Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

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EV Maintenance Much Cheaper Than That Of ICE Vehicles

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 03:03 PM PST

According to a recent study, the benefits of electric vehicles is not just their low energy costs, but also their much lower maintenance costs. The study found that electric vehicle (EV) maintenance costs are 35% lower than that of typical vehicles powered by combustion engine.

This is partly due to the fact that electric vehicles contain far fewer mechanical parts and lack the fuel and air regulation systems that ICE vehicles rely on. There is also less in the way of other non-mechanical parts which can last long but also eventually deteriorate, such as exhaust systems and gears.

Manufacturers, in general, tend to put the issue of maintenance costs on the back burner, and it costs their customers an arm and a leg to repair the simplest of things, due to the difficulty of repairing their vehicles.

Repairing modern automobiles usually involves removing large and heavy parts to get to the malfunctioned part or the removal of many other little parts, or both. This attracts a high labor charge, and this problem is getting worse due to vehicles’ increasing complexity. Manufacturers often complicate technologies without considering how repairs may affect customers. Electric vehicles are no exception to this problem; however, they are still much cheaper to maintain due to their inherent simplicity.

Electric propulsion systems only need a decent battery pack, speed controller, and electric motor (which contains one moving part) in order to operate efficiently, because electric motors work very well by themselves, which is why they are often used in other machines (for example, blenders, a machine which I have never had to replace). The don’t need oil changes, exhaust systems, clutches, and so on.

Electric propulsion systems are maintenance free, and have the potential to be much better than 35% cheaper.

Source: Autoblog Green

EV Maintenance Much Cheaper Than That Of ICE Vehicles was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Hot Tips For Australia In 2013 — Energy Storage, Big Solar

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 11:50 AM PST

This article has been reposted from RenewEconomy with permission.

RenewEconomy passed around the hat this past week for a few ideas on what would be big in 2013 in clean energy in Australia. What emerged was a couple of key themes – the continued proliferation of solar PV and the growing interest in energy storage. And it might just be the year that big solar (solar thermal) makes its mark.

"Watch solar thermal for a vision of what is likely to become the more dominant technology five to 10 years from now," said one executive. There is certainly much interest – internationally, many countries are throwing billions at the technology, and it is thought that ARENA and/or the CEFC may finally find a way to make it work here too.

Battery storage was another popular choice. Many hinted at their own plans to introduce storage technologies at the commercial, industrial, and residential level. As one said: Everyone seems to think you need a lot of storage to make a difference, but this is not necessarily the case. Many households now use less than 5 kWh per day, so even 1-2 kWh of storage could allow them to manage a large proportion of their peak demand."

This could be done with ultra-capacitors, lithium-ion, or the CSIRO developed ultrabattery, which recently won the contract for the King Island renewables integration project, and has signed a deal with the largest lead acid battery manufacturer in the world.

The most depressing tip for 2013 was the prediction that regulators and governments will again fail to keep up with the pace of change, "leading to a complex, backward looking and confusing market picture dominated by the status quo and the powerful voices of incumbent players", as one executive put it.

Here's what the executives said in their own words:

Miles George, CEO, Infigen Energy

2013 will bring a sharp increase in global awareness of the need for action on climate change. Governments will respond with carbon pricing and renewable energy incentives. Australia will accept its share of the task, and some form of carbon pricing will remain in place, but the RET will remain the primary driver for renewable energy investment. The prospect of $8+/GJ domestic gas will deter new gas-fired electricity generation investment, and renewable energy will dominate new build activity. Electricity users will increasingly seek to avoid the costs of an aged and stranded centralised transmission network, and an increasingly concentrated electricity retailing market.

Alan Pears, adjunct professor, RMIT

"AEMO (the Australian Energy Market Operator) will again reduce its 2020 forecasts, further undermining the business models of the existing electricity industry. Pressure will increase on government and AEMC to drive faster reform, so, for example, network operators can profit from installing energy storage, and buying power cheap while selling it at premium times, as well as using the storage to manage PV and wind electricity. Government will tweak carbon pricing so that energy related voluntary abatement by state governments and big businesses (and hopefully local government and households) will be matched by retirement of carbon permits when trading starts."

Mark Twiddell, CEO, Australian Solar Institute

In solar PV, we can expect a year of industry consolidation. Efficiency will also play an important role, not just Australian technology squeezing more power from lower-cost silicon but also construction efficiency. The lowest cost reliable PV power plants will attract the finance critical for  growth. Consumers will start to benefit from falling storage and control costs making it more attractive to use your own roof top power without uncertainty of  export tariffs fluctuation.

