Thursday, July 3, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 3 July 2014

Energy efficiency 'must become national infrastructure priority'
25 Jun 2014 - Energy efficiency in UK homes must become a “national infrastructure priority” – with Government committing to a target of retrofitting 1 million homes a year by 2020, says a major new coalition of 20 organisations from the construction, housing and environment sectors.

In an open letter to Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, the heads of environmental groups, charities, membership organisations and trade associations warn that the UK’s homes are among the “coldest and draughtiest in Europe” resulting in high energy bills and “one of the worst records on fuel poverty and preventable winter deaths”. read more>>>

Qatar begins testing its first “eco villa”
25 Jun 2014 - In sun-scorched Qatar researchers have built two near-identical villas, a “normal” one and another that is super insulated and covered with a photovoltaic array, to try and quantify the carbon savings that can be achieved by “green” building approaches.

Ranked as the biggest carbon emitter per head of population in 2009, Qatar has no regulations concerning the energy performance of buildings, and yet is on the cusp of a massive building programme as it prepares for the 2022 World Cup and implements its “National Vision 2030”.

In conducting the experiment, the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) hopes to cut energy and water usage, and carbon emissions, by 50% and provide a blueprint for future residential development in the hot Gulf state. read more>>>

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CDA research predicts big advances in grid-tied energy storage
June 25, 2014 - Markets for energy storage technologies in the United States are expected to grow substantially through 2030, with increased investments spurred by state and federal regulatory policies that encourage renewable sources of electric power to supply the grid. The data comes from a Copper Development Association (CDA) study conducted by KEMA, which examines the current market for electrical grid energy storage applications and the future potential for technological growth.

Storage plays a big role in facilitating the incorporation of renewable energy into the U.S. electricity grid. read more>>>

Trends in the fuel cell and hydrogen industries
June 25, 2014 - The various sectors of the fuel cell industry are each experiencing some very different issues, according to Navigant Research. The stationary sector, for example, has experienced two years of strong growth with an ongoing boom in prime power and residential combined heat and power (resCHP) fuel cell system shipments, while sectors like portable fuel cells have continued to struggle. Still others have been in a holding pattern, seeing continued growth but no major breakthroughs. Meanwhile, the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) market is poised for the launch of commercial vehicles, spurring investment in hydrogen infrastructure.

Hydrogen for power-to-gas applications has also seen a surge in interest as countries look to manage and optimize renewable resources, according to Navigant.

Despite some struggles among the broader fuel cell industry, Navigant predicts a positive outlook for the stationary fuel cell sector, FCV, CHP and prime power. read more>>>

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Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
May 2014 - Federal Preserve: Westlake Reed Leskosky modernizes a historic federal building to achieve net zero energy performance, making it one of the GSA's greenest projects.

From the sidewalk facing the main entrance, the three-story federal building in downtown Grand Junction, Colorado, looks much as it did in 1918 when it first opened. Turn the corner and look up at the roof, however, and a more modern structure comes into view. It is a canopy that supports the bulk of a 123-kilowatt solar array, one of several new green features added to the 41,560-square-foot building during a recent $15 million renovation and modernization project led by the General Services Administration and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is not only LEED Platinum certified but also aims to be the GSA's first net zero building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cleveland-based Westlake Reed Leskosky served as lead design architect for the project, completed in 2013. read more>>>

Solar cell with 20.4% efficiency goes into series production
26.06.2014 - The Chinese photovoltaics company JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. is beginning mass production of a new p-type solar cell. According to the manufacturer, the Percium solar cell achieves a conversion efficiency of 20.4%.

At the end of June, a 6 x 10 cell module using Percium cells will also go into series production. These modules will have a rated power of 285 W, according to JA Solar. After the product was introduced in Japan, Great Britain, Israel, China, and Germany in early 2014, it took only three months until the solar cell went into mass production. read more>>>

Small Wind Turbine Generator for Clean Energy Power Production

Europe's first climate-neutral train station opens
26.06.2014 - Solar energy, geothermal energy and rainwater: Europe's first CO₂-free train station in Kerpen-Horrem, Germany, is now operational. A combination of different technologies was used to ensure that the project, which is the first of a series of planned 'Green Train Stations', is climate-neutral.

A photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 31,000 kWh per year supplies electricity. Hot water is provided by a solar thermal system. A geothermal system with a heating capacity of 29 kW and a cooling capacity of 37 kW ensures pleasant air temperatures. The public toilets use rainwater that is collected on the 150 m² roof, which has vegetation growing on it. Illumination is provided by sunlight coming through the large windows and skylights as well as by energy-saving LED technology. read more>>>

Scientists create new battery that's cheap, clean, rechargeable ... and organic
June 25, 2014 - Scientists at USC have developed a water-based organic battery that is long lasting, built from cheap, eco-friendly components. The new battery -- which uses no metals or toxic materials -- is intended for use in power plants, where it can make the energy grid more resilient and efficient by creating a large-scale means to store energy for use as needed.

"The batteries last for about 5,000 recharge cycles, giving them an estimated 15-year lifespan," said Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and corresponding author of a paper describing the new batteries that was published online by the Journal of the Electrochemical Society on June 20. "Lithium ion batteries degrade after around 1,000 cycles, and cost 10 times more to manufacture."

Narayan collaborated with Surya Prakash, Prakash, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, as well as USC's Bo Yang, Lena Hoober-Burkhardt, and Fang Wang. read more>>>

Wind Power For Dummies

US Microgrid Capacity Will Exceed 1.8GW by 2018
June 26, 2014 - Military bases and remote communities have traditionally built and maintained the lion’s share of microgrids in the United States, but cities, communities and public institutions will foster the next wave of microgrid adoptions. According to GTM Research’s newest report, Microgrids 2014: The Evolution of Localized Energy Optimization, current microgrid capacity stands at 1,051 megawatts and is forecasted to reach approximately 1,843 megawatts by the end of 2017, driven in part by a number of recently announced state-level resiliency programs.

FIGURE: U.S. Microgrid Deployments, 2014

Fifth graders ask right questions about Badger Coulee line -- starting with "why?"
June 25, 2014 - Children approach life with an inquisitive sense of wonder and a thirst for learning. They dream of what can be, and challenge us by unceasingly asking “why?”

When the fifth-grade students at Evergreen Elementary in Holmen researched and weighed in on whether to build the Badger-Coulee transmission line, the result was more than “an admirable exercise in getting kids to think…” It was an inspirational lesson for us all.

Rather than accept that battles waged about high-voltage regional transmission lines are between Not-In-My-Back-Yard challengers and straight-line engineers, or coal versus renewable energy, we should get curious, educated and involved.

Rather than accept that more transmission will improve the reliability and environmental impact of our grid, we need to relentlessly ask “why?” Especially when the stakes are so high… read more>>>

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