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Energy policies relating to alternative energy

Current energy policies are still based heavily on natural resources. Meanwhile, the trend is increasingly toward alternative resources, such as wind power.

It's only a matter of time before natural resources, such as petroleum, are depleted. Petroleum, a fossil-based energy source deposited across millions of years, is used to produce fuel or electricity. Taking stock of the fact that 260 billion barrels (one barrel = 159 liters) of oil were extracted over the last 11 years, it's evident that the world's petroleum resources will be depleted one day. New developments in solar or wind power are aimed at providing alternative energy sources that will enable us to maintain our current standard of living. Petroleum is also required by the chemical industry to manufacture special plastics.

The advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy sources

When discussing the subject of petroleum and alternative energy, one must bear the advantages and disadvantages in mind. Our resources are running short . Because we cannot count on petroleum for the future, there will come a time when everyone will rely on the efficiency of wind power and other alternative energy sources . Unlike petroleum, wind power can be managed to ensure that it constantly renews itself. Wind power meanwhile makes it possible to have enough resources to supply entire cities. Petroleum has the additional disadvantage of harming the environment through CO2 emissions. This has resulted in increasing demand for resources such as wind power. Wind power can be classified into different categories. A class 4 wind turbine can meanwhile provide resources in a much more efficient manner than petroleum resources for instance. In addition, unlike petroleum, resources such as wind power offer a decentralized energy supply. This means that in contrast to petroleum, the utilization of wind power does not require a large power plant. Instead, it makes "transporting" the energy easier and faster. Decentralized wind power entails a massive infrastructure change. Resources such as wind power certainly bring disadvantages when it comes to the environment, although they pale in comparison to the disasters that can result from petroleum. The utilization of our resources determines how we continue to maintain our standard of living. This makes it important to continue public discourse on the issues of wind power and petroleum.

Resource shortage

It's only a matter of time before there is no petroleum left. For this reason, from a resource standpoint we should already be moving toward heavy reliance on wind power instead of petroleum. After all, from a pure scientific point of view, new petroleum resources won't be available for millions of years. Unlike petroleum, wind power is a resource that will never run dry. In Germany alone, wind power is serving as a popular alternative resource to petroleum. The demand for wind power will increase in line with the consumption of petroleum. For this reason, it is imperative that we gradually move away from petroleum and make more use of wind power or other alternative energy resources. The environmental pollution caused by petroleum is reason enough for an environmentally-conscious society to use solar or wind power. In contrast to petroleum, wind power is significantly better for the environment and offers a unique resource balance.

Power and Electrical Engineering

This topic covers issues related to energy generation, conversion, transportation and consumption and how the industry is addressing the challenge of energy efficiency in general.

innovations-report provides in-depth and informative reports and articles on subjects ranging from wind energy, fuel cell technology, solar energy, geothermal energy, petroleum, gas, nuclear engineering, alternative energy and energy efficiency to fusion, hydrogen and superconductor technologies.

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Stanford technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light

A solar cell is basically a semiconductor, which converts sunlight into electricity, sandwiched between metal contacts that carry the electrical current.

But this widely used design has a flaw: The shiny metal on top of the cell actually reflects sunlight away from the semiconductor where electricity is...

26.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Get to the point with electric cars

New process for accurate positioning to the nearest centimeter with inductive charging systems

Electric vehicles are increasingly no longer charged with electricity by cords but by means of inductive charging systems. Charging takes place via a magnetic...

26.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Hybrid excavator uses diesel-electric drive

Hybrid drives also promise benefits in utility vehicles and construction machinery. Such devices are still, however, very much the exception in the market.

The new BINE Projektinfo brochure “Hybrid building machinery” (11/2015) presents a material handler with a diesel-electric drive. In order to supply the...

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“move“ – on course for the mobility of the future

The demonstration and technology platform “move” enables Empa researchers to develop new vehicle drive concepts with significantly lower CO2 emissions and test them in practice. It uses surplus electricity from photovoltaic plants or hydropower stations as an energy source. On the one hand, this enables batteries in electric cars to be charged. On the other hand, the electricity can also be converted into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles or synthetic methane for natural gas/biogas vehicles.

On November 23, 2015, Empa officially opened the research and technology transfer platform “move” in the presence of renowned energy and mobility experts. Over...

25.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Tandem solar cells are simply better

Stacking two solar cells one over the other has advantages: Because the energy is “harvested” in two stages, and overall the sunlight can be converted to electricity more efficiently. Empa researchers have come up with a procedure that makes it possible to produce thin film tandem solar cells in which a thin perovskite layer is used. The processing of perovskite takes place at just 50 degrees Celsius and such a process is potentially applicable for low cost roll-to-roll production in future.

What is true for double-blade razors is also true for solar cells: two work steps are more thorough than one. Stacking two solar cells one on top of the other,...

23.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

ORNL microscopy captures real-time view of evolving fuel cell catalysts

Atomic-level imaging of catalysts by scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could help manufacturers lower the cost and improve the performance of emission-free fuel cell technologies.

Fuel cells rely on costly platinum catalysts to enable the reactions that convert chemical energy into electricity. Alloying platinum with noble metals such as...

20.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Producing solar cells more quickly with lasers

Before a solar cell can be delivered, it undergoes extensive machining processes. For example, small numbers of foreign atoms have to be specifically introduced at the right places in order to enable an electric current to flow.

The BINE-Projektinfo brochure "Processing solar cells with lasers" (08/2015) presents a new manufacturing process for silicon solar cells in which a laser...

17.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

New zeolite can store more heat

Hydrophilic zeolites have almost ideal properties for use in thermal storage systems. They store the heat with hardly any losses, are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Thermal storage systems brought into shape” (07/2015) presents an optimised manufacturing process for a zeolite thermal storage system. It impresses with its greater energy density, power density and cycle resistance.

Material is manufactured without binders and can be formed into any shape

16.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Super environmentally friendly: the “fool’s gold battery”

High-performance lithium ion batteries face a major problem: Lithium will eventually start to run out as batteries are deployed in electric cars and stationary storage units. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have now discovered an alternative: the “fool’s gold battery”. It consists of iron, sulfur, sodium and magnesium – all elements that are in plentiful supply. This means that giant storage batteries could be built on the cheap and used stationary in buildings or next to power plants, for instance.

There is an urgent need to search for low-priced batteries to store electricity. Intermittency of green electricity is affecting the power grids, calling for...

13.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Stable grid despite flexible feed-in

Grid frequency and voltage must remain stable for a reliable supply of consumers. However, wind energy and solar power systems provide electrical energy intermittently. How power supply can still function reliably is outlined in the BINE Projektinfo brochure ‘Stable grid with 100 per cent green electricity’ (06/2015).

Researchers model electricity grid with 100 per cent renewable energy

13.11.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

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