More CSP (concentrated solar power) plants will come on line, allowing cost and performance data to become commercially discoverable – critical to attracting the investment to drive down costs through learning. Using the sun's energy to add solar content to existing fuel supply chains to Asia could move towards mainstream consideration with Australian technology playing a growing role in a potential major market in the decades ahead.

Lane Crockett, general manager, Pacific Hydro

2013 will be a turnaround year for the industry, local manufacturing and the community. Outcomes of the RET review should include a fixed GWh target and a recommendation to remove or restrict future reviews. The RET review over, 2013 will be a critical year for rebuilding momentum with PPAs being negotiated, investors regaining confidence and the industry rebuilding after the recent uncertainty.

Opportunities for local manufacturing should be significant. The industry needs to work with suppliers, manufacturers, unions and governments to ensure maximum local content. I predict an increasing focus on community wind/community ownership and local communities increasingly rebuking the vested interests of anti-wind.  There will be more interest in investment in clean energy as investors seek to reduce their exposure to carbon intensive industries. Pacific Hydro is looking forward to some exciting announcements; wind and solar projects as well as growing in our B2B Retail business.

Geoff Ward, CEO, Geodynamics

"2013 will see clean energy continue to innovate and adapt, thriving as the appetite for alternate energy at the direct consumer level flourishes. Solar PV, energy efficiency, behind-the-meter, small grid and off-grid innovation will continue to challenge how we look at power systems and further demonstrate the viability of non-fossil fuel based power system. In the fossil fuel arena the stand-off between gas sellers and power developers will continue, magnified by demand uncertainty in the Australian power market (a major driver of which is the accelerating adoption of distributed and renewable technologies and rapidly changing price relativities as technologies mature).

In the arena of large-scale renewable energy key development and demonstration programs such as Geodynamics' Habanero EGS project and the Carnegie Wave Energy trial at Garden Island will provide further evidence of long-term alternatives to coal and gas-fired generation as backbones of a more diversified and flexible future energy system."

Locally, demand for electricity will continue to collapse, defying most pundits and causing AEMO to once again revise its forecasts down.

Mike Sandiford, Melbourne Energy Institute
My tip for 2013: Average electricity demand in NSW will fall a further 300MW from 2012 levels to less than 8GW. That will mean demand has fallen by 12 per cent in real terms from  2008 to levels that have not been seen for since 2001. It would mean demand is down almost 20 per cent on the forward projections of 2008.
Peak demand will be up slightly from 2012, but will not set new records. My tip for 2103 is that Victorian peak demand will top out at less than 10GW; well less than the record of 10.4 gigawatts set on January 29, 2009. Globally, coal will assert itself as the king of the energy resources by overtaking oil, and the rate of growth of CO2 emissions will rise.
David Green, CEO, Clean Energy Council

2013 will be a year of change and challenge. It's a federal election year and so an opportunity for the industry to speak about the benefits it can bring to hard-working Australians and to the wider economy. Internationally, Australia will be able to build on its pivotal position in the climate change negotiations, as further steady progress is made towards the international policy settings that will help to drive further action at home.

With electricity market reform on the agenda this will create new scope to drive changes that can empower consumers and communities to take control of their energy future – and their electricity bills through the smarter, better and more efficient technologies that are now available to achieve this. Now that's something to really power ahead on!

Peter Cowling, general manager, renewable sales, GE Australia

"2013 will kick off with a definitive review of the RET, for all to see. Apart from some sensible tweaks, it should endorse Australia's RET as legislated. That should, in turn, be supported by both sides of politics to provide the certainty to enable investment to flow, independent of the political cycle. What will happen then? Australia can embark, in earnest, on building its 21st century "Snowy Mountains Scheme" to future-proof Australia. Now we need to focus on the projects that will deliver the policy, and continue to build on the strong community support for renewables."

Andrew Thomson, CEO, Acciona Australia

In 2013 it's critical that we start to see some stability within the policy environment for renewable energy. Australia's credibility as an investment destination for renewable energy is at stake. It's likely that the Federal government will endorse the recommendations of the Climate Change Authority and that those recommendations on the RET are unlikely to be substantially changed in any major way from the original discussion paper. We anticipate some movement amongst retailers in 2013 as a result of this. If we're going to achieve the large-scale target, the industry (including retailers) needs to move now.

Anthony Coles, Solco

Distributed generation gets more mileage in the mainstream media in 2013 as parallels become more visible between the current structural challenges to "old media" fiefdoms, with the rise of the easy-to-use digital publishing tools of "new media" and the impact self-generation will have on the power value-chain. Rooftop residential PV is not a concern to established players. But affordable (via finance) behind-the-meter self-generation and storage will put an end to the rivers of cash.

