Nuclear power is a key player in the future of clean energy, and multiple companies are pursuing new technologies to maximize nuclear’s contribution to the clean energy space. Founded in 2011 and based in Cambridge, MA, Transatomic Power is an advanced nuclear technology startup developing and commercializing a molten salt reactor (MSR), or a nuclear reactor whose fuel is in liquid, rather than solid, form. This technology, originally developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960’s, offers multiple safety and cost benefits over traditional nuclear reactors, in which the fuel is in the form of solid pellets cooled by water.
Tranatomic’s MSR design builds on the original work at ORNL and adds a few innovative new features that reduce the reactor’s size and, as a result, it’s cost – a huge factor in building new nuclear power plants. Though the development process is a long one, the world needs a larger capacity for clean energy generation, and it’s this ultimate goal that drives the Transatomic team forward. Continue reading →
Most of Brazil’s offshore resources are in deep waters so Petrobras has fostered substantial expertise to develop these fields. One area of importance is the design of marine vessels to withstand the extreme waves. While the discovery of 50 billion barrels of oil in recent decades has been a boon to Brazil’s economic outlook, the location of the oil has produced challenging engineering problems. Lying hundreds of kilometers offshore under up to 3,000 meters of seawater, 2,000 meters of rock and 2,000 meters of salt, the oil reserves are some of the most difficult to access on Earth. Engineers are systematically using best design practices and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to increase the safety of marine structures and vessels used to drill and produce oil from Santos Basin fields.
Computational fluid dynamics simulation of an FPSO in extreme waves.
In honor of Earth Day, which was celebrated this past weekend, I would like to share my perspective on energy efficiency.
Every month, I receive a home energy usage report from my friendly utility company. I had been puzzled for years why I was using 50 or 60% more energy than my efficient neighbors. At social gatherings, I asked my friends about their energy efficiency numbers and we collectively bemoaned the mysterious efficient neighbors. Who are these people? Do they even heat or cool their homes?
Then last year, I purchased and installed the Nest thermostat. My utility company even pitched in with a price discount offer. Over time my energy usage has declined when compared to my neighbors. The most recent report shows that I used 21% more energy than my efficient neighbors. This is down from 51% in the similar period two years ago. The artificial intelligence algorithms and smart silicon are making a difference! Continue reading →
Sustainable engineering along with process safety is one of the technical tracks in this year’s upcoming Spring meeting of the American Society of Chemical Engineers – March 26-30 San Antonio, TX. The forum covers a range of process design topics, presentations and discussions around environmental initiatives for air, water and soil protection. So, what is sustainability and what are chemical engineers doing about it? Continue reading →
Global prosperity requires reliable energy at a reasonable cost. To meet this demand, the industry is changing the way it produces energy and power, whether it comes from hydrocarbon, nuclear or renewable means. Supplying it requires sustainable development, environmental stewardship, compliance with regulations and cost management. Independent of prices, the industry’s most pressing challenge is cost per unit of energy. Recent layoffs and out-of-the ordinary cuts to capital and operating costs are driving the oil and gas industry to produce energy more efficiently, more safely, and with a smaller carbon footprint. Debate over subsidies, reliability and viability have resulted in accelerated development/deployment and widespread innovation in renewable energy, which includes solar, wind and hydropower, fuel cells, wave and tidal, energy storage, the next generation of fission nuclear reactors and advancements in fusion energy. Continue reading →
Energy systems innovation and sustainable design are key business initiatives in almost every industry sector. And, these initiatives are not only required to meet customer demand for “green products” or to satisfy environmental regulations. Many businesses have realized there is an opportunity to drive new growth with energy innovations. The new issue of ANSYS Advantagehighlights the many ways our customers are delivering these energy innovations by leveraging the power of engineering simulation.
This year has been one of significant milestones for the aviation industry. Two examples are Boeing’s hundredth year and the UK Royal Aeronautical Society’s 150th. Times like this provide a chance to reflect on some of the key technical innovations that have made major contributions to performance, safety, comfort, economy, energy innovation and sustainable design in the industry.Continue reading →
Where I live in New Hampshire, in the northeastern United States, it is mid-autumn. The leaves are especially brilliant this year and fall temperatures have been warm with just a few nights below freezing. We had to turn on the heat recently and will be paying for the additional fuel usage soon. These chilly nights and warm days have me thinking about honeycomb window blinds and the lowest temperature we can all tolerate indoors in an effort to save energy when it truly gets cold. It strikes me that the heating decisions we make at home to optimize for energy efficiency are very similar to the ones engineers working on all kinds of things make everyday. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, I had the honor and privilege of being one of a few invited attendees at the DOE Mission Innovation Workshop on Grid Modernization. The workshop was hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and held at the Energy Innovation Center. Attendees included leaders from the Department of Energy, Pittsburgh city government officials, community and foundation organizations, and representatives from key local industries — including major utilities, electrical system integrators, electrical system manufacturers and technology companies (like ANSYS).
Pittsburgh, and other similar cities, face significant energy and sustainability challenges over the next few years. These challenges stem primarily from the significant disparity in the goals that have been set — as can be seen in the SmartPGH video — and the current state of the grid and industrial equipment. Continue reading →
Energy efficiency, sustainable design and green products are not new concepts but they are increasingly coming to the fore. Of particular recent note was the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting in Paris and the commitment to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.
Why the increased emphasis and urgency? A widespread and growing recognition that our use of Earth’s resources is accelerating at an unsustainable rate, with measurable consequences. Continue reading →