Costa Rica is setting the benchmark for the rest of the world!

In what is quite a remarkable achievement but has largely gone unnoticed, is Costa Rica’s use of renewable energy. Costa Rica is currently on an 88 day streak of using 100% renewable energy, showing that the world that it is indeed possible to function without fossil fuels. This 88 day streak is however not a sudden emergence, it brings the total days in 2016 to over 150, which although impressive, means they are going to struggle to beat their incredible record of 299 days in 2015.

It is important to point out that Costa Rica does have a considerable smaller size and population than a number of the world’s countries, in addition to their industries being very much agricultural and tourism based, as opposed to many other countries in the world that rely on high energy based industries. However, it cannot be argued that Costa Rica are performing admirably and setting the benchmarks for other countries to target.
It’s a satisfying thought to think that in the not too distant future, it’s likely that Costa Rica will be able to function annually on just the use of renewable energy.

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METAL – THE NEXT BIG FUEL?

According to a new report from researchers at McGill University, powdered metal fuels could be an effective replacement for the fossil fuels we currently rely on: coal, oil and natural gas. As well as providing an alternative energy source, powdered metals would significantly slash carbon emissions and environmental damage.

Not only do grains of powdered metal contain more energy per liter than any conventional fuel, but the fuel may be recyclable in some cases. By grinding the metal, the ratio between the surface area and volume of the grains is vastly increased – making a ‘better’ burning product.

However, it is important to note that the powder would not be a primary energy source like petroleum, but rather a storage medium for energy sources such as nuclear or hydroelectric power.

Whilst this technology may seem promising, there are considerable downsides in that: this method is currently not cost-competitive, and the investment in heavy mining equipment to obtain these metals would likely off-set any carbon saved in the actual burning of the metal. Additionally, developments in battery capacity and efficiency still lag behind, making it difficult for powdered metals to be used effectively as an alternative fuel source.

Despite this, the rapid pace of development and modern technology may mean that we see powdered metal as a viable energy alternative in the not-so-distant future!

Image: Stabilized flames of different metal powders burning with air, compared to a methane-air flame (Credit: Alternative Fuels Laboratory/McGill University)

Iron-air batteries: a cheap and eco-friendly solution for energy storage

After more than 40 after preparing the first prototype of a cheap , rechargeable, high energy density iron-air battery, researchers at the University of Southern California are now finishing the job of the patent-pending design of the battery.

The technical characteristics of the batteries look particularly well-suited to the kind of large-scale energy storage that could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources.

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Back in the 70’s, researchers were already working on environmentally friendly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and only recent advances in materials technology have made this technology into one of the most common, high-performing solutions for today’s portable electronics.

Iron compared to other materials has a few advantages: it’s durable, it has a great capacity to pack energy (per unit of mass), it’s recyclable but most importantly it’s cheap with costs around US$1/kg (2.2 lb).

Iron-air batteries were first expected to be used for electric vehicles and military applications after the 1973 oil crisis. However, research stopped abruptly only years later, when scientists realized that iron-air batteries presented a serious  limitation: whenever the battery was being charged, a wasteful process of hydrolysis drained away about half of the battery’s energy.

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With today’s technology and advanced research, University of Southern California found a solution to this  problem. They learned that adding a small amount of bismuth sulfide into the battery shut down the harmful reaction and reduced the waste of energy more than tenfold, from 50 down to just 4% .

The other good characteristic cost-effective design of its iron electrode. The researchers combined iron powder with a polyethylene binder, heating the mix to obtain a “pressed-plate” electrode that is simple to make and has high specific energy.

The iron-air battery is exhibiting very promising durability, with a target life of 5,000 charge-discharge cycles. Even more importantly, the batteries seem to retain good performance when they are being drained quickly: at a two-hour rate of discharge, the batteries are showing a twenty-fold increase in capacity compared to commercially available electrodes.

Shanghai Metal Corporation encourages the development and innovation of new technologies. You can visit the company’s website , contact us and follow us on twitter and facebook for more information and news on metal.

