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  FUTURE ENERGY eNEWS

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September 2012

 

Dear Subscriber,

 

This month we would like to let you know about the World Energy Engineering Congress (Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2012) at the Georgia World Congress Center with Colin Powell and Ted Koppel as featured speakers. For energy professionals, visit www.energycongress.com in addition to the Netherlands'www.globalBEM.com reported on last month where I will be in attendance and presenting two slideshow lectures. Also, this month thermoelectrics set a new record with the highest heat-to-electricity energy conversion efficiency (2.2) yet attained at temperatures near 600C with PbTe at Northwestern University (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature11439). When converting from one form of energy to another, the Carnot efficiency physics can keep changing!

 

Our Story #1 answers the frequent request that we hear for do it yourself energy solutions. Instead of letting 90% of our domestic energy come from non-renewable sources, community power is the mantra for the new book, Power From the People by energy expert, Greg Pahl, in order to increase energy efficiency and community resilience.

 

When we noticed that the engineering group IEEE did a comparison of the two candidates' energy policies, it seemed newsworthy enough to reprint it for our readers in Story #2. It also contains links to the supporting documents that explain more of each position summarized in the article, along with a related article on wind energy politics.

 

An exciting big breakthrough for our Star Trek fans is the new theoretical support for a warp drivein Story #3 which seems to overcome the earlier energy-guzzling warp drive estimate by Miguel Alcubierrewho even made an appearance on Misho Kaku's "Sci Fi Science" TV series(this SciFi website link has great 2 minute excerpts of each episode). Now at the U of Mexico, Dr. Alcubierre modified relativistic equations after watching Star Trek as a student to predict faster-than-light travel without violating physics. The new estimatesin Story #3 however, put the drive into the realm ofmore reasonable energy possibilities.IRI has been on the cutting edge of this trend in space technology for years.The 2011 recipient of the "Integrity in Research Award" went to David Froning, whose pioneering work on "vacuum engineering" with electromagnetism for propulsion and power using contra-wound toroidal coils has made groundbreaking finds which have long range implications for space travel and gravity modification (his paper in the IRI COFE3 Proceedings is a good summary of his work) with reasonable, instead of unreachable power requirements.IRI wished to recognize the hard work that David Froning has done for years to bring scientific integrity to engineering of the vacuum, which is one of the most challenging projects any physicist can undertake.David Froning's Quantum Ramjet is based on zero point energy modifications to the permittivity and permeability of the vacuum, which as the article link explains, was surprisingly was motivated by the Billy Meier UFO books about the Pleideans (I have four of them).

 

Ever wonder how an electric car can compete with a high mileage hybrid in mpg? Our Story #4 direct from the famous TV show MotorWeek explains the MPGe or Miles Per Gallon Equivalency that now evens the playing field between the two divers styles of autos. We feature the one car that has the highest MPGe (112 MPGe) of all the EVs on the market putting gasoline cars to shame.

 

In a breakthrough for bioelectromagnetics,Story #5 examines the world first bionic implant for a blind woman, which already stimulates her visual cortex nerves. In the coming decade, it is hopeful that part of a blind person's vision can be restored with this new bioelectric device.

  

Sincerely,

 

Thomas Valone, PhD, PE.

Editor

IN THIS ISSUE

1) POWER FROM THE PEOPLE BY LAUNCHING LOCAL ENERGY PROJECTS

2) ENERGY INNOVATION UNDER BOTH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

3) THE WARP DRIVE BECOMING SCIENCE FACT

4) HIGHEST EPA RATING VEHICLE BY MITSUBISHI

5) BIONIC IMPLANT FOR OVERCOMING BLINDNESS

 

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Breakthrough Energy Movement Conference 2012 Holland

Breakthrough Energy Movement Conference 2012 Holland

1) Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance and Launch Local Energy Projects

by Greg Pahl, Foreword by Van Jones, released 9/4/12, Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Institute <newsletter@postcarbon.orghttp://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/power_from_the_people?p=add 

 

Is it possible to "relocalize" energy? This is a critical question that must be addressed if we are to achieve true global resilience.

In our brand new book (September 4, 2012), Power From the People, energy expert Greg Pahl decisively argues that the answer is YES.

  

Power From the People is the second book in our Community Resilience Guides series, The book illustrates how communities across the country are already generating their own energy at the local level. From citizen-owned wind turbines to co-op biofuel producers to community-wide initiatives combining multiple resources and technologies, Pahl outlines the steps necessary and plan, organize, finance and launch community energy projects.

 

The book showcases over 25 real-life examples of local energy projects, offering a range of challenges and solutions that can be adapted and reapplied.

