Thursday, October 31, 2013

How the IETF plans to protect the web from NSA snooping - Network World

Was extensively involved with the IETF with my early ISP. Their proposal to make most of the internet traffic encrypted by default is practical. And they control the communications protocols and standards to make it happen. Gotta applaud all those thousands of engineers who donate their skills for a better, faster, free and open internet.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/103113-nsa-ietf-275483.html?source=NWWNLE_nlt_afterdark_2013-10-31

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

US IPPs to build 10 MW of PV, 3 MW of wind power in Grand Cayman for CUC

Business

US IPPs to build 10 MW of PV, 3 MW of wind power in Grand Cayman for CUC

30.10.2013: The Caribbean Utilities Co. Ltd. (CUC), the only public utility in Grand Cayman, has selected two US-based independent power producers to build megawatt-size solar and wind power generation facilities in Grand Cayman. The two developers were selected through a request for proposals issued in August 2011 for the financing, construction, ownership and operation of renewable energy generation facilities. New Generation Power was selected to build a 5 MW solar park and a 3 MW wind power facility, while International Electric Power LLC was chosen to build a 5 MW solar park. The total development and construction cost of these projects is expected to be approximately 30 million KYD ($36 million). CUC and the developers are currently negotiating power purchase agreements, but purchase prices are expected to range from approximately 0.14 to 0.20 KYD per kWh, which is between 4.5 and 10.5 CI cents lower than the per kWh cost of diesel fuel. The projects are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, assuming permitting and regulatory approval goes as planned. © PHOTON

http://www.cuc-cayman.com

http://www.cuc-cayman.com/powerpanel/modules/pressrelease/html/uploads
/pdfs/1382620845cuc-chooses-energy-firms--231013.pdf

 

 

Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy

646.402.5076

www.arcstarenergy.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Japan - Analysis - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=JA&scr=email

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

SiC Processing plans to sue Yingli subsidiaries for failing to pay debts

SiC Processing plans to sue Yingli subsidiaries for failing to pay debts

29.10.2013: The insolvency administrator of Germany-based SiC Processing GmbH, which recycles slurry from the PV and semiconductor industries, and its Chinese subsidiary, SiC Processing (Baoding) Ltd., plan to sue various subsidiaries of Chinese solar manufacturer Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. to enforce outstanding debts and bring contractual compensation claims for short deliveries, according to the company's insolvency manager, Christopher Seagon. Seagon alleges that the Yingli subsidiaries have failed to pay what they owe SiC Processing's Chinese subsidiary and that Yingli has failed to meet its long-term contractual obligations. Payments totaling more than €5 million ($6.9 million) are allegedly more that 300 days overdue. Yingli's breaches of contract, Seagon says, were the primary cause for SiC's insolvency. SiC Processing GmbH owes its bondholders alone €87 million ($120 million). Seagon says that if the Yingli subsidiaries do not pay their debts soon, SiC Processing (Baoding) will have to shut down its Chinese subsidiary and lay off its roughly 180 employees there. SiC Processing filed for insolvency in early December

 

 

Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy

646.402.5076

www.arcstarenergy.com

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fwd: Bloomberg: Wal-Mart Now Draws More Solar Power Than 38 U.S. States



From Bloomberg, Oct 25, 2013, 5:25:29 AM

Solar power and keg stands have one thing in common: Wal-Mart wants to profit from them.

To read the entire article, go to http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-24/wal-mart-now-has-more-solar-than-38-u-s-states-drink-.html
Sent from the Bloomberg iPhone application. Download the free application at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bloomberg/id281941097?mt=8



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--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fwd: BBC News: UN climate chief's tears over future



UN climate chief reduced to tears over future

A passionate concern over the world that children will inherit sees the head of the UN's climate body break down in tears.

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24615946


BLM to Host First-Ever Competitive Auction to Develop Solar Energy on Public Lands

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fwd: Solar Panels for Heating & Air Conditioning

