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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Jan-Feb 2006

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New and Renewable Energy Jan-Feb 2007

ISSN: 0971-5630

VATIS Update New and Renewable Energy (formerly Non Conventional Energy)* is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of New and Renewable Energy. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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* This update has been renamed as 'VATIS Update: New and Renewable Energy' from Jan-Mar 2015 onwards.

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New and Renewable
Energy
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Bio
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Waste
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Food
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Ozone Layer
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VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
Tech
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Asia-Pacific Tech Monitor Oct-Dec 2014

Contents

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IN THE NEWS

Hydrogen cars on Indian roads by 2020

The Indian government recently unveiled a roadmap to put by 2020 one million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles on the countrys roads and generate 1,000 MW from hydrogen through public-private initiatives. In a presentation to Mr. Vilas Muttemwar, the Non-Conventional Energy Sources Minister, the Steering Group on Hydrogen Energy projected an investment of about Rs 250 billion (US$ 5.6 billion) over 15 years to achieve these objectives. Of this, about Rs 10 billion (US$227 million) would be for technology research, development and demonstration, while the remaining amount would be used for creating infrastructure for hydrogen production, storage, transportation and distribution to meet the need for hydrogen under transport and power initiatives.


The plan recommends strong public-private partnerships covering the total hydrogen energy system for implementing the groups proposals. The roadmap has proposed two major initiatives the green initiative for future transport (GIFT) and green initiative for power generation (GIP), the Minister said. The green initiative for transport aims to develop and demonstrate a hydrogen-powered engine and fuel cell-based cars ranging from small cars and taxis to buses and vans.


Pointing out that the roadmap would put India in the forefront of the new global hydrogen energy economy and provide sustainable energy security in future, Mr. Muttemwar said its implementation would help put one million hydrogen-driven vehicles on Indian roads by 2020. The GIP envisages developing and demonstrating a hydrogen-fuelled engine and turbine, as well as fuel cell-based decentralized power generating systems to target 1,000 MW capacity by 2020. The urgency of making the transition to hydrogen energy economy from the present hydrocarbon energy economy has been recognized globally and large-scale efforts are in progress not only in advanced countries but also in developing countries like India, China and Brazil, Mr. Muttemwar said.


Website: www.hindustantimes.com

Solar apartments to debut in Korea

Solar apartments, which get power from sunlight, are to debut in the Republic Korea in 2006. The Ministry of Planning and Budget (MPB) recently announced that 54 billion won (US$51.3 million) from the electric power industry fund would be used in 2006 to install solar energy generators in low-income bracket rental apartments.


The government is planning to give trial solar energy generators at an expense of 6.4 billion won (US$6.08 million) to 1,400 rental apartment households in three districts in three different provinces. The government grants financial aid totalling 70 per cent of the installation expenses. Mr. Song Byoung-seon, Industry and Information Director in MPBs public expenditure division, explained that the house owners could offset their installation expenses after 12 years and six months on average. The government plans to introduce solar housing to 100,000 households by 2012.


Website: www.english.donga.com

Chinas Renewable Energy Law takes effect

Chinas Renewable Energy Law, aimed to encourage investment in renewable energy projects, came into effect from 1 January 2006. The government is expected to provide a wide range of financial incentives for such projects, including grants to help with development costs, below-market loans and special tax treatment. The law also requires state-owned utilities to buy electricity from renewable energy projects, at a price that is to be worked out. The government is expected to fill in the details of the new law soon through implementing regulations.


Chinas electricity supply is inadequate, with estimates putting the current shortfall at 80 million MW a year, with actual demand at 2.45 billion MW. In terms of supply, about 70-80 per cent of electricity is generated by coal and other depleting fossil fuel sources. The government is trying to move quickly to increase electricity output and to diversify the supply sources.


The new law defines the types of renewable energy that the government is now hoping to encourage, such as wind, solar, water, ocean, biomass and geothermal energy. It provides for a new renewable energy development fund, which will make grants to pay for feasibility studies, early-stage research and development costs, and construction of new renewable projects on islands. The law directs Chinese banks and other financial institutions to provide low-interest loans for renewable energy projects listed in a national renewable energy development guidance catalogue to be prepared by the government. Projects that make it into the catalogue will also qualify for special tax treatment.


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com

Biofuel bill passed in the Philippines

The House of Representatives in the Philippines has passed a bill that would pave the way for widespread use of biofuels, starting with mandatory mixing of petrol with five per cent ethanol. Two years from passage of the law, all fuels to be sold will contain five per cent ethanol blend. A National Biofuels Board created will oversee production and use of alternative fuels. The bill requires the Tariff Commission to create a tariff line for bio-ethanol fuel.


The author of the bill, Representative Mr. Juan Miguel Zubiri, said the mandatory blend could be raised to 10 per cent if the government would so decide. Mandatory blending of petrol with ethanol is expected to displace 10 per cent of the oil that the Philippines imports every year and save P32 billion (approx. US$ 627 million) in foreign exchange annually, Mr. Zubiri said.


To encourage entry of new investors in the biofuels sector, the proposed law contains a wide range of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, said Mr. Zubiri, citing exemption from tariff duties on importation of equipment and machinery. Another incentive is classification of all investments in ethanol production and blending as pioneering or preferred areas of investment, which entitle them for financial incentives. Bio-ethanol producers would also get easy access to financing from the governments financial institutions.


