Wednesday, July 21, 2010

100% Electric Truck Starts Delivering

PepsiCo's first 100% Electric truck, delivering product on Monday July 19, 2010 in Brampton, ON

Jonathan McCaughey RSR, is pictured (with hand cart) and his DSL Gerrit Stam.

Frito Lay Canada, in collaboration with Transport Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation is the country's first consumer packaged goods manufacturer to introduce zero-emission electric vehicles into its delivery fleet.
• Six zero-emission electric vehicles will be added to the Frito Lay Canada delivery fleet – three in Brampton (ON), one in Ottawa (ON), one in Surrey (BC) and one in Laval (QC).
• Grant support was received from the Transport Canada Freight Technology Demonstration Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Green Commercial Vehicle Program.
• The new electric vehicles are powered by 100% renewable electricity from the Brampton grid.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Mystery of Venus' Double Vortex Secret

The Mystery of Venus' Double Vortex Secret

Well today I take a break from the practical side of inventing and try my hand at mental gymnastics… theoretical physics - astronomical quandries. I know, I know… you're asking why would I head out on such a thin limb? Well to be honest, I've actually been spending some time investigating vortex power in more depth to see if I can harness something there for a new energy producing widget. But through that reading I came across some articles describing a scientific mystery on Venus, and scientists' continued perplexity to that regard. The mystery in question? Venus appears to have double vortex structures on its north and south poles. Scientists cannot explain why this is... and I am hoping the explanation below answers that riddle correctly. If I am right, perhaps someone at NASA will follow up for me and verify it so everyone can know for sure. I personally, am not planning any inter-planetary travel in the near future to see for myself.

OK, so in order to explain this, I'd like to relate a few stories as background. Einstein once explained the vexing question of why tea leaves always congregate in the center of a tea cup instead of the outside edge. Reasoning would predict that they be thrown to the outside of the cup through centrifugal force.

I read recently about the double vortex mystery which, to my knowledge and for lack of finding any evidence to the contrary, remains a puzzle to this day. This intrigue has to do with the existence of a pair of double vortexes (vortices… how do you spell the plural of vortex anyway?) which appear on the north and south poles of the planet Venus. Scientists, it is reported, are still looking for clues that would reveal why there are two vortex structures (notice how I avoided making 'vortex' plural this time… cool eh?) at each pole instead of a single vortex. Well, my dear fellow physics philosophers… wonder no more as I, Energy4Power (alright, alright… a.k.a. Larry Vander Schaaf) attempt to postulate in the same fashion as Albert Einstein's tea leaf musing, the reason for the Venus double vortex.

First of all, let's review Einstein's explanation. In Einstein's postulation, he showed that due to friction between the inner surface of the tea cup and the liquid tea which was being stirred, a thin layer is set up… as if 'sticking' to the wall of the cup. This layer is called the Ekman layer and creates an effective ball bearing type reaction. The liquid that sticks to the inner tea cup moves more slowly than the rest of the fluid. Along that layer, the centrifugal force that pushes the tea outward is not as strong as the frictional forces holding the tea against the surface. That's where we see the ball bearing effect and the tea at the outer edge of the cup is able to travel faster than the tea near the middle. It also increases the pressure on the tea near the outside. With increased pressure, the tea is slightly more dense at the outside than it is in the middle of the cup and a flow begins similar to convection currents. The force of centrifugal pressure as well as the apparent lighter weight of the middle tea, makes the tea along the top get thrown to the outside while tea along the bottom of the cup is drawn to the middle to replace the tea being spun outward. Tea leaves themselves are too heavy to rise with the flow of tea moving upward in the middle, so they remain in the middle at the bottom.

So how does this relate to the double vortex issue on Venus' poles? Patience... I'll get there in a minute. First, there is something else at work on Venus which we need to consider. Venus' atmosphere is actually very similar to Earth's… well not specifically now anymore, but originally I mean. A long long time ago… Earth used to have a double mantle atmosphere. Today we see clear blue skies, or at least we see clearly to the bottom of the clouds on sun/cloud mixed days. Originally all that clear space used to be occupied by an inner mantle. This is also why rain did not used to exist… the moisture in the air was so dense that there was a continual mist permeating everything. This layer also provided an increased protection from sunlight's ultraviolet rays - a fact that creationists like to argue supports the validity of pre-Noah bible characters' multi-centennial life spans. Regardless of such spin off discussions, the original existence of a second or 'inner' atmospheric layer is accepted fact. (It's collapse of course coincides with the believed time of the great flood… but again I'm throwing gasoline on an already volatile rabbit trail which we cannot afford to follow today or this article will indeed become a book rather than a simple blog entry.)

