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What do you know about Green Technology?

Green technology covers a wide range of innovations that can increase the efficiency of our energy production and use, while minimizing our impact on the planet. Test your knowledge of seven engineering feats and roadblocks that are affecting our environment.

1

Which of the following are downsides associated with producing solar panels?

Nice Try!

“Many people today view photovoltaics as a panacea for our energy woes, given how dirty most of the alternatives are. But that does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the darker side of this technology. Indeed, we need to consider it very carefully. And just maybe, with a sustained effort by consumers, manufacturers, and researchers, the photovoltaics industry will one day be truly, not just symbolically, green.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

“Many people today view photovoltaics as a panacea for our energy woes, given how dirty most of the alternatives are. But that does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the darker side of this technology. Indeed, we need to consider it very carefully. And just maybe, with a sustained effort by consumers, manufacturers, and researchers, the photovoltaics industry will one day be truly, not just symbolically, green.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

2

Drag created by the turbines limits the amount of kinetic energy that land-based wind farms can extract to about 1.5 MW/km2. How much energy can wind farms in the open ocean extract per square kilometer?

Nice Try!

“The atmosphere is more generous out in the open ocean. There […] wind farms could be packed more tightly, because energy should flow down from above the boundary layer to quickly restore winds depleted by wind turbine rotors. In some regions, such as the North Atlantic, the simulations suggest that large wind farms can extract 6 MW/km2 or more.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

“The atmosphere is more generous out in the open ocean. There […] wind farms could be packed more tightly, because energy should flow down from above the boundary layer to quickly restore winds depleted by wind turbine rotors. In some regions, such as the North Atlantic, the simulations suggest that large wind farms can extract 6 MW/km2 or more.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

3

Hydrogen fuel cell cars are eco-friendly, but adoption has been slow because they can suffer irreversible damage when exposed to temperatures below 0°C. Which of the following engineering areas still needs improvement for them to be useful in cold weather countries?

Nice Try!

“More automotive industrial strategies, including real time methods, need to be developed to predict parking time and energy requirement, reduce energy wastage and increase reliability during subfreezing temperatures. Improved techniques to manage water during shutdown and startup; improved temperature uniformity in the stack during heating; and improved heat utilization, cooling, and humidification techniques are needed. It is important also to improve membrane/cell stability under freeze/thaw cycles and membrane conductivity under low humidity conditions.”

Learn more at IEEE Xplore

You got it right!

“More automotive industrial strategies, including real time methods, need to be developed to predict parking time and energy requirement, reduce energy wastage and increase reliability during subfreezing temperatures. Improved techniques to manage water during shutdown and startup; improved temperature uniformity in the stack during heating; and improved heat utilization, cooling, and humidification techniques are needed. It is important also to improve membrane/cell stability under freeze/thaw cycles and membrane conductivity under low humidity conditions.”

Learn more at IEEE Xplore

4

How much has the price of energy storage via large-scale batteries decreased since 2010?

Nice Try!

“And just as the price of solar energy has dropped over the past decade—for example, a mid-November auction in Mexico for new generating capacity resulted in prices that approached $20/MWh—so, too, has the price of storage. It has fallen by as much as 80 percent since 2010.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

“And just as the price of solar energy has dropped over the past decade—for example, a mid-November auction in Mexico for new generating capacity resulted in prices that approached $20/MWh—so, too, has the price of storage. It has fallen by as much as 80 percent since 2010.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

5

Data centers are notorious for their intensive energy use. What’s the most efficient way to keep one cool?

Nice Try!

“Of course, the colder the surrounding ocean, the better this scheme will work. To get access to chilly seawater even during the summer or in the tropics, you need only put the pods sufficiently deep. For example, at 200 meters’ depth off the east coast of Florida, the water remains below 15 °C all year round.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

“Of course, the colder the surrounding ocean, the better this scheme will work. To get access to chilly seawater even during the summer or in the tropics, you need only put the pods sufficiently deep. For example, at 200 meters’ depth off the east coast of Florida, the water remains below 15 °C all year round.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

6

True or false: the permanent-magnet synchronous machine (PMSM) motors used in the vast majority of electric cars are the best-performing electric motors to date.

Nice Try!

By combining the technology of PMSM motors with salient-pole synchronous machine (SPSM) motors, the resulting motor “is able to produce almost 6 percent more torque and attain 2 percent higher peak efficiency. And in the driving cycle the improvement is even better: It requires 4.4 percent less energy. That means a car that would have gone 100 kilometers on a charge can, with this motor, go 104.4 km.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

By combining the technology of PMSM motors with salient-pole synchronous machine (SPSM) motors, the resulting motor “is able to produce almost 6 percent more torque and attain 2 percent higher peak efficiency. And in the driving cycle the improvement is even better: It requires 4.4 percent less energy. That means a car that would have gone 100 kilometers on a charge can, with this motor, go 104.4 km.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

7

Pumping water uphill to store energy in hydropower reservoirs is far from a new idea. But with the rise of intermittent solar and wind power, this technology could see a revival. Which country has the most pumped storage plants, capable of absorbing and discharging 26 GW of power?

Nice Try!

“In post-Fukushima Japan, these nimble storage plants have a new opportunity to shine: managing the more than 10 GW of solar and other renewable energy capacity that has been installed in Japan since the March 2011 meltdowns and the subsequent idling of the country’s nuclear reactors.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

You got it right!

“In post-Fukushima Japan, these nimble storage plants have a new opportunity to shine: managing the more than 10 GW of solar and other renewable energy capacity that has been installed in Japan since the March 2011 meltdowns and the subsequent idling of the country’s nuclear reactors.”

Learn more at IEEE Spectrum

Nice go! You got right.

Don’t worry, green technologies are called “emerging” for a reason. You’ll get more exposure as they grow. Want to speed up the learning process? Visit https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech for some great introductory reading.

Sounds like you know a thing or two about green technology. Want to learn more? Visit https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech for the latest news.

You have some great knowledge about green technology. If you’re looking for more to read, sign up for alerts on your favorite topic on http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/home.jsp, or browse the latest news on https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech.

You’re a green technology expert. If you’re looking for more to read, sign up for alerts on your favorite topic on http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/home.jsp, or browse the latest news on https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech.

Also, consider joining us at IEEE GreenTech 2018 in Austin, TX from April 4-6. Learn more at http://ieeegreentech.org/.