What is needed? Software-as-a-service (cloud-based services) could only get traction with the advent of always-online-realtime-access (AORTA), more processing capacity for the hardware, and advances in user experience brought on by software (eg: data-integrating xml). Remember the sacred sound of dial-up modems? Well we're still there in the energy market. Who wins? Plenty will come and go as business models are yet to be proven. Hopefully ARENA's regional focus and off-grid's immediate commercial appeal will allow some of them the freedom to flourish.

Hot Tips For Australia In 2013 — Energy Storage, Big Solar was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Lux Research’s List Of Top Emerging Technology Companies In 2012 Is Full Of Cleantech Companies

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 11:38 AM PST

Lux Research has published list of the “Top Emerging Technology Companies in 2012,” and the list is full of cleantech companies — solar, grid storage, bio-based materials, energy efficiency, and more. Well, it’s no surprise, cleantech is clearly one of the fastest growing segments of the market, and one of the most needed and most promising. Here’s Lux Research’s full press release on the list:

BOSTON, MA – December 18, 2012 – Global megatrends like energy and infrastructure, health and wellness, and materials revolutions create pressing social and economic needs – and the right emerging technologies to address them can create major business opportunities. Emerging technology research firm Lux Research scouts for technology developers that address these megatrends, profiling 1,380 companies across 15 different emerging technology domains in 2012.

To conclude the year, Lux Research  selected the 10 most compelling companies profiled in 2012 across all its coverage areas (released today) and the 10 "companies to watch" for 2013 (to be released Thursday, December 20th).

Lux Research analysts base company profiles on primary and secondary research, rating each firm on a 10-metric scorecard, while providing critical analysis of their prospects. Each firm gets a "Lux Take" that ranges from "Strong Caution" to "Strong Positive," to provide a bottom-line assessment of its prospects, with a "Wait and see" rating  for companies that still face too much uncertainty for a definitive call. Its top choices from 2012 include:

  1. Solazyme – Positive – Alternative Fuels; Bio-based Materials and Chemicals

One of the few advanced fermentation companies generating revenue today, Solazyme is aligning partners and scaling production facilities to sell into high value markets before bringing down costs to compete in commodity fuels and chemicals.

  1. EOS – Positive – Advanced Materials

A leader in the burgeoning 3D printing space, EOS boasts a long list of development partners and employs a savvy business model that includes selling "optimized" raw material input powders at very high margins to go along with laser sintering tools.

  1. Vigilent – Positive – Grid Storage; Efficient Building Systems

Vigilent's artificial intelligence-based energy management software learns operational habits and optimizes building energy efficiency and consumption, offering payback periods to customers of less than two years.

  1. Cambrios Technologies – Positive – Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics; Solar Components; Advanced Materials

Cambrios develops silver nanowire-based transparent conductive films to replace indium tin oxide, particularly for touchscreen applications. Along with partners Nissha Printing and Synaptics, it released its first commercial product in the Huawei Ascend.

  1. Oxford Pharmascience – Positive – Formulation and Delivery

The ability to manipulate properties such as taste and viscosity to improve oral delivery of medicine makes Oxford Pharmascience appealing. Calcium supplements gained the company entry into emerging markets and doubled its revenue in one year.

  1. SunPower – Positive – Solar Components; Solar Systems

As the manufacturer of the highest efficiency crystalline silicon modules on the market at 21% efficiency, SunPower has strong strategic partners and a multi-gigawatt project pipeline in the high profit margin regions of the Americas and Asia.

  1. Efficient Power Conversion – Positive – Energy Electronics

This fab-less manufacturer of gallium nitride (GaN) power electronics devices is already offering products in the 40 V to 200 V range, and is well positioned to expand its offering to 600 V applications, taking advantage of GaN's improved efficiency over today's silicon-based devices.

  1. Enviro Voraxial – Positive – Water

The company sells high efficiency, low footprint oil-water separators especially suitable for the offshore market, and quadrupled its revenues in 2012.

  1. Itaconix – Positive – Bio-based Materials and Chemicals

With a low-capex, low-opex process expanding to 5,000 MT/year to produce itaconic acid polymers for chemical intermediates, binders, and super-absorbents, Itaconix is one of the few bio-based chemical companies we expect to run in the black in 2013.

  1. Desso – Positive – Sustainable Building Materials

This developer of carpet for residential, office, and hospitality sectors and artificial grass for sports stadiums uses “cradle-to-cradle” principles, making its products biodegradable and recyclable, while offering functionality like capture and retention of allergens and enhanced sound insulation.

