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Switzerland’s launch subsequent month of a robust pumped-storage hydroelectric plant is unlikely to assist keep away from issues this winter.

Switzerland is among the many world’s wealthiest nations, however its reliance on Russian gasoline and French nuclear energy—each briefly provide—has it bracing for energy shortages and even blackouts this winter.

With a whole bunch of unfold throughout the Alps, Switzerland produces greater than sufficient energy in the summertime months. Nevertheless, the landlocked nation is compelled to show to imports when the chilly units in.

That isn’t often an issue, however this yr, with the struggle in Ukraine, and Russia slashing gasoline deliveries to a lot of Europe, the specter of extreme energy shortages is looming.

Whereas different European nations are additionally feeling the sting, the scenario is especially precarious in Switzerland, which lacks its personal gasoline storage installations.

It often relies on imports from the encircling European Union, and particularly of gas-derived electrical energy from Germany, however with the bloc cautious about its personal energy provide, non-member Switzerland finds itself behind the queue.

Compounding the issue, neighbouring France has been compelled to halt manufacturing at half of its reactors, primarily resulting from corrosion issues, Stephane Genoud, an energy administration professor on the Swiss HES-SO college, advised AFP.

Bern has been working to construct up Switzerland’s and storage methods, however even the grand opening subsequent month of a brand new, highly effective pumped-storage is unlikely to assist keep away from issues this winter.

The Nant de Drance plant is located in a cavern 600 metres (2,000 feet) below ground at an altitude of 1,700 metres near the Mon
The Nant de Drance plant is situated in a cavern 600 metres (2,000 ft) beneath floor at an altitude of 1,700 metres close to the Mont Blanc.

‘Large battery’

The Nant de Drance plant is situated in a cavern 600 metres (2,000 ft) beneath floor at an altitude of 1,700 metres (5,600 ft), only a few kilometres from Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak.

Not like typical hydropower methods, which create energy by releasing water from a reservoir by generators, pumped- don’t run out of juice because the reservoir empties out.

As a substitute, the Nant de Drance plant, located between two reservoirs, features “like a large battery,” mentioned Robert Gleitz, of Swiss energy firm Alpiq, a key shareholder within the facility.

It produces energy within the conventional method throughout demand peaks by sending water from the upper Vieux-Emosson reservoir plunging down into the Emosson reservoir beneath.

However when {solar} and wind energy manufacturing is excessive and there’s much less demand for electrical energy from the plant, the water from Emosson is pumped again to the upper reservoir, storing the surplus electrical energy generated.

“When there’s an excessive amount of electrical energy within the grid, we retailer the water within the higher reservoir,” Gleitz advised AFP throughout a tour of the ability.

It might probably thus increase manufacturing throughout instances of upper demand, as in winter, decreasing the necessity to import energy.

With hundreds of hydropower plants, Switzerland produces more than enough power in the summer months, but it needs to import ene
With a whole bunch of hydropower crops, Switzerland produces greater than sufficient energy in the summertime months, nevertheless it must import energy within the winter.

‘Excessive threat’

However Gleitz warned that whereas the brand new plant will assist Switzerland higher face up to temporary consumption peaks, it might assist little within the face of long-term shortages.

The plant “usefully dietary supplements a renewable electrical energy manufacturing that is still too low,” mentioned Nicolas Wuthrich of nature preservation group Professional Natura.

That organisation and others have lengthy lamented that Switzerland, which has vowed to decommission its ageing nuclear reactors, is dragging its ft on transitioning to renewables.

The nation counted solely 37 wind generators in 2020, whereas specialists say some 750 can be wanted to achieve the federal government’s 2050 renewable energy goal.


The Swiss organisation in control of making certain energy entry in instances of disaster warned in late 2021 that there was a “excessive threat of an influence scarcity rising.”

Switzerland is preparing for power shortages, with the head of the federal electricity commission warning of repeated, hours-lon
Switzerland is making ready for energy shortages, with the pinnacle of the federal electrical energy fee warning of repeated, hours-long energy cuts.

Geopolitical occasions since then have solely elevated the chance.

Bern has cautioned towards exaggerating the dangers, however has additionally acknowledged it’s making ready for energy shortages, with the pinnacle of the federal electrical energy fee, Werner Luginbuhl, warning of repeated, hours-long cuts.

