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T-box concept to capture wind energy from trains

07/04/2011 3 comments

As anyone living near railway tracks will tell you, speeding trains generate quite a bit of wind as they whoosh past. Industrial designers Qian Jiang and Alessandro Leonetti Luparini have come up with a device that’s installed between the sleepers on a track, and as the train passes overhead, the wind drives a turbine to generate electricity.

The T-box devices could be placed along railway or subway lines, and make good use of an otherwise wasted resource.

Unlike innovations such as the Solar Roadways project and Solar Wind concept, the T-box device wouldn’t have to depend on a natural energy source, but instead one that is produced as a consequence of human activity. China‘s Jiang and Italy’s Luparini reckon that about 150 of these devices could be installed along a kilometer (0.62 miles) of track and as a train speeds along, the turbines inside the device would generate electricity.

The designers say that the turbine is based on models produced by Hetronix, although the blades are obviously designed to rotate about a central axis within the cylinder housing. Much of the T-box would be below ground level with only the vent showing, and even though the wind produced by passing trains may only come in short bursts, installing them along a busy route should result in a decent amount of energy being produced.

Of course, keeping these babies clean and safe could be a problem. In addition to the dust and debris kicked up as the train speeds along or grime and grease deposits escaping from underneath, protecting such shiny boxes from the destructive hands of vandals could prove somewhat tiresome.

However, it’s an appealing concept with huge potential for further development. The T-box design took silver in last year’s Lite-On awards and was exhibited in Xuexue Institute, Taipei during the summer.

Have a look at the Lite-On presentation video and see what you think:

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California remains United States’ green energy leader

05/04/2011 Comments off

Icon of Wind Turbines

Image via Wikipedia

In as much as policies can drive the growth of renewable energy in every state, it takes time before their effects can be felt. Using a time-lag analysis, the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory identified how states’ policies in 2005 generated more renewable energy only in 2007.

In its report State of the States 2009: Renewable Energy Development and the Role of Policy, the laboratory also stressed the impact of contextual factors in renewable energy development – sociological, economic, political and geographic.

Despite these factors, though, the United States has shown growth in green development, with several states asserting dominance in certain sectors.

Since hydroelectricity accounts for more than half of the renewables that the United States produced in 2007, setting it aside will be helpful in analyzing how states fared in other sectors.

California dominated green energy production, excluding hydroelectric, in terms of megawatt hours generated. The state, which led the country in biomass, geothermal and distributed solar megawatt-hours generated, chalked up nearly 25 million MWh of green energy produced. The figure surpasses by more than half what Texas generated at more than 10 million MWh.

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Almost 75% of new global PV installations were made in Europe in 2009

09/09/2010 Comments off

Photovoltaic cells produce electricity directl...

Image via Wikipedia

Europe remained one of the most promising markets for solar energy, as 5.8 GW of the 7.4 GW of newly installed photovoltaic systems globally, were installed in that region in 2009 according to the European Commission Joint Research Center reported.

Europe also accounted for 16 GW, or 70%, of the world’s 22 GW total installed photovoltaic capacity, which consists of existing and newly installed solar facilities. One GW of photovoltaic capacity can provide enough electricity for about 250,000 European households during one year.

Germany led the European nations with 3.8 GW of new solar capacity and 9.8 GW of cumulative capacity, of which 2.3 GW were linked to the power grid by the fourth quarter of last year. Italy ranked second in terms of new installed capacity with 0.73 GW, while Spain was second in terms of cumulative installed capacity with 3.5 GW.

However, the European photovoltaic market is still in its infancy stage. The commission estimated that only 0.4% of the total supplied electricity in the European Union came from photovoltaic power in 2009 – representing a mere 0.1% in the world’s total supplied electricity.

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France unleashes $ 1.74 billion for clean energy technologies

05/09/2010 Comments off

France has launched a major investment program worth 1.35 billion euros ($1.73 billion) to support the development of biofuels and other renewable energy projects over the next four years.

The French Environment and Energy Management Agency will provide 450 million euros in subsidies and 900 million euros in low-interest loans to support the development of emerging clean technologies, such as solar, marine and geothermal energy, as well as carbon capture and storage projects and green chemistry for biofuel development.

A total of 190 million euros are earmarked for 2010 and 290 million for each of the next four years. The French government is also seeking to attract about 2 billion euros in private investments to support the program.

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