"Talk about down-and-dirty. Or rather, down-and-clean! Here's the actual useful detail on how to do the stuff that really needs doing. Read it and get to work!"

-Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

 

More than ninety percent of the electricity we use to light our communities, and nearly all the energy we use to run our cars, heat our homes, and power our factories comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy.

It doesn't have to be that way. In Power from the People, energy expert Greg Pahl explains how American communities can plan, finance, and produce their own local, renewable energy that is reliable, safe, and clean.

 

Pahl uses examples from around the nation and the world to explore how homeowners, co-ops, nonprofits, governments, and businesses are already putting power in the hands of local communities through distributed energy programs and energy-efficiency measures.

Renewable, community power is a necessary step on the path to energy security and community resilience, particularly as we face peak oil, cope with climate change, and address the need to transition to a more sustainable future.

 

This book-the second in the Chelsea Green Publishing Company and Post Carbon Institute's Community Resilience Series (http://www.resilience.org/guides)-also profiles numerous communitywide initiatives that can be replicated and scaled broadly.

 

 Greg Pahl

Greg Pahl is the author of numerous books on energy and also writes for Mother Earth News and various other publications on biodiesel, wind power, wood heat, solar energy, heat pumps, electric cars, and a wide range of other topics related to living in a post-carbon world.

His books include Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy (2005, Chelsea Green), Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options (2003, Chelsea Green), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saving the Environment (2001, Macmillan/Alpha Books), and The Unofficial Guide to Beating Debt (2000, IDG Books).

Pahl has been involved ...

View Greg's full profile page >

 

      

 back to table of contents

 

2) Energy Innovation under Obama and Romney

 

KEVIN BULLIS    Thursday, September 6, 2012  Technology review

 

Both candidates say they support renewable energy. Romney, though, would do little to create markets for it.

 

 

 

The energy positions of the presidential candidates and their respective parties have come into focus more sharply over the last two weeks. The Republicans and Democrats have both published their platforms, and the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney has published his energy plan. 

For campaigns that have been at each other's throats on many issues, there's a surprising overlap between the rhetoric of Romney and President Obama on energy-both favor "all-of-the-above" approaches that include domestic energy sources such as fossil fuels and renewable energy. Both support funding energy research and development through organizations such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). Both talk up the possibility of energy independence, and bewail the inability of every president since Richard Nixon to achieve it.

The candidates differ markedly, though, when it comes to creating a market for new energy technology. Obama supports policies that would create markets for new technologies, and Romney, by and large, doesn't.

Specifically, Obama supports clean energy standards, fuel economy standards, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations covering  carbon-dioxide emissions, all of which would create markets for new technology, whether it be solar panels, more efficient engines, or technology for reducing smokestack emissions. (See his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.") This is all justified in part by the desire to create jobs but also by concern over climate change-something Obama doesn't emphasize in speeches, but has emphasized in key policies designed to lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

 

His party's take on climate change is even more emphatic. The Democratic platform released this week strongly emphasizes climate change. "We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation-an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation." (See the2012 Democratic National Platform.) 

Romney, in contrast, opposes a number of policies designed to create markets for new energy technology. He urges Congress to remove the EPA's mandate to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, and he's come out against new fuel-economy standards issued by the Obama administration, arguing that they might require consumers to buy technology they don't necessarily want.

Based on what he says in his energy policy paper, Romney would promote markets for new energy technology only indirectly-by funding research and reducing regulation that could make some technology cheaper, and perhaps fuel demand. (See "The Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class: Energy Independence.") Clearing the way for more oil drilling might help decrease prices-although prices are influenced by many factors. If prices were to drop, that could increase the market for oil and, by extension, for novel drilling and extraction technologies used to get at unconventional sources such as shale oil.

Renewable energy would have a harder time of it. Solar and wind power are generally more expensive than the fossil fuels they compete with. These renewable industries have grown because of government help-tax credits and renewable energy standards, for example-that have created a market and helped offset the price difference. Romney has been critical of grants and tax incentives for such technology.   Romney also comes out against federal  loan guarantees to help bring technology from a small-scale demonstration phase to large scale commercial production-the sort of funding that went to Solyndra, the failed solar panel maker. "There is a place for government investment when time horizons are too long, risks too high, and rewards too uncertain to attract private capital. However, much of our existing energy R&D budget has been devoted to loan guarantees, cash grants, and tax incentives for projects that might have gone forward anyway," his policy paper says. Instead, he urges support only for basic research and small-scale demonstrations. 
 

