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Renewable energy faces ‘greenflation,’ but its long-term viability is unaffected

According to Harry Boyd Carpenter, who works as the managing director (M.D.) for the green economy as well as climate change at the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), overall prices for the business will trend downwards because there are minimal impediments to scaling up (EBRD).

Renewable energy still makes up a minor portion of the energy mix in most of the EBRD’s region. The EBRD offers technical assistance and project finance to renewable energy projects, engages in policy debate with energy market stakeholders, and assists governments in building favorable regulatory frameworks.

Owing to comparatively high investment costs for every kW installed, low energy rates in many countries, and inadequate institutional capabilities and regulatory frameworks, renewable energy investments have lagged. As a result, the EBRD has expanded its funding for biomass, wind, hydro, and solar projects. Many of the region’s power systems have reduced CO2 emissions as a result of this.

Greenflation, or the expenses associated with going green, is a problem, according to Vaibhav Chaturvedi, who is a fellow at the CEEW (Council on Energy, Environment, and Water).

“Throughout the world, underpinning commodity prices are going up,” he remarked. Metals used in energy transition technologies, such as nickel, tin, aluminum, copper, and cobalt, have seen price increases of 20 percent to 91 percent this year. Metals used in the energy transition’s price performance on LME in 2021.

Chaturvedi, on the other hand, considered the decreased cost of credit as a “significant leverage” to offset the rise in underlying expenses. The worldwide renewable energy market would more than double to approximately $2 trillion by the year 2030, from $881 billion in 2020, according to Allied Market Research.

Despite supply chain and inflation interruptions, Gauri Singh, who serves as the deputy director-general in charge of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), stated that lower finance costs resulted to a record output of 260 gigawatts (GW) of energy from the renewable sources last year. “Anything that poses a climate risk will not be sold for a low price. The market for renewables, on the other hand, is softening “Singh remarked.

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This Houston-based IT firm aims to create bitcoin mines powered by renewable energy around Texas

According to Lancium, Hanwha Solutions, a clean energy firm, spearheaded the investment round, which included other powerful corporations. “I believe that the fact that all of the energy firms are investing implies that we have a similar view of the function bitcoin mining could perhaps play in the grid,” said Michael McNamara, CEO of Lancium.

Bitcoin mining has two objectives: To issue new currencies and keep track of all existing digital token transactions. Miners from all over the world volunteer their computing power to confirm all bitcoin transactions in order to achieve this.

It takes more energy to keep track of these exchanges, but these energy purchasers also provide what Texas urgently needs right presently: a flexible consumer who will buy when supply is plentiful and shut down when supply is scarce. When it pertains to stabilizing a system that is rapidly absorbing incredibly volatile sources of power such as wind and solar, that flexibility is invaluable.

When it’s really windy or bright, the grid is overflowing with power, but there aren’t always enough takers. When it’s cloudy and there’s no breeze, however, demand can surpass supply. It skews the demand and supply curve to extreme pricing in either situation, neither of which is desirable for a grid as a whole. Bitcoin mining aids to smooth out price fluctuations.

Texas does have a lot to offer miners as well. The state has some of the world’s cheapest energy sources, which is a big plus for miners who work in a low-margin business with energy as their only variable expense. There are also crypto-progressive and business-friendly officials in the state, as well as plenty of lands.

“Bitcoin is built for the grid,” said Brandon Arvanaghi, a bitcoin mining engineer who now heads Meow, a firm that allows corporate treasuries to participate in crypto marketplaces. “It’s a match made in heaven,” Arvanaghi continued.

Improving renewable energy’s economics

In the United States, West Texas is a renewable energy mecca. “In West Texas, you get this ideal overlap with both solar quality and wind speed,” Shaun Connell, Lancium’s senior vice president of electricity, explained.

Large swathes of West Texas lie within the “US wind belt,” which covers areas with the highest wind speeds in the country. At 2.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, the state also has the lowest utility-scale solar in the U.S.

