Monday, May 25, 2009

Spirit of Ireland a Synopsis of the Concept


an attempt to simplify the concept

The Basic Idea.

· The project has been described as the Ardnacrusha (c1929) of today.
· The concept is to utilise Ireland’s endless free energy from the wind – with no pollution – and at no cost to the country.
· To build some 3000 Wind Turbines which will give lots of jobs in the building.

A Hydro-Storage Dam in Wales

· Identify 2 or 3 glacial mountain valleys to be dammed and used for pumped hydro-electric storage of the electricity. Ireland is almost unique in having natural reservoirs with a minimum of dam building needed.
· Turn these newly created waters into amenity and tourist areas. Adding to local development and jobs.
· Generate all our own electricity saving €3billion yearly going out of the country on imported fuels.
· Generate some more electricity than we need and export to UK and Europe.
· Keep Ireland pollution free and energy independent.

How is this to be arranged and managed?

· Currently there is an ad-hoc organising committee of 100% unpaid volunteers giving freely of their time and energy. It consists of engineers, scientists, accountants and others with knowledge and ability.
· The project concept needs to brought fully into the public consciousness and to be openly and co-operatively discussed by the people of Ireland.
· In the way forward there will be roadblocks, there will be vested interests, political football, localised objections, and dozens of difficulties to be overcome.

· If the People of Ireland embrace the idea it will live and prosper as did the Ardncrusha project at the birth of the State. If, on the other hand, the idea is rejected, or it gets bogged down in legislation or argument, it will die.
· If the project gets up and going, there will be a PLC formed which the people of Ireland will own 100%. It will act as a National Energy Co-operative.
· It will be open for subscription to all Irish citizens and will NOT be traded on the stock market.
· Every child in Ireland under 18 will be issued a share.
· The company will operate on behalf of the Irish People - its sole owners.
· The ownership will always remain in Irish hands.
· The project will be kept free of political interference, and out of the hands of investment corporations.

How will it progress?

· It is up to the Irish people. If the people embrace the idea it will proceed, creating a huge boost to the economy and to jobs. It has been described as the Ardnacrusha c1929 of today.
· If the people reject it will fade away.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spirit of Ireland an Idea of it's Time


Personally, I am very excited and energised by the recent "Spirit of Ireland" energy proposal. I have been doing some research into aspects of the proposal and of the organisation, and will publish here soon a synopsis of:

(a) What exactly is proposed.
(b) The structure of the current project management.
(c) The proposed evolution of the project, ownership, funding etc. and
(d) An outline of the philosophy behind the entire proposal and how this might pan out in the future.

This exercise is more about my own need for clarification than for any other reason. I am open to correction on any misinformation that might creep into the post. Give me a few days to get to publishing stage.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Spirit of Ireland


Re-Birth of Irish Initiative
or just
Pie in the Sky?

I am sure many of you will have by now heard of the “Spirit of Ireland” energy initiative which was launched just over a week ago by Graham O’Donnell, an electronics engineer, who has personally funded the launch of this worthy idea.

Ireland the land of “Rip Off” of “Gombeeen Men” of the “Brown Envelope Politics” of the “Nod and a Wink Strategy” with our Government behaving like rabbits caught in the headlamps, could well do with a galvanising co-operative initiative of some sort.

I congratulate Graham and his colleagues for taking this very brave step and wish the initiative every success, why wouldn't I, we will all benefit if it works. I recommend you take a look at the website and consider the proposals.

Some Serious Questions.

I do have some serious questions, not so much about the proposed engineering strategies, which are way beyond my ability to evaluate, but about the structure and strategies of an organisation that would aim to manage such a vast undertaking.

While applauding the initiative and wishing it every success, I have made my concerns known to “Spirit of Ireland”.

Posted on “Spirit of Ireland”

Before I could fully subscribe to any project, club, or organisation, there are a number of questions I would feel I have to ask regarding its structure. I have outlined here a set of basic questions about "Spirit of Ireland", by no means comprehensive, which I am hoping can be directly addressed and fully answered. That answers may not as yet exist for some of the posed question might indicate a lack of planning in the most fundamental foundation of the movement, and could well mitigate against its ultimate success.

I offer these questions in a constructive spirit, not implying criticism or in any way acting subversively.

1. What is the status of the named “Team” in "Spirit of Ireland"?
2. Who owns what?
3. Who makes policy and decisions?
4. How are working decisions made?
5. Who is in charge of what, what structure has the management?
6. How does someone get on the management team?
7. How does someone get sent off the management team?
8. Who gets paid for what, and who doesn’t?
9. Constitution of “Spirit of Ireland”, can we see a copy?
10. What organisational policies exist to date, and how flexible are these?
11. What planned projects exist to date, apart from the wind-hydro idea on the site, and are they set in stone or open to consultation?
12. What are the general rules for members?
13. What is the legal position of “Spirit of Ireland”?
14. How are projects to be funded?
15. What are the responsibilities implied by taking membership?

Some Published Opinions.

Other people with views and reservations, both technical and organisational, have voiced their opinions:

An opinion published in the Irish Times by Ray Kinsella.

Michael Hennigan of Finfacts 12th May 2009 has some strong views:

Professor Philip Walton Galway has some serious technical issues with the “Spirit of Ireland” Wind-Hydro proposal.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New NanoTechnology Light Emitters


A New Way to Make Light?

