- Public Wave Energy Test Facility Begins Operation in Oregon
- Solar Energy from Any Semiconductor on the Horizon
- Minnesota Wind Farm Set To Receive Gamesa Wind Turbine Order
- Solar Panel Market to Advance by 15.3% through 2015
- Philips Rolls Out Itty Bitty LED
- UC Davis Leads List of Most Sustainable Colleges in America
- Solar Power Funding Healthy in Q2 Despite Industry Turmoil
- Guide to the Best “Green” Cameras
- Solar Boat Maker Opens in New York
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 05:23 AM PDT
The testing facility, The Ocean Sentinel, cost $1.5 million and was developed by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon State University. And there’s no cooling off period either, with the first device to be tested within a few days, a “WetNZ” device developed by private industry.
Experts have long been calling for a facility such as this to help companies and academics develop new wave energy technology, measure and understand the wave resource, and study the energy output.
"The Ocean Sentinel will provide a standardized, accurate system to compare various wave energy technologies, including systems that may be better for one type of wave situation or another," said Sean Moran, ocean test facilities manager with NNMREC.
"We have to find out more about which technologies work best, in what conditions, and what environmental impacts there may be," Moran said. "We're not assuming anything. We're first trying to answer the question, 'Is this a good idea or not?' And if some technology doesn't work as well, we want to find that out quickly, and cheaply, and the Ocean Sentinel will help us do that."
The Ocean Sentinel will be able to measure wave amplitude, device energy output, ocean currents, wind speeds, extremes of wave height, and other data.
The challenges at hand, Moran said, are enormous.
"We're still trying to figure out what will happen when some of these devices have to stand up to 50-foot waves," Moran said. "The ocean environment is very challenging, especially off Oregon where we have such a powerful wave energy resource."
Source: Oregon State University
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 05:09 AM PDT
Solar power keeps getting more exciting, more accessible, and more affordable every day. The DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has reported that researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley have developed solar cells that can be created from from a wide variety of semiconductors, including metal oxides, sulfides and phosphides. Previously, those substances were considered unusable because of the difficulty in modifying their naturally occurring properties by chemical means.
The implications of creating solar cells from non-toxic and abundant materials are industry-changing because doing so would cause the expense and complications would plummet. Currently, common materials for solar cells are crystals of silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide.
Source: the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 05:02 AM PDT
Gamesa will provide the wind farm with 18 G97-2.0MW turbines, which are geared for low-wind sites, according to the company's statement.
The new wind turbines will allow for the greatest energy output in that location, thanks to a better aerodynamic blade design and nacelle improvements, Gamesa said.
Exergy Development Group will help to install the 18 turbines.
Meanwhile, Big Blue Wind Farm LLC, an Exergy subsidiary, will own the wind farm. Northern States Power will buy the offtake, and the wind farm will provide power to approximately 20,000 homes per year, the company said.
"This is a new collaboration that brings Gamesa's innovative wind turbine technology into Exergy's expanding renewable energy development portfolio, and it enables us to showcase a new turbine model that can increase the potential for wind development across the United States," David Rosenberg, Vice President of Marketing for Gamesa North America said in a statement.
Exergy's Dustin Shively, Lead Project Engineer on the Big Blue Project had this to say about the wind farm:
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 04:55 AM PDT
The report finds advances in photovoltaic (PV) technologies will help the global solar panels market to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 15.3% between 2011 to 2015, the report said.
However, despite the upward trend due to better technology, the report also noted fluctuating solar energy availability across seasons could challenge further advances in the market.
“The increase in R&D was another major prevailing trend in the Global Solar Panels market. In addition to reduction in policies, there were also favorable policies and procedures that existed for boosting the Global Solar Panels market,” said one of the analysts from the authorizing publisher in the statement.
The regions covered in the report included: the Americas, Europe, Asia, along with the Middle East and Africa.
First Solar Inc., Suntech Power Holdings Co. Limited, Trina Solar Limited, and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Limited will be the key vendors who will control much of the market, the report noted.
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 04:50 AM PDT
Philips has produced a tiny new LED, small enough to mount 250 of them in one-square inch. These LEDs, called the LUXEON Z, can be mono-color or multi-color, in a full spectrum of colors including white.
