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Energy

Environmental activists and dam constructors settling their woes 

The US dam operators and environmental associations have started agreeing on some crucial matters to minimize dam development’s effect on the environment. The two sides have been on each other’s neck over climatic challenges and have realized it is time they agree on the plausible solution to environmental problems.

The dams that generate hydroelectric power by running turbines have time and again proven to kill the aquatic life and deny the dams’ lower sides to degrade. Most of the fish which survive the turbines end up dying of reduced water on the other side of the river.

Environmental agencies and associations have often declared these reasons as appropriate to shut down these projects and embark on environmental recuperation. The activists argue that the developers should look for wind turbines or other renewables like solar that interfere less with the ecosystem. Nevertheless, the two sides have come to terms and signed a memorandum of understanding to meet their grievances.

The joint meeting, which brought together stakeholders from both sides, informed the utilization of the available dams to generate electricity and the analysis of other dams to prove if their effects on the environment can be neutralized. Over 80000 of the existing dams will undergo reviews to evaluate their safety and performance.

Additionally, the two parties agreed to wipe out the old dams that are fading out to allow the environment to recover from the previous denial. Over 1000 dams will undergo this process, especially those with weak walls and barricades posing a threat to both the marine life and the surroundings.

Bob Irvin of American Rivers stated that environmental activists are reconsidering their stand on hydroelectric power after realizing that global warming will have vast environmental effects than damming. They realize that cutting out fossil fuels and replacing them with hydropower will help neutralize global warming.

Nonetheless, Irvin added that his team would strongly detest the construction of more dams, saying it creates pressure on the little water that surpasses the barricade. Irvin is still bent on removing some dam barricades to allow the fish to migrate and reproduce freely.

Energy analysts hope to develop more hydropower production systems to supplement wind and solar energy, which are usually available in small quantities considering the seasons of the year. Theoretically, America can obtain more renewable electricity from rivers to supplement scarce renewables.

Nevertheless, some companies are developing turbines that can allow fish and marine life to sip through to the other side and oxygen preservation in water meandering down the dams. Finally, the meeting between the two sides informed the evolution of policies that determine the period after which a dam is terminable. Additionally, repairs and maintenance will be vital for the dams to remain active producers of electricity. Nevertheless, an open but tiring process is shading out the old insecure dams and replacing them with new and improved dams.

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Space

Planet to Change Detection Products as it Launches new Gadgets

During its user conference dubbed Explore 2020, Planet announced new products. Among the unveiled products was the Rapid Revisit. It is powerful enough to provide SkySat imagery of a resolution of up to 50 cm. It will be possible to update depending on the latitude at a frequency ranging from 7 to 12 times daily.

According to its CEO and Founder Will Marshall, when speaking on October 13, no other commercial provider has managed to come up with a product with such a high intraday revisit capability. Planet also unveiled the commercial Automated Change Detection and, as the name suggests, is a change-detection product. Marshall demonstrated how one could be notified if a change occurred in Doha, Qatar. He added that it was possible to see new structures as they come up month by month. It is also possible to zoom in and isolate the detected buildings.

As the company’s customer, you can assign a task such as obtaining a particular building’s high-resolution image to a SkySat. Many people seem to be embracing its services since, according to Marshall, the company is receiving twice the previous number of customer bookings. Another reason why the bookings have increased is because of the global pandemic. After all, people can hardly travel due to lockdown. Fortunately, Planet can help the customers keep track of changes using satellite data.

Planet’s Earth-imaging constellation is now larger than before after the addition of 26 SuperDoves. It happened in September when an Arianespace Vega report sent them to the orbit. By the end of the year, Planet hopes to expand it further by 57 SuperDoves. The new ones will be gathering imagery in eight instead of the previous four spectral bands.

Ever since last year, Planet’s SkySats are now as low as an altitude of 400 km. That’s after the company lowered the recent ones from 500 kilometers. That was a risky move since it meant comprising the satellite life. However, when Planet weighed the pros and the cons, the pros outdid the cons.

This change was to ensure that the imagery resolution improves. As far as Marshall is concerned, the difference served its purpose since the SkySats now reveal small features while providing imagery that’s not only crisp but also more detailed.

