Renewable & Clean Energy

Title Post date
Wind Turbines Keywords: kinetic energy, power, wind energy, wind turbines

Can wind turbines actually be used to harness a substantial amount of power?

The total energy available in wind and the power that can feasibly be extracted from it will be determined using the fundamentals of kinematics. Following, the limitations of location and machinery of wind turbines that restrict the amount of power that can be harnessed will be examined, before comparing the impact of wind energy with various other common sources of energy.

7 years 19 weeks ago
Why can't you just turn a nuclear reactor off? Keywords: nuclear reactor, shutdown

When a nuclear reactor gets into trouble, what's wrong with hitting the off switch?

When a uranium nucleus fissions into two, the resulting nuclei are not stable; they continue to decay and generate heat long after the fission chain reaction has stopped.

6 years 25 weeks ago
What is a millisievert? Keywords: dose, human health, ionizing radiation

One Sievert means exposure to enough high-energy electromagnetic radiation to deposit one joule of energy in one kilogram of living tissue. A millisievert is 1/1000 of a sievert. But how dangerous is it?

The measure of ionizing radiation dose, as is applicable to human health, is the Sievert (Sv). One Sv implies a health impact equivalent to one joule of X-rays being absorbed by each kg of living tissue. Activity, the mean number of decay events per second, is measured in Becquerels (Bq). Knowledge of the activity, mean energy release per event, and exposure time, allows to estimate the dose.

6 years 26 weeks ago
What do I (we) do about my (our) carbon footprint? Keywords: Carbon footprint, reduction

A very frequent question asked by students after learning about climate change is "But what can I (we) do about it?". Here are some ideas, all of which have benefits in addition to reducing greenhouse gases, and so are worth considering even if you reject the idea of anthropogenic global warming completely.

Here is a set of suggestions for science students who wish to take action to reduce their own and their family's or community's carbon footprint. Most of the ideas are about education and attitude. We also list three achievable ways of reducing your annual emissions by least a tonne of carbon dioxide.

5 years 43 weeks ago
Wave Power – A Simple Analysis Keywords: power, waves

Will wave power save us?

A look at the amount of power potentially available in water waves.

7 years 17 weeks ago
Solar Powered Airplanes Keywords: airplanes, estimation, solar cells, solar energy

If we were to coat a Boeing 747 jumbo jet with solar panels, is it possible to fly it using only the energy generated by these solar panels?

This module introduces the concept of estimation, both in the sense of rounding extremely precise numbers off to remove excessive significant figures, and simplifying a complex process (the flight of a 747) to a simpler one, by evaluating the possibility of powering a 747 with solar panels.

7 years 17 weeks ago
Solar Energy: How do photovoltaics work? Keywords: photovoltaics, solar, solar panel

How does energy from the sun get transformed into electricity? Learn how photovoltaic panels work, converting light into electrical energy.

Learn how photovoltaic panels work, converting light into electrical energy.

1 year 47 weeks ago
Solar Energy in a Temperate Climate. Keywords: photovoltaic cell, solar cells, solar energy, solar radiation

Does it pay to cover your roof with solar panels in Vancouver?

We show the example calculation of expected amount of energy, which can be obtained in Vancouver from a roof covered with solar cells.

7 years 15 weeks ago
Renewable Energies Keywords: biofuel, electricity generation, energy, hydro-electricity, Renewable, solar energy, wind energy

Energy is always required, whether it be for the production of goods, the supplying of services, or for transportation. Can we reduce our emissions by turning to clean sources of energy? If so, why haven't we already?

A large portion of humanity's energy demands are met using fossil fuels. Switching from fossil fuel generation to cleaner sources could greatly reduce the carbon emission put out every year. There are many ways to obtain energy cleanly, each with their own advantages and challenges.

2 years 7 weeks ago
Radioactive Milk Keywords: activity, dose, nucleosynthesis, Radioactivity

Milk contains enough radioactive potassium-40 to set a Geiger Counter humming. But it didn't come from Fukushima, or any human activity.

Milk (and own bones) contains a lot of ancient radioactive potassium-40, which was made in a supernova explosion about five billion years ago.

6 years 24 weeks ago
Nuclear Energy Basics Keywords: energy, health, ionizing radiation, nuclear, power, safety

What is the physical basis of nuclear power? Is nuclear power good or bad for the environment, safe or dangerous for us?

A look at the energy in the nucleus of a uranium atom, how this can be used to provide a reliable source of energy, and impact of this on the environment.

7 years 15 weeks ago
Low-E Glass Keywords: emissivity, thermal radiation

How do you tell the difference between low-E and regular glass?

