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Archive for November, 2007

The leading wind power countries

There is an estimated 50 to 100 times more wind energy than plant biomass energy available on Earth.

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines.

At the end of 2006, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 73.9 gigawatts; although it currently produces just over 1% of world-wide electricity use, it accounts for approximately 20% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain, and 7% in Germany. Globally, wind power generation more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006.

Until 2006 the wind energy industry was dominated by five countries which had a history of developing wind technology and manufacturing capability; Denmark, USA, Germany, Spain and India.
In 2006 China became significant and will be increasingly important in world markets in the future. 65% of the world’s wind power capacity was installed in Europe in 2006, compared with 69% in 2005, and 18% in North America compared with 17% in the previous year – Source GWEC

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A second tier of wind energy countries has now emerged and seven have over 1,000 MW installed; Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Netherlands and Canada. Another two can now be included in this category because they have likely become eligible by mid 2007, these are Austria and Australia. – Source GWEC

Installed wind power capacity of the eight intermediate wind power countries MW, 2002 to 2006

But moves such as “Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine” are soon going to changes the above figures. Before I started working on this in blog 2 days back, it came in my mind that why not a massive structure as a wind turbine? and I came across “Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine”.

maglevwindturbine.jpg

The way maglev wind turbine works:

  • Magnetic levitation is an extremely efficient system for wind energy. Here’s how it works:
  • The vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine, replacing the need for ball bearings.
  • The turbine uses “full-permanent” magnets, not electromagnets — therefore, it does not require electricty to run.
  • The full-permanent magnet system employs neodymium (”rare earth”) magnets and there is no energy loss through friction.
  • This also helps reduce maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of the generator.

Advantages over conventional wind turbines:

They’re able to use winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s).
They could operate in winds exceeding 40 m/s.
Currently, the largest conventional wind turbines in the world produce only five megawatts of power.
One large maglev wind turbine could generate one gigawatt of clean power, enough to supply energy to 750,000 homes.
It would also increase generation capacity by 20% over conventional wind turbines and decrease operational costs by 50%.
The maglev wind turbines will be operational for about 500 years!

Construction:

  • Construction began on the world’s largest production site for maglev wind turbines in central China on November 5, 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts.
  • In the US, Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies will be manufacturing these turbines. Headed by long-time renewable energy researcher Ed Mazur, the company claims that it will be able to deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour with this new technology.
  • It also points out that building a single giant maglev wind turbine would reduce construction and maintenance costs and require much less land than hundreds of conventional turbines.

Cost:
The estimated cost of building this colossal structure is $53 million.

Maglev Wind Turbine Patents:

Let me check what’s out there some time.

Energy Basics

In physics and other sciences, energy is a scalar physical quantity that is a property of objects and systems which is conserved by nature. Several different forms, such as

  • Kinetic
  • Potential
  • Thermal
  • Electromagnetic
  • Chemical
  • Nuclear and
  • Mass have been defined to explain all known natural phenomena.

Energy is converted from one form to another, but it is never created or destroyed. This principle, the conservation of energy, was first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. According to Noether’s theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time.

Law of conservation of energy:
Energy is subject to the law of conservation of energy. According to this law, energy can neither be created (produced) nor destroyed itself. It can only be transformed.

Alternative Energy:
Fuel sources that are other than those derived from fossil fuels. Typically used interchangeably for renewable energy. Examples include:

  • Wind – is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines.
  • Hydropower – or hydraulic power is the force or energy of moving water.
  • Biomass – refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. It can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass.
  • Tidal power – is a form of hydropower that exploits the movement of water caused by tidal currents or the rise and fall in sea levels due to the tides.
  • Wave – refers to the energy of ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to do useful work
  • Solar – is energy from the Sun. This energy drives climate and the weather supports virtually all life on Earth.
  • Geothermal – Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, usually from kilometers deep into the Earth’s crust.
  • Hydrogen & Fuel Cells – A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. It produces electricity from external supplies of fuel (on the anode side) and oxidant (on the cathode side).

