power plants

MIT Redesigns Natural Gas Power Plant For Near-Zero Carbon Emissions

New technology produces energy from fuel without burning it

With the conference in Copenhagen swiftly approaching, and the Senate analog to the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act" struggling towards the floor, little doubt remains that fossil fuel-burning power plants will soon face either fines for, or mandatory reduction of, carbon emissions. Luckily, a team at MIT has devised a power plant set up that generates power from fossil fuels, but does so with almost none of the carbon emissions.

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This Month's Innovations For a Greener Future: Megakites, Solar Flowers, and More

Up and Away: The kite generates electricity as it ascends.  © 2009 KiteGen Research S.R.L. All contents copyrighted. All Rights Reserved

A kite flown in a strong breeze will quickly unspool string as it climbs higher. KiteGen Research in Italy aims to turn that action into electricity. The company developed a prototype that flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet, where wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines.

As the kite’s tether unspools, it spins an alternator that generates up to 40 kilowatts. Once the kite reaches its peak altitude, it collapses, and motors quickly reel it back in to restart the cycle. This spring, KiteGen started building a machine to fly a 1,500-square-foot kite, which it plans to finish by 2011, that could generate up to three megawatts—enough to power 9,000 homes.

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Germany Unveils Plan for Massive Swarm Power

Hoping that many hands will make lighter work, German energy company Lichtblick has teamed up with Volkswagen on a project to install 100,000 miniature gas power plants in people's homes over the next year.

According to the companies, using more, smaller plants, instead of fewer, larger plants, will allow Germany to move away from nuclear power, and reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent. Together, the 100,000 mini-plants would produce 2,000 megawatts, or as much as two nuclear power plants.

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"Smart" Power Grids May Be Rife With Dumb Security Bugs

New technology that controls our electrical grids is hackable without proper security measures, one expert shows

New “smart” electricity meters, beginning to be rolled out across the country, may be rife with bugs that could pose security risks. The new meters create a smart communication network between the user and the local power plant. The software that powers some of the smart meters, however, is coming under fire from security experts for its lack of adequate protections against malicious hacks.

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First Hybrid Solar/Natural Gas Power Station Goes Online in Israel

No plans currently for Wigsphere conversion

A small kibbutz in Israel has installed the world’s first solar-hybrid power plant to fulfill all their energy needs. Composed of 30 solar reflectors and one kooky-looking “flower” tower, the plant can switch to gas-powered turbines after dark to keep the system producing power 24-hours a day. The best part is that the plant takes up a relatively small amount of space for its output and can power remote areas that are not connected to larger grids.

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Clean Coal Isn't Dead - Just "Restructured"

Is FutureGen's future not as bleak as previously thought?

Are the widespread reports of FutureGens imminent doom greatly exaggerated? Maybe not, but here at AAAS, coal-gasification proponents speak of FutureGen, the Department of Energys $1 billion initiative to make clean coal a reality, as if it were as robust as ever.

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