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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Journal Archives

Are Electric Vehicles Already Halfway to Market Dominance?

Are Electric Vehicles Already Halfway to Market Dominance?
Tam Hunt, Contributor
December 16, 2013

Electric vehicles have been all the rage in the last few years, but...


...In terms of the US as a whole, we are fast approaching 1 percent of all sales coming from EVs (pure battery electrics, BEVs, and plug-in hybrid electrics, PHEVs, but excluding hybrid car sales). EVs will comprise about 2/3 of a percent for all light duty car sales in the U.S. in 2013. We’ll easily pass 1 percent in 2014. One percent is still very small — way too small — but it turns out that reaching 1 percent is a really important milestone. In fact, the game may be won when 1 percent is reached.


Ray Kurzweil, an American inventor and entrepreneur, discovered the Law of Accelerating Returns by studying numerous technology adoption curves....


So how can 1 percent of all EV sales suggest in any way that we’re on the road to a world dominated by EVs? Here’s why: 1 percent is halfway between nothing and 100 percent — in terms of doublings. That is, there are seven doublings from the start of growth to 1 percent and seven doublings from 1 to 100 percent. One double is two, which doubled is four, etc.

Kurzweil’s best example of the counterintuitive nature of his law is the Human Genome Project. This was a government-funded effort to decode the entire human genome in about fifteen years. Well, halfway through the project the effort was only at about 1 percent completion. Many observers wrote off the effort as a failure that couldn’t possibly reach its goal. Kurzweil, however, wrote at the time that the game was won because 1 percent was halfway to 100 percent in the terms that actually mattered: the rate of improvement in sequencing technology.

And he was right. ...

Applying the Law of Accelerating Returns to EVs

Back to EVs, it seems incredible but the following is a mathematically true statement: if customers continue to buy EVs at the same rate of growth as we’ve seen in the last two years all cars sold in 2020 will be EVs. This is because seven years is seven doublings and seven doublings from 1 percent gets us past 100 percent. Of course, the “if” in my statement is the key. No one should reasonably expect that we’ll see 100 percent rates of growth in EV sales every year through 2020 — we won’t. This rate will surely slow down substantially as various obstacles present themselves. But even if the rate of growth averages “only” 50 percent each year, we would reach 100 percent of all sales by 2026. This won’t happen either, but it is reasonable to expect that a very substantial percentage of all cars sold will be EVs by the mid-2020s. Figure 1 shows the result of various average growth rates over time. Even at 20 percent annual growth EVs comprise almost half of all cars sold by 2034.

More at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/12/are-electric-vehicles-already-halfway-to-market-dominance?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-December18-2013

The Saudi proliferation question

17 DECEMBER 2013
The Saudi proliferation question
Ali Ahmad

Concerted international efforts to keep Iran a non-nuclear weapon state might seem to constitute good news for Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s top rival for leadership in the Middle East. Instead, the Saudi government is deeply disturbed by a recent interim agreement between Iran and the so-called P5 + 1 countries—the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The six-month agreement freezes Iran’s enrichment of nuclear fuel above the level needed for commercial nuclear power, halts development of the plutonium-production-capable Arak nuclear plant, and gives International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors greater access to Iran’s declared nuclear facilities. In return, the P5 + 1 has agreed to lift some of the sanctions that have nearly crippled Iran’s economy.

The reason for Saudi anger is complex: Riyadh fears a US-Iran détente at least as much as an Iranian bomb, and those concerns have led some prominent Saudis to talk openly about the possibility the kingdom will obtain nuclear weapons. This is talk that the United States should take seriously. The kingdom has embarked on a commercial nuclear power program that makes little economic sense, but could, if it becomes reality, aid a Saudi nuclear weapons program.

It is vitally important to the security of the Middle East that Iran not gain access to nuclear weapons. It is just as important that Saudi Arabia remain a non-nuclear-weapon nation.

Saudi unease, nuclear hints.The Saudi leadership has witnessed major regional shifts over the last decade: the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq; Iran’s expanding power in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; and, more recently, the successive waves of an Arab Spring that has challenged and sometimes deposed leaders across the Middle East. Rapprochement between the United States and Iran would further strengthen Iran’s position in the region. The Saudi leadership, therefore, feels the need for a long-term security solution that is in their hands and under their control.

