the blog of TECNOPOLIS.EU

an italian forum about Science & Technology (english version coming soon)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

hand-wrist PC

From Italy a nice invention: Zypad (290 g) the first "hand wrist PC ".

Company producer: Eurotech, based in Udine, North Italy.

Compatible with Windows CE or Linux.
Internal memory (Flash): 64 MB.
Great connectivity: Bluetooth, Wlan, Gsm , peer to peer.

Applications: thought to support logistic (from check-in in airports to police) and business.

more here

[Source: Eurotech, la Repubblica]

Monday, June 12, 2006

the Conference Bike

Dear All,

what about this funny invention? 7 persons as "energy source" for a bike..

it is not a joke and the "Conference Bike" is spreading across Europe

His Inventor, Eric Staller, is a creative designer from Holland.

Well done!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Google catalyst to democracy?

Google´s co-founder Sergey Brin (left side in the photo - the other is Mr. Larry Page,) said this week that the Internet company's self-censorship approach in China should be revised. [IHT]

Google is a model of tecnocracy and progress (at least for me:). I very much appreciate these clever Google-people getting quoted and celebrated form the International Herald Tribune, Political and Financial Institutions besides other "respectable" persons..
I think, THEY really deserve what they achieved.They were and are CREATORS, they really add something to mankind. They definitvely gained a place in history of progress.

Nevertheless, why is Google getting so much criticism? (or Cina-Google:) is "self-censored", that means that if you write combination of words like "
Tiananmen massacre," for example, it shows 826,000 results on, compared with 441 hits on

The problem of politically correct behavior in Cina being a multinational company is quite complex and before getting upset against Google you have to consider other factors:

1) is available in Cina parallel to
Brin said that only 1 percent of Chinese surfers use the censored site. But the .com site is frequently slow and intermittently inaccessible inside China. Interesting would be a comment from Cina..
3) Google is a big notorious company ok, but still remains a company and not an institution.
Google has the holy rights to decide what is the better strategy for him with regard to the law..Why we should make Google guilty if such laws vary from country to country?

Now Brin&Co. press toward democracy..That´s the point! That is to be appreciated!!!
They could not do it at the begin..for me it's easy to is like entering the home someone you don´t know..first of all respect him and his law..

I think China's hard pathway to real democracy is taking some time (as well as from politocracy to tecnocracy all around the world...:) but it is historically unavoidable..and Google could act as a catalyst..

great Google-Guys!!

PS: comment from Cina or Cinese peaple are welcome..

See you..B.

[Source : International Herald Tribune]
[Picture: Google]

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Power of Sun

The major obstacle for spreading solar energy is the low conversion efficiency into electrical power (at the present 10-15%). This together with high energetics cost to build solar systems makes Solar Energy an option with low EROEI and high costs pro KWh.

But the sector is booming for R&D and the convinience of solar power will probably increase in the next 5 years. The target is an increase in efficiency up to 30/40% and EROEI about 10:1

I report here some interesting and promising projects around the world:

- Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plants -
"CSP plants use different kinds of mirror configurations to convert the sun's energy into high-temperature heat. The heat energy is then used to generate electricity in a steam generator" -USA Department of Energy
three types of CSP technologies are currently being developed:

CSP 1- Trough Systems - the most successful and cost-effective CSP system design at present.
Take a look at the SEGS system a 330 MW thermal CSP plant based in California:

CSP 2 -dish/engine systems,

CSP3 - power towers/heliostat - array of flat, moveable mirrors to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower. Energy trasnferred via Liquid Sodium (metal with a high heat capacity, allowing that energy to be stored and drawn off throughout the evening).
A 100 MW Solar Power Tower in South Africa:

- CSP units for direct conversion into electricity (without steam generation)
They concetrate solar energy reflecting it on a small PV cell. The most advanced version used 2 PV cells (one with silicium , one with InGaP) adsorbing diacroic separated radiatiation from the mirror improving efficiency (each PV cell is optimazed for a given spectrum of the source radiation). This project is carried on from Univ. of Ferrara / Physics Dep. and SGS-Future
[ - this source is in Italian]

[Pictures: 1.cristinevadai (USA), 2 ips-solar (USA),3 monsterdesign (korea), 4 sgs-future(Italy)]

Monday, June 05, 2006

EROEI - measure for "real" energy gain

Before review some other issues about energy, I want to highlight the very important concept of:

EROEI: “energy return on energy invested” = Er/Ei

The measurement of EROEI is a valuable tool for really understand the "value"of a potential energy source and make comparison among different energy sources.
This method is more affordable than pure price-comparison because the price for a given energy source can quickly change in one day while the Er, Ei and EROEI change as slow as history do (years or decades).

Let´s try to understand how EROEI works with a classical example: petroleum.

How much energy is there in a liter of gasoline? about 30 MJ (mega joule).
But what about the amount of energy spent in order to get this liter of gasoline?
something about 3 MJ, so that EROEI for petroleum today is 10:1.

But this answer has changed in history: at the begin of 1900 only 0,3 MJ and EROEI for petroleum was 100:1, ten times more!!

This big difference is easily to understand: finding new sources of oil and extracting it is became "energetically" more and more expensive. This is because the size of the oil fields is shrinking, the depth at which oil is being found is growing deeper, and the quality of the oil that is being pumped is decreasing.

Let´s take a look at the EROEI estimates nowadays for the most common energy source (this can vary depending on the technology used):

[source: Energy Bulletin]:

Biodiesel- 3:1
Coal- 1:1 to 10:1
Ethanol- 1.2:1
Natural Gas- 1:1 to 10:1
Hydropower- 10:1
Hydrogen- 0.5:1
Nuclear- 4:1
Oil- 1:1 to 100:1
Oil Sands- 2:1
Solar PV - 1:1 to 10:1
Wind - 3:1 to 20:1

FYI: in order to make an investment it is normally requested EROEI > 1 from a company

see you soon!

[source: a lot of information are taken from this very good article of Dana Visalli from the Energy Bulletin: D.Visalli - D.Visalli - Getting a decent return on your energy investment - En. Bullettin 12 Apr 2006 ]

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Global Warming (part I)

[Picture source: NOOA]

The major german journal, "Süddeutsche Zeitung"
reported yesterday about Global Warming in his first page after recent alarm addressed from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Fedre (European Foundation for the Development of the Regions) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization).

Most scientists around the world predict the Earth will warm by 1.4 - 5.8C by 2100.

Here a nice multimedia resource from BBC to explain such phenomenon: BBC-Guide to climate change

Most scientists blame human activities to increase the amounts of certain gases responsible for "green effect" and then Global Warming.
But some of them, the most from USA, like Prof. R. Lindzen (MIT-Boston) disagree.
This debate is so hot and huge that I prefer to post some links about it. I will read them carefully in these days and report on them in part 2. (alarming) (alarming) (sceptic) (neutral) (pro GW) (sceptic) (list of pubs of Prof. Linzen)

“Global warming could offer the answer to the water scarcity problem that the Worldwatch Institute has been seeking.” David Ridenour, National Policy Analysis #165

“Katrina ‘s real real name is Global Warming." Ross Gelbspan , Boston Globe Tuesday