> http://www.pddnet.com/news/2013/10/solar-panels-heating-air-conditioning?et_cid=3551232&et_rid=45636295&type=headline
>
> Solar Panels for Heating & Air Conditioning
> Mon, 10/21/2013 - 12:33pm
> Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
> Get today's design engineering headlines and news - Sign up now!
>
> The use of solar panels to produce hot water is standard practice, but researchers at the Madrid Universities Carlos III and Polit├ęcnica suggest that they may also be used to provide large offices with heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Their proposal involves the incorporation of solar collectors into a gas-based cogeneration system with an absorption machine, which would reduce both energy expenditure and CO2 emissions.
>
> They may still be few, but a number of shopping centres and major stations, such as Atocha Train Station in Madrid, house trigeneration systems responsable for the production of electricity, cool air and heat. A gas engine generates electricity and, in winter, the residual heat produced is used directly for the heating circuit whilst in summer, this heat powers an absorption machine which cools the water used to provide air conditioning.
>
> Now engineers from the Madrid Universities Carlos III (UC3M) and Polit├ęcnica (UPM) have designed a model which makes the best possible use of this system in order to allow maximum reductions in energy expediture and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the model's ability to accommodate solar collectors is a feature new to the field. The system, the details of which appear in the journal Applied Thermal Engineering, has been designed for large office blocks.
>
> Pedro A. Rodriguez, UC3M profesor and primary author of the study, explains to SINC: "current regulations state that the installation of solar panels in buildings is only compulsory in order to meet the demand for domestic hot water, but very few offices have either showers or kitchens. Consequently, the idea behind our proposal is that a part of the demand for heating in winter and for air conditioning in summer be met with solar power."
>
> In order to create the model, the team considered the energy needs of the buildings within the Madrid region, as well as monthly climatological data- temperatures and solar radiation- pertaining to the area. The system makes it posible to provide air conditioning or heating according to the specific daily needs of each office- which may vary particularly in spring and autumn.
>
> The researchers apply a 'coefficient of merit' as a decision-making tool in order to save energy and to operate the hybrid trigeneration plant. This plant supplies 1.7 MW of electricity, 1.3 MW of heating and 2 MW of air conditioning. It can be installed in a business park of 50, 000 m2, whose offices are linked together with two rings, each a kilometre in length. These rings follow the path of the sewage works or other underground pipes.
>
> According to Carmen Rodriguez Hidalgo, UPM researcher and co-author of the study, "the size of the investment necessary for the installation of a solar power plant means this hybrid solution takes longer- more than 14 years- to pay for itself. However, the system allows greater reductions in CO2 emissions, ranging from 1, 527 tonnes to 1, 760 tonnes per year. It also produces primary energy savings and a slight increase in anual profits".
>
> The engineer recalls the fact that the need for energy for heating and air conditioning in Spain's buildings is of crucial importance within the context of a European roadmap whose aim is to move towards a CO2-free environment. She stated that for this reason, an increase in Spain's currently miniscule number of district heating and air conditioning systems, such as that proposed by her team, was highly desireable.
>
> For more information visit www.uc3m.es.
> TOPICS
> INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION
>  

Monday, October 21, 2013

BBC News: Nuclear power plant gets go-ahead

After all of the bitching about the high price of renewables and subsidies blah blah blah, check the PPA rate on this new nuke.

Nuclear power plant gets go-ahead

The government has signed a deal for the construction of Hinkley Point C, the UK's first nuclear station in a generation.

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24604218


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.


Monty Bannerman
Sent from my iPad

Friday, October 18, 2013

BBC News: 'Electronic blood' computer tested

'Electronic blood' computer tested

A new brain-inspired computing device powered via a liquid instead of through wires has been demonstrated at IBM's Zurich laboratory.

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24571219


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.


Monty Bannerman
Sent from my iPad

BBC News: Osborne agrees to China nuclear deal

Red Communists owning Brit nuke plants! Never in the USA.

Osborne agrees to China nuclear deal

The Chancellor, George Osborne, announces that the UK will allow Chinese companies to take a stake in British nuclear power plants.

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24561325


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.


Monty Bannerman
Sent from my iPad

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fwd: BBC News: Meteorite pulled from Russian lake

Meteorites sell to an active scientific and collector market at thousands per ounce.


Meteorite pulled from Russian lake

Divers working at a Russian lake have recovered a 570kg chunk of the space rock that exploded over Chelyabinsk earlier this year.

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24550941


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ontario Kills Coal, But Local Renewables Program Falters | CleanTechnica

Fwd: Green Technology Spotlight: Fuel Cells That Power Buildings

Game-changer if/when proven.




10/03/2013 03:09 PM     print story email story   ShareThis

Green Technology Spotlight: Fuel Cells That Power Buildings

SustainableBusiness.com News

Besides moving forward in transportation, fuel cells are also making headway powering buildings, especially if "The Cube" makes it successfully to market. 

Maryland-based Redox Power Systems, which is developing The Cube, thinks it has the answer. The company, which started up last year, is commercializing University of Maryland technology that could potentially be game-changing for distributed energy. 

The Cube fuel cell is slightly bigger than a dishwasher (10% of the size of fuel cells today) and costs 90% less than fuel cells currently on the market. It connects to a natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity, says Forbes. and produces both heat and electricity. It has no engine and virtually no moving parts and operates silently and constantly. 

