Archive for June, 2015

20 June

Solar Powered Maglev/Evacuated Tube Transport For Our Magical Planet Earth

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Wow, we are surely living in a magical time! Another form of upcoming mass transport is based on the magical Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) with upgrade.   It is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground. A vehicle would travel along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing friction and allowing higher speed. Here is a TED Talk that demonstrates this concept, below:


Of  course, such a magical technology would have many potential applications;for example: the Shanghai Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph) (and once reached 311 mph or 501 km/h in a pre-launch test). The line was designed to connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central Pudong, Shanghai. It covers a distance of 30.5 kilometres in 8 minutes.

Maglev Train coming out of Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China

Maglev Train coming out of Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China

Maglev trains move more smoothly and more quietly than wheeled mass transit systems. They are relatively unaffected by weather. The power needed for levitation is typically not a large percentage of its overall energy consumption; most goes to overcome drag, as with other high-speed transport. Maglev trains hold the speed record for rail transport. Vacuum tube train systems might allow maglev trains to attain still higher speeds, though no such vacuum tubes have been built commercially yet.

Compared to conventional (normal) trains, differences in construction affect the economics of maglev trains, making them much more efficient. For high-speed trains with wheels, wear and tear from friction along with the “hammer effect” from wheels on rails accelerates equipment wear and prevents high speeds. Conversely, maglev systems have been much more expensive to construct, offsetting lower maintenance costs. Despite decades of research and development, only two commercial maglev transport systems are in operation, with two others under construction. In April 2004, Shanghai’s Transrapid system began commercial operations. In March 2005, Japan began operation of its relatively low-speed HSST “Linimo” line in time for the 2005 World Expo.

Linimo approaching Banpaku Kinen Loen towards Fujigaoka Station (attrib: Chris 73)

Linimo approaching Banpaku Kinen Loen towards Fujigaoka Station (attrib: Chris 73)

In its first three months, the Linimo line carried over 10 million passengers. South Korea and the People’s Republic of China are both building low-speed maglev routes of their own designs, one in Beijing and the other at Seoul’s Incheon Airport. Many maglev projects are controversial, and the technological potential, adoption prospects and economics of maglev systems are often debated.

Even though no commercial vacuum tube train systems have been built yet, scientists at Southwest Jiaotong University in China have reportedly built a maglev train that could reach 1,800 mph (2,900 km/h). A vacuum is used to minimize air resistance, according to The Daily Mail.Dr. Deng Zigang, the project leader, claims such vacuum tube train systems could be used for military or space launch systems. At the high speed of maglev train system, air resistance becomes a serious issue.  Dr. Deng Zigang writes in his paper, “If the running speed exceeds 400 km (250 miles) per hour, more than 83% of traction energy will dissipate wastefully in air resistance.” A maglev train running in a vacuum would increase its potential top speed and improve its efficiency level. If such a theoretical evacuated tube transport (this concept had been around for over 100 years now) may be successfully designed and built,  people potentially will be able to travel between New York and Beijing in 2 hours!

 

Evacuated Tube Transport model of Southwest Jiaotong University of China (credit: Imagechina)

Evacuated Tube Transport model of Southwest Jiaotong University of China (credit: Imagechina)

Evacuated Tube Transport model of Southwest Jiaotong University of China (credit: Imagechina)

Evacuated Tube Transport model of Southwest Jiaotong University of China (credit: Imagechina)

 

 

 

In one of our previous posts we have also discussed a similar concept, Hyperloop, by Elon Musk, with the added feature of being solar powered and reaching top speed of 760 mph (1,220 km/h).


The beauty of universal collaboration through open-source is such that information in free-flow form, would enable much to be synthesized, exchanged, and edified quickly. Now the scientists and  engineers at Netherland have also taken on the challenge and incorporated the concepts of maglev, evacuated tube, and solar power, working on the Netherland’s Quantum Train (quantum-locking or quantum-levitation). Quantum Train is essentially the solar-powered evacuated tube transport that will be CHEAP, SAFE, FAST, SUSTAINALBE, and GREEN. The future of Quantum Levitation will enable 2 mm thick 3″ diamter superconducting material to carry  approximately 1000 Kg (a small car). The future will be magical ! Many top notched scientists and engineers are working on this at the moment in multiple countries and we are looking forward to the day when Solar Powered Quantum Evacuated Tube Transport/Maglev Train will be transporting us near 1,800 mph on every continent….perhaps even one day transporting us from one continent to another continent in this magical transport system.The world is getting smaller. I am very thankful that we are living in such a magical and collaborative world, full of wonderful scientists and engineers with visions and willingness to collaborate.