Related Article

 

Unusual Coalitions Clash Over Wind Energy Tax Credit, Washington Post, Sept 20, 2012

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/unusual-coalitions-clash-over-wind-energy-tax-credit/2012/09/20/fd775f1a-01c7-11e2-b257-e1c2b3548a4a_story.html

 

 

back to table of contents 

 

 

 

3) The Warp Drive Could Become Science Fact

DISCOVERY NEWS | SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 

http://pulse.me/s/dogHz 

 

A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel -- a concept popularized in television's Star Trek -- may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.

 

warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.

Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

SLIDE SHOW: Introducing the Warpship

"There is hope," Harold "Sonny" White of NASA's Johnson Space Center said Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.

Warping Spacetime

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind.

Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn't being warped at all.

"Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light," explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight. "But the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light."

With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit.

The only problem is, previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.

ANALYSIS: Warp Drives: Making the 'Impossible' Possible

But recently White calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.

spaceflight
WATCH VIDEOS: SPACEFLIGHT AND EXPLORATION

Furthermore, if the intensity of the space warps can be oscillated over time, the energy required is reduced even more, White found.

"The findings I presented today change it from impractical to plausible and worth further investigation," White toldSPACE.com. "The additional energy reduction realized by oscillating the bubble intensity is an interesting conjecture that we will enjoy looking at in the lab."

Laboratory Tests

White and his colleagues have begun experimenting with a mini version of the warp drive in their laboratory.

They set up what they call the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer at the Johnson Space Center, essentially creating a laser interferometer that instigates micro versions of space-time warps.

"We're trying to see if we can generate a very tiny instance of this in a tabletop experiment, to try to perturb space-time by one part in 10 million," White said.

He called the project a "humble experiment" compared to what would be needed for a real warp drive, but said it represents a promising first step.

ANALYSIS: Interstellar Travel Is Hard, Why Bother?

And other scientists stressed that even outlandish-sounding ideas, such as the warp drive, need to be considered if humanity is serious about traveling to other stars.

"If we're ever going to become a true spacefaring civilization, we're going to have to think outside the box a little bit, were going to have to be a little bit audacious," Obousy said.

You can follow SPACE.com assistant managing editor Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz. FollowSPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

 

 

back to table of contents 

 

 

4) Mitsubishi EV Vehicle with the Highest MPGe 

Motorweek  Setptember 2012

http://www.motorweek.org/reviews/road_tests/2012_mitsubishi_i 

 

Road Test: 2012 Mitsubishi I

Road Test: 2012 Mitsubishi I

 

 

Mitsubishi is no stranger to electric cars. They've been selling their tiny i-Miev EV in Japan and Europe since 2009. We even tried a pretty bare bones right hand drive model about a year ago. Well, now the US-spec Mitsubishi I model has arrived.  It's bigger, much better equipped, and is the least expensive highway-going EV you can buy.  So, let's see if the "i" has it all.

Well, one thing that the 2012 Mitsubishi i certainly has is a unique appearance. Sort of hard-boiled egg meets the Jetsons. Though the enlarger U.S.-spec i 5-door does have more presence. Whether you like it or loath it will pretty much depend on which side of the "Hey look at me and what I'm doing for the environment" fence you fall on. 

The i's 10 inches of added length, and 4 inches of increased width is accompanied by new front and rear bumpers re-designed to pass U.S. safety regs. With the huge windshield small vertical hood, and thin bubble headlights, the front end is indeed futuristic looking. Standard 15-inch wheels are pushed to the corners, with exaggerated fenders surrounding them. Our test car's attention grabbing graphics aren't included although some owners might want them! And the charging port is located on the right rear fender.

The i's 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located low in the car's chassis, helping keep the center of gravity near to the ground and interior room maximized. The rear mounted, rear-wheel drive 49kW electric motor is rated at 66-horsepower and 145 pound feet of torque. So, we weren't expecting lightning fast acceleration and an uninstrumented 13.5 seconds to 60 miles per hour certainly isn't.

In government testing the i achieved a real world driving range of 62 miles, which is less than the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric; our i indicated 73 miles when fully charged. A full charge takes 7 hours with 240 volts, up to 22 hours using 120, with a cost of about $3.

Inside the new i's wider cabin we quickly notice more space between the seats, with a re-designed console set between, and a normal looking shifter. The seats are cloth and a little utilitarian in feel, but comfortable enough to ride out the full EV range. Driver's seat heat is standard. Gauges are EV-specific and include a power meter, as well as an info center with large distance to empty readout. Rear seats are hard, but with more length there's plenty of room for 2, and seat backs fold 50/50, to expand the 13.2 cubic-feet of trunk space to a very useful 50.4. 

