China connected the world's largest floating solar power plant in central Anhui province to its power grid in early June 2017. The solar farm will generate electricity for 15,000 homes. STR/AFP/Getty Images Just as the United States was pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, China, the world's largest emitter of heat-trapping gases, flipped the switch on the world's largest floating solar power plant in the city of Huainan. Located on a lake that appeared when a coalmine that was extensively excavated collapsed, the panels began generating 40 megawatts of electricity the first week of June 2017. That's enough power for 15,000 homes. The floating power station, which has 160,000 solar panels, sits in the middle of the coal-rich Anhui province and dwarfs the next largest floating array, a 13.7-megawatt plant in Japan that has 50,904 solar panels. The construction of the Huainan plant underscores a move by China to reduce its use of carbon-spewing fossil fuels. While China leads … [Read more...] about China Flips Switch on World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm
Worlds largest solar plant
Innovations in Hybrid Manufacturing The nickel used to make this battery pack awaiting installation in a Mercury Mariner hybrid was an issue in the CNW study. Dave Kaup/Getty Images When the CNW study debuted, a number of prominent scientists came out against it. Some took issue with the expected lifetime miles of the hybrids cited in the study. The Prius was rated at 109,000 miles (175,419 km), while the industry expectation is around 179,000 miles (288,073 km) [source: Koerner]. Others pointed out that the environmental devastation caused by nickel mining (used in hybrid batteries and a point of concern in the CNW study) referred to a now-resolved blight from 30 years before [source: Sierra Club]. The press attention that the study received still led many to wonder just how green these hybrids were. Could they do more harm than good for the environment? Despite this controversy, hybrid manufacturers explored ways to make the production process more eco-friendly. They … [Read more...] about Are hybrids manufactured in a green way?
This is part of our Road Trip 2018 summer series "Taking it to Extremes," which looks at what happens when people mix everyday tech with insane situations.Nearly 50 years after a human first set foot on the moon, maybe it's time for a new challenge in space. How about finding out — in our lifetimes — if there's life on planets orbiting our nearest star neighbors?That's the goal of a project called Breakthrough Starshot — the brainchild of a Russian billionaire, a former director of NASA's Ames Research Center and a group of high-level physicists and engineers.They hope to send hundreds of tiny spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri star system, where they'll examine planets for signs of life. It's a monumental engineering challenge that will require huge leaps in technology for spacecraft design, propulsion and communication. The attempt by SpaceX and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk to get humans to Mars looks like a neighborhood stroll by comparison. But if … [Read more...] about Are we alone? Tiny spacecraft will head to Alpha Centauri to find out
Tesla has built the world's largest battery storage system at Hornsdale Wind Farm, near Jamestown in South Australia. Mark Brake/Getty Images Tesla co-founder, chief executive and product architect Elon Musk apparently isn't one to turn down a Twitter challenge. Another company official said publicly in March that Tesla could solve the blackout-plagued Australian state of South Australia's energy woes by installing a massive battery storage system in under 100 days. In response, Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted back, asking Musk how serious he was about the offer, and whether he could guarantee that it could be accomplished in that time. Musk's reply was to promise that Tesla would get the system installed and working 100 days from the signing of a contract, or else provide it for free. "Is that serious enough for you?" he asked. Blowin' in the Wind After a competitive bidding process that ended in July, the Australians agreed to the deal, and in late September, … [Read more...] about Tesla Installs World’s Largest Battery in Australia
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant in Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance, France, is 50 percent complete. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images The sprawling landscape of construction cranes and partially completed buildings, along with a massive metal-and-steel ring, was described as looking like a "modern-day Stonehenge" by The New York Times in March 2017. It's been a decade since construction began on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant, known as ITER. The project, which involves 35 nations including the U.S., aims to demonstrate that nuclear fusion — the combining of hydrogen isotopes to form helium, the same process by which stars generate light and heat — could be a viable future source of power generation for an energy-hungry world. The project has been dogged by delays and seen its projected cost nearly quadruple over the years to 18 billion euros ($22 billion), and even a 2016 U.S. Department of Energy report supporting the … [Read more...] about ITER Nuclear Fusion Plant Is Halfway Finished