Archive for October, 2018

The temporary paradox of death in life: writing a tanka for our family pet on his passing

October 27, 2018

The first Wednesday evening of this month, (October 3, 2018) our family’s Great Dane passed away peacefully resting under a cedar tree. His body had been breaking down; it was his time. Dakar had lived a full life, longer than expected for his breed. Even though he was no longer physically with us, I still felt his presence into the next day. It led me to contemplate the paradoxical nature of death and wrote this tanka for him that next morning as a way to try and understand this temporary contradiction, and express what I was feeling at the time.

Maybe some of you have had a similar experience after losing a loved one—a pet, a close friend, or a family member. I read this out this morning at a Death Café after hearing other people describe their experiences of grief, and unexpected surprises when a loved one passed. It was healing for all of us to share.

The Temporary Paradox of Death in Life
A tanka for Dakar on his passing

Silence, Peacefulness
A Fullness of Emptiness
Feeling you still here

An Absence of your Presence
A Presence of your Absence

© Ken Chawkin
October 27, 2018
Fairfield, Iowa

Thomas Merton’s golden poem, Song for Nobody

October 27, 2018

Another poem from Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds is Song for Nobody by Thomas Merton. This golden poem is Beautiful, Enigmatic, and Profound. Below are some reactions to it as I try to fathom the poet’s spiritual perspective. If you have any comments please feel free to post them below. I’d be curious to hear your take on it.

Black-Eyed-Susan Flower

Song for Nobody
by Thomas Merton

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.

A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.

Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.

(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)

A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

(more…)

Elizabeth Heinź of Coast Connections interviews Don Arney on his fire-fighting @Bambi_Bucket invention and use of #TranscendentalMeditation

October 21, 2018

About a year and a half ago, Don Arney was inducted into the Inventors Hall Of Fame for his invention of the Bambi Bucket. Some of you may have seen my blog post about it, which contained a video profile of Don and his invention, the induction ceremony, and acceptance speech in which he extolled the benefits of his lifelong TM practice.

Inventor Don Arney describes Bambi Bucket uses

Yesterday, Don sent us an interview posted Oct 19, 2018 by Shaw Community TV Spotlight. Coast Connections (Nanaimo) Host and Community Producer Elizabeth Heinź interviewed Don Arney about how this big orange bucket became a brand name synonymous with helicopter firefighting not only in British Columbia but worldwide. See Fighting Wildfires with Don Arney, Inventor of the Bambi Bucket.

I was impressed with Elizabeth’s questions, how Don came up with the invention, the way it works, and the various conditions in which it’s used. Viewers are shown video footage and still photos of what the Bambi Bucket looks like and it’s different applications, from forest fires to various disaster relief efforts. Invented in 1981, it is now used in 115 countries, where 90% of all forest fires are fought from the air.

Elizabeth seemed to also know a lot about TM research and asked Don to describe his experiences as a meditating inventor. At 18:03, she asks: “So Don, where did this idea for the Bambi Bucket come from? I know that you practice Transcendental Meditation, and you know how to quiet the mind and receive ideas, and it’s an inspiration.”

Helicopters carry water-filled Bambi Buckets to help put out forest fires copy

Don answers her two-part question by describing how the idea first came to him and how he developed it. When he was ready to launch the Bambi Bucket in the marketplace, Don found out that the Canadian Forestry Service had identified 12 requirements but didn’t know how to improve on what they were using. When they saw Don’s product in action they said it fulfilled all 12 plus 2 more they hadn’t even thought of.

He also told Elizabeth about the value of his regular TM practice over 48 years. “It takes you to a very special place that I feel is totally necessary for anyone who wants to be creative, anyone who wants to be productive.”

“It (TM) takes you to a very special place that I feel is totally necessary for anyone who wants to be creative, anyone who wants to be productive.”

Don then asks the question of where do ideas come from? From the deepest part of ourselves, he answers. He then asks how do you get there, and explains that you have to transcend from here to get to that special place where all those qualities come from—more creativity, more intelligence, more organizing power, more compassion—that exist within us in their infinite value at the source of thought, our own inner Being, which modern science equates with the Unified Field.

Elizabeth reviews the main idea very clearly. Don then explains how the very deep rest gained during TM removes deeply rooted stresses. He uses a simple analogy to make this point. Like getting a car’s brakes unstuck and recalibrated so you can drive more smoothly, TM allows us to then access those deeper ideas within us, to use more of our human potential. Enjoy this wonderful conversation.