Website: www.money.inq7.net 

Pakistan taking steps to develop alternate energy sources

Pakistans Minister for Water and Power, Mr. Liaquat Ali Jatoi, has said that the government would take initiatives to develop alternative energy sources to meet the countrys growing demand for power. The Minister, while chairing a high level meeting on wind power generation projects, emphasized the need to remove all bottlenecks to attract foreign investment in the renewable energy sector. He assured the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEBD) of full support in setting up modern wind power plants, and that all the wind power generated would be procured by the power authority WAPDA.


Air Marshal Shahid Hamid, AEDBs Chairman, informed the meeting that AEDB would initially set up two 50 MW Wind Power Generation Projects at Gharo-Keti Bander (Sindh), as part of the goal to achieve 5 per cent of the total power generation through alternative energy sources. The countrys potential forelectricity generation through wind resources is around 50,000 MW. The turbines are expected to start generation by June 2006.


Website: www.pakistanlink.com

Garbage power gains fans in Korea

In the Republic of Korea, some local governments have been employing methane gas produced by garbage to power the trucks that collect the garbage. Now more institutions have similar plans. The Chuncheon City in Gangwon province and the Environmental Management Corp. said they would operate 80 methane-powered garbage trucks using gas from a 16.6 ha landfill near the city. The gas produced at the site, officials estimate, could power all 80 garbage trucks for about a decade.


Sudokwon Landfill Site Management Corp. is building a plant to generate electricity from the gas produced at a landfill near Seoul, where about 20,000 t of food waste from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi provinces are added daily. The plant will produce 50 MW of electricity, enough to power 180,000 households. The company boasts that the output will be the worlds largest from a single plant of its type. The waste accumulated at a single site from 21 million people makes it easier for us to generate a large amount of energy, said Mr. Cho Dong-il of the Corporation.


Cheongra incinerator in Incheon city is taking advantage of the heat that can be generated from 450 tonnes of trash per day. The trash is burned and generates steam to power a 1,800 kW turbine generator to produce electricity. Some of the steam is routed to a nearby greenhouse for tropical plants.


Use of methane gas and incinerated trash makes up about 70 per cent of Koreas production from renewable energy sources. Korea hopes to make renewables the source of 5 per cent of its electricity consumption by 2011. Such power plants are now operating in 10 landfills across the nation, producing about 29 MW of electricity per day. Another 53 MW of production capacity is under construction in three other areas.


Website: www.joongangdaily.joins.com 

China starts industrial production of bio-diesel

China has initiated a research on energy plants and development of bio-diesel. The country is also ready to cooperate with biofuel oil producers in the country to start industrial production. In recent years, China has started bio-diesel research and development work, and in the meantime achieved a breakthrough in bio-diesel industrial operation, said Mr. Wang Tao, chief scientist, Chinese Academy of Forestry.


The Zhenghe Biological Energy Co. in Hainan has reportedly set up a bio-diesel production base with a capacity of nearly 10,000 tonnes. Not long ago, experts had passed the technological appraisal of its bio-diesel product and manufacturing process, confirming that its product has reached the bio-diesel standards in the United States. Further, new energy development companies in Sichuan and Fujian have also exploited the bio-diesel production technologies with their proprietary intellectual property rights.


Website: www.english.people.com.cn 

Indias wind energy output crosses 4,000 MW

Power generation from windmills in India, the worlds fourth largest producer of wind energy, has increased fourfold in the past three years, a government statement said. India now produces 4,228 MW of power from windmills. The Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources has prepared master plans for 97 potential sites aggregating to 15,062 MW wind power potential. India is encouraging power generation from new sources to reduce dependence on imported crude oil, which makes up 70 per cent of domestic oil consumption. It is also promoting research in plant-based fuels such as bio-diesel and ethanol.


Website: www.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Kyocera to cut solar cell costs

Kyocera Corporation of Japan, the worlds second largest manufacturer of solar cells, is developing a new technology that would help the company cut costs and cope with a surge in silicon prices, said Chief Executive Mr. Yasuo Nishiguchi. He said that the new process will use a fraction of the silicon used currently.


The prices of polycrystalline silicon have gained about 20 per cent this year, as demand has risen from both semiconductor and solar makers, said Mr. Hiromichi Aoki, an analyst at Nomura Securities Co., adding that the price increase may continue next year. Using less silicon will cut costs to make solar cells amid the industry shortage of silicon wafers.


Website: www.bloomberg.com

Philippines to offer wind-power sites

The Philippine government will be offering 16 locations setting up wind-based power generation plants, said Mr. Mario Marasigan, director of the Energy Utilization Management Bureau, Department of Energy. This offer will come once the government opens up the second contracting round for wind power by March 2006, he disclosed. Among the sites that are being considered include Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Cebu, Isabela, Camarines Norte, Northern Samar and Siquijor.


With an expected combined generating capacity of 400 MW, energy production from the areas will prove sufficient to satisfy the current Philippine goal of setting up at least 425 MW of wind-source energy in the next 10 years. Several companies have already expressed interest in developing the sites for the establishment of wind farms. Last year, the government offered a dozen sites with 345 MW generating capacity.


Website: www.abs-cbnnews.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Improved efficiency for spray-on polymer solar cell

Researchers at the Wake Forest University, the United States, have improved the efficiency of a spray-on polymer-based solar cell, moving it closer to practical use. The scientists have hit six per cent efficiency in buckyball-doped polymer solar cells. The material can be solution deposited. It is just like paint, you just paint it on, said Professor David Carroll.


