28 July 2007

Large Scale Renewables

This is an interesting approach to large scale wind power suggested by Brian Wang at Advanced Nanotechnology.

Here is the MagTurbine site, which gives more information about the concept.

Here is a Discovery Channel video of the planned mega-scale Australian solar tower, using hot air updraft to drive multiple wind turbines. Click on some of the other large scale projects on the same page, for more information.

If renewables are to assist nuclear energy in replacing large scale burning of fossil fuels for energy, they will have to be scaled up significantly--to the gigawatt scale, cumulatively. Geothermal energy is particularly promising in that regard. Biomass also promises large scaling potential.

Solar energy can be scaled to megawatt ranges using light concentrating mirrors. This German company is working with China to build the world's first gigawatt solar facility.

Wind energy is generally more difficult to scale than some other renewables. Energy in the wind increases as the square of the area swept by a rotary blade, and as the cube of the velocity of the wind. That is why many "flying wind generators" have been proposed--tethered turbines floating or flying thousands of feet in the air. Unfortunately, besides the obvious flight navigation hazards, suitable tethers for such turbines do not exist currently.


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