Saturday, March 15, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 15 March 2014

Promising news for producing fuels through artificial photosynthesis
March 7, 2014 - There's promising news from the front on efforts to produce fuels through artificial photosynthesis. A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) shows that nearly 90 percent of the electrons generated by a hybrid material designed to store solar energy in hydrogen are being stored in the target hydrogen molecules.

Gary Moore, a chemist and principal investigator with Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, led an efficiency analysis study of a unique photocathode material he and his research group have developed for catalyzing the production of hydrogen fuel from sunlight. This material, a hybrid formed from interfacing the semiconductor gallium phosphide with a molecular hydrogen-producing cobaloxime catalyst, has the potential to address one of the major challenges in the use of artificial photosynthesis to make renewable solar fuels. read more>>>

Canadians willing to pay more for renewable energy than Americans are, survey finds
07 March 2014 - Canadians are more willing to pay a premium for the generation of renewable energy than Americans, with 63 percent willing to pay up to $250 more each year versus 46 percent in the US, a new survey finds.

The study, the "2013 Canada-US Comparative Climate Opinion Survey," was produced by Canada 2020, Université de Montréal and three US policy research groups. In all, researchers surveyed 1,500 Canadians and 1,000 Americans found that 42 percent of Americans would pay no premium for green power from wind and solar, compared with 18 percent of Canadian respondents. read more>>>

European Commission releases concentrated solar power report
04 March 2014 - The Energy Research Knowledge Centre, an agency of the European Commission, released its first Thematic Research Summary on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), aimed at promoting awareness about the current state of CSP research in Europe.

Based on research project results, the Thematic Research Summary (TRS) provides an overview of the developments for concentrating solar power.

New, ongoing research projects show the current research trends, while past projects provide an insight into the research background that led to current R&D topics and commercial developments. read more & report>>>

Scottish Water installs solar panels at water treatment works
06 March 2014 - Solar panels are being installed to help reduce energy costs at six water treatment works in West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, the Highlands, and Aberdeen across Scotland

The installations are part of a programme aimed at increasing the amount of renewable energy the utility generates while reducing carbon emissions. The projects are being installed during Climate Week 2014 which seeks to highlight actions being taken by communities and businesses across the UK to protect the environment.

Each of the panels are capable of generating up to 0.2GWh of electricity per year providing 25 percent of the power needed to run the water treatment works, depending on the size of the works in question. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Green economy investment is a 'great opportunity'
7 March 2014 - The UK's green economy is a "great long-term investment opportunity and it will get better", Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of the Green Investment Bank, told the National Association of Pension Funds investment conference in Edinburgh, writes Simon Bain.

The SSE chairman said the GIB had backed 25 projects across its target sectors of offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste, and all 25 were on track commercially.

The GIB had worked with 60 co-investors, directly committing £750 million which would mobilise over £3bn, had invested in 30% of the UK's offshore wind capacity, and had financed the UK's first large-scale conversion from coal to biomass. read more>>>

Gas consumption plummets as renewable generation goes up
February 28, 2014 - Genscape is reporting that renewable generation was up 30 percent for the week ending February 20, 2014, while gas consumption plummeted 35 percent as a result of the increase in renewables and weaker power demand. According to Genscape estimates, the total weekly generation of 11,982 GWh was the second highest weekly number in the past five years.

It was an active week for wind, with gusty southerly winds early in the period and strong northerlies on the back side of a very strong cold front to end the week. Wind generation in the Midwest is a significant driver of the increase week-over-week. Midcontinent ISO wind was up 31 percent, Southwest Power Pool wind was up 117 percent, and ERCOT wind was up 129 percent. read more>>>


Smart grid for electric vehicle fleet
March 5, 2014 - Being able to charge up to 30 electric cars at once requires some ingenious energy management. Researchers are incorporating a mix of renewables into the design of a smart grid for Germany's largest charging station.

The network of charging stations for electric vehicles is becoming more tightly meshed. In Germany, the ratio of electric cars to charging stations is currently two to one and utility companies are pushing forward expansion of charging opportunities, especially in cities and metropolitan areas. Over 2000 charging spots have already been installed nationwide and the country's largest charging infrastructure is at the Fraunhofer Institute Center Stuttgart IZS -- where up to 30 electric vehicles (EVs) at a time can re- charge at AC charge spots in the Fraunhofer Campus parking garage. There is also one DC fast charging spot that has a charging capacity of up to 50 kilowatts and can fully charge a car's battery in just 20 minutes. read more>>>

Cool Planet starts construction on first commercial facility
February 28, 2014 - Cool Planet Energy Systems, a technology company producing green fuels and biochar products, broke ground today on the company’s first commercial facility in Alexandria, La., dubbed Project Genesis. Permits have been received to begin earthwork and grading, with construction to immediately follow. The facility is designed to produce 10 million gallons per year of high-octane, renewable gasoline blendstocks, as well as biochar, all made from sustainable wood residues.

The facility will be located at the Port of Alexandria, on the Red River Waterway in Central Louisiana. The site was chosen because of its excellent wood biomass availability, interstate and rail access, and direct barge access to more than nine refineries. The facility is expected to produce at least 24 direct jobs and bring at least $56 million in economic investment into the state. Estimates are that an additional 150 indirect jobs will result because of this facility, and 350 construction jobs will be utilized. read more>>>

London tests new smart energy system for EV charging
27 February 2014 - A smart new system for charging electric vehicles is being tested in London to help get the electricity network ready for widespread use of electric vehicles

London’s electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, has embarked on a Low Carbon London trial in partnership with POD Point, Smarter Grid Solutions and Imperial College London. The project began in December 2013 and will run until April testing POD Point’s new Carbon Sync software and Smarter Grid Solutions ‘Active Network’ management system. These systems will briefly suspend the flow of electricity to selected public EV charge points at peak times on the network while ensuring drivers still receive a sufficient level of charge. read more>>>

Army preps for new tech and climate change
Mar 09, 2014 - What are the major energy hurdles our Army faces in the 2014-2020 time period?

There are two Army-specific issues. The first challenge is remaining diligent in deciding how we allocate funding in this era of declining budgets. We need funding to achieve our goals and maintain on-going investments that have taken place over the last few years. We have to figure out what declining budgets mean for the new programs and those already in place. The second challenge is documenting what we’ve learned as the Army returns from overseas. We need to retain the energy deployment lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and apply them to future issues and installations.

There’s also a third hurdle that extends beyond the Army—namely, there is a certain degree of uncertainly about emerging technology, markets and business models. As one of the largest energy customers in the U.S., we want to work closely with our utility partners over the next few years to keep things as sustainable and stable as possible. read more>>>

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