Posts Tagged 'Electricity Production'

The Power of “Cabin Porn”: Producing and Consuming Electricity in Norwegian Leisure Cabins

Finn Arne Jørgensen
Rice Hall 128
University of Virginia
September 20, 2012, 3:30-5:00pm

The somewhat speculative phrase “cabin porn” reflects a growing international interest in cabins, shedworking, and rustic, exurban living off the grid – most of it romanticizing rural and low-tech lifestyles. A number of books, magazines, and websites (the most popular of the latter named simply “Cabin Porn”) encourage people to explore their inner Thoreau at their own cabin. The cabin has become an arena where people try to work out their ambivalent relationship to technology and all the bothersome things of modern life (including other people). The history of Norwegian cabins demonstrates what happens when this dream of more authentic living at the cabin comes true – very often, our wish for simplicity and comfort becomes a spearhead for technological upgrades. This talk will examine the question of electricity generation at the cabin, particularly focusing on the complex negotiations between consumers, commercial interests, property developers, available technological infrastructure (i.e. “the grid”), and cultural values about cabin living. The history of the Norwegian leisure cabin thus gives us insight into the unintended technological consequences of the dream of a simple life in nature.

Finn Arne Jørgensen is an assistant professor in history of technology and environment at Umeå University, Sweden, and a former visiting researcher at the UVA STS Department (2005-06). His first book, Making a Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2011. In this STS colloquium talk, he will present parts of his research on the history of the Norwegian leisure cabin, situating it within a larger international discussion of environment, technology, and society.

Control of Large Wind Turbines

Please attend the Lockheed-Martin sponsored ASSET seminar in Thornton Hall, Room E316, the University of Virginia, at 3:00 PM on Friday September 14, 2012.

Prof. Mark Balas, “Control of Large Wind Turbines: It Doesn’t Take a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows”

Abstract: The next generation of utility-scale wind turbines will be larger and more flexible than earlier designs to promote greater energy capture and reduce the cost of energy.  It is here that the implementation of active feedback control is crucial to meet design objectives.  Not only must there be power regulation or optimization but also load mitigation to extend the life of the turbine.  Wind turbine dynamics modeling for active control is composed of four principal parts: (1) Aerodynamics and Inflow Behavior (2) Structural Dynamics (3) Feedback Control Algorithms and (4) Power Electronics.  Active control is a relatively new technology for wind turbines.  Basic control theory used in this talk is linear time-invariant and periodic control using disturbance accommodation, but with a strong connection to the aerodynamics and structural dynamics of wind turbines.  This talk will be a non-specialist’s tutorial on control of large wind turbines but will also introduce our adaptive control work in this research area.  I hope, when we are done, no one will ever be able to “kick sand in your face” about utility-sized wind turbine control.

This seminar is a great opportunity to broaden your base of knowledge, which can help spark new ideas in your own research, and could be invaluable in job interviews.  The Q&A based Fireside Chat session will be useful to learn best-current practices. Plan some questions for this distinguished faculty member.

More info:

Malathi Veeraraghavan

Professor, Charles L. Brown Dept. of Elec. & Comp. Engineering University of Virginia


1-203-904-3724 (cell)

APPA Student Research Grants/Internships

FROM:             Michele Suddleson, DEED Program Manager, American Public Power Association

It is my pleasure to inform you that the American Public Power Association (APPA) awards student research grants/internships each year to university students as part of its Demonstration of Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) Program.  APPA is the service organization for the nation’s community-owned electric utilities.  DEED is APPA’s research program that funds innovative, energy related research.

Please assist us in notifying your students about our opportunities by posting copies of our student flyer in prominent locations at your university, sending out on appropriate university list servers, and providing copies of the notice to your university’s student financial aid office.  Below is a brief synopsis of the scholarships we offer.

Ten  $4,000 Student Research Grants/Internships

Ten $4,000 student research grants/internships are awarded each year to undergraduate/graduate university students to conduct research on a project/internship in conjunction with a DEED member utility or as part of the students’ curriculum requirements if approved by a DEED member.  A mid-project report, final report, and abstract are required.  A sample Grant/Internship application can be found here.

Annual Application Deadlines: February 15 and October 15

One $5,000 Technical Design Project (Research Grant)

DEED awards one Technical Design Project each year to a student or group of students studying in an energy related discipline.  This grant is geared towards engineering students working on their senior project.  The student(s) academic advisor must approve the project and a mid-project report, final report, and abstract are required.  Travel expenses (up to $3,000) are also included in this grant for the student(s) to present their work at APPA’s Engineering and Operations Technical Conference held each spring.  A sample Technical Design Project application can be found here.

Annual Application Deadline:  October 15

Applications offered here are only to be used as a sample of the questions and information that will be required as we are launching a on-line application process January 3, 2012.

For more information connect to DEED’s scholarship information on APPA’s DEED website, or contact DEED program staff at 202-467-2960 or


Milking the System for All It’s Worth

HP Seeks To Power Data Centers With Cow Manure.

The Times (UK) (5/23, Dey) reported Hewlett-Packard “is working on plans to power its data centres using energy generated from cow manure.” Company researchers “want to build computer warehouses on dairy farms where they would be hooked up to power plants fuelled by waste.” According to the article, “just one cow produces enough waste every day to power the televisions in three typical households. A large dairy farm, with about 10,000 cows, produces enough to run one of the firm’s typical data centres and meet the energy needs of the farmer, the HP scientists believe. If it works, the scheme could potentially solve two of the world’s looming environmental problems at a stroke:” the disposal of farm waste and large amounts of energy needed to cool off data centers.

Squeezing Out More Power

Piezoelectric Material Harvests Record Amount Of Energy.

Technology Review (1/29) reports, “Researchers at Princeton University have created” a piezoelectric material that “can harness 80 percent of the energy applied when it is flexed–four times more than existing flexible piezoelectric materials.” The researchers used PZT, “the most efficient piezoelectric material known, but its crystalline structure means that it must be grown at high temperatures, which normally melt a flexible substrate. The Princeton researchers, led by mechanical engineering professor Michael McAlpine, got around this by making PZT at high temperatures and then transferring thin ribbons of the material onto silicone.” The researchers are particularly focused on biomedical applications.

The above reposted from the January 29, 2010 issue of ASEE First Bell.

Sustainable Energy Future Speaker Series

A Strategic Perspective on the “Biology” of Smart Grid by Clement Chen

Smart grid is commonly viewed as the “internetization” of the electric power system that promises to help enable a sustainable energy future.  The question that is not often asked is what happens when millions of new entities join the grid as “micro” utilities and start interacting with an infrastructure that is becoming highly networked with ever-increasing automation.  This trend points to an environment that may become increasingly “biological” and lend itself to unintended consequences.

This talk will occur on Friday October 9, 2009 at 3 PM in room 205 of the Mechanical Engineering Building.  The event is free and everyone is invited to attend.  Refreshments will be served.

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