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    Entries in co2 (2)


    Solar power transportation, at night?! The future of commerical air flight. via Kendall Crever


    Now, this is still far off, but pretty impressive. We are not going to be flying in carbon neutral planes tomorrow to go visit the aunts and uncles, but it could very well be in our life time, and the first steps are being put in place right now. A Swiss Company named Solar Impulse, has successfully tested a solar powered airplane that lasted in flight for over 26 hours, including through the night on July 7th and July 8th. Their overall goal is an around the world flight via solar power, and a trans-atlantic flight by 2012. The craft flew just over 28,000 feet above sea level, and the wingspan of 208 feet same as a Boeing 747-400. This was just a lightweight prototype, but it shows that the technology is sound by staying aloff for 26 hours. It set records for the longest and highest solar powered flight. How does the power work? According to the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, part of the U.S. Department of Energy:

    "The aircraft's nearly 12,000 silicon mono-crystalline solar cells—mounted on its wings and on its horizontal stabilizer—absorbed the sun' rays on the ascent and supplied the craft's four electric engines and lithium-polymer batteries, enabling Impulse to average about 26 miles per hour for the flight"

    The Solar Impulse HB-SIA in action, in the great blue yonder.What are the implications of this for you and I. Like I said before, these are babysteps, but they are important movements towards commercial aircrafts using this technology to create carbon-neutral flights for you and I. According to the Carbon Footprint Calculator at Terrapass a round trip for 2 to JFK Airport in New York from LAX Airport in Los Angeles would be about 3,468 pounds of CO2. If we can cut into that number in the future for normal passenger flights using this technology it would be a great victory. Right now the airline industry accounts for about 12 percent of all of the CO2 released into the atmosphere. This technology is a step in the right direction, and is exciting in a very nerdy type of way (the way I like it). I hope to see more developers get into this arena and hope to see solar panels on my flights in future years to come.

    Whole article from the EERE can be found here:

    Swiss Solar-Powered Plane Makes First Night Flight


    ---Justin J. Stewart (link via Kendall Crever)


    What is a kilowatt-hour?!!!??! via Karen Stucke

    Let's talk about some definitions here. We are trying to save energy at our homes and trying to reduce that magical kW/h number. It's an easy concept, the number goes down over time, you are reducing your cost and increasing your efficiency. Here is the real question though, what exactly is you impact. What exactly is a kW/h?



    Now, a kilowatt/hour is 1000 watts of usage in one hour or 3.6 megajoules! Wow! That's a lot of megajoules right? Or is it a little bit of megajoules? What is a megajoule? What is a watt? Right, it is all confusing that can get to a bunch of scientific definitions, which I could go into with you, but that doesn't save you energy right? No. Not really. We want to express ideas into reality and real life applications. One 60 watt light bulb used to 1 hour is equivalent to .06 kilowatt/hour (i.e. (60W/1000)/1 hour, and 60 Watts being .06 kilowatts, because there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt. So it would be 60/1000). You would have to leave that light on for about 16 hours and 40 minutes to get one measurable kilowatt hour (which is most if not all electricity companies charge you for).

    Now, I just gave you a bunch of math, and still it probably doesn't help you with day to day operations of how much energy you really use. So here is further research. Thanks to one of our readers out there, Karen, we have been supplied with an awesome link to see how equivalent energy is being used in your part of the country versus an amount of kilowatts. The Green Power Equivalency Calculator comes from United States Environmental Protection Agency, and is a quick and easy way to see how much Coal, Gas, or CO2 would be used with your kilowatts that you enter (you can pick any number that you want). The Calculator is supposed to figure out how much your "green" energy purchase through the EPA saves from going into the environment, but can be used as a reverse calculator of also telling you how much of the equivalents you just put into the environment.

    I used my last month's electricity bill and entered my 477 kw/hs for my region (region 21 ERCT according to the map on the page). I was then informed that my 477 kw/hs is equal to 242 kilograms of CO2 emission. Or equivilent CO2 emissions of 27 gallons of gasoline, .563 barrels of oil, 10.1 propane cylinders for BBQs, .001 railcar worth of coal, and .029 of the average American home in one year. Interesting stuff I say. It makes you get a better grasp of how much Carbon-Dioxide you are giving off into the air. I am not sure if I ever really answered what is a kilowatt-hour, but I hope I gave you a fun tool that can help you grasp it more...


    ---Justin J. Stewart (link via Karen Stucke)