Powered By Rock – Week 8

REVIEWING THE OPTIONS

Flower power (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture notes – 2014_PoweredbyRock_lect8_summary_SML (PowerPoint)

An Excel spreadsheet showing the full list of UK power stations (location, type, capacity) from the DUKES website.

Energy predictability

Every year, the International Energy Agency gives an overview of the World Energy Outlook. The 2013 edition can be found here.

However, according to Energy Post, the IEA World Energy Outlook consistently underestimates wind/solar growth.

Energy challenges

How do we make gas supply networks more resilient? This study argues that we need a fair distribution strategy.

Should we build more large dams? This study by Oxford University investigates the real costs of mega-hydropower.

Back to coal? German efforts to go green prove complex (New York Times article).

Environmental impacts

A paper by Evans et al. (2009), comparing the sustainability of different forms of renewable energy: Evans_etal2009_sustainability_renewable_energy.

A paper by Pacca & Horvath (2002) looking at the whole-life greenhouse gas emissions of different types of power station: Pacca_Horvath2002_GHG_Colorado_power_plants

A paper by Pihl et al. (2012) comparing the raw materials required to construct different types of Concentrated Solar Power station: Pihl_etal2012_ConcSolarPower_materials

The new Ivanpah CSP scheme is a “$2.2bn solar-powered bird-scorching project” (according to the Wall Street Journal).

Apparently, mammals such as reindeer avoid power lines because they see them in UV.

The Future

What do you think Britain’s power usage and sources should be in 2050? Try the DECC 2050 Pathways calculator to test your ideas!

 

Powered By Rock – Week 7

WIND & SUN

Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, USA (from Wikimedia Commons)

LECTURE NOTES2014_PoweredbyRock_lect7_solar_wind_SML (PowerPoint)

Renewable Energy Statistics for the UK (from DECC website).

Renewables map of the UK (from DECC website)

Wind power

UK Wind Energy database (from Renewable UK website)

Neither rare nor earths (Article about our dependence on rare earth elements, from BBC News)

Developing cheaper, greener magnets (article from Ames Lab, US Dept of Energy)

Could the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm provide 7.2 GW of power? (Article from Forewind project website)

UK Offshore Wind Power Programme (article by Toke (2011 on Science Direct).

Solar power

Types of solar power (from the IEA website)

The geology of photovoltaic solar power (from Bryn Mawr College).

Abengoa Solar projects, Spain (company website).

The Imperial College Solar Network.

The UK solar roadmap (DECC article from October 2013)

Nottinghamshire solar farm built in 6 weeks (BBC News article from 2011).

Perovskites – the future of solar power? (article from the Guardian).

New solar material shows its potential (article from MIT)

Perovskite is calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3), although the term is used to describe any mineral with perovskite-type structure, so it does not have to have that chemical formula.

Could copper iodide perovskites make cheaper solar cells? (article from Phys.org)

 

Powered By Rock – Week 6

THE POWER OF WATER

Cruachan Dam, nr Oban, Scotland (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture notes – 2014_PoweredbyRock_lect6_hydro_SML (PowerPoint).

Harnessing hydroelectric power (DECC website information).

Micro-scale run-of-river projects “take off in the UK” (news article from 2011).

Cruachan

Scotland’s power mountain (article on The Register).

The Hollow Mountain (information film from 1966).

Visit Cruachan (official website).

Cruachan site (Scottish Power summary).

Dinorwig, North Wales

The Electric Mountain (official website)

Glendoe, Scotland

Began operating late 2008, closed in August 2009 due to rock fall, reopened in 2012 (article on Hydroworld).

Glendoe has the biggest head in the UK, a 600m drop from reservoir to turbine (SSE project website).

Deep beneath the Highlands (British Geological Survey poster about Glendoe).

Seismic monitoring of reservoir inundation at Glendoe (BGS research)

Induced seismicity

Earthquakes triggered by dams (article on International Rivers).

80,000 people killed by reservoir-induced earthquake in Sichuan, China.

Tidal & Wave Power:

“The UK is currently the undisputed global leader in marine energy, with more wave and tidal stream devices installed than the rest of the world combined,” according to Renewable UK.

The Pentland Firth could provide 1.9 GW of tidal energy, or 43% of Scotland’s electricity consumption (BBC article).

4.2 GW of power could be extracted, but challenges of efficiency are likely to reduce this figure, according to Draper et al. (2014).

The Severn Barrage (from the Severn Estuary Partnership).

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (project website).

The UK Wave & Tidal Knowledge Network (run by The Crown Estate)

 

A Very Short History of the Earth

Time Spiral (from Wikimedia Commons)

ChronoZoom – an interactive time scale showing the age of life, the universe and everything (if your computer has the right browser!).

Stratigraphy

ICS – The International Commission on Stratigraphy (the latest geological timescale can be found here).

William Smith and biostratigraphy (part of a University of California Berkeley series on the history of evolutionary thought).

John Phillips – the Time Lord of York (my article for York Mix).

Absolute dating

A quick introduction to radiometric dating (University of California Berkeley).

How to calculate the age of meteorites (or anything else for that matter).

Rock Around The Clock (Daily Telegraph article on the 4.4 billion year-old zircon crystal from Australia). The scientific paper can be found here.

Fossils & Extinction

From soup to cells (Berkeley introduction to the origins of life on Earth).

Solving Darwin’s Dilemma – Precambrian rocks really do contain abundant fossils (report of 2009 study by scientists at Oxford University).

First Life – David Attenborough tackles the origins of life, including the Precambrian fossils found near his childhood home in Leicester.

Mass extinctions (NHM guide to the “Big Five”). If you fancy a “Big Five” walking tour of London, you can follow my not entirely serious guide.

Prehistoric fossil collectors (article from the Geological Society).

How will humans go extinct? (article on BBC News, 24 April 2013).

Hidden Horizons website (Scarborough-based company run by Will Watts, offering Geology & Natural History Education and Events. Look out for information on the upcoming Yorkshire Fossil Festival).