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Comment: Re:a little extra info (Score 1) 163

by oneedge (#23112918) Attached to: Home Wind-Power Turbines Make Headway
Get a good utility industry lawyer and approach the power company that owns the lines you're going to be using. They have to offer fair access to their power lines, but there are a huge number of federal and state regulations that you must follow as an Independent Power Producer. At that level of generation, you're going to have a voltage impact on the grid, and you'll have to employ someone 24-7 to regulate voltage output of your wind farm as directed by the transmission dispatchers.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from the endeavor. Just make sure you've got a lot of subject-matter experts at the ready for the feasibility study. Good luck!
Space

New Ion Engine Enters Space Race 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the cool-now-where-are-my-ramjets-and-warp-drives dept.
Bibek Paudel brings us a BBC report on the development and testing of an new ion engine by a security firm named Qinetiq. The engine will be used in an ESA spacecraft tasked with mapping the Earth's gravitational field from orbit. Only a handful of ion drives have been used for space missions before, some of which we have discussed. Quoting: "Cryogenic pumps can be heard in the background, whistling away like tiny steam engines. Using helium gas as a coolant, they can bring down the temperature in the vacuum chamber to an incredibly chilly 20 Kelvin (-253C). The pressure, meanwhile, can drop to a millionth of an atmosphere. Ion engines ... make use of the fact that a current flowing across a magnetic field creates an electric field directed sideways to the current. This is used to accelerate a beam of ions (charged atoms) of xenon away from the spacecraft, thereby providing thrust."
Power

Home Wind-Power Turbines Make Headway 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-answer-is-blowing-in-the-wind dept.
Pickens writes "Wind turbines, once used primarily for farms and rural houses far from electrical service, are becoming more common in heavily populated residential areas as homeowners are attracted to ease of use, financial incentives and low environmental effects. Experts on renewable energy say a convergence of factors, political, technical and ecological, is causing a surge in the use of residential wind turbines, especially in the Northeast and California. "Back in the early days, off-grid electrical generation was pursued mostly by hippies and rednecks, usually in isolated, rural areas," said Joe Schwartz, editor of Home Power magazine. "Now, it's a lot more mainstream." Some of the new "plug and play" systems can be plugged directly into a circuit in the home electrical panel and homeowners can use energy from the wind turbine or the power company without taking action. Schwartz says that even with the economic benefits, it can take 20 years to pay back the installation cost. "This isn't about people putting turbines in to lower their electric bills as much as it is about people voting with their dollars to help the environment in some small way," he said."
Earth

Tech That Will Save Our Species - Solar Thermal Power 648

Posted by Zonk
from the we-could-use-a-little-saving dept.
NoMoreCoal writes "Salon has up a story by Joe Romm, former undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration, discussing a lesser-known alternative energy solution. It's a technology that (he claims) is ready to provide zero-carbon electric power big, fast, cheap and (most importantly) right now: solar thermal power. 'Improvements in manufacturing and design, along with the possibility of higher temperature operation, could easily bring the price down to 6 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour. CSP makes use of the most abundant and free fuel there is, sunlight, and key countries have a vast resource. Solar thermal plants covering the equivalent of a 92-by-92-mile square grid in the Southwest could generate electricity for the entire United States. Mexico has an equally enormous solar resource. China, India, southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Australia also have huge resources.'" Interesting stuff, even if he does mention the Archimedes Death Ray.
Space

Star Cooler Than Venus Found 55

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the miles-davis-of-stars dept.
crossconnects writes to mention that Discovery is reporting that astronomers have found a nearby star with a mild surface temperature of 660 degrees fahrenheit. "The spectacularly unspectacular object is of special interest because it falls right smack in the middle of the final frontier that divides mega-planets from the puniest stars. Stars in that realm theoretically qualify as an entirely new stellar type -- what's called a Y class dwarf."
Science

Mysterious Sound Waves Can Destroy Rockets 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the scientists-get-the-best-toys dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "Scientists believe that powerful and unstable sound waves, created by energy supplied by the combustion process, were the cause of rocket failures in several US and Russian rockets. They have also observed these mysterious oscillations in other propulsion and power-generating systems such as missiles and gas turbines. Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a liquid rocket engine simulator and imaging techniques to help demystify the cause of these explosive sound waves and bring scientists a little closer to being able to understand and prevent them. The team was able to clearly demonstrate that the phenomenon manifests itself in the form of spinning acoustic waves that gain destructive power as they rotate around the rocket's combustion chamber at a rate of 5,000 revolutions per second. Researchers developed a low-pressure combustor to simulate larger rocket engines then used a very-high-speed camera with fiber optic probes to observe the formation and behavior of excited spinning sound waves within the engine. 'This is a very troublesome phenomenon in rockets,' said Professor Ben Zinn. 'These spinning acoustic oscillations destroy engines without anyone fully understanding how these waves are formed. Visualizing this phenomenon brings us a step closer to understanding it.'"

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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