Retailers throughout the nation are reporting a client rush on {solar} panels and turbines.

There may be nonetheless an opportunity to keep away from outages, mentioned Genoud.

“If the French handle to restart their reactors and if Putin does not make issues too troublesome and if it does not get too chilly, we may keep away from shortages or a blackout.”

Pumped hydro provides the vast majority of long-term energy storage

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Lights out? Swiss brace for looming energy shortages (2022, August 26)
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Researchers’ flow platform advances water harvesting technology



Researchers' flow platform advances water harvesting technology

Movement separation on hydrophilic reentrant SLIPS. (A) Schematic of circulate separation. The small droplets transfer into the reentrant channels as a consequence of coarsening impact. In the meantime, the liquid columns inside every reentrant channel slide as a consequence of gravity. The arrows present the transferring course of smaller droplets. (B) Microscope pictures of the circulate separation. The white arrows present that smaller droplets transfer towards the reentrant channels. Droplets are faraway from the floor. (C) Schematic of dropwise condensation with coarsening droplet on a slippery flat floor. The small droplet climbs on the oil meniscus and coalesces with a bigger one. (D) Microscope pictures of the coarsening droplets. The arrows present the transferring course of smaller droplets. (E) The protection ratios of surfaces with circulate separation and dropwise condensation within the regular state. (F) The water harvesting weights from surfaces with circulate separation and dropwise condensation. Credit score: Zongqi Guo et al, Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2209662119

This summer season’s megadrought within the western U.S. and the failure of a Mississippi water therapy plant have demonstrated the necessity for other ways to entry water throughout shortages.

One answer to is harvesting water from air. Dr. Xianming “Simon” Dai, assistant professor of mechanical engineering within the Erik Jonsson College of Engineering and Laptop Science at The College of Texas at Dallas, is engaged on know-how to make it potential for anybody to have an inexpensive, moveable gadget that might entry water wherever, anytime conceivably utilizing no exterior energy.

Dai and his crew of researchers not too long ago superior that know-how by growing a novel platform to speed up the harvesting course of. The crew demonstrated the platform in a research printed on-line Aug. 29 in Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences.

The platform solves a key drawback in water harvesting: Collected water droplets kind a thermal barrier that forestalls additional condensation, in order that they should be faraway from the floor as quickly as potential to make room for extra harvesting.

The UTD crew addressed this drawback by growing a platform with a singular form. They lower a collection of mushroom-like channels—smaller in diameter than a human hair—into the gathering floor in order that a part of the floor materials overhangs every channel. As droplets acquire on the floor, they’re absorbed into the channels, however the mushroom design prevents the water from flowing again onto the preliminary assortment floor. Harvested water is collected by these channels.

Key to the platform’s success is a novel flow-separation slippery floor constructed on the muse of Dai’s prior work in 2018 to seize water from fog and air. Impressed by rice leaves and pitcher crops that may lure and direct water droplets, the hydrophilic slippery liquid-infused porous floor (SLIPS) has a singular water-absorbing property that helps direct water droplets into the channels. The channels are also lined with SLIPS, which helps preserve liquid from backwashing onto the preliminary assortment floor.

“Floor pressure pressure strikes the liquid from the gathering floor into the , which is nice for steady water harvesting,” Dai mentioned. “The mushroom-like channels are distinctive as a result of they lock the liquid inside.”

The publication marked a serious achievement for Zongqi Guo, Ph.D., first writer of the research, who earned his diploma in December.

“This work is a abstract of my Ph.D. analysis. We mixed microfluidics, microfabrication and floor chemistry to unveil the brand new fundamentals for water sustainability, which is circulate separation,” mentioned Guo, now a postdoctoral fellow on the College of Minnesota.

The know-how has quite a lot of functions, together with navy makes use of. “Troopers want to have the ability to drink water wherever they’re,” Dai mentioned. “This requires a decentralized water harvesting know-how.”

As a result of the know-how removes moisture from air, it additionally could possibly be helpful in meals processing and different environments that require humidity management, he mentioned. Dai’s crew continues to enhance the know-how and work towards making broader impacts.

Dr. Joshua Summers, professor and division head of mechanical engineering, mentioned Dai’s analysis addresses the significance of bettering the welfare of all individuals.

