2016 05-05

Renewable Energy from garbage and sewage

  The technology of using raw sewage and garbage to create energy is not a new concept, but the concept is catching on more and more.  Many are practicing sustainable living to make sure that we are becoming more eco-friendly as time goes on.  Many companies and technologies are evolving to help us in this cycle of life.  Recent discoveries and advances had proven that we can turn our wastes and trash into energy rather than dumping it into a landfill to decompose over hundreds of years.

  In the past around the turn of the 20th century, we used the gas captured from rotting sewage to light the night streets of streetlamps.  With technology ever evolving there now is the know-how that has updated this process.  The process of collecting not only gas from garbage but also from raw sewage.  We are the world that has an appetite for energy.  As this appetite for power grows so does our technology.  In turn, we are able to create new forms of producing eco-friendly energy.   The device that can turn these materials into energy is known as a microbial fuel cell.  The device works much like a hydrogen fuel cell making energy, but this device takes the process and uses wastewater as known as raw sewage and waste.  The bacteria that eats raw sewage creates a gas that can be captured and turned into energy.  There is also an added bonus to this process, helps purify the water.  This is a win-win situation for mother earth and the creatures that habit it.

  Students at a university have created a small version of this microbial fuel cells that is smaller than a can of frozen juice.  This device is able to create enough energy to power a small device like a fan.  The goal of the project is to create larger versions that would be able to create enough biofuel to operate a car on.  Of course, the microbial fuel cell would have to be much larger, but it is a start.  it is estimated that if you had 10,000 people treat their raw sewage with this process that it would create enough energy to power 1,500 homes.  That is roughly 230 million watts of energy.  The added benefit of this process is that the method that is completed at a treatment plant would actually also create enough power to be self-efficient.  Meaning the power plant would be able to power its self.  This would be an added benefit for countries in third world areas where electricity is often not found readily available.  All the power plants need is pumps to push oxygen through the raw sewage water.

  This process also has an added bonus.  The method on how the fuel is created in the microbial fuel cell allows for the collection of the methane gas that the bacteria puts off during the process.  The methane is able then to be collected in a turbine and is burned off.  This allows the cell to actually make the energy directly without having to use combustion.  This technology and process are in the early stages, but could make a huge impact on creating “cleaner” energy sources and also create power in parts of the world where we have not in the past.  The technology that is being development in the area of power creation is making great strides.

  The process of using raw sewage and garbage to produced energy and power is not only a great way to produce the resources needed to benefit us, but is also money saving, creates better water treatment processes, and even promote energy sustainability.  Many industries are working towards more and more processes like this.

  The power industry is ever evolving and this has created the awareness around the world for more and more companies to become “green.”  This includes the awareness to make companies think about their determinations to preserve our natural resources and also to protect our planet.  In many areas of the world, there are awards created to recognize these efforts.  These areas of help promote and protect our outdoor recreation areas, help protect our land, promote sustainability and innovation, and encourage water conservation.

  garbage recyclingWhen you think of ‘green’  companies, a flooring company is not the first thing to come to mind.  A flooring company out of Sandy Springs, GA was able to win an award for the process that they were able to create that allows them to be one of the first flooring companies to have no waste from the manufacturing process to end up in a landfill.  The employees of this company were able to reuse and recycle the carpet scraps.  What they were not able to reuse and recycle was sent to a facility in Alabama that is able to take waste and turn it into energy. (more…)

2016 09-06

Geothermal Energy

When thinking about using natural resources from the earth to conduct energy the first thought that may come to mind is using wind, water, or biomass but the earth’s heat is also a wonderful way to conduct a clean and sustainable form of energy. Which is called geothermal energy. Energy is using the hot water and hot rocks below the earth’s surface and trapping the energy within a pumping station.  Pumping stations can be very large and also very small. They can be used to produce energy for as small as a single family dwelling and as large as a city. This can be completed not only at enormous and complex power stations, but even the most relatively simplest stations have produced the effective and efficient energy source.

Within the earth’s crust there are layers of hot and molten rock, known as magma. Heat is processed within these layers are mostly caused from the decaying of naturally radioactive materials. The  heat produced within 6.25 miles of these layers below the earth’s surface contain 50,000 times more natural energy than all the natural gas and oil resources within the whole world. To use the geothermal energy for heating and cooling a geothermal heat pump has been created.

A geothermal heat pump uses the steady temperatures below ground to heat and cool buildings. The energy can also be “trapped” on a larger scale to produce energy for an entire town. This is extremely clean and relatively inexpensive.

A majority of the geothermal plants located within the United States are in California where there are more than 40 different geothermal plant sites. California is where the highest underground temperatures occur or where active volcanoes are and that is where geothermal energy can be found. Generally many “hot spots” are found within the west coast of the United States that including Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, and California.