The first public hint by Saudi officials that the kingdom would consider acquiring a nuclear weapon as a counterweight to Tehran’s nuclear program came in...


Ali Ahmad is postdoctoral research fellow in nuclear technology policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His work focuses on nuclear technology assessment and the introduction of nuclear power to new markets such as the Middle East. A physics graduate from the Lebanese University in Beirut, Ali holds a doctorate in nuclear engineering from Cambridge University.

Tepco formally declares surviving Fukushima No. 1 reactors defunct

Tepco formally declares surviving Fukushima No. 1 reactors defunct
DEC 18, 2013

Tokyo Electric Power Co. officially declared Wednesday that the two reactors that suffered no major damage at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in the 2011 disaster are defunct, meaning the nation will have only 48 operable commercial reactors.


Reactors 5 and 6 will be classified as defunct on Jan. 31, but instead of dismantling them, Tepco may use them as experimental facilities to support the challenging task of scrapping the three reactors that experienced meltdowns and the other one crippled by a hydrogen explosion.

The public has been demanding that Tepco scrap both the Fukushima No. 1 and nearby Fukushima No. 2 plants. The utility has not made clear what it intends to do with the four-reactor Fukushima No. 2 complex, located about 12 km south of the crisis-ridden Fukushima No. 1 facility.

As new accounting rules regarding decommissioning came into force in October, Tepco is likely to avoid booking a large extraordinary charge for the current business year through next March due to a shortfall in funds for decommissioning.

“We are currently examining the impact...


Kakadu mine: risk of uranium leakage could be greater than thought

Kakadu mine: risk of uranium leakage could be greater than thought
Study shows the radioactive particles can escape into the environment, raising alarms about the national park

Oliver Milman
theguardian.com, Wednesday 18 December 2013 02.47 EST


A study published in Nature Communications found that seemingly immobile uranium particles “piggybacked” onto iron and organic material and flowed into a stream that joined a wetland in France.


“This research is extremely significant as strategies thought to control uranium migration in some circumstances don’t work,” he told Guardian Australia. “That’s really problematic. It shows that we need to go back to the drawing board, look at all the factors involved in the mobilisation of uranium and have a rethink.”


Before, we knew that one form of uranium, uranium oxide, could move in the environment and to prevent it from moving we transformed it to uranium 4,” she said. “Once we did that we could stop worrying about it because it wouldn’t go anywhere.

“What we found is that particles, under special conditions, can move into groundwater and spread around. It needs to be an organic-rich environment, there needs to be iron and an absence of sulphate for this to happen.




Do electric vehicles have demand response potential?

Do electric vehicles have demand response potential?
By Bill Opalka
DECEMBER 18, 2013 | Share:

In office parks and residential garages, thousands of power plants sit idle, just waiting to relieve building owners and utilities of high power prices when peak demand stresses the electric generation and distribution systems.

That’s the vision and promise, at least, as electric vehicles enter the mass market and the infrastructure to support them is built out. As thousands of electric vehicles are expected to hit the street over the next few years, their batteries, which could collectively store thousands of kilowatts of electricity, could be tapped at a moment's notice.

The idea has been discussed at trade events and in renewable energy circles for years: charge batteries overnight when wind energy is generally plentiful and cheap, and draw that power back onto the grid the next afternoon when demand is high. This burgeoning technology is called vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, and the technical barriers appear to be limited.

Now, major automakers are testing the idea.

Nissan's vehicle-to-building field test

Nissan, maker of the mass market Leaf, recently completed a preliminary field test of its vehicle-to-building system...

More at http://www.utilitydive.com/news/do-electric-vehicles-have-demand-response-potential/205420/

Fun interactive wind mapping

A similar map has been posted before, but this version is far better.


Click the word EARTH in the lower left corner for the control panel.

"hPa" is a measure of air pressure; the higher the number the lower the altitude.

1005 hPa at 226ft is about the height of the nacelle of a new large wind turbine, so the 1000 setting (364ft) is the best proxy.

10 hPa is about 85000ft

070 +- 58,000ft
250 +- 34,000ft
500 +- 18,000ft
700 +- 10,000ft
850 +- 5,000ft

Projection determines the type of map displayed.

Control shifts forward or back in time from present.

Clicking on the map gives location coordinates and wind speed.

