Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


Leave a comment

Donald Trump: Perpetuating Our Climate Disaster

Biden and the Environment

2020 elections: vote pro environment

“Trump has given big industry the right to keep polluting and releasing greenhouse gases.”

By Linn Smith

If you’re thinking four more years of Trump will be good for our country, think again! Recently I heard someway echo this sentiment, “I believe in climate change, I just don’t believe it’s human caused.” As if scientific research, charts and data are made up of fictitious statistics contrived in a conspiracy that consists of millions of people around the world to further the cause…..of what?? To bring down the fossil fuel industry? Even most of the oil companies agree that climate change is human caused and are beginning to invest in clean energy.

Climate change

Trump wins and the environment loses.

Trump and his Science Deniers

I am not a far left democrat that believes everything the party tells me and I think anyone who does lacks a higher level of capability to think for themselves. But I do believe in science and the mass amount of data collected from thousands of sources that show our climate is changing in proportion to the amount of greenhouse gases spewing into our atmosphere, and today we have a multitude of information at our fingertips to do our own research.

Again, Earth’s warming climate is in direct proportion to the rise of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere! If a person denies all the data gathered by thousands of sensors and satellites around the world, I think they are living in fear of the truth, and the implications of this truth. Will they vote for Trump out of fear? In the broad scope of things, the fear and doubt aren’t going to matter because our planet will continue to warm anyway! While the emperor fiddled, Rome was burning around him! Trump has a total lack of concern for his country in this time of crisis!

Science is fact

climate change

Democrats: The Party with a Plan

So that being said, most of what I value in life sways towards the Democratic party. They’re the party that cares, has an environmental plan and may save us from the catastrophes due to climate change that are happening in our world today and will happen in the future. The world is complex and the problems will require complex solutions. Ignoring the problem of our changing climate will lead to an acceleration of extreme weather, fires, rising seas and a planet that cannot sustain our almost 8 billion population.

As the earth warms our planet is more vulnerable to the dilemmas that come with it, those that we are witnessing today, i.e. pandemics, fires, floods, rising sea levels, extinction of species, food shortages, mass migration, civil unrest and the list goes on. If you want to see examples, look around you. This is Trump’s world! It’s been said that people won’t wake up to global warming until it’s in their own back yard. Now’s the time to look out your back window!

climate change

vote for our planet

Trump and the Environmental Rollbacks

The administration under Trump has rolled back or weakened at least 100 government regulations, many put in place by the Obama administration, resulting in an influx of greenhouse gases and toxic materials in our atmosphere and saturating our oceans and earth. Why? In the name of big business and the growth of our economy.

Here are just a few of the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks

1.Vehicle Fuel Standards: Instead of improving fuel economy by 5 percent annually for 2021 through 2026 vehicles, the Trump administration has lowered it to 1.5 percent per year.

2.In another step to roll back Obama’s policies, Trump has denied California the right to set air pollution standards for vehicles that are aimed at cutting greenhouse gases. California’s right to set standards dates back to the Clean Air Act of 1970. Thirteen states have followed California’s standards but under Trump’s repeal millions of more tons of carbon dioxide will be released into our atmosphere.

3.The Trump administration abandoned the Paris climate accord. Backing the U.S. away from the agreement that consists of 197 countries was the signal to the world that climate change would be ignored.

4.The regulations on methane have been weakened. Methane is a major greenhouse gas which has a greater potency than carbon dioxide. Obama put regulations in place to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas fields. The new EPA rule will eliminate federal requirements for oil and gas companies to monitor and repair methane leaks from their pipelines, wells and storage facilities.

5.Recently the administration rolled back the National Environmental Policy to accelerate approval for federal projects such as pipelines, highways and power plants.

These are only a few of the Trump administration’s weakening and rollbacks of environmental laws, most set in place by the Obama administration to curb back the rapidly changing climate due to greenhouse gases.

global warming

climate change

Our Responsibility to take Action

Joe Biden has released a plan to put $2 trillion into a green infrastructure and clean energy over four years.

With climate change comes a responsibility of every human being on this planet to take the necessary action to curb our ongoing disasters due to greenhouse gases. Either you take the high road and vote for Joe Biden, or you will be responsible for ongoing climate disasters in your lifetime and that of future generations.