The LUXEON Z is 80 percent smaller than traditional LEDS and is expected to be easily adapted to for various packaging and design purposes.
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 04:48 AM PDT
UC Davis vaulted to the top of the Sierra Club's sixth annual "Cool Schools" list from the 8th spot in 2011 by diverting around 70 percent of its trash from landfills, setting strict green purchasing standards, creating a sustainable transportation system that boasts up to 20,000 bikes on any given day, and inaugurating the largest planned net-zero energy residential community. The school also has plans in place to reduce emissions below 2000 levels and electrical use by 60 percent.
The survey, officially called the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, was implemented for the first time in 2012 in order to standardize school responses and streamline the overall process. Several organizations contributed to the survey, including the Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and the Princeton Review.
A total of 894.5 points were required for "total sustainability" but no school achieved that lofty mark. UC Davis registered 709.17 points, and the rest of the top ten scored between 700 and 627 points. The full list of the top ten schools and their respective point totals are:
While they didn't take the top spot, the other schools within the top five reported notable achievements in 2011. Second-ranked Georgia Tech offers more than 260 sustainability-related classes, while third-ranked Stanford focuses on food issues with 20 classes on food policy and an extensive composting system. Fourth-ranked University of Washington sources more than half of its food within 250 miles of campus and has multiple renewable energy sources, and fifth-ranked University of Connecticut makes its marks with a facility that produces 15 truckloads of compost per week and recycling programs for everything from cell phones to sneakers.
The latest Cool Schools ranking follows up on another recent report from the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment that found hundreds of schools inventorying their carbon emissions, creating climate action plans, purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of renewable energy credits.
Clearly, climate awareness and sustainability is taking off on American campuses, but even more impressive achievements may be ahead, led by the efforts of the students themselves. "These schools are channeling the enthusiasm of their students, who consistently cite climate disruption and environmental issues as the most serious challenges their generation must confront," said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine's editor-in-chief.
UC Davis image via city-data.com
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 04:44 AM PDT
Mercom’s 2Q solar energy market research results are especially encouraging given reports "of solar companies downsizing or going out of business seemingly every day." That was the case for venture capital (VC) funding in Q2, for example, which at $376 million in 32 transactions was slightly higher than in Q1. The average size of VC investments in the solar energy sector has been dropping consistently since 2010, "with large VC deals becoming rare," Mercom points out in its “Solar Funding and M&A Q2 2012" report.
$3.2 Billion in New Solar-Focused Investment Funds, Decline in Large-Scale Project Funding
Also indicative of solar energy’s solid long-term fundamentals, 13 new clean tech and solar-focused investment funds with total capital commitments of more than $3.2 billion were announced in Q2, according to Mercom’s count. Ranking at the top of the list were Frankfurt-based Prime Capital’s $750 million Prime Renewables, which is targeting investments in Europe; US-based private equity firm Denham Capital Management, which is allocating as much as $600 million of capital in its Denham Commodity Partners Fund VI for renewable power companies; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ (KPCB) 15h venture fund, dubbed "KPCB 15," which is focusing on making investments in early-stage digital consumer and enterprise, green technology, and life sciences companies.
The US accounted for the single-largest portion of large-scale solar power project financing in Q2, with five large-scale solar power projects funded for a total of $416 million in Q2. India ranked second with three project fundings concluded, and Israel third with two. Morocco ranked second in terms of dollar amounts at $315 million, and Israel was third, with $178 million having been raised to finance solar power projects in the second quarter.
Debt funding for solar energy spiked quarter-to-quarter in Q2, reaching $2.3 billion in 15 transactions compared to $239 million in six deals in Q1. Masraf Al Rayan invested $1 billion in debt securities of Qatar Solar Technologies, China Development Bank loaned $324 million to Yingli Green Energy, and China Development Bank and others extended Yingli another term loan of $237 million in Q2.
Investors, VCs Turn to Downstream Solar, Balance-of-System Investing
Looking at venture capital (VC) activity, "CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) and solar lease companies continue to be popular with investors," in Q2, according to Mercom. Top among VC deals were Nanosolar raising $70 million for its CIGS PV manufacturing and solar lease company SunRun raising $60 million.
