Tag Archives: electricity

Mongolia connects to the Asia Super Grid – read the book what it means to nomads


Mongolia is a large, sparsely inhabited central Asian country where nomads still live in a traditional way on vast plains and foothills of mountains. The mineral rich country has large coal mines for its energy needs. Now, Mongolia has joined the Asia Super Grid electricity network in order to produce clean energy. Will ordinary Mongolians and nomads benefit from it?

Camel herder, ebook on Mongolia travel

Camel herders in Mongolia

The book Herder’s Boots – Traveling and Working with Nomads for the Future of Mongolia gives an indirect answer to the question. The author, Stephen Parliament, lived and worked in Mongolia for many years both in the capital Ulaanbaatar and in the desolate lands where nomads live. He experienced the bitter coldness of winters and heat of summers with nomads.

Some nomads have moved to cities, some tend to stay in one place with their cattle, some move with seasons. In any case, they live outside the grid and if they want electricity, they have to produce it themselves – which they do, because they also want to watch television and charge their mobile phones.

Mongolia travel book, photo gallery

All possessions of a herder family. Mongolia, Stephen Parliament.

Reuters reports that Mongolia has joined a large power transmission network established six years ago by China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. Mongolia’s plan is to build wind power plants and connect them to this Asia Super Grid and export the generated energy.

While this is a great initiative for clean energy and balancing Mongolia’s state budget, it doesn’t bring much to the nomads. Small moveable solar power stations would support nomad lifestyle, but their prices tend to be high.

Read more about Mongolia in the book The Herder’s Boots.

Book Explores the True Nature of Electricity


Where does electricity come from? Has magnetism something to do with electricity? Our daily lives are so dependent on electricity that we take it for granted, but soon, we’ll be driving electric cars and watching robots cleaning our houses. How does electricity actually work? Let the author of book Discussions on Electricity, Juho Leskinen, explain how his book explores these topics.
Discussions on Electricity - ebook download
You have authored a book that introduces the concepts of electricity and magnetism to anyone who wants to understand how electricity works. Electricity is over 100-year old invention – hasn’t anyone else written a book about it already?

Yes, great books about electricity and magnetism have been written, some of them dating back to the late 1800s. Electricity is a well-covered subject if you think about the amount of published documentation alone. However, I believe my book is different in terms of its perspective. It provides insights about the behavior of electric interactions to readers.

How do you define electricity in your book?

The absolute definition of electricity, in my opinion, is impossible to come up with. A number of different definitions cover some effects or interactions of electricity, and many of them are presented in the book. In the end, I let the reader be the judge on the definition of electricity, hopefully increasing one’s interest in the topic.

What is your favorite topic or subject in the book?

I like every topic in the book, but my favorite chapter covers circuit transients and phenomena within a close medium. I believe it brings out elements from the true nature of electricity and reminds us of its behavior as it had a will of its own.

One of the hottest trends in technology industry is the electric car. Do you believe it will become a mainstream product in the near future?

Vehicle electrification and hybridization are the words on everybody’s mind when we talk about the future of automobiles. I don’t think a fully electric car will become a mainstream product just yet, but maybe in 15-20 years it will. The biggest challenge is the energy storage, its weight and energy density, and the charging infrastructure that is required to support it. They will constantly improve, but in a slow, steady pace. I believe in the near future we will see an increasing variety of hybrid vehicles, slowly paving the way to fully electric applications.

What kind of new applications for electricity do you anticipate in the next 10 years?

The portion of electricity in a given application or a system is constantly increasing. During the next 10 years, I hope and strongly believe that we will see, for example, the ability to affect human performance with electromagnetic waves through brain wave manipulation. Other applications could be electromagnetic cloaking of objects and time, wireless power transfer, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. All of the mentioned applications are currently under research and development, but within the next 10 years, I believe, they will take major steps and become available at consumer markets. Electric phenomena will play a major role in every one of them.

Image from book Discussions on Electricity
What are your favorite non-fiction books?

In arbitrary order:

1. A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. I and II by James Clerk Maxwell

These books represent the fundamental theories and mathematical formulae of electromagnetism. It discusses, with great detail and elaboration, the foundations and interactions of electricity.

2. The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

This book discusses the beginning of the universe and what role God played in it. One of the main arguments is that physics alone can explain the Big Bang and science makes God unnecessary.

3. Elementary Lectures On Electric Discharges, Waves And Impulses, And Other Transients by Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Steinmetz’s writings are thorough in explaining impermanent effects in electric circuits and how to analyze them. Great reading to everyone interested in electric transients.

4. Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer

This book elucidates the life of Nikola Tesla in great detail. It goes through his life of inventions and grand plans of free wireless electricity to the whole world also introducing little known facts about his personal life.

Find out more about Juho Leskinen’s book Discussions on Electricity here.

How Energy-Hungry Our New Mobile Devices Really Are?


Millions of shiny new tablets, smartphones and PCs have been taken into use in late December and early January. Someone who reads ebooks on an ereader, listens to digital music on a smartphone and watches movies on a tablet may have multiple mobile devices that have to be charged every now and then. How much valuable energy do these electrical devices consume?

Forbes has put together information about energy consumption of common mobile devices, and the results are actually pretty green. Portable electronics are truly efficient with electricity. Let’s look at a few examples.
Apple iPad, ebook, eyeglasses, books,

Tablet: Apple iPad

In typical use, an iPad is fully charged once in every 48 hours. The annual energy consumption is 12 kWh, which makes about $1.50 per year (in US electricity prices).

Smartphone: iPhone

If you have to daily charge your iPhone from empty to fully-charged, the annual electricity consumption of the smartphone is 2 kWh. It means 25 cents per year.


An average laptop in average use consumes about 72 kWh worth of electricity per year. The annual cost of energy required by a laptop is $8.

For comparison: a light bulb

A traditional 60W light bulb is a wonderful source of heat during cold winter days, but the price is high: 220 kWh per year (10 hours a day). The cost for lighting up, for instance, a reading nook is $26 per year. A LED light bulb that provides similar amount of light consumes far less energy: $4.40 per year.

Especially when traveling it may feel that the battery dies just when you were about to capture the best photo of the whole trip or when you are about to reply to an urgent email message waiting in your tablet’s inbox. At these energy consumption levels, it should be fine to ask a shop owner, café proprietor or taxi driver to lend some energy to a mobile device.

Apple iPhone, video