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Energy

Countries are channeling their efforts to transition to green energy

Everyone is keen to observe whether the new US president Joe Biden will grant his promises concerning the $2 trillion Green New Deal. Other countries are pushing themselves to ensure that they demonstrate their efforts towards the zero-emissions target. The following countries are proving their efforts in the shift to clean energy. 

Spain, through its prime minister Pedro Sánchez, is pioneering this race. The country is leading the European countries in this switch to renewable energy. The Spanish government gave out €27 billion to support this program in the upcoming €750 billion renewable energy project.

The Spain government stated that their vision is to replant over 20000 hectares with trees and salvage close to 50000 hectares of land in the decarbonization plan. Additionally, renewable energy will expand to realize the net-zero emissions plan. Furthermore, Spain is implementing the EU climate change plans by discouraging coal, oil, and natural gas consumption. The country is planting more onshore wind energy at a faster rate than other European countries.

Next is Asia’s South Korea, which has been on the radar for leading in carbon emissions. The country decided to make a turnaround by investing $61 billion in the Green New Deal. This move will help the country switch to renewable energy in the next three decades. The country’s president Moon Jae-in emphasized that his administration will be working to minimize their subservience to coal and find new employment opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

The Green New Deal will ensure that over 230000 buildings install green energy systems to facilitate the running of their electric vehicles. Additionally, this move will enable the upgrade of renewable energy to 42.7 GW. Furthermore, funds will be entering the real estate programs to ensure they realize net-zero emissions. The government added that they will be installing over 5 million households with clean energy to increase energy efficiency. Micro-grids will be running within a short distance to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles. 

In Latin America, Uruguay is among the leading pioneers in shifting to clean energy. Two decades ago, the was generating a third of its electricity from oil. The change in leadership facilitated the current transition to cheap renewable energy. In conclusion, Kenya is witnessing a shift to renewables. The country has numerous sources of renewable energy, including hydropower and solar energy. Additionally, the country obtains a considerable quantity of its electricity from geothermal plants.

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Space

U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Industry Hurt by Lack of Government Investment

According to a study carried out by the MITRE Corporation, the United States commercial geospatial intelligence industry faces a significant challenge from foreign competitors. Its global counterparts are outstripping the sector. The government has not made any significant efforts to curb this trend, with the government’s investment in the industry not increasing for the past five years. On the other hand, according to the study, foreign investments have been faced with a surge in investments in the last two years. The study was carried out by MITRE, a charity that runs research facilities funded by the federal government, under the call of its Intelligence Advisory Board comprising of past U.S. services and intelligence execs.

  The study’s findings indicated a broad prejudice touching profitable suppliers in the country’s security and intelligence agencies. Individuals have the mindset that geoint produced nationally is more remarkable in quality to profit-making and contains the least of security threats. According to the study, this notion is based on history, and this drives the administration to either neglectfully or, triflingly, offer cast-off standing to commercial geoint. According to the study, there has also been a hindrance to the agencies from exploiting the benefits of privately sponsored projects as the government has been resistant to the adoption of commercial criteria and practices. 

Companies commercially-run have been making significant breakthroughs in innovations such as the hybrid satellite constellation with electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar, radiofrequency, and the AIS, among others. On the other hand, investments have been made to buy foreign entities, which have helped foster more substantial foreign capabilities, some of which have outperformed U.S. projects as per the study. A good example is the commercial synthetic aperture (SAR), an all-weather, day-night ability that penetrates clouds. According to MITRE, since 2007, commercial SAR has fifteen orbiting satellites, and more expected in the nigh future than a molo domestic SAR provider on-orbit for the country. 

 The imbalance can be attributed to the country’s licensing policy with strict measures in controlling the operation and disseminating o9f SAR systems and information to commercial clients. The commerce department is trying to rewrite the regulations to make them more favorable, which MITRE sees as a positive step forward. The study further indicated that U.S. commercial imagery entities have been focused mainly on electro-optical and Automated Identification System Sensors and consequently does not have the diversity of sensors available in foreign systems. 

