Welcome to our first round-up of greentech news for 2014
Ford introduced a concept electric car the C-Max Solar Energi that recharges it’s self using solar power.
A neat idea but although photovoltaic cells have improved efficiency in recent years the car would still need a solar concentrator to focus the suns rays. The five meter high canopy focuses light like a magnifying class to improve efficiency. While parked the semi-autonomous car moves backwards and forward to capture as much sunlight as possible. While the C-Max Solar Energi may never be sold to customers an improved version of the technology may one day come into commercial use.
The EU proposed a 40% reduction in green-house gas output by 2030. A strengthening of the ETS was also proposed more
China announced plans to install 18GW of wind power and 10GW of solar power in 2014. In 2013 China installed 12GW of solar power , more than the total amount of US solar installations. The falling price of PV cells also saw China overtake market leader Germany more
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
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
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
This week’s greentech news from around the world…
Solar stocks rose on news that China plans to add 10 GW of solar power a year for the next three years. The government also announced tax breaks for solar companies that acquire others more
UK utility company RWE claims that British power bills will increase by 20% by 2020 in order to pay for new power plants aimed at cutting pollution more
Here is your round up of greentech news for the week.
Samoa will begin a $2m geothermal energy project next year as the territory seeks to reduce it’s reliance on diesel more
China Solar will move production overseas to avoid import taxes levied by the European Union. Import levies are set to increase to 67.9% from August details
German solar provider SMA solar is to launch a battery to allow customers to store surplus energy. The inverter battery will give households an additional three hours of energy in the evening more
Here is this week’s Greentech news
Two Chinese companies Sinohydro Corporation Ltd and Chinese National Electric Engineering Co (CNEEC) commenced work on the 700 MW Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant in Nigeria. The power plant was first conceived in 1982 but was unable to commence due to a lack of funds.
Swedish architecture firm Belatchew Arkitekter have put forward an intreging proposal using piezoelectric generation.
If the project goes ahead the Söder Torn tower in Stockholm will increase by 16 stories including 14 stories dedicated to piezoelectric generation. The tower would be covered with millions of straws, each with a polymer coating and a core made of piezoelectric material. As they move in the wind the stresses exerted on each straw would create a current that is channelled into the generator room inside the building.
Deep Earth Energy Production Corp announced plans for Canada’s first geothermal power plant. The 5 MW plant is expected to cost $34m with construction starting in 2014.
The EU imposed tariffs as high as 67.9 percent on solar panels from China as the trade war between them intensified. The EU claims that Chinese producers have been “dumping” imports and European producers have suffered “material injury” as a result.
This weeks’ round up of greentech news from around the world…
Scientists from the Australian research institute the CSRIO have printed organic solar cells the size of an A3 sheet of paper.
Using a similar method to screen printing an image onto a T shirt the scientists were able to use semiconducting ink to print cells straight onto plastic or steel. Dr Jones has ambitious plans for future uses of the paper thin cells “Eventually we see these being laminated to windows that line skyscrapers”
A 40GW hydropower project moved closer to reality as the World Bank offered to finance the deal. The Grand Inga development in the Democratic Republic of Congo would produce the equivalent power to 20 large nuclear power stations. Unlike the Three Gorges hyropower facility in China the Grand Inga project would have a minimal environmental consequences and would not require tens of thousands of people to be relocated.
The UK Green Investment Bank has committed a total of £635m to 11 renewable energy projects. The bank was set up by the government to help stimulate the renewable energy projects needed to meet the UK’s target of sourcing 15% of energy production from renewable sources by 2020. The total includes includes already-announced loans to companies such as Shanks Group Plc and Drax Group Plc.
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