Vortex: Bladeless Wind Turbines  

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Spanish startup Vortex has an interesting bladeless wind turbine design that generated quite a lot of publicity last year as they went through a crowdfunding phase.

Technology Review explains that the turbines harness "vorticity" - the spinning motion of air or other fluids.

When wind passes one of the cylindrical turbines, it shears off the downwind side of the cylinder in a spinning whirlpool or vortex. That vortex then exerts force on the cylinder, causing it to vibrate. The kinetic energy of the oscillating cylinder is converted to electricity through a linear generator similar to those used to harness wave energy.

The TR author warns that the "turbine looks intriguing, but it may not solve wind power’s challenges".

Wired reports the company founders claim their Vortex Mini, which stands at around 41 feet tall, can capture up to 40 percent of the wind’s power during ideal conditions (this is when the wind is blowing at around 26 miles per hour).

Based on field testing, the Mini ultimately captures 30 percent less than conventional wind turbines, but that shortcoming is compensated by the fact that you can put double the Vortex turbines into the same space as a propeller turbine.

Apple exploring charging stations for electric vehicles ?  

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Reuters reports that Apple have been poking around looking for opportunities in electric car recharging - Apple explores charging stations for electric vehicles.

Whether or not they are going to produce their own electric cars still remains uncertain.

The report notes that California will need about 20 times the roughly 8,000 work and public chargers it currently has by 2020 to support a projected 1 million zero-emission vehicles on the road.

Portugal runs on 100% renewables for 4 days  

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CleanTechnica reports that portugal has produced more renewable energy than it has consumed for an extended run of days - Portugal runs on 100% renewables for 4 days. In April, 80% of Portugal’s electricity came from renewables. The figure is 75% for the first 4 months of 2016.

We're seeing this more and more in the more advanced energy producing countries these days - now it is just a matter of counting down the days until the entire planet uses renewable energy only.

Did Germany just surpass 100% renewable electricity?  

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ReNew Economy has an update on the increasing penetration of renewables into the German electricity market - Did Germany just surpass 100% renewable electricity?.

Twister  

Posted by Big Gav

Via Climate crocks.

April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs  

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The Guardian has a report on the latest global temperature measurements - April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs. Another month, another record...

Inside the Gigafactory  

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Bloomberg has a progress report on the construction of Tesla's battery Gigafactory (now 14% complete) - Inside the Gigafactory That Will Decide Tesla’s Fate.

Elon Musk is also getting attention by announcing a sped-up production schedule that calls for a half-million electric vehicles per year by 2018 (advancing from 2020). Bloomberg noptes - "For a company that delivered just 50,658 vehicles in 2015, the ramp looks like a hockey stick".

There has been a lot of speculation about why Elon does the opposite of "over promising and under delivering" when it comes to announcing release dates, with one observer describing it thusly - "It goes something like this: People do paradigm-shifting work only when they're under tremendous pressure, so the key is to ensure deadlines are always impossible. This could help explain why Musk has never launched a product on time, yet no one seems able to keep up with him. It drives Wall Street nuts."

Whenever I see photos of the Gigafactory landscape I always wonder if Walter White is wandering around in the wastelands beyond...

Britain goes coal power free – for first time since 1882  

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ReNew Economy has a post on Britain's slow walk away from coal fired power - Britain goes coal power free – for first time since 1882.

The Magic Mountain  

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John Michael Greer's Archdruid Report racked up its 10th anniversary recently.

While I rarely agree with Greer's theories I have enjoyed a lot of his analysis over the years (admittedly I only rarely pass by there) and some of his recent writing on the Trump circus was fun to ponder - Where On The Titanic Would You Like Your Deck Chair, Ma’am?.

Michael Lynch's Revenge  

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Forbes has an article from long time peak oil skeptic Michael Lynch, in which he appears quite chuffed at the demise of the peak oil doomers - Saudi Oil Confounds The Skeptics (Who Remain Unrepentant).

Lynch concentrates on the non-peaking of Saudi oil production (dissing Matt Simmons, James Hamilton and Stuart Staniford along the way) and note that the peak oil pessimists all assumed that inaccurate oil reserve data was over-estimated - however in the case of he large oil producers like Saudi and Iraq it has seemingly been under-estimated...

Simmons is probably rolling in his grave when Lynch quotes one of his many dire predictions - "[Simmons] said the previous peak of 144 thousand barrels per day in 1981 for the Khurais field was “likely Khurais’ all-time peak output.” It restarted five years later at 1.2 million barrels a day."

Ouch.

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