Saturday, July 8, 2017

Three Environmental Studies with Mostly Good News #Science #Environment #Energy

Tim Koehler, a Sandia National Laboratories mechanical engineer, is using computational fluid dynamics modeling to help the Santa Fe, New Mexico, company Atmocean with the design of a buoy — shown here in a miniature prototype — that powers a wave energy system to desalinate ocean water for coastal cities. He said he enjoys working with private industry through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program.

Credit: Randy Montoya

The third idea was the charm. Kithil and his company, Atmocean Inc., founded in 2006, partnered with the Albuquerque engineering firm Reytek Corp. in 2010 to produce a pump system that uses wave power to send pressurized seawater onto shore where it is desalinated without the use of external energy. Kithil said the system has a simple design and can be set up cheaply and in rural settings to provide fresh water for drinking and farming in coastal cities.

Working with scientists at Sandia National Laboratories through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, the two companies have tested and advanced the technology and moved it close to market by attracting significant investment. Atmocean recently signed a fourth NMSBA agreement. Small businesses can apply for help through the program once a year. "We wouldn't be where we are today without Sandia's help," said Chris White, Atmocean's chief operating officer. "It provided us with the backbone of validating our technical improvements so we could go forward."

Science Daily:  Using motion of the ocean to bring fresh water to coastal communities

What do you know ... desalinated water without taking any external energy to produce it.

Given the current predicament in many places of water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink, this technology has the potential to bring radical and positive change.

The second report also concerns water but this one is not so good regarding current status.  (Science Daily:  Global use of wastewater to irrigate agriculture at least 50 percent greater than thought)

The use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 percent more widespread than previously thought, according to a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

- SD

At first it seems not so bad to use waste water to irrigate crops since what else can you do with it if you don't clean it but the concern is regarding whatever gets transmitted to humans as a result of it.

The interested student is invited to pursue the source since the need for better husbandry of water resources is clear and perhaps you're the one.  Perhaps your choice is to go for the first solution listed to work toward providing better sources of clean water but, either way, the world benefits from your attention.

Kenya has the best report of all in this series.

Solar lighting – an attractive substitute for kerosene lanterns? Credit: SolarAid Photos

Perhaps you think she looks inordinately happy over a simple thing like a light but how were you doing the last time the power went out where you are.

While climate change has led many high-income countries to increase their efforts to improve energy efficiency and to invest in renewable energies, households in low-income countries still face another energy challenge: more than 1 billion people lack access to electricity. Could solar lights offer a solution?  The impact of solar lighting in rural Kenya

Meanwhile, our commercial communications genius from America, Mark Zuckerberg, wants high technology to bring Facebook to such people but apparently no-one told that wizard so many have no power.

At the start of our experiment, almost all 1,400 surveyed households used small kerosene (tin) lanterns with an open flame for lighting. A typical household spent 5–10% of its total cash expenditure on energy, mostly used for kerosene. In comparison, European households spend on average around 4% of their total expenditure on energy, but use more than five times more energy. We found a high demand for solar lanterns among poor rural households, but noticed that they responded very strongly to variations in cost. At the current market price of 9 US dollars, 29% households bought a light; if lights were sold at a subsidized price of 4 dollars, the demand more than doubled (69%).

- PO

Maybe only a scientist can be surprised by that.  The Rockhouse is delighted by it.

In particular, pico-solar products, such as small portable solar lights, have gained increased policy attention and international funding. Such products have low up-front costs, need little maintenance, and do not pose the management problems typically associated with national grids or even mini-grids. Solar photovoltaic charged products are hence seen as a possible solution to address both energy poverty and energy sustainability in the near future.

Solar lanterns could replace kerosene lighting, which is still used by an estimated 500 million households. The emissions of kerosene lights contribute to global warming and to severe indoor air pollution. Moreover, kerosene lamps typically provide low-quality lighting, at around 10 lumens, while for example a standard LED lamp provides around 500 lumens. On the other hand, solar lanterns only provide minimal access to energy: they can't power radios, TVs, fridges, or other appliances people may aspire to own as they become wealthier.

- PO

The Rockhouse sees substantial good news in this one and, in case you're not clear on that ... take a look at the smile on the lady's face again.

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