Fuel Cells: The Cube

Eric Wachsman, director of University of Maryland's Energy Research Center, developed the solid oxide fuel cell technology, which can provide safe, efficient, reliable, uninterrupted power, on-site ... and, the holy grail - the price is the same as current energy sources.

Wachsman has spent millions of dollars in grants over 25 years to develop fuel cell technology that operates at much lower temperatures, at 80% efficiency, at a fraction of the cost.

"Every business or home should be able to safely generate its own energy," Warren Citrin, CEO of Redox, told Forbes. "We currently rely upon a vulnerable electrical grid. The best way to decrease that vulnerability is through distributed energy, that is, by making your own energy on-site. We are building systems to do that, with an emphasis on efficiency and affordability. These should be common appliances."

You can "generate your own electricity with a system nearly impervious to hurricanes, thunderstorms, cyber-attacks, derechos, and similar dangers, while simultaneously helping the environment," claims Redox. 

The Cube has apparently solved the problems that have held solid oxide fuel cells back - an ability to operate at lower temperatures and the cost to manufacture. 

"I recognize a breakthrough when I see it," Citrin told E@M, the magazine of A. James Clark School of Engineering at U Maryland. "This is a game changer for society. What was predicted to be a five- to 10-year effort to move into manufacturing has taken us less than 12 months." Citrin, a serial entrepreneur, sold radar technology firm Solipsys to Raytheon for $200 million in 2003.

The first models - entering the market next year - have a 25 kilowatt (kW) capacity - enough to provide energy for a moderate-sized grocery store. Future generations will be 5 kW in capacity for homes and 80 kW for bigger buildings. 

"More and more individuals and industries, including regulated utilities, understand the need for continuous, uninterrupted power. People are not quite ready to generate their own electricity, but if we can package and explain the technology correctly, the sky is the limit," Citrin told E@M

The Department of Energy is opening a National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center to further development of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies.

Some of the corporations running on fuel cells are ToyotaApple and eBay. South Korea is moving ahead with a fuel cell park.

Read our article, Fuel Cell Industry Finally Gaining Traction, Shipments to Triple.

Here




--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fwd: Don’t blame renewables for energy price hikes says think-tank - Power Engineering International

Note the rising cost of gas as utilities make the switch to their new favorite fossil fuel.

> http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2013/10/don-t-blame-renewables-for-energy-price-hikes-says-think-tank.html
>
> Don't blame renewables for energy price hikes says think-tank
> 11/10/2013
> By Kelvin Ross 
> Deputy Editor
>
> A price hike by one of the UK's biggest utilities has thrown renewable energy subsidies into the spotlight.
>
> SSE, one of Britain's so-called 'Big Six' utilities – the others are British Gas, E.ON, EDF, npower and Scottish Power – yesterday announced a price increase of 8.2 per cent, which would add £93 to an annual dual fuel bill.
>
> Other energy firms are expected to announce their own increases in coming weeks and the SSE increase has been slammed by politicians and consumer groups.
>
> Some have used the price rise to attack subsidies for renenewable energies, which make up a portion of all utility bills.
>
> And SSE's chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies  has said that bills per household would drop by £110 straight away if these subsidies and other environmental costs were paid for via the tax system.
>
> He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "A price rise is never a good thing to do, but if it focuses everyone on to a debate about what we as a nation should be spending money on, then in one way it will be helpful.
>
> "We need to think about what people really want to pay for," he said, adding that "maybe it's time to retreat from decarbonisation and focus more on the cost of living. I think we have to have a debate about it."
>
> "Do we want to be replacing one bit of generation that we can keep going for a bit longer with a new bit of generation that's going to cost more?"
>
> But think-tank IPPR argues network charges and wholesale gas prices are the main reason for the tariff increase, not the cost of green policies, which it says account for only a sixth of the rise.
>
> Reg Platt, IPPR senior research fellow, said: "Some people will try to claim that the cost of green policies is the main reason bills are going up, but this is not the case. Breaking down SSE's announcement it is clear that network charges and wholesale gas costs are the main reasons, with government policies making up a smaller proportion of the rise.
>
> "This still leaves a substantial amount of the rise unaccounted for by SSE but presumably for internal operating costs and profits. If consumers are to be confident they are not getting a raw deal, we need urgent action from the government to radically improve transparency on suppliers costs and profits, and greater competition in the market to drive down these costs and profits." 

