EnergyBlog
 
 

Energy question of the week: Is there such a thing as free electricity?

31. May 2010, 09.09
When we pay our electricity bill, we are paying for more than just the operation of wind turbines or nuclear power stations. What with rental for the electricity meter, costs for using the power grids, value-added tax and a tax on electricity, coupled with a surcharge for the preferred sourcing of green power, the final price we pay is effectively double the generation cost. Having said that, is it conceivable that there is such a thing as free electricity in the ever more dynamic power market?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can laptops and iPads dispense with power sockets in the future?

25. May 2010, 09.38
'Mobile electricity' - that is, electricity available on the move - is the most valuable form of electrical power. This is why it is worthwhile equipping notebooks and laptops with expensive lithium-ion batteries that need to be recharged at regular intervals by plugging them into power sockets. The iPad, which looks set to spur the market for electronic reader devices, remains uninteresting without its batteries. However, solar cells and hand cranks are already able to generate standalone power for mobile devices. Will these devices be able to cope entirely on their own without power sockets someday?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: How much energy is there in the Earth's interior?

17. May 2010, 09.49
Ninety-nine percent of the Earth is hotter than 1000 degrees Celsius. Inside Earth's core, temperatures rise to 7000 degrees. In total, the power within our planet amounts to thousands of billions of watts. This reservoir has its origins in the residual heat dating from the time the Earth was created, roughly 4.6 billion years ago, and in the ongoing radioactive decay of long-lived isotopes of uranium, thorium and potassium. The question we need to ask ourselves is why, given these gigantic amounts of energy, does geothermal power still only account for far less than one percent of our energy usage?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can sunlight be used to split water directly into oxygen and hydrogen?

10. May 2010, 09.40
Solar cells are good at converting sunlight directly into electricity. However, they come nowhere close to the efficiency of natural photosynthesis. Using chlorophyll, green plants have mastered the art of producing energy-rich molecules such as sugar and starch from carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. Would it not make sense to harness this natural process to generate energy?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken
 
 

Energy question of the week: Can modern freight ships sail using wind power?

03. May 2010, 12.02
Rising fuel costs are urging shipowners all over the world to find ways to deliver cargo across the seas more economically. In the 1920s, the German Aerospace Center's predecessor institute developed Flettner rotors. Some 80 years later, a cargo ship is again sailing with rotating cylindrical sails. But is this change worth it?
Jan Oliver Löfken
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Jan Oliver Löfken