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Solar, Geothermal and Oceanic Energy

by: Carina Sauter

Solar, Geothermal and Oceanic Energy Ecology 1000

Marketplace > University of Georgia > Ecology > Ecology 1000 > Solar Geothermal and Oceanic Energy
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These lecture continued the discussion on renewable resources and alternative energy plants through solar, geothermal and oceanic energy.
Introduction to Environmental Issues
Class Notes
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Popular in Ecology

This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Ecology 1000 at University of Georgia taught by Connelly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Environmental Issues in Ecology at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 10/02/16
Alternative Energy: Solar, Geothermal and Waves • Solar Power o Solar-powered plane finished record-setting journey from California to NYC § May 2013, the plan began its first cross-US flight from Mountain View, CA to Arizona • Successive legs of the flight took the Solar Impulse to Dallas, St. Louis and Washington DC; it finally finished at New York’s JFK airport on July 6 • Each flight leg took between 19 and 25 hours, with multi-day stops in each city between flights • The plane traveled day and night power by solar energy, and crossed the US without any use of fuel § Solar Impulse flies around the world • Despite the hard work of the Solar Impulse team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will stay in Hawaii until early spring 2016. • Following the longest and most difficult leg of the round-the- world journey which lasted 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes), Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by overheating. • During the first ascent on day one of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased due to a high climb rate and an over insulation of the gondolas. Overall the airplane performed very well during the flight. The damage to the batteries is not a technical failure or a weakness in the technology but rather an evaluation error in terms of the profile of the mission and the cooling design specifications of the batteries. The temperature of the batteries in a quick ascent / descent in tropical climates was not properly anticipated. • Irreversible damage to certain parts of the batteries will require repairs which will take several months. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team will be studying various options for better cooling and heating processes for very long flights. • BUT: The Solar Impulse 2 plane lands in an airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, early Tuesday, marking the historic end of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel o Energy Self-Sufficiency § Sun is the best resource § Ex. Utah National Park • Visitor’s center is almost entirely heated by solar energy • Solar panels on the visitor’s center provide most of the electricity needed to power this facility • The south-facing wall of the building is mostly glass, and on the other side of the glass is a masonry wall with a black coating that absorbs sunlight • This wall absorbs and stores heat, gradually releasing the heat into the building over the course of the day § Photovoltaic (PV) Cell • Sandwich of materials • Sun à electrons jump around è electricity § Ex. Homes • Actually are able to sell back energy • Rural solar power – even in the high Andes of Peru, a family is able to power lights and small appliances with a tiny solar panel • Small and big scale § Ex. Google • Currently using renewable energy to power 35% of their operations • Goal is to power the company with 100% renewable energy • Google not only recognizes the environmental benefits (and marking opportunities) but they also understand that investing in renewable energy is a business opportunity – “doing well by doing good” § CSP Systems (concentrating solar power) • Focus sunlight into water pipes, producing steam that is used to turn generator turbines § Solar Resources • Low rainfall and limited cloud cover make the southwestern US an ideal region for solar power § Ex. Solar Race cars • Competitive races of electric vehicles which are powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the surface of the car • The first solar car race was the Tour de Sol in 1985 which led to several similar races in Europe, the US, and Australia • Often entered by universities to develop their student’s engineering and technological skills; many business corporations have entered competitions as well § Solar Advantages • Free/ renewable • No emissions • Roof installations/space options • 20,000 jobs now and increasing 35% per year § Solar Disadvantages • High startup costs ($10,000 - $20,000 for home to save hundres of dollars per year) • High cost of electricity compared to coal produced electricity • Daylight requirements • Geographical limitations • Hazardous materials used in construction – chemical use/disposal • Geothermal Electricity o Heat energy generated and stored in the earth – energy not originating from the sun o In a dry-steam power plant, underground hot water and steam are used to generate electricity o Iceland homes rely about 90% on geothermal electricity o Geothermal Resources § Ground-source heat pumps may be used across the US, but geothermal reservoirs sufficient for geothermal power plants exist mainly in the western states o Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) § Heating and cooling § Take advantage of the stable temperatures below the surface of the earth § BUT hard to do on non-permeable surfaces (like the bedrock in GA) o Geothermal Advantages § Reliable and inexpensive § Pollution free § GSHP uses 30-70% less energy than conventional methods o Geothermal Disadvantages § Ecosystem disturbance (ex. Yellowstone National Park) § Replenishment rates of ground heat • If we use it too fast, it won’t be sustainable § High startup costs § Geographic limitations (California, Nevada, Hawaii, Utah) • Ocean Energy o Using kinetic energy of tides and waves o Onshore Wave Energy § Waves entering the lower chamber of this system drive a stream of air past a generator turbine o Tidal barrage § Each day, the tide rises and fall 40 feet at the barrage in La Rance, France § The barrage turbines spin and generate electricity as water moves in and out of the bay o Tidal Turbine § Once fully operational, tidal turbines on the coast of northern Ireland wil generate 1.2 megawatts of renewable energy to the equivalent of 1,000 homes o Buoys § Bounce on the water’s surface as water and air move through them to power generators o Oceanic Advantages § Renewable and pollution free § Low cost of production § Reliable o Oceanic Disadvantages § Ecosystem disturbances (ex. highly productive marine ecosystems) § Tidal barrage systems need high tide amplitude § Geographic limitations


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