LG.Philips LCD enters settlement agreement with CPT – 28 November 2007

LG.Philips LCD today announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Taiwan-based Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) to resolve their long standing disputes involving LG.Philips LCD’s patented technology.

The agreement, executed by LG.Philips LCD and CPT, calls for dismissal of two pending patent lawsuits between the companies and includes an agreement allowing the companies to use each other’s patented technology. As part of the settlement, CPT will also pay an undisclosed amount in compensation to LG.Philips LCD.

In 2002 and 2005, LG.Philips LCD filed two separate lawsuits in the US District Courts of the Central District of California and of the District of Delaware, respectively, alleging that CPT infringed LG.Philips LCD’s patents on TFT LCD technology. In July 2006, the jury in the Delaware case awarded LG.Philips LCD US$52.4 million. Later, in November of the same year, the jury in the California lawsuit awarded LG.Philips LCD US$53.5 million.

Separately, in December 2006, LG.Philips LCD announced that it would file additional patent lawsuits against two of its other competitors, AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO). These suits are currently pending trial in the US District Court in Delaware.

Update for 5th Generation iPods – November 13, 2007

Apple posted a 1.2.2 iPod update for owners of 5th generation iPods today via iTunes. No details on what specific improvements have been made. Apple simply notes the update contains “bug fixes”.

Update: Based on comments in the discussion, it is recommended you are upgraded to the latest iTunes (7.5) before (or after) applying this update.

Apple Acknowledges Reports Of MacBook Hard Drive Failures – November 26, 2007

Apple has acknowledged to InformationWeek that it has received reports of MacBook hard drive failures and is looking into the problem.

Seagate was not immediately available for comment, but Apple spokesman Cameron Craig said the company was aware that there might be a problem. “We’ve received a few reports that some MacBook consumer notebooks may have hard drive issues, and we’re looking into it,” he said.

UK data recovery firm Retrodata earlier this month discovered a flaw in the some hard drives employed in Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. The firm’s analysis at that time had indicated that Seagate hard disks in the models with firmware 7.01 were unusually prone to read/write head failures that caused physical gouges in the hard drive platter, making recovery impossible.

iPhone SDK Already Seeded to Some Developers? – November 26, 2007

Electronista claims that Apple has already started seeding an early version of the iPhone SDK (software development kit) to a few select developers.

The kit is described as “rough versions” of the tools that allow developers to create native applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Electronista is unable to provide many details on the development kit, but claims it “somewhat resembles Google’s OpenSocial in that it mediates between the programmer and the iPhone operating system.”

This presumably means that the native applications will be “sandboxed” in some way for security and stability concerns. Indeed, their sources claim that there are “clear limits” applied to applications but that even so, at least one major social networking site is interested in creating a native iPhone interface to their site.

Steve Jobs announced that an iPhone/iPod touch SDK would be released in February 2008.

Advanced Multitouch Gesturing Patents – 22 Nov, 2007

PCJoint.com points to ongoing research by Apple into multi-touch technologies. The most recent patent applications reveal techniques to recognize both palm and finger contacts in order to react appropriately.

PCJoint summarizes the possibilities:

– Need to move a cursor across the screen? Just slide your finger and it goes.
– Want to enter text? Just start typing and the text is there. You even get the touch feedback as if really pressing the keys.
– Need to erase some text? Use the backspace or just slide the finger backwards
– Have to write or draw something? Just pretend you hold a stylus or pen in your hand and start writing/drawing.
– If that is still not good enough, pick up the real stylus and start writing with it.
– All these cool touch gestures that Apple has implemented in iPhone and is exploring further? You know, scrolling, zooming, rotating & moving objects, etc; They are here too
– 3D object manipulation? Select a few 3D objects on the screen and use all 5 fingers on both hands to play with them.
– Want to take a break to relax and afraid to put your hands on the touch surface? Don’t worry Multi-touch 2.0 thingie knows that and does not pay attention to your resting palms or fingers

This should come as no surprise to those who have been following Apple’s patent applications as well as their previous acquisition of Fingerworks. Previous patent applications have also suggested the possibility of one surface acting for many different functions (such as typing and gestures).

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