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Running on renewables: how sure can we be about the future?

Alternative Energy

A variety of models predict the role renewables will play in 2050, but some may be over-optimistic, and should be used with caution, say researchers. The proportion of UK energy supplied by renewable energies is increasing every year; in 2017 wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectricity produced as much energy as was needed to power the […]

The search for clean, abundant energy

The search for clean, abundant energy thumbnail

Oxford-based energy generation and inertial confinement fusion research organisation, First Light Fusion is investing £3.6 million to build a pulsed power machine to advance the company’s work exploring fusion. The device, labelled Machine 3, is under construction and on track to be commissioned by the end of 2018. It will be the only pulsed power […]

$1 tn needed to achieve 1TW solar power capacity by 2030

$1 tn needed to achieve 1TW solar power capacity by 2030 thumbnail

At the International Solar Alliance, Emmanuel Macron said the government, private sector and civil society need to work together to overcome hurdles French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said USD 1 trillion will be needed to achieve one terawatt (TW) of solar power capacity by 2030. Speaking alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the founding […]

Team at MIT developing fusion power

Team at MIT developing fusion power thumbnail

If this is achieved, the researcher team from MIT – with financial and technical assistance from Commonwealth Fusion Systems in the United States and Italian energy company Eni – believes its system could demonstrate one of the holy grails of nuclear fusion technology: positive net energy from fusion, meaning you get more energy from what […]

This MIT Project Says Nuclear Fusion Is 15 Years Away (No, Really, This Time)

This MIT Project Says Nuclear Fusion Is 15 Years Away (No, Really, This Time) thumbnail

In the 1950s, researchers predicted that the world would have nuclear fusion–which uses hydrogen atoms, an incredibly abundant fuel, to provide clean, almost limitless power, while avoiding the hazardous waste problem and catastrophic risk of current nuclear power–within 20 years. By the 1970s, predictions were still at least that far away; the same was true […]

EROEI: A Useful Measure Or A Distraction?

Alternative Energy

EROEI = Usable Acquired Energy / Energy Expended It seems so simple. If the amount of energy produced relative to the amount of energy utilized in producing that energy tends to decline, at some point as the ratio approaches 1.0 (or perhaps even becomes a fraction less than 1.0) there is little if any return […]

What if every car sold in the world was an electric vehicle?

Alternative Energy

Big Oil is finally contemplating the unthinkable, and until recently what was also unimaginable for them. What if every car solar across the globe was an electric vehicle? What would that do to their trillion-dollar business model? Well, they’ve looked at it. They’ve crunched the numbers. But they are not telling. At least that is […]

Global Energy Demand Could Grow 124% by 2100: Even Fossil Fuels Won’t Cut It

Alternative Energy

The “silly” demand coming for the earth’s resources. A forecast this month showed the world might need 124 percent more energy in 2100, raising questions over where the capacity will come from. Dr. Euan Mearns, writing on the Energy Matters blog, looked at the expected increase in population and per capita energy consumption between 2015 […]

Cornucopian Renewable-Energy Claims Leave Poor Nations in the Dark

Alternative Energy

Stanford professor Mark Jacobson and his colleagues have written yet another paper purporting to show that 100 percent of energy demand can be fulfilled by wind, solar, and hydroelectric generation. This latest study, which comes in the form of a manuscript accepted but not yet published by the journal Renewable Energy, seeks to show how […]

Egypt builds world’s largest solar park

Alternative Energy

Egypt has the natural potential to become one of the world’s strongest energy players as it contains the three main natural elements to develop an abundance of energy: sunlight, wind and hydro-energy. Despite that, Egypt has been failing to provide a stable source of electricity to its ever-growing population. The country imports oil despite having […]

BP Predicts Renewables Will Peak by 2040

Alternative Energy

One of the world’s leading energy companies, BP is predicting renewable energy sources to be influential in shaping the global energy sources by 2040. The report released by BP proposed that renewable energy will grow in five-folds within the next twenty-two (22) years to provide 14% of the world’s primary energy. A growing competition in […]

The ERoEI of Mining Uranium

The ERoEI of Mining Uranium thumbnail

In 2009, in the comments to this post on The Oil Drum we stumbled upon a mine of information on the operation of the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia. The data table provided numbers for the amount of energy used on site together with the amount of uranium mined. This provided an opportunity to calculate […]

Nuclear Fusion Could Be A Silver Bullet — And Just Around The Corner

Nuclear Fusion Could Be A Silver Bullet — And Just Around The Corner thumbnail

Private investors are now actively trying to commercialize an advanced form of nuclear energy and one that would leave no environmental footprint while also delivering electricity to the world’s expanding population. At issue is nuclear fusion, which has been an elusive concept for six decades but which one firm hopes to makes real by 2025. […]

The Changing Face of Energy and Environment

Alternative Energy

Having followed the energy scene in the UK for many years, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint certain events that one remembers. Some years ago, I suggested to a civil servant that, with environmental concerns building up, perhaps energy and environment should come together. The response was that energy and environment couldn’t be in the same […]

