World Population


The United Nations reported the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 as India surpasses China to become the largest country. By the end of this century, this figure could increase to more than 11.2 billion. The west African country of Nigeria is expected to be larger than the US by mid-century and become the third most populous country on Earth. Over the next 35 years, half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, the US, Indonesia and Uganda.

On July 25th Germany met 78% of its electricity demand from wind, solar, and other renewable sources, a new national record. Data indicates that of the 61 gigawatts (GW) of consumption that day, wind and solar generated a combined 40.65 G while another 7.25 GW came from biomass and hydro power. The European country’s previous record for renewable energy generated in a single day was in May 2014, with a total of 74%.

France passed legislation requiring the country to obtain 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Nuclear, currently providing 75% of the country’s electricity, will be limited to 50% by 2025. The country presently has 58 nuclear reactors in 19 power stations having a total capacity of 63.2 gigawatts. France also announced it is increasing its carbon tax. Currently standing at €14.50 ($15.90) per tonne, this tax will increase to €22 ($24) in 2016, to €56 ($62) in 2020, and rising to €100 ($110) in 2030.

The European Commission Joint Research Centre said that wind had the capacity to produce 8% of the EU’s electricity needs in 2014. The Centre expects this figure to rise to 12% by 2020. Six countries  – Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Romania and Germany –  had the capacity to generate between 10% and 40% of their electricity demand from wind. (Note that none of these countries had the ability to store this amount of electricity.)

Work has begun on the construction of what will be Europe’s largest energy storage project when it comes online later this year in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. The 10-MW/40-MWh Kilroot Advancion Energy Storage Array is being added to the AES UK & Ireland Kilroot Power Station in County Antrim along Ireland’s east coast. The lithium-ion storage facility will connected to the nation’s electric grid and will help balance supply and demand. It will also enable more efficient dispatch of existing electricity generation and increase the ability to integrate renewable power sources like wind and solar.

Southern African energy ministers said the region should achieve energy sufficiency by 2019, wiping out the present shortfall of 8,247 megawatts (MW) of electricity capacity needed to meet demand. Projects for new power generators already under way would produce an additional 24,062 MW of electricity by 2019. This, plus the rehabilitation of existing power plants, would create an electricity surplus of about 15%. 70% of the new generation capacity is expected to come from renewable energy sources – hydro, wind and solar. There are 15 nations in Southern Africa including South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo.

To the moon in 4 hours?  Interplanetary travel could be a step closer after German scientists confirmed that an electromagnetic propulsion drive developed in the UK, actually works. British inventor Roger Shawyer developed the device over a decade ago. It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel. In recent years NASA has confirmed that they believe it works and this week Martin Tajmar, a professor and chair for Space Systems at Dresden University of Technology in Germany also established that it produces thrust. The drive is capable of producing thrust several thousand times greater than even a photon rocket and could get to Mars within 70 days or Pluto within 18 months. A trip to a nearby star, Alpha Centauri, which would take tens of thousands of years to reach right now, could be reached in just 100 years. However, the science behind the drive is not fully understood. NASA suggests it is possible the technology manipulates subatomic “virtual” particles which constantly pop in and out of existence in empty space (a finding from quantum physics).


em drive

The EM Drive

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