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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rays of Hope Beam From Solar Sunflowers? & More #News

Global Digest's Insights 

“Our Inalienable Primary Responsibility”

You may rest assured that our purposes do not aim to “rain on the parades” of those gallantly exploring and developing alternative energy hopes. We would be more than happy to take on the  role of delightful energising optimists. Unfortunately optimism alone cannot overcome the constraints of hard realities as we examine the possibilities of  ‘Solar Sunflower  Solutions,” amoung many others.

First question:  How many Sunflowers do we need?   Answer:  Lots – probably more than we could imagine. Why?

Here’s the simple math. If populations or economies grow at a mere 2% a year, so do energy needs naturally correlate to sustain their support systems. The 2% figure may not seem like much in your bank account, but it means that about every 36 years you double your energy needs – in 72 years you actualize a four–fold increase. By then, “all fossil  energy resources are effectively wiped-out.” Oil alone gives us 80% of our transportation energy needs, while we are  depleting 34 billion barrels each year for all  forms of  consumption. In 72 years, we will need 136 billion barrels of oil or  replacement energy  from “ Solar Sunflowers”’ or other sources to keep the global economic ship afloat. (You would have to be nuts to start thinking  about the further needs for the next 36 years and on wards, when there is only; say, an estimated 1.3 trillion in probable reserves  remaining –  e.g. 272, 544, and 1,088  billion barrels of future oil energy equivalents needed, annually. Scary!) The gist is that there is no way on earth, or anywhere else for that matter, that a bunch of sunflowers can ever provide a complete solution  to the pending and certain “Energy  Bankruptcy” facing global economic, social and political systems and their on-going growth needs to 2100 A. D.

Also, on the back of our envelope, there are two other very important concerns; 

All these sunflowers will require materials to fabricate. These materials or other non-renewable resources are also being exponentially depleted. That obviously constrains how many sunflowers you can make to remedy an insatiable energy thirst. Secondly, there may be dark days ahead for many reasons;  for instance, volcanoes, nuclear or climatic events where the figurative object turns into the literal experience and the lights go out and the party is over!

What is clear and optimistic from this brief analysis, however, is that a  more comprehensive approach is needed that encompasses all the major physical constraints including population variables,  to construct outcome probability models  to forecast  most likely situations in the next 36, 72, and 108 years, for starters.  Why? To, firstly, provide clearer and less subjective diagnostic tools and information. Secondly, and more importantly, ‘we all inherently share an inalienable primary responsibility ‘ to map  sensible possible paths  for all future life on this planet. 

And this, by all measure of words, is our "raison d’ĂȘtre" !  


Why again? There won’t be any second chances….

September 2, 2015

The Solar Sunflower: Harnessing The Power Of 5,000 Suns

 High on a hill was a lonely sunflower. Not a normal sunflower, mind you; that would hardly be very notable. This sunflower is a solar sunflower that combines both photovoltaic solar power and concentrated solar thermal power in one neat, aesthetic package that has a massive total efficiency of around 80 percent.

The Solar Sunflower, a Swiss invention developed by Airlight Energy, Dsolar (a subsidiary of Airlight), and IBM Research in Zurich, uses something called HCPVT to generate electricity and hot water from solar power. HCPVT is a clumsy acronym that stands for "highly efficient concentrated photovoltaic/thermal." In short, it has reflectors that concentrate the sun—"to about 5,000 suns," Gianluca Ambrosetti, Airlight's head of research told me—and then some highly efficient photovoltaic cells that are capable of converting that concentrated solar energy into electricity, without melting in the process. Airlight/Dsolar are behind the Sunflower's reflectors and superstructure, and the photovoltaics are provided by IBM.

The declining profitability of coal is an opportunity to save consumers money and reduce reliance on a dirty power source. Coal-fired power plants spew more than atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide. They also pollute the air with mercury and other toxins, as well as fine particles that contribute to bronchitis, asthma and heart disease, killing some 7,500 Americans a year.

More than half of the 264,500 people who have crossed the Mediterranean in the hope of settling in Europe this year have arrived in Greece - and most of those have landed on the five Greek islands closest to the Turkish coast. Photographer Fernando Del Berro watched some of them arrive on the northern shore of Lesbos.

“We would only die once in Syria,” Ahmed says at one point, after his brother-in-law is nearly hit by a car in Belgrade, Serbia. “Here we are dying 5,000 times.

Many migrants are crossing from Turkey to Greece, Macedonia and Serbia before entering Hungary and then moving on to wealthier countries in northern Europe. (There is an important legal distinction between a migrant who has fled his or her country and a refugee seeking asylum.) The conditions in which they would wait out approval of their applications in Germany and Sweden are better than in places such as Hungary or Greece.

That idea remains, and it means that, even today, the failure to maintain a “smiling lawn” can have decidedly unhappy consequences. Section 119-3 of the county code of Fairfax County, Virginia—a section representative of similar ones on the books in jurisdictions across the country—stipulates that “it is unlawful for any owner of any occupied residential lot or parcel which is less than one-half acre (21,780 square feet) to permit the growth of any grass or lawn area to reach more than twelve (12) inches in height/length.” And while Fairfax County sensibly advises that matters of grass length are best adjudicated among neighbors, it adds, rather sternly, that if the property in question “is vacant or the resident doesn’t seem to care, you can report the property to the county.”

As climate change threatens their way of life, natives in the Alaskan Arctic may soon be forced to leave their ancestral lands becoming some of the first climate refugees in the U.S.

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A Passing Thought...

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