Underwater Kites That Can Harvest 64 Times More Power than Undersea Turbines
According to David Olinger, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, tethered underwater kites could be used to generate huge amounts of electricity by harnessing the power of ocean waves and currents. Olinger recently received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the said technology with work scheduled to begin in January. Olinger says that deep see currents are teeming with untapped kinetic energy that can efficiently be harnessed by kites that are substantially cheaper to install while generating as much as 64 times more power than a comparably sized wave turbine.
California Seen Beating Clean Energy Generation Target
Public support for rooftop solar and investments by major companies will push clean energy generation beyond California’s goal by 2020, said Jerry Bloom, chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP’s energy. Projects by Microsoft Corp., Google and Apple are showing a penchant for solar and wind power that will continue even if the federal government does not extend tax credits that expire at the end of the year, Bloom adds. A new law called AB 327 has removed constraints on developing rooftop solar and will allow the state to get more that than 33% of its power from renewable sources.
Apple Brings Manufacturing Back to the U.S. with New Solar-Powered Arizona Plant
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that Apple will be opening a new manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona that will be powered entirely with clean energy. The iPad and iPhone manufacturer is working with GT Advanced Technologies, a specialist in global solar power and LED’s, to construct the facility in a site that, ironically, used to belong to a solar panel manufacturer. After its completion, the plant is expected to provide around 700 new manufacturing jobs within its first year.
Israel’s Brenmiller Energy to Start Pilot Plant Next Month
Brenmiller Energy, an Israeli solar-thermal developer founded a year ago, looks to start its pilot plant next month, using fuel cells to store electricity. Testing is expected to run as long as three months as the company tries to raise $50 million for a full-scale factory and marketing. Brenmiller Energy’s storage technology will be less expensive than competitors because the materials used are cheaper, says CEO Avi Brenmiller. Unlike photovoltaic plants, which run intermittently, solar-thermal uses sunlight to produce steam that drives turbines that give the technology the ability to supply energy round-the-clock.