Starting with a flexible polycarbonate substrate, Wake Forest team sputters on indium tin oxide (ITO), spins on the active layer, then tops it off by depositing a thin metal contact. The electrons leave through the metal and the holes leave through the ITO, said Prof. Carroll. Electron-hole separation in the cells occurs in a polymer layer doped with a fullerene a compound including C60 buckyballs. The materials in this case are poly(3-hexylthiophene) and 1-(3-methoxycarbonyl)-propyl-1-phenyl-(6,6)C61, called P3HT and PCBM respectively.


There is no junction as such in this kind of cell; instead C60 acts as an electron-acceptor through the bulk of the polymer layer, splitting up the photon-induced excitons. As individual fullerene molecules are operating in a matrix of polymer, this is also called nano-phase material. Crucial to the increase in efficiency at Wake Forest is a novel heat treatment flash-annealing by putting a temperature gradient across the material. The nano-phase material begins to form elongated crystals. We get a nano-material 0.8 nm across, but in a structure hundreds of nanometres across, said Prof. Carroll.


The product is still very flexible and can be rolled up and taken anywhere. It is the ease of transport which Prof. Carroll thinks will sell this type of cell if the efficiency can be doubled to that of low-cost glass substrate amorphous silicon cells.


Website: www.electronicsweekly.com

Next-generation thin film solar cell

Honda Motor Co., Japan, has plans to begin mass production in 2007 of an independently developed thin film solar cell composed of non-silicon compound materials. The cell requires 50 per cent less energy than a conventional solar cell, and thus generates 50 per cent less carbon dioxide, during production. By using thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), Honda has made a major reduction in energy consumed during the manufacture. More-over, this next-generation solar cell is reported to have achieved photoelectric transfer efficiency almost equivalent to the conventional crystal silicon solar cell the highest level for a thin film solar cell.


Lower costs and higher photoelectric transfer efficiency are required in order to expand use of solar cells. This non-silicon thin film solar cell has been attracting significant attention as a potential solution to these challenges. The only remaining problems were performance stabilization and development of mass production technologies. The mass production of Hondas next-generation solar cell became possible with a new mass production process for thin film solar cells developed independently by Honda Engineering a production engineering company that has long developed production equipment and technologies for Hondas motorcycle and automobile engines, electric motor for hybrid vehicles and other items. A mass production plant with annual capacity of 27.5 MW will be established at Hondas Kumamoto factory.


Website: www.autoracingdaily.com

NASA touts new hybridized solar cell

In the United States, researchers from NASA Glenn Research Centre, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio State University have announced success in blending typical silicon-based solar cells with gallium arsenide cells. They say the new hybrid cell is more efficient, durable and lightweight than their standard fare. The new technology may never reach an acceptable cost-per-watt to be useful for commercial solar applications, but it could improve the way solar power is used for space-based applications.


Most solar cells made are silicon solar cells, which weigh less and conduct heat better, while some are gallium arsenide cells, which produce twice as much power as silicon and are more durable. Engineers have been trying to merge gallium arsenide solar cells with silicon for about 20 years, said Glenn Electrical Engineer Mr. David Wilt, adding that they have now overcome the problems. The Glenn team combined the best properties of each type of cell by depositing gallium arsenide layers on a silicon base. The resulting hybrid cells can be manufactured to cover a large area, to make arrays that are highly efficient, about twice as light and much cheaper.


The hybrid cells are part of the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment, which is a part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment, a collection of hundreds of material samples mounted on the outside of the space station.The researchers are studying how these new solar cells perform and endure in space.


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com 

GEs highest-power solar module

Building on the success of its current portfolio of solar technology products, GE Energy has released its highest power and highest efficiency solar module to date. The new 200 W solar module, designed for commercial solar applications, uses polycrystalline cells. Offering higher output per square foot, the new module speeds the installation process by reducing the amount of racking and labour associated with a large solar array installation. GEs solar module will allow the amount of power generation per square foot of roofing space to be increased by 20 per cent. It has been UL 1703-certified and is listed by California Energy Commission. Contact: GE Energy, 4200 Wildwood Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, United States of America.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com

Efficiency record in thin film photovoltaic

Shell Solar, the Netherlands, has announced that it achieved a record 13.5 per cent sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency for its leading thin film copper-indium-diselenide (CIS) photovoltaic technology. The company says that this proves the performance of thin film technology could be at least as good as that of many traditional crystalline silicon products available on the market today. The result achieved for a 30 cm 30 cm size module at Shell Solars CIS pilot line in Munich, Germany, was independently verified by TUV Rhineland in Cologne.


Contact: Shell Solar, P.O. Box 162, 2501 AN, The Hague, The Netherlands. Fax: +31 (70) 377 3190


E-mail: solarinfo@shell.com


Website: www.solarbuzz.com

Disposable solar panels

Scientists at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster, which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power. They have developed technology for printing specialized inks containing tiny nanoparticles of silicon and other semiconductors onto paper. The solar panels are printed using three or four separate print runs first the metal contacts are printed, then the semiconductor structure and then more contacts.


The voltage and power output of the solar cell is determined by the size of the poster. An A2-size poster will deliver up to 100 W of power which is enough to charge a cell phone, power a radio or provide five hours of lighting, said Prof. David Britton, a nanotechnology specialist. Solar panel posters could be cut from rolls to meet a customers needs, such as for mounting behind a window or attaching to a cabinet. Brittons team has built a successful and affordable prototype and is now seeking to commercialize the project.