I have been writing posts for some time about developments in LED (Light emitting Diode) and other forms of energy efficient lighting. While LEDs hold great promise, there are IMHO some fundamental technical limitations in the current technology.

Current LEDs are (1) not capable of matching halogen lamps in really high light output, (2) have poor colour stability, (3) produce too much heat, (4) are expensive to produce because of the need of special heat sinks, (5) are unstable in light output - again mainly because of heat and the colour dyes added, and (6) are as yet relatively inefficient.

All that may be about to change because of a recent discovery in the core science of light production at a molecular level.

Following is a very interesting article outlining this new science. It is reproduced in full with written permission from the on-line journal of the University of Rochester.

May 10, 2009

New Nanocrystals Show Potential for Cheap Lasers, New Lighting

For more than a decade, scientists have been frustrated in their attempts to create continuously emitting light sources from individual molecules because of an optical quirk called "blinking," but now scientists at the University of Rochester have uncovered the basic physics behind the phenomenon, and along with researchers at the Eastman Kodak Company, created a nanocrystal that constantly emits light.

The findings, detailed online in today's issue of Nature, may open the door to dramatically less expensive and more versatile lasers, brighter LED lighting, and biological markers that track how a drug interact with a cell at a level never before possible.

Many molecules, as well as crystals just a billionth of a meter in size, can absorb or radiate photons. But they also experience random periods when they absorb a photon, but instead of the photon radiating away, its energy is transformed into heat. These "dark" periods alternate with periods when the molecule can radiate normally, leading to the appearance of them turning on and off, or blinking.

Heat v/s Light

"A nanocrystal that has just absorbed the energy from a photon has two choices to rid itself of the excess energy—emission of light or of heat," says Todd Krauss, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester and lead author on the study. "If the nanocrystal emits that energy as heat, you've essentially lost that energy."

Krauss worked with engineers at Kodak and researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory and Cornell University to discover the new, non-blinking nanocrystals.

Krauss, an expert in nanocrystals, and Keith Kahen, senior principal scientist of Kodak and an expert in optoelectronic materials and devices, were exploring new types of low-cost lighting similar to organic light-emitting diodes, but which might not suffer from the short lifespans and manufacturing challenges inherent in these diodes. Kahen, with help from Megan Hahn, a postdoctoral fellow in Krauss' laboratory, synthesized nanocrystals of various compositions.

Xiaoyong Wang, another postdoctoral fellow in Krauss laboratory, inspected one of these new nanocrystals and saw no evidence of the expected blinking phenomenon. Remarkably, even after four hours of monitoring, the new nanocrystal showed no sign of a single blink—unheard of when blinks usually happen on a scale of miliseconds to minutes.

After a lengthy investigation, Krauss and Alexander Efros from the Naval Research Laboratory concluded that the reason the blinking didn't occur was due to the unusual structure of the nanocrystal. Normally, nanocrystals have a core of one semiconductor material wrapped in a protective shell of another, with a sharp boundary dividing the two. The new nanocrystal, however, has a continuous gradient from a core of cadmium and selenium to a shell of zinc and selenium. That gradient squelches the processes that prevent photons from radiating, and the result is a stream of emitted photons as steady as the stream of absorbed photons.

Incredibly Cheap LEDs and Lasers?

With blink-free nanocrystals, Krauss believes lasers and lighting could be incredibly cheap and easy to fabricate. Currently, different color laser light is created using different materials and processes, but with the new nanocrystals a single fabrication process can create any color laser. To alter the light color, an engineer needs only to alter the size of the nanocrystal, which Krauss says is a relatively simple task.

The same is true of what could one day be OLED's successor, says Krauss. Essentially, "painting" a grid of differently sized nanocrystals onto a flat surface could create computer displays as thin as paper, or a wall that lights a room in any desired color.

This research was funded by the Eastman Kodak Company, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the University of Rochester Center for Electronic Imaging Systems, the Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems, the Office of Naval Research, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

CONTACT: Jonathan Sherwood EMail:


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Regenysis, Plurion the Big Battery Burn-out?


An Update on Vanadium Batteries

I recently received a letter from Barry Walsh with some update news on the Big Battery business - Plurion et al. Thank you very much Barry for your interesting input. Barry has allowed me to publish as is - so here you are:

Hi Tony,
My name is Barry Walsh and I just wanted to say your blog is a great source of solid info, and cheers for putting it together.

I'm involved in some research into Energy Storage at the moment and have been following the Regenysis - VRB Power - Bust saga and some of the entertaining Plurion banter on your blog. I thought it might be relevant to that it seems there is a new buyer of the IP.Prudent Energy of China owned by JD Holdings

Vanadium batteries are becoming a poisoned chalice, so I hope they make some progress! Just thought I'd let you know,

Best Regards,
Barry Walsh

Hi Barry - Many thanks for your email. I am always very happy to receive input to the blog. I would like to publish your letter as is. Is it OK to print your name or do you wish to be anonymous?

Regards and thanks,
Tony McGinley

Hi Tony, Sure no worries, just glad to be getting involved - someone might know some more about it. I personally am interested in seeing energy storage developments, as its clear Grid 25

- wont come in time to save many of the wind projects that are being held up, and even if the Eirgrid do sort things out quicker than expected there are still load levelling issues that will require energy storage tech.

It will be an interesting race by the looks of it - and there are some interesting talkers at the ESA meeting in Washington in May. Anyone, I'm sure I'll be talking to you again,

Thanks and Regards,
Barry Walsh.