Elizabeth seemed to understand and appreciate the value of TM so well I wondered if she was a meditator. I emailed Don, and he replied: “Liz Heinz learned TM as a result of the show! She said she was so ready!!! She loves it.” I was happy to find this out! Thanks to Don I was able to connect with Elizabeth to thank her for the interview. She sent a nice reply saying she enjoyed reading the blog and thanked me for posting it.

“Thoroughly enjoying the TM discovery for myself! So simple, so accessible and so satisfying.”

As for her meditation, Elizabeth said she is “thoroughly enjoying the TM discovery for herself!” She added, “So simple, so accessible and so satisfying.” Those three phrases succinctly and poetically say it all!!! Best description of TM I ever heard!

For more related information visit DonArney.com and SEI Industries. For TM in USA, visit https://www.tm.org; in Canada, visit https://ca.tm.org.

Update: #1 trending video on Shaw in Canada!

It’s been almost a month since the show aired and we were recently informed that it’s the top video of all nine Shaw TV major markets across Canada. Not sure what metrics they use but they said it has been holding at number one since it started to air and posted on YouTube.

@TVJillianParker reports on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation for @SPECNewsROC

October 16, 2018
Jillian Parker interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Jillian Parker (rt) interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Here is another positive TV News report on Transcendental Meditation. This one aired yesterday on Spectrum News in Rochester, NY. Reporter Jillian Parker cited the scientific research and interviewed meditator Jessica Cowie to learn how TM significantly improved her health. Jillian also interviewed TM teacher Peggy Brix who told her why people come to learn. They used clips from the DLF Change Begins Within video. This was so well done it felt like a free TM infomercial! Click on the title below to watch this news piece on their website.

How This Effortless Meditation Technique Improves Overall Health

By Jillian Parker  |  October 15, 2018 @2:22 PM

There’s a 20 minute meditation technique improving sleep patterns, reducing stress and improving overall health.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique that was introduced to the United States in the 1950’s. It’s being called one of the most effective techniques to help people sleep, settle the mind, relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

Jessica Cowie once suffered from anxiety, depression and addiction. She says this technique has been life changing.

Jessica Cowie describes her health benefits from TM

“I’m much calmer, I don’t have as much of an anxious disposition and wasn’t suffering as many anxiety attacks anymore,” Cowie said. “I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and suffered with severe chronic migraines. My pain has significantly lowered. I’m off of all my medications for those illnesses. I literally take nothing.”

Young people spend more than six hours a day stressed out according to a mental health study released this year. Practicing TM is known to reduce the stress hormone by 30 percent and it’s the main reason Peggy Birx says people walk into a session for the first time.

“We’re just living in this crazy, high pressured time where people are on call 24/7. They’re connected all the time and expected to be performing constantly. I think so many people have become disconnected with their quiet inner self,” said Birx, Rochester Transcendental Meditation teacher.

In 20 minutes of meditation, someone can gain as much rest that’s required from six to eight hours of deep sleep.

“I used to need to take something to sleep. I don’t need anything to sleep anymore. My dreams are more vivid, I wake up refreshed. My mind is more alert and I don’t have brain fog as much,” said Cowie.

TM is a practice that the American Heart Association has endorsed as the only technique proven to help heart disease reducing the chances of heart attack, stroke and death by 48 percent.

Teachers are based all over the country, including Rochester.

For more on costs and locations visit this website.

# # #

Other cables TV news stations that reported on the health benefits of TM this year are: WTNH New Haven 8 and WXYZ Detroit 7.

Two profound poems by Stephen Levine: in the realm of the passing away & millennium blessing

October 16, 2018

I just discovered a fine poet, Stephen Levine, on this wonderful blogspot, THE BEAUTY WE LOVE. He was an American poet, author and teacher best known for his work on death and dying. He drew upon the teachings of a variety of wisdom traditions. Stephen and his wife Ondrea were also grief counselors. His poetry offers much wisdom on this subject. Here are two beautiful poems that deal with the ephemeral nature of existence; its deathless, limitless source; and a grace that draws us to it, our ultimate destination — in the realm of the passing away and millennium blessing — both taken from his book, Breaking the Drought: Visions of Grace.

In the realm of the passing away

This is the realm of the passing away. All that
exists does not for long.
…….Whatever comes into this world never stops sliding
toward the edge of eternity.
…….Form arises from formlessness and passes back,
arising and dissolving in a few dance steps between
creation and destruction.
…….We are born passing away.
…….Seedlings and deadfall all face forward.
…….Earthworms eat what remains.
…….We sing not for that which dies but for that which
never does.

