Monday Jun 08, 2009

Renewable Energy - Get Educated, Involved and Excited

Have you made contributions toward a more ECO friendly environment?  Any and all efforts do make a difference when all added together.  While we have made progress in some areas, it is evident that we need to go faster and stronger.  Stop and think of your own personal carbon footprint.  In other words what are you doing that is causing the emission of greenhouse gasses.  When I look at the picture above it resonates 'clean' (it also indirectly infers Lord of the Rings - "The Eye").

Renewable energy is no longer a passion for environmentalists.  I've taken an interest in wind power.  While driving into Boston on Route 93 South you can see a large wind turbine located on your left by Exit #31.  It is situated in the back of a school which is located right in a neighborhood (look at the center of this Yahoo Map for the small white circle, this is where the turbine now resides) The city where this wind turbine is located is called Medford, the city where I grew up.  Being curious and an engineer, I had to get up close and check out this piece of technology.  First of all this wind turbine is HUGE up close!  Even more amazing was that the turbine was right in a schoolyard and neighborhood.  I could not believe how quiet this turbine was operating.  Given that city life is usually noisy with highways, airports and the close proximity of homes; I didn't think that a wind turbine would be acceptable right in a city.  The blades of the wind turbine look high tech.  They reminded me of the Cold War when submarine propeller technology was top secret.  In fact I believe today's submarines are looking at non propeller propulsion.  Why you ask?  Because a submarine that cannot be heard cannot be detected.  The quieter a propeller provides propulsion the harder it is to detect.  It looks like similar engineering went into the wind turbine blade design.  The wind turbine I was standing right under was relatively very quiet.  I assume the turbine's brain adjusts the blades pitch to accommodate the wind speed and weather conditions.  I believe it must have a wind speed ceiling as well as floor as it is not safe to be operating a wind turbine in a hurricane!

In addition to wind there are other natural renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and hydro energy generation. There are also biofuel alternatives such as ethanol from corn and sugarcane.  With all the advancements in clean energy and the opportunity to keep our planet safe it makes you just want to be green too.

Blog is available also at: http://bobporras.wordpress.com/

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The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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