Monday, October 14, 2013

German Industry Calls for Renewables Policy Reform

FW: Reflectors Significantly Raise the Efficiency of Flat Rooftop Solar

 

 

 

 

Reflectors Significantly Raise the Efficiency of Flat Rooftop Solar

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Flat-roofed urban buildings bake in the sun all day with no shade from trees, so they are the perfect place for solar panels. They can deliver power directly to where it's needed without significant transmission loss. But roof space is limited so efficiency is very important.

TenK Solar of Minneapolis has developed a system that achieves amazing efficiencies on flat roofs by putting thin-film reflectors in the spaces between the tilted solar panels. To make this work, they had to rethink the way solar cells are interconnected: Conventional solar systems connect panels with a series string — and just like the old Christmas lights, the whole string goes dark if a single light is bad. Series connected solar cells have the same problem and worse: A tree or cloud shadow, a fallen leaf, or blop of bird poop can reduce the output of the whole string. If the cells are not matched and equally illuminated, efficiency drops significantly.

TenK has solved this problem by designing an entirely unique PV module.  They install six DC-DC converters in each solar panel that connect to the solar cells in a unique series/parallel arrangement that provides full output even when there are voltage differences or even failures. This unique cell connection method makes it possible to reduce the spacing between rows of solar panels, which are angled towards the sun. Shadows from the next row no longer degrade the whole system as they do with series connection so the tilt angle of the panels can be increased. The higher tilt allows rain to better clean the panels, reducing the need for cleaning as well.

A sheet of plastic with a thin film Coolmirror coating is laminated onto the reflector glass increasing energy output further by catching the sunlight in the spaces between rows and reflecting it to the panels. This would be impossible if the cells were series connected because the uneven lighting would degrade the whole system. The Coolmirror filtering prevents heat from the reflected sunlight from heating up the solar cells and reducing efficiency..

The efficiency gained by the TenK system is impressive. In Phoenix, Arizona, the system produces 20.6 kilowatt-hours (kWh)/year for every square foot of area! That means that a 10x20 foot rooftop system will produce 200 x 20.6 = 4,120 kWh/year. That's enough to power an electric car 12,360 miles/year!

  

In less sunny places like Boston, the annual output would be reduced to 15.75 kWh/year. That means our 10x20 foot system would still produce 3,150 kWh/year.

The high efficiency of the TenK system compares very favorably with existing utility scale solar power plants. There are 43,560 square feet in an acre so we can multiply to convert the 20.6 kWh/ft2 to 897,336 kWh/acre annual production in Phoenix. That nicely beats the the 100-acre Jacksonville solar plant in Florida which generates only 243,000 kWh per year per acre. The Jacksonville plant uses thin film solar panels. High efficiency silicon panels can produce more like 350,000 kWh/acre.Sunpower's Oasis technology (photo above) tilts the panels to track the sun and uses the most efficient silicon panels available, but it still only achieves a maximum 523,000 kWh/acre. The spacing needed to prevent shadowing more than offsets the efficiency gain of the tracker. Even two axis trackers with concentrating PV have a hard time competing.

Like all silicon chips, DC optimizers and microinverters are getting cheaper every day. They pay for themselves in the increased efficiency and reliability they provide, and the ease of installation. A study of large existing, single-inverter solar systems of various ages found that they were functioning in the real world at an average of only 66 percent of specified performance! Clearly, as chip prices continue to fall, more sophisticated, high-efficiency systems will become a no-brainer.

The integrated circuits optimize the photovoltaic cell outputs and convert them to into a single 110- or 220-VAC output that automatically shuts off if there is no load. This is a safety feature so the panel will not shock people who handle it before installation. The voltage inside the panel is limited to 15 volts, making arcing or shocks impossible. With conventional, series connected panels,voltages of 600 or even 1000 volts are common. Arcing, fires or electrocution of firemen or repairmen is possible at those voltages. All that is necessary to shut down the solar system is to turn off the building's main power switch. A very safe design.

Solar power has finally reached parity with fossil fuel costs in some states, but "you ain't seen nothin yet." The solar systems we are building today will seem crude when we look back in the future. Remember the first computers? Solar systems of the future will be cheap, simple and mass produced. The free energy is there. All we have to do is collect it. 

The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted

HelioSage to Develop 20 Megawatt Solar Project in Connecticut

Ontario drops plans for new nuclear power - Pennenergy

No new nukes in the LTEP.

Apparently keeping 50% of Ontario’s generation is not enough for the Conservative nuclear pigs at the public trough.

