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The Guardian take note of the Ripasso CSP, maybe you should too?
+John Despujols​​​​, always paying attention to interesting stuff, shared this article by +Jeffrey Barbee​​​​. I have long been fascinated by this cool design with it's world record solar power efficiency record. When others talk about efficiency it's usually figures from the labs or controlled environments. In the real world, this system is already at 32-34% true solar-to-grid electricity conversion, generating 0.5 MW/ha. That's pretty cool. And it's kinda steampunkish too.

»What, wait, Ripasso who?
Ripasso Energy is a Swedish company located in Gothenburg. The company was founded by Gunnar Larsson, former CEO of Kockums, merited submarine manufacturer in Malmö. To those who know anything about submarines, the connection to fuel-free energy is pretty clear - the Stirling engine.

»The Stirling engine
Invented and patented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the Stirling engine was a simple yet ingenious heat engine that still fascinates us and finds it's uses today. The engine is powered by heat, or rather a temperature difference. Just like steam engines the Stirling engine is sometimes referred to as an external combustion engine, in contrast to the ICE, the internal combustion engine. For about a century the Stirling engine made duty primarily as a domestic engine, but was finally replaced by electric engines as countries were electrified.

»How the system works
The Ripasso design, the Ripasso CSP, consists of one or more reflecting dishes, each 12 m in diameter with a total area of 104 m2. The system automatically tracks the sun and concentrate all that sunlight at a tiny 10 cm2 (1.55 square inches) spot on the Stirling power converter, the Ripasso SPC, which generates the electricity and feeds it onto the grid. While the overall design is all very well made, Ripasso are not the only ones that have tried this. So, what's so special about Ripasso's solution?

»What Ripasso did that was so clever
Now, while a Stirling engine is rather simple in its basic design, operating one efficiently can be rather complex and difficult. There are different design variations and there is pressure, various types of gas, heat exchangers, control systems and a lot more to consider. The biggest catch is, in order to generate electric power, you either need a gear box or you have to lock the engine to a fixed speed, else the generator will not match the grid frequency. Either way you reduce efficiency, but this is where Ripasso excel with a clever solution. They have thoroughly optimized the engine and generator to work perfectly together, and for optimal efficiency they run the power converter on it's own, optimal frequency, feeding the grid through an inverter. This is key to their world record solar power efficiency record.

»Will they make it?
As fascinating as technology gets, the interesting question is, can Ripasso make it "big" with their Ripasso CSP system? Ripasso claim their CSP is competitive and have "negligible degradation and 25+ years system lifetime" with "long service intervals" - and they have four years of operation at the pilot plant in South Africa to back it up. It's not like Ripasso are running short of competition, but they do have a product with an edge, and there ought to be a not too small niche for them. After four successful years, the time has come to scale up.

»Facts
Dish: 12 m (39.4 feet) diameter, 104 m2 (1,120 square feet) reflecting area, 95% spectral reflectivity, ~100 kW with 1 kW/m2 and 0.1 mrad tracking accuracy 
Power converter: 30kWe @ 2300 rpm, >40% engine efficiency, 200 bar max engine gas pressure, 720°C max sun receiver/heater temperature

»Links
http://www.ripassoenergy.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine

Disclaimer:
Although I work at Consat, a company that deliver solutions for the Ripasso CSP, I have not been personally involved this project.

#ripasso #solarpower #renewableenergy   #engineering #csp  
Using military technology and a zero-emission engine invented by a 19th-century Scot, Swedish firm seeks to revolutionise solar energy production
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Per Siden's profile photoDiana Studer's profile photoJoseph McCann's profile photoHenrik Berg's profile photo
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we are in a long queue for battery backup LED lights, for reading. Expecting the next delivery in June or July and they sell out immediately.
We are learning a new life style. There is a schedule, if it goes off, our area will be 1600 to 1800 on Saturdays for example. Larger businesses have stand by generators.
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Electricity production costs, Sweden 2014
A new report by Elforsk stands out a bit and is well worth a look. The report shows that in terms of LCOE onshore wind power is among the cheapest power money can buy right now, en par with large scale hydro power.