With a cheap IR thermometer, low-E glass can be easily distinguished from the normal variety.

5 years 1 week ago
Light Bulb Efficiency and Hand Crank Energy Generation Keywords: breadboard, circuit, efficiency, electricity generation, energy, energy conversion, Lend an Experiment (LEx), lighting

What does it really take to power a light bulb?

This activity is part of the LEx (Lend an Experiment) Climate Kit. Students compare the power consumption of incandescent and LED bulbs through the use of hand crank generators and a simple circuit. Concepts include the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy, power and efficiency, and measurement estimation. There is an option to also investigate the efficiency of the hand crank generator.

2 years 1 day ago
Hydro-Electric Dams Keywords: dams, greenhouse gases, hydro-electricity, power

Why is this beautiful valley in north-eastern BC about to be flooded?

A look at the generation of power by a hydro-electric dam.

7 years 19 weeks ago
Hydro-Electric Dam Demo Keywords: dams, hydro-electricity, power

Energy from Water?

An estimate of the power output from a model hydro-electric dam.

7 years 15 weeks ago
Heating Efficiency Keywords: efficiency, electric, energy, gas, power

Which is better: gas or electric heat?

Calculating or measuring efficiency means tracking the power all the way from source to end-user.

7 years 2 days ago
Generating Electricity: Wind and Water Keywords: electricity, electricity generation, hydro-electricity, Lend an Experiment (LEx), wind, wind energy, wind turbines

A match made in energy heaven, wind and water are wonderful sources of clean, renewable energy. Let us see what goes into this electricity generation by making some wind and water turbines ourselves!

This activity is part of the LEx (Lend an Experiment) Climate Kit. Students generate their own wind or hydro electric power by constructing wind/water blades, exploring how mechanical energy from external sources can be harnessed and turned into electrical energy. The effect of different gear ratios can also be explored.

1 year 41 weeks ago
Food, Energy and the Environment Keywords: energy balance, Food, greenhouse gases

How do we feed nine billion people without destroying our environment?

The primary function of food is to provide our bodies with energy. Most of this energy comes ultimately from oil, with a little sunlight added, and its production is an energy-inefficient process.

5 years 27 weeks ago
Energy and Power Keywords: definition, energy, types, useage

What is energy? Why is it such a useful concept? How does it relate to power?

Energy is the capacity to do work (both are measured in Joules). Power is the rate at which energy is transformed from one state to another, often from a stored state into work (a Joule of energy transformed per second is a Watt of power). Subsistence living requires about 200 W per person. Western living requires about 10 kW per person. Humankind currently uses about 12.5 TW of power, most from fossil fuels. Ten billion people living a western lifestyle (the not-impossible goal of many futurists) would require 100 TW of power.

6 years 5 weeks ago
Comparing Energy and Heat Units Keywords: BTU, cost, energy, greenhouse gases, oil barrel, quad, R-value, thermal conductivity, thermal resistance, unit conversion, Watts

How do I compare heat and energy values given in different units?

A look at how to compare the costs of natural gas, gasoline and electricity and how to convert between various heat units including R-values, U-values, BTU/h, W and more.

7 years 11 weeks ago
Commuting by car or cycle - which is better? Keywords: bicycle, Carbon footprint, consumption, cycling, energy, Food, spreadsheets

It's not actually that clear...

We set out to find how much of a change it would make environmentally if one cycled instead of drove to work and then further expanded our findings to include the variables of diet composition and material goods ownership.

5 years 27 weeks ago
CO2e Keywords: carbon dioxide, CO2e, terminology

What does the "e" mean?

A brief primer on the meaning of "CO2e"

5 years 26 weeks ago
Clean Coal Keywords: energy, Fossil fuel, greenhouse gases, power

An oxymoron?

Calculating how much coal we have to burn in a typical large power station to produce 1 GWe for a year.

7 years 15 weeks ago
Capturing Solar Energy with Photovoltaic Cells Keywords: Lend an Experiment (LEx), photovoltaic cell, photovoltaics, resistance, solar, solar cells, solar energy

Did you know that the amount of power from a solar panel depends on what it's connected to? Explore how photovoltaic panels work, converting light into electrical energy, and learn how you can find the maximum power output from a solar panel.

This activity is part of the LEx (Lend an Experiment) Climate Kit. Students use solar panels to generate electrical power, exploring how light energy can be turned into electricity. Students connect the photovoltaic cells to different loads to find their peak power output.

1 year 40 weeks ago
Biofuel Keywords: biofuel, energy, solar radiation, transportation

Can plants be used to fuel my car?

A look at how much land is needed to plant corn so that the energy harvested is able to power a car for one year.

7 years 17 weeks ago
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