Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Biodiesel power EcoRoamer

Just spend the morning with Alice Gugelev and Jay Shapiro owners of the Biodiesel power Eco-Roamer and my friend David from High School.  Alice sister and her husband Jay are planning a 3 year would tour driving from the US to Brazil then ship to Africa, and driving through Europe, India and Asia. You can follow along on their web site.

Monday, December 28, 2009

DIY ‘Boat Tail’ Gives Little Car Big Fuel Economy

Read article at:

 a homemade boat tail and boosted his fuel economy to 64 mpg.

 Aerocivic, a Honda Civic that gets 95 mpg.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TED Talks: Steven Cowley: Fusion is energy's future

About this talk

Physicist Steven Cowley is certain that nuclear fusion is the only truly sustainable solution to the fuel crisis. He explains why fusion will work -- and details the projects that he and many others have devoted their lives to, working against the clock to create a new source of energy.

Steven Cowley directs the UK's leading fusion research center. Soon he'll helm new experiments that may make cheap fusion energy real on a commercial scale.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Solar heat number

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Tipler, Paul A. College Physics. New York: Worth, 1987: 316. "The average energy flux at this distance on a surface perpendicular to the sun's rays is about 1353 W/m2 1.353 kW/m2
"The Sun." Encyclopedia Britannica. vol. 27. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998: 456. "… it's radiative output, called the solar constant, is 137 ergs/m2/sec, or 1.98 cal/cm2/min" 1.38 kW/m2
Cowen, R. Science News. 152 (27 September 1997): 197. "… the sun's output had climbed from 1367.0 to 1367.5 watts per square meter" 1.367–1.3675 kW/m2
Brooks, William O. and George R. Tracy. Modern Physical Science.New York: Holt, 1957: 566. "We get energy from the sun at the rate of five million horsepower per square mile." 1.44 kW/m2
Rosner, Robert. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Physics.vol. 4. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996: 1545. "The most obvious solar effect on the earth is radiation, roughly 1.4 kW/m2 (the so called solar constant)" 1.4 kW/m2

1 joule = 1 watt of power applied for 1 second.
You will need 4,180 Joules of energy to raise 1 kg of water (approx 1 liter depending on temp)  by 1 degree C.

1 liter spread out across 1 square meter would be a layer of water 1mm thick.

Let's assume 0 evaporation and 100% solar absorption.

It would take about 3 seconds to raise the water 1 deg C.

But you fighting other forces:
* Evaporation (easy enough to solve with a sealed container)
* Emissivity  (re-radiating the energy back out)
* Reflectivity (reflecting the IR radiation back before absorbing)
* Solar Absorption (Amount of IR converted to head from solar radiation) this is seldom perfect
* Convection (heat radiating in to the air)


For most materials absorption and emissivity of IR is usually the same for any given frequency.
Paint: Krylon, flat white #1502  @ 3m wavelenght  = 0.992 emissivity

So weirdly enough this one specific "Visibly" white paint has one of the highest emissivities, and would absorb or reflect a lot of heat.

Paint: 3M, black velvet coating 9560 series optical black @ 3m to 10m wavelenght   = 1.00 emissivity
These are near perfect in emissivity

Water's emissivity is around  0.95 to 0.963, but it evaporates from the photos of light striking even more then from the temperature.
 (Read about pan evaporation rates.)

Selective Coatings
With the solar absorption ranging from 0.94 to 0.96 and the thermal emissivity ranging from 0.04 to 0.09,

The basic challenge in the use of solar energy is to transform solar energy radiation into useful heat. Solar /Thermafin Manufacturing has set a benchmark for efficiency and quality with the introduction of Crystal Clear™ solar selective coating.

Crystal Clear™selective coatings increases solar collector efficiency due to its unique optical properties. It has the ability to strongly absorb short-wave light while simultaneously reflecting long-wave light. These intrinsic properties of Crystal Clear™ enable the collector to reach optimum temperature in a minimal amount of time and retain the absorbed heat longer.   (India)

Stored Energy Calculations

QUESTION: How hot will 2 cups of water get from 2 minutes in a microwave oven?

