Month: March 2019

The Lithosphere

The Lithosphere

The Lithosphere

03/31/19

“What is the outermost layer of the planet?”

The Earth as we know it is not a continuous object but made up of a continuum of layers. The outermost layer known as the Lithosphere contains the crust and the upper mantle, which not only composes the hardest layer but also reacts chemically with the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere as a result of being at the edge.

Image credit KnowledgeHouse

What Does the Energy Community Mean by “Behind the Meter”?

What Does the Energy Community Mean by “Behind the Meter”?

What Does the Energy Community Mean by “Behind the Meter”?

03/30/19

“What exactly does the term “Behind the Meter” mean?”

The term “Behind the Meter” is tossed around in the energy community a lot. However, what exactly does the industry mean by this? Well, when utility company companies sell their services, they typically use a meter to keep track of the amount sold.So when a customer does something to modify this, it is “Behind the Meter” so to speak. Installing generation by the meter could simply be attaching solar panels to a roof, and reducing consumption behind the meter might just come from an energy efficiency upgrade.

Small Hydropower

Small Hydropower

Small Hydropower

03/29/19

How can we have hydropower on a small scale?

When hydropower is brought up, large damns and massive turbines are often pictured in many people’s minds. However, it tuns out that hydropower can be implemented on a much smaller scale. If hydropower infrastructure is under 10 MW, then it is classified as Small Hydropower in the United States. Small Hydropower can be established in a much more distributed and spread-out fashion.

Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

03/28/19

“Should California only import high voltage electricity from other states at certain times of the year?”

California has ambitious plans with renewable energy. Not only is it the leading market in the United States, but plans to completely decarbonize its energy grid by 2045! However, this may require importing wind energy from Wyoming and Hydropower from the Pacific Northwest. The most efficient way to do this is to use HVDC lines with low levels of resistive losses. However, with the advent of climate change, California is experiencing much more and longer periods of drought. This creates fertile conditions for fires, which can be easily triggered in the case of a power line fault. Given that HVDC lines are at such high voltages, a single slip from one can cause intensive damage. As a result, it might be wise for California to only import electricity during the rainy season. Doing this will increase resilience protection and help stabilize the grid during the less sunny winter days. Since wind and hydro resources are also more plentiful when it rains, it would be a great way for other states to offset their surpluses during this time. This might be unnecessary if advanced fault detection and diagnostic technologies are used, but only studies will be able to say for sure!

Why Torque and Speed are Inversely Proportional in an Electric Motor

Why Torque and Speed are Inversely Proportional in an Electric Motor

Why Torque and Speed are Inversely Proportional in an Electric Motor

03/27/19

“Why does the torque of an electric motor decrease when the speed increases?”

The torque and speed are the two defining parameters of the operation of an electric motor. But when the speed increase, the torque tends to decrease. This is because the torque is supplied by the current, while faster speeds increase the back emf which not only limits its final speed but blocks incoming current, therefore lowering torque. This is Why Torque and Speed are Inversely Proportional in an Electric Motor.

How Building More Housing in California Would Drastically Reduce Climate Change

How Building More Housing in California Would Drastically Reduce Climate Change

How Building More Housing in California Would Drastically Reduce Climate Change

03/26/19

“How can we fight climate change by building more housing in California?”

Although my home state of California is a global leader in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Electric Vehicle Adoption, we are seriously lagging behind in critical area: housing development.

As a result of California’s neglection of residential construction combined with a booming economy over the past few decades, millions have been drawn to the Golden State without making more room for them. This has created a lack of supply with heavy demand, making housing costs skyrocket and pushing out residents further and further away from job centers. This has caused commute lengths to increase, releasing more pollution into the atmosphere and exacerbating climate change.

If California is truly committed to fighting climate change, then it needs to commit to building much more housing near transit and job centers. Upcoming Bill SB-50 holds much promise, which allows for construction of apartment buildings a half-mile from a railway station, quarter-mile of a high-frequency bus stop, or within “job-rich” neighborhoods.

How an Electric Vehicle’s Speed is Limited by its Back-EMF

How an Electric Vehicle’s Speed is Limited by its Back-EMF

How an Electric Vehicle’s Speed is Limited by its Back-EMF

03/25/19

“What is the primary limiting factor in an electric vehicle’s speed?”

Cars take can take us from one place to another at incredible speeds. However, Like everything in this world, things can only go as far as technology allows for. For electric motors, the faster the motor spins, the more back-emf will be generated. Once the back-emf is equal to the supply voltage, the electric potential will cancel out and there will be no more motion. This is How an Electric Vehicle’s Speed is Limited by its Back-EMF.