Website: www.news.mongabay.com 

High-performance solar cells

ErSol Solar Energy AG, Germany, manufactures polycrystalline and monocrystalline silicon solar cells in 156mm x 156mm format. Because the large-format cell technology provides cost benefits for module assembly, the cell is an attractive component for module manufacturers as well as for assemblers and end users of photovoltaic systems. ErSol cells provide high, stable outputs, which remain within close tolerances over long periods. With high long term efficiencies even in low intensity light.


The Blue Power series E6+ polycrystalline solar cells offer excellent properties for the exploration of solar radiation and achieve up to 16 percent efficiency. The Black Power series E6M+ monocrystalline silicon solar cells feature high energy yields and sustainable efficiencies of up to 17 percent. Because of their uniform black exterior, E6M+ cells are specially suited to solar PV systems with critical architectural requirements.


Contact: ErSol Solar Energy AG, Wilhelm-Wolff-StrBe 23, D-99099 Erfurt, Germany. Tel: +49(361) 2195-0;Fax: +49 (361) 2195-133
 
E-mail: info@ersol.de

WIND ENERGY

Prototypes of wind turbine blade

Researchers at the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), Wichita State University, are currently assembling 10 ft wind turbine blade prototypes for a research project in coordination with Wetzel Engineering and the United States Department of Energy (DOE). Wetzel Engineering, the principal investigator, is working to develop a 6 kW small wind turbine, while the Composites Laboratory of NIAR is focusing on blade manufacturing and structural testing.


The researchers are faced with the challenge of manufacturing a quality blade for minimal cost in order to minimize the total cost for wind-generated electricity. Manufacturing the blades is dependent on several factors including the ambient air temperature and the temperature of the blade tooling. As cooler ambient air temperatures affect the viscosity of the resin used for the infusion process, heating elements are being employed by the researchers to heat the moulds while the resin is under infusion.


The research team has manufactured six usable blade shells of the total ten planned and plans to finish full assembly. The prototypes will be sent to NIARs Aircraft Structural Testing and Evaluation Centre (ASTEC) for full-scale structural testing. When these tests are completed, Wetzel will submit the test report to the DOE and Sandia National Laboratories.


Website: www.netcomposites.com

Wind energy system for rooftops

The VAWT wind energy system from Cleanfield Energy Corp., Canada, is designed specifically for rooftop installation, although the system can be also be mounted on a pole/tower/silo. The modular system (1.5 kW, 2 kW and 2.5 kW) can be used for both grid and off-grid applications and is suitable for areas that have on an annual basis minimum average wind speeds of about 5 m/s. The systems have identical generator, shaft and blades, but differ in the lengths of the spokes.
The 2.5 kW VAWT prototype


The VAWT wind energy systems are strong enough to withstand gales, but are quiet, compact and visually striking. They are constrcuted using primarily fibreglass and steel, giving it a weight of approximately 159 kg. The systems stand at a height of 3 m and harness the wind using their 2.5 m diameter rotor. As the VAWT is built with fewer moving parts than horizontal-axis small wind systems, maintenance required is minimal. The estimated service life is 20-30 years and standard warranty is for 5 years.


Contact: Cleanfield Energy Corp., #4 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 1500, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L4Z 1S1. Tel: +1 (905) 667 5160; Fax: +1 (905) 938 0730


E-mail: tonyv@cleanfieldenergy.com


Website: www.cleanfieldenergy.com

New SCADA node for the wind energy industry

In the United States, Second Wind Inc. has started marketing its new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) node, the fourth-generation communicating turbine monitor or CTM/4, for wind energy systems. As part of Second Winds Advanced Distributed Monitoring System (ADMS), the CTM/4 allows customers to leverage the latest turbine controller architectures for more effective monitoring and control of their wind generation assets. ADMS is one of the worlds leading third party SCADA system for wind energy, and is installed on over 6,000 turbines and 3,500 MW at various sites in North America and Europe.


The CTM/4 features a RISC-based microcomputer running LINUX operating system. This architecture is robust in harsh wind farm conditions and is as programmable as a desktop PC to accommodate modern wind farm protocols. The CTM/4 not only offers serial and Ethernet connectivity, but also saves customers money by incorporating Ethernet switching capabilities. Wind farm developers no longer have to choose between the turbine-specific features of an OEM SCADA system and the asset-management advantages of a third-party system.


ADMS installations using the CTM/4 have self-healing networking capability that reroutes communications if a cable is broken. The CTM/4 has extended memory using a compact flash card and incorporates power management for communications hardware, environmental sensors and backup power systems.


Contact: Second Wind Inc., No. 366 Summer Street, Somerville, Massachusetts, MA 02144, United States of America. Tel: +1 (617) 776 8520; Fax: +1 (617) 776 0391


E-mail: sales@secondwind.com


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com

Blades of worlds biggest wind turbine

The worlds biggest wind turbine, which started operation in February 2005 onshore close to the mouth of the river Elbe in Northern Germany, reached its maximum designed production capacity of 5 MW in December during its supervised test mode run. The wind turbine from REpower Systems AG is more than 120 m tall and incorporates 61.5 m long rotor blades, designed and manufactured by LM Glasfiber, that capture energy from wind in an area corresponding to the overall size of approximately two soccer fields.


The LM 61.5 P blades are based on an enhancement of LM Glasfibers FutureBlade technology combining carbon fibres and glassfibres in an innovative application. Furthermore, the development of the mega-blades has led to the invention of the new SuperRoot concept, which enables the design and production of approximately 20 per cent longer blades without a subsequent increase of the root diameter. This means lighter and less expensive blades as well as hubs.


The turbine blades are equipped with a prototype of LM BladeMonitoring system developed by LM Glasfiber. This system automatically monitors the current state of the blades via optical fibres embedded in the blade laminate, measuring, among other things, the load, emerging cracks and lightning strikes. The LM 61.5 P is thoroughly tested in a full-scale test environment: it has successfully completed a static test and is currently undergoing a dynamic test corresponding to 20 years of operating time.


Website: www.ventusvigor.com

Cost-effective vertical axis wind turbine

Terra Moya Aqua Inc. (TMA) in the United States is all set to start production of a new vertical-axis wind turbine design that resolves some of the shortcomings that have troubled traditional propeller designs. TMAs design captures more than 40 per cent of the winds power from low to very high wind speeds which puts it right in the top drawer among wind turbines. TMAs new design not only gathers energy from the push on the front side but also from the pull forward on the back side through a lift effect. The result is that the turbine spins at a speed 1/100th faster on average than the wind speed.


The optimal speed for harvesting wind energy between 28 and 33 mph is the same in both the traditional propeller design and the TMA design. However, TMAs vertical axis design can generate electricity from winds as low as 8 mph and as high as 70 mph. Once the wind speed goes above 70 mph, the rotor is disengaged from the generator and the gear box so as to not damage them, and is left spinning harmlessly and freely at close to the speed of the wind. The TMA design is rated by structural engineers to handle winds of up to 156 mph without any damage to the structure. The ability of the TMA turbines to generate electricity during strong winds offers them a tremendous power advantage over comparable systems.
Among the key advantages cited for the turbine are:
 
  • Generating costs estimated at US$0.035 per kWh;
     
  • Ease of access and service, as the generator can be situated on the ground
     
  • No field of magnetic resonance
     
  • No interference with aircraft navigation or communication; and
     
  • No ground resonance.
     

Mr. Ron Taylor the founder and COO of TMA as well as the inventor of the new vertical design says that the new design scales very well, performing proportionately better. He intends to design these wind turbines for outputs of between 1 kW and 1 MW. A 1 kW turbine for home installation would stand around 18 feet high, including the control systems under the rotor area. The 1 MW municipal-grade turbine would be about 220 feet high, half the size of a comparable propeller system.


Contact: Terra Moya Aqua Inc., No. 2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 700, Cheyenne, WY 82003, United states of America. Tel: +1 (307) 772 0200; Fax: +1 (307) 772 0222.


Website: www.pesn.com


WAVE/TIDAL ENERGY

Breakthrough in renewable clean energy

A commercial size marine current turbine installed in the summer of 2003 off Foreland Point, near Lynmouth on the North Devon coast of England has been successfully operated and tested. The Seaflow turbine is a 300 kW, horizontal-axis machine that somewhat resembles a two-bladed wind turbine, but with the rotor under water. The turbine is mounted on a steel pile fixed into a socket in the seabed. The power train the rotor, gearbox and generator can be slid up and down the pile and out of the water for servicing.


The project was co-ordinated by the renewable energy consultancy, IT Power. The other partners were Seacore, a marine construction firm, ISET, a research organization linked to the Kassel University, and Jahnel-Kesterman, a specialist gearbox manufacturer. Early testing of Seaflow confirmed much of the design philosophy, and the turbine has performed as well as predicted. New techniques have been developed to install the turbine in deep, high current environments. The project has helped increase understanding of the nature of tidal flows, and the behaviour of a rotor in tidal currents. Seaflow has laid the foundations for the development of a new industry, exploiting what could be a sizeable renewable energy resource.


Website: www.indiadaily.com

Full-scale test of wave energy device

The wave energy approach proposed by the Australia-based Energetech is about to be tested at full-scale in the ocean for the first time after years of planning and development. The Energetech approach employs a parabolic wall to focus wave energy onto an Oscillating Water Column (OWC) chamber. The rising and falling motion of the waves causes an oscillatory water motion within the chamber, which in turn forces a high-speed airflow past a unique controllable turbine. The turbine then drives an induction generator to produce electrical power. The system components are computer-controlled to optimize energy conversion in a wide range of conditions and to automatically protect system components and ensure safety.


Energetech worked collaboratively with JP Kenny to design a moored ocean energy structure constructed of structural steel. The basic structure weighs about 485 tonnes and measures 40 m 35 m 18 m. The structure will be fitted out with the new Energetech turbine and hi-tech components prior to final installation off the eastern breakwater of Port Kembla Harbour in early 2006.


The Energetech system can be deployed as a single device, or strung together in a series, similar in concept to wind farms. The plant will be connected to the local power grid by an 11 kV cable. The energy will be purchased by local power utility, Integral Energy, and sold to residents in the local community. After commissioning, the device should supply usable power to up to 500 homes and serve as a valuable test facility for technology development.


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com

Semi-submersible tidal power generator

TidalStream, the United Kingdom, is installing a semi-submersible tidal power generator, which is based on wind energy technology. The Tidal-Stream generator would harness power from the fast-flowing waters found at depths of 40 m or more. The system, designed by Dr. John Armstrong, comprises several turbines mounted on semi-submersible spar buoys tethered by swing-arms to sea bed anchors. If maintenance is required, water used as ballast is pumped out of the spar, allowing the turbine to roll over and swing up to the surface. It is then accessible in the same way as a fixed platform such as an oil rig.


Each turbine, rated at 4 MW, consists of four 20 m rotors that operate while floating submerged in the middle of the tidal stream. A swing-arm lets the turbine follow the waters flow direction, as the tides change, to generate maximum power. The turbines can be floated into place before their ballast tanks are flooded to submerge them. According to cal- culations by TidalStream, turbines equivalent in capacity to a 1,200 MW nuclear power station would take a sea area of 14 km2. The cost of the turbines and their electricity should be comparable to that of offshore wind farms, but with the advantage of 100 per cent predictability of output, claim the developers.


Contact: TidalStream, Chiswick, West London, the United Kingdom.


E-mail: info@tidalstream.co.uk


Website: www.e4engineering.com

Fully submerged wave energy converter

The AWS wave energy converter, from AWS II BV in the Netherlands, is unique in that it is completely submerged. The AWS consists of two cylinders: the lower cylinder is fixed to the bottom while the upper cylinder, also called floater, moves up and down under the influence of waves. Simultaneously, magnets fixed to the upper cylinder move along a coil. As a result, the motion of the floater is damped and electricity is made.


The interior of the AWS is filled with air, which plays an important role in system, working like a cushion. As the upper cylinder moves downwards, the air inside is subjected to pressure. The counteracting force created as a result forces the upper cylinder to move up again. By correctly choosing the amount of air, the motion of the cylinder is amplified. For long waves, amplification can be up to three times the wave elevation, while it is even more for short waves. The floater, which is 10 m in diameter and weighs 420 tonnes, keeps moving smoothly up and down under the water surface powered by the waves, while the internal linear generator produces electricity, which is transported to the shore through submarine cable. 


Contact: AWS II B.V., De Weel 20, 1736 KB Zijdewind, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 (226) 423 411; Fax: +31 (226) 423 433


E-mail: info@waveswing.com


Website: www.waveswing.com

Offshore wave energy converter

Ocean Power Delivery Ltd. in the United Kingdom has developed a novel offshore wave energy converter called Pelamis. Building on technology developed for the offshore industry, the Pelamis has a similar output to a modern wind turbine. The first full-scale pre-production prototype has been built and is currently being tested at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.


The Pelamis is a semi-submerged, articulated structure composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints. The wave-induced motion of these joints is resisted by hydraulic rams, which pump high-pressure oil through hydraulic motors via accumulators. The hydraulic motors drive electrical power generators. Power from all the joints is fed down a single umbilical cable to a junction on the sea bed. Several devices can be connected together and linked to shore through a single seabed cable.


A novel joint configuration is used to induce a tuneable, cross-coupled resonant response, which greatly increases power capture in small seas. Control of the restraint applied to the joints allows this resonant response to be turned up in small seas, where capture efficiency must be maximized, or turned down to limit loads and motions in survival conditions. The machine is held in position by a mooring system, comprising a combination of floats and weights, which maintains enough restraint to keep the Pelamis positioned but permits the machine to swing head on to oncoming waves. Reference is achieved by spanning successive wave crests.


The 750 kW full-scale prototype is 150 m long and 3.5 m in diameter and contains three Power Conversion Module, each rated at 250 kW. Each module contains a complete electro-hydraulic power generation system. Ideally the Pelamis would be moored in waters approximately 50-60 m in depth. This would allow access to the great potential of the larger swell waves but would avoid the costs involved in a longer submarine cable, if the machine was located further out to sea.


The conical nose of Pelamis is 5 m in length. The two heaving and two swaying hydraulic rams have a maximum speed of 0.1 m/s. The annual output is estimated as 2.7 GWh at a nominal wave power of 55 kW/m.


Contact: Ocean Power Delivery Limited, 104 Commercial Street, Edinburgh EH6 6NF United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (131) 554 8444; Fax: +44 (131) 554 8544


E-mail: enquiries@oceanpd.com


Website: www.oceanpd.com

FUEL CELLS

Fuel cell micro CHP

European Fuel Cell (EFC) GmbH, Germany, has concluded its final laboratory tests on its first fuel cell micro CHP for Germany, the Beta 1.5, which will now be field-tested. In the laboratory, the EFC engineers have tested how the fuel cell micro CHP unit proves itself under realistic operating conditions. The unit has a battery of auxiliary devices: a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell, with an energy output of 1.5 kW and thermal output of approx. 3 kW; a reformer to convert natural gas; a (calorific) boiler; and a state-of-the-art operating system for the whole unit. The PEM fuel cell is particularly efficient under partial load conditions. The systems utlity is further enhanced by a heat storage unit developed to enable it to meet the operational demands.


The core of the unit, the PEM fuel cell, is ideal for deployment in single-family homes. The cell responds so agreeably to changes in load, and even under partial load conditions it demonstrates good total efficiency. According to Mr. Thomas Winkelmann, the EFC product manager, the unit also contributes to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The auxiliary boiler covers peak demand for heat, while the heat storage buffer unit compensates for the differences between when the heat is generated and when it is required. The performance parameters of the buffer unit and the auxiliary boiler, as set by EFC, are designed to guarantee maximum comfort with the greatest efficiency.


EFC is currently ascertaining the best possible components that contribute to a longer service life for the complete system. As far as service life is concerned, the cell stack is not yet in a position to compete with normal heating systems. EFC is at present working with many suppliers to improve the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), one of the main reasons for lower service life. To simplify the maintenance and service work, the cell stack has been constructed in a frame system, which allows individual exchange of any defective cell. The technologies for regulation and operation work on different levels. Monitoring of the gas supply and combustion processes will ensure that the operation of the unit conforms to the set standards. If there is any disruption, the unit is immediately brought to a halt and transferred to a stable state.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Long-lasting power pack

Medis Technologies Inc., the United States, has introduced long-lasting power packs that are able to power or recharge portable electronics gadgets. The power packs are based on an alkaline fuel cell technology developed by the company and will be able to provide, for example, several complete recharges for dead cell phone batteries or an additional 20 hours of talk time, said Mr. Robert Lifton, CEO of the company.


The power pack is made up of two parts: a disposable fuel cell component and a connector cable. The fuel cell, which measures 8 cm 5 cm 3.5 cm, will provide the raw power while the connector cable will interface between it and the gadget being charged. The company envisages that these battery alternatives will power cell phones, digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players and handheld video games. For an iPodTM music player, a single Medis fuel cell could keep the gadget running for about 80 hours.


Medis says its technology has certain advantages over the methanol or hydrogen-based fuel cell technologies being pursued by many major consumer electronics companies. Existing fuel cell technology involves diluting methanol with water and then dripping into the fuel cell to generate electricity. That process needs micropumps and other components which are very difficult to make and use. Instead of pumping and using moving parts, Medis method makes the materials do everything the materials used create all the electrochemical results. Medis is planning to commercially launch the power pack in the second half of 2006.


Website: www.pcworld.com

Prototype fuel cell for laptops

Samsung SDI Co., the Republic of Korea, has developed a laptop fuel cell that can last for about 15 hours and is very compact. The fuel cell has an energy density of 200 W/h per litre and is powered by about 200 cc of liquid methanol. It has a maximum output of 50 W and an average output of 20 W, said Mr. Yoon Seok-yeol of Samsung SDIs central research centre. The fuel cell measures 23 cm wide, 8.2 cm long and 5.3 cm deep, and weighs under 1 kg. The company plans to start production in 2007.


Website: www.technologynews.info

Novel direct carbon fuel cell technology

SRI International, an independent non-profit research and development organization located in the United States, has come out with a new direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) technology. DCFCs convert the chemical energy in coal directly into electricity without the need for gasification. The new DCFC technology has several potential benefits. It produces electricity at a competitive cost from a variety of fuels including coal, coke, tar, biomass and organic waste. In addition, it is two times more fuel-efficient than coal-fired power plants, resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions.


The process produces almost pure carbon dioxide, which can be contained in a concentrated stream and easily captured for any downstream use or disposal. A proposed energy source should meet strict criteria to overtake conventional coal-fuelled power plants, said SRIs Mr. Lawrence Dubois. The conversion system must use a low-cost domestic resource, have comparable or lower capital and operating costs, achieve higher efficiency, and capture fuel oxidation products internally to achieve zero emissions of toxic and greenhouse gases. SRIs novel DCFC approach has the potential to satisfy all these demanding requirements.


SRIs system combines the best features of two demonstrated technologies: solid oxide fuel cells and molten carbon-air fuel cells. The one-step, clean, high-efficiency energy conversion process transforms the chemical energy of pulverized coal (and other carbon-containing fuels) directly into electricity through the electrochemical oxidation of carbon.


Contact: SRI International, No. 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, Caligornia, CA 94025, United States of America. Tel: +1 (650) 859-2000.


Website: www.sri.com

Fuel cell systems powered by kerosene

Nippon Oil Corp., Japan, is set to make the debut market launch of domestic fuel cell systems powered by kerosene. Nippon Oil developed the new system jointly with Ebara Ballard Corp., a joint venture between the Japanese engineering firm Ebara Corp. and the Canadian fuel cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc. The new co-generation system can generate 60 per cent of the electricity used by a household and at the same time supply hot water for the bathroom and kitchen. The system has a high energy efficiency and 30-40 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional power generation systems, according to the company.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Most efficient DMFC yet

Sony Corporation, Japan, has developed a new technology that it says could help produce the worlds most efficient direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) yet. The company has developed a film that uses buckyballs or Fullerenes, which should help fuel cells reach a power density of about 100 milliwatt-hours per sq. cm. The formula employs the buckyballs arranged in clumps of eight. Sony is mixing them in a polymer to form a thin-membrane barrier that helps stop oxygen penetration across the cells membrane and stops methanol leakage. This in turn boosts the power density, according to Sony. Methanol leakage and power output have been the devilish details that have prevented DMFCs becoming widespread, along with regulations that are still being hammered out to allow methanol to be carried on passenger planes, and a methanol fuel infrastructure that allows easy refills.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Methanol fuel cell by nanotechnology

Nanotechnological fuel cells that run on methanol could one day power everything from cell phones to cars, said scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the United States. For laptops, mobile phones and other portable electronics, we envision a fuel cell system about the size of a cigarette lighter that could be refuelled by inserting a small cartridge of methanol, according to Dr. Prashant Kumta, a materials scientist at the university.


Dr. Kumta and his colleagues are investigating fuel cells that generate power using methanol and water. When the methanol and water make contact with a catalyst, they break down into electrons, protons and carbon dioxide. A special plastic membrane allows the protons to pass while blocking the electrons, which instead flow through a circuit to generate an electrical current. The carbon dioxide gets vented away.


The catalyst in methanol fuel cells is coated onto a support typically made of carbon, a good conductor that holds up well in the acidic environment inside the fuel cells and is common and cheap. The problem is that the catalyst particles, often made of platinum or platinum and ruthenium (Pt-Ru), bonds very poorly onto carbon, tending to migrate off, clump together and eventually dissolve, thereby reducing performance.