Trump has given big industry the right to keep polluting and releasing greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, continuing the rapid disintegration of our climate as we know it.

Sources: New York Times, What Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Mean for Global by By Nadja Popovich and Brad PlumerSept. 17, 2020

Trump’s Environmental Cutbacks


Leave a comment

What Four More Years of Trump Means for Our Climate

People over Pipelines

Trump and Climate Change

“What we do now will define the fate of our planet!”

By Linn Smith

In July 2020 Donald Trump announced a revision of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), rolling back policies that protect our environment.

The arctic ice is melting, polar bears are losing their home and species are going extinct (and humans are on that list!), and in the midst of this, Trump is loosening environmental protection laws! In between bouts of record breaking heat and extreme weather, past conservation laws are being made obsolete by the Trump administration to make it “easier” for contractors and oil tycoons to do their job.

The National Environmental Policy Act

The revision of the NEPA environmental policy will no longer factor in the impact on our environment of a major project, such as pipelines, drilling and highway development. This policy rollback will unproportionately have a negative impact in areas of poverty which border many of the future projects, such as highways and oil storage fields. No longer will the environment and the quality of air surrounding these projects become a consideration.

The changing rules will allow companies in charge of the projects to make millions of dollars without regard for the people and wildlife dwelling in the surrounding areas. The companies involved will also play a major roll in evaluating the environmental impact of their own projects.

According to Thehill.com, the new EPA rules will, “Now require communities challenging a project to submit detailed, technical comments — something that could require hiring legal or scientific consultants.”

Climate change

Trump wins and the environment loses.

The Environmental Impact of NEPA

Sally Hardin, interim director of the Energy and Environment War Room at the Center for American Progress, explained the new rule this way: “When you’re evaluating a pipeline, you look just at the pipeline. But the oil transmitted through the pipeline that will get transported and burnt and elsewhere — you don’t have to consider the emissions from that. That’s really bad for climate change planning and for communities that are already overburdened by pollution. ”

The rollbacks will allow developers to sidestep preservation of the environment, although Trump’s administrative counsel said climate change can be considered in certain circumstances. This is a formality to appease environmentalists and easily swept under the rug. Trump argues that too much time is spent on studying the impact of a project!

Joe Biden’s Environmental Plans

Joe Biden’s plans, according to the Washington Post, calls for “carbon pollution free power by 2035 and retrofitting 4 million buildings in an environmentally friendly way ” Also, Biden plans to adopt an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice to hold corporate polluters accountable for their impact on our environment.

“We’ve run out of time to build new things in old ways,” says Rob Jackson, an earth system science professor at Stanford University and the chair of the Global Carbon Project. “What we do now will define the fate of the planet–and human life on it–for decades.”

2020 is the time to vote Trump out if you care about survival of our planet! Even if you do like some of his policies, our planet cannot tolerate 4 more years of rollback environmental practices! It may still be too late, but our planet certainly doesn’t have a chance if he is again elected as a world leader!

We’re running out of time! The earth is warming and extreme weather conditions will make many parts of the earth uninhabitable. We need everyone’s energy to make the changes necessary to avoid a global catastrophe and Trump and his administration have put money over survival of our planet!

Save Our Planet


1 Comment

The Earth is Warming Up…And Fast!

Global Warming

The Earth continues to warm.

“Unless we take extreme measures now to alter the direction of climate, worldwide catastrophes will continue to take place!”

By Linn Smith

In the western state where I reside in the summers, record high and low temperatures continue to be broken. The average number of above 90 degree days each year in my city is 30. Since 2000 the number has spiked to 48 days above 90 degrees.

Global Warming

Climate Change

Surviving our Warming Planet

As the earth warms, we rely more and more on our air conditioners. Air conditioning, in many places, have become essential for survival. Phoenix, Arizona is an example of this. June temperatures hit a record breaking 106 degrees yesterday! Air conditioning will be essential for future survival, but as population grows and becomes concentrated in bigger cities, we will be vulnerable to power outages, leaving elderly and small children at risk.

Last week temperatures reached 100.4 degrees in Verkhoyansk, a small town in Siberia within the Arctic Circle, where the average temperature in June is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The rise in temperatures in Siberia has allowed for increased wildfires with greater intensity. May was the hottest in Siberia since records began. Also, permafrost melted which caused oil tanks to be unsupported, resulting in a massive diesel spill.