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/10/ontario-drops-plans-for-new-nuclear-reactors.html

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fwd: US Conservative Voices Grow Louder in Support of Renewable Energy

> http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/10/conservative-voices-grow-louder-in-support-of-renewable-energy
>
> US Conservative Voices Grow Louder in Support of Renewable Energy
>
> Lee Peterson 
> October 07, 2013  |  18 Comments
>
>  Print
> Email
> Share
> 13
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> 13
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> 101
>
> The year 2013 will be remembered as the year that utilities in the United States crossed the Rubicon of renewable energy.  At first glance you might think this is a purely partisan matter, one of liberals and conservatives scoring points off each other; however, it is actually the result of our republican (with a small 'r') form of government, wherein the profound wisdom of our founding fathers once again proves its worth. Frankly, what has happened should make each and every American proud. 
>
> Here's what's going on, and it's quintessentially an American phenomenon. 
>
> No matter what our illustrious Congress desires or attempts, and regardless what our current President intends, at the end of every American day, the sun sets on 50 states and a handful of territories that are free and independent governments. Thus, even though we have a federal tax code, a FERC, and an EPA, it is still at the state level that the majority of business gets done.  It is at the state level where new business is created and new technology is put into play. It's also where power-plants are built and operated. Like it or not, most U.S. electrical generation is a state-level activity. That's where the money is spent and where jobs are created.
>
> So unless the federal government, executive, legislative or judicial branch outright makes illegal some commercial activity, the states are going to do what they think is good for that state.  
>
> And lo and behold, the states have decided renewable energy is good.
>
> Hence, despite what the last presidential election rhetoric sounded like, and despite what the current Congress is saying about renewable energy, the simple economics of wind, solar and other clean technology speaks for itself.  Thus, in a free-market capitalist nation like America, we are seeing more and more states, businesses, and Americans freely choosing renewable energy.
>
> A growing number of American utilities are facilitating this progress at the state level because it's what the citizens, voters and taxpayers in those states have decided is best for them, their state and their country. No one is threatening to secede from the United State over renewable energy.  Rather, we engaged in expanding renewable energy resources because it is the American thing to do.
>
> Therefore, despite the continuing gridlock in Congress, the states are mostly exercising their liberty and moving ahead with their own renewable energy build-out, not so much as part of a larger transition away from coal to natural gas, but to diversify the energy sector and enhance local and national security. 
>
> The examples are truly indicative of Americans doing what we do best; namely, the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. 
>
> Even more interestingly, despite the continued Congressional opposition to wind and solar, mainly on the Republican side of the House of Representatives, a growing number of Republican states are acting independently and ignoring Congressional Republicans who have forgotten to look and see what's happening at home.  Many current, substantial, and compelling examples abound. 
>
> For example Georgia, a bastion of traditionally ultra-conservative ideology with a near super-majority of Republicans in its state government, just saw all five of its statewide elected, conservative Republican Public Service Commissioners vote unanimously in favor of allowing Georgia Power, the nation's largest public utility, to purchase 210 MW of solar energy.  And then just eight months after that vote, they ordered GA Power to add another 525 MW, as a hedge against fuel and regulatory risk in order to protect the state and its economy and jobs.
>
> Just prior to that move in Georgia, another ultra-conservative state, North Carolina, defeated a conservative-led attempt to repeal its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). That defeat was followed by the Governor of North Carolina declaring June 2013 as "Solar Energy Month". All that occurring with that state's largest utility, Duke, supporting the continuation of the RPS. 
>
> Many Republican states, are doing exactly the opposite of what the Republican Party in the House of Representatives in Congress claims to stand against. Legislators at the State level are actively and aggressively working toward nonpartisan solutions to move into the 21stCentury in a way that's best for Americans.  These are bold, intelligent, and careful moves that make America better, stronger, leaner, cleaner and ready for a better and brighter future using more and more wind and solar. As it stands today, the state of our union, although in a state of perpetual gridlock at the Congressional level, is doing pretty darn well at the state level in the area of renewable energy. It is clearly the states that are leading the charge on the renewable energy front.  And that's the way it should be.
>
> Just as it was the morals, values and concerns for the individual that informed our founding fathers and guided their political compass toward a republican form of government for the United States, so it is that we are now seeing the states inform our Congress, our Judiciary and our President on how to proceed with renewable energy.  If only Congress would see and listen.
>
> U.S. utilities are already in the game.  They understand it can work, and they know they can make it work.  While many may have been slow to start, they are speeding up. We are seeing that every day American utilities are increasingly becoming part of the solution rather than the problem.  This is, again, due in large part to the fact that utilities operate at the state level, where they are still accountable to local folks — the people that they must serve. 
>
> In the end, despite the detour from rationality that the most recent national election cycle took, and despite the detour that Congress is currently still on, the renewable energy industry in America is actually back on track. Most particularly, the states are back on track.  Once Congress gets on board with the states and supports the utilities in their combined effort to improve our energy infrastructure with wind and solar, our democracy will once again prove itself to be the closest thing to divine action mere mortals could ever conceive, just as our founding fathers envisioned.
>
> Lead image: US Capitol via Shutterstock
>
> The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FW: New Device Harnesses Sun & Sewage to Produce Hydrogen Fuel

 

 

 

 

New Device Harnesses Sun & Sewage to Produce Hydrogen Fuel

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 9:26am

University of California - Santa Cruz

PEC-MFC device achieves self-biased solar hydrogen generation through microbial electrohydrogenesis at lab scale

A novel device that uses only sunlight and wastewater to produce hydrogen gas could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment.