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The United States and France have agreed to strengthen their cooperation on space challenges

According to a White House press statement, the US and France would participate in a “full debate on space.” Representatives from the US civil as well as national security space organizations would create “frequent bilateral dialogue to guarantee a whole-of-government strategy to space cooperation” with their French counterparts. According to the White House, space cooperation would focus on several issues that both countries are concerned about:

  • Dealing with the climate problem
  • Pushing the boundaries of space
  • Improving the STEM’s (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) quality education and increasing access to it
  • Consultation on space activity sustainability and security norms, principles, guidelines, and rules
  • Enabling a long-term space economy

The United States and France have agreed to increase the interchange of the Earth observation satellite data as well as perform cooperative analyses of climate change risks to aid in the fight against climate change. Harris, who leads the National Space Council of the United States, also stated that the US is dedicated to joining Space Climate Observatory (SCO) as well as that it “looks forward to working with France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) to finish the SCO Charter.”

Macron formally created the SCO in 2019 as a consortium with the goal of funding projects that make data from the space more available to businesses, allowing them to make better decisions and respond to the climate issue. The partnership now includes 33 space agencies as well as international organizations.

After the United States and Russia, France has the 3rd oldest and largest national space programs in the world. France published its first-ever French Space Defense Strategy in 2019 July, elevating the importance of French military space projects.

Following the discussion with Macron, Harris declared that the United States will endorse the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, which is a voluntary commitment to engage with the global community to promote cybersecurity and maintain an open, reliable and interoperable internet. Harris came to France at Macron’s request. Relations between France and the United States deteriorated in September after it was reported that the United States and the United Kingdom had agreed to deliver nuclear submarines to Australia, derailing a prior contract Australia had signed with France to buy diesel submarines.

Harris “welcomes President Macron’s announcement of France’s determination to enter the Artemis Accords, which is a coalition of like-minded governments committed to making sure that space exploration is undertaken safely and sustainably,” the White House. The Artemis Accords, which went into effect in October 2020, are a set of voluntary, non-binding principles aimed at promoting cooperative, peaceful civil space exploration.

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Astrophysicists reveal that black holes could be producing gold

The Universe may have more methods than we imagined to create heavy elements. Metals like gold, silver, thorium, and uranium need very extreme circumstances such as a supernova explosion or a neutron star collision to form.

However, a new article suggests that these materials might emerge in the whirling maelstrom surrounding an active newborn black hole as it consumes dust and gas from the surrounding Universe. The high neutrino emission rate in these severe conditions should assist the conversion of protons to neutrons, resulting in more than the latter, which is necessary for making heavy elements.

“In our study, we systematically investigated the conversion rates of neutrons and protons for a large number of disc configurations for the first time using elaborate computer simulations, and we discovered that the discs have numerous neutrons as long as the conditions meet,” said astrophysicist Oliver Just. There weren’t a lot of components floating around in the beginning, following the Big Bang. The Universe was all hydrogen and helium until stars were created and began smashing atomic nuclei together in their centers.

Stellar nuclear fusion filled the Universe with heavier elements, ranging from carbon to iron for the most massive stars, scattered across space after the principal dies. However, iron is where core fusion fails. The heat and energy necessary to manufacture iron via fusion surpass the power generated by the process, causing the core temperature to plummet and the star to die in a magnificent kaboom – the supernova.

The heavier atoms are fused in that stunning kaboom (and the kabooms of colliding neutron stars). The explosions are so powerful that particles interacting with enough force may grab neutrons from one another. This process is called rapid neutron capture or r-process; it must proceed fast so that radioactive decay does not begin before further neutrons are added to the nucleus.

It’s uncertain if the r-process can occur in other settings, but infant black holes are a plausible contender. When neutron stars merge, and their combined mass is sufficient to push the newly created object into the category of a black hole. Another option is collapsars, which are caused by the gravitational collapse of the core of a giant star into a stellar-mass black hole.