Lux Research’s List Of Top Emerging Technology Companies In 2012 Is Full Of Cleantech Companies was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Solar Job Training, EV Predictions For 2013, Ford C-Max Breaks Hybrid Launch Sales Record… (Cleantech News Of The Day)

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 10:54 AM PST

Other than our own stories, here’s some top cleantech and climate news of the day:

Solar Power

Top PV Module Suppliers Developing Own Utility Projects: “Research from Wiki-Solar has found that the most successful module providers to utility-scale photovoltaic plants are developing their own projects to accommodate their products.”

PG&E Grant Supports Solar Job Training, Community Vitality: “The Solar Intern Program is a three-month paid internship that provides job training for people seeking careers in the solar industry. PG&E’s grant funds the program for four highly qualified trainees, who will receive job placement support from GRID Alternatives and PG&E after graduation. The other three internships will be in Fresno, Chico and Atascadero in 2013.”

Driveline Enters Two-Year Agreement with SunClean, LLC For Installation And Maintenance Of Solar-Powered Trash Compaction Equipment: “Driveline, the largest non-broker merchandising services agency in the country, [announced yesterday] that it has entered into a two-year agreement with SunClean, LLC, a Women Minority Business Enterprise, to serve as its exclusive installation agent for the SunClean 150® Solar Intelligent Waste and Recycling System.

“According to the terms of the agreement, Driveline associates will install SunClean 150 compaction equipment across the United States. Driveline will also provide preventive maintenance, emergency repair and advertising film application to deployed and active units.”

Suntech Solar Modules Shine In Desert Simulation Test: “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, today announced that its solar modules have passed the Blowing Sand Test based on DIN EN 60068-2-68 LC2 by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The SGS test result confirms that Suntech’s solar modules are suitable for solar installations in desert regions.”

Kohl's Department Stores Activates Its Largest Solar Project At Maryland E-Commerce Distribution Center: “Kohl's Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) today announced activation of the company's largest solar project at its million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center (EFC) in Edgewood, Md. The EFC opened in 2011 and recently earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) at the gold level. The location is Kohl's sixth solar site in Maryland. It is also the company's first LEED-certified logistics facility.”

Gildemeister Wins €29.2 Million Deal For PV Plants And Energy Storage Technology: “The Energy Solutions division of German technology manufacturer Gildemeister has been awarded contracts worth €29.2 million (US$38.5 million) to deliver PV power plants and energy storage technology in Romania, Germany and Italy.”

Wind Power

global wind turbine gearbox marketGlobal Wind Turbine Gearbox Market To Exceed $8 Billion By 2020, Wind Rotor Blades Drop To 49K Units Installed: “The global wind power market witnessed tremendous growth in 2011, as annual wind power capacity installations recovered after a slight dip in 2010. In fact, Global wind energy installed capacity increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.5% from 74,122 Megawatts (MW) in 2006 to 240,000 MW in 2011. The wind turbine industry provides employment to over 450,000 people worldwide. Annual turbine installations are expected to grow from 39.9 Gigawatts (GW) in 2011 to 40.6 GW in 2012, against a backdrop of order intakes by major wind turbine manufacturers. During the 2012-2020 forecast period, global wind turbine installations will show steady growth, and cumulative wind power installed capacity will reach 391,985 MW by 2015 and 658,448 MW by 2020.”

GE, Taiwan Power Sign Five-Year Wind Turbine Service Agreement: “GE (NYSE: GE) and Taiwan Power Company have signed a five-year, full service agreement (FSA) covering 26 GE 1.5-megawatt class wind turbines operating throughout Taiwan. Under the agreement, valued at nearly $11.4 million, GE will provide a full scope of services including planned and unplanned maintenance, repairs and spare parts. The agreement guarantees fleet availability of greater than 95 percent.”

In Ironic Christmas Card, Koch-Backed Group Labels Itself Ebenezer Scrooge: “Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization founded and partly funded by the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, is leading the charge against federal renewable energy investments — even while vigorously defending permanent tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

“So AFP's mock Christmas card featuring the stingy, cranky Ebenezer Scrooge disparaging wind tax credits illustrates the organization's stance perfectly”

First Wind, Avista Announce Start of Commercial Operations at Palouse Wind Project in Eastern Washington: “First Wind, Avista announce start of commercial operations of 105 MW Palouse Wind Project in Eastern Washington; First Wind obtained a $50 million tax equity financing from Cook Inlet Region, Inc.”

