At the Magnetics 2008 Conference in Denver, I presented a paper titled “Going Green: The Growing Role of Permanent Magnets in Renewable Energy Production and Environmental Protection“. Earlier today I finally uploaded a copy of the presentation to the Web, which you can now find here.
The presentation covered a range of related topics, starting with the growing challenge of global energy usage. Between 1971 and 2005 we have seen an approximate doubling of the amount of energy consumed worldwide. The increase has primarily occurred outside of the OECD countries, though absolute consumption in the OECD countries is still just under half of the total. In 2005, the rate of total global energy usage was approximately 15.1 TW – equivalent to the energy to be found in approximately 77.5 billion barrels of oil [though obviously much of that is not produced from coal, nuclear fission and other sources]! As a point of reference, Canada and the USA consume about 25% of that energy. A number of organizations project that energy consumption will grow by over 50% in the period from 2005 to 2030, and obviously, that energy has to come from somewhere.
The presentation then covered wind turbine technology, hydroelectricity, ocean-based energy production, and some information on solar energy. In all of these technologies, permanent magnets have a role to play, though in some cases it might not be as obvious as in others. I also went on to discuss a number of case studies where the use of permanent magnet technologies in the oil & gas exploration and production industries, has seen a dramatic reduction in the impact of these activities on the environment.
Over the next few posts here, I’ll take a closer look at the specific technology-related topics covered in my original presentation, for review and further expansion. In the meantime, feel free to download the entire presentation from here.