Data is refreshed every 3 hours I believe.

Radioactivity muddles the alphabet of DNA

"The natural radioactivity in focus involved the decay of carbon atoms, Carbon-14, turning into nitrogen atoms, Nitrogen-14"

Radioactivity muddles the alphabet of DNA

Using high-performance computers, the research team from Curtin and Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to show radioactivity could alter molecular structures which encode genetic information, creating new molecules that do not belong to the four-letter alphabet of DNA.
Professor Nigel Marks from Curtin's Discipline of Physics and Astronomy and Curtin's Nanochemistry Research Institute said the new molecules may well generate mutations by confusing the replication mechanisms in DNA.
"This work takes an entirely new direction on research into natural radioactivity in biology and raises important questions about genetic mutation," Professor Marks said.
"We have discovered a subtle process that could easily be overlooked by the standard cell repair mechanisms in the body, potentially creating a new pathway for mutations to occur."
Professor Marks said the work was both exciting and unexpected, emerging as a spin-off from an Australian Research Council funded project on nuclear waste.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-radioactivity-alphabet-dna.html#jCp

New Design for LED Bulb Handles Heat w/o Heavy Heat Sink

Three views of same bulb:

Philips LED bulb with rad design set for January arrival
Dec 17, 2013 by Nancy Owano

(Phys.org) —Netherlands-based Philips' SlimStyle LED bulbs will be arriving on January 2 at Home Depot stores, and the SlimStyle appears to be a promising newcomer in lightbulbs, with a flat design, energy-saving benefits. and ease of use for consumers. Intended as a replacement for 60- watt incandescents, SlimStyle is highly efficient; it uses only 10.5 watts, yet still puts out 800 lumens.

This lightbulb is shaped such that a string of LEDs are arranged into a horseshoe shape that arc out from the base. The shape is not just about grabbing attention; the technical advantage is that the SlimStyle does a good job in dispersing heat and does away with the need for heavy heat sinks. In a GigaOM report on the SlimStyle, a Philips spokeswoman e-mailed comments about the bulb's design "The flat surface," she said, "helps conduct heat away from the LEDs, eliminating the need for the heavy aluminum heat sinks associated with LED bulbs. This eliminates the cost of the bulb, while still delivering omnidirectional light."

Illumination in Focus further reflected on the significance of the design: "Philips has once again created an LED-based retrofit lamp with a novel shape that still delivers an omnidirectional beam that the company expects to win Energy Star certification. The design looks somewhat akin to a doughnut on top of an Edison base although there is only a flat area rather than a whole in the center of the doughnut. The solid-state lighting (SSL) design enabled a new approach to thermal management that does not rely on a visible metal heat sink."

Chris Davies, meanwhile...


Areva wants to raid Fr. nuke decommissioning funds to pay for UK reactors

They can't afford to borrow money on the market because they have credit rating that's in the toilet.

Areva may use French fund to help pay for UK nuclear plant - paper
PARIS Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:48pm GMT

(Reuters) - Areva is in talks with the French government to release some funds set aside for dismantling its nuclear installations in France to help the company finance a new British nuclear reactor, a newspaper reported.

Britain signed a deal with France's state-owned utility EDF in October to build a 16-billion pound nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in southwest Britain, the first new plant in Europe since the Fukushima disaster.

State-owned Areva is taking a 10 percent stake in the consortium that will build the facility, which also includes EDF's Chinese partners China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

Areva wants to ensure the British nuclear project will not impact its debt, which is rated BBB- by Standard and Poors, one notch above "junk" territory. Its debt-to-equity ratio stood at 1.15 at the end of June, according to Thomson Reuters data.

It will need 500 million pounds to finance its share ...


Areva-Siemens to cut staff at Olkiluoto 3 site -TVO

Areva-Siemens to cut staff at Olkiluoto 3 site -TVO
mardi 10 décembre 2013

HELSINKI Dec 10 (Reuters) - French-German consortium Areva-Siemens plans to reduce workers and subcontractors on the construction site of Finland's much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said.

TVO, which has been locked in a legal battle with Areva-Siemens over the delays, said it expects the contractor to provide details about the expected impact on the project's schedule.

Finland's fifth nuclear reactor was originally scheduled to start operating in 2009, but it has been hit by repeated delays and soaring costs, and now is seen delayed until 2016...

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