. There’s been a lot of development that’s gone into it. We have a test device and have gotten good performance.”

Naoise pointed out that energy consumption in the world will grow significantly in the future — 50% from today’s level was his forecast.

“We already have a big problem with carbon emissions and we really need a lot of sustainable solutions. If we look at the energy that’s consumed, about half of the energy that’s consumed today in the world is consumed as heat. What are the sustainable solutions for heat consumption? There are really not that many great solutions out there. So this is where we think there’s a huge opportunity to provide a great solution with FOCUS.”

He explained that looking at the statistics — growing heat consumption — what is needed is a sustainable solar solution that can help companies reduce their carbon emissions without sacrificing energy. Other uses for the technology include industrial processes, desalination — a critical necessity for areas that have mostly saltwater in abundance and/or need ways to clean the water they use.

“We think there’s a huge opportunity for the technology to play a really valuable role. Existing solutions are out there and the main one is parabolic troughs. That would be a system you could deploy locally to provide heat — solar-generated heat. That has a lot of drawbacks compared to our product. It’s less efficient, more costly to install, and takes up a lot more space.”

John Fangman, who invented the FOCUS, added, “Imagine you have a dairy factory. Dairy takes in milk from cows, pasteurizes the milk to kill various pathogens so you don’t get ill. Then it bottles the milk.

“To sterilize it, you need to heat up the milk, so you’re going to be burning natural gas in a boiler to provide the steam to pasteurize the milk. Instead of using natural gas, you could use solar heat from our technology. Or, either you migrate some percentage of your natural gas consumption over to solar-based heat.

“What our system does is that it tracks the sun. There’s a fluid that circulates through the receiver and all that energy gets absorbed into the fluid and the heat gets transferred into the system.”

John explained that they have a dish being used to pasteurize milk and it was working very well until the area was hit with a 160 mile per hour typhoon — which is similar to a category 5 hurricane. Naoise explained that the dish is engineered to be fairly wind resistant but these types of storms wreak havoc even on the best technology. John pointed out that at those wind speeds, there are more things to worry about than a solar dish — entire houses are blown away.

Future Plans

Naoise told me that they have been in talks with a few other companies about deploying a FOCUS parabolic dish. A large bottling company, a couple of food processing companies, and few others in various countries are interested in the product.

“Industrial process heat is probably our number one target market. You can just put these dishes in alongside a factory and have a heat exchanger that transfers the heat into their existing system. It’s fairly easy to seamlessly install and integrate with a plant. There’s a lot of other applications that are really cool but require extra equipment. For example, desalination needs some further development.”

I asked him how far along he was in that and he told me that they have a concept for a system that can be powered by solar thermal. It’s cost efficient and will consume thermal energy. John noted that proof of concept has been completed, and Naoise pointed out that this wasn’t new tech.

“There are people who have developed systems like this, so we’re looking into either using a version with their systems or building one of our own.

“There’s a lot of places in the world that have very, very big needs in terms of clean water. Israel relies heavily on desalinated water.”

This isn’t all we talked about. There will be a part two. Stay tuned.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/22/interviews-with-solarflux-ceo-cto-on-solving-the-problem-of-lack-of-fuels-in-rural-areas-with-solar/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

China Pledges To End Financing Of Coal Power Plants In Other Countries

Published

on

In a pre-recorded address to the United Nations on September 21, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced his country will not finance any more coal-fired power plants in foreign countries. Up until this point, China, Japan, and South Korea have funded 95% of coal plants around the world, with China providing most of the money. “China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said.

According to The Guardian, China has been under heavy diplomatic pressure to put an end to its coal financing overseas because it could make it easier for the world to stay on course to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Depending on how the policy is implemented, the move could significantly limit the financing of coal plants in the developing world.

Thom Woodroofe, a former climate diplomat and a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, described the pledge as drawing a “big line in the sand. It is further evidence China knows the future is paved by renewables. The key question now is when they will draw a similar line in the sand at home,” he said.

