Teaching Energy at Schools

I have come across this article on Wired and thought how important it is to attract students as early as possible to participate in how their schools and high schools and universities later on manage the energy. From s simple knowledge earlier in the curriculum to more advance programs with governance and accountability as students progress. I wonder if such pilots exist in the UAE, where the weather is hot or in Russia, where the winters are severe, and the impact of student energy governance could be so valued.

alternative, economics, electicity, energy, Solar

Tesla Powerwall Explained (mostly to myself)


This is a very subjective post. I was always very keen to know what Tesla Powerwall was, and never actually bothered to read or wiki or youtube about it. Musk made it equals ‘is cool’ means ‘heap’ stands for ‘someday maybe’ really deciphers into ‘not in this part of the world unless one is fabulously well off.’ Summoning my excited pessimism, I have rolled my sleeves up and typed ‘power wall’ in the search bar. Four days later I made it to my laptop again to see ten or twelve tabs all reading tesla power w… A weekend has passed and I made myself find time to read, watch and comprehend.

Then I sketched what I got from all of this (attached).

A) The Sun is needed and conventional grid works well too.

B) PV panels are required too to send DC current to a sleek looking like a model S P85D bonnet cabinet

C) Powerwall either stores or uses electricity.

D) Energy bill is affected: use an off-grid electricity supply from your very own Powerball during peak hours

Internet is a good source till comments start coming along. One is not enough some say. 3.3kW limits the number of appliances used simultaneously. You need to put several batteries together to get a decent household use, they add.

Hey, we might have forgotten: the first iPhone did not record videos too.

The first battery of the kind might be expensive and till date may not be the most practical yet it gives a chance to store your own energy. A user stops just buying a kilowatt that is instantaneously consumed. A user can keep her kilowatt, and if not used, sell it or exchange. This is an economy.



alternative, energy, lighting, renewable

Light Pushes Wind


It’s fascinating to watch colossal wind turbines along the shores of Denmark or fields of the Netherlands. They add sleek extraterrestrial grandeur to a pastoral landscape. A windmill could raise as high as the thirty-storey building and produce up to 3.5 MW of electrical power (enough to power about 430 houses).

Spectacular as the windmills are, the Dutch design practice Studio Roseegaarde, turned a wind farm at Sint Annaland in Zeeland into a light installation. Green (ha, green energy, right!) laser beams fired by a smart tracking device aim at a blade of the next windmill  The device predicts accurate position of the blade and thus a seamless movement is created.

The project WINDLICHT can easily be a Kinderdijk of our connected time.

Video courtesy of Studio Roseegaarde on Vimeo.

alternative, energy, Solar

The UAE Sand to Store Solar Energy

I have already posted about a massive solar plant Shams in the UAE. Today we write about a related news. Masdar Institute informed they have found the possibility to use sand as a medium to store the heat from the solar plant.

Sand can potentially replace synthetic oil and molten salts used in TES (thermal energy storage) systems. The higher working temperature leads to cost reduction of storing and transmitting the energy.

economics, electicity, energy, lighting

1,5 seconds earn you an hour of artificial light

I have stumbled upon an interesting stats while reading Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Lighting folks could make good use of it. Mind it was written in 2010!

Ridley poses a question how much artificial light one can earn with an hour work.

  • Sesame-oil lamp in 1750 BC: more than fifty hours of work
  • Tallow candle in eighteen hundreds: around 6 hours
  • Kerosene lamp in 1880: 15 minutes
  • Incandescent lamp in 1950: 8 seconds
  • Fluorescent lamp on the brink of the first decade of the new millennium: half a second

“From six hours to half a second – a 43,200-fold improvement – for an hour of lighting: that is how much better off you are than your ancestor was in 1800, using the currency that counts, your time,” says the author.

Kudos to Tim Ferriss and Naval Ravikant for a great reading tip.

alternative, dubai, energy, lighting, pavegen

Walk the watts

people on a busy crossroads in shibuya, tokyo, japan - not model released

Hundreds of thousands of footfalls = megawatts of energy

People-generated energy, and this is not a plot of Matrix franchise. in 2009 Lawrence Kemball-Cook, a graduate of Loughborough University, UK, has filed a patent and started up a company Pavegen. The company makes a 600mm x 450 mm tile, its surface of recycled tires. A typical footfall compresses the polymer surface by 5 mm and this motion generates electricity. According to the company’s data, each step could create up to 7W of 12V DC. Technology behind this invention is a guarded secret, but a quick sniff around the web hints it is of the similar nature to piezoelectric effect and induction.

Tiles are waterproof, certified according to British and EU electrical and safety standards. Generated electricity is then stored in a battery, and is activated at required intervals to light up a street, alley or a park. Pavegen stipulates that unlike solar and wind sources, there is no limitation to use a field of tiles within a city limits, and therefore efficiency of an installation is way optimal.

Installing a Pavegen field

Installing a Pavegen field

Paving a busy street in a bustling city is great, but what about the Middle East? Could this technology find its way here? 160 million legs marching through Dubai Mall yearly answer: yes, it could!

Images courtesy of and Pavegen