Archive for July, 2011

How is wind power harvested by wind turbines?

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Electrician and enery trades schools are located all over the world. They offer electrician training programs and apprenticeships to train students in the field of electricity and energy. One goal of these schools is to fulfill the need for advanced energy technology. Anything from construction electrician to power plant workers and even installers are available in this field. Electrician and enery trades schools also prepare their students to pass the necessary exams for certification. They train students to specialize in traditional or alternative forms of energy. Examples of traditional forms of energy are nuclear power, electricity, fossil fuels including gas, diesel fuel and oil. Examples of alternative forms of energy are solar, methane, ethanol and wind.

Wind can be used as solar energy and is created by the uneven heating of the atmosphere and irregularities of the earth surface. Vegetative cover, the earth’s terrain and bodies of water are factors that moderate air movement, also known as wind flow. Wind power is harvested using wind turbines on wind farms both on and off shore. Electricity is generated using wind which can be used for specific task or as general power. It can also be stored in a generator and used to power businesses, schools and homes.

Wind power’s main component is wind turbines. Wind is categorized in wind power density classes, ranging from class 1, which is the lowest, to class 7, the highest. Wind turbines consist of the blade, also known as the rotor, drive train and the tower. The blades contain the drive train which is supported by the tower, baring the resemblance to a windmill. Other equipment such as controls, electrical cables, interconnection and ground support equipment is needed for the turbine to function properly.

There are two turbine types, horizontal and vertical axis. The horizontal turbine is similar to traditional wind mills used when pumping water and the vertical turbine is more eggbeater style. Wind turbines are available in many sizes. They can be as tall as a twenty story building with their blades running as long as a football field or as small as thirty feet with blades as small as eight and twenty five feet. The larger turbines can power electricity for approximately 1,400 homes and some of the smaller ones are big enough to supply a single home.

Wind turbines are designed to create energy using the wind. They work when the wind blows, causing the blades to turn, which spins a shaft that is connected to a generator, creating electricity. The electricity can then be used to power anything. The uses for electricity created by wind power are endless. Solar energy from the wind is generated on wind farms. Multiple wind turbines grouped together creating a power plant of energy is known as a wind farm.

Currently there are five regions possessing wind farms Australia, China, United States, Canada and European Union. In the United States there are seven on shore wind farms and four off shore. Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and Kansas have on shore wind farms. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Atlantic Wind Connection have off shore wind farms which are located in bodies of water. On shore wind farms are usually located on a block of land that contains a multitude of wind turbines. Despite the wind turbines, the land can be utilized for agricultural purposes. Electricity from these on and off shore farms are harvested in bulk and distributed to customers.

*Infographic from Good

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Electricians and the Energy Star

Friday, July 29th, 2011

There it is. That little icon that screams at you from electronics – maybe even more so than the price tag. It’s the Energy Star sticker in all its cursive glory. As part of our country’s big sweep of environmental conservation efforts, the Energy Star rating is backed by the government as a measure for energy-efficient products that save consumers money without sacrificing quality and reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions.

Why do you care? Well, if you’re a tree-hugger, the answer should be obvious – yay, Earth! And if you’re frugal, again – obvious. Saving money! But now, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has raised the bar on, well, itself, by establishing a higher-level Energy Star rating for the top performing efficient appliances and electronics. These are the companies that exceed the minimum qualifications for the certification by a high percentage.

The EPA revises specifications periodically for multiple reasons, including:

  • When products meeting qualifications in a particular category exceed 50%
  • Changes in federal minimum efficiency standards
  • Technological changes with advances in energy efficiency
  • Product availability
  • Significant issues with consumer energy saving expectations
  • Performance or quality issues
  • Test procedure issues

Revising specifications also means that electricians need to be on the ball (On the star?) with installation, repair and maintenance techniques. To do that, they need good electrician schools and/or on-the-job electrician training. They’ll learn proper ways to check that clients are getting the most out of their energy-efficient appliances, including heating and air conditioning units. This preemptive maintenance includes checking thermostat settings; tightening connections; lubricating moving parts; checking and inspecting the condensate drain; checking system controls; cleaning evaporator and condenser coils; checking refrigerant levels; cleaning and adjusting blower components; and checking gas or oil connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchangers.

Phew! That’s quite a list, right? Knowing how to properly complete these tasks will ensure that electricians are providing quality service to their clients, and they can learn how to do this through electrician training from a good school. If you’re interested in learning more about the Energy Star rating or how to become an electrician, visit or search for electrician schools here!

Electronics vs. Gadgets: What the Nontraditional Student Really Needs for College

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Is an iPad the best computing solution for a nontraditional student? With all the claims on a self supporting student’s budget would it be better to choose an inexpensive netbook, or is the investment required for a top-of-the-line desktop or laptop worth the sacrifices required in other areas?A college career does require some electronics. Today’s tight budgets mean that redundant functions and flashy toys are undesirable. Advances in technology have turned some one-time necessities into useless dinosaurs. Savvy shoppers can get the capabilities they need without spending a lot by applying a few simple principles.
This is one area in which nontraditional students have a decided advantage. Unless the computer actually has to go to class, a live at home student does not need the portability and small size of the laptops that dorm-based classmates will use. For the same price as an inexpensive netbook, one can find a very nice desktop with far more capability. Even more savings can be realized by purchasing reconditioned equipment. If the student only needs to organize research and write papers, a web based discounter can supply a perfectly usable desktop for as little as $100, assuming the student already has a monitor, keyboard and mouse. While the software supplied may not be the newest version, it will still work, or it can be replaced with an up to date Linux distribution for only the cost of the download.Students working in the sciences will require more in the way of computing power and should expect to spend a little more. Artists and film students are a special case, since they may need specific versions of specific software to prepare their projects. They will have to bite the bullet and buy a full featured Macintosh laptop. However, this computer will likely be useful throughout the early stages of their careers, and so should be regarded as a long-term investment.NETBOOKS
Taking the laptop computer to the extreme results in the netbook, an inexpensive device designed to check email, access social media and not do much more. College often takes a lot more from a computer, so the suitability of a netbook as a primary computing device should be carefully evaluated. As a secondary device intended strictly to go to class and labs, take notes and log data, a netbook can be very suitable. They are available reconditioned from discounters and on auction sites for as little as $100. This means a careful shopper can have a powerhouse desktop at home and a netbook for class for less than the average student spends on an underpowered new laptop.