After launching 3 SkySats in June and August, it reached its SkySat fleet target, which was 21. The lift-off of the trio was on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. The release of the next product, Fusion Monitoring, will be in early 2021.  Its function will be to merge several datasets. Consequently, it will be possible to stream imagery with neither gaps nor clouds. According to vice president Jim Thomason, agricultural customers will be the primary beneficiaries of the new product.

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Space

SpaceX’s cluster of SmallSats reduce the clarity of astronomical observations

Everybody on Earth appreciates a serene night sky that is clear for making observations. Nothing compares to a person’s satisfaction that comes from viewing stars in clear night skies while enjoying marvelous spectacle. Several renowned icons spearheaded human discovery, such as Galileo, Columbus, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, and Shakespeare, observed stars that are identical to the stars seen by modern people. Observations of stars and other space bodies during peaceful night skies are part of humankind’s heritage, passed down from one generation to another. 

Unfortunately, these night skies’ natural serenity and clarity are short-lived because Elon Musk’s SpaceX inaugurated its constellation of more than 60 SmallSats for the company’s broadband internet connectivity program. A single SpaceX launch vehicle carried all the miniature satellites during the space mission launch in May 2019. Elon Musk said that SpaceX’s launch is among the several launches to establish a massive constellation of broadband communications satellites. The space company’s space satellite mission roll-out plans to develop a robust network that provides Earth with access to ultra-high-speed Internet. There is an increasing market demand for reliable and high-speed internet connectivity for companies and state governments. 

Marco Langbroek, a tracker for satellites and Netherlands space enthusiasts, recorded the satellites passing through the sky; the video shocked him. Marco’s blog post explained how the observation started with recording two objects with Dime flashes passing the telescope’s field of view. A few moments later, Marco recorded the jaw-dropping space observation of the mega constellation of satellites in the area of interest. Marco uploaded the astonishing discovery recorded as SpaceX inaugurated the cluster of miniature satellites. 

Following SpaceX’s successful satellite launch mission, the company schedules more inaugurations of Starlink satellites to develop a well-established satellite communication network. SpaceX’s vision is to become the pioneer provider of Earth’s internet services by offering high-speed web connections. 

Despite the satellites’ obstructions, the satellite train is a glorious scenery to experience when the SmallSats travel through a field of view. Experts warn that the increasing amount of space debris and clusters of satellites impacts humanity’s interactions with clear night skies. When left unattended, the problem obscures many people from experiencing the serenity and clarity for observing night skies. Humanity will observe many human-made objects traveling haphazardly across fields of view instead of magnificent stars and space bodies. 

In summary, several researchers and corporations continue to advocate for reducing launch missions delivering satellite constellation into Earth’s lower orbit. Otherwise, the problem remains unsolved because space junk continues to build up. Most experts consider the massive constellations of broadband satellites more destructive rather than constructive. 

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Space

First World’s Satellite-5G Router Connectivity Showcased by KT SAT.

KT SAT CO carried out the initial world demonstration using the primary satellite-5G hybrid router broadcasting technology during the SatelliteAsia 2020 fair. KT SAT CO, a subsidiary of KT Corporation, the largest telecommunication company in South Korea, was responsible for the successful demonstration.

The technology that allows for smooth connectivity between a satellite and 5G was the brainchild of the KT SAT CO. and KT Institute of Convergence Technology, which lend to developing the technology in November las year. The presentation by KT SAT may have been a display on the company’s possibility of using satellites as their network standbys and encompass their use to communication broadcasting.

According to KT SAT CEO, Song Kyung-Min, the company’s participation in this year’s SatelliteAsia online exposition acted as a new page-turner in worldwide communication, especially with the Covid19 pandemic. As per the CEO, the company looks to showcase their competence in the satellite expertise and, at the same time, boost their presence and status in the global market. By showcasing its technological capabilities in satellites during the show, KT SAT will be hoping to add momentum to consolidate its position as a leading global satellite operator. The company looks to acquire a foothold on its universal outreach and grow its communication cable trade section.