Here is another video on future transportation technology:

*If you want to find out more updates or to support the research and development of this technology, please feel free to check with Dr. Deng Zigang and/or Dr. Yaoping Zhang of Southwest Jiaotong University of China or go to: www.Quantumtrain.com for Netherland’s progress in working with this magical solar powered evacuated tube/maglev transport. Please feel free to contact me at: sunisthefuture@gmail.com if you know of any other groups/organizations that is/are currently working on this project and would also like to be mentioned/added into this post.

Other related topics:

1. Hyperlooop

2. ET3 Global Alliance

3. Vactrain (or vacuum tube train)

4. Transatlantic tunnel

5. An Express of the Future by Jules Verne

6. A Brief History of the Pneumatic Tube Transport System That Never Were

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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17 June

Gogoro’s Smartscooters Are Ready To Bring Forth A Cleaner Taiwan-Asia-Planet Earth!

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Above is a video filmed in the city of TaipeiTaiwan, one can easily see that it is a place with the highest scooter density in the world. The city of Taipei is in a basin that traps all the air pollution produced by high levels of petrol motorcycle emissions. In recent years, whenever I visit the beautiful island of Taiwan, I often wonder when most of their scooters will  transition into electric transportation mode, for this would help to dramatically reduce the amount of air pollution in the city and on the island. Of about 15 million scooters on the island (of approximately 23 million inhabitants), only 122,500 scooters are electric.

During my trip to Taipei, Taiwan, this year, a Taiwan-based startup, Gogoro, unveiled its Smartscooter at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Smartscooter is a slick, battery powered motor scooter that can be monitored via a smartphone app. Gogoro is the brainchild of former HTC employees who made a major contribution to that company’s success in the smartphone market. Gogoro CEO Horace Luke was originally HTC’s chief innovation officer and Gogoro chief technology officer Matt Taylor was originally HTC’s chief technologist.

Gogoro's Smartscooter and its charging station

Gogoro’s Smartscooter and its charging station

For those of you who would prefer to hear more about Gogoro Smartscooter in Mandarin Chinese, please check out the video below:
The Gogoro Smartscooter is an electric scooter designed for urban transportation. It’s powered by an electric motor developed by Gogoro, which is marketed as the G1 Aluminum Liquid Cooled Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor. Instead of plugging into an outlet to recharge, the Smartscooter runs on swappable Panasonic lithium ion 18650 batteries.

The company states the following figures for the Smartscooter based on internal testing:

  • Top speed of 95 km/h  (about 60 mph)
  • Acceleration of 0 to 50 km/h in 4.2 seconds
  • Maximum torque of 25 Nm @ 0-2,250 rpm
  • Maximum horsepower of 8.3 hp @ 4,000 rpm
  • Range of >100 km when traveling at speeds of 40 km/h.

The Smartscooter’s sensors collect information such as speed, battery level, consumption rate, system failures, and scooter falls. This information is presented to riders via Gogoro mobile apps.
An attractive feature in Gogoro’s efforts is its Gogoro Energy Network of stations such that subscription paying customers will be able to swap batteries in seconds. According to Horace Luke, the Smartscooter and the Energy Network will interact: the batteries include several sensors and a near field communication chip that can talk to the battery-swapping stations. A station would recognize the bike and associated account when a rider pulls up; it would then open up a spot for the spent battery and unlock a fresh battery. The rider would lift up the seat to swap the battery (weighing about 20 pounds). It takes about 6 seconds to swap a battery.

The Gogoro Energy Network is a modular battery swapping infrastructure designed to be deployed across an urban region. Riders would be able to swap out depleted batteries at a network of kiosks called GoStations for a monthly subscription fee. The Smartscooter is the first vehicle to be integrated into the Gogoro Energy Network.

One important point the Gogoro engineers forgot to mention: an electric engine will definitely have a much longer life expectancy (probably 2x or 3x as long) than an internal combustion engined vehicle due to far fewer moving parts. This will ultimately enable the Gogoro Smartscooters to have a much longer useful life.