While there is no denying that tablet computers are the height of cool, they cannot be regarded as a necessity. They are designed as multimedia outlets, not workhorses. While a single course that requires only light typing may be completed on a tablet, more functionality can be had for less cost using almost any other computing platform. A student on a budget should eschew tablets unless involved in a computer science curriculum focused on how to manage and program them.

Most nontraditional students probably already have a phone of some sort. Upgrading it to a smartphone is probably a good educational move, particularly if the student prefers not to use a netbook. Many of the same functions, such as email, a still and video camera and web access can be had on a phone. They can also perform GPS functions. Students should evaluate the functionality and decide which better meets the needs of their educational goals.

Inexpensive flash drives make it simple to transport data from one computer to another. Many printers will print files directly from such drives. It is even possible to boot from a flash drive and run an operating system that has nothing to do with the one installed on the computer’s hard drive, which can be a lifesaver in case of hard drive failure. Since these devices usually cost less than $20, they represent very good value for money.

Computers do crash, so critical data should be backed up. Most modern computers come equipped with CD or DVD burners that will handle small amounts of data. More massive data blocks can be stored on external hard disk drives. Another alternative is cloud storage, which amounts to paying for the right to store data on someone else’s computer, usually in a geographically distant area. Before spending any money, however, investigate your school’s policies. Some offer free data storage for actively enrolled students.

The Quest to Power Africa

Monday, July 25th, 2011
A pursuit for energy development in a land where natural resources are waiting to be discovered and explored have yet to be started. Africa has a vast energy reservoir from its natural resources such as solar, hydro, wind, wave, wood, geothermal, coal and uranium that has remained idle for ages. Consequently, people have scarcity of usage because of the continent’s lack of energy production. What will it take to make this quest for power a planned action for energy and technology development for the future for Africa? People coming from electrician and energy trade schools see this as a great challenge.

Africa has the highest concentration of scarcity in electrical power but it has one of the top sources of electricity, which could have been utilized if discovered and tapped. The country remains to have one of the lowest per capita energy consumption in any continent because of this scarcity. Another interesting fact is that more than 90% of people in 11 regions of Africa live without electricity. This means that if this 587 million people in Africa get to have electricity in their households, the people coming from electrician and energy trade schools will have the opportunity not only to increase their revenue but to improve the lives of the people living in these regions. Those who have been educated in electrician and energy trade schools know these challenging facts. And through electrician and energy trades training conducted, people will have the access to discover and see for themselves the challenge of renewable energy in Africa.

If you have gone through electrician and energy trades training and explore further, you will discover that Africa possesses 18% of the total recoverable uranium in the world yet it generates only 5% from this resource. Look deeper and you will recognize that Africa needs a sector that will enhance and explore this remaining percentage in order to generate more power for its people. From the estimated 900 million people in Africa, only an about 800 kwh consumption of electricity has been recorded to date.

What does Africa need to utilize its energy sources? You. It needs people who have the positive outlook to renew the face of power generation in Africa. It needs innovation to see the results and not the scarcity. People coming from electrician and energy trades training will have the chance to show their acquired knowledge and skills. What Africa needs is a future with power to sustain and further its development for the future.


*Infographic from Good

What Source of Energy is Best?

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

What source of energy is best?
There are multiple ways of powering our appliances, heating and cooling our houses and illuminating our lives. Coal has been around for years and is currently one of the cheapest methods of generating power because it is plentiful. Coal is burned to produce heat which is then converted to power. Coal is not very efficient, it is not renewable and it pollutes the environment.

Natural gas is also used to create electricity, although it has its drawbacks as well. A major limitation to natural gas is the storage and transportation of natural gas. Natural gas must be stored until the incinerator is ready to burn it, however the gas takes up a massive amount of space. Large tanks are used, or in many cases the gas is stored in a underground cavern where some gas had been trapped in the past. Natural is cleaner than coal, but it still emits pollution.

Nuclear power generation has been out of favor for some time now. Following a few high profile nuclear disasters, it has been difficult to get a nuclear project approved. Nuclear is relatively efficient and clean if you do not consider the radioactive waste that must be stored for a thousand years. Unfortunately, you can not ignore the waste and health hazards that nuclear power presents.

Hydro-electric has been billed as the cleanest, most efficient and best method of generating power. Without addressing the merits of that statement, you have to have a river to harness and an area large enough to store a massive amount of water in. Then there are factors such as the amount of rainfall and snow each year and transmission of power over long distances. Electricity must be pushed through transmission lines. When the distance traveled is far, a considerable amount of electricity is lost.

Although renewable energy sources have their drawbacks, none of them pollute the environment. Additionally, once renewal energy plants are built, it takes very little effort and labor to keep them running. By definition, we will never run out of sunlight or winds.

Renewable energy sources may be the answer to the problems described above and will have the added benefit of bringing jobs. Construction workers, electricians, people who do electrician and energy trades training, administrators and managers must be hired to develop these projects. Many large scale solar and wind projects have been proposed in recent years. After these projects are done, as long as the electrician and energy trades schools keep training people, energy will be flowing without polluting at a cheaper rate.


*Infographic from Good.

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