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Energy

Ford receives signals from Tesla’s playbook with 1,400 HP electric Mach-E Mustang

Speed sells. After Tesla has launched a new car or updates a current one, the vehicle company frequently leads with a 0-60 mph time. These figures often outshine those coming from fuel cars and huge thanks to the way electric motors convey power. These 0-60 times are frequently irrelevant to everyday driving, yet just like many automakers, Tesla perceives them as a significant profitable statistic. Today, Ford revealed a unique edition of its future four-door electric Mustang. It is speedy because, as stated above, speed is marketable. Seven electric motors generate a sum of 1,400 HP that to say in layman’s language is a shit-ton of control.

Ford does not plan to sell this model, and the vehicle company confirms that the vehicle was designed to discover the electric vehicle technology limits and also to flaunt it to the public. The forthcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E will arrive at a performance trim dubbed the GT. While it will have only two motors instead of seven and the two motors will generate 459 HP, and that is a lot of energy to delight. 

The Ford’s subsequent unique edition Mustang Mach-E, he Mustang Cobra Jet was launched earlier in the current year, and sports 1,400 HP, however, performs that way in a diverse configuration that is chiefly designed to speed fast in a straight line. These notion Mustangs design excitement from primary demographics, most like the way Insane and Ludicrous modes of Tesla make the thrilling experience around its cars. Ford is in a fixed spot with the Mustang Mach-E, and it intends to prove to buyers that the new four-door electric car is commendable of the Mustang nameplate. 

The Mustang Mach-E is scheduled to be the original modern electric car of Ford, and this far, Ford is moving in a different direction compared to General Motors after it launched their first electric car, dubbed the Chevy Bolt. By all means, the Chevy Bolt is an outstanding electric car, which is also very affordable, fast speed, and of a decent diversity. However, Chevy termed it as a boring people shipper. The Mustang Mach-E has a related people driving capacity; however, Ford increased the thrill after adding the Mustang name and advertising of the performance. There is an aged automotive saying that states that winning in races generates sales. “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.”

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Energy

EU Plans to Enter EV Battery Manufacturing

 Electric vehicle integration in the market is taking a new direction.  According to recent reports, prices of the market are set to significantly by 2022.  This outcome is because of changes in the battery manufacturing process that allowed it to be produced at a lower price. Considerably reducing the prices will lead to lower EV prices.

Likewise, significant price drops in batteries ergo EV’s results in quicker adoption of EVs into the market. Similarly, there are indications that notable players in the conventional internal combustion engine manufacturing industry are shifting to electric vehicles.  Tesla is currently the go-to party for EVs in range and battery capacity. Its middle-class sedan is the highest-selling EV with a record 200,000 sales. However, Volkswagen recently announced its interest in entering the leaving market when it highlighted its £33 billion investment in developing electronic vehicles

Major players in the economy highlight the internal combustion engine’s chances of survival after 2025 look slim. This announcement also brings changes in EV product lines as it eliminates the need for electric hybrids 

Currently, the price difference between electric vehicles and modern internal combustion engines is still noticeable.  Looking at the Volkswagen product line, there is a significant price difference-comparing market price of the Volkswagen Golf to the recently launched electric ID-3. The ID-3 being Volkswagen’s first mass-market electric vehicle, retails at £29,990 while the Golf’s latest IC variant retails at £20,280.

The price difference is very apparent from a consumer standpoint, warranting whether the additional costs warrant the need to adopt an electric vehicle. In that relation, other Claire’s in the manufacturing industry is also affected by this price difference.  Jaguar is the Leading automaker in the UK. In retrospect, its electric entry in the market, the Jaguar I-Pace, starts at a retail price of 64495 euros while its electric variant, the Jaguar F-Pace which   retails at 44845

The dropping prices of car batteries is a good indication for electric vehicles as experts predict EVs will take up 17% market share by 2025, which is set to rise to 40% by 2030.  Europe has announced projects to subsidize electric batteries while encouraging its native car manufacturers to develop better battery technology. A recent start-up in the UK Britishvolt has declared itself a candidate for developing native EU batteries. The company plans to build a gigafactory to start operations; however, the government speculates that the market needs eight gigafactories to fill the void left by the traditional car manufacturers 

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Space

SpaceX expands its Starlink Satellites Constellation by 60

SpaceX aims to create a global broadband internet service. Ahead of the upcoming milestone, the company has launched yet another 60 Starlink satellites. After all, it is the key ingredient if SpaceX will realize its goal. The venue was Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It took place on October 24 at 11:31 AM EDT. After 63 minutes, the satellites were already in orbit.

