Big companies buying large amounts of wind energy
“Why are big companies buying large amounts of wind energy?”
There is a sustainable revolution going on, and it is being done by some of the least likely actors. Large companies such as Google, Amazon, and Walmart are beginning to purchase large swaths of wind energy to power their data centers and offices! Their reason? Because wind energy has achieved grid parity in some areas, it makes more sense to power your operations through renewable energy! This will increase the amount of sustainable energy on the grid and might convince more citizens to make the switch
“Can everyday people generate their own energy?”
When people talk about generating electricity, they usually mean things like giant power plants or solar panel arrays. However, electricity generation does not need to be that large. In fact, it can be done in your very own home! This activity is called microgeneration, and can be accomplished through a variety of means, whether it be by installing solar PV or through recycling waste heat
Homogeneous and heterogeneous systems
“How do we classify thermodynamic systems?”
Engineering thermodynamics looks at heat, energy, and matter from a macroscopic, or non-atomic perspective. Because of this, objects and materials such as air appear to be uniform in composition. As a result, systems such as these are classified as homogeneous systems. Homogeneous systems stand in direct contract with heterogeneous systems such as a human body (which is composed of many different macroscopic layers). When working out thermodynamics problems, it is extremely important to know if your system is homogeneous or heterogeneous.
“How can we use a heating element to heat up a room?”
During winter time we often need to heat up space. But making a fully built HVAC system can take a lot of time to warm a space. So what could we do to modify this? Well, let’s think of it from a systems perspective. We know that a heating element can be used to heat up a surrounding medium. And we know that fans can transfer one medium to another. So what if we were to combine both to take heat up and transfer air? This setup is known as a fan heater and is quicker but more expensive (due to the higher cost of electricity) than gas heaters.
“How can we convert electricity into heat using a machine?”
When designing heating systems, we often need a quick, efficient, and non-pollutive way to generate heat. So how can we use our engineering mindset to accomplish this? Well, let’s first think back to our scientific knowledge. We know that we can make heat from electricity by passing it through a resistive element. So what if we were to implement this in a mechanical system using real life technology? Well, this type of object is known as a heating element and is used for thermal appliances such as radiative heaters.
“What do we term the activator of a disease?”
Disease is one of the most important studies in Biology. And diseases are caused when a vector carries the disease with it. However, what exactly do we term the activator that is carried? Well, after much debate, Biologists have settled with the definition of a pathogen to describe such organisms. Viruses, bacteria, protozoa, prions, and fungus are commonly pathogens, as well as other micro-organisms
“How can we make heaters that do not require a surrounding medium?”
Heating is a common need everywhere. However, sometimes our surrounding medium might not be a good heat conductor or we may not have a medium at all! So how can we make a heater which is not affected by the surrounding environment? Well, let’s think back to basic physics. We know that infrared is a form of light, and light is able to pass through anything. So what if we were to take some metallic wires, wire them around an element, and then apply electricity to heat the element to emit infrared? Well, it turns out that this invention is a little device known as an infrared heater. Infrared heaters are classified by the wavelengths they emit (ranging from 760 nm down to a minuscule 1 nm!) and are used everywhere from cooking kebab to warming outer space missions.