SSE recently opened the “Power of Now” exhibition at the Scottish Centre for Renewable Excellence in Glasgow, Scotland. This exhibition is to attract thousands of visitors, including school children, to view and interact with various renewable energy exhibits. There is also electric vehicle charging, hire, and parking that SSE claims is the United Kingdom’s first.
Some of the exhibits include:
- A nearly life-sized wind turbine base.
- A hydroelectric dam that generates electricity by releasing the water it contains through turbines.
- An LED simulation of an electricity grid and city.
- An electric test vehicle.
- A small-scale house that utilizes a ground source heat pump (more info on that technology below).
- A wave power plant.
- A model of a ship that is used to install power lines for offshore wind farms and wave-powered generators under the ocean.
The exhibits were built to show visitors how renewable energy power plants such as wind farms and hydroelectric dams work, as well as how they are built.
Wind Turbine Exhibits
The wind turbine exhibits enable visitors to learn how to design and strategically place wind turbines to maximize their performance. Wind turbines are best placed in the windiest areas with the most consistent wind speeds, of course. More consistent wind speeds translate into a more consistent (smooth) electricity supply, which requires less energy storage. And stronger wind translates into the generation of more electricity, and a lower cost of electricity per kWh because the ratio of the amount of electricity generated to the cost of the turbines increases.
The all-electric vehicle car park accommodates and charges six electric cars for free. Electric vehicles are also available for hire from Europcar and Peugeot.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Seeing ground source heat pump in the list above made me realize that this is something we don’t write about a whole lot here on CleanTechnica.
The term “ground source heat pump” is pretty self-explanatory. The source of the heat is the ground; the heat is pumped from the ground using a reverse cycle air conditioner which then radiates that heat into the house. It uses an air conditioner that operates in reverse.
In order to understand what reverse cycle air conditioning is, of course, you need to understand how air conditioners work. Air conditioners cool by absorbing heat from the air in the house through their evaporator, and then the heat is transferred via refrigerant to the condenser, which is outside, where it is then radiated. In other words, A/C just moves the heat in the house outside. I won’t bother to go into detail about how all this works.
So, reverse cycle air conditioners absorb heat from the air outside and radiate it into the house. Ground source heat pumps, thus, absorb heat from somewhat deep within the earth instead of the air outside.