* * *

Millennium blessing

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.

It does not come in time,
…….but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.

It is insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.

We know we must pass
…….beyond knowing
and fear the shedding.

But we are pulled upward
…….none-the-less
through forgotten ghosts
…….and unexpected angels,
luminous.

And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.

And that is what we sing about.

* * *

Stephen Levine (July 17, 1937 – January 17, 2016)

* * *

Related posts worth seeing: Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, Buddha in Glory, reminds us of our eternal nature within; John Glenday’s poem, Concerning the Atoms of the Soul, illuminates and nourishes the mind; and The temporary paradox of death in life: writing a tanka for our family pet on his passing.

Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 16, 2018

In the spirit of “Physician, heal thyself,” Catholic Health World reported on Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an elective course to students during the past 4 years to help them avoid burnout and develop wellness, preparing them to become more effective physicians. The Uncarved Blog originally helped break the news of the early success of this program. Here is a PDF of the Catholic Health World article.

Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 15, 2018 (Volume 34, Number 18)
By Patricia Corrigan

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is believed to be the first major medical school in the country to offer Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as an elective course. Since 2014, the class has been offered to help medical students manage stress.

“A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians,” said Dr. Gregory Gruener, vice dean for education and a neurology professor at Stritch.

w181015_medicalstudents-gruener-2-a

Gruener

In addition to learning the meditation technique, the class reviews the neurophysiology of TM and includes a live demonstration of the brain wave patterns that occur during the practice. Students may attend five lectures over two semesters or view the lectures online. Stritch has even set aside meditation rooms for students.

Gruener counts the TM training as a success. “We don’t push it — it’s one technique — but a significant chunk of the students, about a third of each class, sign up for it, and almost 300 have enrolled since it started.” This year, 66 of the 165 first-year students have signed up so far, and Gruener expects another 10 to 20 to enroll.

Most students who have taken the class have reported the training has “a significant and fundamental impact” on their lives, Gruener said. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery, is one of them.

“Going to medical school — well, that’s not a path to stress relief,” said Terrell. She first took the TM class three years ago and still meditates. “Right after the first meditation class, I instantly felt so much better. The initial benefits are still present, and TM is a great tool to have in my pocket for those days when I am overwhelmed.”

TM uses meditation skills similar to those found in the Catholic, Jesuit traditions of contemplative care. Deans in the admissions offices, the counseling faculty and the clinical physician supervisors at Stritch would agree. They also have learned the meditation technique, which was first taught in India in 1955 and introduced in the U.S. in 1959. An article about the TM class, published in Chicago Medicine magazine in January 2016, is now made available to all students who apply to Stritch.

w181015_medicalstudents-brown-3-a

Brown

“Two students told us they chose Loyola because of the TM elective,” said Carla L. Brown, who teaches the course at Stritch. She co-directs the Center for Leadership Performance in Chicago with her husband, Duncan Brown, who also teaches TM at Stritch on an adjunct basis.

“TM changes the brain — that has been documented scientifically,” Carla Brown said. “It taps into our innate capacity to experience restful alertness, and that refines the functioning of our physiology.” The website for the meditation method notes that some 380 published, peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM “markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, improves learning ability and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.”

The medical school is keeping track of whether former students still practice TM. “We haven’t received all the information yet, but even those that are meditating once a day now say they do still notice a benefit,” Gruener said. “Our real concern is how they do away from the support system that was in place for them here, and we will continue to keep in touch.”

Also, as part of a student’s PhD thesis, some faculty members have had MRI scans before and after meditating to determine whether there are changes in the brain that have to do with “anxiety or stress or emotionality.” The study is complete, but Gruener said the data from the thesis is not yet available.

w181015_medicalstudents-1-a

Dr. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery at Louisiana State University — Shreveport, practices stress-busting meditation techniques she learned as a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The TM class includes outside speakers, among them retired Col. Brian Rees, a physician who talks about the use of meditation in his work with individuals in the military related to building resiliency and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Students in medical school want to know about the science supporting TM, and they want to meet physicians who research and also practice it,” Gruener said.

The decision to add the meditation technique to the curriculum was serendipitous. “As we were trying to build a broader menu into our wellness program, we heard from a former medical student who had dropped out of school because of anxiety,” Gruener said. “He saw a billboard advertising TM, took the class and found it had a dramatic impact on his life — and he provided the money to begin a pilot program here.”