The launch was the 15th one that Space has carried out, which also saw its small satellites rise to 900 in the Earth’s low orbit. In the last two weeks, SpaceX has had three Starlink missions on October 6, October 18, and October 24. Each one of them sent 60 satellites into the Earth’s low orbit. On the October 18 launch, Starlink-1819 was said to have malfunctioned hence didn’t rise to the orbit likes its other 59 counterparts. That, according to Viasat, is an illustration that SpaceX is failing as far as the failure rate is concerned. It is also the 100th time that SpaceX is sending payloads into orbit. There has been 2 Falcon 1, 3 Falcon Heavy, and 95 Falcon 9 launches.  However, there have also been downs, such as 1 Falcon 9 and 3 Falcon 1 launch failures.

The lift-off rocket, Falcon 9, was the same that has sent off the last bunches in the two previous launches earlier this year. It also launched its last batch in September. The booster recovery was also a success after it landed safely on a floating autonomous landing ship known as ‘Just Read the Instructions’ in the Atlantic Ocean. The newest pilot partner is Texas’ Ector County Independent School District. Next year, through SpaceX’s Starlink network, it will have a low latency broadband connectivity. By the end of the exercise, 45 households will be connected to the same. Hopefully, the number will increase to 90 in the future as the constellation expands. Then, it will also be possible for it to come online.

With such dedication, the future of broadband service is bright. That’s regardless of how rural one’s area is or how hard it can achieve it in the past. The exciting part is excellent latency and speed. As of now, the constellation is relatively large. However, SpaceX has a long way to go, given that it targets delivering the services to the expected target. As a matter of fact, the satellites will increase up to tens of thousands in the future to become possible. At the moment, large geosynchronous satellites are offering the same. Nevertheless, the reliability and latency that they offer are way behind compared to what the SpaceX project will give.

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Space

Blue Origin is Hopeful that Air Force Continue investing in New Glenn

Back in 2008, Blue Origin signed a contract worth $500 million with Air Force. The funds were to go to the development of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket. The termination comes after The Air Force settled for both SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to be the ones to provide it with launches for the next five years. Equally important, Blue Origin lost despite being one of the contestants.

At the moment, Blue Origin is yet to give up on the rocket. Its development continues, and the company plans to launch it for commercial use in 2021. Nevertheless, it is still trying to convince the Air Force to continue funding it. Air Force should support it and the ground infrastructure necessary if it wants to earn the national security missions’ certification.

According to the company’s director of government and legislation affairs, Megan Mitchell, the negotiation regarding the certification is ongoing. The plea is justifiable since Blue Origin wasn’t ready for the termination. After all, the agreement was that it would last for six years up to 2024. Unfortunately, that couldn’t continue since it lost the launch services procurement contract. That was grounds enough to see the contract terminated. There was a condition by Air Force that if a company was to lose a launch services contract, then they could face termination of the LSAs.

Another company facing LSAs’ termination is Northrop Grumman. However, the Air Force insists on terminating the agreement. According to the Assistant Secretary in charge of Acquisition Will Roper, Air Force has no choice but to terminate them due to a lack of funds to support the course.

Mitchel chose not to disclose how much of $500 million Blue Origin has received so far. However, there was a highlight of what the company has achieved so far. For instance, the development of the ground infrastructure had already commenced. It has also concluded the assessment phase of the process of the national security space launch certification. 

The funding would mean that the Air Force has guaranteed access to space and critical assets of the national security space. After all, it would mean having a third certified launch provider. So, in case of an emergency, Blue Origin will be its backup plan. According to Blue Origin, modifying New Glenn should happen sooner rather than later. It would be easy and less costly, no doubt.

So far, the company has a massive rocket factory built for manufacturing the New Glenn boosters. It is built outside Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. It is also in the process of a launch pad’s development at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Early this year, it launched an engine production factory in Huntsville, Alabama. The engines are for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket and New Glenn.

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Space

A new Cooperative Agreement between NASA and the Energy Department

Both NASA and the Department of Energy have been striving to expand cooperation. That’s probably why the memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced on October 20 did not come as a surprise to many. After all, it is not the fast measure that the agencies have taken to achieve their goal.

