Friday, November 30, 2012

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell from Bloom Energy

Bloomenergy is a leader in the development and commercial application of solid oxide fuel cell. The  head office of the company is in Sunnyvale California. Bloomenergy was founded by Dr. K.R. Sridhar. It makes an environmentally friendly electrical generator called bloom box. The box is able to generate and supply electricity to houses and offices. Dr. K.R. Sridhar and his team spent around 400 million hours perfecting their technology before it could commercially be manufactured and sold to its current customers. The box uses natural gas or biogas as its fuel to produce electricity. Instead of burning it, bloom box uses direct electrochemical reaction.
Bloomenergy claims that their boxes can reach more than 60 percent electrical efficiency much better than the most efficient electrical power plant that uses coal as its fuel. If this claim is true, it will revolutionize the way we generate electricity and power. It means the era of diesel and gasoline engines will be over. The maximum efficiency of diesel engines is approximately 45%. They will be replaced by bloom box and electrical machines. Cars, ships and power plants will not need to use internal combustion engines. US companies such as Google, Ebay, Adobe, and Walmart have bought a lot of boxes of bloom energy servers to provide electricity for their offices. 
Originally Dr. K.R. Sridhar and his team worked for NASA to create a technology that could convert atmospheric gases in planet Mars to produce air for supporting life using electricity generated by solar panels. Later they realized that their device could be used to generate electricity on Earth. He hopes that in the near future his energy boxes will be more affordable to every house owner not only in the US but also in the world.
As a matter of fact, Bloomenergy is not the only company that has been developing fuel cell technology. There are several other companies that have done the same job. One of them is Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (CFCL) from Australia. Their bluegen box that is similar to bloombox has been offered to businesses and homeowners in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. While bloom box is more suitable to businesses, bluegen is specially manufactured for houses. The size of a bluegen box is equivalent to the size of a dishwasher or washing machine. It contains Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) that convert natural gas to electricity. The solid oxide fuel cells that are manufactured by Bloomenergy and CFCL are not fuel but electrical and heat generator. They can produce electricity with less fuel. Heat as their side product can be used to heat water that is needed by most of the modern households. The use of excess heat from bluegen box can significantly reduce the electricity bill that a family has to pay to a power company.  Businesses that use SOFCs can save more money and be more competitive. Families can save money too so that it can be spent for their children's education or other purposes. This fuel efficient device is what everybody needs in this modern world. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Greening the Desert

Israel is the leader in water conservation efforts due to its successful works in recycling high percentage of sewage water for reuse in agricultural sector and for curbing the intrusion of seawater. I have just watched some videos in Youtube which show how farmers in Israel turn the desert of Negev into vegetable and fruit gardens. Israeli farmers create drip irrigation technology to supply water to every crop that they have planted in the arid land. Rainwater is insufficient to them. To support their farmers, the government of Israel treat their sewage water from big cities in the country and pump it to the farming lands. Israel is the only state in the world that has successfully recycled almost all of its waste water. Today 75% of sewage water has been recycled. But Israel plans to increase the percentage up to 90%. This is the highest among all developed countries. Because the recycled water cannot be used for drinking water, it is fed into farmlands to produce fruits, vegetables and flowers that are now their main agricultural produce. These commodities are exported to European market. To supply drinking water, Israel built 39 desalination plants along its 230 km coastline. Hadera is the location of the largest and the most advanced desalination plant in the world with pumping capacity of 23,000 cubic meters of water per hour.
Israel also builds water reservoirs in the desert to collect water during rainy season so that it can be reused for farming, drinking and other industrial needs. Today, Israel farmers share their success with their "cousins" - the Palestinian farmers to help them increase their agricultural production both for domestic consumption and export market. In recent years, students and farmers from such developing countries as Kenya and India visit Israel to learn their water engineering technology. 
Israel is not the only country in the world that is covered with desert. Most of the Middle East, some parts of Africa, China, Australia and the United States have got arid lands and desserts. However, Israel is the leader in water engineering technology that is now seen as an example and inspiration for other countries that are interested in improving their agricultural sector and the quantity and quality of their drinking water. Although more than half of its land is dessert, the Israeli is very successful in greening lands.
This tiny country whose size is approximately equivalent to New Jersey also develops alternative energy generated from solar photovoltaic and concentrated panels and wind farms. These are positive achievements that can inspire the world. by Charles Roring