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Friday, 28 September 2012

Wind Power Without the Blades

Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze. New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks. Resembling thin cattails, the Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving. The designers came up with the idea for the planned city Masdar, a 2.3-square-mile, automobile-free area being built outside of Abu Dhabi. Atelier DNA’s "Windstalk"project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition a contest sponsored by Madsar to identify the best work of art that generates renewable energy from a pool of international submissions.

The proposed design calls for 1,203 "“stalks," each 180-feet high with concrete bases that are between about 33- and 66-feet wide. The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.

“The idea came from trying to find kinetic models in nature that could be tapped to produce energy,” explained Atelier DNA founding partner Darío Núñez-Ameni.

In the proposal for Masdar, the Windstalk wind farm spans 280,000 square feet. Based on rough estimates, said Núñez-Ameni the output would be comparable to that of a conventional wind farm covering the same area.

“Our system is very efficient in that there is no friction loss associated with more mechanical systems such as conventional wind turbines,” he said.

Each base is slightly different, and is sloped so that rain will funnel into the areas between the concrete to help plants grow wild. These bases form a sort of public park space and serve a technological purpose. Each one contains a torque generator that converts the kinetic energy from the stalk into energy using shock absorber cylinders similar to the kind being developed by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Levant Power .

Wind isn’t constant, though, so Núñez-Ameni says two large chambers below the whole site will work like a battery to store energy. The idea is based on existing hydroelectric pumped storage systems. Water in the upper chamber will flow through turbines to the lower chamber, releasing stored energy until the wind starts up again.

The top of each tall stalk has an LED lamp that glows when the wind is blowing -- more intensely during strong winds and not all when the air is still. The firm anticipates that the stalks will behave naturally, vibrating and fluttering in the air.

“Windstalk is completely silent, and the image associated with them is something we're already used to seeing in a field of wheat or reeds in a marsh. Our hope is that people living close to them will like to walk through the field -- especially at night -- under their own, private sky of swarming stars,” said Núñez-Ameni.

After completion, a Windstalk should be able to produce as much electricity as a single wind turbine, with the advantage that output could be increased with a denser array of stalks. Density is not possible with conventional turbines, which need to be spaced about three times the rotor's diameter in order to avoid air turbulence. But Windstalks work on chaos and turbulence so they can be installed much closer together, said Núñez-Ameni.

Núñez-Ameni also reports that the firm is currently working on taking the Windstalk idea underwater. Called Wavestalk, the whole system would be inverted to harness energy from the flow of ocean currents and waves. The firm’s long-term goal is to build a large system in the United States, either on land or in the water.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tiger Stone (Road Builder)

 The labour-intensive work of paving a road has been simplified by a Dutch machine called the Tiger-Stone.Wherever the device goes, it will produce an instant road in the front.

Tiger-Stone is a Dutch made paving machine that uses gravity and an electric motor to print stone and brick roads. It’s a six meter wide machine that is capable of laying 300 square meters of road a day. The printing width is adjustable from the width of a road to as narrow as a bike lane or walkway

Monday, 3 September 2012

Photovoltaics System

Every parking lot ought to look like this. Shades the cars while producing free energy. Germany has created over 500,000 new jobs by pushing hard into solar and wind energy - providing incentives for everyone to install and as a result, they will be able to move forward with their plans to shut down all their nuclear power plants in the next decade.

Barreleye Fish

With a head like a fighter-plane cockpit, a Pacific barreleye fish shows off its highly sensitive, barrel-like eyes--topped by green, orblike lenses--in a picture released last 2009 but taken in 2004.

The fish, discovered alive in the deep water off California's central coast by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is the first specimen of its kind to be found wit
h its soft transparent dome intact.

The 6-inch (15-centimeter) barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) had been known since 1939--but only from mangled specimens dragged to the surface by nets.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs

Weird and unusual
Trees cocooned in spider webs in Sindh,Pakistan during the flood,as the water level was very high and the area was sank for long,spiders took shelter in all those trees and cocooned the trees,this phenomenon was proved to be a blessing for the people as the mosquitoes were lesser than usual,the mosquitoes got trapped in all those webs,so people were relief from malaria and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Countries With The Best And Worst Investor Protection

American companies may be some of the most innovative and profitable around, with the likes of Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart and Microsoft sporting market capitalizations rivaling the GDPs of the largest economies in the world, but a quick glance at the world's fastest growing economies shows that opportunities abound around the world.

Taking Care in International Markets
Ready to plunk down cash for international equities? Not so fast. Just because you've read that Nigeria is awash with oil or heard that China's growing middle class can't get enough luxury goods doesn't mean that you know how companies there operate. After all, you are probably pretty sure what to expect when you deal with a company based in the United States, but what about a country on the other side of the world? Unless you ha connections or have already done business there, you are going to be dealing with a level of uncertainty that could wind up spelling the difference between a profitable venture and a disaster. For the minority investor - the investor who doesn't have a controlling share of a company's stock - the world can be a scary place.

World Bank Ratings
How can you determine which countries are risky and which ones aren't, when it comes to investor protection? The World Bank's "Doing Business" report is a good place to start. The report examines investor protection laws in 183 economies, specifically focusing on publicly traded manufacturing companies. The rankings are based on a review of three primary types of regulations:

  • The extent of disclosure: how do companies report related-party transactions?
  • The extent of director liability: can executives be held liable for what they do with corporate assets?
  • The ease of shareholder suits: can investors get a hold of the company documents they need if they want to sue?
The rankings are based on a 10-point scale, with a score of zero meaning that investors have the least amount of protection.

The countries where investors have the most protection:

Country Protection Ranking
New Zealand 9.7
Singapore 9.3
Hong Kong 9.0
Malaysia 8.7
Canada 8.3
Columbia 8.3
Ireland 8.3
Israel 8.3
United States 8.3
United Kingdom 8.0

You probably didn't find these rankings all that surprising. Six of the countries are part of the OECD, most are widely considered to be economically and politically stable and only one, Malaysia, is considered an emerging economy. With the exception of New Zealand, all are considered by the IMF to be part of the fifty largest economies.

The countries where investors have the least protection:

Country Protection Ranking
The Gambia 2.7
Guinea 2.7
Kosovo 2.7
Federated States of Micronesia 2.7
Palau 2.7
Djibouti 2.3
Venezuela 2.3
Suriname 2.0
Laos 1.7
Afghanistan 1.0

You may not have been overly surprised by this list either. It's marked by countries that have experienced war or coups within the last two decades - not something that makes the development of solid regulations all that easy. Most are also fairly small economies, though Venezuela is the exception; its GDP is greater than five of the economies in the "most protected" list and is considered to be middle income. It graces this list because its institutions have been severely weakened by the central government in recent years.

Consumer Protection
What's the point of laws that protect minority investors? After all, why would the leadership in Switzerland or Swaziland care about what protections American investors, or any foreign investors for that matter, with minority stakes get? Money. Without regulations creating investor protections, companies would have a harder time raising funds because investors would shy away from equities. This leaves the debt market as the primary source of funding and companies in risky countries are more likely to face steep rates. When countries create strong investor protection laws they are sending a signal: we want you to trust our companies, so trust that we're not going to fleece you.

The Bottom Line
Strong investor protections come from transparency. Investors want to know that their money is being used to make companies grow, not to line the pockets of insiders. Those with controlling interest should be held accountable for what they do with company funds, and if investors think that their only way out is through a lawsuit, then they should have access to the documents that will allow them to take their case to court.

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