GreyW

Tuesday, 07 September 2021 15:03

Nuclear energy update

Sep 13  Noon EST

Current Issues in the Nuclear Field
Richard H “Chip” Lagdon Jr.
Technical Society of Knoxville (TSK)

Zoom Webinar — Free and open to the public — advance registration required

Richard Lagdon is Professor of Practice in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He also is Engineering Manager, Systems Integration and Chief Engineer, Nuclear Operations & Safety with Bechtel National Inc. Reston, VA.
He will review the status of current projects for Natrium and VTR fast reactors, the challenges of advanced reactor licensing and how the development of the Nuclear Licensing Course NE486/586 at UT reckons with these challenges. 

He has forty years of progressive nuclear experience managing projects, developing technical policy, interfacing with stakeholders and developing long range plans. He is an accomplished nuclear professional, practiced in engineering, emergency operations, plant startups and conduct of operations while supporting operational goals.

From working as Shift Test Engineer for the reactors of the nuclear Navy to developing life cycle maintenance plans for aircraft carriers, Captain Lagdon’s broad range of assignments over 30 years in the Navy Reserves, earned him the Leo Bilger award for outstanding leadership. The civilian side of his career included a decade as Chief of Nuclear Safety in the U.S. Department of Energy, where he lead nuclear construction reviews for projects totaling more than $15 billion.

While some hope that nuclear energy will end the climate crisis others point out that it will be too expensive and take too long to scale up while climate disasters grow exponentially. What most can agree upon is that the reliable output of existing nuclear plants remains indispensable for the foreseeable future and that maintaining their safety is paramount.

The webinar organized by the Technical Society of Knoxville, which provides Professional Development Hour confirmation to attending professional engineers, is hosted by the Foundation for Global Sustainability (FGS).
FGS facilitates educational events to inform the public and foster better understanding of complex environmental, social and economic issues that impact the resilience of communities and the natural life support systems of planet Earth. Views and opinions expressed by event organizers and participants do not necessarily reflect the views of FGS. FGS neither endorses any product or service mentioned nor warrants for accuracy, completeness or usability of the information.

Published in Events
Wednesday, 18 August 2021 18:11

Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement

Take Back TVA Rally

August 18, 2021

Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement

Published in Video

A live video stream was featured at the top of this article while “Rotty Top” was blooming, July 29-31, 2021.
Another article includes details about that particular plant and the event.

The corpse plant at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has not bloomed in 20 years

The titan arum (Amorphophalus titanum), native to Sumatra, is remarkable for several reasons.

It is more often referred to by colloquial names, such as corpse flower, rotting corpse plant or carrion plant, because of the strong distinct odor it releases to attract pollinators when it flowers.

No other species of flowering plant has an unbranched inflorescence, or flower-bearing reproductive part, as large as titan arum. Unbranched means that all flowers grow from a single stem; a gigantic one in this case. A record height above corm (underground storage tuber) of 10.5 ft was measured at Bonn Botanical Gardens in June 21, 2013. 

When an inflorescence has many small flowers on a fleshy stem and is initially enclosed by a leaf-like sheath, botanists call it a spadix and its sheath a spathe. Even after the spathe has opened, the flowers are hard to see because they are so small and near the bottom of the stem. In the absence of a balcony above, viewers would have to be on a ladder to peek down into the narrow part of the spathe. It’s not the flowers that are spectacular — it’s the overwhelming size, overall shape and sheer beauty of the plant!

Carrion beetles and flesh flies are titan arum’s pollinators. It has evolved unparalleled capacity to attract them. While flowering, it heats up the tip of the spadix to the range of mammalian body temperatures, which not only helps volatilize the odors to entice insects from far away, but may be sensed by some of them to further indicate proximity of food. The plant has opened the spathe like a wide cocktail glass to show its inside surface. The deep red color and texture could buttress the illusion of a big chunk of carrion.

Why is it even rarer to see titan arum fruit in a botanical garden?

Outside the equatorial region, botanical gardens cannot cultivate many corpse plants due to their size. The typical interval between blooms is five to twelve years.

The actual flowers last one day only. Female flowers bloom first. One or two days later the male flowers bloom. This normally prevents self-pollination. As these plants bloom so rarely, chances are slim to have viable pollen on hand for artificial pollination.