A research team led by Yat Li, associate professor of chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, developed the solar-microbial device and reported their results in a paper published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. The hybrid device combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a type of solar cell called a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC). In the MFC component, bacteria degrade organic matter in the wastewater, generating electricity in the process. The biologically generated electricity is delivered to the PEC component to assist the solar-powered splitting of water (electrolysis) that generates hydrogen and oxygen.

Either a PEC or MFC device can be used alone to produce hydrogen gas. Both, however, require a small additional voltage (an "external bias") to overcome the thermodynamic energy barrier for proton reduction into hydrogen gas. The need to incorporate an additional electric power element adds significantly to the cost and complication of these types of energy conversion devices, especially at large scales. In comparison, Li's hybrid solar-microbial device is self-driven and self-sustained, because the combined energy from the organic matter (harvested by the MFC) and sunlight (captured by the PEC) is sufficient to drive electrolysis of water.

In effect, the MFC component can be regarded as a self-sustained "bio-battery" that provides extra voltage and energy to the PEC for hydrogen gas generation. "The only energy sources are wastewater and sunlight," Li said. "The successful demonstration of such a self-biased, sustainable microbial device for hydrogen generation could provide a new solution that can simultaneously address the need for wastewater treatment and the increasing demand for clean energy."

Microbial fuel cells rely on unusual bacteria, known as electrogenic bacteria, that are able to generate electricity by transferring metabolically-generated electrons across their cell membranes to an external electrode. Li's group collaborated with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) who have been studying electrogenic bacteria and working to enhance MFC performance. Initial "proof-of-concept" tests of the solar-microbial (PEC-MFC) device used a well-studied strain of electrogenic bacteria grown in the lab on artificial growth medium. Subsequent tests used untreated municipal wastewater from the Livermore Water Reclamation Plant. The wastewater contained both rich organic nutrients and a diverse mix of microbes that feed on those nutrients, including naturally occurring strains of electrogenic bacteria.

When fed with wastewater and illuminated in a solar simulator, the PEC-MFC device showed continuous production of hydrogen gas at an average rate of 0.05 m3/day, according to LLNL researcher and coauthor Fang Qian. At the same time, the turbid black wastewater became clearer. The soluble chemical oxygen demand--a measure of the amount of organic compounds in water, widely used as a water quality test--declined by 67 percent over 48 hours.

The researchers also noted that hydrogen generation declined over time as the bacteria used up the organic matter in the wastewater. Replenishment of the wastewater in each feeding cycle led to complete restoration of electric current generation and hydrogen gas production.

Qian said the researchers are optimistic about the commercial potential for their invention. Currently they are planning to scale up the small laboratory device to make a larger 40-liter prototype continuously fed with municipal wastewater. If results from the 40-liter prototype are promising, they will test the device on site at the wastewater treatment plant.

"The MFC will be integrated with the existing pipelines of the plant for continuous wastewater feeding, and the PEC will be set up outdoors to receive natural solar illumination," Qian said.

"Fortunately, the Golden State is blessed with abundant sunlight that can be used for the field test," Li added.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

BBC News: US Army plans 'Iron Man' armour

US Army plans 'Iron Man' armour

The US Army is working to develop "revolutionary" smart armour that would give its troops "superhuman strength".

Read more:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24474336


** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.


Monty Bannerman
Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fwd: For the First Time, Russia Subsidizes Renewable Energy



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rebecca Van Nichols
Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Subject: For the First Time, Russia Subsidizes Renewable Energy
To: M <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>



09/30/2013 02:42 PM     print story email story   ShareThis

For the First Time, Russia Subsidizes Renewable Energy

SustainableBusiness.com News

For the first time, Russia is subsidizing renewable energy - solar, wind and small hydro.

In its first auction, 39 projects won bids to develop 504 megawatts (MW). Another auction is planned for June. 

Although the government offered 1100 MW of wind and 710 MW of solar in this first auction, most bidders were solar developers, who won 32 of the projects (1000 MW), while only seven wind projects received bids.

