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Crowd Farms’ could offer alternative energy
Design could harness power of commuters, shoppers or concertgoers

Bryn Nelson, MSNBC
The band takes center stage, the fans surge forward and the sheer power of the crowd’s excitement amplifies the sound of their favorite songs – providing enough energy, in fact, to move a train.

It could happen in the Crowd Farm, a conceptual design by two graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that seeks to milk the mechanical movement of hundreds or thousands of assembled people to produce electrical power.

In principal, a large-scale version of the setup could harness the collective energy of commuters bustling toward subway stations, shoppers marching through mega malls or fans dancing at a rock concert. Already, the students have shown how the simple act of sitting on a stool can generate enough power to turn on four LED lights.
(9 August 2007)

Algeria aims to tap vast sunbelt to export solar energy to Europe

Associated Press
ALGIERS, Algeria: It’s a vision that has long enticed energy planners: solar panels stretching out over vast swaths of the Sahara desert, soaking up sun to generate clean, green power.

Now Algeria, aware that its oil and gas riches will one day run dry, is gearing up to tap its sunshine on an industrial scale for itself and even Europe.

Work on its first plant began late last month at Hassi R’mel, 420 kilometers (260 miles) south of Algiers, the capital. The plant will be a hybrid, using both sun and natural gas to generate 150 megawatts. Of that, 25 megawatts will come from giant parabolic mirrors stretching over 180,000 square meters (nearly 2 million square feet) – roughly 45 football fields.
(9 August 2007)

Wind turbine whining unwarranted

Reuters/The Scotsman
Most wind turbines do not make much noise as they spin around making electricity and people who complain about them should not be losing sleep, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Some people living near wind farms complain they are kept awake by a phenomenon known as aerodynamic modulation (AM), low frequency noise made as the blades swoosh through the night air.

A government-commissioned study by Salford University found the phenomenon — sometimes described as sounding like a distant train — could affect four of the country’s 133 wind farms.

This, the government says, is no justification for stemming the growth of the technology Britain is betting on to cut its carbon emissions. ..

The government said it did not plan any further research into the issue after the Salford study supported another government commissioned probe in 2006 that concluded AM was “the exception rather than a general problem” with wind farms. ..

Electricity from renewable sources in was just 4.6 percent of total generation last year.
(1 Aug 2007)