According to the study coal power is cheapest only when carbon tax and emission costs are completely out of the equation (you can try this for yourselves, see below). Wind and large scale hydro are clearly the cheapest, which one depends on how you chose to look at interest and financial costs (yes, you can try this too). However, since coal is out of the question in Sweden and large scale hydro is never going to be expanded any further, the conclusion is that onshore wind is currently the cheapest way to produce new electricity.

No big surprise there perhaps. Other recent studies in the EU have come to similar conclusions. However, the report comes with a very nifty calculator. I wish more reports would make their full data available like this. Go play with it, it's really cool!

Note: You can run the calculator through Google Translate if you need to get going, but it won't operate as intended. Luckily the language isn't too challenging.

»Links:
Elforsk press release (Nov 19, 2014):
http://www.elforsk.se/Global/Press/Elforsk_PM_nya%20anl%C3%A4ggningar%2020141119_2.pdf

»The full report (in Swedish):
http://www.elforsk.se/Programomraden/El--Varme/Rapporter/?rid=14_40_

»English summary of the report (pdf):
http://www.elforsk.se/Programomraden/El--Varme/Rapporter/?download=englishSummary&rid=14_40_

#energy   #windpower   #sweden   #elforsk  
Information. Välkommen till Elforsks webbaserade beräkningsapplikation för att beräkna och jämföra elproduktionskostnaden för nya och framtida elproducerande anläggningar. Beräkningsapplikationen är ett komplement till rapporten ”El från nya och framtida anläggningar 2014” och utgör ett verktyg ...
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+Shean Bond, you might find this page where you can follow the power system of the NordPool energy market countries in real time (in plain English) of interest:
http://www.svk.se/Start/English/Operations-and-market/Nordic-System-Map/

[Edit: It seems to work poorly on Chrome for some reason. Maybe it's just me, but if you have problems viewing it try IE or Firefox.]
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Sweden overtakes Denmark on wind power
Over the last decades Denmark has driven the development of wind power, but the Danish Energy Association now concludes that "2014 will be the year when Sweden overtakes Denmark in installed wind power capacity and very likely in total electricity generated by wind turbines"

"By the end of 2013 Sweden had an installed wind power capacity of 4,382 MW, but keep expanding it month by month 'as stable as a Volvo on a rural road'."

According to the latest forecast from Swedish Wind Energy another 1,000 MW will be added over the year, bringing the total installed capacity up to 5,400 MW. Denmark already has an installed capacity of 4,900 MW, but the expansion is progressing more slowly now.

»Similar and yet different
There are some significant differences between Denmark and Sweden. Since most of the wind turbines in Sweden are installed in 2006 or later, they tend to be bigger on average than their older Danish ones. In 2013 Sweden's 2,663 wind turbines produced approx. 10,000 GWh (10 billion kWh), while at the same time Denmark's 5,100 turned out (11,000 GWh (11 billion kWh).

Another notable difference between the countries is that Denmark has invested heavily in offshore wind power lately, while 96 percent of the Swedish wind power is land based. But Sweden too is focusing more on offshore wind power now.

Compared to Sweden, Denmark still remains in a clear first place when it comes to wind power share of total electricity generation. In 2013 it was one third.