In both circumstances, the infant black hole is considered to be encircled by a dense, hot ring of material that swirls around it and feeds into it like water down a drain. Neutrinos are abundant in these conditions, and astronomers have long suspected that r-capture nucleosynthesis is occurring as a result.

Just and his colleagues ran a slew of simulations to see if this was the case. They altered the black hole’s mass and spin, the group of the material around it, and the influence of different parameters on neutrinos. They discovered that r-process nucleosynthesis might take occur in these situations provided the circumstances are exactly perfect.

“The more massive the disc, the more often neutrons are generated from protons by electron capture and neutrinos emission, and are accessible for heavy element synthesis via the r-process.” “However, if the disk’s mass is too large, the inverse reaction becomes more active, and neutrons trap more neutrinos before they leave the disc.” These neutrons are subsequently transformed back to protons, causing the r-process to be slowed.”

 

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Satellites and payloads will be returned to Earth through an outpost

Rockets are becoming increasingly reusable as the space sector speeds toward the much-debated trillion-dollar mark, owing to the development of satellite constellations as well as services. Satellites, on the other hand, frequently burn up when they reenter the atmosphere.

“We believe that the spacecraft of the future, like a rocket today, will be reusable,” Dunn said. “Because the satellite can perform multiple missions over its lifetime, we’re providing a far lower-cost approach to do space missions.” After we demonstrate how to accomplish that, it will be self-evident that spacecraft should be reusable.”

Dunn co-founded Outpost with Aaron Kemmer, co-founder and previous chairman of Made In Space, and Michael Vergalla, who is a veteran of Moon Express, SpinLaunch, and Airbus A3, the aerospace giant’s Silicon Valley research hub. Vergalla also founded the Free Flight Research Lab, a non-profit dedicated to paragliding for science, technology, and conservation.

Outpost created a two-stage technique to enable satellites to reenter Earth’s atmosphere as well as land on a pad, partly based on Vergalla’s paraglider expertise. According to Dunn, the idea opens the door to “complete recovery of payloads as well as materials from orbit.”

Satellites weighing around 200 kilos will be returned by Outpost. Outpost has developed “lightweight and compact” technologies that “deploy using pneumatic inflation,” in contrast to space capsule return missions that rely on ballistic atmospheric entry, hard ablative heat shields, and parachutes deploying at low altitudes, according to Vergalla. Executives from Outpost are meeting with potential customers who are working on space hardware, sensors, and payloads.

“We’ve talked to a lot of people who are working on something fresh and creative that has to be tested in space,” Dunn said. “As you may be aware, in this profession, there is a Catch-22: you can’t fly something on the space mission unless it has already flown. As a result, we can provide flight legacy on new systems.” Outpost will “bring payload back so that researcher or engineer may evaluate it” once it has provided spaceflight legacy for a component, material, or sensor, according to Dunn.

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NASA’s LCRD is going to transfer data from orbit to Earth through laser communications networks

NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will send data from orbit to Earth using laser communications devices. Here are a few things about NASA’s ground-breaking LCRD project.

NASA has employed radiofrequency devices to communicate with astronauts and spacecraft since the beginning of space travel. However, as space missions create and collect more data, the demand for improved communications capabilities grows. LCRD has the power of laser communications, which encodes and transmits data to and from Earth using infrared light rather than radio frequencies.

Laser infrared light waves are electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. Missions transcribe scientific data into electromagnetic waves for transmission back to Earth.

Because infrared light occurs at a considerably higher frequency than radio waves, technologists may put more data into each transmission. More data results in more information and discoveries about space at the same time. LCRD will use infrared lasers to relay data to Earth at 1.2 gigabits per second from geosynchronous orbit (Gbps). One could download a movie in less than a minute at this pace and distance.

If you were alive between the ’80s and ’90s, you’d recall dial-up internet connections that were sluggish and uncomfortable. The incorporation of laser communications into spacecraft is analogous to humanity’s high-speed internet usage using technologies such as fiber optic networking: revolutionary.