That program commenced in the fall of 2013. Later, it was modified and the decision was made to offer the course as an elective, with a more flexible schedule. Gruener noted that one reason some students do not enroll is because of the time required to take the five classes and the need to find 20 minutes twice a day to meditate.

“Some students view that as time taken away from studying, even though we try to let them know that if you take care of yourself now, there is a big payback later,” Gruener said. Laughing, he added, “Also, physicians tend to be hardheaded if something isn’t in pill form or can’t be injected. Carla and I have joked that if we had a pill to relieve stress that cost $1,000, all the students would want to take it.”

Gruener said he practices TM, and he openly credits it with reducing his own stress. “You have to embrace wellness and you have to find the time to take control of your own life,” he said. “Once you begin TM, that gets easier.”

# # #

Permission granted by Catholic Health World, October 15, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
I added all hyperlinks except the SSOM-LUC in the opening sentence.
Article URL: https://www.chausa.org/publications/catholic-health-world/archives/issues/october-15-2018/medical-students-learn-meditation-to-counter-stress-promote-physician-wellness

Mental health tips from London’s leading art figures includes #TranscendentalMeditation

October 10, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018: The Evening Standard GO London wrote a piece for , on how London arts figures look after their minds. They featured 9 individuals. Here is the introduction, and the 7th, Bea Colley, who benefits from her regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, and finds comfort in poetry.

Tips for a healthy mind from London’s leading art figures

Only in the last few years have mental health and physical health begun to be regarded on an equal par. Open conversations about mental health help to break the stigma, but they also remind us that it’s an issue that affects us all.

Self-care is too often relegated to the last priority in the midst of life in a high pressure city, long days at work and digital devices that don’t allow us to ever truly switch off. Opening up about how you’re really feeling is hard enough, and finding and taking practical steps to look after your body and mind isn’t straightforward either.

To mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, we asked leading London arts figures for their tips on self-care and keeping a healthy mind.

Bea Colley

A few years ago, during a particularly difficult time, I learnt Transcendental Meditation. It’s a practice that my parents swear got them through their teaching years and that celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and David Lynch live their lives by. I know that if I can keep up the 20 minutes each morning and evening, the day will be brighter and calmer. Also, being a lover of poetry, I have a theory that a poem will always find you in times of need. Sometimes I head to Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library, pick up an anthology and wait for a poem to bring me comfort.

Bea Colley is Literature Programmer at Southbank Centre‘s London Literature Festival which runs October 18-28.

Dr. Fred Travis at GIBS: Mind-Brain Development for Excellence and TM Develops Brain Coherence

October 3, 2018

Dr Fred Travis presenting at GIBS

On May 7, 2018, Dr. Travis gave a presentation at the Gordon Institute of Business Science at Pretoria University in Johannesburg, South Africa: Achieving Career Excellence through Mind/Brain Development. This forum explores the essential role that mind/brain development plays in enhanced performance.

Research indicates that the level of mind-brain development underlies excellence in all fields of life. Higher brain integration is associated with higher emotional stability, more openness to experience, greater creativity, and greater problem-solving ability. Research shows that world-class professional athletes, top-level managers, and professional musicians have higher levels of brain integration.* This forum explores the different factors that influence brain integration and performance.​

Dr. Fred Travis earned his Ph.D. in 1988 from Maharishi University of Management and after a 2-year postdoctoral position returned to Maharishi University of Management to direct research in the Center from Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition. He has authored over 80 papers that investigate the relation between natural human development and lifestyle choices on brain functioning and personal and professional success. He has lectured extensively in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

The GIBS Business School published two videos of his talk on their YouTube channel May 14, 2018: Dr Fred Travis – Mind-Brain Development for Excellence (4:15). Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at the Maharishi University of Management, says studies have found that that a certain level of mind-brain development underlies excellence in all fields of life.

Seated up front is a subject with EEG leads taped to his head and EEG signatures projected onto the screen behind him. A meditation demonstration must have been done, but that footage is not included in these videos, just a screensaver of it for the second video.

Towards the end of the first video Dr. Travis mentions the Transcendental Meditation technique as a practical tool to help you develop excellence in whatever field you’re in. That theme is more developed in this second video: Dr Fred Travis – Meditation Develops Brain Coherence (5:35). MUM/CBCC Director Dr. Travis believes that meditation develops greater coherence across the brain and aligns the flow of information.