With the right kind of deployment, incentives and policy, Gogoro will potentially be the most innovative vehicle since Tesla…and certainly will have tremendous impact on enhancing cleaner environment. Perhaps there could be a collaboration between Gogoro and Tesla to upgrade these charging stations into solar charging stations, then the island of Taiwan will be even more assured of its position as a beautiful and clean island, ready to receive millions of its tourists each year (be sure to stay for 2 videos for a good look of Taiwan…Enjoy :).

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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14 June

Trains, Powered By Sunshine, in Belgium and India

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The Swiss Solar Impulse 2 (solar airplane) and French solar rooftops have inspired me to look toward other forms of transport and surface areas to be powered by or used to generate solar energy. It’s fantastic that there had been quite a few interesting progress made in the area of trains. Case in point, the high speed train powered by solar energy, in the video below, was in service back in 2011 in Belgium:

The rail line between Antwerp and Amsterdam (about 80 miles) in Belgium was the first solar paneled train tunnel (about 2.2 mile long tunnel) in Europe that utilized 16,000 solar panels (costed $22 million for installation) to power the railway infrastructure and trains back in June (started on June 14), of 2011, bringing clean energy to trains. This Solar Tunnel project is expected to generate 3.3 megawatts of energy (equivalent of the average annual electricity consumption for 4,000 trains or about 1,000 homes). The project partner Enfinity also indicated that the tunnel is decreasing CO2 emissions by 2,400 tons annually. “It is the perfect way to cut the carbon footprint because the spaces used have no other economic value,” commented by Bart Van Renterghem, Enfinity former UK head. Other collaborators on this project were Belgium rail operator Infrabel and solar construction company Solar Power Systems.  This was a fantastic clean energy project because it is optimizing the previously idled space and once the installation is in place, there is to be no consumption of fuel or coal and at no cost to our environment.

About 4461 miles (or 7179 km) away, India is planning to massively  utilize the solar energy via its state-owned railway systems. With one of the largest railway networks in the world, running about 12,000 trains, 23 million passengers (practically the entire Australian population), and 3 million tonnes of freight daily, much energy is needed.   In 2012, the Indian Railways consumed nearly 3 million kiloliters of diesel oil  and about 14 billion kWh of electricity .  So, India’s railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu wants to control such a ballooning fuel bill by shifting toward alternative energy sources. Since the Indian Railway System is aiming to have at least 10% of its total energy consumption coming from renewable energy by 2020, the railway minister wants to incorporate more alternative energy sources to power trains. This is first done by solar powered lighting via solar panels mounted on the roofs of the trains. This is now being tested on a non-AC coach on the RewariSitapur passenger train.

Indian Solar Train photographed by Anil Kumar Chhatri or credit citymetric.com

Indian Solar Train photographed by Anil Kumar Chhatri or credit citymetric.com

The cost of installing panels on each coach is about Rs3.9 lakh (about $6,084), translating into savings of Rs1.24 lakh (about $1,934) per year, According to The Economic Times of India Times.  In the next few weeks, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and the railway coach maker Integral Coach Factory will  be testing the solar  paneled coach under a variety of conditions. Besides the solar powered coach, the Indian Railways will also be building  solar power plants of about 8.8 MW (megawatts) in 200 train stations and some of its office buildings.

Without the common vision and collaborations from policy makers, such ambitious projects would not have existed. In India, it took the echoing  support between India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to enable such a solar project to become a reality.  Prime Minister Modi encouraged alternative energy projects by encouraging solar companies from around the world to invest $100 billion to reach its solar power capacity target of 100,000 MW by 2022 (about five times India’s current solar power generation capacity). He was also instrumental behind another ambitious project, World’s First Canal Solar Power Plant in India, in Gujarat, in one of our previous post.

I hope all policy makers and governing bodies will receive the support he/she/they/it need(s) during this critical transitional period in human history, onward and forward toward the renewable/solar energy future! For deep down, within all of our hearts, we know that Solar/Renewable/Clean Energy is the solution/answer to Energy-Pollution-Economic Prosperity-International Conflicts. The sooner we get there, the better it will be for us and our posterity. In our system of democracy, perhaps all of us may be able to help play a part in assisting our policy makers in arriving at the correct decisions or policies quickly.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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11 June

May There Be Plenty of Sunshine For Solar Impulse 2 To Cross The Pacific Ocean

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Solar Impulse 2 (longest solo flight between Japan and Hawaii) (credit: Solar Iimpulse)