The exposition is held annually in Singapore, where KT Sat CO. has been showcasing since 2014.  Due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, this year’s expo was held online from September 29 to October 1. the company’s online booth during the expo displayed various contents about their satellite technology and services together with its satellite connectivity technology to other networks. The company had a set up that gave room for a real-time Q&A session between the visitors and its officials.

During the online expo, officials from KT SAT have been taking part in a forum that explores the next stage in South East Asia’s satellite information market. The panel discussions involve global players in the satellite operations.

The company is also exhibiting its new broadcasting communication services, a joint operation with KT Skylife, which is KT’s subsidiary and responsible for providing satellite broadcasting services. The main focus of these exhibitions by KT SAT is to introduce an Android-based set-top box and alterations in the market for Direct-to-Home (DTH) service, which is based on High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

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Space

Soyuz rocket heading for space with 22 satellites 

The Soyuz rocket left for the low-Earth orbit with 22 satellites for commercial satellite operators in the US, Russia, Canada, UAE, and Europe. The rocket departed the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 7:20 a.m Russian time as per the Russian Defense Ministry’s knowledge. The Soyuz rocket ascended using kerosene as the propellant. 

A sixth of an hour into the mission, the Soyuz rocket detached the Fregat stage to activate a sequence of orbital repositioning till the craft reached its destination. The rocket started deploying the satellites into their orbits.

The Russian satellites deployed in this mission are purposefully to communicate with the earthbound stations and the operators. The advantage of these satellites is they maintain the security of the data preventing unwarranted access by other devices. The data under transmission passes through the satellite towards the recipient with the ground station watching the transfer to ensure it is secure.

The payloads are part of the Roscosmos joint venture with the Russian space agency and the Russian space sector.  The Gonet satellites will be monitoring cargo and vehicles, industrial operations, facilitate communication in marginalized areas, detailing regions where emergency aids are essential, and government data transfer connections.

The rocket launched 19 satellites into the low-Earth orbit after it changed the inclination angle to prevent the Earth’s gravitational pull from dragging the payloads down to Earth. Glavkosmos stated that the orbital target concentration has no specifics in the global launch operations. Glavkosmos is part of the Roscosmos, whose purpose is to advertise the Soyuz rocket’s rideshare capacities to international commercial companies. Exolaunch became the rideshare opportunities broker selling the spaces to global commercial companies.

The other rideshare participant is Kepler Communications, which intends to deploy about 140 payloads for data transmission and device connections to the satellites and control centers. Kepler had developed two GEN1 satellites to offer Earth-imaging and monitor the activities happening on Earth.

Mina Mitry, the chief executive of Kepler, stated that this is their first production independent from other companies. Mitry explained that they chose to detach from the habit of purchasing satellites from different manufacturers to cut down costs, improve their research and satellite development technology, and offer rideshare opportunities for more income.

SALSAT also deployed its satellites through this Soyuz rideshare mission, whose purpose is to identify the multiple frequencies and find these frequencies’ location in relation to the spectrum. Jens Grosshans of SALSAT explained that they would be exploring the possibility of thinning out interferent waves and disruptions in the bands.

In conclusion, Jeanne Medvedeva of Exolaunch stated this mission is one of those that brings together various countries by facilitating their payload transfer to space. Jeanne hopes for more missions so that other countries can observe their level of proximity to competitive countries. 

Categories
Energy

Some Interesting Facts about Electric Vehicles

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has an extraordinary proposition of phasing out gas-powered vehicles by 2035. That would only mean the total embrace of electric cars. As much as that is an excellent move of protecting the environment, whether that is achievable remains a mystery.

One hindrance to the transformation is the source of power. When homes and businesses can’t have lights all the time, one might wonder when the state is ready for electric vehicles. Where will the residents find the power to charge their cars? The Governor has a lot to say about that, though.

However, the focus of this piece is to shed light on electric vehicles. One of the frequently asked questions revolves around its acceleration. According to a renowned car race driver Brad Niemcek, you will love the acceleration. As much as most people think that EVs lack pick-up, it is far from the truth. After all, from the word go, the electric motor always has the full torque. So, don’t hesitate to buy an electric vehicle simply because you are worried about the acceleration.