The signees representing the two parties were Jim Bridenstine and Dan Brouillette, serving as NASA Administrator and Secretary of Energy.  Its announcement was during the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board’s meeting. It aims to see the cooperation between the two agencies to go beyond space nuclear power. Instead, it should also cover other science and engineering topics.

According to Brouillette, the process began after he and Bridenstine had a meeting earlier this year. Before NASA launched its Mars 2020 mission on July 30, the two agents through representatives held a meeting in Florida. Department of Energy offered a plutonium’s power source, radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG).

Most collaborations between NASA and the Energy Department have been about different nuclear power sources, such as RTGs. For the time being, the duo is working on nuclear propulsion and new nuclear power systems that will come in handy during various Mars Exploration missions in the future. The MOU includes all that but also includes other topics that would see the collaboration expand.

The MOU proposes three groups: space science and innovation, lunar surface infrastructure, and space nuclear power and propulsion. They will be working together, but before that, they would come up with on-page reports. The reports would outline activities that would help develop infrastructure for a lunar base later. That would include the lunar base’s power systems, Mars’ nuclear propulsion systems, space situational awareness support, planetary defense, and space weather.

For the implementation of the agreement, there was a need to create an executive committee. It would have to meet regularly, and both deputy secretary of energy and NASA’s deputy administrator would chair it jointly.

Bridenstine said that the cooperation would help the duo create strategic plans for Moon and Mars collaborations, among other related President Trump’s initiatives. According to Norm Augustine, former chief executive at Lockheed Martin and one of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board working group focused on space science chair; it was a formality. After all, a collaboration between the two agencies has been in existence for quite a while. 

The efforts by the Department of Energy to make a mark in the space industry keeps getting more explicit. Before that, it joined the National Space Council. There is also a meeting with Bridenstine on nuclear power as well as other technologies. Equally important, it is reaching out to the space industry’s companies for collaborations in technology development. 

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Space

NASA safety team warns Artemis program of budgetary and technical risks

In WASHINGTON, a NASA welfare team has issued a warning that the efforts of returning humans to the moon by the year 2024 could lead to some compromises, especially to engineering.  Uncertain funding could be the main cause of compromise in the Artemis program. In the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) meeting held on 1st Oct., members cited that “real physical risk” may emerge because NASA pushes on with the Artemis program with no funding availability assurances. 

Further, the panel’s in progress concern is that the continuing resolution is directly related to significant budget constraints. When joining forces with the plans to send people to the moon by 2024, the pressure to compromise engineering increases. Paul Hill, a committee member, said that “pressure increases as the 2024 launches near.” Also, he cited that the problem was not directly in NASA’s control. Nonetheless, the “weakness of the current civil fund allocation environment” delays the federal budget decisions. “It creates real risks for exploration and NASA in general,” he said.

The ASAP conference, held on the fiscal year 2021 first day, started with (CR) continuing resolution, like other meetings. President Donald Trump later signed CR shortly after 1st Oct., which carries on the federal government funding at the 2020 fiscal year levers down 11th Dec. On 30th Sep. hearing, the Senate Commerce Committee chairman, Sen. Roger Wicker, debated about the CR and its impacts on NASA. “That’s not ideal,” he said concerning the CR. However, he noted that it’s relatively brief. The chairman asked a sole witness at NASA’s programs, the NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about outcomes of a longer CR.

Additionally, Bridenstine referred to the HLS (Human Landing System), a NASA’s program that requested more than $3.2B in the 2021 fiscal year. The House passed the spending bill. However, it was only allocated $600 million, but the Senate is yet to take part in that bill. He also said that the current funds are enough to cover the base period of Origin, SpaceX, and Dynetics April awards, which can go through 2021 Feb. However, if NASA gets to 2021 Feb. without the allocation, their ability to land on the moon by early 2024 will be hard. “Our probability of success to the moon landing depends on sooner appropriations.