Following other investors, VC firms are investing more in downstream solar companies. "Solar downstream companies are slightly ahead in VC funding with $251 million compared to $239 million raised by CIGS companies," as of mid-year, Mercom reported.
Solar Bankruptcies, Insolvencies, and M&A
Turning to solar energy mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Mercom tracked a total of 14 transactions in Q2, with only six disclosing a transaction total of $325 million. That’s a big drop when compared to Q1′s 14 M&A transaction total, which totaled nearly $5 billion.
Also on the downside, Mercom recorded 13 bankruptcies and insolvencies in Q2. Seven were thin-film companies. Another 16 companies announced restructurings and downsizings. Among the major bankruptcy announcements were those of Germany’s Q-Cells, Colorado’s Abound Solar, the German-US Solar Trust of America, and organic PV pioneer Konarka Technologies.
In contrast, solar project M&A increased in Q2, with 19 transactions totaling $437 million completed. That compares to 27 transactions totaling $423 million in Q1. Transaction amounts were disclosed for only eight of Q2′s 19 transaction total, Mercom reported.
Canadian Solar, acquiring 16 solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 200-MW for $181 million, topped the ranks of solar project M&A transactions in the second quarter, followed by Wattner’s $65 million acquisition of the Torno I, II, and III solar power plants, with a total capacity of 24 MW.
Also included among Q2′s top solar power project M&A transactions were Luxcara’s $61.6-million acquisition of EDF Energie Nouvelle’s 12-MW Beguey PV plant, NextEra Energy’s $50-million purchase of the proposed 1-GW Blythe Solar Project from Solar Trust of America, and ForVEI’s $43.8-million acquisition of Solaria’s 8-MW PV plant for $43.8 million.
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 02:45 AM PDT
Made in Japan, the Digicam is manufactured by Canon. This camera company is taking its cues from Japan itself, as the country is turning its focus toward living a greener lifestyle. At just under $200, the Digicam is affordable, disposable, and created with the pieces of old cellular phones. There are also big plans for this device in the future; Canon would like to create a lens that is also made from recycled parts. Currently, the Digicam functions well both inside and outsidethe home and features 8 megapixels.
The EVOLT E-410, which is made by Olympus, has a sticker price of almost $700, although you can purchase it previously owned on Amazon for just under $400. Not only was it manufactured with the environment in mind, but it also takes incredible pictures. The design of the device allows you to grip it easily and the display is crystal clear. Best of all, though, is the fact that the packaging was made with sustainable materials, and there is very little carbon footprint associated with the product. If you are interested in using a photography website builder to display your images, this camera should be one of your top choices.
If you want to be more environmentally conscious, there are a number of ways that you can get started. If you are interested in purchasing a new camera, either for yourself or for a gift, consider using the list above to help you pick one out. You have the ability to preserve both your memories and the environment at the same time.
Posted: 22 Aug 2012 12:10 AM PDT
One of the company’s main products is an eight-passenger, solar-assisted pontoon boat called the Loon. This vessel is 22 feet long and has a beam just over 7 feet. It is made of fiberglass and aluminum and has a 5.5 hp electric motor, which has been said to be equivalent in power to a 15 hp gas engine. The battery is a 48 volt 8 x 6 volt AGM deep cycle, with a 6-hour charging time at 115 volts or 4 hours at 220 volts. A rooftop solar array of 1,000 watts is built into the Loon, providing electricity for the batteries. The cruising speed is 7.5 miles an hour, with a range of about fifty miles per charge. Top speed is about 9.5 miles an hour.
The company currently has four employees and wants to add three more by the end of 2012. By the end of 2013, an additional six will be needed if all goes according to plan.
Marine air pollution is a significant environmental and public health problem. Smog, particulate matter, and global warming emissions are all components of marine pollution. A research study by a Canadian scientist found orcas on the West Coast of North America could be exposed to higher levels of carbon monoxide than are found near Los Angeles freeways. Exposure to air pollution can harm their immune systems and cause other health problems.
If electric whale- and dolphin-watch tour boats can eventually replace conventional gas and diesel vessels, marine life will be spared such toxic exposures. The tourist experience would likely also improve because of the significant reduction of noise due to much quieter engines and the lack of petroleum-based fuel exhaust which can be nauseating to some people.
Image Credit: Ernest Mettendorf, Public Domain
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