- More snippets this month in our continued look at technological advancements (mostly) in the world of renewable energy.Biofuel: Studies suggest that switching to biofuels made from stems and leaves could greatly reduce their carbon footprint. This microbial fuel cell could convert urine to power! While this bacteria could inhale carbon dioxide and convert it to alcohol fuel. Speaking of carbon dioxide, it can be used to greatly reduce the cost of biofuel production.
Solar: Adding a layer of graphene to solar panels lets them produce energy in the rain. Solar farms are shown to increase local biodiversity. This solar panel just broke the theoretical limit of efficiency! While this is an improvement on the bionic leaf which now produces biofuels at a 10% efficiency versus nature’s 1% efficiency.
Wind: This improved off-shore turbine design can reduce costs by 60%. LiDAR is common in our industry and apparently it can be used to accurately measure off-shore wind speeds. Taller towers access faster winds and this precast concrete tower can push heights over 100-meters. If you have gale force winds, you need an innovative design to handle those gusts, this is one that can do it.
Random and Fun: Splitting water with a carbon-catalyst to yield hydrogen is closer to reality with this research. If we can ever produce graphene at a cost-effective price, a thin film of it could coat electronics to keep them cooler and thus working more efficiently. Here are seven ways to cool foods without a refrigerator. And finally, how about a home built using this transparent wood…weird?!
- Yep you guessed it – another months of record sets according to the August 2016 NOAA climate report as it was the hottest August in the 137-year record. It was also the 8th highest departure from average in the record, meaning that 14 of the 15 highest departures on record have occurred since February 2015. What do you think we will see in September? I’ll give you one guess only…
- On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from Britain and in memory of this event, my Google Search of the month was, “GIS and Iraq.” If you look through the results, you might come across this paper by Medina et al. which is a GIS analysis of terrorism patterns in Iraq from 2004 to 2009. The GIS analysis is both spatial and temporal; and unfortunately seems like a rather timely articles in these days of increased terror.
- From Virginia Beach last month, we travel across our great nation for a review of Washington’s largest city’s GIS resources, Seattle. And while admittedly the landing page for the GIS team is a bit less than awesome, the resources you have access to here are quite top notch! First, there is an online web map that is very robust, loaded with tons of data and is easy to use. For more advanced users, you can download a variety of spatial datasets using the links found here. If you cannot find what you need, you can always email the Seattle GIS folks for custom requests. They even offer printed map services here.
Brock Adam McCarty