April 18, 2017

UK National Grid report boss

Govt warned must transform UK national grid

A new report from think tank Green Alliance warns that the UK Government needs to help the country’s power system catch up with the growth of electric vehicles and solar by transforming the UK national grid.

At present, the UK national grid is woefully prepared to meet the demand on the system by increasing solar power systems and electric vehicle takeup.

More consumers are choosing to buy small-scale renewable energy technologies according to the report, which warns that consequences of not upgrading the grid urgently could be disastrous. If no action is taken, just six electric cars charging in close proximity at peak time could overload the grid and disrupt the local power supply.

This in turn would provide ample ammunition for critics of renewable energy that want to see clean energy growth stopped in its tracks. At present, one in five of the UK’s local grids are unable to accept more distributed energy like rooftop solar. However, if the Government designs a smarter power system now, electric car batteries could store enough power to keep the UK’s lights on for 7 hours at a time by 2025, virtually eliminating blackouts, and distributed energy could save customers over £1.6 billion per year. Growth in clean energy development is moving increasingly fast.

By 2020 IKEA will be a net exporter of its own solar and wind energy, and the falling price of battery storage could soon allow UK households to operate off the UK national grid for months at a time.

The report predicts that the UK will reach a tipping point as soon as 2020, when government will lose the ability to control the speed of small scale energy deployment. Similar tipping points outside the UK have seen mixed responses: In Nevada, attempts to clampdown on rooftop solar’s effect on the local power system were met with ferocious consumer backlash, ultimately leading to a reversal of new less favourable tariffs and the grid administration being sacked. This should be a warning to the UK Government, but how much notice will it actually take? In California, smart EV charging infrastructure has been used to  keep the lights on at peak times and given that 40 per cent of drivers would consider buying an EV, the UK should follow California’s lead.

Intervention needed

The report says four main government interventions are necessary to get the benefits of small scale energy:

*A new independent system designer should be employed to ensure small scale energy is well integrated.

*Distribution network operators (DNOs) should be transformed into distribution system operators to actively integrate EVs and solar in a smart network.

*Small scale technologies should be enabled to provide system flexibility, for instance through smart charging of EVs.

*Automation and aggregators should be adopted to make more flexible ‘time of use’ tariffs attractive to customers.

“The energy transition is unstoppable and will in part be …

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millie bobbie brown wide smile

Comic Con star yearns for Bora Bora

“Stranger Things” fans gave Millie Bobby Brown — the 13-year-old breakout star of Netflix‘s sci-fi series — pure and unmitigated rock-star treatment on closing day of this year’s Indiana Comic Con.  highlights of the session – she yearns for an off-grid life and she hates shopping.

Brown’s Q&A was peppered with bio info you might find in a teen-focused magazine from the “Stranger Things” era:

Where would you like to visit? “Bora Bora, because it’s off the grid.”

What’s your favorite color? Purple.

What’s your TV obsession? “Friday Night Lights” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Music favorites? Gorillaz and Whitney Houston.

Give her space when she’s eating in a restaurant or trying to catch a flight.

And don’t bother sending Eggos, the breakfast treat closely identified with Eleven. Brown is wary of hidden cameras and poisoned waffles.

When doors opened to the large hall where Brown answered audience questions, the first of 500 or so attendees ran to grab prime seats as if the event were a Harry Styles concert. It took exactly one fan into the session, 13-year-old Addison Tuttle of Lexington, Ky., for Brown to field her first request for a date.

After someone said Brown’s YouTube videos are a source of encouragement when this particular fan feels unwanted or unimportant, the “Stranger Things” actress stepped down from the dais to deliver a hug. Tears fell for multiple fans when given the chance to talk to the actress who portrays telekinetic youngster Eleven.

Christy Blanch, the Q&A’s moderator and owner of Muncie’s Aw Yeah Comics store, paused to note the affection in the room.

“I have been doing this for four years, and I have never seen this amount of emotion in questions,” Blanch told Brown.”I did Carrie Fisher’s panel and nobody broke down like this.”

Brown, a native of Spain who spent early years in England and now lives in Atlanta where “Stranger Things” is made, appeared comfortable in the setting.

She agreed to pose with a Godzilla action figure supplied by a fan who asked about Brown’s role in the upcoming film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” When asked to showcase her rapping skills, Brown said she felt like singing and belted out an a cappella minute of Emeli Sande song “Read All About It (Part III).”

Wearing black, low-cut Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, Brown told the story behind the Victoria Beckham-designed rabbit shirt she wore this Easter Sunday.

“I hate shopping,” Brown said. “My mom tricks me into going shopping. She says, ‘Oh, we’re just going to get Starbucks,’ and here we are! We were in Target the other day, and she said, ‘Just try on this. It looks really cute and you can wear it to the con.’ I said, ‘I’m not trying it on. Just buy it and we’ll see if it fits.'”

Regarding the signature pink dress with the Peter Pan …

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Solar Water inventor Omar Yaghi in Berkeley, and his metal-organic models

Water from thin air

Scientists have created a device that can literally extract water from the air using solar power.  Solar Water could revolutionise off-grid living which currently requires a natural water source to be viable – even if its just  rain. This device could one day provide personalized water to those in areas affected by chronic drought.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California Berkeley published their findings in the journal Science on Thursday.

The invention can harvest water from the atmosphere in conditions where relative humidity is as low as 20 percent, which makes it potentially usable in many of the planet`s driest regions.

This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity,said Omar Yaghi from Berkeley, who along with colleague Evelyn Wang from MIT created the revolutionary tech.

In order to harvest water, the system uses a specially designed material, a metal organic framework (MOF) designed by Yaghi over 20 years ago. By combining metals like magnesium or aluminium with organic molecules the MOF creates rigid, porous structures ideal for storing liquids and gases.

Essentially the system absorbs and traps air in nanometer sized pores. When sunlight is added, water molecules inside the trapped air get released and condensed into drinkable H2O. Using just 2.2 pounds (997g) of MOF the device can harvest 2.8 litres of water over a 12 hour period.

One vision for the future is to have a solar water device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household, Yaghi told Berkeley news.

The ingenious device is not yet ready for commercial production but the scientists have big plans for their technology.

There is a lot of potential for scaling up the amount of water that is being harvested. It is just a matter of further engineering now, expressed Yaghi.

To have solar water running all the time, you could design a system that absorbs the humidity during the night and evolves it during the day, he said. Or design the solar collector to allow for this at a much faster rate, where more air is pushed in. We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert, you could survive because of this device. A person needs about a Coke can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system.

There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home produces very expensive water, he added.

Wang echoed these statements; This solar water device offers a new way to harvest water from air that does not require high relative humidity conditions and is much more energy efficient than other existing technologies, the mechanical engineer said.

With an estimated 1 in 10 people …

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