History of Innovation

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Archive for the ‘Electricity’ Category

2012: Walney Wind Farm

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Innovation:  Walney Wind Farm
Location: offshore, West Coast U.K.
Year:  2012
By: Walney Offshore Windfarms Limited

Walney Wind Farm is an offshore wind farm located about 14 km west of Walney Island in the Irish Sea. Its capacity of 367 megawatts makes it one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world. It was the largest until the Greater Gabbard Wind farm was finished in September of 2012, with a capacity of 504 megawatts. The Walney wind farm will cover an area of about 73 square kilometers and the water depths range from 19 to 23 meters. Split into two phases with overlapping installation activities to reduce the amount of time required for construction.[1]


Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2012 at 5:57 am

2011: Agua Caliente Solar Project

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Image Sources: [1], [2]

Innovation:  Agua Caliente Solar Project
Location: Yuma County, Arizona
Year:  2011
By: NRG Solar and U.S. Department of Energy

The Agua Caliente Solar Project is a photovoltaic solar generating facility currently under construction in Yuma County, Arizona. The project was commissioned in 2011 and to date 247 megawatts are online since the 10th section was completed. Peak output of the currently installed panels has reached up to 251.3 megawatts. The expected maximum capacity of the plant is expected to be approximately 397 megawatts with an annual generation of 626 gigawatt hours. The project is currently (2012) the largest solar power plant in the world. [2].  It funds approximately 400 construction jobs and 16 full time operating jobs. [1]  `

Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2011 at 6:17 am

2008: Masdar City – Masdar, United Arab Emirates

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Innovation:  Masdar City (first/only zero-carbon zero-waste city)
Location: Masdar, UAE
Year:  2008-2025
Architect: Foster and Partners

Masdar is a planned city located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, targeted to rely entirely on renewable energy sources with a sustainable zero carbon zero waste ecology [1]. The city consists of 2.3 square miles of homes and businesses for 50,000 residents with 60,000 daily commuters budgeted at US$19.8 billion. The intent for the city was to become a central location for cleantech companies and model of inspiration for a future energy conscience world. Masdar will accomplish its energy goals through the use of one of the first 40-60 megawatt solar power plant (Conergy), rooftop solar panels, wind farms, waste incineration, and hydrogen power plant [2]. A solar powered desalination plant supplies the water needs, recycling approximately 80% of water. Masdar City was designed and operated to provide the highest (healthiest) quality of life with the lowest environmental footprint. It is a global center of future energy. [3]  `

Web links: 123
Video: Masdar City

Written by Charys Clay

October 8, 2008 at 11:29 pm

2006: Revit MEP

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Innovation:  Revit Mechanical
Location: Cambridge, MA
Year:  2006
By: Autodesk

In 1987 AutoCAD AEC mechanical was released and acquired by Autodesk in 1990 [2]. This was one of few products with the capability of designing plumbing and HVAC in buildings. Revit was acquired by Autodesk Mechanical Division in 2002 for $133 million, and Revit MEP was released in 2006.

Today, the software is mandated by GSA and is a distinct platform in Building Solutions Division. Data from building systems can be compiled into a central file within the LAN to detect possible space interferences of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, therefore deterring expensive consequences upon construction. Revit provides engineers with a central form of communication in design, ultimately implementing easier collaboration. Designers spend more time designing and less time drafting. In addition, Autodesk Revit MEP tools help produce energy efficient building systems designs [3].

Web links: 1, 2, 3
autocad mechanical vs revit mep
Video: Getting Started with Revit MEP

1882: Pearl Street Station – New York City, New York

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Building: Edison Illuminating Company’s Pearl Street Station
Location: New York City, New York
Chief Engineer: Charles L. Clarke
Operation: 4 September 1882 – 1890

Innovation Genre: Electricity
Innovation Aspects: First Electric Power Plant

The first electric power plant was powered by a single direct current (DC) generator driver by a custom made Porter-Allen steam engine (175 horsepower at 700 rpm). The chief engineer for Edison was Charles L. Clarke. This plant served 85 customers in the lower Manhattan, and powered 400 lamps in its original design. By 1884, the Pearl Street served 508 customers and powered 10,164 lamps. Later, the Porter-Allen engines were replaced by Armington & Sims engines, which were more reliable. In 1890, the station burnt down destroying all but one dynamo that now resides in the Greenfield Village Museum in Dearborn, MI.  `

This innovation allowed for many people to be served by a single power source. It furthered the advancement of construction by allowing architects and engineers to work longer days, by allowing contractors an easier method to powering machines, and eventually powering future technologies of modern construction.

Written by Lauren Brannom

September 4, 1882 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Engines

1879: First Incandescent Light Bulb

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Innovation: Incandescent light bulb
Location: Menlo Park, New Jersey
Year: 1879
By: Thomas A. Edison

Although Thomas Edison is credited to have invented the lightbulb, it is important to note that he simply improved electric lighting. Edison was successful in producing a reliable lighting object because his light bulbs used carbonized bamboo filaments, which were much cheaper than platinum filaments, and could be used for over 1,200 hours (versus 13.5 hours for previous lightbulbs). Also, he received financial support from J. P. Morgan to conduct many trial-and-error experiments before publicly presenting his final product. Light bulbs function with electricity by heating the filaments until the filaments emit light. What set Edison’s relatively cheap and reliable incandescent light bulb apart from previously invented light bulbs were that his light bulbs could run in parallel circuits, were made of insulating substances, and contained on-off switches.

Prior to the invention of the light bulb, people relied on gas lamps, candles, and oil lanterns to work in the dark. The production of the incandescent light bulb resulted in higher productivity; people could continue working even after sunset. For the building industry, this meant continuing construction at night to meet deadlines, lighting of buildings for aesthetic purposes, and illuminating public and private spaces. This invention resulted in the creation of power plants to provide electricity. `

Articles:  [1] [2] [3] [4]

Written by Priscilla Nguyen

October 8, 1879 at 1:06 am

Posted in Electricity

1833: The First Electromagnetic Telegraph

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Innovation: First Electromagnetic Telegraph
Location: Gottingen, Germany
Year: 1833
By: Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber

Several years before Samuel Morse’s telegraph would revolutionize American communication, two German scientists, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber, created the first electromagnetic telegraph. Developed in 1833, this telegraph connected the offices of Gauss and Weber on the University of Gottingen campus. The telegraph consisted of a wire running a top the building connected to a galvanometer that would react to the electric pulses it received and a commutator to change the direction of the current. With the creation of the first practical recording telegraph, Gauss and Weber were able to communicate at a speed of 6 words per minute across a distance of 8,942 feet, 3 kilometer. This invention allowed for more collaborative effort in Gauss and Weber’s scientific research, since they were able to be in constant communication while working in their separate labs. This invention set the stage for modern communication. The telegraph showed that it was no longer impossible to quickly speak to individuals that were a great distance away.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Written by Katelyn Beiter

October 8, 1833 at 2:15 am