Global Warming

All Scientific data shows the same increases.

Unprecedented Warming Trend

Nasa.gov states, “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades.”

Global Warming

Temperatures increase

Climate Warming Facts

Scientific graphs show that the rise in temperatures since the 1900’s correlate with the rise in CO2 in our atmosphere, which traps the greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

Scientific data shows the following facts:
*2010-2019 was the hottest decade on record.
* 2016 was the hottest year on record with 2019 being the 2nd hottest year since records began 140 years ago.
* 9 of 10 of the warmest years have been since 2005.
*The average temperature of our earth in 2019 was 1.71 degrees F above the 20th century average.
* In 2019 the amount of heat stored in the ocean surface was the highest on record.
* 2020 is on its way to being one of hottest years ever recorded, just behind 2016 (2016 was affected by El Nino which is known to be warmer years.)
* May 2020 was tied with May 2016 as the warmest May on record.

Global Warming

Stripes show visualization of our warming planet.

Through the study of ice cores, satellites and ocean acidity, scientist have been able to obtain accurate information over many years. The earth’s warming is causing not only the earth to heat up, but also extreme weather around the world, which is resulting in floods, fires, an earlier hurricane season and many other manifestations of climate change.

Scientists warned of world wide pandemics as a result of climate change. Unless we take extreme measures now to alter the direction of climate, worldwide catastrophes will continue to take place!

Climate Change


Leave a comment

In Defense of the Clean Water Act: The Supreme Court Decision

Hawaii Wildlife Fund

The Supreme Court defended the Clean Water Act

“We are glad the Court has recognized the importance of protecting clean water for all Americans.” David Henkin

By Linn Smith

On April 23, 2020 the Supreme Court, in a 6-to-3 ruling, rejected arguments concerning Maui County Sewage Plant in Hawaii (County of Maui V. Hawaii Wildlife Fund) and the Trump administration which stated only pollution discharged directly into navigable waters requires permits. The Trump administration had previously filed its interpretation of the Clean Water Act saying, “The law does not apply to discharges that travel through groundwater before reaching protected waters.”

The Clean Water Act

Hawaii: Protecting the coral reefs

The Clean Water Act

The court held that the Clean Water Act “require[s] a permit if the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” The Supreme Court clarified the Clean Water Act, which now requires permits for groundwater pollution running into oceans, lakes and rivers.

Environmentalists point to the once natural, living reef off of Hawaii’s coast that has been destroyed by the nearby waste water plant. The Supreme Court holds polluters responsible saying they must be held accountable for not only waste water discharged directly into lakes, oceans and rivers, but also into groundwater that eventually finds its way to the lakes, rivers and oceans.

Maui wastewater

Maui waste water dumping into the sea.

Maui’s Wastewater Plant

Maui injects 3-5 million gallons a day of treated wastewater into wells beneath its facility, which lie about 1/2 mile from the Pacific shoreline. Environmentalists injected dyes to trace the flow of the wastewater from 2 wells. The dyes revealed that half of the treated wastewater was entering the ocean from the underground wells, thus endangering the reef.

According to past articles, there have also been many raw sewage spills from Hawaii into the Pacific Ocean in the past few years and, until recent times, it was common for Hawaii to pour raw sewage directly into the ocean without any treatment.

Supreme Court decision

Wildlife Fund vs. Maui

The Supreme Court Decision

The sewage in Maui is treated and, when possible, reused for irrigation. The majority is injected into wells, leaking out and finding its way into the ocean. The question brought before the Supreme Court was whether permits were required for waste water that travels a distance from the polluting source, ending up in the navigable waters.

This decision of the Supreme Court will make it easier for parties to sue polluters for irresponsibly leaking of wastewater into oceans and rivers.

David Henkin, lawyer for Earthjustice said, “The Supreme Court has rejected the Trump administration’s effort to blow a big hole in the Clean Water Act’s protection for rivers, lakes and oceans.”

The case will return to an appeals court, but polluters who dump into groundwater which eventually finds its way to lakes and oceans will now be required to have permits. The ruling also allows some lawsuits to take place against the polluting source. Failing to obtain a permit could result in a fine of up to $50,000 a day.

