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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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Sunny times ahead for cheaper solar power

Greater use of clean electricity from the sun should be a step closer, thanks to new research carried out in the UK. The research has shown how the cost of generating solar electricity can be reduced, laying the foundation for a major expansion in the use of this sustainable energy technology. The project has been undertaken by a team of physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers at Sheffield Hallam University, with funding from the Swindon-based Engineering and 28.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Methanol could fuel computers, cell phones

Because methanol, as a liquid, would be easier to dispense using current infrastructure, it will likely be one of the first fuels for fuel cells. Speaking at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society March 23-27 in New Orleans, Yu Seung Kim, a former research scientist at Virginia Tech, will report the results of studies at Virginia Tech to determine the optimum materials for use as a proton exchange membrane in a methanol-based fuel cell. Methanol is the 24.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Ion trek through polymer offers better batteries

Cell phones, CD players and flashlights all wear down batteries far faster than we might wish. But there’s new hope, now that researchers at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) have overcome another barrier to building more powerful, longer-lasting lithium-based batteries. The INEEL team, led by inorganic chemist Thomas Luther, discovered how lithium ions move through the flexible membrane that powers their patented rechargeab 21.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Improving the efficiency of hydropower stations

Hydroelectric power provides 16 per cent of Europe’s electricity, but most of the plants and their turbines were designed many years ago. By redesigning the runner - the propeller-like component that transfers energy from the water to the drive shaft in the turbine - EUREKA project FLINDT enables operators to harness more power from their turbines. According to Professor François Avellan, Director of the Swiss main project partner, Laboratoire de Machines Hydrauliques de l’ EPFL, Ecole poly 12.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Hydrogen vehicle won’t be viable soon, study says

Even with aggressive research, the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will not be better than the diesel hybrid (a vehicle powered by a conventional engine supplemented by an electric motor) in terms of total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, says a study recently released by the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment (LFEE). And while hybrid vehicles are already appearing on the roads, adoption of the hydrogen-based vehicle will require major infrastructure changes to make compres 11.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Commission presents the state of play of ITER project

Today in Brussels European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented the status of the international negotiations relating to the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) research project on nuclear fusion energy. A significant step has been achieved with the entry into negotiations of the People’s Republic of China and the comeback of the United States of America. Participants to the negotiations will have to identify the ITER site from among the four current c 27.02.2003 | nachricht Read more

Tiny computing machine fueled by DNA

The device was awarded the Guinness World Record for "smallest biological computing device" Fifty years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, a new use has been found for this celebrated molecule: fuel for molecular computation systems. The research, conducted by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, will appear in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS). Whether plugged in or battery powered, computers need energ 25.02.2003 | nachricht Read more

Self-powered appliances--no batteries needed

Appliances that need no cables or batteries but operate purely on power generated from their surrounding vibrations could save manufacturers and consumers large sums of money, according to scientists at the University of Southampton. Professor Neil White and his colleagues at the University’s Department of Electronics and Computer Science realised three years ago that sensors were being used in increasingly diverse application areas where physical connections to the outside world were d 21.02.2003 | nachricht Read more

It pays to convert food processing wastewater to energy source

In laboratory tests, Penn State environmental engineers have shown that wastewater from a Pennsylvania confectioner, apple processor, and potato chip maker can produce hydrogen gas worth $80,000 a year or more. Steven Van Ginkel, doctoral candidate, and Dr. Sang-Eun Oh, postdoctoral researcher in environmental engineering, conducted the tests. "In addition to hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel and industrial feedstock, methane, the main component of natural gas, can be generated from the 06.02.2003 | nachricht Read more

Battery power

Consumer demand for lighter, more powerful handheld devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones is growing year on year. The EUREKA project 3D STRUCTURES has addressed one of the key requirements – cheaper and lighter batteries that last longer. French lead partner SCPS (Societé de Conseil et de Prospective Scientifique S.A.) has developed a new kind of conductive metallic foam capable of replacing heavy metallic parts. A cylindrical block of foam is immersed in an aqueous solution t 05.02.2003 | nachricht Read more
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