Archive for the ‘Solar Power’ Tag

Fukushima Solar Fire   21 comments

 

Japan’s Renewable Energy Village

Fukushima Farmers Solar Rays of Hope in a Dark Land

renewable_energy_wno.org

 

Deserted Minamisoma_City_Office_wikimedia creative commons licenseDeserted_Lawson_Haramachikitahara_Shop_wikimedia creative commons licenseContaminated and deserted_Fukushima Prefecture_March 2011

Radio-active farmland in the Japanese prefecture of Minamisoma, a coastal city contaminated by nuclear fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi N-Plant in March 2011, is now leading the way in building a blueprint for modern Renewable Energy Villages.

Construction has already begun on this community run project to build the foundations of its Renewable Energy Village.

solar-energy-panels-and-wind-turbine

Roughly two-thirds of the Minamisoma farmland is located inside of Fukushima’s radio-active exclusion zone.

Hi level contamination Minam.outskirts_greenpeace.org

  • To date the Renewable Energy Village (REV) prides itself on 120 photovoltaic panels, generating 30 kilowatts of power which is sold to a local utility.
  • Locating wind turbines on some of the land is another innovative idea currently in the planning stages.
  • Recreational and educational facilities as well as an astronomical observatory are also being aspired to depending on the availability of further funding.

Solar-SharingFukushima Farmers Solar Rays of Hope

renewable-energy-world_nuclear-news.netThe basis of this project is known in Japan as "solar sharing"growing crops beneath raised solar panels. Most other large-scale solar parks in Japan whether already operational or still in the planning stages have/will have solar panels resting on the ground itself, which makes growing crops impossible.

Solar sharing_bellona.ru

The largest solar park to be built in Japan of this nature will also be located in Minamisoma causing Project Leader Ryozo Hakozaki for the Renewable Energy Village (REV) some concerns; "If farmers decide to sell up their land, entire communities will be wiped off the map." However Sohei Takahashi, Project Chairman believes the Renewable Energy Village project offers a workable solution to this problem. "Through the project we can protect farmland and communities, and with two parallel revenues create increased prosperity compared with before the disasters."

 

Rapseed_anagarden.seTakahashi also plans to conduct research into crops that can tolerate radioactive contamination. One crop, rapeseed, has already been planted, as its oil is contaminants-free, although the actual plants do absorb a percentage of radioisotopes such as those of caesium. The project is supported by generous ‘feed-in tariffs’ the government set and which were introduced in mid-2012.

solar-energy-panels-and-wind-turbine_rapeseed field

All proceeds from the crops and energy will go back into the REV project, the hope and aspiration is that the model will inspire and be copied by farmers whose livelihoods were decimated by the nuclear disaster. "People evacuated from areas closer to the plant have given up ever farming their fields again. There might be an amusement park feel to the project, but we’re trying to show them what the future could hold." Project leader Ryozo Hakozaksolar-energy-panels-and-wind-turbine

Source: New Scientist

Solar Sails   14 comments

Solar Sail Space Crafts

 

Space craft propelled directly by the power of sunlight (solar cells are indirect power).

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Two projects are set for launch this year:-

  •   IKAROS – launched by Japanese Space Agency JAXA
  •   SOLARSAIL-1 by US based Planetary Society

(These are demonstrations to show that it can work, but they are very tiny!)

Solar Sail Craft Basics

gossamer_solar_sail

Constructed from Gossamer – thin reflective sails capture photons

  •   Photons are packets of energy that make up sunlight

The sails gain momentum from the photons as they are reflected from their surface. Energy gained pushed the craft forwards gently. The force of sunlight is very little but this is fine as their CO2 acts against it in the vacuum of space.

Future sails could be made of nanotube mesh – 30 times lighter, and could increase acceleration dramatically.

nanotube_mesh

Travel and Speeds

With the Sun set to shine for a good billion years or so yet, it can be considered an endless fuel supply therefore a Solar Sail Craft could in theory, reach speeds of hundreds of kilometres per hour making travel to Pluto a mere three years and to the outer limits of the Solar System years rather than decades. NASA’s Voyager craft took thirty years to reach these limits. A Solar Sail Craft launched today would pass it in ten years.

                                               voyager_1 voyager_2

Other Solar Sails

They would need sails 100m across and a boost from a large and unrealistically expansive laser system as the Sun’s energy decreases with distance. However laser-boosted systems could see a Solar Sail Craft travelling at speeds of up to 20% speed of light (60,000km/hr or 45,000mph) every second. This would make visiting neighbouring stars in our lifetime our best possibility.

Brief History

  1. Concept first proposed by German astronomer Johannes Kelper in seventeenth century
  2. 1862 Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell discovers that light exerts a pressure on a surface.
  3. 1867 Jules Vernes suggests light pressure could provide a mechanical means of propulsion.

solarsail4. 1924 Russian scientist Fridrickh Arturovich Tsander wrote “For flight in Interplanetary Space I am working on the idea of flying using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets capable of achieving favourable results.“

Mariner Probe

5. 1971 When NASA’s probe Mariner ran low on steering thrusters fuel en route to Venus engineers angled its solar panels into the Sun and used solar radiation pressure to steer it back on course.

Cosmos-1

6. 2005 Cosmos-1 a Solar Sail designed by US Planetary Society failed its test, due to rocket failure on launch vehicle, resulting in it being unable to reach its intended orbit.

                                                                         Nanosail-DNanosail-D_(2)

7. 2008 NASA’s Nanosail-D mission, to test the Solar Sail’s deployment techniques. Lost during launch failure.