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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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A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

30.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Microwave-based test method can help keep 3-D chip designers' eyes open

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have invented a new approach to testing multilayered, three-dimensional computer chips that are now appearing in some of the latest consumer devices. The new method may be the answer the semiconductor industry needs to quickly assess the reliability of this relatively new chip construction model, which stacks layers of flat circuitry atop one another like floors in a building to help make chips ever-faster and packed with features.

The approach overcomes the limitation of conventional chip-testing methods on the so-called 3-D chips, which include many thin horizontal "floors" connected to...

29.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

SoCUS – New cost-effective sensor system to measure state of charge

Batteries are indispensable for electric vehicles and other mobile devices that require electrical power. Complex battery management systems (BMS) are needed to estimate, for example, the range and durability of the battery. Therefore, they determine the state of charge for each cell on the basis of Current (Coulomb Counting) and Voltage. As BMS calculations are based on default values, they are prone to error. Especially with frequent partial charge and certain battery cell types, no precise measurement of the state of charge is possible. In addition, these systems consume some of the energy themselves.

In the SoCUS project, the Fraunhofer R&D Center for Electromobility Bavaria is developing cost-effective sensor systems that can be integrated directly into...

28.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Harvesting the Sun for Power and Produce

Agrophotovoltaics Increases the Land Use Efficiency by over 60 Percent

Until now, acreage was designated for either photovoltaics or photosynthesis, that is, to generate electricity or grow crops. An agrophotovoltaics (APV) pilot...

24.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Batteries with better performance and improved safety

Researchers from Empa and the University of Geneva have developed a prototype of a novel solid sodium battery with the potential to store extra energy.

Phones, laptops, electric cars – batteries are everywhere. And to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, these batteries are increasin­gly lighter, more...

23.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Researchers take next step toward fusion energy

Fusion is the process that powers the sun, harnessing it on Earth would provide unlimited clean energy. However, researchers say that constructing a fusion power plant has proven to be a daunting task, in no small part because there have been no materials that could survive the grueling conditions found in the core of a fusion reactor. Now, researchers at Texas A&M University have discovered a way to make materials that may be suitable for use in future fusion reactors.

The sun makes energy by fusing hydrogen atoms, each with one proton, into helium atoms, which contain two protons. Helium is the byproduct of this reaction....

16.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Desert solar to fuel centuries of air travel

Scientists with the SOLAR-JET Project have demonstrated the first-ever entire process to make kerosene, the jet fuel used by commercial airlines, using a high-temperature thermal solar reactor to create syngas. Shell Global Solutions in Amsterdam refined the solar syngas into jet fuel, using the Fischer-Tropsch method.

Thermochemical solar fuel manufacturing would be an energy industry with a life of centuries, rather than decades. The feedstock of sunlight, carbon dioxide...

16.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Butterfly wing inspires photovoltaics: Light absorption can be enhanced by up to 200 percent

Nanostructures optimize light absorption in black butterflies -- principle can be transferred to photovoltaics for improving light harvesting in thin-film solar cells -- cell efficiency increase

Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that...

15.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Digital length gauges by WayCon - extremely accurate and versatile

WayCon Positionsmesstechnik has added digital length gauges from the HEIDENHAIN SPECTO (ST) and METRO (MT) series to its product range. The length gauges feature an outstanding accuracy of up to ±0.2 μm over measuring ranges up to 30 mm.

Waycon length gauges have many versatile applications, as the plungers can be actuated pneumatically or by the measured object. They are suitable for use in...

14.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Photopolymerization-triggered molecular motion for flexible liquid crystal display

With current 2D techniques, one typically irradiates a liquid crystal film that contains added photoresponsive dye molecules, with uniform polarized light. This controls the net liquid crystal alignment via the interaction of the dye dipole and the polarization axis of light. The drawback with these systems is the need for adding strong dyes, which can discolor or degrade optical and stability properties. Thus, a dye-free method is highly desired in the engineering industry.

Currently, only two approaches to dye-free methods have been explored. The first is a two-step alignment method, in which the liquid crystal materials are...

14.11.2017 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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