Thanks to our home internet connections, high-definition films, programs, and materials can now reach our screens virtually instantly. This is due, in part, to fiber-optic connections that transfer laser light tightly packed with data via plastic or glass cables, resulting in a speedier user experience. The LCRD is equipped with two optical terminals, one of which receives data from a user spacecraft, and the other transmits data to ground stations on Earth.

The modems in LCRDs convert digital data into laser signals, which are subsequently communicated by the relay’s optical modules through encoded beams of light that are invisible to the human eye. The LCRD can send and receive data, forming a continuous channel for mission data to and from orbit. These features combine to form LCRD NASA’s first two-way, end-to-end optical relay.

These are only a few components that comprise the LCRD payload, which is the size of a king mattress when assembled. After the LCRD collects and encodes information, the payload transmits it to ground stations on Earth, outfitted with telescopes to receive the light and modems to convert the encoded light back into digital data. The LCRD’s ground stations, Optical Ground Stations (OGS) -1 and -2, are located on Table Mountain in Southern California and Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii.

While laser communications can enable faster data transmission speeds, atmospheric disturbances like clouds and turbulence can interfere with laser signals as they travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. OGS-1 and OSG-2 sites were chosen for their clear weather and isolated high-altitude positions. Most of the weather in those locations occurs below the mountain’s crest, resulting in a generally clear sky ideal for laser communications.

The LCRD mission will demonstrate the feasibility of laser communications systems from geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. LCRD will stay for two years to test and experiment before aiding additional missions. During this period, OGS-1 and OGS-2 will serve as “missions,” delivering data from one station to LCRD and then back down to the other.

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The Australian Optus-11 will be launched on Ariane 6 by Arianespace

The satellite will boost the operator’s existing geostationary orbit network’s capacity, making it the biggest constellation ever launched by an Australian business. “We are happy and flattered by this repeated vote of confidence from SingTel Optus,” said Stéphane Isral, Arianespace’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have performed out all Optus launches for the past 21 years, and Ariane 6 is going to now maintain this long and distinguished track record.”

“The partners with whom we collaborate are critical to the successful launch of a new satellite. “We’re thrilled to be working with Arianespace again, as they’ve proven over many years that they can reliably deliver an accurate deployment and velocity to orbit,” said Ben White, Optus’ Managing Director in charge of the Wholesale, Satellite and Strategy. The Ariane 64 configuration will put the Optus-11 spacecraft into the high-energy geostationary transfer orbit, allowing it to begin operations sooner.

The COVID-19 outbreak had hampered the construction of the Ariane 6. The replacement to the Ariane 5 was supposed to take to the skies in 2020, but the series of setbacks pushed the launch date back to 2021, then 2022. However, progress has resumed. “We’ve made progress in the last few weeks and months,” Winfried Oehler, ArianeGroup’s head of the electrical engineering as well as AIT support, told SpaceNews. “In the south of Germany, we’re preparing the final stages for a hot fire trial of the higher level.”

Around the close of the year, a joint test model is planned to arrive in Kourou, French Guiana. “At the same time, we’re increasing manufacture of the flight model.” The flight model will be finished early next year.” According to the European Space Agency, the Ariane 6 will be launched for the first time in Q2 of next year. ArianeGroup’s head of the industrial directorate, Karl-Heinz Servos, revealed during a panel discussion at Space Tech Expo Europe held in Bremen, Germany, on November 17 that the company is working toward a launch in the late 2022.

“While we’re still launching Ariane 5, I believe we’re doing a lot to bring Ariane 6 off the ground.” “In industry, this shift phase is always quite difficult,” Servos added. The CERES and 3, 2, 1 satellites were launched into orbit for CNES by an Arianespace Vega mission on November 16 on behalf of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces (DGA).