“It was also in many ways an easy decision for China to take ahead of COP26 — far easier than peaking emissions by 2025, which many had hoped [Xi would do]. For the first time since 2013, China did not finance any new overseas coal plants in the first six-months of this year — and this came after a precipitous drop last year,” he added.

Xi repeated pledges from last year that China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. Many observers were hoping Xi would move those domestic timelines forward but perhaps he is holding any such announcement back for the COP 26 meeting coming up later this year in Glasgow.

Nonetheless, China “deserves great praise for pledging to stop building coal plants overseas — the first developing country to make such a pledge and the last of the major public financiers of overseas coal to do so,” said Kevin Gallagher, director of Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center, in a statement.

Japan and South Korea both announced an end to their coal financing plans earlier this year. “China was the last man standing. If there’s no public finance of coal from China, there’s little to no global coal expansion,” Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project, told The Guardian. UN Secretary General António Guterres said after Xi’s announcement, “Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keeping the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach.”

Reducing China’s Domestic Emissions

China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and is still heavily reliant on coal for its domestic energy needs. Bear in mind that China’s rise as global economic force has been largely powered by electricity from coal fired generating stations. Asking China to give up its coal plants is like asking Ford to stop building F-150s or Volkswagen to end manufacturing gasoline powered cars.

Thom Woodroofe says, “The key thing to watch now is not just what China does at home, but also how much weight this announcement will hold. Will Beijing be able to rein in finance provided by all Chinese banks? What about the huge Chinese labor force involved in the construction of these coal plants?”

Meeting its goal of net zero emissions at home by 2060 would also require China to shut down nearly 600 of its coal-fired power plants in the next decade and replace them with renewable electricity generation, according to a report by analysis company TransitionZero. Unless China reduces its own emissions sharply in the next 10 years, the world stands little chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, The Guardian warns.

What If There Is War?

The backdrop to all of this is the increasing political rivalry between China and the US. The prior US president liked to bellow and bluster about how China was playing America for a sucker. The Biden administration has adopted a softer tone (it would be hard not to) but is still casting China as a potential enemy.

The truth is, the energy stored in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land masses has far more destructive power than all the nuclear weapons every made. The next world war will be the last. The emissions from a global conflict would tip the world over into a superheated state most humans would be unable to survive.

There is no margin for error. Unless the nations of the world learn how to work together to eliminate war as a policy tool, all the speeches and flowery pronouncements in the world won’t be able to prevent humanity’s earthly home from becoming its graveyard.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/22/china-pledges-to-end-financing-of-coal-power-plants-in-other-countries/

Continue Reading

Cleantech

China Pledges To End Financing Of Coal Power Plants In Other Countries

Published

on

In a pre-recorded address to the United Nations on September 21, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced his country will not finance any more coal-fired power plants in foreign countries. Up until this point, China, Japan, and South Korea have funded 95% of coal plants around the world, with China providing most of the money. “China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said.

According to The Guardian, China has been under heavy diplomatic pressure to put an end to its coal financing overseas because it could make it easier for the world to stay on course to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Depending on how the policy is implemented, the move could significantly limit the financing of coal plants in the developing world.

Thom Woodroofe, a former climate diplomat and a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, described the pledge as drawing a “big line in the sand. It is further evidence China knows the future is paved by renewables. The key question now is when they will draw a similar line in the sand at home,” he said.

“It was also in many ways an easy decision for China to take ahead of COP26 — far easier than peaking emissions by 2025, which many had hoped [Xi would do]. For the first time since 2013, China did not finance any new overseas coal plants in the first six-months of this year — and this came after a precipitous drop last year,” he added.

Xi repeated pledges from last year that China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. Many observers were hoping Xi would move those domestic timelines forward but perhaps he is holding any such announcement back for the COP 26 meeting coming up later this year in Glasgow.

Nonetheless, China “deserves great praise for pledging to stop building coal plants overseas — the first developing country to make such a pledge and the last of the major public financiers of overseas coal to do so,” said Kevin Gallagher, director of Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center, in a statement.

