Friday, August 15, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 15 August 2014

New CO2 Satellite Sends First Data Back to Earth
August 13th, 2014 - NASA’s new carbon dioxide-monitoring satellite just opened its eyes for the first time. Based on the initial data its sending back to Earth, it appears to have 20/20 vision and scientists will soon have plenty more data to analyze.

The satellite, dubbed the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, was launched last month as part of an effort to better understand how carbon moves around the globe. That includes tracking human emissions from burning fossil fuels as well as natural cycles related to the growing season and ocean currents. read more>>>

Just a House That Uses 90 Percent Less Energy Than Yours, That's All
Aug 13, 2014 - From the tallest skyscraper to the humblest suburban abode, the buildings that we live and work in draw about 70 percent of the nation’s annual electricity. They burn more than a quarter of the natural gas the U.S. consumes every year.

They eat all that energy for a simple reason: They were designed to. But that needn’t be the case in the future.

Enter the “passive house,” a kind of super-efficient building that’s highly insulated, heated mostly by the sun and sealed air-tight. It is, in other words, an energy trap. read more>>>

Gas is losing & solar is winning in the U.S.?
August 02, 2014 - The biggest, and best, secret is that solar and wind are winning the race for new electricity generation in the U.S.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's new numbers are out. New electricity generation capacity was down 58% this June compared to June of last year.

The Headlines:

New Technology at MIT Turns Solar Heat into 85% Energy Efficient Steam
7 August 2014 - Can you get power out of a cheap lump of graphite and some carbon? It is a possibility thanks to researchers at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. This newly created technology converts sunlight into steam with 85% efficiency. When you compare this to the fact that only about 14%–30% of the energy from the fuel you put in your conventional car is used to actually move it down the road, then you’ve got a recipe for an energy revolution.

Not only does this technology pose a threat to petrochemical companies, it could also be used for desalination and sterilization as well as concentrated solar thermal power generation. read more>>>

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Leading solar states have more than just sunlight
August 7, 2014 - Solar growth across the nation has been strong, with New York setting a particularly impressive example -- 30 percent in 2013 -- according to a report conducted by Frontier Group for Environment New York Research & Policy Center. New York's progress on solar has helped fuel a tripling of solar energy nationwide between 2011 and 2013, growing statewide from 175 MW to 250 MW.

It is not the availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the almost unlimited and clean energy from the sun, the report contends. read more>>>

Electricity from Sewage in India
Aug. 5, 2014 - Waste-to-Wire: Electricity from Sewage

India’s newly elected government’s agenda on sanitation and sewage treatment is intent towards improving the socio-economic spheres of our times. Financial schemes from the central government to build sewage treatment plants, river cleaning programmes and providing clean sanitation facility for all are indicators of enterprising solutions which have been embarked by the Narendra Modi led government.

Sanitation and renewable energy generation

Spring2012 428 x 60 - Outdoor Solar Lighting

U.K. Renewables Surge in 2013
Aug. 6, 2014 - Figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that renewable energy jumped to 14.9% of the electricity mix last year, a 30% jump on 2012 when it accounted for 11.3%. Renewables, which grew by 4.9-gigawatts (GW) for the year, increased its share of total energy consumption from 4.2% to 5.2%.

The U.K. has a binding European Union (E.U.) target of supplying 15% of its total energy from renewables by 2020.

Renewables benefitted not only from generous subsidies but also because gas prices remained high in 2013, making it commercially unappealing for electricity generation. read more>>>

Mainstream to test large scale battery storage at Irish wind farm
Aug. 1, 2014 - Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power, with assistance from Enterprise Ireland, will conduct a study to assess the commercial viability of attaching a large-scale storage device (such as a battery) to an operating wind farm in Ireland. If successful, the system could provide the solution to the single biggest challenge faced by wind power generation in the world today; what happens when the wind doesn’t blow?

The Wind-Storage Hybrid Study, which will begin in September, will install a storage device (such as a battery) directly to an operating wind farm. The device will store electricity generated when there is no demand (at night for example) and release it when consumers need it. The new hybrid system could also significantly reduce the need for “spinning reserve” – the term used for expensive electricity plant which is often used to meet “spikes” in demand for electricity such as in the morning and in the evenings. read more>>>


Hydropower illuminates a piece of history
Jul. 31, 2014 - Hydropower is making its return to one of the UK’s grand houses, which almost 140 years ago pioneered the use of water to provide electricity.

A modern version of an ancient device, the Archimedes screw, has been installed at the Cragside mansion, in north-east England, to harness the power of a stream in the grounds and provide lighting for the house − which in 1878 became the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, provided by a turbine.

The new system, a galvanised turbine 17 metres long, will produce enough energy to light the 350 bulbs in Cragside, although not enough to power its computers, freezers, fridges and heaters. It will generate about 12kw of electricity − enough, over a year, to provide the property with around 10% of its electricity. read more>>>

Reduce it, don’t lose it – electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide using copper loaded nanotubes
Aug. 4, 2014 - With levels of green house gases increasing in the earth’s atmosphere, strategies how to deal with this problem are in high demand. One of the most promising of them is direct use of carbon dioxide (CO2) as feed for producing valuable chemicals (methanol, methane, ethylene, …). A paper recently published by Hossain et al. in Journal of Nanomaterials, vol. 2014 presents the experimental investigation of copper loaded carbon nanotubes (CNTs) electrocatalysts for the electrochemical reduction of CO2. The electrochemical experiments were performed with a PGSTAT 302 from Metrohm Autolab. read more>>>

Chelsea Green Publishing - the leading publisher of sustainable living books since 1985.

African negotiators urge U.S. leadership for U.N. climate deal
Aug 6, 2014 - African climate negotiators attending the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington this week said leadership from the United States is critical to finalizing a global deal on measures to address climate change in 2015 after years of deadlock.

Officials from Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Ethiopia said they were optimistic an agreement could be reached, even though many U.S. lawmakers, particularly Republicans, oppose signing a binding treaty requiring cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Without leadership from the United States, China - the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases - will be reluctant to act, putting at risk developing countries directly affected by climate change, one negotiator told a small group of reporters convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental research group. read more>>>

Want money for microgrids? Try tapping disaster relief. (New Jersey did it.)
Aug 6, 2014 - New Jersey has created America's first “Energy Resilience Bank” (ERB) to funnel $200 million to communities for "clean resilient power solutions" that supply electricity to critical loads " in the event the larger electrical grid fails.”

For microgrids, in other words.

ERB will provide low-interest loans and grants to deploy microgrids and distributed energy to critical facilities such as hospitals and waste and wastewater treatment plants. The initial $200 million was pulled from the state's disaster recovery block grant that resulted from SuperStorm Sandy. read more>>>

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