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Houria // SMC Editor

Solar-Powered Water Wheel in Baltimore cleans 50,000 Pounds of Trash per Day

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source: http://www.nbcnews.com

If you go to Baltimore this summer,you might see a strange looking machine strolling slowly in the Harbor. This machine is called the Inner Harbor Water Wheel and its main task is to clean up the trash that gets thrown into the water.Powered by 30 solar panels and the water current, the wheel is able to remove approximately 50,000 pounds of trash per day. It’s estimated that the wheel will stay in use for at least 15 years and by 2020 the harbor will become clean enough to be used for recreational purposes.

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Baltimore solar powered wheel – source: healthyharborbaltimore.org

The wheel was invented by John Kellett and it works as follow: two orange booms help funnel debris towards the Wheel, where  trash is intercepted and pushed it onto a moving conveyer belt which empties out into a 16 yard dumpster, located on top of a floating dock. Once the dumpster is full, the dock is detached, hooked up to a boat, and then taken to a RESCO waste-to-energy plant, where the trash is incinerated and turned into electrical energy. The incredible machine has also a secondary use which is to put more oxygen into the water through the rotation of the waterwheel. It helps to attract more fish and improve habitat conditions and water quality. . As a project of the Healthy Harbor Living Laboratory, the Water Wheel also serves to educate people about storm-water management and the Inner Harbor.

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source: blog.savatree.com
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source: nbcnews.com

The important element about the wheel is the material used. In fact Galvanizing was chosen as a coating because of its sustainability and its reaction to a constant contact with water. Galvanized steel has a very high resistance to humidity but also doeasn’t require costly maintenance over the next 15 years.  Another factor was keeping down maintenance costs to a project that already cost over $800,000 to put together.

source: inhabitat.com, galvanizeit.org

Shanghai Metal Corporation understand the importance of a green environment and is a manufacturer of Galvanized steel and many other products used for sustainable projects all over the world. For more information, you can visit the company’s website or contact us for any inquiry.

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Houria // SMC Editor

ALUMINIUM – THE BATTERY OF THE FUTURE

Why do we like so much aluminium at Shanghai Metal Corporation? This is a very easy question. Because aluminium is a very versatile material that can be employed for a wide range of purpose. For instance, according to some specialized websites in the near future aluminum may be used in the production of various electronic devices batteries. The researchers of the University of California at Stanford have announced the development of aluminum-based batteries promising better performance and a lower impact on the environment compared to current models made of lithium.

batterie-alluminio

What is more special about the aluminium batteries is that, not only their life would be significantly higher than conventional batteries (7,500 versus 1,000 cycles), but especially we should be able to fully recharge them in just a minute. Moreover, the aluminium batteries could be applied to a high number of devices such as smartphones, electric cars and laptops.

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Since aluminum is very less expensive than lithium, a further advantageous feature of the aluminium battery would be its lower cost of production. Furthermore, aluminum guarantees the total absence of any risk of fire. The environmental benefits are obvious. A smartphone battery  that takes only one minute to charge results in a considerable decrease in energy waste.

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Source: http://techleaks.in/

Do not  forget that Shanghai Metal Corporation provides you with a great selection metals such as aluminum which can be use for various applications. Check out our aluminium sheet/plate, widely used in the production of automobile, building wall and celings. Feel free to contact us for further information. We have English-speaking staff who will be more than glad to help you.

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Stefano // SMC Editor

Germany’s Key in Increasing the Uses of Green Energy

The majority of the world’s energy consumption is still supplied by fossil fuels. Even though this type of source has negative impacts on environment and has a limited quantity, the world still hasn’t found a satisfying solution to replace it.

The improvement of technology creates another alternative, which is the natural and renewable energy. The use of natural energies grows each year, but its development is low because their cost are more expensive than fossil fuels, therefore more economic sacrifice. A study shows that even though the a great number of Americans favor green energy, most of them are less willing to pay more for it. Another downfall of natural energies is that they’re climate-dependent and need to be backed-up by a more reliable source, such as fossil fuels and nuclear, which add expenses to the costs. Some say that “trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”. So should we change our aim for a green energy and change it to develop nuclear energy ?