»Links
http://www.danishenergyassociation.com/
http://www.vindkraftsbranschen.se/en/
http://ny.svensk-vindkraft.org/engelsk-startsida/
http://www.newsoresund.se/sverige-snart-storre-an-danmark-pa-vindkraft/

»Update 2014-11
Estimates for Sweden at end if 2014:
Total number of turbines in operation: 3,040
Total effect: 5,363 MW
Total production 2014: 11,0 TWh 
Yearly production: 13,3 TWh
Sverige overhaler Danmark på vind. 2014 bliver året, hvor svenskerne drøner forbi med installeret effekt og måske også på samlet elproduktion fra vindmøller. 19. maj 2014 af Jesper Tornbjerg. Danmark har drevet udviklingen af vindkraft frem gennem de seneste årtier, men nu er Sverige ved at ...
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Susan Gemmill's profile photoMark Lawrence McRay's profile photograham mewburn's profile photoErich Feldmeier's profile photo
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Awesome news. Thanks for sharing :)
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Free book on transaction log management
Invaluable book by Tony Davis, Editor with Red Gate, and Gail Shaw, senior consultant with Xpertease. Everything you ever need to know, every tip and trick there is on SQL transaction logs. I have had good use of this book.

$21.75 at Amazon, now available for free courtesy of Red Gate:
http://assets.red-gate.com/offerings/transaction-log-management.zip

ISBN: 9781906434960
First published 2012-12

#SQL   #DBA  
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I was happy enough about MySQL for small projects, until Oracle bought it. Anyone with experience of MariaDB in a production environment? Version 10.0.9 is out now:
https://blog.mariadb.org/mariadb-10-0-9-now-available/
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TEDx Göteborg 2013 - Crossroads
This year the event will take place at Draken Theatre on November 5. "The theme is 'Crossroads', that people can come from different directions – of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs – to share their ideas openly. And in turn, people may leave inspired to create new paths to better themselves and the world around them."

Read more: http://www.tedxgoteborg.com/

#TEDx   #Gothenburg   #Crossroads   #Draken  
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Nuclear decline continues
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013 (http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/pdf/20130711msc-worldnuclearreport2013-lr-v1.pdf) was released yesterday, and it doesn't look like nuclear industry is recovering. Time to give up on this side track? Professor Karl-Friedrich Lenz does an excellent review and here are some facts from the report:

»Nuclear is in decline
- Capacity is down to 364 GW in 2012 (peaked 2010 at 375 GW)
- Generation is down to 2,346 TWh in 2012 (peaked 2006 at 2,660 TWh)
- The share of world electricity is down to 10% in 2012 (peaked 1993 at 17%)
- In 2012, only 3 new reactors started up while 6 were shut down
- In the first half of 2013, only 1 (!) new reactor started up while 4 shut down

»Future looks bleak
"[In] 2009, 31 applications for new reactors were pending in the United States. Only 4 started actually building, none of them with private capital. Operating reactors are being closed as uneconomic. In the last decade, there were 31 new reactors and 51 shutdowns [world-wide]. [Given that the average reactor age is 28 years, and average construction time for the 34 units that have started operations in the last decade was 9.3 years] the decade between 2020 and 2030 would need 205 new start-ups to just to keep the existing capacity - close to seven times the record for the past decade. [This is not only unlikely but is simply not going to happen.]"

»Nuclear industry is weakened
"Over just the past five years the share value of the world’s largest nuclear operator, French state utility EDF, went down by 85 percent. The share price of the world’s largest nuclear builder, French state company AREVA, dropped by up to 88 percent!"

In November last year Japanese operator TEPCO asked the government for at least 11 trillion yen ($137 billion) to cover costs from the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant, estimates that have since increased to between $250 and $500 billion. But not only TEPCO is taking a toll. 42 reactors are currently not running and "nuclear load factors in Japan have plunged to 3.7% in 2012".

»Renewable energy is overtaking nuclear
"Renewable energy wins by close to an order of magnitude in the amount of yearly investments. Nuclear has been unable to break even $40 billion for any of the last ten years. In contrast, the last number for renewable (not even including large hydro) for 2012 was $268 billion. In 2012, only 1.2 GW of nuclear capacity was added to the grid, in stark contrast to 32 GW of solar and 45 GW of wind. By 2012 nuclear production was down 50 TWh compared to 2000, and solar was up 50 TWh, making up exactly what nuclear has lost. And meanwhile, wind was 500 TWh up."

