Wind farm, server farm

Paul Raven @ 22-07-2009

wind turbinesServer farms use a whole lot of power, and with the price of energy likely to start skyrocketing again before too long, canny businesses will be looking for a way to keep a cap on the costs of running their hardware. Enter Texas firm Baryonyx, which intends initially to build server farms powered primarily by renewable energy sources like wind power… but that’s just the start.

Baryonyx plans to build a 28,000 square foot data center in Stratford, which will be powered by 100 wind turbines built on the adjacent land that will generate up to 150 megawatts of power. Each of the turbines will be able to generate up to 3.3 megawatts of power. Capacity not needed by the data center will be sold to local utilities. Baryonyx said it will take about 3 years to reach the operational phase for the wind-powered data center.

The second phase is the offshore wind farms, which will feature up to 450 wind turbines, which are each 300 feet tall and capable of generating 6 megawatts of power. Baryonyx was the high bidder in a July 14 lease sale by the Texas General Land Office. Baryonyx will pay a “nominal fee” to lease the two offshore areas for wind development.

Now there’s a sound business model; sell a more affordable solution to the desperate-for-efficiency first, and then sit back as rising oil prices ensure that your target market just keeps growing… [via SlashDot; image by jesse.millan]


High-altitude urban windpower: not just blue-sky thinking

Paul Raven @ 17-06-2009

Energy sources don’t come much cleaner than wind power, but there’s no way of deploying it in large urban areas, right? Well, not so; if you can get the turbines away from ground level, you not only avoid the problem of siting all those windmills but also get access to the much richer store of power that exists at higher altitudes.

The first rigorous, worldwide study of high-altitude wind power estimates that there is enough wind energy at altitudes of about 1,600 to 40,000 feet to meet global electricity demand a hundred times over.

The very best ground-based wind sites have a wind-power density of less than 1 kilowatt per square meter of area swept. Up near the jet stream above New York, the wind power density can reach 16 kilowatts per square meter. The air up there is a vast potential reservoir of energy, if its intermittency can be overcome.

Even better, the best high-altitude wind-power resources match up with highly populated areas including North America’s Eastern Seaboard and China’s coastline.

“The resource is really, really phenomenal,” said Cristina Archer of Cal State University-Chico, who co-authored a paper on the work published in the open-access journal Energies.”There is a lot of energy up there, but it’s not as steady as we thought. It’s not going to be the silver bullet that will solve all of our energy problems, but it will have a role.”

According to that article, there’s a handful of start-ups beavering away at making workable prototypes to take advantage of all that wind and promising their first sales in a year or so. It’ll be good to have another non-vaporware option on the renewable energy table, but I imagine any city that has a lot of aircraft traffic passing through isn’t going to be too keen on the idea…


Down the co-op: wind farms in the UK

Tom James @ 18-12-2008

Good news on the alternative energy front: researcher Baidya Roy has found solutions to some problems with wind energy. There’s also an article here on wind-farm co-operatives in the UK:

The cooperative, which began production in March, is the first wind farm to be wholly owned by individuals in Britain, which with gales sweeping in from the Atlantic has the best wind resources in Europe.

“We have produced energy every day since then,” Adam Twine, a farmer who started the project 15 years ago on his plot of land by installing five wind turbines 49 metres (160 feet) in height.

Overall, the project cost eight million pounds (8.9 million euros, 11.9 million dollars), nearly 60 percent of which came from individual shareholders, with the remainder being funded by a bank loan that is to be repaid over the next eight to 10 years.

CO2 emissions resulting from the production, installation and the lifetime of the turbine, which stretches 25 years, will be offset in just six months.

This is quite a heartening story: it combines the best elements of top-down (government subsidy) and bottom-up (locally-owned co-operative organisation) energy solutions.

[from Physorg][image from pierreyves0 on flickr]


Wind and solar better than nuclear or clean coal

Tom James @ 10-12-2008

Prof Mark Jacobson of the University of Stanford believes that (for the USA) the best solution to the various problems of energy security, peak oil, and global warming lies in wind and solar thermal power:

The raw energy sources that Jacobson found to be the most promising are, in order, wind, concentrated solar (the use of mirrors to heat a fluid), geothermal, tidal, solar photovoltaics (rooftop solar panels), wave and hydroelectric.

In Prof Jacobson’s research paper he looks at how you could power every road vehicle in the USA using different methods and finds the best combination is wind power and electric battery vehicles.

[at Physorg][image from kevindooley on flickr]


Water power 2.0

Tom James @ 05-12-2008

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new method for generating energy from water flows:

The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.

As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.

Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators, and the amount of power produced can increase sharply if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.

More about this VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy) technology can be found here.

[via Jon Taplin’s blog][image from Jon Taplin’s blog]


Next Page »