Let's head back to Venus. The atmosphere on Venus still consists today of 2 layers. My postulate relies on this fact and it's similarity to the Ekman layer of a tea cup. Scientists have been keenly interested at the strange behavior of the prevailing winds on Venus and the fact that they consistently move around the entire globe at super hurricane speeds in the range of 400km/hr. One statistic I read claimed that the entire air mass of the planet only takes 4 days to circumvent it's entire surface.

I postulate that only the outer layer of the atmosphere is traveling at these speeds and that the inner mantle is actually much slower. This would then approximate very closely, along with the help of Venus' gravitational pull, the characteristics of the Ekman layer at a tea cup's inner surface. The question here though is which direction is everything flowing? Another noted observation of Venus' double vortex behavior is that there exists a cooler downdraft of air around the poles. Here we have the key to what is actually happening.

If we consider the tea cup analogy again, we notice the same pattern in a tea cup… but the problem with our Earth-centric thinking is that we have been expecting to see a vortex (let alone 2 of them) right side up. I say what we're actually looking at on Venus is a single huge vortex on each pole of Venus, but from space we are actually seeing the bottom of the vortex.

The real mechanics of it
Let's leave the double vortex question for just a moment and focus on the single inverted vortex concept a moment. In this structure, centrifugal force would send air outward as it travels up the cone of the vortex… or down the cone if it is inverted as is the case here. This sends air outward over the globe, freed from normal surface frictions that would interfere with it, by the lubricating effect of the inner mantle. The centrifugal force would also tend to throw the gases outward from the poles, along the hot top of the inner mantle, warming it as it goes. The air would eventually meet other gases moving in the same fashion but from the opposite pole, at the equator. Since the gases have increased in temperature during their travel, they would become less dense and I hypothesize we should see an updraft coming off the ground (or actually off the outer surface of the inner mantle). This would happen of course because that is where the circumference of its path of travel is greatest and therefore the centrifugal forces would also be greatest. The less dense gases would rise, they become subject to less gravity and therefore less pressure. Hmmm… we also saw less pressure in the center of a tea cup too… so I think we should be able to observe a pattern of air movement consistently traveling Northward and Southward from the equator along the outermost surface of the atmosphere. At the poles, the cooler air would be drawn down the center of the inverted vortex back toward the inner mantle, where the cycle would repeat.

Now about those pesky double vortex patterns we see. If my thinking is correct, then what we are actually looking at when we see the double vortex pattern is actually the underside of a larger vortex. The two vortex shapes we see are actually supporting 'ball bearing effect' mini cyclones that interact with both the constantly circling air from the planet, and the center pinnacle of the larger vortex itself. They are, in effect, simply counter currents which naturally react to their surrounding boundaries of fast moving air.

So what does this mean? How can we use this information? Ok you got me. However even though I do not have any practical invention yet hatching in my brain from today's thought experiments… what I can predict in addition to the northward flow tendency of air in the northern hemisphere and southward flow in the southern hemisphere, is the existence of a 'quiet zone' along the equator of Venus on the upper surface of the inner mantle. Since the equatorial flow of air is meeting both from the north and south, both slow currents are stopped in their longitudinal movement at that location and change to become an upward movement. This should create a slightly lower pressure in that area. Remember though the air is still traveling some 400km/hr in an east west direction so that doesn't stop but there should be the least turbulence in this equatorial region. My suggestion to NASA is that if they wish to enter the Venusian atmosphere, the equator would likely be the best choice to enter, and a sub-orbital trajectory would likely be most easily established along this triangular toroidal equatorial region. (Don't ever accuse me of not using enough adjectives!)

So there you have it. I have now solved the riddle of why Venus has two vortexeseses… shoot. Ummm let me re-phrase… I have now solved the riddle of the strange double vortex behavior on the poles of Venus! (YES… I love optional wording!)

So again, please comment and let me know your thoughts. Oh, and let me know if you're interested in having me to explain the strange behavior of the double slit experiment. I have a thought experiment which completely satisfies that anomaly too!