“Hopefully, this publication will help stimulate the scientific discovery and engineering of options that may be broadly deployed the place moisture needs to be harvested,” Summers mentioned. “As an enormous ‘Star Wars’ fan, I’m excited to see that we’re transferring nearer to the ‘moisture farms’ of Luke’s youth.”

Co-authors of the research embody Dylan Boylan, mechanical engineering graduate scholar, and Dr. Li Shan, mechanical engineering analysis affiliate.

‘Climbing droplets’ could lead to more efficient water harvesting

Extra data:
Zongqi Guo et al, Hydrophilic reentrant SLIPS enabled circulate separation for fast water harvesting, Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2209662119

Researchers’ circulate platform advances water harvesting know-how (2022, October 4)
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How to ensure the world’s largest pumped-hydro dam isn’t a disaster for Queensland’s environment



How to ensure the world's largest pumped-hydro dam isn't a disaster for Queensland's environment

Credit score: Jamie Pittock, Creator supplied

To give up coal and transfer to renewables, we’d like large-scale energy storage. That is the place pumped hydro is available in. Queensland’s ambitious new plan includes shifting from a coal-dominated electrical energy grid to 80% renewables inside 13 years, utilizing 22 gigawatts of recent wind and {solar}. The plan depends on two large new pumped hydro developments to retailer electrical energy, together with the most important proposed on the planet.

Whereas it sounds , it is very simple: take two dams at completely different elevations. Pump water to the highest dam when low cost renewables are flooding the grid. Run the water down the slope and thru generators to make energy at evening or when the wind is not blowing.

When dams are constructed badly, nonetheless, they’ll trash the setting. For 20 years, I’ve identified the typical dams may cause. However now we urgently want extra pumped hydro dams to allow Australia’s transition to totally .

Queensland is getting pumped

Queensland’s large new plan relies heavily on two large pumped hydro tasks. Inland from the Sunshine Coast is Borumba Dam, which might ship two gigawatts of 24-hour storage by 2030. This was first proposed final 12 months. The brand new proposal is Pioneer-Burdekin, west of Mackay, which is meant to retailer 5 gigawatts of 24-hour storage from the 2030s. It would involve relocating residents of the small city of Netherdale, which might be inundated.

For shoppers, this implies energy reliability. Every gigawatt of saved energy might provide round two million properties—and Queensland has round two million households.

Environmentally, the excellent news is we will be taught from earlier errors and construct this rigorously to attenuate native and maximize the broader environmental good thing about quitting coal energy.

Why is pumped hydro so vital to the energy transition?

{Solar} and wind energy can produce huge portions of low cost energy—however not on a regular basis. Pumped hydro is one way to retailer renewable energy when it is being generated and releasing it later when wanted.

Whereas grid-scale batteries equivalent to Victoria’s Big Battery have drawn loads of media protection, they’re higher at storing smaller quantities of electrical energy and releasing it shortly. Pumped hydro is barely slower to start out feeding again to the grid, however large amenities can maintain producing energy for days.

Renewable fuels equivalent to green hydrogen and ammonia could also be out there sooner or later, however not now. Nuclear energy could be very costly and would take many years to construct. Batteries can not meet provide gaps longer than a couple of hours, and include from the mining of uncooked supplies, manufacture, and recycling and disposal of poisonous supplies.

That leaves pumped hydro as an important choice—particularly on chilly, nonetheless and overcast days in winter when {solar} and wind produce very little electrical energy.

So why is pumped hydro a greater environmental prospect?

Standard hydropower dams destroy river ecosystems and flood forests, cities and prime farm land. Globally, the hydropower business anticipates expanding by 60% by 2050 to supply renewable electrical energy and storage.

I am much less frightened about pumped hydro, for 3 causes.

First, the 2 reservoirs might be constructed away from rivers. This alone tremendously reduces the injury carried out by damming rivers and flooding fertile valleys.

Second, the world flooded is mostly an order of magnitude smaller than typical hydropower. It is because the good elevation distinction between the 2 reservoirs might allow extra energy to be generated from restricted water.

And third, pumped hydro does not want a lot further water as soon as crammed, because the water cycles round. Just a little topping as much as exchange losses from evaporation and seepage is all that is wanted.

