Elon Musk's Hyperloop breaks ground
California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is poised to begin laying the groundwork for the Hyperloop, a futuristic steel tube transportation system that would shuttle passengers at speeds of 1,200 kilometers per hour (almost 750 mph). “So at the beginning of 2016, we will break ground on Quay Valley," a proposed renewable-energy-fueled city in King's County, California, said Dirk Ahlborn, the company's CEO. "It’s an 8-kilometer track."
A pioneering work that could change the face of public transportation — and the stuff of dreams and science fiction — the Hyperloop system was introduced by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Ahlborn, who has taken the idea and run with it, said the system would be safe, cheap and environmentally friendly. "It’s 100 percent solar-powered — that’s basically the invention here,” he said. And, best of all, it’ll be fast. “We’re not going to get up to 760 miles an hour, but we believe we can actually break the records that are existing right now,” Ahlborn said.
This means that the four-hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, for example, could someday take only 30 minutes by Hyperloop.
The system involves a series of capsules that hover inside a long tube, so they do not need to travel along tracks. It has been designed to run above or below ground.
“Inside the tube you create a low-pressure environment very similar to an airplane that’s at high altitudes," Ahlborn said. "So now the capsule traveling inside the tubes doesn’t encounter as much resistance, and therefore can travel really fast with very little energy.”
Ahlborn will use the short track in Quay Valley to work out the best way to handle passenger traffic and capsule maintenance, all while securing the estimated $6 billion to $10 billion needed to build at a larger scale.
If Ahlborn and his company succeed in making this dream a reality, we may one day see these lighting-fast Hyperloop pods zip through tubes all around the world.
Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project
UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank.
Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”
Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase.
During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives.
“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added.
Facts about solar energy
- Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
- The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
- China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone.