Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 26 March 2014

Solar-Powered 3D Printer Turns Desert Sand Into Glass Bowls and Sculptures
03/19/14 - The sun's rays can be harnessed to power everything from homes to gadgets, but one graduate student is using the sun to create a super-printer capable of printing elaborate glassware. Markus Kayser took his graduate project all the way to the sands of the Sahara in Egypt to create his innovative idea dubbed the 'Solar Sinter'. The incredible design uses a 3D digital printer and the sun’s rays to turn the sand into incredible glass bowls and sculptures that are out of this world.

The Solar Sinter is made up of seven stations: a photovoltaic panel, the focal point for drawing the sun’s rays, a sun tracker, fresnel lens (for magnifying the rays), a battery, controlling electronics, and finally a silver tent dubbed the “office,” where Kayser can shield himself from the hot sun, while monitoring the process. read more>>>

Uruguayan Surfer-Girl Builds Charming Off-Grid Accommodation Powered by Nature
03/19/14 - Uruguayan surfer Victoria Gonzales has built the accommodation of her dreams. Located in a fishing village called Punta del Diablo north of Uruguay, the complex consists of three bright thatched-roofed cabins standing close to the sea. Both charming and self-sufficient, Solo Mare del Diablo comes with solar panels, a solar water heater, and a windmill.

Originally from Montevideo, Victoria Gonzales migrates every year between Punta del Diablo and the shores of L.A. She leads a healthy lifestyle full of surfing, yoga and raw food, a philosophy that is reflected in the accommodation. Built three years ago, Solo Mare del Diablo consists of three self-sufficient cabins painted in colorful shades, and they are located very close to the sea. read more>>>

Berlin can be climate-neutral by 2050: Feasibility Study
Mar. 17, 2014 - Berlin can reduce its CO2 emissions from presently about 21 million tons to 4.4 million tons in 2050 – despite economic growth and population increase. This would mean a reduction of about 85 percent compared to the basis year 1990 and complies with the ambition to make Berlin a climate-neutral city. As a positive side-effect, there could be a regional economic effect of up to 138 million euro from the shift in the energy supply from fossil to mainly renewable energy sources.

On behalf of the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, a consortium led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) analyzed scenarios and developed recommendations how to achieve climate-neutrality. The study will be presented to the public today in the Berlin town-hall by Michael Müller, Senator for Urban Development and Environment, and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of PIK. read more>>>

A new algorithm improves the efficiency of small wind turbines
Mar. 18, 2014 - In recent years, mini wind energy has been developing in a spectacular way. According to estimates by the WWEA-World Wind Energy Association, the level of development of the mini wind energy industry is not the same as that of the wind energy industry, although forecasts are optimistic. The main reason is that the level of efficiency of small wind turbines is low. To address this problem, the UPV/EHU’s research group APERT (Applied Electronics Research Team) has developed an adaptative algorithm. The improvements that are applied to the control of these turbines will in fact contribute towards making them more efficient. The study has been published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Small wind turbines tend to be located in areas where wind conditions are more unfavourable. “The control systems of current wind turbines are not adaptative; in other words, the algorithms lack the capacity to adapt to new situations,” explained Iñigo Kortabarria, one of the researchers in the UPV/EHU’sAPERT research group. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Want a competitive Europe? Embrace renewables
Mar. 19, 2014 - One day ahead of the European Heads of States and Governments’ discussions on the 2030 climate and energy framework proposals, the European renewable energy associations jointly call on EU leaders to fully grasp the long-term benefits of an ambitious nationally binding EU renewable energy target.

The European economy is exposed to volatile fossil fuel prices and insecure fossil fuel imports, especially in these days of geopolitical turmoil at our borders. It must confront climate change. It is facing international competition in sectors of strategic importance for Europe’s growth. In view of the European Council meeting tomorrow, the renewable energy associations emphasise the need for a sustainable and cost-efficient energy mix that can help Europe tackle these challenges. read more>>>

Concentrated Solar Power leading energy storage race in 2014
Mar. 18, 2014 - Regulatory bodies including CPUC and FERC continue to roll out requirements supporting the development of energy storage technologies to deal with the problem of grid intermittency created by high levels of renewable integration. As a result of this there is growing interest in concentrated solar power (CSP) as a procurement option.

The strongest storage mandate to date has been set out by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The 1.3GW storage requirement which must be met by three major investor owned Californian utilities by 2020 has driven investment into a vast array of storage technologies. read more>>>

European fuel cell cluster to be highlighted at the Hanover Trade Fair
19 March 2014 - The activities of Europe's burgeoning, next generation automotive fuel cell cluster, an initiative being coordinated by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, will be highlighted at the upcoming Hanover Trade Fair.

The Fair is being held 7-11 April 2014.

The fuel cell effort, called the "Auto-Stack CORE" network, includes nine European automobile manufacturers, system integrators and component suppliers, along with five research institutes. read more>>>

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy
March 20, 2014 - The worldwide demand for solar and wind power continues to skyrocket. Since 2009, global solar photovoltaic installations have increased about 40 percent a year on average, and the installed capacity of wind turbines has doubled.

The dramatic growth of the wind and solar industries has led utilities to begin testing large-scale technologies capable of storing surplus clean electricity and delivering it on demand when sunlight and wind are in short supply.

Now a team of Stanford researchers has looked at the "energetic cost" of manufacturing batteries and other storage technologies for the electrical grid. read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

United States Navy Unveils Plan to Beam Solar Power from Space to Earth
03/20/14 - The United States Navy Research Laboratory has unveiled two modules they are testing to capture solar energy from space and divert its power to earth. The two designs would use reflectors to concentrate sunlight to a satellite that would project the power to a receiver on the earth’s surface. If the plans are approved, the components would be assembled in space by a team of robots.

The futuristic plans headed by Dr. Paul Jaffe comprise two different designs that could create enough solar energy to power a city or a military plant. The first is a sandwich module that keeps electrical components between one enormous square photovoltaic panel that faces the sun and a square base with an extending antenna that directs the powered collected toward the earth. The electronic system in the center transforms the collected solar energy into radio frequency that can be easily beamed to the receiver. read more>>>

On-site solar power could hasten US utility ‘death spiral’, report finds
20/03/2014 - Rooftop solar power coupled with battery energy storage could enable ‘widespread customer defection’ from the US electric grid by 2025, new analysis has found.

A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute energy think tank, microgrid modeling software companyRooftop solar Homer Energy and renewable energy consultancy CohnReznick Think Energy looked at five US states (Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Texas and New York) in different regions of the country to identify when and how combined rooftop solar and battery storage could disrupt existing utility business models. read more>>>

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