*Here are some of those cited references, from June 18, 2012, Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances. World-class performers in management, sports and music often have uniquely high mind-brain development. On June 4, 2014, another study finds brain integration correlates with greater creativity in product-development engineers. See Does practice make perfect? Or are some people more creative than others? If so, why?

For an explanation of how and why the TM technique is effortless, and can be easily learned and practiced by anyone, with immediate results, read this report: Research validates the defining hallmark of Transcendental Meditation—effortlessness.

Also see this recently published paper using fMRI:  New study highlights unique state of “restful alertness” during Transcendental Meditation.

Ideal Energy’s solar-plus storage system for MUM is first large-scale installation of its kind in Iowa

October 3, 2018

A detailed creative article on this innovative project written by Bob Saar for The Hawk Eye was published September 9, 2018. Click on the title to see more photos at their website. A recent synopsis published in MUM’s The Review, Vol. 34, #2, October 3, 2018 is added at the bottom.

Ideal Energy CEO Troy Van Beek with account manager Michael HalleyThe Hawk Eye caption for Ideal Energy

Here comes the Sun

Fairfield company Ideal Energy brings Iowa to national attention with new solar array installation at Maharishi University of Management.

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

That Buddhist concept fits the solar energy business: The first mountain was long-term storage, but that has been alleviated with modern battery technology, paving the way for local, independent companies like Ideal Energy, Inc. in Fairfield, Iowa to enter the energy-supply business.

But that in turn led to another mountain: How will those smaller companies interconnect with utility giants like Alliant and MidAmerican Energy when they’re in competition with them for energy dollars?

Depending on who you ask, Iowa ranks somewhere in the top 20 states in solar energy development and production, based on a multitude of factors from metering to rebates to tax credits and electricity prices, but Ideal Energy is rising like the morning sun to heat things up for the Hawkeye State.

Founded in 2009 by CEO Troy Van Beek and chief marketing officer Amy Van Beek, Ideal Energy is pioneering modern solar storage technology in Iowa. One of their hottest projects is installing a large solar field for the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield.

MUM’s array, Iowa’s newest and largest privately owned solar array, will track the sun as it moves across the sky, charging a battery system designed by Ideal Energy, providing the college affordable electricity when prices are highest. Called a solar-plus storage system, it’s the first large-scale installation of its kind in Iowa. The Iowa Economic Development Authority is sponsoring a study to encourage the spread of this new renewable technology throughout the state.

Ideal Energy is constructing the 1.1-megawatt solar tracking array on five acres of land. The panels in the array will move 120 degrees each day to track the sun’s journey. Each row of panels can move independently to maintain its own optimal angle to the sun.

Key to the dream of living entirely off the sun in the form of solar and wind energy is the need to store the sun’s output during peak times — noon on a cloudless day, for example — for use during low times — with solar, that’s all night long. Exacerbating the problem is the tendency for demand to increase at periods during low-light times.

The answer is batteries.

The array will provide electricity to the university and charge a vanadium flow battery system. When electricity is in highest demand and prices peak — hot summer days, for example — the university can draw from its own battery supply. Over time, reducing these “demand charges” will help MUM reduce its electricity bill. The battery power can also be used during emergency outages.

Renewable energy is obtained by collecting naturally replenished resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat, all of which support sustainability.

Sustainability avoids the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. In 1987, the UN said “sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations.”

Fossil fuels are nonrenewable — the earth has a finite supply of decomposed dinosaurs — thus a world economy based on coal and oil is not sustainable.

If the major industrialized nations worked toward sustainability by developing renewable energy sources, we wouldn’t be talking these days about global warming, melting polar icecaps or the threat of year-round hurricanes.

Back in the early 1970s, when America was bleeding out in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, the Baby Boomers stumbled across several fresh concepts including sustainability, Buckydomes and — thanks to people like the Beatles, Donovan Leitch and the Beach Boys — a technique called Transcendental Meditation, via the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru who first met those musicians in 1967.

Those so-called counter-culture concepts were not considered cutting edge; rather, they were ignored by the mainstream as being on the fringes of American societal thinking.

But mountains crumble with time and rivers flow relentlessly to the sea, thus today America embraces such previously alien concepts as solar energy, non-dependence on fossil fuels, electric cars, and Dick Tracy two-way wrist radios.

Back then, the problem was how to get off the grid; today, the problem is how to get on the grid with your solar energy system. Solar energy is big business growing larger each year, and big business means government regulation, utility giants and infrastructure.