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2013: “By the end of 2013, nearly 400,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be driving on roads around the world.  Consumers will be able to choose from a greatly enhanced selection of models in an expanding number of vehicle segments.  While the EV industry is rapidly maturing, uncertainty remains about the energy storage technologies that are being implemented to provide varying levels of electrification, as well as about the ability of automakers to execute on the potential of several market segments.  In order to analyze the impacts of these and other key issues facing the EV industry, Pike Research has prepared this white paper that makes 10 predictions about the continuing evolution of the market in 2013 and beyond.”

December 4th, 2012 Declared IGO CarSharing Day By Mayor Emanuel: “Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 was proclaimed ‘IGO CarSharing Day’ by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council of Chicago. IGO was further recognized for its ‘responsible and environmentally friendly business model…(and) great service…’ The resolution creating ‘IGO CarSharing Day’ was introduced to the City Council by 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti and 49th Ward Alderman Joseph Moore.”

Ford C-Max Breaks Hybrid Launch Sales Record: “For October and November, the all-new Ford C-Max sold 8,030 units, making it the highest-selling hybrid vehicle ever in the first two months. The sales significantly surpassed the 7,300 Camry Hybrids that Toyota sold in that car’s first two months on the market, back in May and June of 2006. Ford also calculates that C-Max sales are moving three times faster than combined results from the first hybrids on the US market – the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight – which were launched in 2000.”

Volt-Based Cadillac ELR Teased Ahead Of Detroit Reveal: “The on-again off-again saga of the Cadillac ELR has made for some entertaining speculation the past few years. But finally, we are nearing the reveal of an actual production version of the luxury Chevy Volt that will give Cadillac its first-ever plug-in hybrid. From what little I've seen, so far, so good.”

Plug-In Hybrids Outselling Pure EVs In California: “Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) appear to have outsold battery electric vehicles in California by about a two-to-one margin since the Toyota Prius Plug-in started US sales earlier this year, according to the state’s Center for Sustainable Energy.”

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Reach Record High In US In 2012: “For years, alternative fuel vehicles appeared to be a somewhat futuristic dream for environmentally concerned individuals but today they are a reality for an increasing number of US consumers. Latest research from Mintel shows that sales are up an astounding 73%, with nearly 440,000 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electrics sold thus far this year. The rapid sales growth in hybrid and electric vehicles makes the segment the fastest growing in the US for 2012, supplanting the still fast growing, compact car vehicle segment.”

To Really Advance Electric Vehicle Sales, Take A Look At Fleets: “Plug-in electric vehicles haven’t been selling at the high rates hoped for in the past two years as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and other competitive models made their way to dealer lots. President Obama’s lofty goal of one million electric vehicles sold in the US by 2015 appears to be unattainable. By the end of this year, it looks like there will have been around 65,000 to 70,000 plug-in EVs sold in the US market.

“To increase sales, what about fleet sales? Some companies with large fleets have been champions of electric vehicles, which is obviously good for sales numbers. Ian Hobday, chief executive officer of UK-based GoinGreen, thinks that utility and delivery company fleets offer more significant growth potential than the private, consumer car market.”

Anderman: Li-Ion Capacity Far Outstripping Demand As Automakers Focus More On Hybrids, Less On Full EVs: “Global automotive Li-Ion battery production capacity is outstripping demand five-to-one as automakers refocus on hybrids and away from full electric vehicles, according to Dr. Menahem Anderman's recently released xEV Industry Insider Report. Anderman is founder and chairman of the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC); the 13th annual conference is scheduled for February 2013 in Pasadena, California.”

Energy Efficiency & Conservation

App Reveals Most Fuel Efficient Flights On Expedia: “Calasi, a start up based out of San Francisco, is hoping to empower would-be green(er) air travelers to make more informed choices, launching an app that works with Expedia to identify the flights that consume the least amount of fuel and produce the least emissions.”

Detect Drafty Windows With Your Smartphone: “The IR-Blue is a thermal imaging camera and app combo that lets you visualize the temperature differences of things around you. Like the LabStrip accessorybefore it, this attachable accessory lets users investigate and find answers on their own without having to hire a professional or use professional-level equipment.”

Philips Releases An Updated A19 LED Bulb That Is Better Looking And More Efficient: ”LED bulbs may be fabulous for the environment, but they aren't always the prettiest of fittings to look at. Philips is trying to fix that with an update to one of their more popular LED bulbs, the A19. Sleeker and even more efficient, the new A19 replaces inefficient 60-watt incandescent bulbs without sacrificing style.”

