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Energy - Aug 10

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Zero Blade Turbine Could Revolutionize Wind Power Industry

Beth Buczynski, Revmodo
Despite explosive growth, wind energy is still a fledgling industry compared to coal or oil. Although advances in efficiency are announced with increasing frequency, one of the biggest challenges is finding a way to make wind cost competitive with fossil fuels. A new technology from Tunisia-based Saphon Energy could be key to making the next big leap toward more efficient wind power as well as lower production costs.

Saphon is responsible for something called Zero-Blade Technology: a wind turbine design that completely eliminates the need for the three blades that have now become synonymous with wind energy. According to Hassine Labaied, Saphon’s CEO, the design is mainly inspired by the mechanism of a sail boat, and is a new and better way to collect wind’s kinetic energy.

In the bladeless turbine, blades are replaced by a sail-shaped body while both hub and gearbox are removed. Instead of spinning the blades’ rotor, the wind is being harnessed by a sail which follows a non-rotational back and forth motion.
(3 August 2012)

As Coal Sinks, Renewables Soar: Emissions Report Shows Start Of Clean Energy Transition

Dan Bakal, ThinkProgress
For the electric power industry, the signs of change are in the air. Power plants are emitting less pollution than in prior years, and renewable power is a bigger part of the energy mix than ever before. That adds up to cleaner air and a more diverse, resilient and lower-carbon electricity system.

The industry is in the midst of a real transition, and a new Ceres report shows that it’s happening even faster than experts predicted.

On a biannual basis, Ceres assesses the environmental performance and progress of the electric power sector by analyzing the air emissions of the nation’s top 100 power producers in collaboration with M.J. Bradley & Associates, the National Resources Defense Council, Entergy, Exelon, Tenaska and Bank of America...
(9 August 2012)

Counting the carbon cost of the EU's woods

Barbara Lewis, Reuters
What do olives stones shipped from the Mediterranean to Sweden and a wooden bed have in common? They can both count as part of EU efforts to limit the amount of carbon leaking into the atmosphere and, as such, they are hotly contested.

Increasingly, the 27-member bloc, which has sought to lead the fight against global warming, is relying on biomass - covering anything from olive waste to old blackcurrant bushes to trees - to generate heat and power.

For the purposes of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, biomass used as fuel is counted as carbon-neutral. The underlying assumption is its emissions are offset by the planting of a new tree. Felled wood, until burnt, is a carbon store...
(8 August 2012)

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