Yellowstone GeyserOne of the most well known geothermal spots for visitors to be able to witness first hand is Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. As this is a site all in its own. It is one of the most predictable features on Earth. It was discovered in 1870 during the Washbum Langford-Duane expedition and it is the first geyser within the park to receive a name. As the hot water rises to the surface, natural hot springs and geysers occur. These are well known seismically active hotspots and they are not the only place where the geothermal energy is located.

Steady and milder heat used for direct heating and cooling purposes and can be found at depths of the earth’s surface from as little as 10 feet. Your home or local grocery store could be controlling their climate within these buildings without you even knowing. The clean and sustainable source of energy has a full economic force that has been has more recently realized. State and federal agencies are likely to develop and tap into some of this potential sustainable energy more and more within the coming years.

When researching and understanding how geothermal energy is used and why the resource is becoming the “hot spot” of the future it is important to understand how the energy is found.  The “hot spots” can be discovered by scanning the ground for seismic measurements. The ground is scanned using sound waves to detect a seismic echo. Geological formations can be identified by the reflection or refraction of sound waves at the boundary of the surfaces of different layers of rock. When reviewing the sound waves that are recorded by geophones they are able to determine the size and depth of the geothermal deposits. Vibro-trucks are used to discover deposits on the surface of the earth’s crust. When locating deposits within the earth’s waters special ships are used. These ships have air guns that are used to explore under the water. The seismic procedures are differentiated into 2D seismics or 3D seimics.

vibro truckSeismic Trucks or Virbo-trucks are used in researching the earth’s surface for seismics deposits. Sound waves are produced from vibrators. These trucks are an essential part of the seismic surveying process. The big rigs are nearly 30 feet long and weigh over 13 tons. A tow truck would look like a toy car next to it. These trucks have a maximum speed of about 15 miles per hour. The vitro trucks have a hydraulic powered plate can be lowered to the ground to produce the sound vibrations needed to discover the seismic deposits. (more…)

2016 05-18

Solar Shingles

picture: Ben West
picture: Ben West

When thinking about the solar power the first thing that comes to mind may be, solar panels, but that was the wave of the past. The new thing in solar energy is solar shingles. Solar Shingles look just like regular asphalt shingles but have the ability to produce solar electricity.

The solar shingles come in many different shapes and sizes. When searching for solar shingles you will notice that they come in many different patterns as well. They resemble the conventional shingles that you would find on roofs, but have a semi-rigid pattern covering, are thicker, and contain silicon solar cells that produce the energy.
With the technology in the industry evolving, they have also developed solar shingles that are thinner and even have the flexibility as your standard asphalt shingle, but are more expensive at this time. Each shingle is able to produce 100 watts of DC rated power.

  Solar shingles use the photovoltaic models to trap sunlight and convert that power into electricity. The shingle does produce direct current (DC) power and typically, houses and buildings are using alternating current (AC.). To take advantage of the solar power from the shingles an inverter is installed at the site and converts the power from DC to AC. Homes with the solar shingles installed will look a little different, the shingles will have a purple-blue, purplish, or deep black color. Often homeowners will choose the solar shingle over the panels because they blend in with the roof rather than having panels attached.

  The technology used for solar shingles is also the same technology that is utilized in solar panels. The sun is the source of the power and is used to create electricity. The shingles are made up with photovoltaic cells. The cells are made with a material known as a semiconductor. This material is a dense matter that conducts between an insulator and most metals. This process is completed with adding an impurity or the heat from the sunlight. The light is captured in the silicon semiconductor and energy is created. The energy is then captured in the photovoltaic cells and creates the current known as the alternating current (AC.) This alternating current (AC) then be converted into direct current (DC) and the process is complete. Solar energy is becoming more and more readily used and thought about when building and restoring home or buildings. The technology has evolved over the years and the awareness of the use of resources on our planet has made the industry very progressive. The shingles are also easy to install because they are attached right to the roof and do not need to be attached to the rafters as the standard panels do. (more…)

2016 03-23

Benefits of Solar Panels

  Our earth is just one of the many planets orbiting around the sun. Everything within our solar system hangs in a delicate balance of distance between each object. Space and the vastness of it is mind-blowing when you think about it. Of all the bodies in space, earth is the only one we know that supports life naturally. Gaia, earth, has the perfect atmosphere for a thriving existence. This is made possible by the sun and the energy we get from it. Without an exact distance from the sun, the earth would either be too hot or too cold to sustain a living organism. The sun not only provides us daylight, but other benefits like vitamin D, lowers blood pressure and is a mood enhancer. However, the sun’s effects do not just stop with just physical benefits.

