Happy Saturday, dear friends. Yesterday, I had to go up to my daughter’s college and pick her up for winter break. Well, actually, I had to drive her up for her last class and wait for her, then drive her home.
Most folks I know hate to wait, but I adore it. Sitting and waiting for an appointment in a doctor’s office, or waiting in a long line has always been a secret joy. This is time that is entirely my own, with no demands on me to do anything but show up. Life is sometimes so focused on being busy and getting things done, and we rarely take the time to simply be.
I am learning, as I move forward, the importance of setting aside time to do nothing. I feel like this is one of the most important things in my life right now. Not “me” time, where I do things, like yoga, or exercise or even take a shower, but time to daydream, or laze around and remember that life can flow gently, if we allow it to. When we do nothing, we give ourselves permission to get to know our inner being, and that is pretty cool.
Today we focus our attention on some wonderful international advances in green energy. It is indeed lovely that there is so much news. It’s a good thing it is Saturday, and hopefully you have plenty of time to read it all.
Japan looking to streamline hydrogen cell power.
Japan has long been an innovator in technology, especially in the microchip and automobile industry. Recently they set their sights on the hydrogen-cell business, looking to streamline the process and make it more accessible to consumers.
Companies like Panasonic, Corp. are working to create compact home energy versions of large cells that are already installed in various commercial venues. They also hope to slash costs so that this form of green energy will be more attractive to the home market. The Japanese government hopes to install these consumer hydrogen cells in about 10% of homes by 2030.
Since hydrogen is the most abundant element in our atmosphere, the source of fuel for the processors is readily available. Once the technology is streamlined, the cost of the systems should make it affordable for most home owners.
Australian scientists get more solar juice out of commercial panels.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia, recently announced that they were able to convert solar energy into electricity at a much higher rate than previously reported.
Their research is important, because they used readily available commercial solar cells, but in a different way. Instead of routing the sunlight through one cell, which gets about a 33% conversion rate, they ran it through 4 cells. This process measured a conversion rate of 40%, which is significantly higher. This shows that the process can be fine-tuned, within existing commercial utilities, to get higher levels of electricity from the same amount of sunlight.
The experiments were first conducted in Sydney, but the results were also reproduced in the US, by the government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The researchers believe that once the process is fine-tuned, solar energy should cost less to produce than non-sustainable coal fueled energy. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
The Netherlands opens a new solar road to traffic.
A few months ago, I saw a crowd-funding video for a company that was producing hexagonal solar roadway panels that would replace traditional asphalt surfaces. This really got me jazzed, and I told my husband that we will be replacing our driveway with a solar one sometime in the future. He laughed at first, because he didn’t believe it would ever take off. Now I have proof that it can, and that makes me really excited. I also checked their crowd-funding campaign, and they have already beat their initial goal by 220%! People are behind this idea, because it is absolutely perfect for our world. If all the roads in the US were replaced with solar roadways, they could, in theory, generate 3 times more energy than the nation currently uses. That is simply mind-blowing!
The Netherlands recently opened a 70 meter long solar bike path, linking two suburban villages. The panels cannot be adjusted to the angle of the sun, so each cell produces 30% less energy, but as the project is extended, the amount of power generated will increase significantly. While it isn’t a true auto road, it is certainly a great way to test the idea of solar roads. The project will eventually run all the street lights and signals along the pathway.
Nigeria poised to become solar leader in Africa.
While Africa has the sun power to generate tremendous amounts of green energy, many areas remain without electricity. In Nigeria, about 60% of the population lives without access to electricity, other than generator and battery power.
This could change dramatically in the near future, as the Nigerian government has recently signed a deal with SkyPower FAS Energy for a 3000 Megawatt solar production plant. The project would cost $5Billion and create about 30,000 new jobs in the nation.
They also signed an agreement with New Generation Power and Motir Seaspire for another 1200 Megawatt solar plant that would cost $2Billion and provide energy for over 1 million Nigerian homes. This project should begin in 2015 and take 2 years to complete.
While some believe small-scale solar, that can be placed on homes and businesses, would be more appropriate for rural areas, the country wishes to bring power to as many people as possible. They are looking to create micro-grids for rural areas, in an effort to bring more citizens the benefits electricity provides.
US Solar production doubles in one year.
My dad has always been an innovator when it comes to green technology. Back in the days of alternative energy tax breaks, during the Carter Administration, he installed solar panels on our home to run our water heating system. Yes, folks, this was the 1970’s, and we were the only family I knew who had solar panels.
Now, they are popping up all over our town, and my dad has a barn covered with them at his new home. The meter for his electricity, connected to the local power company, actually goes backwards on some days, as he pumps his solar energy into the neighborhood grid. This is consumer-based solar, and it is not tracked by the following report. The report lists utility-sized solar production.
This article shows the breakdown of electricity production in the US by source. While the percentage of electricity produced by solar is relatively low, the utility-sized production doubled in one year. This is a significant move, and hopefully it will continue to be a trend. I was amazed at how much electricity was still being produced by coal. Hopefully, as the efficiency of green energy production increases, more old infrastructure will be replaced with sustainable options like solar.
I couldn’t leave you without some sunny inspiration!
Since we focused on green energy and solar power today, I thought I would share this beautiful article with over 60 breathtaking photographs of sun rise and set around the world. Whenever I get the chance to witness these shifts in light, I feel blessed to witness such miracles.
That’s the news for today. Have a super terrific day. I hope to see you back here tomorrow for some Feel Good News.
Be Well. Be Joy. Be Love!