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The Energy Portal

Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems. Since work is defined as a force acting through a distance (a length of space), energy is always equivalent to the ability to exert pulls or pushes against the basic forces of nature, along a path of a certain length.

Sustainable energy is the provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable energy sources are most often regarded as including all renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, solar energy and power, wind power, wave power, geothermal energy and power, biomass fuel and energy, and tidal power. It usually also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. As of 2011, small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking, and more than 166 million households rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves.

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The finished greenhouse!
Construction of an Affordable Greenhouse. The capstone project for Queen’s University 4th Year Mechanical Engineering Class,"Engineering for Sustainable Development", is to design and construct an Appropriate Technology with a quantifiable engineering result. This project is to construct a greenhouse, review the heat requirement on the system for the whole year; then, based on the materials and conditions selected, review costs associated with this and build a scaled model.

This project is the first step to easy community greenhouse development - the goal of the affordable greenhouse is to:

  1. Improve greenhose design and awareness for residential application.
  2. Demonstrate the feasibility (i.e costs) of a greenhouse in the winter months and determine the best time to install such a system for optimal crop yield.

Due to the materials selected and the cold Canadian Spring, it is not effective to construct until late April. But with better material selection and innovative greenhouse designs, it is hoped that constructing miniature greenhouses will become common practice.

The blueprints for the construction of an affordable greenhouse are included; for this greenhouse a single pane Polyinyl chloride (PVC) covered greenhouse was reviewed. Heat losses and calculations were done in MatLab using constants from the Canadian Climate Normals website and sunlight radiation from Queen's University Living Building.

-Happy growing!

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Selected topics (Book)

Biofuels: Anaerobic digestion · Alcohol fuels · Algae fuel · Biodiesel · Biogas · Biogasoline · Wood

Energy crops: Barley · Cassava · Hemp · Potato · Rice · Soybean · Wheat

Energy use: Heating and cooling ·

Energy storage: Alkaline versus rechargeable batteries · Animal-based · Electrochemical cell · Fuel cells · How to - Battery charger · Mass-based · Solar panel · Spring based

Geothermal power:

Greenhouses: Construction of an Affordable Greenhouse · Humboldt greenhouse gallery

Passive solar design: Parras passive solar design gallery · Thermal mass · Thermosiphon

Photovoltaics: Energy · System energy · Grid connection · Holographic solar · Humbolt gallery · Maintenance · Panels · Parras gallery · Refrigeration · Vaccine refrigeration · Test field · Troubleshooting · Rural lighting · Water pumping

Solar cooking: Analysis of a solar cooker  · and development · and health

Solar dehydrating: Food Drying with Superheated Steam · Solar drying in Uganda

Solar distillation: Compound parabolic concentrator · Effect of water on light transmission of glass · Improving Basin Solar Stills · Solar distillation TB · Solar fuel alcohol distillation

Solar energy: Open Solar Outdoors Test Field · Smart windows · The solar resource

Solar hot water: DIY solar thermal collectors · Installation and Design Principles · System types

Solar power: Heliostats · Solar thermal energy

Water: Hydraulic ram pumps · Hydroelectricity · Microhydro power · Rope pump

Wind power: Types of wind turbines (Small) · Windmill · Windpumps

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