Archive for December, 2018
In November, a Danish asset management group called Momentum Gruppen recommissioned five turbines at a 20-year-old offshore wind farm located 4km (2.5 mi) off the coast of Sweden. Momentum purchased the wind farm and upgraded the nacelles, blades, and control systems while leaving the towers, foundations, and transmission equipment. The turbines were originally rated to produce 500 kilowatts (kW) apiece. The upgrades were done with 600 kW turbine replacement equipment.
According to GreenTechMedia, it's the first such repowering of an old offshore wind farm. As Europe's first offshore turbines age, it represents a possible long-term future for Europe's clean-energy fleet. Although onshore wind farm owners have been repowering their equipment for years, offshore repowering comes with its own technical challenges.
In 2017, Dong Energy dismantled the first-ever modern offshore wind farm, built in 1991 off the coast of Denmark. It had been in operation for 25 years. (One turbine was preserved for display at the Danish Museum of Energy.)
Entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman famously founded Reddit as college roommates in 2005. Tech journalist Christine Lagorio-Chafkin's recent book, We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory, follows their sometimes rocky relationship as Reddit grew from a simple, user-directed front page for the Internet, to a scandal-rocked dominating force in online culture.
As the subtitle implies, the site has been at the forefront of issues like the limits of free speech, privacy policies, and the unfettered spread of misinformation or "fake news," grappling with those thorny matters well before social media giants Facebook and Twitter took notice. In a sense, Reddit is the "id" of the Internet, and that's what has long fascinated Lagorio-Chafkin. "My friends thought I was nuts talking to these guys who happened into the idea for Reddit," she said. "It had the reputation of being sort of a cesspool, and I wanted to know just how it got there."
So she started meeting regularly with Ohanian at a Brooklyn cafe and he told her about the early days when Reddit was still in its infancy. It was a tough summer, personally: his mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, his childhood dog had died, and his girlfriend at the time suffered a nasty fifth story fall. Yet he still threw himself into promoting what Lagorio-Chafkin dubs "a little scrappy site—I mean, they barely had a product." She was equally impressed with Huffman, and knew he, too, would make a great subject.
Just as I finally got used to writing the date as 2018, it's time to learn a whole new number. As is now traditional, the end of the year is an opportunity to remember some of the four-wheeled friends we made on this most recent trip around the sun. It was a busy 12 months for the Cars Technica gang—and we are officially a gang now.
Tim Lee has been responsible for some great coverage of Waymo, Uber, Cruise, and that whole autonomous driving thing. When she wasn't busy holding the EPA's feet to the fire or covering the growth of zero-emissions mass transit, Megan Geuss got to ride in Audi's new battery electric vehicle before anyone else. Cyrus Farivar has done the old-school thing with some shoe-leather reporting on Tesla's factory troubles. Sean Gallagher wrote his first (but not last) truck review, and Ars managing editor Eric Bangeman has gamely tested every SUV, crossover, and minivan we could get to Chicago.
As for me? I discovered I'm at peace with the fact that I'm not a professional racing driver, for one thing. My plan to travel by air less often didn't work out so well—people are welcome to buy trees in my name—but I did get to see some interesting new concept cars and, more importantly, drive some good new BEVs.
On Friday, major mining corporation Rio Tinto reported that its AutoHaul autonomous train system in Western Australia had logged more than 1 million km (620,000 mi) since July 2018, S&P Global Platts reported. Rio Tinto calls it's now-fully-operational autonomous train system the biggest robot in the world.
The train system serves 14 mines that deliver to four port terminals. Two mines that are closest to a port terminal will retain human engineers because they are very short lines, according to Perth Now.
The train system took ten years to build and cost Rio Tinto AUD $1.3 billion (USD $916 million) to implement. The trains are remotely monitored by a crew located 1,500 km (932 mi) away in Perth.