Another unfounded worry is that of range anxiety and a scenario of drivers being stranded. Again, that is far from the truth since EVs can go up to 80 miles after a full charge. The plug-in hybrid ones which combine gasoline and electricity, can go up to 300 miles. Therefore, given the U.S. Department of Transportation data suggests that most drivers cover an average of 40 miles in a day, the possibility of the anticipated scenario to occur is relatively low. The advancement of Tesla’s models S and X will also see the cover shoot to 370 miles and 325 miles, respectively. So, that concern is also uncalled for, no doubt.

A place to charge your EV should also not bother you. That’s because you don’t need a unique electrical outlet to charge the car while at home. You get to charge it the same way you charge other household appliances. Nowadays, you will also come across many public charging stations. Every shopping center, interstate rest stop, and auto serving station have a charging station. There is also a possibility of many more public charging stations coming up within no time.

It is okay to use either a 120-volt electrical outlet or a 240-volt AC outlet.  The former will take 30 hours to fully charge the car, whereas the latter will do that with only five and a half hours.  According to ChargePoint, a company that installs a lot of charging stations around the United States streets, 80% of the users charge their EVs from home.

With a million EVs sold in the United States by 2018, it is clear that the point raised by the Wall Street Journal stating that EVs are still a novelty no longer holds water. The transition seems unstoppable despite various issues that had been raised in the past. So, even though the executive order of Governor Newsome will see the light of the day, all will be well.

Categories
Energy

The roll-out for Indonesia’s strategic plan for green energy 

Countries worldwide developed strategies to go green when different initiatives spearheaded plans to achieve a zero-emission economy. The works started by identifying the major industries that emit high carbon levels, then finding alternative renewable energy sources to substitute fossil fuels. Nations such as Indonesia, drafted master plans for shifting their industries from non-renewables to renewables. 

The Indonesian government officials stated the green energy goals that it aims to achieve for the nation. For quite some time, the initiatives stagnated at the planning stage, with most of the goals remaining as long-term promises. Recent reports indicate that the government, major stakeholders in the energy industry, and environmental experts are currently working together to achieve Indonesia’s emission-free economy. 

If the task force continues with the progress, then the renewable energy source will account for 15 percent of the country’s energy blend by 2025. However, the Indonesian government aimed to attain 23 percent of renewables’ contribution to its energy mix. The Institute for Essential Services Reform reported that the original strategy planned to attain the 23 percent by 2025. 

A recent research study by the IESR predicted that in the country’s business-as-usual situation, renewable energy would contribute to at least 23% of Indonesia’s energy utilization by 2050. The roadmap developed by National General Energy Planning stipulates that renewable energy will account for 31 percent of the country’s energy mix by the same year. The IESR advised the government to review RUEN’s proposal, indicating the plan for the disproportional energy targets. Agus Tampubolon, a researcher at IESR, said that the RUEN based its strategic plan for green energy on inaccurate economic assumptions. 

The IESR study appends to an increasing pile of evidence supporting the reports that indicated that Indonesia’s sluggish transition to green energy. The reports state that without significant policy reforms, the nation will never achieve its long-term renewable energy commitments. The regulations stipulated Indonesia’s anticipation of attaining 17.5 percent green energy consumption by 2019. 

However, the country managed to achieve 12.36 percent for its renewable energy usage in 2019. The forecasts outlined Indonesia’s reliance on fossil fuels because of its numerous government policies and regulations, such as setting prices for fossil fuel and coal plant purchase guarantees. The National Energy Board, the oversight for RUEN, estimated that Indonesia attained 9.15 percent in the renewable energy mix in 2019. The levels recorded that year were an improvement from the country’s 4.4 percent attained in 2015, when its task force unstated the energy transition roadmap. 

In conclusion, the Indonesian government continues to endorse policies that emphasize Bio-Energy utilization, especially biodiesel mixed with palm oil. The enactment aims to draw the country closer to achieving the RUEN targets. The national government enforced a compulsory biodiesel mix from 20% to 30%.

