Home » 2013 » June

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Renewables – 13 next-generation battery designs

Here’s 13 rare battery startups working on next-generation manufacturing, chemistry and printing technologies. These battery companies could create innovation that could revolutionize electric cars, the power grid and how we charge up our gadgets and cell phones. See the report by Katie Fehrenbacher at the link below.


Interesting and positive to note that Big Oil is investing in some of these companies.

Renewables — Undersea Energy Storage 2

Here’s another simple idea in the works for undersea energy storage of the intermittent power generated by renewables. See article and video at the New Scientist link below.


This report is a year old already and I don’t know yet if it has proven to be a cost-effective storage option in practice. But the point of this posting, and the next one on 13 promising battery technologies, all of which are currently in development and working with a mix of venture capital and public funding, is to show how thousands of entrepreneurial people are at work with potential breakthroughs imminent.

Renewables – Undersea Energy Storage 1

Alternative Solutions to intermittent renewable power are in the offing. Here is one potential solution. See the link below for a non-technical description.


Due to its higher capacity factor and proximity to densely populated areas, offshore wind power with integrated energy storage could satisfy > 20% of U.S. electricity demand. Similar results could also be obtained in many parts of the world. The offshore environment can be used for unobtrusive, safe, and economical utility-scale energy storage by taking advantage of the hydrostatic pressure at ocean depths to store energy by pumping water out of concrete spheres and later allowing it to flow back in through a turbine to generate electricity. The storage spheres are an ideal complement to energy harvesting machines, such as floating wind turbines (FWTs). The system could provide near-base-load-quality utility-scale renewable energy and do double duty as the anchoring point for the generation platforms. Analysis indicates that storage can be economically feasible at depths as shallow as 200 m, with cost per megawatt hour of storage dropping until 1500 m before beginning to trend upward. The sweet spot occurs when the concrete wall thickness to withstand the hydrostatic pressure provides enough ballast mass, and this will depend on the strength of used concrete and reinforcement. In addition, the required concrete would use significant amounts of fly ash from coal-fired power plants, and the spheres can serve as artificial reefs.
Proceedings of the IEEE (Volume:101, Issue: 4, April 2013)
Authors: Slocum AH et al.

The Song of God – The Bhagavad Gita

100_0083This jewel of a book would be among the first three on my desert island shortlist. A jewel in its entirety, there are pearls of wisdom in almost every line and verse; wise answers to common questions that cover the entire gamut of the human condition.

The Bhagavad Gita is only a fragment, part of the sixth book of the Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharatha; but a fragment in sixteen chapters.

On the eve of the great battle between the clans that is the central event of the Mahabharata, Arjuna, the great warrior and embodiment of kingly virtue, is despondent and surveys the opposing armies with great sorrow. He thinks of withdrawing from the battle in order to avoid bloodshed, although he knows his cause is just. Arjuna’s divine charioteer Krishna draws up the war chariot between the two armies and speaks to Arjuna about duty, making choices, finding the right path in life, the moral ambiguities of the human condition, good and evil, right and wrong. All of this in magnificently sonorous verse that makes for impressive listening even if you don’t know a word of Sanskrit.

See the YouTube link above for a recitation in Sanskrit with titles in English translation.

For anyone who wishes to read the text, there are many translations in English available. The best version I know of is by Shri Purohit Swami, who was an internationally known writer and scholar in the 1930s, and a close friend of Irish poet WB Yeats. Interestingly, before this stint of international scholarship, in the 1920s Purohit Swami spent several years in India living the life of a mendicant; travelling the length and breadth of the country, begging bowl in hand.

Bridge Under Troubled Waters

DSC_0056 WDSC_0057 DSC_0058

Went for a bike ride along the Danube today. A very short one. The little bridge across the river is under water and hope there’s relief soon for the thousands of people whose homes are affected. Looking forward to summer…