And finally, an Ansel Adams quote, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”

The Clean Water Act


Leave a comment

Gardening and Hydroponics: Learning to Grow Your Own Food

hydroponics

Grow your own food without soil.

“The important thing is you’re learning to grow some of your own food sustainably.”

By Linn Smith

I get it…no one wants to get suited up in masks with sanitary wipes in their pockets, rubber gloves, i.e. donning your suit of armor of choice, to go into a grocery store these days to shop for food, only to bring it home, wipe it down, take a shower and wonder if you were exposed to this horrid Covid-19 virus that’s currently ransacking our planet. Where I live it is now against the law to enter a grocery store without a mask. How I appreciate the good old days when we could make a quick stop at the store on the way home from work and quickly run in to pick up something we needed for dinner!

Yard to Garden
Turn your yard into your garden.

Gardening

Today, there is a run on seeds for planting outdoor or hydroponic gardens at home. Folks are realizing that they may have room in their house or apartment for gardening or they conclude they may not need their entire English style lawns for recreation, instead converting them into gardens for readily available food in a month or so.

From yard to garden
You can grow your own food.

Whether you live in an apartment or have a yard, you can learn to grow your own vegetables and herbs. Many without a yard are getting acquainted with the indoor method called hydroponics, growing small plants without soil, where water provides the nourishment for plants. This type of gardening requires setting up your own indoor garden for smaller plants using seeds, nutrients, containers and a light source. The light source will vary according to the plant.

Kitchen gardening
Turn your kitchen into a garden.

Hydroponics

An excellent guide to starting your indoor garden can be found at www.https://www.thespruce.com/beginners-guide-to-hydroponics-1939215

Aquaponics
Fish and plant dependency.

Aquaponics

Being a teacher I have witnessed several examples in our school system that use aquaponics (a branch of hydroponics) and fish, which not only teaches kids about caring for fish and gardening, but the interdependency of nature, all while finding the benefits of bacteria created by the interdependency. Students learn to create a closed, self-sustaining system which also provides food for them. For more detail see: https://aquaponics.com/aquaponics-in-schools/aquaponics-information/build-a-mini-aquaponic-system/

Food scarcity
Empty shelves at grocery stores.

Food Scarcity

Whether you plant an outdoor garden or try your hand at indoor gardening, the important thing is you’re learning to grow some of your own food sustainably, as there may come a time when the grocery stores are not just sold out of toilet paper, which has been the recent circumstance, but also out of food.

Follow us on Facebook at: https://m.facebook.com/planetearthweekly

hydroponics


Leave a comment

Covid-19: A New Era Began on December 31, 2019

A New Era: Cov-19

Climate change and Covid-19

“While there’s no direct evidence linking global warming with Covid-19, animals are moving to cooler areas.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore
The coronavirus is not new. It has been known for some time that the coronavirus has existed in certain bat populations in central China. However, it was unknown in the human population. On December 31 2019, the first case of the virus was identified in a human in Wuhan, China. In the United States the number of cases approach 900,000 at the time of this writing. Globally, the number of cases is nearing three million.

Transmission of Covid-19

How the virus was transmitted to humans is unknown, perhaps by a bite or simply transferred by contact with a bat. It has taken only a few months for the virus to reach every continent with the possible exception of Antarctica. The prognosis? It will not be eliminated from the human population within the next decade or longer. The invention of a vaccine or antidote would shorten the history of the virus, but in all likelihood not eliminate it.

Climate change and Covid-19

A new era: social distancing

Impact of Covid-19

The virus has had a sudden and dramatic impact on the people and culture of the world. The normal activities of life have been drastically changed, particularly by the policy of isolating people from each other. This is defined as “shelter in place.” The effect is to shut down all activities where people gather including schools, churches, businesses and sporting events. This is the case for most of United States although state governors have authority. Where cities and states differ on the extent of shutdown or to shut down at all, the strictest ruling usually prevails. Most countries around the world have gone to some stage of shutdown.

The Impact of Covid-19

The solution to the pandemic includes a number of processes:

A. The willingness of people around the world to work together by isolating themselves and being willing to give up group activities for a period of time. This will not be easy or comfortable, but it will succeed.

B. The extreme nature of the pandemic can result in some creative measures. Thinking out of the box can be a very positive process.