»What about SMRs then?
The report cite one analyst on SMR (Small Modular Reactors): "As a matter of physics, reactors don’t scale down well; that’s why they’re big. If you try to overcome this handicap by capturing economies of mass production, you quickly run up against a fatal competitor called Small Modular Renewables (and efficiency techniques). Those do scale down very well; they currently outcompete new reactors by severalfold; and they’re already decades ahead of SMRs in exploiting their mass-production economies (they’re attracting a quarter trillion dollars of private investment per year), and will be another decade ahead by the time an SMR could be demonstrated. So SMRs might have been worth considering a half-century ago, but today they’re far too late. End of story."

Actually SMRs were considered half a century ago, with the ASEA/ABB Secure reactor. But the concept was finally ditched for security reasons. But that is history now.

»Nuclear power unlikely to play a major role in the future
To me it seems chances are increasingly slim nuclear power, at least the kind we know today and in the foreseeable future, will play any major part in future energy strategies. Counting on it to tackle global warming strategy is not realistic. Its not only way too expensive but also the wrong kind of energy source in markets where concepts of "base load" and "peak demand" are becoming meaningless. There will be no shelf space left for nuclear power.

One last quote from Prof. Lenz:
"The remaining 10 percent of  electricity (not energy) nuclear provides [now] is nice to have as a low carbon source. But it’s not such a big deal. We’re talking about 80 percent renewable in Germany until 2050, mandated by law. There won’t be any market left for nuclear in a couple of decades anyway. We certainly don’t need it to get fossil fuel under control. If anything, with the exponential growth rather ahead of most schedules we are seeing for renewable energy, 100 percent renewable will probably be realized much faster than 2050."

#nuclear   #energy   #renewable  
The latest edition has been released yesterday. Here are a couple of facts from that report. By early 2009, 31 applications for new reactors were pending in the United States. Only four started actually building, none of that with private capital. Operating reactors are being closed as ...
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It all began with 'the song of the dial-up modem'
+Rhonda Lowry​, VP of Emerging Social Web Technologies at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. gave a TEDx talk on the topic of "Literacy in a Networked Society" that I find exceptionally interesting.

Rhonda Lowry is not only a vice president at Turner, but her online persona is one of the top virtual musicians online, and she has some keen insights on what online identities means, and how they allow for completely new accomplishments. Lowry examines and explains identity online and elaborate on the revolution in connection - rather than categorization - of contacts.

#internet   #tedtalks   #society    #rhondalowry  
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+paul beard it sure is interesting, and a field where we have a lot to learn still. We may only have just begun asking the questions.

Rhonda Lowry's presentation is well worth the time.
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BZZZ! International Sound Art Festival 2014
HARP Art Lab  presents a festival of installations and performances by artists and bee-keepers at the Harplinge windmill.

July 4, 1:00 p.m. to SUNDAY July 6, 2:00 p.m.
Installations open from 1:00 p.m.
Concerts from 5:00 pm. Friday and 6:00 p.m. Saturday. Closing concert on Sunday 02:00 p.m.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS
Charli Clark/Can Uzer, Agnes Mercedes, Rima Otilia Qvale, Leif Holmstrand, Michele Collins, Ruta Vitkauskaite, Bioni Samp, Maciej Baczyk/Aga Jarzabowa, Mikael Reuter, Simon Mattisson, Klara Andersson, Niklas Sjösvärd, +softday (Mikael Fernström/Sean Taylor), Rickard Fredborg, Ann Louise Liljedahl, Stefan Isebring/Hanna Östergren, Sara B Nilsson, Mikael Ericsson & Zabutom
Curator: Kajsa Magnarsson
 
EXHIBITION
Open Friday to Sunday 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.  July 4 to August 17.

