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Showing posts with the label Renewable energy

RotM: Interview with Dr. Michael Loik

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Prof. Michael Loik at UCSC Photo credit: Michael Loik For this month's Researcher of the Month, we spoke to Professor Michael Loik , at the Environmental Studies Department at University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). The Loik Laboratory has been studying the impact of short term weather patterns, changes in atmospheric composition and changes in plant physiology as a result of climate change in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Using results from their studies, the lab prepares communities for the ongoing climate change and devises information for adapting to fire risks and droughts. With a focus on reducing the emission of green house gases, the Loik laboratory also works on finding innovative solutions for farmers, which we will discuss today.  Before, we get started, here is a video summary of his recent publication in the journal Earth's Future . A man of few words, Prof. Loik was quick to revert to our queries regarding this wonderful accomplishment

Generating electricity from flapping tree leaves

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As kids, you might have spent many afternoons, under a huge tree, enjoying its shade. In a tropical country like India , trees are a welcome sight in the month of May, when the sun is blazing in the sky and the shade offered by them is a hundred thousand times better than artificial cooling of the air conditioning units. But never in our dream would we have thought that the rustling of the tiny leaves of the trees could one day make electricity for us.Because that requires a Hendersonian moment! (just in a bit)                                         This brilliant idea has come from the lab of a biophysicist at Iowa State University , Dr. Michael McCloskey , whose work at the University largely involves the study of membrane transport in algae and adult born neurons but also has a background in plant sciences. It was his colleague in the department of genetics, Dr. Eric Henderson who first came up with this plan of harvesting energy from leaves as he wondered how much ki

A Solar powered island

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A small island in the South Pacific Ocean recently shot to fame by becoming the first territory on our planet to derive its energy needs from the Sun. Covering a small area of 10 square kilometers, Tokelau is a part of New Zealand and lies to the North of Samoan islands .     Image Source: www.treehugger.com Funded by the government of New  Zealand, Tokelau spent about $7 million to put in place three solar grids that will now enable its 1500 residents to harness and utilize solar energy for their daily needs. Why spend $7 million for a power plant in the middle of nowhere you might ask! While the small island generates a small sum of $ 500,000 every year by selling agricultural produce, it spends over $2.8 million, most of which is spent of food and fuel. While its 1500 residents have energy needs like us, Tokelau's new means of earning is selling Internet domain names (like .com, .co.in, .au etc. ) with a .tk extension. With a booming internet business, electrical