Climate Change

A new era in climate change.

Covid-19 and Climate Change

In a recent article in Bloomberg Magazine it was stated, “While there’s no direct evidence linking global warming with Covid-19, animals are moving to cooler areas, according to Aaron Bernstein of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. That’s brought humans in closer contact with them and the diseases they carry, he said. Epidemiologists say the novel coronavirus originated in bats.”

December, 2019 marks not only the beginning of a pandemic but a new era of time for the human population on planet Earth.

Climate Change and Covid-19


Leave a comment

Climate Change and Overconsumption

Sustainable living

“Overconsumption exists when resources are consumed at an unsustainable level as measured by the ecosystem’s capacity.” Pielc.org

By Linn Smith

“Medical researchers and climate scientists note that viral outbreaks may become more common with the progression of the climate crisis, which is affecting the movement of humans, animals and pathoogens.”
Earth Institute/Columbia University.

Sitting here quarantined in Colorado I have consistent reminders to stay home. This isn’t too hard for me… yet…as a green belt along the creek is just a few steps away, enabling me to walk the dog or ride bike for miles. I am also fortunate to have good neighbors that are taking advantage of the same thing….but we do stay 6 ft apart!

Working toward 100% renewables

Making Changes to Save Our Planet

I have wondered if this is the kind of drastic measures we need, not only to stop the spreading virus, but also to make the changes necessary to save our planet. For years I and many others have been preaching ways to consume less. We are now making the changes out of fear and responsibility to save our population. We find ourselves using less because we don’t want to make those dreaded runs to the grocery store or order from Amazon, where warehouse workers have now been diagnosed with Covid-19.

I can’t help thinking that this is the type of fear we need to sustain humanity on our planet in the future…..for those are the beings that are going to be hit hardest by climate change and possible lack of food. Dr. John J. Hidore and I have provided the public with many articles stating scientific facts to support the future outlook of our planet, so I won’t bore you with statistics here.

Landfill

The Arizona landfill

This past winter I have spent many days hiking up the side of a mountain in Arizona, looking over my shoulder at the valley below. Deep in the valley appears to be a sizable mountain, but in actuality it is a landfill made into what appears to be a mountain, radiating toxicity. When I see this site I often think, “We can do better!”

The Effect of Impulse Buying on our Environment

We are an impulse-buying nation with very little thought into the future of how the products and packaging we purchase will eventually be that great mountain of garbage which dresses the landscape in every city, county, state and country. We fail to ask ourselves,”How will what I buy effect our environment in the future?”

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. We grew and canned our own food, had dairy cows and chickens and were pretty self sufficient. The nearest neighbors were at least half a mile away. I learned to be resourceful and inventive out of necessity. It seems we have lost the ability to use our imaginations, accepting the fact that hopping in our gas guzzling vehicles and traveling to the store is the answer to all of our problems, i.e. our needs and wants. We fail to ask ourselves, “If I want this, what resources do I already have that I might use to make something that is close to what I want?” (This was pretty easy as a kid with a big imagination!) We can ask ourselves, “Can I borrow something that I need? Can I repair something? Can I convert something no longer useful to something I want?” Yes, many of us have lost the ability to create, convert or adapt!

Recycle

Create, Convert, Adapt

If it’s food, can I make what I need instead of buying it prepackaged at the grocery store? For example, I have lived, at least part-time, in the southwest U.S. for many years, beginning my teaching career in New Mexico. There I learned that you can eat just about anything in a tortilla and this habit has stuck with me throughout the years. I recently ran out of tortillas….but I have flour and I know they are very easy to make! (Just for fun here is a song about tortillas that depicts my sentiment exactly. It is sung by Petey Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt’s nephew. I was fortunate to see him and talk to him a few times in Tucson. For a little entertainment, take a listen https://youtu.be/7-qQJzOq7u8)

So, swinging back from tortillas to climate change, is there something we can learn from these times of turmoil? Can we use less, drive less, stay at home more, borrow, make or ask ourselves, “Do I really need it? If I really do need it, could I buy quality goods that last longer, and have a plan to reduce, reuse or recycle?” The answer is yes. We can do it!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Follow us on Facebook @ https://m.facebook.com/planetearthweekly


Leave a comment

The Future of Electric Cars: 2020 and Beyond (Part 1)

The electric car

Electric vehicles are on the rise.