Japan and South Korea both announced an end to their coal financing plans earlier this year. “China was the last man standing. If there’s no public finance of coal from China, there’s little to no global coal expansion,” Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project, told The Guardian. UN Secretary General António Guterres said after Xi’s announcement, “Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keeping the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach.”

Reducing China’s Domestic Emissions

China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and is still heavily reliant on coal for its domestic energy needs. Bear in mind that China’s rise as global economic force has been largely powered by electricity from coal fired generating stations. Asking China to give up its coal plants is like asking Ford to stop building F-150s or Volkswagen to end manufacturing gasoline powered cars.

Thom Woodroofe says, “The key thing to watch now is not just what China does at home, but also how much weight this announcement will hold. Will Beijing be able to rein in finance provided by all Chinese banks? What about the huge Chinese labor force involved in the construction of these coal plants?”

Meeting its goal of net zero emissions at home by 2060 would also require China to shut down nearly 600 of its coal-fired power plants in the next decade and replace them with renewable electricity generation, according to a report by analysis company TransitionZero. Unless China reduces its own emissions sharply in the next 10 years, the world stands little chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, The Guardian warns.

What If There Is War?

The backdrop to all of this is the increasing political rivalry between China and the US. The prior US president liked to bellow and bluster about how China was playing America for a sucker. The Biden administration has adopted a softer tone (it would be hard not to) but is still casting China as a potential enemy.

The truth is, the energy stored in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land masses has far more destructive power than all the nuclear weapons every made. The next world war will be the last. The emissions from a global conflict would tip the world over into a superheated state most humans would be unable to survive.

There is no margin for error. Unless the nations of the world learn how to work together to eliminate war as a policy tool, all the speeches and flowery pronouncements in the world won’t be able to prevent humanity’s earthly home from becoming its graveyard.

 

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 

 


Advertisement


 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/22/china-pledges-to-end-financing-of-coal-power-plants-in-other-countries/

Continue Reading
Esports24 hours ago

Here are all of CS:GO’s Operation Riptide skins

Esports5 days ago

Square Enix reveals Endwalker title screen on Final Fantasy XIV Letter from the producer

Esports4 days ago

NBA 2K22 Limitless Spot-Up and Chef Badges Explained

Esports1 day ago

Valve reveals CS:GO Operation Riptide, featuring private queue, short competitive games, new deathmatch modes, and more

Esports3 days ago

Clash Royale League World Finals 2021 will take place in December with a $1,020,000 prize pool

Esports4 days ago

What is The Old Gym in NBA 2K22 Next Gen?

Esports4 days ago

ArcSystemWorks announces ArcRevo 2021 schedule with Guilty Gear Strive as the only featured title

Cyber Security4 days ago

KrebsonSecurity Reported That TTEC Hit With Ransomware Attack

Esports2 days ago

All Fashion Week Timed Research, Finding Your Voice Special Research, and event-exclusive Field Research tasks and rewards in Pokémon Go

AR/VR4 days ago

The VR Job Hub: First Contact Entertainment, SyncVR Medical & University of Westminster

IOT5 days ago

How IoT Revolutionized Several Areas of the Ecommerce Industry

Esports3 days ago

Karmine Corp. avoid reverse sweep vs. Fnatic Rising, set record as first team to win back-to-back EU Masters championships

Esports3 days ago

Gambit Esports defeat Envy 3-0 in VCT Masters Berlin Grand Finals

Startups5 days ago

6 Ways Higher Education Can Help You Advance Your Career

Esports4 days ago

Best Free Throw in NBA 2K22: Which to Use

AI4 days ago

Coinbase Secures Another Millionaire Deal With the US Government to Let Them Use Its Blockchain Analytics Software

Esports4 days ago

All Oshawott Pokémon Go Community Day From Scalchops to Seamitars Research tasks and rewards

Esports3 days ago

nexa: “We worked really hard to get back into the shape we were in before the player break”

Startups5 days ago

Strategic movements a rising startup should do

Esports5 days ago

DRX parts ways with coach cvMax

Trending