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The huge James Webb Telescope is going to be launched in a month by NASA

The launch of NASA’s next-generation observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, is less than a month away. The $9.8 billion Webb has overcome years of technological delays, financial challenges, and a pandemic to reach its scheduled launch date in French Guiana on December 18.

Webb’s scientific objective will be extensive, ranging from investigating tiny planets in our solar system to scanning the furthest reaches of the universe. “We’re going to look at everything that we can see in the cosmos,” Webb senior project scientist John Mather told reporters during a news briefing on Wednesday (November 18). Webb will go to a remote location known as a Lagrange point, a gravitationally stable region between two celestial bodies, around 1 million miles from Earth as the successor to NASA’s venerable Hubble Space Telescope.

Webb will be there about a month following the launch. The observatory will next go through a six-month commissioning stage that will entail several crucial milestones, such as unfolding its complex mirror and ensuring that all instruments are operational before Webb opens its eyes.

“The primary mirror was too large to fit in a rocket at six and a half meters, so we built it to unfurl in orbit,” Lee Feinberg, Webb optical telescope element manager at Goddard, explained at today’s briefing. “Because it does not fold like a drop leaf table, we required segmented mirrors.”

The mirrors, according to Feinberg, would initially function as 18 different telescopes, and it will take algorithms many months to perfectly align them to an accuracy of one-5,000th the diameter of a human hair. And that’s presuming the telescope correctly unfolds them all, which NASA has stated is one of the most challenging technological challenges Webb will confront.

Webb researchers are keeping quiet about what the telescope will focus on initially when it is completed. However, hints may be found in the “early release science projects” list that will emphasize Webb’s core research in the study of planets, the solar system, galaxies, black holes, stellar physics, and star populations. The initial photographs will be in great demand since mission scientists claim the resolution will be 100 times higher than Hubble’s and will disclose considerably more in infrared (or heat) wavelengths than the older telescope can.

While the initial targets have yet to be determined, Webb will soon start turning back the clock on cosmic observations, offering a peek at the universe as it was only 100 million years after the Big Bang. According to Mather, Webb will cover a vacuum left by Hubble, which has let astronomers look back 400 million years after the Big Bang.

Canada is supplying a precision guidance sensor for guiding Webb, as well as a spectrograph to study exoplanets and galaxies. For its contribution, the country is promised a 5% share of observation time. One Canadian team will investigate the atmospheres of exoplanets to identify their compositions and temperatures. “Another Canadian team will investigate some of the first galaxies to develop, as well as galaxies grouped in tight communities known as clusters,” said Sarah Gallagher.

What intrigues scientists the most is the unpredictability of what Webb will disclose, and even a cursory look at Hubble’s past gives plenty of examples. No one knew about the presence of dark energy, a significant impact on cosmic expansion, when Hubble was launched in April 1990. Exoplanets had yet to be proven, but we now know about thousands.

Hubble also discovered some surprises closer to Earth, such as when it assisted NASA’s Unexpected Horizons Pluto mission in steering appropriately around some new findings.

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Starlink is in negotiations with two Philippine telecoms about launching a satellite internet service

Starlink is in negotiations with two Philippine carriers to offer its satellite internet services coming year in an archipelagic nation with slow speeds and weak connectivity. Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc. (TBGI) is a satellite broadband provider, whereas Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is a fiber-optic broadband supplier, according to Bloomberg.

According to the CNN Philippines, TBGI’s board of directors approved the idea to pursue conversations with Starlink, and the company wants to provide “modern satellite internet services to suit their rising requirements for fast and dependable connectivity” starting in 2022.

According to CNN, LEOSAT technology “offers a unique combination of cost, speed, flexibility, ease-of-setup, and the 27-millisecond low-latency bandwidth to provide a superior online encounter in the next-level internet-of-things.”

CNN said that the TBGI inked a 3-year managed service deal with Hong Kong-centered satellite operator ABS on October 27 to “build and maintain many sophisticated earth stations in important places nationwide exclusively for LEOSAT connectivity.”