Developers are required to use at least 50% local components, which may be a reason for the sparse bidding for wind projects.

"The tender has been quite successful for solar energy, showing that the Russian market can attract developers," Anton Usachev, head of the Russian Solar Industry Association, told Bloomberg. Solar bidders seem confident in being able to satisfy local content requirements, while lower local production of wind equipment may have reduced interest in the technology, he said.

Local companies won the auctions: Avelar Energy, a division of Russia's Renova Group, and RusEnergoInvest in solar; and  KompleksIndustriya in wind.

In the second auction, 1,645 MW of wind, 496 MW of solar and 415 MW of small hydro will be open for bids. 

Russia is deploying the same subsidy program it's used for conventionally fueled plants - with a minimum of 5 MW, developers can receive payments for 15 years if they agree to provide power to meet peak demand. It gives developers a potential 14% return on investment.

Russia's goal is for renewables to supply 2.5% of energy by 2020, up from 0.8% now. In May, Russia announced a target of reaching 6.2 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2020 (excluding large hydro). 

So far, the country has only a handful of renewable energy plants - about 3 MW of solar, for example. Especially in the Russia's Far East, which isn't connected to the nation's grid, renewables compete favorably on price because of the costs of transporting fossil fuels. Solar PV can cost three to four times less than diesel, according to the Russian Association of Solar Energy.




--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com

Fwd: Green Technology Spotlight: Fuel Cells That Power Buildings



Possible game-changer if true.



10/03/2013 03:09 PM     print story email story   ShareThis

Green Technology Spotlight: Fuel Cells That Power Buildings

SustainableBusiness.com News

Besides moving forward in transportation, fuel cells are also making headway powering buildings, especially if "The Cube" makes it successfully to market. 

Maryland-based Redox Power Systems, which is developing The Cube, thinks it has the answer. The company, which started up last year, is commercializing University of Maryland technology that could potentially be game-changing for distributed energy. 

The Cube fuel cell is slightly bigger than a dishwasher (10% of the size of fuel cells today) and costs 90% less than fuel cells currently on the market. It connects to a natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity, says Forbes. and produces both heat and electricity. It has no engine and virtually no moving parts and operates silently and constantly. 

Fuel Cells: The Cube

Eric Wachsman, director of University of Maryland's Energy Research Center, developed the solid oxide fuel cell technology, which can provide safe, efficient, reliable, uninterrupted power, on-site ... and, the holy grail - the price is the same as current energy sources.

Wachsman has spent millions of dollars in grants over 25 years to develop fuel cell technology that operate at much lower temperatures, at 80% efficiency, at a fraction of the cost.

"Every business or home should be able to safely generate its own energy," Warren Citrin, CEO of Redox, told Forbes. "We currently rely upon a vulnerable electrical grid. The best way to decrease that vulnerability is through distributed energy, that is, by making your own energy on-site. We are building systems to do that, with an emphasis on efficiency and affordability. These should be common appliances."

You can "generate your own electricity with a system nearly impervious to hurricanes, thunderstorms, cyber-attacks, derechos, and similar dangers, while simultaneously helping the environment," claims Redox.

The first models - entering the market next year - have a 25 kilowatt (kW) capacity - enough to provide energy for a moderate-sized grocery store. Future generations will be 5 kW in capacity for homes and 80 kW for bigger buildings. 

The Cube has apparently solved the problems that have solid oxide fuel cells back - an ability to operate at lower temperatures and the cost to manufacture. 

The Department of Energy is opening a National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center to further development of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies.

Some of the corporations running on fuel cells are ToyotaApple and eBay. South Korea is moving ahead with a fuel cell park.

Read our article, Fuel Cell Industry Finally Gaining Traction, Shipments to Triple.

Here is the we




--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com

Fwd: 100 Million Solar Heating & Cooling Systems in the US, That's the Goal





10/08/2013 12:54 PM     print story email story   ShareThis

100 Million Solar Heating & Cooling Systems in the US, That's the Goal

SustainableBusiness.com News

When we hear about the huge growth of solar installations in the US, the talk is mostly about solar PV, but there's enormous potential in solar thermal - used for heating and cooling. 

Currently, there's 9 gigawatts (GW) of solar thermal installed in the US, 1 GW less than solar PV

In fact, the national discussion on clean energy revolves around electricity and transportation, leaving out the biggest source of energy consumption - heating and cooling homes and buildings.

Almost half (44%) of America's energy consumption comes from heating (hot water and space heating) and cooling, which costs some $270 billion a year.

Right now, the US is on track to have 75 GW of solar thermal by 2050, installing 30,000 systems a year. But the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has created a roadmap that would result in 100 MW by 2025 and 300 MW by 2050, when there would be 100 million installations.