Greater than 3,000 potential websites for pumped hydro have been identified in Australia. Importantly, these are all exterior formal nature reserves and principally positioned alongside the Nice Dividing Vary. We might solely want round 20 of those websites to be developed to retailer energy for the nation. That is across the identical quantity at the moment planned, built or under construction in Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Practically all massive renewable energy developments meet local opposition primarily based on non-financial values. Opponents of huge pumped hydro developments equivalent to Snowy 2.0 have known as for different websites to be developed as a substitute.

If we took this method, nonetheless, we might multiply the environmental disruption. That is as a result of Snowy 2.0, in addition to the proposed Borumba and Pioneer-Burdekin tasks in Queensland are large. They may every generate as much as ten instances extra energy than many of the other projects being deliberate elsewhere.

Shifting elsewhere might imply many extra smaller tasks, which implies extra roads, and reservoirs.

How to ensure the world's largest pumped-hydro dam isn't a disaster for Queensland's environment
Pumped hydro depends on two reservoirs at completely different elevations, as seen within the Turlough Hill pumped hydro scheme in Eire. Credit score: Shutterstock

Avoiding the errors of the previous

Environmental disruption from pumped hydro differs greatly relying on the location.

On the web site choice stage, it is vital to keep away from areas of excessive conservation and Indigenous cultural worth.

We will restrict environmental injury through the use of current dams, as we’re seeing at Snowy 2.0. Outdated mines in the best places can have a as pumped hydro, because the Kidston project in Queensland demonstrates.

By utilizing current dams or mines, we will truly start repairing previous injury, equivalent to by enhancing previous dams to spice up environmental flows.

That is to not say injury will not be carried out. Pumped hydro has been linked to the introduction of illnesses affecting wildlife, in addition to invasive plant and animal species.

Roads and transmission traces are one of the biggest impacts on the pure world. By my calculations, far more habitat might be cleared for the Snowy 2.0 overhead transmission traces (round 9,600 hectares) than the brand new hydro scheme highway and pipeline entry and waste rock disposal (round 1,000 hectares).

We might dramatically scale back environmental injury and visible litter by placing the traces underground, or constructing near current energy traces.

So, the selection is ours. Whereas pumped hydro is loads much less damaging than conventional hydroelectricity, it will trigger some environmental injury.

That is why pumped hydro builders should select websites and construct rigorously, to attenuate environmental injury and maximize the advantages of storage. In spite of everything, this expertise gives the big environmental good of releasing ourselves from the necessity to burn coal, fuel and oil each hour of day by day.

Pumped hydro provides the vast majority of long-term energy storage

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Charting a course for marine energy, and the country, to decarbonize the grid



Charting a course for marine energy, and the country, to decarbonize the grid

NREL’s Casey Nichols (left) hones his staff’s information acquisition system’s software program, which might gather, retailer, and share subject information by way of the cloud, whereas Andrew Simms prepares its {hardware}, constructing the fantastically complicated field of wiring seen on the proper. Credit score: Werner Slocum, NREL

As local weather change alters the planet, it’s inflicting huge adjustments to our oceans. As a result of these waters take in extra warmth and energy from our ambiance, the ocean has soaked up 90% of the warmth generated from greenhouse-gas emissions. All that warmth is inflicting marine warmth waves, melting sea ice, and sea-level rise, which pose large dangers to marine wildlife, ecosystems, and coastal communities.

However one type of renewable energy may draw from the ocean’s energy to assist combat local weather change and shield the planet’s weak waters. Marine energy—energy generated from in addition to ocean and river currents and tides—may very well be a useful a part of the world’s carbon-free renewable energy portfolio. But, marine energy applied sciences are nonetheless within the early phases of improvement, partly as a result of there’s little information to information their progress towards industrial success.

That’s the reason researchers on the Nationwide Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are growing data-gathering instruments to assist speed up the event of those promising applied sciences.

“Marine energy applied sciences may very well be an enormous assist in preventing ,” stated NREL water energy researcher Casey Nichols. “The quicker we will get marine energy applied sciences up and working, the quicker they might assist us energy the blue financial system, energize remoted communities, and transfer us to a renewable energy grid.”

