Thursday, December 29, 2011

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

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Activ Solar Commissions 100-Plus MW Perovo Solar PV Station in Ukraine’s Crimea

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 08:59 AM PST

Photo courtesy Activ Solar GmbH

Austria’s Activ Solar yesterday announced the completion and commissioning of one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plants, the 100-megawatt (MW) Perovo Solar Power Station in Ukraine’s Crimea. Built in record-setting time, Perovo’s more than 440,000 crystalline solar PV modules can produce as much as 132,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electrical energy per year, enough to meet the needs of Simferopol, the Ukraine Crimea capital. More than 105,000 tons of carbon emissions will be avoided.

Building Perovo has also boosted the local economy. More than 800 green jobs were created. Spanning some 200 hectares (~280 acres), about 259 football fields, solar PV modules and inverters were imported from leading Asian and European manufacturers and installed on-site by local workers. Nearly a mile (1500 kilometers) of cable were used to connect them over a record-setting seven-month period.

Ukraine’s Sunny Crimea

“The completion of the Perovo project is a major achievement for Activ Solar as our largest to-date and is a testament to our structuring and execution capabilities in a challenging global economic environment,” Kaveh Ertefai, Vienna-based Activ Solar’s founder and CEO, commented in a company news release. “We are proud of the quality of the work accomplished and the dedication of our team to deliver this successful outcome within a short period of time.”

Activ Solar has lived up to its name in the past year and more. Perovo is the third ground-breaking project the company’s completed in 2011. In October, it launched the 80-MW Ohotnikovo Solar Power Station, the largest in Central and Eastern Europe. Activ sees more solar power potential in the Crimea. It’s recently established in Odessa, an outgrowth of its strategic focus on “emerging solar markets.”

Activ is an integrated solar PV industry company. In addition to developing large-scale solar PV projects, it has produced silicon products since 1964. It produces solar-grade polysilicon ingots, wafers and solar PV cells at its subsidiary PJSC Semiconductor Plant in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.

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Supply Risks for 16 Materials Key to Clean Energy Technologies

Posted: 28 Dec 2011 11:41 PM PST

Short-term DOE Clean Energy-Supply Risk Critical Materials Scenario (Present - 2015)

The transition to an economy powered by clean, renewable energy sources is under way. Successfully building on recent success and ultimately achieving that goal critically depends on the ready availability of a range of raw materials with potential supply risks, however. In a comprehensive annual report, the Dept. of Energy (DOE) “identifies strategies of addressing these risks and provides background that may be helpful for stakeholders working in this area.”

Drafted by the DOE Office of Policy and International Affairs, the “2011 Critical Materials Strategy” report examines the role of rare earth metals and other materials in the clean energy economy,” raw materials critical to the manufacturing of a wide range of clean technologies, including wind turbines, electric vehicles (EVs), thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and energy-efficient lighting.

Among the key findings of the report, the following were cited in its executive summary:

  • The supply of raw materials critical in manufacturing wind turbines, EVs, thin-film PV and fluorescent lighting all face potential disruptions in the short term, the DOE’s research team found, though they believe these risks will decrease over the medium and long terms.
  • Challenges to securing ready supplies of five rare earth metals – dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, europium and yttrium – may disrupt the development and deployment of clean energy technology in coming years.

The DOE and other stakeholders have scaled up domestic and international efforts to address these challenges. Recent initiatives include:

  • New funding for priority research, development of the Dept.’s first critical materials research plan, sponsoring international workshops and greater coordination among federal agencies working in these fields
  • Specialized education and training to build workforce capabilities that “help address vulnerabilities and realize opportunities related to critical materials”

Supply Risk for 16 Critical Key Clean Energy Materials

The 2011 Critical Materials report identifies and focuses on several clean energy technologies – wind turbines, EVs, solar PV cells and fluorescent lighting – expected to experience rapid growth in coming years.

In order to better gauge their possible future growth paths, the DOE research team developed a series of scenarios based on a methodology developed by the National Academy of Sciences. It employs differing sets of assumptions regarding the availability of rare earth metals and other critical raw materials. Embedded in them are assessments of 16 raw materials that were rated in terms of how critical they are in the manufacturing process.

The DOE notes that future supply and demand for these materials may differ significantly from the scenarios produced, cautioning that they shouldn’t be used as predictions. Breakthroughs and new developments in technology and materials science, as well as differences in supply and market responses to materials scarcity and other factors may very well differ from the assumption and judgments used in the report.

Importance to clean energy technologies and supply risk are the two dimensions that frame the report’s “Criticality Assessment.” Among the DOE’s findings contained in the report:

  • Used in wind turbine magnets and EVs or phosphors in energy-efficient lighting, five rare earth elements – dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium – were found to be critical in the short-term, ie the present to 2015
  • Supply of the rare earth elements cerium, indium, lanthanum and tellurium used in fabrication of solar PV cells as well as other clean energy technology were found to be near-critical over the next five years.

The importance to clean energy and supply risk for some materials shifted for some materials between the short-term and medium term, ie 2015-2025.

Medium-Term DOE Clean Energy-Supply Risk Critical Materials Scenario (2015-2025)

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Can “Pollution Glue” Clean Up London’s Dirty Air?

Posted: 28 Dec 2011 01:00 PM PST

Traffic on a busy London street

London is one of Europe’s dirtiest cities in terms of air quality. Despite the UK capital’s innovative congestion charging scheme, it remains extremely busy with vehicle traffic. A recent study by campaign group Clean Air in London found that 13 schools in the city are situated near roads that carry more than 100,000 cars a day. And, of course, that’s set to increase significantly while the city hosts the Summer Olympics and Paralympics next year. Already, London frequently breaches European Regulations on the level of pollutant particulates, or PM10, allowed in the air.

Now, London’s city government is taking an unusual step to try to reduce the flow of pollutants into the city’s air — coating the busiest roads with “pollution glue” designed to absorb dangerous chemicals out of the air and ‘glue’ them to the tarmac. Transport for London, the agency that runs London’s famous Underground and buses, but also manages its roads, is to trial the use of ‘dust suppressants’ in 15 locations across the city. A solution of calcium magnesium acetate is applied to the roads using a specially-built vehicle with a sprinkler system attached. Calcium magnesium acetate has the effect of attracting fine dust particles in the air and binding them to the road, where they can be picked up by car tires or washed away by rain.

The new scheme expands on trials carried out on two locations in Central London last year. TfL says the previous trials showed dust suppressants could reduce the levels of particulates in their air by 10% in severely polluted areas. The new phase mostly targets roads in industrial areas, but the technology is likely to be extended to areas where pollution comes largely from heavy traffic. “Dust has been a real problem in the area and although it’s early days, indications are that these measures together are having a beneficial effect,” said Susan Wise, a councillor in Lewisham, one of the London boroughs involved in last year’s trial.

But as is often the case with such slightly sci-fi responses to pollution, the ‘dust glue’ plan has been criticized by green groups, who see it as a poor substitute for more muscular action to clean up air quality in the capital. “Suppressants may achieve compliance in localised areas near monitoring stations and avoid further action from the European Commission, but they address the symptoms and not the causes of the problem,” Alan Andrews of environmental law group Client Earth said in August. A better response is London’s Low Emissions Zone, which requires drivers of high-polluting vehicles such as lorries to pay a daily fee to enter the capital. After several postponements, the LEZ is being extended to larger vans and minibuses in January.

Source: BusinessGreen | Picture: wsuph001 on Flickr

For more on air quality from CleanTechnica, see White House Finalizes Crucial Mercury/Air Pollution Standards.

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