Biofuel manufactures in the US were lobbying the the Environmental Protection Agency to try and prevent a watering down of the US renewable fuel mandate. Pressure from fossil-fuel producers resulted in the EPA proposing a reduction in the amount of renewable fuel that refines must blend with gasoline more
Apple’s announced that their new plant based in Arizona will run entirely on renewable energy. The plant will create 2,000 jobs and is part of a policy to boost manufacturing in the US more
UK power producer RWE Innogy shelved plans for a 240 turbine wind farm. The 1,200 MW Atlantic Array project would have produced enough electricity for 900,000 homes more
The Scottish government published results from an independent study into the potential for geothermal energy production in Scotland read study
American car rental customers are failing to embrace electric cars because of fears that they will run out of power between charging stations. Hybrids however have been much more popular as they lack the “range anxiety” associated with electric cars more
DuPont Co beat analysts estimates of third quarter earnings thanks to higher sales of materials used to make solar panels. The electronics unit delivered a 67% increase in operating profit driven by the performance of films and metal pastes used in the production of solar panels more
The UK government aims to increase solar more than 700% by 2020. The government hopes that by working with companies the price of solar can be brought down to a similar level to fossil fuels more
Australia’s new prime minister Tony Abbott has vowed to close the profitable Australian Clean Energy Bank. The development bank helps green projects raise debt and equity has a loan portfolio of AUD $536 m earning an average of 7% more
A consortium of German companies aims to produce sustainable electricity from around the worlds coastlines. Waves are a huge potential energy source and the project hopes to release this reserve of renewable energy… more
German car manufacturer Porsche announced a new $845,000 Hybrid that can reach 100 km per hour in 2.8 seconds with better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius. The limited edition Spyder hybrid follows a hybrid version of the Panamera coupe read more
Meanwhile VW another German car maker outlined plans for 40 electric or hybrid vehicles. 14 of the alternate drive vehicles will be available next year and will increase the offering should there be sufficient demand more
The worlds largest geothermal energy plant has been completed in New Zealand. The 100 MW plant will produce enough energy to power 80,000 homes more
UK wind power produced a record 5.7 GW of power on 15 September. UK offshore capacity has increased significantly in recent months with the completion of the 630 MW London Array.
This week’s round up of greentech news is out of this world ;o)
NASA are developing a solar panel satellite that could provide one third of the world’s electricity needs. Thousands of mirrors on the satellite would focus the sunlight onto PV panels which would then convert the sunlight to microwaves which could be beamed back to earth.
Using a satellite rather than earth based solar farms would benefit from stronger sunlight and would not be disrupted by poor weather read more (update – NASA website is currently unavailable due to the shut down of the US government
Back down on earth Siemens won a contract to supply 24 wind turbines for four wind farms in northern France more
In the UK a disused landfill site that was converted into a solar farm has turned out to be the perfect habitat for wild chamomile. Solar farms with their large areas of open space and relatively small amount of disturbance from humans allow wildlife to flourish more
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a way to manufacture printable solar panels using phosphorus and zinc. The discovery could lead to further falls in the price of PV panels as these elements are abundant in the earth’s crust more
An electric hybrid vehicle inspired round up of greentech news for the weekending 25 August…
Following the success of the €1m LaFerrari the Italian sports car manufacturer has announced plans to develop more hybrid vehicles more
And another hybrid sports car manufacturer Telsa announced plans to expand into China on the back of strong Hong Kong sales. China is a key market for hybrid and electric cars which can provide automobiles demanded by a growing middle class without the pollution that comes with traditional fuels.
