UK Renewables On The Rise & Stateside Research Heats Up

The UK continues to smash it’s own records in the world of Renewables – whilst the University of Houston is coming close to discovering a new method of harnessing waste heat energy.

A Carbon-Free Future Might Not Be Far Off

renewable-energy-bars

Last quarter was a record breaking one for the UK, in terms of renewable energy production.

It might not have been terrifically promoted, but Britain passed a major energy milestone – spending almost 6 days running without the use of coal. This is the first time in over 130 years that Britain has been able to run without the use of burning the black stuff and signifies a major step forward for us, in terms of embracing and utilising renewable energies.

Over half of the power produced in the UK last quarter was from low-carbon sources. The combined imports of nuclear, biomass, wind and solar energy pushed us over to 50.2%, a big improvement over renewable use in 2010 which rested at a lowly 20%.

Although we’re some way off from a completely renewable powered energy system – it looks like that future might not be as distant as previously thought.

Wind Farms Could Power Future Britain

henrik-poulsen

When a grand statement of declaration is made by a politician in the UK, it’s safe to meet them with a decent level of scepticism.

When a similar comment is made concerning Wind Farms, from a chief executive of one of the biggest Energy companies in Europe – you can treat it as more of a statement of intent that anything else.

Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Dong Energy‘s Renewable branch, recently came forth with such a statement. The man in charge of the UK’s biggest windfarm recently stated that he plans on selling the companies massive fossil fuel divisions, in favour of further investment in renewable technologies.

Renewable energies have slowly been becoming a major focus of the Danish company, who originally made their money exploiting oil fields in the North Sea.

Some have cited their shift in strategy as a reaction to the terminally low prices of oil, however, it’s hard for us not to see further investment in UK Windfarms as a bad thing.

Newly Formed Thermoelectric Material Holds Great Power

carbon-electric

A problem that the Industrial Power sector has had to deal with for a decades is the issue of waste.

Whether it’s the harmful gases or chemicals that are discarded in the process of power production, or simply the heat that is lost through intense reactions – scientists are always looking for a way to increase the efficiency of their energy production processes. Researchers in Houston might have just come one step closer to solving one of these problems.

Professor of Physics, Zhifeng Ren has been leading a project that has discovered a metallic based compound that is leaps and bounds ahead of it’s contemporaries – in terms of heat energy conversion.

Adapting a previously used blend of iron, niobium, antimony, with the addition of titanium, Ren’s team of researchers have been able to produce a new compound at an incredible high temperature – around 1100 degrees celsius – which means that it’s power factor (the ability for it to transfer waste heat energy back into usable electricity) will be much higher in practice.

Soon, heat energy lost through industrial smokestacks or even exhaust pipes, might be able to be reclaimed for further use.