A key fob remote allows you to monitor the state of the charge, and pre-heat or cool the cabin. Now, other EV's offer similar features but require an app for a smart phone.

In typical EV fashion, driving the i takes a little getting used to, but we found the power adequate, and the ride smooth. Steering is very low effort, making low speed maneuvers a dream. The usual instant EV torque seems a little muted compared to other recent EV's we've driven, but the i has no problems getting in to the flow of highway traffic. Top speed is 80.

The additional size has gone a long way towards making the i feel more like a real car. It drives more substantial and less like an EV commuting device. Government Fuel Economy Miles Per Gallon Equivalency Ratings are 126-City, 99-Highway, and 112-Combined. That's better than either the Leaf or Focus Electric. The i's base price also bests them at $29,975. Government tax credits can reduce that by up to a third or better; our well equipped SE begins at $31,975.

As more EVs emerge and competition grows, they will continue to gain efficiency with shorter charging times. And, like the 2012 Mitsubishi i, become cheaper to buy and attainable by more consumers. The i may not quite have it all, but it does have the lowest price and best MPGe rating of any 4 or 5 passenger pure electric going. And that's certainly enough to make the i a serious EV player. 

For more information:  

 www.motorweek.org

 

 

 

 

5) Bionic Implant for Blind Woman 

SINGULARITY HUB | SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 

 

In what's being claimed a world first, doctors have implanted a bionic eye into a woman, allowing her to see flashes of light. The early stage prototype performed well as a proof-of-principle, offering hope to blind people around the world that bionic implants could restore part of their vision in the coming decade.

 Dianne Ashworth's vision was severely impaired due to retinitis pigmentosa, an inherted disease that damages the retina. A technology enthusiast herself, she eagerly volunteered to undergo the first surgery of its kind in hopes that her vision might be restored.

The rationale behind the bionic implant is to replace the damaged retinal cells with electrodes that stimulate the nerves which connect to the visual cortex. A 24-electrode array was placed at the back of the eye just beneath the retina. From the array a wire extends back and connects to a device just behind the ear.

The following short animation gives you a good idea how the devices is implanted.

Bionic Eye - Animation

Bionic Eye - Animation

Right now the bionic implant is specifically targeted toward people with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. But as the research continues, the team hopes that the implant with eventually help people with other types of visual impairments as well.

Clearly the technology is a long way from restoring a blind person's vision anywhere close to the visual acuity of people with normal sight. But Bionic Vision Australia, the consortium of researchers that developed the implant, has a less ambitious goal that would nevertheless make a huge difference - to increase a blind person's mobility. If they could restore sight enough to pick out edges and objects - see the steps of aflight of stairs or read large print, for instance - it would allow for much easier navigation. Just allowing them greater, vision-enabled mobility would greatly increase quality of life.

The implant surgery may sound invasive, but according to the surgeons it is a relatively simple procedure that can be taught easily to surgeons around the world - good news for blind people outside of Australia. According to the World Health Organization, 39 million people worldwide are blind and another 285 million have low vision. The present device may be touted as the first bionic implant, but one notable device has been in development for several years now, and has already gotten promising results. The Argus has an external, wearable camera that transmits wirelessly to an array of more than 60 electrodes implanted in the retina. The Argus II wasapproved last year for sale in Europe, and it is currently being evaluated in clinical trials in the US. Just as the Australian implant aims to achieve, the Argus has already been shown to allow the visually impaired to make out the edges and outlines of shapes.

Whether or not the bionic implant is a "world's first," as study participant Penny Allen at the Centre for Eye Research Australia attests, it's certainly worth getting excited about. Conveying visual input to the brain any where near as effectively as the retina is an incredibly difficult technological challenge. The more minds bent on overcoming that challenge, the better. 

 

 

 

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  • Scott Kelsey, Missouri State, explaining Rejuvamatrix, Pulsed EMF therapy to increase the length of DNA telomeres, which directly affect our lifespan.
  • Max Formitchev-Zamilov, Penn State,  discussing Cavitation Induced Fusion, that will soon provide power generation and heat production.
  • Christopher Provaditis, from Greece, explaining Inertial Propulsion and who teamed up recently with Boeing for their space satellites.
  • PJ Piper of QM Power, discussing the motor invented by Charles Flynn, with a revolutionary parallel path that gives double and triple efficiency. 
  • Dr Thorsten Ludwig  from Germany (GASE) discussing the mysterious Hans Coler motor that WWII British Intelligence researched.

 

 

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