“The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables.”

By Linn Smith

Elon Musk and Tesla are always igniting my interest in electric vehicles! My fascination with the Cybertruck first appeared a few months back when Tesla revealed this truck on Instagram. My first thought….what a really odd truck! But then appeared the tug of war between the Ford F-150, the most popular gas guzzler, and Tesla’s Cybertruck. The Ford truck wasn’t one of the heavier duty trucks produced by Ford, but it was a fun match to watch and the Cybertruck won hands down!

The Cybertruck

Cybertruck wins!

Why does the Cybertruck look so odd? Musk states this prototype contains layers of metals which are so heavy and thick they lack flexibility as in the typical auto, which often has softer curved lines. Musk says the actual truck will not go into production for at least a year and that the design will look “slightly better!”

The Cybertruck

Tesla’s newest creation!

Tesla and Rapidly Falling Prices

Musk recently stated on Twitter, “The first models, which will sport a trimotor setup, are set for production in late 2021. Less powerful models will begin production in 2022. Tesla has something for the here and now, too: The Tesla Model Y SUV is set to enter production next month.”

The Model Y starts at about $40,000 and will be Tesla’s first advance into compact SUVs. This will be offered for sale in the summer of 2020. As the price for a Tesla continues to decline (the Model 3 starts at around $35,000) profit for the company has shown growth in the last quarter….so Tesla continues strong!

Electric vehicle

Charge stations across the nation.

Electric Cars and the Source of Power

Before the critics start rolling in with negative comments, I am quite aware of the environmental impact of electric cars and the dependency on electricity, whether the power is produced by renewable resources or from coal burning power plants. Yes, it does make a difference, but we as a planet are moving toward renewables so, as I see it, this is no longer a point of debate. How we reach our goals may not be perfect, in fact it may be one step forward and two steps back, but the important thing is, we are headed in the right direction!

Electric Cars: Returning Power to the Grid

In a recent article at Physicsworld.com titled, “An Electric Car Future”, Dave Elliot states, “The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables via the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) option. In this case, EV’s batteries could be used to balance the grid and its use of variable renewables. EVs will be charged from the mains supply at home or elsewhere, and at times their batteries could provide a source of power when there are shortages on the grid. There could be significant advantages from using vehicle-to-grid and associated home-based smart power and storage systems. Some see V2G as a way to convert cars from being an environmental problem into part of the “clean–energy” solution that would enable variable renewables to spread. V2G would also enable EV owners to earn some income from “renting out” their batteries. Obviously, V2G is only viable where there are grids and in many parts of the world that is not the case. Where there are grids, however, V2Gs must overcome potential real or perceived inconvenience issues. For example, in the worst case, car owners would not be happy to have their EV batteries drained flat when there was a power shortfall on the grid.”

So many possibilities with renewable energy and the possibilities are fast becoming realities.

Follow us on Facebook at: https://d.facebook.com/planetearthweekly/

Electric Vehicles


Leave a comment

Generating Electricity at Night

solar at night

The new technology would allow panels to generate solar during the nighttime hours.

“The heat engines are made from a different kind of cell than a photovoltaic cell”

Linn Smith

When we think of solar panels we think of the sunshine bearing down on photovoltaic cells used to produce clean electricity. The big drawback has been lack of sunshine, which diminishes their ability to produce electricity during the nighttime hours and on cloudy days. For households surrounded by trees, I often hear the excuse, “We can’t install solar because the sun doesn’t hit our roof, yard, ect.”

There is some recent exciting news! Scientists have discovered a new way that solar can generate electricity with lack of sun and during nighttime hours. Researchers have discovered that if you want to generate electricity at night you need a system that does the opposite of what solar panels do during the day. They are calling the new tehnology anti-solar or “heat engines.”

nighttime solar

New panels for nighttime generation of clean energy

Photovoltaic vs Thermoradiative Cells

These “heat engines” are made from a different kind of cell than a typical solar photovoltaic cell normally thought of when producing clean energy. The new cell is called a thermoradiative cell and works the opposite of the photovoltaic cell.

Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis is currently busy developing nighttime solar cells that can generate up to 50 watts of power per meter with hopes of improving the power output with further research. Munday states, “Our device couples the cold side of the thermoelectric module to a sky-facing surface that radiates heat to the cold space and has its warm side heated by the surrounding air, enabling electricity generation at night.”

