Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  June 29, 2019

Weekend reads: Lightyear One solar car; Powering pot

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these can't-miss articles from around the web:

The Lightyear One is a prototype ‘solar car’ with 450 miles of range (The Verge)  Lightyear has unveiled the first prototype of the Lightyear One, an electric vehicle covered in solar panels that it plans to start delivering to consumers in 2021. The car company was founded in 2016 by ex-members of Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of engineering students who won the solar-powered World Solar Challenge race in 2013, 2015, and 2017. While the team claims that the car will get 450 miles (725 km) of range from its built-in battery, the real draw is the car’s five square meters of solar panels, which cover its roof and hood and can charge the car’s battery with up to 12 km of range an hour. 

Floating wind farms just became a serious business (Quartz)  Scotland’s Hywind is a 30 MW wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast. Since October 2017, the five turbines have been operating as the world’s largest testbed for floating wind technology. Now, it’s a business. On June 19, the Danish energy-trading firm Danske Commodities announced it will buy all of Hywind Scotland’s power over 20 years, the first agreement of its kind. The contract promises to open the floodgates for floating offshore wind power, an idea previously limited to prototypes and pilots.

Bloom Energy is Bullish on its New Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell (Microgrid KnowledgeMicrogrids often rely on solar-plus-batteries, combined heat and power, or back-up generators that run on diesel fuel or natural gas. But Bloom Energy says that it has just finished the engineering and testing for a “server” that uses renewable hydrogen produced by excess renewables that keeps electricity flowing. “On a sunny day, when the microgrid’s assets or nearby wind and solar deployments have excess capacity, the operators can feed that excess to split water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, rather than export it to the utility.” 

Most states legalizing marijuana have yet to grapple with energy demand (Energy News Network) Cannabis cultivation in the United States this year will consume 1.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity, about as much as the nation’s 15,000 Starbucks stores. And next year it’ll be even more, according to a report from analytics firm New Frontier Data estimating just how much power it takes to produce the nation’s cannabis crop. Yet even as they’ve welcomed it into the regulatory foldstates legalizing cannabis so far have done little to limit or even track the huge amounts of energy needed to grow it indoors. 

Harvard’s RoboBee Flies Using Solar Power (Extreme Tech) In the future, you may have to wonder if that insect buzzing around your head is even an insect at all. Researchers at the Harvard Microrobotics Lab have developed a new version of their amazing RoboBee, a micro-drone based on the flight mechanisms of bees. Past versions of the RoboBee needed external power to fly, but the new RoboBee has its own solar panels for untethered flight. The goal with the RoboBee is to keep the entire package small and light. That makes the device ideal for surveillance, search and rescue, and environmental monitoring. 


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