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Nuclear fuel pellets

Tuesday, 01 October 2013

Nuclear fuel pellets – Road to safer nuclear power plants? The recent Fukushima nuclear accident has left a huge void in nuclear energy development because nuclear power plants are deemed unsafe by many people, and many governments have been looking for other, „safer“solutions. However, there is some hope for nuclear energy industry as the newest exploratory research on revolutionary new types of nuclear fuel pellets that would be safer in the event of a nuclear disaster has yielded promising results.

The scientists from the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will present their work at the AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition in Long Beach, California. What they have been doing is investigating new materials that could be used to encase uranium-bearing fuel as an alternative to zirconium alloys, which have been used as the outer layer of nuclear fuel pellets for the last 50 years. With the help of sophisticated computer analyses, the researchers were able to identify the positive impact of several different materials that exhibit resistance to high-temperature oxidation and failure, on reactor core evolution. What this means is that by using these materials nuclear power plants would be actually buying more time to cope in the event of a nuclear accident.

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Wind energy market - US takes lead

Tuesday, 05 November 2013

Wind US energy sector The United States has managed to overtake China and is now the largest wind power market in the world, according to a new industry report by Navigant Research. Not only this, US wind energy company GE Wind is now the largest wind energy company in the world. This is a rather big change in the global wind market. The well known Danish wind manufacturer Vestas had been the world leader for more than a decade (from 2000 to 2011) but in 2012, GE Wind grabbed 15.5 percent of the market share while Vestas share plunged to 14 percent.

The United States now leads the globe as the world's largest market with 13,124 MW of new wind power capacity installed in 2012 while Chinese came close second with 12,960 MW of new wind power capacity. If we look at other regions we can see that Europe lost its position as the top world region in terms of installing the most wind power, by recording 28.5% of all new installation in 2012, a 4% increase on 2011, but 12.5% less than five years ago. Thanks to large growth in US, Canada, and Brazil, wind power capacity in the Americas grew by 12.3% compared with 2011. In total, the American continent accounted for 35.2% of the global wind market in 2012.

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How does nuclear power plant work?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Atom. Nuclear energy still accounts for significant amount of total energy consumption in the world, even despite the recent Fukushima accident that tarnished the image of nuclear energy in eyes of many people. Throughout this article we will take a closer look at a working principle of nuclear power plant, namely how does nuclear power generate electricity.

Nuclear power plant is basically a facility that converts energy of mass into the electricity. Mass is converted into energy by process described with famous Einstein’s equation E=mc2 – released energy is equal to transformed mass (m) times speed of light (c) squared. Nuclear power plants, concentrated solar thermal power plants, geothermal power plants and fossil fuels power plants have very similar working principle in the way they generate electricity, and the only thing that is really different is their fuel source to generate heat. Nuclear power plants usually use enriched uranium U-235 as their fuel source.

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Biomass production needs to become sustainable

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Biomass production Biomass is a form of renewable energy that derives from living, or recently living organisms. The most common source of biomass is wood. Wood has been used since the ancient times, mostly to produce fire needed for heating and cooking purposes.

What makes biomass a form of renewable energy? Biomass is a renewable energy source because the plants can be re-grown time and time again, and in a relatively short period of time. With smart exploitation biomass can be continuous energy source – only thing here is to adjust biomass production capabilities with biomass exploitation rate.

Biomass is today one of the major renewable energy sources, together with hydropower and wind energy. Biomass has one very important advantage over other renewable energy sources, namely it can be produced almost everywhere on this planet. In fact, many renewable energy studies look at biomass as one of the top future energy sources, a one on which clean energy economy can be built upon.

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Huge jump in carbon emissions

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Coal power plant at night. While recent economic troubles have kept carbon emissions about 1.4 percent lower than expected, 2010 records showed a surprising increase in fossil fuel use. Emissions have increased by 49 percent since 1990, or a rate of about 3.1 percent per year. This suggests that current attempts to avoid significant climate change may be ineffective.

As students in PhD programs like environmental science very well know, about 80 percent of the world’s energy still comes from burning fossil fuels, with the remaining 20 percent made up of solar power, geothermal energy, wind power and other alternative sources. The pace at which humans produce fossil fuel emissions increases the risk of temperatures rising high enough to cause severe agricultural problems, ice melt and weather pattern changes. As of 2011, few governments or corporations are making major changes to reduce fuel use, so emissions are expected to keep on growing at roughly the same rate.

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UK wind farms – efficiency problems

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

UK wind farms – efficiency problems. Wind energy sector may indeed be the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the world but this does not mean that everything is going smoothly in wind energy industry. Like any other energy source wind energy also has its good and bad sides, and if we are to believe the results of the latest detailed study of Britain’s onshore wind farms then bad side of wind farms in Britain is efficiency problem that continues to make wind energy less competitive to fossil fuels.

According to results of this study more than 20 wind farms in United Kingdom produce less than a fifth of their potential maximum power output, with two wind farms operating at less than 10% of its maximum capacity. Even the largest wind farm in the country, The High Volts 2, Co Durham, when last measured achieved only 18.7% of its maximum efficiency, and the acceptable norm of efficiency for wind farms is 25-30%.

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Solar energy facts

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Solar energy facts. Solar energy facts. Solar energy is renewable energy source. Read some interesting facts about solar energy.

Sun is ours closest star and directly or indirectly source of almost all available energy on Earth. Sun's energy originates from nuclear fusion in its core, where temperature reaches 15 millions °C. Nuclear fusion is process of joining two light atoms into one heavier atom.

Thanks to nuclear fusion on Sun, every second about 600 million tons of hydrogen is transformed into helium, having 4 million tons of hydrogen transformed into energy as side effect. Solar energy facts:

  • The Sun has been producing energy for billions of years now and by current estimations it will continue to do that for next five billions of years. Solar energy is part of energy produced on the Sun that reaches the Earth.
     
  • Solar energy can be directly converted into thermal energy or into electrical energy which are useful forms of energy. Electrical energy is most useful form of energy because it can be easily converted into useful work.
     
  • Solar energy is “the engine” beyond almost all renewable energy sources. Secondary solar energy powered resources such as wind energy, wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Geothermal and tidal energy are not considered as secondary products of solar energy because they exist even without solar radiation.
     
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