Armenia looks to solar energy

Armenia is banking on renewable energy to boost its energy independence.

Armenia is much sunnier than most of Europe — according to government figures, it receives 1,720 kilowatt hours per square metre of sunlight every year, compared to an average of 1,000 in Europe — solar energy looks to be the most promising.

“To ensure its energy security and independence, Armenia, like any other country, strives to diversify energy sources,” Armenian Deputy Energy Minister Hayk Harutyunyan told AFP.

Within four years, up to eight percent of the country’s energy needs will be covered by renewables, according to the government’s policy paper, “Energy Roadmap.”

The document estimates the country’s potential capacity of solar energy production at up to 3,000 megawatts — enough to meet domestic demand and even make Armenia a net electricity exporter.

Harutyunyan said that a consortium of investors from 10 countries will soon start building a solar plant capable of producing 55 megawatts of electricity.

One of the backers, the World Bank, has earmarked some $60 million for the project, as part of its initiative to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

So far, three solar power plants with capacity of one megawatt each have been built across the country and seven more will follow by the end of 2018.

Next year, the headquarters of the Armenian cabinet of ministers will fully switch to solar energy, subsequently followed by all governmental buildings.

In addition to increasing the share of renewables, the Armenian government is seeking to reduce that of natural gas and oil by more than a third by 2020, compared with 2010 levels.

Commenting on the calls of the EU to shut down the Metsamor Power Plant, Harutyunyan said, “We have never had any illusion that the nuclear power plant could work forever. One day, we will have to stop it and we must be ready for this.”

“That’s why, during the last several years, Armenia has been stepping up efforts to develop all types of renewable energy — hydro, wind, and solar,” the Deputy Minister said.

China’s First Solar Highway is Nearly Complete, May Soon Be Able to Charge Electric Cars

China will soon be home to one of the first ever solar highways. Located on the Jinan Expressway, the solar road has been constructed using transparent concrete, solar panels, and an additional third layer underneath to keep the panels dry.


Roofs and windows of buildings aren’t the only surfaces that can be used to generate solar power. In China, construction has begun of the country’s first solar highway, in which solar panels are placed underneath transparent concrete.

The solar highway is a 2 km (1.2 mile) stretch of road located on the Jinan City Expressway, and it’s divided into three layers. The see-through concrete shields an array of solar panels of two sizes. Beneath the solar panels is a layer that will keep them isolated from the damp ground. The road itself has already been completed, and now it’s only a matter of connecting the grid, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year alongside the completion of the Jinan Expressway’s south section.

This isn’t the first solar road China has worked on. Earlier this year, the Qilu Transportation Development Group — which is also handling the Jinan Expressway solar road — built a 160 meter (0.09 mile) long solar road in the city of Jinan itself. It’s capable of heating up to keep the highway clear of snow and ice, and may one day be able to wirelessly charge electric vehicles. The new solar highway is expected to one day be equipped with the same features.




Outside of China, solar roads are nothing new. In 2014, the Netherlands built a bike path fitted with solar panels to generate electricity; a village in the north of France opened a km (0.62 mile) long solar road in 2016. In the U.S. the Missouri Department of Transportation agreed to begin testing solar sidewalks near Route 66.

Solar roadways may have their critics (they are susceptible to being covered by dirt and other debris), but as their efficiency and applications improve, they’re sure to prove their value. And with EVs becoming more popular, the world’s going to need more ways to keep their vehicles charged and ready to go.


Trump doesn’t ‘fear the wrath of God’

California’s governor blasts president on climate change as state battles devastating wildfires

With parts of his state engulfed by historic wildfires, Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend ripped into Donald Trump for his position on climate change, saying the commander-in-chief “doesn’t fear the wrath of God.”

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that will air Sunday evening, Mr. Brown offers a stinging critique of the president on the environment. The California Democrat has been among the harshest critics of the Trump administration’s climate change policies, which have included pulling out of the Paris climate accord and scrapping Obama-era rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants.

“I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility … and this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed,” Mr. Brown said, according to excerpts of the interview released Friday evening by CBS News.

The Golden State’s governor also pushed back on Republican arguments that aggressive environmental policies stunt economic growth.
“We have a cap and trade system, which is a very efficient way to reducing greenhouse gases. We have zero-emission vehicle mandate. We have efficiency standards for our buildings, for our appliances. California is showing that dealing with climate is good for the economy, not bad,” he said.

Honda just unveiled a motorcycle that’s sorta powered by wind

Honda is experimenting with wind energy to power motorcycle information amenities. At the recent EICMA in Milan, the Honda CB4 Interceptor concept platform bore a headlight nacelle-mounted wind tunnel.

An automotive concept platform is a vehicle that exists solely for testing design elements and technology prototypes. Concept platforms differ from the “test mules,” which are early versions of vehicles bound for eventual production. A concept platform such as the CB4, as cool as the current Interceptor version may be, isn’t constrained by production deadlines.

The CB4 Interceptor design displayed in Milan is the work of Honda’s Research and Development facility in Rome. The original CB4 concept was introduced at the 2015 EICMA. The 2017 CB4 also sports a ‘Neo Sports Café’ design theme, this time with an added ‘Sport Endurance’ tone, according to a Honda press release. Combining cafe racer and enduro styles is an interesting mix. What Honda’s R&D group refers to a “total black” color scheme works as well.

The green energy element of the bike is the turbo-fan that surrounds the multi-LED headlight. When the bike is moving, the fan spins, creating kinetic energy that powers a user display embedded in the top of the gasoline tank. The touchscreen display allows the rider to navigate via digital maps, use a phone, and connect other electronic devices.

No details are available to explain how the wind energy system would work, but some form of energy storage must be in play because otherwise, the display would stop working when the bike stops moving.

The original Honda CB concept from the 2015 EICMA (see image below) shares many design elements with this year’s CB Interceptor. The engine, reverse forks, brakes, and part of the exhaust system appear to be the same.

Honda is not unique in putting a turbine shape to functional purpose on a motorcycle. Saigon-based Bandit9‘s limited edition L-Concept motorcycle-as-art has a turbine shape around the engine to help with cooling the 1967 125cc Honda Supersport engine that powers the motorized art.