Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

31 December

Time To Let It Shine!

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Let It Shine:The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy by John Perlin (posted here with permission from John Perlin)

For the last post of 2013, I’ve reserved sharing the most special chance meeting of the year with you all.  It is either an event of kismet or a reflection of the fact that Solar Energy Age has truly arrived in mainstream! So much so that every corner one (at least is in the case for yours truly) turns toward, one would run into some one who is connected to the solar industry. Or perhaps I have simply become a magnet attracting all kinds of solar enthusiasts…take your pick.

It happened on the last day of the conference of SPI2013 (Solar Power International 2013) in Chicago. We (hubby Mike-my camera man and tech support, and I) stayed at the Palmer House (mind you, this is not the hotel where the conference was being held). We simply have a soft spot for those nostalgic hallway photos of stars from yesteryears and the beautiful architectural details  rarely found in most other hotels. As we were getting ready to leave the hotel to catch our flight back to Florida,  some one entered our elevator with a beaming smile on his face.   Interestingly enough, this person, Thomas Barr, from Jacksonville, FL,

Thomas Barr, General Manager of Oncology Matrics, a part of Altos Solutions, who also worked for solar back in the 70's

turned out to be in Chicago for a different conference,  actually worked in solar business back in the 70’s-80’s and now is working as a General manager in Oncology Metrics (a division of Altos Solutions, Inc.), providing information products and services for the oncology community to promote and measure quantitative improvement in clinical and business processes at the provider, practice and enterprise level.

In the few minutes of this chance meeting in the elevator, Mr. Barr highly recommended a wonderful book, A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology by Ken Butti and John Perlin. I found out later that:

A Golden Thread by Ken Butti and John Perlin

Its author John Perlin

John Perlin, sole author of Let It Shine , co-author of A Golden Thread, now at University of CA-Santa Barbara, Physics Dept.

has also authored Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy (cover above) and From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity. As a matter of fact, I just purchased Let It Shine’s kindle version  right before starting the trip to Chicago for SPI2013.  So, what do you think: are these chains of coincidences… or am I simply a magnet for all things and people that are solar…or perhaps we have simply arrived at a time in human history when solar has finally become sufficiently mainstream…as now that America has more solar or wind-power jobs than it has coal or steel jobs. As investments are shifting dramatically from coal and nuclear to wind and solar, will renewables finally have sufficient political clout to fend off increasingly desperate attacks by its endangering rivals? Time will tell….

Until the fickle finger of fate and time will unfold their mysteries, I will continue relishing each and every one of these events presented along my journey of advocacy for solar energy.

Finally, I implore all of you solar enthusiasts out there to take a look at these two books.  I love how Amory B Lovins, cofounder and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute of Old Snowmass, CO, puts it:

Switching at last to renewables will be one of the greatest transitions in the history of our species: inventing a new fire that finally makes us safe, secure, healthy, and durable.  Even if we need never again reinvent this renewable-energy wheel, we must understand where it came from. Let It Shine shows how today’s renewable revolution builds on the tenacious efforts of countless generations of innovators whose vision we may finally be privileged enough to bring to full flower.

Yes, this has definitely been a cumulative effort for many generations. If I or any of us has been able to make a dent in pushing the slope at the inflection point, it would have been a great privilege.  And let us hope that the Renewable/Solar Energy Age is finally ready to blossom, for the sake of all human kind.

~have a bright and sunny day~

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Below are web links to “Let It Shine” shared by author John Perlin:

Synopses-

http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/23/seven-of-the-greatest-solar-stories-over-the-millennia/

http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/let-it-shine-the-6000-year-story-of-solar-energy-zbz1310.aspx#axzz2jREFizpE

Policy-

http://www.psmag.com/environment/ronald-reagan-extinguished-solar-power-66874/

Review of the book-

http://www.sonnenseite.com/Renewable+Energies,Socrates+didnt+invent+solar+architecture,60,a27294.html

Strictly photovoltaics-

http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2013/12/selenium-silicon-solar-panels-excerpt-let-shine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=selenium-silicon-solar-panels-excerpt-let-shine

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/document-deep-dive-patent-first-practical-solar-cell-1-180947906/

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

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26 December

Carrie Vanston Talks About Minitrends at World Future Society 2013

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I’ve delayed posting this piece because I wanted to wait until after finishing reading the book that I am about to post, Minitrends. I met its co-author, Carrie Vanston, at the World Future Society 2013 Conference in Chicago, IL during the month of July.  Below: Ms. Vanston, with a pleasant and personable demeanor, sat down to chat about her book Minitrends and the Annual MiniTrends Conferences that may be of interest to many of our viewers/readers who are innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs of emerging technologies:


I’m glad Minitrends is in the top quarter of my reading pile (with a list of over 60 books). It turned out to be quite a gem, well deserving of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Best Business Book Award and several other book awards.  With 30 years of experience as a technology forecasting expert, Dr. Vanston teaches us how to scope out a systematic and doable discovery path through diverse sources containing clues about changes just  beginning to happen. In the book, minitrends are described as the innumerable ripples within the sea swells of established ideas, with some of these ripples destined to be the genesis of waves, or even tsunamis (such as modern computing).  The challenge lies in  finding the ripples (with tangible destiny) within the large body of established ideas and shape them into products or services. The book is divided into five parts:

Cover of the book, Minitrends, by John H. Vanston Ph.D. with Carrie Vanston

 

 

  1. The Value of Minitrends
  2. Uncovering Minitrends
  3. Some Attractive Minitrends
  4. Prospering From Minitrends
  5. Becoming a Minitrends Master

Ms. Vanston represents the company Technology Futures Inc. which provides quality custom studies and technology forecasts on key trends to a wide variety of commercial, government, and academic organizations. Through Technology Futures Inc., authors John H. Vanston Ph.D. and Carrie Vanston compiled valuable list of best practices in the book “Minitrends” to guide entrepreneurs and innovators to profit from their respective passions while making a significant impact in our world. Minitrends represent current small emerging trends (technical, social, economic, regulatory, demographic, etc.) that will become important within two to five years, not yet recognized but can be projected/forecasted, with value driven purpose. This book is a great source for ideas for new ventures and is currently available in printed and/or e-book format at amazon.com. To create opportunities for innovators to meet, Technology Future Inc. also hosted MiniTrends 2013 Conference (2nd Annual Conference) in Austin, TX, focused on the topic of The Integration of Profit & Social Responsibility. Upcoming Minitrends 2014 Conference will take place in Austin, TX during Fall of 2014. This conference  will be attended by visionaries and thought-leaders looking for opportunities not yet widely recognized. To find out more details about Minitrends 2014 Conference, please feel free to contact: (512) 258-8898, or Toll Free (800)TEK-FUTR or email info@tfi.com

If you are some one who is in search of innovative ideas, be it for individuals, small-, medium-, large- size companies, and want to become a master at developing  and/or prospering from such trends, the book “Minitrends” by John H. Vanston with Carrie Vanston may be purchased via amazon.com. If you are looking for events to interact with other innovators and thought-leaders interested in future of technologies, please feel free to go to: www.minitrends.com/contact to find out when and where the 3rd Annual MiniTrends Conference will be held.

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***Sun Is The Future is not connected to nor will benefit from Technology Future Inc. or MiniTrends 2014 Conference***

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~have a bright and sunny day~

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

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via sunisthefuture@gmail.com (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)

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29 March

Skyscrapers As Vertical Solar Farms

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Can you imagine having all of the skyscrapers working as solar farms, producing energy for us?!  My  friends and readers, here is a fantastic concept and product, with a bit of human ingenuity and positive thinking, will help to prove that a Midwest location/city (such as Chicago) can also utilize our beautiful sunshine to enable skyscrapers such as Willis Tower to become a soaring vertical solar farm!  Residents of Greater Chicago area are quite familiar with Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), with its 108-story and previous status as the world’s tallest building  from 1974-1998.

Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) was world’s tallest building from 1974-1998, is poised to become nation’s first vertical solar farm! (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

With the help from people at Pythagoras Solar, a clever window technology/design HD-PVGUS (high-density phtotovoltaic glass unit) is being piloted, using prisms to collect direct sunlight, by having a thin layer of monocrystalline silicon solar cells sandwiched horizontally between two layers of glass to form an individual tile, which acts as a cell.  An internal plastic reflective prism directs angled (direct) sunlight onto the solar cells while allowing diffuse daylight and horizontal (less intense) sunlight through.  The end result is that you will have an attractive view out the window,

Pilot project on South side of the 56th floor of Willis Tower, with an attractive view out of the window, without the glare or heating, while producing electricity on par with rooftop panels (according to Pythagoras Solar). (Source: Pythagoras Solar).

without the glare or heating, while having panel producing electricity on par with rooftop panels (claimed by Pythagoras Solar) .

 

At the moment, the pilot project will begin on the South side of the 56th floor and could grow up to 2 MW in size, comparable to a 10-acre field of solar panels.  I am curious about both the initial and maintenance costs in the long run for a project such as this.  I am also confident that with time and increased consumer demands in the future, both the initial and maintenance costs will continue to drop.  Then, there will be the possibility of                                                                  one day having  all of the nation’s high-rises                                                                 becoming vertical solar farms.

 

Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is poised to become a massive solar electric plant with the installation of a pilot solar PV glass developed by Pythagoras Solar which preserve daylighting and views while reducing heat gain and producing the same energy as a conventional solar panel. The project could grow up to 2 MW, comparable to a 10 acre field of solar panels, turning Willis Tower into a huge vertical solar farm. (Sosurce: Wikimedia Commons).

For more information about Pythagoras Solar PVGU, please check out this site: http://www.pythagoras-solar.com/

 

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage: http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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