German scientists creating artificial Sun

Scientists in Germany are turning on what is being described as ‘the world’s largest artificial sun.’

Scientists in Germany are turning on what is being described as ‘the world’s largest artificial sun.’

The massive honeycomb-like structure, known as the ‘Synlight’, uses 149 large spotlights typically employed in cinemas, to simulate sunlight.

The scientists will focus the enormous array of xenon short-arc lamps on a single 8/8 inch spot.

The scientists from the German Aerospace Centre hope that by doing so, they will be able to reproduce the equivalent of 10,000 times the solar radiation that would normally shine on a surface the same size.

“If you went in the room when it was switched on, you would burn directly,” said Professor Bernard Hoffschmidt, a research director at the DLR, where the experiment is sheltered in a protective radiation chamber.

The experiment consumes as much electricity in four hours as a four-person household would in a year.

The furnace-like conditions that will be created by this energy will reach up to 5,432 Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius.)

The German government is one of the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy.

The scientists will attempt to find ways of tapping the vast amount of energy that hits the earth in the form of light from the sun.

One of the primary areas of research will be on how to produce hydrogen efficiently. This will be the first step towards creating artificial fuel for airplanes.

According to Professor Hoffschimdt, billions of tons of hydrogen would be needed to drive airplanes and cars on CO2-free fuel.

Hydrogen is considered a promising future source of fuel. This is because it does not produce carbon emissions, therefore not contributing to global warming.

U.S. Department of Energy announces $19M for advanced battery technology

The United States Department of Energy revealed $19 million to support twelve new cost-shared research projects.

Select research projects by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are concentrated on developing electric vehicle systems that can recharge promptly at high power levels, lessening typical charge times to 15 minutes or less using a connector or wireless fast charging system.

The DOE Vehicle Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in early-stage research to enable private-sector development and commercialization of affordable, energy efficient transportation technologies that can reinforce the nation’s energy security, support U.S. economic growth, and offer consumers and businesses additional transportation options.

According to a recent DOE study, recharging current EV batteries takes much longer than refueling the average liquid-fueled internal combustion vehicle. Slower charge rates are required to allow the lithium-ions to penetrate to the deepest portions of the active material on the electrode. Charging at too high a rate creates a risk for lithium plating, increased battery temperature, and other detrimental side chemical reactions which decrease life and performance characteristics of the batteries.

The projects announced this week will support advanced DOE research on batteries and electrification designed at lowering battery pack cost to under $100 per kilowatt-hour, increasing range to over 300 miles, and charging in under 15 minutes or less by 2028.

Apple operations now fully powered by clean energy

Apple has fulfilled its commitment to use clean energy and facilitate renewable energy projects worldwide.

This week, Apple made an announcement confirming the complete operation of its retail stores, data centers, and corporate offices have reached the milestone to be powered by 100% clean energy.

The ‘go green’ strategy included facilities in 43 countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, China, and India. In general, Apple uses a variety of clean energy sources, such as solar technology, wind farms, and news energy models that include biogas fuel cells and micro-hydro generation systems for generating electricity.

Apple reports its data centers have been powered by 100% clean energy since 2014. Additionally, its renewable energy projects have cut greenhouse gas emissions from its global facilities by 54% since 2011.

Apple Park, the tech giant’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California, is its most high-profile renewable energy project. Opening in 2017, the building contains solar panels on the roof and returns clean energy to the public grid during low usage periods.

Clean energy initiatives include a continued global expansion for Apple. A network of green data centers outside of the United States includes a current development of two new facilities in Denmark while collaborating with a local solar company in Japan to install more than 300 rooftop solar systems.

“There’s competition for talent,” said David Briefel, regional sustainable design leader at architecture firm Gensler.” Sustainability experts say the strategy for companies to become more sustainable contributes to long-term cost savings in addition to employee retention, placing Apple at a competitive advantage against Microsoft and Google.