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Atlantic City is home to the largest single solar array

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visual ray wizard

Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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Location: United States
Atlantic City is home to the largest single solar array PostFri Mar 06, 2009 1:57 am  Reply with quote  

here in the United States.

By Steve Almasy

(CNN) -- With its energy-gobbling casinos, Atlantic City, New Jersey, isn't exactly known as a city that conserves electricity. Its motto: "Always turned on."

Atlantic City's convention center, in the lower center of this photo, has the largest solar-paneled roof in the U.S.

1 of 2 This oceanside gambling mecca seems an unlikely place for a pioneering solar energy project. But at a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, city and state officials were to commemorate the city's convention center, newly powered in part by the largest single-roof solar-panel array in the United States.

The 13,321 photovoltaic panels will produce an average of 26 percent of the convention center's energy, according to consultants. The panels cover most of the roof's usable space, leaving room for walkways and other equipment.

"We estimate that we are going to save $4.4 million over the 20 years of the contract [with the solar provider]," said Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.

In greener terms, authorities estimate the solar panels will avoid the release of 2,349 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- equivalent to removing 390 passenger vehicles from the road or reducing oil consumption by 4,956 barrels per year.

"This is something we started thinking about when Gov. [Jon] Corzine came out with his energy master plan," Vasser said. "We thought, looking at our roof, that we would have a perfect opportunity to take the lead for New Jersey."

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When the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor's Authority received its electric bill in January, there was a significant difference from the year before. Despite relatively short days and weak winter sunlight, the panels produced 15 percent of the convention's center's power.

Corzine's energy plan for the state went into effect in October. One of its five goals is: "Invest in innovative clean-energy technologies and businesses to stimulate the industry's growth in New Jersey."

The governor has played in key part in inspiring businesses to look at solar options, Vasser said.

The convention authority didn't set out to have the largest solar setup on one roof. The group had been thinking for several years of ways to be greener and to save money, Vasser said. It became apparent as they talked to consultants that the bigger the solar array, the better.

Vasser sees convention centers as ideal places for solar arrays. They are big, boxy buildings with a lot of empty space on their mostly open, flat roofs. He thinks adding solar power should be an easy decision as long as the roof has good exposure to the sun.

The hardest choice, he said, was picking the most cost-effective way to add panels to the 500,000-square foot building.

After considering the option of buying the panels outright and having them installed, the convention center authority signed an agreement with Pepco Energy Services of Arlington, Virginia. Pepco owns the equipment and sells the power generated by the panels to the convention center.

Another factor that made the agreement more attractive was that as a public entity, the convention center is not eligible for federal tax credits. As a private company, Pepco is.

Pepco, which provides electricity from a variety of traditional and green sources, believes solar power is an important part of the nation's future.

"I think it's going to do a lot for reducing our dependence on oil and will have all kinds of positive effects, not only on geopolitics but on the cost of the energy in this country," said David Weiss, president and COO of Pepco. "[Solar] plants like this are what are going to make it happen."

One of the advantages about having solar panels on buildings is that you use a free source of energy to produce power where it is being used, said Tom Hunton, CEO of American Capital Energy, the subcontractor on the project. When electricity is generated at a coal or nuclear plant, some of it disappears as it travels through transmission lines to homes and businesses.

But, despite the fact that there have been many engineering and manufacturing improvements to solar panels over the past 50 years, solar energy is still too expensive for mass use, he said. "But eventually solar power will be a major source of power in the United States. It's just a matter of time."
Being one with nature never felt so good!
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PostFri Mar 06, 2009 2:14 am  Reply with quote  

Nanotechnology in solar energy is well advanced. But the reality is, those at the top of the food chain do not want this kind of technology available to average people. It would make us energy independent and that would not be acceptable to the controllers.
... we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. Aldous Huxley
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visual ray wizard

Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 461
Location: United States
US scientist discover new way to manufacture lithium cells PostThu Mar 12, 2009 12:41 am  Reply with quote  

This could very well be the magic bullet we need to propel electric ears and store solar energy. American engineers discovered a way to use traditional materials in a way that makes the electron flow more efficient.

U.S. engineers find way to build a better battery
Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:12pm EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]

1 of 1Full SizeBy Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. engineers have found a way to make lithium batteries that are smaller, lighter, longer lasting and capable of recharging in seconds.

The researchers believe the quick-charging batteries could open up new applications, including better batteries for electric cars.

And because they use older materials in a new way, the batteries could be available for sale in two to three years, a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Current rechargeable lithium batteries can store large amounts of energy, making them long-running. But they are stingy about releasing their power, making them discharge energy slowly and require hours to recharge.

Scientists traditionally have blamed slow-moving lithium ions -- which carry charge across the battery -- for this sluggishness.

However, about five years ago, Gerbrand Ceder and a team at MIT discovered that lithium ions in traditional lithium iron phosphate battery material actually move quite quickly.

"It turned out there were other limitations," Ceder said in a telephone interview.

Ceder and colleagues discovered that lithium ions travel through tunnels accessed from the surface of the material. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, it can quickly deliver a charge. But if the ion is not at the entrance, it cannot easily move there, making it less efficient at delivering a charge.

Ceder and colleagues remedied this by revamping the battery recipe. "We changed the composition of the base material and we changed the way it is made -- the heat treatment," Ceder said.

This created many smooth tunnels in the material that allow the ions to slip in and out easily. "The trick was knowing what to change," he said.

Using their new processing technique, the team made a small battery that could be fully charged in 10 to 20 seconds.

Ceder thinks the material could lead to smaller, lighter batteries because less material is needed for the same result.

And because they simply tinkered with a material already commonly used for batteries, it could be easily adapted for commercial use.

"If manufacturers decide they want to go down this road, they could do this in a few years," Ceder said.

One glitch, Ceder said, would be handling the extra surge of power. "All of the wiring has to get beefed up," he said.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Cynthia Osterman)

Thanks for the solar links Pak this is the wave of the future and the key being a reduced cost per watt to produce the panels. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to run a house off solar shingles and then sell the excess power back to the utility companies?
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