Solar Thermal

At that level, solar thermal would supply 8% of US heating and cooling demand. It's already the most efficient renewable energy technology and has the quickest payback - costing as little as 6 cents per kilowatt hour. 

100 million systems sounds like a lot to us too, but SEIA and partner BEAM Engineering say it's feasible. It would replace the need for 64 coal plants, save Americans $61 billion in energy costs and create over 50,000 jobs. 

"Part of our challenge is to do a better job of educating policymakers - at both the state and federal level - about the enormous benefits solar heating and cooling provides to American consumers and businesses, as well as to the U.S. economy," says Rhone Resch, CEO of SEIA. 

Besides raising awareness on the part of homeowners and businesses, and incentives through tax credits, thermal solar would significantly advance in these ways:

  • Include solar thermal in Renewable Portfolio Standards, as New Hampshire has done, or states could implement new Solar Thermal standards. 
  • The Department of Energy could advance the technology through R&D as it's doing for solar PV under the SunShot Initiative. 
  • Solar thermal systems could also be required on new buildings. Israel, Spain and Portugal have national mandates and Hawaii requires them on new homes.  

Many countries have adopted solar thermal much more aggressively than the US, which ranks 36th in the world, relative to its population. The vast majority are in China (152 GW) and Europe (39.3 GW). 




--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com

Fwd: US Can Still Be The World's Solar Manufacturing Leader




10/08/2013 02:31 PM     print story email story   ShareThis

US Can Still Be The World's Solar Manufacturing Leader

SustainableBusiness.com News

While most people assume that China's quick rise in dominance on solar manufacturing is because of really low labor costs and huge government subsidies, that turns out not to be the case. 

In fact, the US still has the opportunity to lead the world, because other factors are more important in determining market share, concludes a report from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

The key differentiator is the scale of production, they say, not labor costs, that have catapulted China to the world's center of  low-cost solar manufacturing. 

And the tool China has used to attain that scale is preferred access to capital for solar manufacturers, which benefits the entire supply chain. 

This suggests that the current advantages China-based manufacturers enjoy can be reproduced in the US.

Indeed, China's advantages in low-cost manufacturing are offset by investment risk, inflation and other factors. The US, meanwhile, has the ability to excel on technology innovation. 

"Our analysis finds that investments in technology research and development are critical not only to the widespread deployment of solar PV in most locations, without subsidy, but also may equalize factors that affect regional competitiveness, thus creating opportunities for U.S.-based manufacturers," says Alan Goodrich, Senior Analyst with NREL. "The race for cost-competitive clean energy from the sun is far from over and incredible growth opportunities remain." 

Innovations in crystalline silicon solar cell technology would  spur new investment, which would significantly enhance access to capital for manufacturers in most regions and enable scale-up, thus equalizing PV prices from manufacturers in the US and China, researchers say.

"We believe that innovation could drive down costs and drive up efficiencies not only in PV manufacturing, but also in the production of other high-tech and high-value clean energy technologies, and position U.S.-based manufacturers to be leaders in one of the most important global economic races of the 21st century," says David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. 

Researchers calculated minimum sustainable prices (MSP) for monocrystalline silicon solar panels manufactured in the US and China, simulating how a global manufacturing firm decides where to locate its factories. MSP is the lowest price at which a  company can sell its products, while providing expected returns to sources of capital - conditions that are necessary to sustain growth without subsidies.

Solar: US Can Lead

Excluding shipping costs, the team estimates that China-based manufacturers have a 23% MSP advantage over U.S.-based manufacturers today, after controlling for differences in the cost to make solar components in each country. Scale and supply-chain advantages account for the majority of China's lead. 

Since these advantages aren't inherent to China, they can be replicated by US-based manufacturers if comparable scale can be achieved.

How do you get the capital investment to achieve that scale in the US? 

"The technology must be truly innovative, low cost, and able to compete subsidy-free. "The 'holy grail' is an innovative PV module with high efficiency, low material costs, streamlined and scalable manufacturing, and unquestionable reliability," explains Tonio Buonassisi, associate professor at MIT and co-author of the study. 

"The PV modules you can buy today have a few of these attributes, but not all of them together. Thus, practical technological innovation is a key driver to accelerate the convergence between photovoltaics and traditional energy sources, both in terms of price and scale. This common goal, for the benefit of all nations, is an opportunity for international cooperation that leverages our complementary strengths."

Read the report, Assessing the Drivers of Regional Trends in Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing:

Website: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/ee/c3ee40701b#!divAbstract




--
Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
646.402.5076
www.arcstarenergy.com