The panel’s concerns at the ASAP conference go beyond appropriations. Hill commended NASA for embracing lessons learned from the Booing’s CST-100 Starliner unscrewed test frights. Though these flights suffered some software-related faults, they have enabled the Space Launch System ESD upgrading. Nevertheless, the panel reprobated NASA for failing to integrate SLS/Orion test capability fully.  The panel’s great concern is on the end-to-end integrated test plans and capability, specifically for the flight software. Although NASA stresses on overall test program accountability, ASAP recommends more test-fly apart from the accountability.

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Energy

ExaWind raises stakes for its wind power simulations both at sea and on land

Initially, estimating the cost and performance of a wind power plant was difficult. Scientists were unable to cost the development of working turbines in an environment that they will be efficient.  The creation and installation of wind power plants is a complex task ranging from modeling and determining the wind’s flow. Scientists realized that they have to think beyond the purchasing of turbines to the evolution of wind power from the direction the wind is flowing.

ExaWind started investigating the variables that a company must consider while installing wind turbines, and finally, the wind power station’s design to maximize the generation of electricity. ExaWind conducts all these operations basing on the simulations it has developed. The company stated that it has been using computers to simulate the wind power stations’ development process to estimate its costs, required resources, and the environmental changes that the system would generate.

The US Energy Department established ExaWind and Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) simulation project to partner with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) to develop the best system for companies to grow the wind power plants. The above program currently operates on millions of dollars with a workforce of 40 developers who will be working on the project from the institutions in which they perform their duties.

ExaWind is like a software that enables researchers to simulate the flow dynamics of a plant so that engineers can project the resources they must pump into the projects for it to grow to another level. ExaWind will be running on supercomputers with a high-speed browsing rate to save time on the projections, displaying the most practical scenario while securing this data from unauthorized viewers.

The calculation speed is vital for the researchers to predict the wind turbines’ response along the shorelines and their rigidity from being carried away by the wind. The researchers will be able to design efficient turbines that maximize the wind’s speed to activate the production of wind electricity. ExaWind’s chief researcher, Michael Sprague, explained that the simulation helps engineers understand a windfarm’s operations to prepare them to adjust their design plans to git the wind power plant. Additionally, the simulation helps the engineers to forecast the challenges they must prepare to handle.

Finally, ExaWind intends to collaborate with the likes of General Electric to gain practical experience on how they can improve the simulations. Additionally, the software engineers will factor in the latest wind farm technology developments to fix the theoretical concepts that do not apply to the real project.

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Energy

Researchers are finding new techniques to maximize the utilization of solar energy

Studies by various researchers show that to improve the efficiency of the solar panels; they can layer more materials on the silicon to trap more energy from the sun radiation. The researchers identified a precise layering technique that produces solar panels 1.5 times more reliable than the conventional panels. The lead researcher from the University of Illinois, Minjoo Larry Lee, published the study’s outcome in a journal for scientists to further the research.

Lee explained that silicon solar panels are reliable because they are available at low prices and can convert over 10% of the solar radiation to electricity. Lee is an engineering professor who has ties with the Nanotechnology Lab and Holonyak Micro. He added that they are sorting out ways to ensure that the panels are effective and affordable to customers. The researchers have been layering silicon with other materials like gallium fused with arsenic phosphide to develop a suitable material for absorption of sun radiations and their transmission to the storage media. Both layering elements absorb more light energy and lose less heat.

Lee explained that the fabrication technique would inform various tests with different elements to determine the most appropriate material that solves the problem of heat loss and less absorption. The solar cells must be durable enough to prevent solar panels’ frequent purchases from replacing the worn-out ones.

Although gallium arsenide phosphide is the best material for layering in consideration of its properties, it is more expensive to obtain the material and conduct the mass development of layering materials. Therefore, Lee and his team utilize the cheapest silicon of low quality in their research.

Lee submitted that one of the challenges during layering is interferon materials coming in at the interfaces or the borders joining the silicon and the layering material. Lee admitted that there are risks in every transition, which they hope to resolve in this case before they move to the next trial. For instance, Shizhao Fan, who engineered this study report, stated that he is designing an interface for the layering process.

Lee hopes that they can obtain more efficient solar panels without making them bulkier than they were previously. In this quest, the researchers hope to display a commercialization path that entrepreneurs in the solar panel production sector can take. Finally, the researchers hope that their study can provide direction in developing solar panels that are efficient and affordable. Nevertheless, they are open to critique to make necessary adjustments to obtain a working solution.