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Energy

Microsoft unveils a new solar power technology for Ireland’s rooftops 

Humanity faces one of the most devastating threats; global climatic change. Raising temperatures leading to prolonged droughts and occasional heatwaves that claim human lives. Experts and environmentalists say that the significant leading factor is carbon emissions that gradually weaken the ozone layer, Earth’s force field against destructive radiations from the Sun. 

However, many initiatives continue to gear up towards cushioning the human race against total annihilation from advance climatic variations. On top of the list is the technologies developed to enhance the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The energy industry’s developmental projects aim to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewables such as wind power, solar energy, wave and tidal energy, etc. 

Recently, Microsoft began the installation of solar panels on rooftops of schools in Dublin, Ireland. The company’s sustainability lead and chief software engineer said that the rooftop solar project is a novel step towards combating the effects due to climatic variations. SSE Airtricity, the largest green energy producer in Ireland, partnered with Microsoft to develop, install, and operate the new solar panels integrated with internet connection capabilities. SSE Airtricity provides 100% clean energy as a member of FTSE. 

The network operates and connects the Azure IoT to a cloud-based computing platform, the Microsoft Azure. The software programs aggregate, collects and analyzes data gathered in real-time from the panels’ energy generated and registered. The technology demonstrates a technique for Microsoft, other tech companies, and energy corporations to attain sustainability goals by reducing the carbon footprint from electricity production. Fossil-fuel-powered electricity production facilities are slowly becoming obsolete, even for large firms that channel electricity to the power grid. 

Initially, only small-scale electrical power generation companies implement small off-grid solar, but the recent technological advancements drew big-name companies’ attention in the energy industry. There is a growing popularity of the idea of using rooftops to install solar panels, especially for areas with limited land to establish massive solar farms such as in metropolitan cities and rapidly developing regions. The initiative leverages the numerous buildings constructed in the areas of limited space. 

Conor Kelly, the lead software engineer for Microsoft Azure IoT, said that there is a need to reduce the carbon levels in economies worldwide to prevent the catastrophic impact of climate change. The solution includes the focus on different energy sources for electricity production. The $1.1 million contributed by Microsoft helps build its reputation in funding projects to develop technologies that enhance renewable energy resources. Some of the energy industry milestones include the innovation of energy storage systems for renewable power. In summary, Microsoft invests in the projects that seek to minimize the carbon emission in its operations within the company’s data centers. 

Categories
Space

SpaceX to conduct launches for NASA Space Science Mission

NASA and SpaceX have come into a contract where the latter has been offered the contract to carry out launches on an interstellar science operation and other secondary payloads. An announcement by NASA on September 28, SpaceX was given the agreement to launch NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) spacecraft to be carried out in 2024. The contract is estimated at $109.4 million, of which it covers the launch and arising expenditure from the operation.

IMAP, which is part of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Probes program, was initiated for expansion in 2018 and will function at the L-1 Lagrange point, which is in the sun’s direction and 1.5 million KM from Earth. The mission will be to study the sun’s heliosphere boundary with interstellar space and quantity cosmic rays’ generation.

Given that there will be excess capacity on the science mission, NASA will utilize it by including several other secondary payloads on the launch. The loads will consist of NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer smallsat meant to circle the moon looking for aquatic ice and NOAA’s Space Weather Follow-On L-1 mission, which is a space weather monitoring mission. Just like the IMAP, it will be responsible for the operation at the L-1 point. There will be an inclusion of two supplementary NASA heliophysics though they are yet to be chosen. 

SpaceX has been making fruitful efforts to be awarded contracts to liftoff NASA science satellites, and this new cooperation between the two marks yet another victory for the contactor. In April 2019, SpaceX won the contract to establish a launch for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test task worth $69 million and launched in 2021. The company also secured a deal to launch Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer smallsat at $50.3 million. This year, the company won and got awarded the contract worth $80.4 million to launch the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem spacecraft. 

Like the IMAP assignment, SpaceX will be using the Falcon 9 rockets in the three launches. However, the IMAP task is expected to be costlier than the others because its task is more complicated as it involves numerous ancillary shipments targeting the L-1 point as well as the moon. The IMAP contract is a bit less than the contractor’s initial Falcon Heavy contract with the space explorers, meant for the Psyche asteroid mission granted in February and valued at $117 million.