     Specific Heat of Water = 4180 -----------
                                   Kg - Deg. C

     Power of Microwave = 750 Watts

     Watt =  ------

     Weight of Water = 0.454 Kg

     Time of Heating = 120 Seconds

You want to write an equation so the units cancel and you are left with degrees C. The Specific Heat of Water has Deg. C in the denominator, so we will have to divide by it.

                         Kg - Deg. C 
  X Deg. C = something * -----------
                         4180 Joules

"X" will be the increase in temperature (in degrees Celsius) we expect to see from applying the facts above. "something" has to have Kg in the denominator, so:

                              Kg - Deg. C      1
  X Deg. C = something else * ----------- * -------
                              4180 Joules   0.454 Kg 
Now we need to cancel Joules, so let's multiply by what a watt is:

                              Kg - Deg. C      1       Joule/second   
  X Deg. C = another thing *  ----------- * -------- * ------------
                              4180 Joules   0.454 Kg      Watt
Another way to write that is:

                              Kg - Deg. C      1          Joule
  X Deg. C = another thing *  ----------- * -------- * ------------
                              4180 Joules   0.454 Kg   Watt*second
Joules and Kg cancel out; now let's get rid of Watts and seconds in the next step:

              Kg - Deg. C      1          Joule
  X Deg. C =  ----------- * -------- * ------------ * 750 Watts * 120 Seconds
              4180 Joules   0.454 Kg   Watt*second

All the units now cancel on the right hand side of the equation leaving Degrees Celsius. So the answer is : 750 * 120 / 4180 / 0.454 = 47.425 Degrees Celsius increase in temperature! In the real world, "your mileage may vary." Try and think why that could be.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Renewable Energy using Hot Air!

Renewable Energy using Hot Air!
[not involving politicians]

The U.S. needs more energy as well as a need for more jobs. Combining these areas with an alternate, renewable energy producer may be of interest to someone.

To improve the U.S.’s energy position, and provide jobs in the “green” sector, I would like to bring to your attention to the concept of the Solar Updraft Tower, .
Isidoro Cabanyes first proposed the concept of a solar chimney in 1903 in the magazine “Electrical Energy.”
In 1982 an experimental tower was built in Manzanares, Spain, about 150 km/95 miles south of Madrid.  While intended to only operate for approximately 3 years, it did in fact produce up to 50kW until 1989.
Unlike a lot of experimental technology, this one has produced power and as predicted.  The research data is available for study and advancement.  A summary of the results of the experimental tower is in “The Solar Chimney: Electricity from the Sun” by Jorg Schlaig. This paper suggests some quite interesting variations on how to develop and use the concept.

My suggestion is that the U.S. explore making use of this off-the-shelf technology to produce power for the U.S.’s energy users.  I’m not unaware that the initial tower[s] will be part experimental, as well as part of the energy grid of the US. 
As with all such projects, the capital costs for such projects will most likely be high, though the upkeep and maintenance of the Solar Updraft Towers will be quite low.  A 5MW tower would cost in the neighborhood of 60 Million dollars , less than the cost of a comparable coal-fired plant, and far more "green." It would produce power at the cost of about 5¢ per kWh.

My suggestion to increase the incentive to build such a project, would be to allow a company to write off the capital expenses in, say 5 years, using accelerated depreciation.  This assumes the Solar Updraft Tower would be built to last & produce power for at least 40 years.  
Where to put the towers?  I would suggest the desert areas of the US southwest.  The project would consist of a series of towers.  Each succeeding tower would initiate construction about 3 years after ground is broken for the
previous tower.  Each new tower would build on and incorporate new technologies and materials as well as adapting to any challenges appearing during construction and operation of the previous towers.  Using knowledge gained,
each succeeding tower would be larger than the previous: 5 MW, 30 MW, 100 MW and 200 MW.  Larger towers are possible as well. 

In 25 years since the Spanish tower was built and operated, not only have wind turbines improved, but so have the materials needed to build a Solar Updraft Tower.  They will continue to improve over the coming years.

So why isn’t anything being done?
Thank you for hearing me out.

Yours sincerely, 
Mr. jan howard finder
164 Williamsburg Court
Albany, NY 12203-5506, USA
jan "dot" finder  "at"  gmail "dot" com