But, there is still hope for natural energy ! In just a dozen years, Germany has managed to replace around 30% of its nuclear and fossil fuel produced electricity with natural energy. This phenomenon could be explained by how Germany’s power supply is managed. In comparison to a centralized power plants that aims to meet the demand of energy in most countries, the German system is decentralized and includes more than 2 million small and medium scale renewable producers (businesses, farmers, villages, towns, co-ops, etc.) whose numbers keeps to increase over time. Their output are traded from locality to locality and even internationally via intelligent networks.

This transition was accentuated with Merkel’s decision to shut down a third of Germany’s nuclear reactors, following Fukushima’s disaster in 2011. This decision encouraged renewable energies to progress and fill the gap.

What happens in German shows us that with motivated leaders and the right policies, it is possible to little by little replace non-renewable energy source with renewable source. Much technological progressions are still need to be done because as we saw earlier, green energy is still expensive and unstable. We have to keep in mind that increasing the uses of green energy is possible.

Visit these websites to learn more : theblaze, foreignpolicywikipedia

To help spreading the use of green energy, Shanghai Metal Corporation manufacture a wide range of solar panel according to your request. Visit our website to discover more and feel free to send us your inquiry if you need any question. Follow us on social media to be updated on our products.

    

Credits to theblaze, foreignpolicy, wikipedia
Pictures from Google image.

Ayu P.//SMC editor

Forget Home Furnishings, IKEA Enters The E-Bike Market

IKEA has certainly surprised us with many clever home-furnishing solutions. Most importantly, IKEA, with its roots in the super “green” country of Sweden, could not leave its homecountry’s highly socially conscious citizens disappointed. When it comes to act environmetally friendly, IKEA comes right up in the top list worldwide as leader of clean technology. In fact, IKEA has big goals for 2020 that includes a plan to obtain 100% of the energy it consumes in its stores and buildings from clean energy and to grow more wood than it uses.

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Plastic bags were far gone six years ago, CFLs and LEDs were introduced as replacement for high-energy consuming incandescent light bulbs back in 2010, affordable home solar panels were recently made available in the UK, a number of electric car stations were installed at stores across the world and now IKEA has entered the electric bike market.

IKEA E Bike FOLKV NLIG 912 Ikea verkauft eigenes E Bike namens Folkvänlig

Yes, e-bike FOLKVÄNLIG can be found in two IKEA’s retail stores located in Vienna, Austria. Still in its inception phase, the e-bike is expected to become viral and shortly reach out to many different stores. The electric bike’s design has already received various awards at the Taipei Cycle Show, Eurobike and the IF Design Award.

IKEA E Bike FOLKV NLIG 900 Ikea verkauft eigenes E Bike namens Folkvänlig

FOLKVÄNLIG in Swedish means ‘user- friendly’, which is probably what IKEA is trying to address here with its sleek e-bike that could take you anywhere within a distance of 60 to 70km, aided by a powerful electric motor of 250Watt that could get you a total pedal-assisted range up to 45mi/72km per charge.

IKEA E Bike FOLKV NLIG 094 Ikea verkauft eigenes E Bike namens Folkvänlig

The e-bike also features an easy rechargeable system to its removable in-frame lithium-ion battery pack that takes about five hours to recharge, as well as a Shimano transmission that provides six different driving modes.

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Should it prove successful, IKEA’s FOLKVÄNLIG e-bike must also come in a foldable variant, which gives the market even more room for growth.

IKEA E Bike FOLKV NLIG 118 Ikea verkauft eigenes E Bike namens Folkvänlig

Shanghai Metal Corporation offers a wide range of metals such as aluminum, widely used in beer can manufacturing. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking personnel will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

Source and photo credit: technologicvehicles.com, treehugger.com, greenoptimistic.com, ubergizmo.com, cleantechnica.com, flickr.com

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

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