Nichols, together with fellow water energy researcher Andrew Simms and a broader NREL staff, builds instruments that gather for marine energy builders. Referred to as Modular Ocean Data Acquisition (or MODAQ), these information assortment techniques can present data on an enormous number of marine energy prototypes, together with their potential energy manufacturing and efficiency traits (like, for instance, how they transfer and reply to ocean waves).

With MODAQ, customers can assess their prototypes’ promise all the way in which from the lab bench to the open ocean to shortly hone their designs.

“To have a profitable deployment,” Nichols stated, “you want to gather the proper information in the proper manner. Should you do not, you’ll be able to lose a ton of cash and a ton of time. It may actually hinder your mission. We developed MODAQ to make use of the highest-quality measurement tools whereas following business requirements to make sure the information collected is correct.”

MODAQ consists of three distinct merchandise: MODAQ Field, MODAQ Cloud, and MODAQ Web. Collectively, these instruments supply all the pieces from in-the-field information acquisition and distant management of ocean sure gadgets to information storage and processing. Customers can entry a clear, easy-to-understand information abstract nearly as shortly as the information is collected. And, as a result of MODAQ is marine-energy-standards compliant, builders can use the device to conduct accredited checks—third-party verifications of a tool’s efficiency—which may help increase investor and buyer confidence within the expertise.

Credit score: Nationwide Renewable Energy Laboratory

“MODAQ is like Lego blocks for information acquisition,” stated Simms, who, together with fellow technician Mark Murphy, constructed MODAQ’s {hardware} (what he calls its “brains”). Simms and the NREL MODAQ staff can tailor every Lego block to satisfy the particular wants of every prototype.

These custom-built MODAQs are in excessive demand, too, which is why Nichols not too long ago discovered himself on a seashore in Hawaii—arguably top-of-the-line locations to gather marine energy information. The state’s waves carry the equivalent of 25 times its energy wants. Harnessing only a portion of that clear energy may assist offset the excessive prices of delivery crude oil to the islands.

And one analysis staff on the College of Hawaii is aiming to just do that. With their {custom} MODAQ, the researchers are refining a small-scale model of their wave energy prototype, the Hawaiʻi Wave Surge Energy Converter (HAWSEC, for brief), which may sometime energy Hawaii’s coastal communities. The staff’s MODAQ enabled them to gather on the lab bench, in wave tank checks at Oregon State College, and in an open water subject take a look at at Hawaii’s Makai Analysis Pier. “We principally constructed one {hardware} system for 3 gadget deployments, which we have by no means completed earlier than,” Simms stated.

“We spent quite a lot of time making MODAQ protected and dependable to make use of within the wave tank space and on the seashore,” Nichols added. “Saltwater environments are harsh on many supplies, so we designed the system to dwell by all that.”

To this point, the Hawaii staff’s MODAQ information has carefully matched fashions generated with NREL’s Wave Energy Converter Simulator (often known as WEC-Sim)—an indication that WEC-Sim’s theoretical fashions present real looking outcomes. “The simulation and experimental information had been very shut, which was thrilling to see,” Nichols stated. That is thrilling for the HAWSEC staff, too, which might confidently depend on all that sound information to construct a bigger prototype for his or her subsequent wave tank checks.

For the HAWSEC staff and different marine energy builders, MODAQ techniques present correct, dependable, and standardized information to evaluate their gadgets’ efficiency to allow them to keep away from constructing their very own information assortment techniques from scratch (usually at nice expense). As a result of the MODAQ staff is frequently enhancing their system, builders can begin with a stable basis and easily add elements to judge the distinctive options of their gadget.

“Marine energy expertise builders are principally attempting do one thing solely new in one of many harshest environments on earth,” Simms stated. “Knowledge is without doubt one of the greatest instruments we’ve to enhance the reliability and scale back the price of marine energy business deployments.”

Within the subsequent couple of years, Nichols, Simms, and the remainder of NREL’s MODAQ staff are growing MODAQ 2.0, an much more accessible and cost-effective model of the system. However for now, Nichols is happy to see extra builders use MODAQ 1.0 throughout gadget deployments.

“There are such a lot of makes use of for this expertise,” Nichols stated, “and I am very excited to see the place it’s going to go.”

Wave-powered SeaRAY preps for Hawaii trial

Charting a course for marine energy, and the nation, to decarbonize the grid (2022, October 4)
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