According to Inquirer, which is a local online news agency, Starlink’s entry into the Philippines will require local partners who possesses regulatory franchises and infrastructure, such as ground stations. As per Bloomberg, Converge ICT Solutions, which is a fiber-optic broadband supplier, is in discussion with multiple satellite providers, incorporating SpaceX company, to be able to supplement its internet network.

“We’d like to use low-orbit satellite technologies to bridge the gap in locations where fiber optic cables aren’t reachable so that we can give great broadband connectivity to the vast number of our people,” Uy said, according to Bloomberg.

As per the Speedtest Global Index, the Philippines is ranked 72nd for mobile connection speeds and 64th for fixed broadband. As per data from Digital 2021 Philippine Report, the country’s internet penetration rate is 67 percent, leaving significant swaths of the population without connectivity to online services.

Starlink is a SpaceX-managed satellite broadband network that connects the majority of the Earth’s surface to the Internet. The constellation will eventually comprise thousands of mass-produced tiny satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) that connect with designated ground transceivers and will have over 1600 satellites by mid-2021. While satellite internet service is technically possible for the majority of the world’s population, it can only be offered in nations where SpaceX has been granted a license to provide service within their borders. The beta service is available in 19 nations as of October 20, 2021.

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NASA is going to fly Space Launch Station for 30 years

NASA has unveiled long-term plans for the Space Launch System, the massive rocket that it has been developing since around 2010. After spending billions of dollars on it, NASA plans to launch the SLS for the first time in February 2022. NASA wants to sell the SLS, fly it once a year for the Artemis Program, and pay half the cost. The space agency intends to continue doing so for at least the next 30 years.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has dismissed Blue Origin’s case against NASA and SpaceX over the Human Landing System award to Elon Musk’s business. Work on the SpaceX HLS, based on the Starship rocket currently being constructed in Boca Chica, may begin.

Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos was polite in defeat, remarking that it was “not the conclusion we wanted, but we accept the court’s ruling, and wish NASA and SpaceX complete success on the contract.” When the HLS second-round competition begins, Blue Origin will have another opportunity. Congress must fund that round. Now that the Blue Origin case has been resolved, NASA and SpaceX can continue the Artemis return to the moon program.

The following is an update from Ars Technica on the status of that effort: The unmanned Artemis I mission will be launched around the moon in February to test the Space Launch System and Orion. Then, in May 2024, Artemis II will go on a historical journey around the moon with a crew of three Americans and one Canadian – the first since Apollo 17 in 1972.

The next lunar landing, Artemis III, has been delayed until at least 2025. NASA cited the litigation, budget deficits, and technological issues as justifications for postponing the 2024 deadline. Meanwhile, SpaceX plans to launch the Starship into orbit as soon as the FAA overcomes environmental issues, expected to be early next year. Eventually, an uncrewed mission to the lunar surface will be sent by a lunar Starship. The mission will prepare the way for SpaceX’s Human Landing System, which would return Americans to the moon as early as 2025.

The lunar Starship will be sent into low-Earth orbit, according to the plan. The spacecraft will then spend nearly a month refueling before being sent into lunar orbit. The Orbit Launch System will then launch an Orion spacecraft into space. At least two people will transfer to the SpaceX HLS once the Orion docks with the lunar Starship. They will go to the lunar surface on a rocket ship. Americans will walk on the moon in front of billions of TV screens for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The issue is that each Orion/SLS journey to the moon can only occur once a year. Furthermore, NASA intends to reduce the cost of an Artemis mission to between $1 billion and $1.5 billion each trip, which is an enormous sum.

According to Ars Technica, there is a fascinating alternative: the SpaceX Starship launches to low-Earth orbit and is fuelled as previously. In the alternative scenario, the Starship transports a crew of astronauts straight from LEO to the moon, eliminating the Orion/SLS system requirement. The cost would be orders of magnitude lower than the present NASA proposal, and it could occur multiple times each year.