GETTING THERE
Address: Kvarnliden 8, Harplinge, Sweden
BZZZ! INTERNATIONAL SOUND ART FESTIVAL 2014 a project about the life and death of honey bees. Program (pdf) HARP ART LAB SWEDEN has invited artists and bee-keepers to create installations and performances connected to the theme of honey bees, thereby transforming Harplinge windmill into a "hive" ...
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Ha ha, I think you would have made a great contribution +Russell Davison. Next time around!
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Abbott's government again proved wrong on dismantling LRET
Well known automation components company
+Schneider Electric concludes that extending - or even more so, expanding - Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices.

"[Pacific Hydro general manager] Lane Crockett said the analysis [...] clearly demonstrats that zero fuel cost renewable energy will act as a hedge against future price rises in coal and gas."

"The analysis is important in the light of claims made by incumbent generators about the cost of the renewable energy target on consumers, and some even wilder claims in conservative commentators that renewables could add 50 % to consumer bills by 2020." 
Large energy users commissioned an analysis of the renewable energy target. They were surprised to find maintaining or increasing the LRET would lower energy costs.
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Russell Davison's profile photoMarc Paul Rubin's profile photoRenaud Janson's profile photoJohn “i” Despujols's profile photo
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+Per Siden I really like your comment, very clever.
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Commercial break
A limited edition (200) +softday artefact containing video, audio and text from the Amhrán na mBeach project is now available for purchase.

Based on four years of scientific data about bee diseases and colony losses in Ireland, Softday created a work for the Glenstal Abbey Choir, organ and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

A sound art composition was also created by the Softday Apiary Ensemble, based on field recordings carried out by the participating beekeepers in their respective habitats.
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For Frau Merkel
The preliminary results of the German elections are in. Congratulations Frau Merkel, this song is for you!
  
#CDU   #Merkel   #dTH   #Germany  
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Martin Andersson's profile photoPer Siden's profile photoRussell Davison's profile photo
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Very 1977 sound with clear structure, bass line, and stage backdrop.
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The Guardian: Microsoft handed encrypted customer data over to the NSA
Glenn Greenwald's series on security and liberty (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/glenn-greenwald-security-liberty) continues, revealing yet more on how big companies have exposed their customer's data to the US 'security' complex. "In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have 'direct access' through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo. [Silicon valley] tech executives are now at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion [not by an opportunity to sell private customer data]."

»Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
"Microsoft's latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: 'Your privacy is our priority.' But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing. A newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email [even before official launch]."

»Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
"Skype's privacy policy states: 'Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.' But Skype joined the Prism program on February 6, 2011 and the NSA has since been able to collect communication. 'Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,' the document stated."

»What about other services, and business implications?
Given that encryption have been purposely foiled by Microsoft, on both Outlook and Skype the next question is how other products and services have fared. It seems probable that for example Azure has been compromised, but how about desktop and server OS'es? People are not only expressing concern over privacy, German and other European businesses are now seriously worrying over industrial espionage and loss of trade secrets. Some European government institutions and business that specifically required of Microsoft to host servers on European soil so that European privacy law should apply have been getting increasingly worried. "Handing data over to a foreign power", something that could apply in this case, might be a serious crime, but even more serious is that US tech companies are losing trust right now, and losing it fast. To quote the article; "It's hard to square Microsoft's secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy."

How will this affect EU-US trade negotiations? What impact will that have on current and future business for US based companies and cloud services?
• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism • Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch • Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls • Company says it is legally compelled to comply
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Oh, I think they're all lying.  At the NSA level, I operating under the assumption that they have complete access to everything.  Period.  Any news to this effect at this point isn't so much a surprise too me, as it is a confirmation of a previously held assumption.  

I don't remember where, but I remember hearing at some point about an ex-NSA employee who claimed that the NSA's technology was 30 years ahead of "the public".  I can imagine 97% "spying coverage" with technology available to "the public" today!  If the NSA is even 5 years ahead of that, I can only assume that (at an exponential rate) the technology has/will continue to push that number only higher (and higher (and higher))...

Yeah, they know everything.  (as does every public/private intelligence agency on the planet).  I don't think that the NSA is unique in this regard.

Oh well.  Life in 2013.
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