Park Hyatt Chicago Latest Luxury Property To Adopt Telkonet’s EcoSmart Energy Management Technology: “Telkonet, Inc. (OTC BB: TKOI), developer of the EcoSmart energy management platform featuring Recovery Time™ technology, is pleased to announce continuing demand for its EcoSmart technology with a completed installation at Park Hyatt Chicago, a luxury hotel located at 800 North Michigan Avenue.”

New Consumer Guide Illuminates Home Energy Savings: “Save Money, Save the Earth." That motto has appeared on the cover of every edition of the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings since the first book was published in 1991. It's a big promise, and one that appears on the 10th and newest edition released today by the co-publishers, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and New Society Publishers (NSP).”

WegoWise Acquires Melon Power To Expand Services To Commercial Buildings: “WegoWise, a leading building performance analytics provider, today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Melon Power, an award-winning analytics platform for the commercial building sector. WegoWise will extend its platform with Melon Power’s methodology, which leverages Green Button and other utility data to help commercial buildings affordably and easily receive Energy Star benchmarks. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.”


57% Of Americans Think Government Should Do A “Great Deal” To Combat Global Warming: “Four out of five Americans now believe ‘climate change will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it.’ That’s from the latest AP-GFK poll on climate values. That’s 80% of the country, folks. That’s 250 million people, if the findings are reliable.”

Google Brings In Director Of The Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E): “One of the world's biggest challenges is bringing reliable, sustainable and affordable energy to everyone. We need a new energy blueprint for the future—the latest advances in technology have the potential to bring us closer to that goal than ever before.

“That's why I'm pleased to welcome Dr. Arun Majumdar to Google, where he will drive's energy initiatives and advise the company on our broader energy strategy. Arun is widely recognized as one of the foremost leaders in energy innovation. He joins us from the Department of Energy, where he served as Acting Undersecretary of Energy and was founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (better known as ARPA-E), identifying and providing essential support for the development of transformational new energy technologies. In his roles at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley, he made great contributions in the areas of energy conversion, transport, and storage, and in 2005 was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering.”

Geothermal Industry Ends 2012 On A High Note: “The past 12 months saw continued economic challenges for many American industries, including those in the renewable energy field, but the country's geothermal community witnessed a year of growth, both domestically and abroad. The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) today expressed optimism for 2013, while looking back on a difficult, yet ultimately successful 2012.”

EU Competition Finds No Carbon Storage Winner: “The first round of a European Commission contest to fund carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects failed to find a winner, the EU’s executive said on Tuesday, deepening doubts the technology can emerge soon to help cut emissions.”

International Power Giants Prepare For An Energy Revolution: “One of the big questions that springs to mind when the likes of the International Energy Agency and other bodies deliver their stark warnings about climate change is whether the global energy industry is ready to respond to the challenge. If the IEA is right about its predictions, the energy industry will no longer have the luxury of a measured transition to a clean energy future, the change will be quick and dramatic.

“So how is the energy industry positioned to respond? While in Paris, I met up with two senior executives from Alstom, the French energy giant that is one of the three big global suppliers of power equipment. By some measures, it ranks as the biggest, with interests in nuclear, coal, gas, hydro, and onshore wind, and more recently, in offshore wind, concentrated solar power, wave energy and tidal energy, and geothermal.”

Cleaning Up Carbon Pollution 101: “Largely due to destruction caused by recent climate-related extreme weather events in the United States, there is a new urgency in our nation to adopt additional carbon pollution reduction measures. In 2011 and 2012, 21 such events each caused $1 billion or more in damages. This new evidence demonstrates that our climate change problem is much more imminent and severe than previously thought. Instead of idly waiting for the next devastating storm, flood, drought, or heat wave to hit, we should tackle climate change head on by further reducing our carbon pollution.”

Solar Job Training, EV Predictions For 2013, Ford C-Max Breaks Hybrid Launch Sales Record… (Cleantech News Of The Day) was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Jet Engine Technology Will Cool Your Tablet

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 06:35 AM PST

Scientists at GE’s global research labs have adapted jet engine technology to create a super-thin cooling device that will keep your tablets cool no matter the weather or usage.

"It's like a pair of lungs, it contracts and expands," says Peter deBock, lead thermal systems engineer at GE Global Research.

Coming in at just three millimetres thick, the "dual piezoelectric cooling jets” utilize jet engine technology that is normally used to improve air flow through jet engine compressors, instead now making a new generation of consumer electronics thinner, quieter, and more powerful.

Heat is always an issue with computers of any size, and the more high-tech the innards are, the more heat they’re producing, which requires more and more cooling. More cooling often ends up being large and bulky, definitely not what you want sticking out of the back pocket of your jeans.