Finally the world’s biggest manufacture of hybrid vehicles Toyota announced discounts for it’s all electric RAV4 more
Here is your round up of greentech news…
UK based installer Solinium used solar slate tiles to enable Buckingham Group Contracting to generating their own local electricity at a new office in Amersham. We really like these tiles which overcome a lot of the aesthetic problems associated with traditional PV panels. Keep an eye on this blog for a more in depth look at solar slate tiles later this year…
California Governor Jerry Brown announced plans to ‘bottle sunlight’. In other words the state is looking at large scale storage solutions to enable power to be provided through peaks in demand more
Clarkson University has teamed up with The Centre for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in opening a $1.2m wind turbine test facility more
Three years after President Obama pledged to install solar panels on the White House work has commenced on the project. A White House official stated that the installation is “part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building”. Jimmy Carter first installed solar panels in the 1970s but these were removed by Ronald Regan during the environmentally unenlightened 1980s.
More greentech stories that were making the news while we were on our summer break…
A majority of European states reportedly endorsed the amicable solution reached in the EU-China solar trade dispute details
Indian railways announced plans to use solar power to provide air conditioning and light in passenger coaches more
Australia’s largest concentrated solar power plant launched in Mildura, Victoria
The 1.5 MW demo facility is the first stage in the development of a 100 MW facility being developed by Solar Systems. The CSP array uses curved mirrors to focus sunlight onto ultra efficient photovoltaic cells more
Catching up from our summer break. Here are the greentech stories that were making the news in the first week of August…
BMW unveiled it’s new electric vehicle the i3. The 170 horse power electric motor accelerates the car from 0-100 kmh in 7.2 seconds.
In a move to overcome customer fears about limited range BMW announced an option to borrow a petrol powered SUV such as the X5 for longer journeys more
BP reversed it’s decision to sell 16 wind farms due to a lack of demand from the market more
The first wind turbines were installed at the German offshore wind farm Borkum West 2
When completed the wind farm will generate 400MW of power through 80 wind turbines.
China and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of the 188MW Isimba Falls hydropower plant. The $570m project is expected to be completed in 2018.
Greentech round up for the week
Republicans proposed cutting nearly $3 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget denying funds for president Obama’s plan to combat global warming more
Ford ended a partnership with Toyota to develop a hybrid system for pick-ups and SUVs. The two car producers mutally agreed to end their collaboration at the end of the R&D phase more
Biofuel makers in the US urged the federal govenment to ease quotas for the use of renewable fuels. A fall in the amount of gasoline being consumed means that refiners can’t sell enough ethanol without exceeding the 10% blend deemed safe for all vehicles more
Supporters of fossil fuels often mention predictability of supply in their argument against renewable energy sources. Put simply solar power is only effective when the sun is shining and likewise wind power only generates electricity on a windy day. While this criticism is not valid for all forms of renewable power (hydro and geothermal are some of the most consistently reliable energy sources) it is true that solar and wind power are very susceptible to peaks and troughs in supply. The traditional response has been to vary the feed into the grid from more reliable power sources such as coal, gas or nuclear to balance energy production with demand.
However while it is the case that sometimes there is insufficient power generated othertimes too much power can be generated. Domestic energy requirements tend to be lower during the day, ironically when the sun is shining and solar power production is most effective. When the wind blows strongly massive wind turbines can generate more power than is required by the electricity grid. Recently there have been some interesting developments that promise to improve the reliability of supply from renewable sources by storing excess power so that it can be released later to better match demand.
In Germany domestic solar customers are able to benefit from a hybrid solar invertor and energy management system. At the heart of the systmem are advanced Li-ion batteries that enable electricity to be consumed in the evening when demand is highest.
A typical household is estimated to be able to produce 80% of it’s own power using this system. Similar improvements in battery life are also improving the reliability of electric cars giving greater range to emission free runabouts.
Apple have filed a patent application for a wind turbine that generates heat instead of electricity.
The heat is used to generate steam to turn turbines which produce electricity. The benefit of this design is that heat is easier to store for long periods than electricity.
But perhaps the most original solution has been put forward by the Belgium government who plan to build a doughnut shaped island 5km offshore to store excess energy from wind farms. When additional power is needed valves would be opened allowing the water to flow back into the island turning hydroelectric turbines in the process.
We think that these ideas are hugely exciting and variations that offer even more innovative solutions to store energy will further improve the reliability of renewable power sources in future years