Solar ERoEI Is Actually Really, Really, Really Good

Alternative Energy

Myth: solar energy has low, even counterproductive, energy return on energy investment (ERoEI) Short answer: Actually, solar energy has superb energy return on energy investment (ERoEI) — 1 to 4 years, according to the US National Renewable Energy Lab, or 1 to 2.5 years in Europe, according to the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. The terms “energy payback” and “energy […]

Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Plans for Nuclear Energy

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It’s not clear that the plans will work as expected in terms of the announced timeline of completing 16 reactors (17.6 Gwe) by 2032. The cost of the program is close to $90 billion which over a period of more than two decades for a feasible schedule would involve a significant diversion of oil revenue […]

Thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway

Thieves steal chunk of China’s new solar highway thumbnail

Thieves in China have vandalised a newly opened solar highway, less than a week after the road was christened with much fanfare. The one-kilometre stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan consists of solar panels under a layer of transparent concrete, allowing cars to drive over the photovoltaic cells. But just five days […]

Recent Developments in Advanced Reactors in China, Russia

Alternative Energy

China Reported to Commit $3 billion to Development of Molten Salt Reactor Designs. China Begins Construction of a 600 MW Fast Reactor. Taishan 1 EPR Startup Delayed to 2018. Russia to Build Fast Reactor Fuel Plant for Brest-OD-300 Reactor. English language media reports indicate that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has announced plans to invest […]

Bioplastics Threaten Big Oil

Alternative Energy

What sector will account for the largest source of oil demand growth over the next two decades? Most people might assume transportation, with hundreds of millions of people in the developing world acquiring cars for the first time. However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the petrochemical industry will represent the largest source of […]

Why Germans Are Being Paid To Use Power

Alternative Energy

Germany’s drive to use renewable sources of energy seems to be bearing fruit. Beginning last weekend, prices for electricity in the country declined below zero.   That means consumers are being paid to use the power, rather than the other way around. This isn’t even the first time this has happened. According to one of […]

In 2017, The Myth of Powering the World with 100% Renewables Has Started to Crack

Alternative Energy

When thinking about 2017, it is easy to see the bankruptcy of Westinghouse and the subsequent cancellation of its Summer project in South Carolina as this year’s big issue.  But as the year has drawn to a close, the continuation of its AP1000 project at Plant Vogtle in Georgia has been approved by the regulator […]

The long wait for fusion power may be coming to an end

The long wait for fusion power may be coming to an end thumbnail

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind account for a growing share of the world’s electric power. That’s no surprise, given concerns about the carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants and their harmful effect on the climate. Nuclear energy offers some advantages over renewables, including the ability to make electricity when the sun doesn’t […]

ITER Nuclear Fusion Plant Is Halfway Finished

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The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant in Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance, France, is 50 percent complete. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images The sprawling landscape of construction cranes and partially completed buildings, along with a massive metal-and-steel ring, was described as looking like a “modern-day Stonehenge” by The New York Times in March 2017. It’s been a decade since construction began […]

Fancy Having Your Own Power Plant? “Fuel Cell Micro-Cogeneration is Market-Ready”

Alternative Energy

SolidPower’s BlueGen fuel cell unit. More than 1,000 fuel cell micro-cogeneration units have been installed in homes and business in ten countries over the last several years by the ene.field project. Its successor, the PACE project, aims at bringing costs further down, although manufacturers and users say the technology is market-ready. “I thought it would be nice to have my own […]

It’s Final — Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use

Alternative Energy

OK, can we please stop pretending biofuel made from corn is helping the planet and the environment? The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion of biofuels has ignited a fierce debate as to whether they’re […]

Thermonuclear Fusion: How Scientists Hope to Extract Energy of Stars on Earth

Thermonuclear Fusion: How Scientists Hope to Extract Energy of Stars on Earth thumbnail

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project has reached an important milestone, passing the 50% completion mark this month. Nuclear physicist Anatoly Krasilnikov, director of Russia’s ITER Project Center, told the RIA Novosti news agency about Russia’s key role in the project. ITER project general director Bernard Bigot announced last week that the ambitious $23.7 […]

The Great Energy Transition: A Progress Report

Alternative Energy

On Nov. 24 in Stockholm, there was a demonstration of the progress that the Italian, Andrea Rossi, has made in his decades-long effort to develop a new source of energy based on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). As Rossi’s last demonstration of an earlier version of his energy-producing device was back in October of 2011, […]

Footing The $9 Trillion Renewable Bill

Alternative Energy

As the world is growing increasingly conscious of the need to invest in cleaner and more sustainable energy to limit the impact of global warming, it’s no secret that a faster and universal renewable energy transition will require trillions of dollars of investment over the next couple of decades. The trillion-dollar question is, who will […]

The Energy Transition: Too Little, Too Late

Alternative Energy

  The idea of the energy transition (“energiewende” in German) originated in the 1980s and gained legislative support in Germany in 2010. The idea is good and also technically feasible. But it requires sacrifices and, at present, sacrifices are politically unthinkable since most people don’t realize how critical the situation really is. What we are […]

ITER nuclear fusion project faces delay over Trump budget cuts

Alternative Energy

ITER, an international project to build a prototype nuclear fusion reactor in southern France, said it is facing delays if the Trump administration does not reconsider budget cuts. FILE PHOTO: A crane loads equipments at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance,Southern France, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier Seven partners […]

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