By using the particular electronics they are using in their new cooling device, the scientists at GE’s global research labs have been able to make a cooling device that does the job of something normally twice it’s size.

"We had a lot of space left over," deBock says of the fan they placed inside one of their laptops. "It can make the laptop thinner or allow adding more electronics."

Best of all, this technology is not just relegated to powering your next iPhone. "There are different tricks that you can do and make it smaller or larger," deBock says. "The concept can be scaled to whatever the needs of the application are."

Source: GE Reports

Jet Engine Technology Will Cool Your Tablet was originally published on: CleanTechnica

eStorage — Improving Wind & Solar Energy Integration Into Electrical Grid

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 06:30 AM PST

A European consortium has been awarded a €13.3 million grant by the European Commission to push the development of cost-effective integration of renewables like wind into the electrical grid.

Increasing Wind Integration into Electrical Grid

Wind farm in Poland

The consortium, eStorage — made up of Alstom, the consortium leader; Elia, a transmission system operator; EDF, a generation company; Imperial College, an academic Institution; DNV Kema, an engineering consultancy and testing & certification company; and Algoé, a management consultancy — will look to develop a solution to create cost-effective integration methods for intermittent renewable energy generation into the electrical grid.

eStorage’s mission is “to develop cost-effective solutions for the widespread deployment of flexible, reliable, GWh-scale energy storage across the EU and to enhance grid management systems to allow the integration of a large share of renewable energies.”

The cornerstone of the consortium’s goals is to upgrade consortium member EDF’s Le Cheylas fixed-speed Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant (PSP) to a variable-speed PSP. Upon completion of this upgrade, the Le Cheylas plant will be capable of providing 70 megawatts of additional nighttime regulation capability which itself will allow the integration of several hundred megawatts of intermittent renewable generation such as wind turbines.

If this upgrade is successful, it will demonstrate that the majority of European PSP can be upgraded in this way, which would result in 10 gigawatts of additional regulation capability with absolutely no environmental impact and at an obviously lower rate than building completely new plants.

Source: eStorage via PR Newswire
Image Source: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

eStorage — Improving Wind & Solar Energy Integration Into Electrical Grid was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Solar Production Module Costs To Decline To As Low As $0.48/W Within Five Years: Report

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 06:20 AM PST

As large global supply of solar modules far exceeds demand, prices continue to fall. That's a good thing to boost the long-term profitability of the solar industry, according to a recent report. However, not always for solar module companies.

Analysis done by Lux Research noted that module costs have dropped to $0.70/W in the past four years, while cost of goods sold (COGS) have not fallen at the same rate, thus creating huge losses for module builders.

However, the report projected that Cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules would remain the least expensive option in the market for years to come, with prices reaching as low as $0.48/W by 2017.

Meanwhile, COGS all around is projected between 2012 through 2017, as copper indium gallium (di) selende thin-film modules decline to $0.64/W, a 14 cent price difference from today's costs.

Lux Research also said there will be a bigger boost in efficiency in module production in the next few years:

“Efficiencies are the key driver. Manufacturing location has the greatest potential influence on COGS but overcapacity makes opening new facilities in low-cost countries unlikely. Consequently, increasing module efficiencies will make the most difference, up to $0.09/W for mc-Si and $0.21/W for CIGS.”

Lux Research Associate and author of the report Module Cost Structure Update: Path to Profitability Ed Cahill also said it’s vital for manufacturers to cut their own costs in order to strengthen their profit margins and ability to survive.

""With pressure from competitors, customers, and policy-makers to drop prices even further, manufacturers need to drive costs down to survive and thrive during the coming years of growth in the demand market," he said.

Source: Lux Research

Solar Production Module Costs To Decline To As Low As $0.48/W Within Five Years: Report was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Using Tornadoes For Good, Not Evil — Green Energy

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 04:44 AM PST

Never one to let a good heading get away from me, it’s time to turn the evil power of tornadoes into something good — namely, green energy. And thanks to The Thiel Foundation’s funding program Breakout Labs, a new grant has been awarded to harness the power of atmospheric vortexes.


Tornadoes as Green Energy

“The power in a tornado is undisputed,” said Louis Michaud, Canadian engineer and designer of the Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE). ”My work has established the principles by which we can control and exploit that power to provide clean energy on an unprecedented scale.

“With the funding from Breakout Labs, we are building a prototype in partnership with Lambton College to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of the atmospheric vortex engine.”

Michaud’s design sees warm or humid air introduced into a circular station wherein it takes the form of a rising vortex which drives multiple turbines.