  Over the years, scientists and innovators have begun to realize the potential energy the sun can provide us. As we continue to deplete unrenewable resources, the need for a renewable alternative has never been greater. Great strides have been made to move towards alternative forms of energy such as wind powered electricity and battery powered cars. Both of these sustainable energy sources provide a fantastic alternative to our ever depleting oil and gas resources. With that being said, they do not harness the sun’s endless solar energy.
Solar energy is something that has been experimented with for centuries with the first documented discovery in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel1. In the more recent future, solar power is becoming more and more accepted in America to the point where it is a household necessity for some. (more…)

2016 02-16

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines - alternative energy source
Wind turbines – alternative energy source

Wind Turbines are devices that convert energy from the wind in electric power.
Wind turbines work by a really simple principle. The propellers turn around the rotor with the power of the wind. The rotor is connected to the main shat, which spines the generator to create electricity.
The wind turbines need to be mounted on a tower that can reach over 100 feet from the ground for them to capture the fastest and less turbulent winds. The higher they go the windier it is.
Wind turbines can be used to produce electricity for a single household or in wind farms for a more widespread electricity distribution. The turbines from a wind farm are connected together so the electricity they produce can travel to the power grid.
Wind farms are an important contributor to the renewable energy and they are used all over the world in the effort of reducing the need of using fossil fuel.
Wind turbines are another source of clean energy. Most innovations related with wind turbines are made in a large scale.
Wind turbines are classified by the speed of the wind they are designed for. From class I to class IV. The wind power density or the quantity of wind energy available shows the annual power available per square meter of swept area of a turbine.
There are multiple types of wind turbines.
– The horizontal wind turbines have the rotor shaft and the electrical generator at the top of the tower. They need to be pointed into the wind. That is the main reason why most of the horizontal wind turbines have a gearbox which helps them speed up the rotation of the blades to 320 km/h generating more power.
Most of the horizontal wind turbines used in wind farms are 3 bladed and pointed into the wind by computers to increase their speed.
They can be positioned onshore and offshore. Most of the onshore turbines are higher and bigger. The dimension of most turbines build today have increased a lot from the past and they are around 80MW with a blade of 80 for the once offshore and between 70m -120 m in height for the wind turbines built onshore.
vertical wind turbine– The vertical turbines don’t need to be pointed in the wind because the main rotor is arranged vertically. It can be easily integrated into a building. The gearbox can be installed closer to the ground for easier maintenance.
The disadvantage of the vertical wind turbines is the lower power efficiency caused by the lower speed of turbines rotation.
When mounted on an existing building, it needs to be taken in consideration the additional stress it can cause to the building due to the high speed winds they generate and the level of noise.
There are many types of vertical turbines. The most recent advancement in the field is the Vortex wind turbine.
His shape rinses a lot of controversies because it is shaped like a giant popsicle stuck in the ground. This system relies on velocity. The winds blowing around the structure determine a spinning motion of vortices and whirlwinds that are relatively small. Once these small whirlwinds get bigger they can cause a structure to move. This movement captured can generate electricity. (more…)

2015 11-24

Traditiona energy vs renewable energy


                  We produce carbon dioxide every day through our life wich will stay in the Eart’s atmosphere for hundreds of years. This will increase the warmth of our planet Earth or Gaya how I like to call it.

  The carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming. We cannot continue poisoning our planet. We need to find alternative technologies to replace the current ones wich have better or comparable performance but do not emit carbon dioxide.

  Alternative or renewable energy will need to play a bigger role in the future due to the climate change, population growth and fossil fuel depletion.

  Alternative energies have a lower carbon emission, and some of this are: biomass energy, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and hydroelectric energy.Why not take advantage what Earth gives us for free? And most important is that they will never run out., they are constantly and sustainably replenished.

  On the other side, traditional energy sources will run out and replenishing them will be expensive as the demand of the growing population is also growing. Some of the traditional sources used today are fossil fuel, electric power and nuclear power.
Fossil fuels are the coal, oil and natural gas. These provide over 85% of the energy consumed in the United States as electricity and transportation fuel. Oil is the blood of Americas economy.

  Oil represents 40% of our total energy demand and 99% of the fuel used for transportation. The price of oil is keep increasing its becoming costly to produce.The majority of easy to find oil was discovered and producing more will end up being costly. For every barrel of oil extracted, nearly two barrels of oil remain in the ground. To stop leaving behind so much oil we better technologies to find and produce more oil, without leaving so much of it behind.

  More than half of the electricity in the United States comes from coal wich will continue to be the dominant material used for electric power production in most part because has a low cost and is abundant, at list for now.

  Burning fossil fuel creates carbon dioxide and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere causing the global warming. The impact of global warming is huge and affects many areas. Increasing temperatures in Arctic and Antartica are causing the ice to melt wich will increase the level of the sea and change the composition of the sea water. (more…)