Nighttime solar

Anti-solar panels can generate nighttime energy.


In a recent paper published in the journal of ACS Photonics, Jeremy Munday explained, “A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow. In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power. You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

With the ability to generate electricity around the clock, overcoming the lack of sunshine on cloudy days and long nights, we can move towards a sustainable planet, one more effort in combating our changing climate.

Renewable Energy

Resources:
Sciencedaily.com
http://www.inverse.com


Leave a comment

Droneseed: Fighting against Climate Change with Reforestation

dronesseed

drones and reforestation

“By using the newest technology of planting seeds by drones, Droneseed has increased the speed of reforestation.”

By Linn Smith

With climate change and the warming of our planet comes forest fires as evidenced by the recent fires in Australia. The wildfire season has gotten considerably longer and drought has fueled the fires. Rising temperatures evaporate more moisture from the ground and vegetation turns dry with lack of moisture. These events lead to a longer wildfire season. Acres and acres of forest and prairie act as tinder for any mistake by nature or man. Deforestation has many devastating results including erosion and furthering the effects of global warming by destroying a forest’s contribution to clean air, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.

In the past reforestation depended on humans carrying seedlings, planting each nursery grown seedling by hand as they walked across the deforested areas. If reforestation does not take place in these areas, erosion washes away the top soil and unwanted invasive plants and ground cover may eventually take the place of native trees.

droneseed

reforestation

Droneseed

Droneseed is a relatively new company that is reseeding destroyed forests by dropping tree seeds by drones, mitigating the devastated areas. They are a Seattle-based group of people interested in using technology to help save our planet. They work with the Nature Conservatory and some of the largest lumber companies in the world. According to their website, http://www.droneseed.com, they are a team of “ nursery managers, foresters, ecologists, biologists, and engineers who love the data, theory, and the hands-on work necessary to grow forests.”

In an interview by Devin Coldeway (@Techcrunch), founder and CEO Grant Canary Canary stated, “I started looking into how it’s done today,” he told me. “It’s incredibly outdated. Even at the most sophisticated companies in the world, planters are superheroes that use bags and a shovel to plant trees. They’re being paid to move material over mountainous terrain and be a simple AI and determine where to plant trees where they will grow — microsites. We are now able to do both these functions with drones. This allows those same workers to address much larger areas faster without the caloric wear and tear.”

I have witnessed first hand the devastating changes from forest fires. With the beetle kill causing rapid flames to spread, the Hayman fire was Colorado’s largest, over 138,000 acres, rapidly spreading over the Colorado Rocky’s beautiful terrain. Riding past this area several years later revealed acres and acres of new ground cover with a few cabins that the forest service saved, standing alone amongst the baron, black terrain left by the fire.

forest mitigation

droneseed

Mitigation of Deforested Areas

Droneseed is on the forefront when it comes to mitigation of deforested areas. Using the newest technology of planting seeds by drones they have increased the speed of reforestation. According to Techcrunch.com, in the article, That Night a Forest Flew Droneseed, “Earlier this year, DroneSeed was awarded the first multi-craft, over-55-pounds unmanned aerial vehicle license ever issued by the FAA. Its custom UAV platforms, equipped with multispectral camera arrays, high-end lidar, six-gallon tanks of herbicide and proprietary seed dispersal mechanisms have been hired by several major forest management companies, with government entities eyeing the service as well.These drones scout a burned area, mapping it down to as high as centimeter accuracy, including objects and plant species, fumigate it efficiently and autonomously, identify where trees would grow best, then deploy painstakingly designed seed-nutrient packages to those locations. It’s cheaper than people, less wasteful and dangerous than helicopters and smart enough to scale to national forests currently at risk of permanent damage.”

drones

reforestation

Droneseed packages seeds to drop from their drones by studying the soil and matching the packages closely with the nutrients and soil PH of the area in need of reforestation. They dust the outside of the seed with capaicin, which creates the heat in hot peppers, to keep wildlife from eating the seed.

Droneseed expects to take its services worldwide, thus speeding the growth of deforested areas and pulling carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen. This process, in return, will slow down our planets warming climate, making our planet livable for future generations.