AVE has several advantages over other green energies: AVE produces no carbon dioxide emissions, nor does it require any storage given that the power can be turned on and off at will simply by altering the flow of warm or humid air.

AVEtec (the name of the company) believes that the cost of energy it could generate might be as low as 3 cents per kilowatt hour, making it easily one of the cheapest forms of energy production.

The AVEtec grant is one of three recently doled out by Breakout Labs this month.

“Our three newest grant recipients–AVEtec, General Genomics, and Siva Therapeutics–are vastly different in their technologies, company strategies, and goals,” said Breakout Labs Executive Director, Lindy Fishburne. “What unites them is ground-breaking science coupled with the passion, vision, and creativity of their founders. We are delighted to bring them into the Breakout Labs community.”

Using Tornadoes For Good, Not Evil — Green Energy was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Community Solar Bill Reintroduced In California

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 04:29 AM PST

Last week, Senator Lois Walk re-introduced the shared renewable energy self-generation bill, SB43, which could help to advance community solar projects within California.

Despite strong backing from consumer groups, environmental groups, one of the top three utilities in the state, and the Department of Defense, the original bill (SB443) did not pass. However, with this new bill, it could become easier for community solar-based programs to get off the ground by reducing much red tape (for financing along with other matters), as noted in bill below:

(i) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation establishing a shared renewable energy self-generation program that will be implemented in such a manner as to broaden access to self-generation of renewable energy, while fairly compensating electrical corporations for the services they provide.

(j) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require the Public Utilities Commission to carefully consider regulatory barriers to distributed generation projects already identified and those not yet identified and quickly address those barriers in a manner that is conducive to the development of distributed generation projects consistent with appropriate ratepayer protections.

(k) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require the commission to minimize the rate impact of a shared renewable energy self-generation program on nonbeneficiaries, with a goal of ratepayer indifference. To the extent that a program would impose incremental increases in rates, it is the intent that the commission ensure that the cost increases are equitably allocated to all customers on a nonbypassable basis reflecting both the costs and benefits that shared renewable energy facilities provide to the residents of California.

If this bill were to pass this time, with these restrictions being lifted, crowdfunding for solar projects could really take off in California. And crowdfunding groups, like Solar Mosiac, could significantly help boost solar energy in low- and middle-income neighborhoods.

Dan Rosen, co-founder of Solar Mosaic, said recently in a San Francisco Bay Guardian article that the crowdfunding movement will help to democratize the financing vital to push entrepreneurial ideas like Solar Mosaic forward.

“Our job — not just as Mosaic, but as society — is to make sure that the next energy economy has participation and ownership from millions of people and communities around the world,” Rosen said.

Thanks to their creative financing arrangements, the enterprise has been successful by raising $350,000 from 400 investors for five projects.

Given the potential of solar, as Bill Clinton said, it is the low hanging fruit for US companies when it comes to job creation. It would make very good sense to amend laws, such as bill SB43, to boost California’s clean energy economy while raising the living standards of its citizens.

Community Solar Bill Reintroduced In California was originally published on: CleanTechnica

100MW Concentrating Solar Power Plant Commissioned In Spain

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 04:21 AM PST

Abengoa has commissioned its latest concentrating solar power (CSP) project, the Castilla-La Mancha Solar Complex in Spain. Comprised of two identical 50-megawatt (MW) parabolic trough plants, which reflect and focus the sun’s rays on receiver tubes filled with heat transfer fluids that are heated to approximately 400 degrees Celsius (ºC) (752ºF). The fluid circulates through heat exchangers and produces steam, which is then used to drive a conventional steam turbine.

The Castilla-La Mancha Solar Complex will do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions — Abengoa estimates some 63,000 tons of CO2 per year will not be released into the atmosphere as a result of the new power plant. The project has also had significant socioeconomic benefits in the community.

Solar Jobs, Clean Power on the Spanish Plain

At its peak, 1,650 construction jobs were created, along with 90 permanent, full-time operation and maintenance positions. Adding to the local economic boost, locally manufactured components were used in building the CSP plant, according to Abengoa’s press release.

Local and state government leaders joined Abengoa senior executives in commissioning Castilla-La Mancha.

Abengoa is also building a CSP plant some 70 miles southwest of Phoenix. Now over 80% complete, the 280-MW Solana CSP plant is being equipped with a molten salt thermal storage system, which will enable stored power to be distributed on demand, even when the sun’s not shining.

100MW Concentrating Solar Power Plant Commissioned In Spain was originally published on: CleanTechnica

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