Published in Creature Features

PV Magazine & BO Klima: Berlin macht Solardächer zur Pflicht

The rooftop solar law, passed on June 16, says every new building and substantial renewal of an existing building’s roof must be equipped with solar panels covering at least 30 percent of the roof surface.

The German capital — which is on the same latitude as Labrador City — intends to become more climate friendly. It wants to act as a role model for other municipalities and states in how to accelerate the energy transition. It aims for solar to cover 25% of its electricity consumption.

The city contends, the solar potential of its roofs has gotten inadequate consideration and expects the new law will create many future-proof jobs in planning and trades.

Building owners may opt to use solar facade panels or contract with third parties to build and operate equivalent solar capacity that fulfills the mandate elsewhere in the city. But critics of the law say it does not address how to optimize its implementation with present practices, regulations, and tariffs. They predict, this law will be inefficient and costlier than other methods to stimulate renewable energy generation.

Bavaria, for example, launched an incentive program that awards combined new solar and battery storage installations. Applications for that program have multiplied quickly and now are deemed likely to surpass the 100,000 installations mark by the end of its third year.

Germany, whose entire southern border is farther north than Quebec City or Duluth, has a long history of technology and policy leadership in renewable energies. In 1991 the German Electricity Feed-in Act was the first in the world that mandated grid operators to connect all renewable power generators, pay them a guaranteed feed-in tariff for 20 years and prioritize these sources.

Published in Feedbag
Friday, 18 June 2021 17:52

Outrage + Optimism

Global Optimism: “We Have to Be At War With Carbon”

The first 15 minutes of this podcast analyze the Shortcomings of the G7 Summit.

The second 15-minute segment is a conversation with the CEO of Rolls Royce about its goal to make long-distance flights Net Zero by 2050.

Published in Feedbag
Thursday, 17 June 2021 13:48

Save Our Future Act introduced in Senate

CCL: Sweeping carbon pricing bill

On Wednesday, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Brian Schatz (HI) introduced the Save Our Future Act, comprehensive legislation that dramatically reduces emissions and protects environmental justice and coal communities.

In a statement, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Executive Director Mark Reynolds said, “The Save Our Future Act would place an ambitious price on carbon to reduce America's emissions, but it doesn't stop there. This legislation would also address long-standing environmental justice concerns by directly pricing emissions of fossil fuel co-pollutants in frontline communities, and it would invest in coal communities to support them through the transition to a clean energy economy.”

The bill is drawing positive comments from unions and environmental justice organizations.

In the House, the number of representatives cosponsoring the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has grown to 68 already.

Published in Feedbag
Saturday, 12 June 2021 10:24

Price on Carbon

Published in Splash article
Close-up photograph showing the top and bottom of two solar cellsThe rainbow colors show the diffraction of sunlight by a mirror with a nanostructured grating, which was applied to the back of the silicon subcell. The sun’s spectrum is thus captured even better in the silicon bottom cell.  © Fraunhofer ISE / Photo: Michael Schachtner
 
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems: Tandem Photovoltaics Enables New Heights in Solar Cell Efficiencies – 35.9 % for III-V//Silicon Solar Cell

The photovoltaic (PV) solar panels most commonly used for commercial applications today have an efficiency in the range of 16 to 22 percent. On the lower side of this range, one finds less-expensive panels, mostly made with poly-crystalline solar cells, while monocrystalline cells dominate the upper side.

The highest-efficiency panel presently on the market is SunPower’s A-Series residential panel, with a claimed 22.8 percent efficiency in converting photons to electrons under standard conditions. That's up just slightly by 0.73 percent from five years ago. Although many other manufacturers have caught up to offer panels rated at more than 21 percent, development progress of silicon-based monocrystalline PV toward the theoretical limit of around 30 percent has slowed to a crawl.

Over the same period, newer technologies for multijunction PV cells with thin subcell layers of gallium-arsenide and similar semiconductors, grown on top of silicon or perovskite crystalline materials, has been progressing rapidly and may be capable of exceeding 50 percent efficiency in the future. Lab results still require years of research and manufacturing development before panels come to market. Initially their high price will limit them to market niches where low-weight and small-surface per Watt will justify the cost, such as for aerospace applications or covering electric vehicle surfaces. The following links provide a good overview of such technologies and discuss their longer-term outlook.

DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: Multijunction III-V Photovoltaics Research
Frauenhofer ISE: Tandem Photovoltaics – The Road to Higher Conversion Efficiencies
Published in Feedbag
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