Solar Impulse 2 will be taking the longest solo flight of all time, over the Pacific Ocean, between Nagoya, Japan and Hawaii, this weekend (credit: Solar Impulse)

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Time to update our report for Solar Impulse 2, the Solar Powered Plane: it will continue its historic around-the-world flight (that began back in March 9, 2015, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) this weekend with the non-stop, four- or five-day flight over the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Hawaii.  This segment of the journey will be the world’s longest solar-powered flight and the longest solo-airplane flight of all time. It will be “the moment of truth” for the Solar Impulse Team on this mission, as pilot Andre Borschberg called it. Please view the videos below, for the motivation behind the construction and flight of Solar Impulse 2 and portions of its flight on this around-the-world mission, below:

 

 

 

 

The cofounders of Solar Impulse and Solar Impulse 2, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, aim to raise awareness of climate change and the importance of using renewable/solar/clean energy.

“The most important thing isn’t to make world records. It is to show what we can do with clean technologies. Clean technologies can reduce CO2 emissions while stimulate economic growth.” Piccard said. “Many of these energy efficient solutions are starting to be commercialized, as they are economically attractive and have real potential to considerably reduce worldwide energy consumption.” Piccard wants to let people know that the technology in the Solar Impulse could be used in cars, houses, and other places. He wants to bring solutions rather than just talk about problems. It is Bertrand Piccard’s life mission to demonstrate to the world that “we can do incredible things with clean and solar technologies.”

Weather permitting, we shall soon see Solar Impulse 2 crossing the Pacific,  from Nagoya, Japan, to Hawaii, on this longest solo flight of all time. Despite difficult weather condition during its seventh leg from Nanjing, China to Honolulu, Hawaii, or its wing damage upon arrival in Japan, Piccard and Borschberg have overcome much obstacles and have been patient and cautious in waiting for a period of four days of good weather condition to take this longest solar powered flight coming up this weekend.

Solar Impulse 2 Flight Bt. Nagoya, Japan and Hawaii (Crossing Pacific Ocean) source: USA Today research Frank Pompa, USA Today

Solar Impulse 2 Flight Bt. Nagoya, Japan and Hawaii (Crossing Pacific Ocean) source: USA Today research Frank Pompa, USA Today

Let us wish these two visionaries, Piccard and Borschberg, and their Solar Impulse Team and family, plenty of sunshine during this upcoming journey crossing the Pacific. The whole planet will be rooting for you!
~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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10 June

Avlite Announces Next Generation Solar Portable Airfield Lighting System

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Avlite Systems  announced today, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the next generation of its Solar Portable Airfield Lighting System trailer (Solar PALS). Avlite’s PALS trailer is a convenient, fully transportable, autonomous lighting system for easy, rapid deployment supporting temporary or long term operations for both civil and defence aviation: fixed and rotary operations. The trailer can be supplied to meet ICAO or FAA standards.

Once deployed, the lighting system can be controlled via a 2.4GHz encrypted mesh network capable of being operated from the tower, ground, or approaching aircraft by a Pilot Activated Lighting Controller (PALC).

The Solar PALS trailer contains all lighting and ancillary equipment required to support temporary or sustained fixed and rotary operations. The standard configuration is suitable for an airfield with a 5000ft/1500m runway. Avlite offers completely customizable solutions for their customers. Avlite trailers can be designed in a range of configurations for any application.  “Keeping with Avlite’s reputation for innovation, the new generation PALS trailer has undergone a complete ground up re-design in order to provide a cutting edge, compact, all in one airfield lighting system that can be easily maintained and quickly deployed. The primary challenge with the PAL trailer design was to provide maximum functionality and usability, for example the on-board charging system, RF & PALC control, while minimizing weight and deployment time,” said Wade Evans, Aviation Systems Engineer, Avlite Systems. “Our team rose to the challenge and have been able to provide a solution that ticks all the boxes, for not only commercial applications, but also military and emergency service environments.”

The Avlite Solar PALS Trailer has been built to military grade standards with  an integrated charging system that allows for the full complement of lights to be simultaneously charged using standard external mains power feeds. A solar auxiliary system with battery backup provides power to the critical control equipment during deployment.

I found another video o Avlite, shared below, to demonstrate that Avlite Systems is a world-class solar aviation lighting systems manufacturer with a proven reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions designed for defense, government, civil and humanitarian aid operations in the most remote and toughest environments.


~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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