The symbiosis of small outfits like Ideal with the big utilities — Alliant and MidAmerican in Iowa — is a topic beyond the scope of this story, but look at it this way: Companies like Ideal are the Davids standing tall for the common man, and Alliant is Goliath, only this time, the two are not combatants but are, instead, reluctant dance partners carefully avoiding stepping on each others’ toes.

One of the early solar energy problems was storage: Efficient use of solar requires storage for dark hours and peaks. Used railroad engine batteries were used by some off-gridders, but they had too short a cycle to keep a factory running all night, and thus battery technology had to grow up before solar could become truly viable.

At the heart of the solar problem was the duck curve — that’s the graph of usage versus time of day, which, when plotted out, looks like a duck’s silhouette. The fact the peak demand does not occur when the sun is high means peak usage is somewhat the inverse of peak solar input. In other words, while everyone leaves the office or factory to drive to McDonald’s for lunch, they aren’t using electricity, even though the sun is at it’s zenith. Conversely, when those same workers go home in the evening to fire up the stove, the TV, the hot tub, the Xbox to play Minecraft — that’s when the sun is crashing on the western horizon.

That’s why America needs companies like Ideal Energy.

Ideal wisely focused on battery storage. Today’s battery technology far surpasses those bulky D-cells you used to slide into your dad’s big flashlight, and two technologies are leading the way: vanadium flow and the batteries used in Tesla automobiles.

The vanadium flow battery is a non-toxic, pH-balanced battery whose performance does not degrade over time. Ideal was considering lithium-ion batteries, but those degrade: after 15 years, the top of the line lithium-ion batteries will only hold 50 percent of their initial charge. NEXTracker, owned by Fluxtronics, Ideal’s source for vanadium flow batteries, warranties their batteries for the life of the solar power system as long as Ideal follows a recommended annual maintenance schedule. That means after 25-plus years, the vanadium flow batteries will still hold 98 percent of charge.

A 2-by-4-by-6-foot vanadium battery sits at the end of each row on the MUM array, which consists of 3,150 panels rated at 350 watts each.

The Tesla Powerwall is the same battery utilized in Tesla’s cars; it can be integrated into a modular system and built out for commercial applications. Tesla also does this for residential homes, but the level Ideal is dealing with is large commercial installations.

Troy Van Beek earned his bachelor’s degree in sustainability from MUM and brought his Navy SEAL experience to the company.

“A part of the mission that has created Ideal is that we look at resource security as part of what we’re doing,” Troy said. “We’re in the process of creating abundance for our clients, and that’s really important because of the effect that it has on opportunity. The more opportunity there is, the less need for conflict.”

Amy Van Beek said the MUM project is the first solar and storage, large-scale battery project in the Midwest.

“It’s pretty significant because the National Renewable Energy Labs put out a study about a year ago indicating Iowa is one of the top ten states in the country to benefit from battery energy storage for peak demand mitigation,” she said.

Demand mitigation can reduce energy prices for hours with high price spikes by reducing the marginal generating cost of the system.

“The University is one of these peak demand customers,” Amy said. “We in Iowa have some of the lowest utility rates in the country, but for peak demand users, they’re in the top ten highest utility rates in the country. That can be a big problem for universities, manufacturers, even non-profit organizations — anybody that’s a large electric user.”

Troy Van Beek said that together, the vanadium flow battery technology and the tracking system makes the MUM project unique.

“It gives the U a good energy profile for its particular type of energy curve,” he said. “So that gives nice shoulders on the energy that’s being produced throughout the day. It really gives them a good payback on the project itself.”

That’s enough battery talk for today. Here’s something you can meditate upon tonight: The Sun is free and you can harvest whatever heat, light and wind by-products you want, all day, for free.

The technology to do so is not free. The delivery infrastructure is not free. The maintenance, legislation and continuing R&D are not free.

In the end, there will be no more solar mountains as more energy companies shine as brightly as Ideal Energy.

Read more about Ideal Energy’s projects at www.idealenergysolar.com.

The lyrics to Donovan’s song “There is a Mountain” refer to a Buddhist concept often attributed to Qingyuan Weixin, later translated by D.T. Suzuki in his “Essays in Zen Buddhism.

###

Also see Iowa Entrepreneur profiles Ideal Energy, Fairfield. IPTV first aired this 13-minute story, on July 28, 2017.

On Oct 10, 2018, Ideal Energy posted Women Empowered: a short film about the leaders driving Iowa’s energy future.

See The Review story below:

(more…)


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