Dr. Kumta and his team employed titanium nitride (TiN) as supports. They grew particles of catalytic Pt-Ru roughly three nanometres wide onto TiN particles 10 nanometres across. TiN bonds strongly with the catalyst and is as electrically conductive as carbon. Nanoparticles of TiN-supported Pt-Ru showed, in preliminary findings, excellent activity and stability compared with carbon-supported Pt-Ru.


The nanoscale nature of these components ensures an extraordinarily high amount of surface area for the fuel cell reactions to take place on, which should help lead to highly efficient devices.


Website: www.physorg.com

HYDROGEN ENERGY

Research advances hydrogen fuel production

In the United States, Researchers from the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, have opened a window by way of computer simulation that lets them see how and where hydrogen and oxygen travel to reach and exit an enzymes catalyst site the H cluster where the hydrogen gets converted into energy. As oxygen permanently binds to hydrogen in the H cluster, the production of hydrogen gas is halted. As a result, the supply is short-lived. Blocking oxygens path to an enzymes production machinery could lead to a renewable energy source that would generate only water as by-product.


Numerous micro-organisms have enzymes known as hydrogenases that use sunlight and water to generate hydrogen-based energy. Dr. Klaus Schulten, Professor of Physics at University of Illinois and leader of the Beckmans Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group says, Understanding how oxygen reaches the active site will provide insight into how hydrogenases oxygen tolerance can be increased through protein engineering, and, in turn, make hydrogenase an economical source of hydrogen fuel.


Using computer modelling developed in Dr. Schultens lab, the scientists built an all-atom simulation model based on the crystal structure of hydrogenase CpI from Clostridium pasteurianum. The model allowed the team to visualize and track how oxygen and hydrogen travel to hydrogenases catalytic site, where the gases bind, and what routes the molecules take as they exit. They discovered that though both oxygen and hydrogen diffuse through the protein rather quickly, there are clear differences. Oxygen requires a bit larger space than the lighter and smaller hydrogen, staying close to few well localized fluctuating channels. Because the protein is more porous to hydrogen than to oxygen, hydrogen diffuses through oxygen pathways but also through entirely new pathways that are closed to oxygen. The researchers concluded that it could be possible to close the oxygen pathways of hydrogenase through genetic modification of the protein and thereby increase the tolerance of hydrogenases to oxygen without disrupting the release of hydrogen gas.


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com

Building a better hydrogen trap

Using building blocks that make up ordinary plastics, but putting them together in a whole new way, University of Michigan researchers have created a class of lightweight, rigid polymers they predict will be useful for storing hydrogen fuel. The trick to making the new materials, which the scientists call covalent organic frameworks (COFs), is coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures something that never had been done with rigid plastics. Normally, rigid plastics are synthesized by rapid reactions that randomly cross-link polymers, said Dr. Adrien Ct, post-doctoral fellow. Because of this pace, the internal structures of such materials are disorganized, making it rather difficult to predict their properties.


Dr. Ct and colleagues tweaked reaction conditions to slow down the process, allowing the materials to crystallize in an organized fashion. As a result, the researchers can use X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of each type of COF they create and, using that information, quickly assess its properties. Once we know the structure and properties, our methodology allows us to go back and modify the COF, making it perform better or tailoring it for different applications, said Dr. Ct.


Dr. Ct collaborated on the work with Dr. Omar Yaghi, Professor of Chemistry at the university, who has taken a similar approach to producing materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). On the molecular level, MOFs are scaffolds made up of metal hubs linked together with struts of organic compounds. By carefully choosing and modifying the chemical components used as hubs and struts, Dr. Yaghi has been able to define the angles at which they connect and design materials with the properties they want. COFs, like MOFs, can be made highly porous to increase their storage capacity. COFs are made up of light elements hydrogen, boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen that form strong links (covalent bonds) with one another. This allows lightweight materials to be created.


Website: www.innovations-report.com

Hydrogen fuel cell prototype for automobiles

A new hydrogen fuel cell car was recently demonstrated by a team of scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), the United States. Showcasing the new DaimlerChrysler F-Cell hydrogen car, Dr. Vasilious Manousiouthakis, the chemical and biomolecular engineering Chair said that the only by-product produced by hydrogen-fuel cars is water vapour, which may be clean enough to drink.


Hydrogen cars have been limited in attaining popularity due to production and fuel costs, and research was being done to help make both the cars and hydrogen cheaper, Dr. Manousiouthakis said. Prof. Van Vorst, Professor of Chemical engineering, said that as the technology becomes better developed, more efficient designs may be created, and eventually the hydrogen car may be affordable to the general public.


The hydrogen fuel cell car runs like a typical compact car, and the only difference when starting the vehicle is a 20-second wait as the fuel cell warms up. These cars do not rely on internal combustion, but instead use a complicated electrochemical process that takes oxygen and protonated hydrogen to form the oxygen and the hydrogen that results in water. The electric motor generates 87 hp, permitting the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 14 s. DaimlerChrysler is developing improved hydrogen cars capable of nearly double the F-Cells current 93-mile range.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Small hydrogen fuel cell

Angstrom Power Inc., a Canadian leader in portable power systems, has achieved a record in energy density and power for a small hydrogen fuel cell. Angstrom has demonstrated a fuel cell system that provides 3 W peak power and 1 W average power with an energy density of over 300 Wh/l in a 25 cc form factor. This all-inclusive system comprises fuel cell, fuel storage, power conditioning and peak power energy storage.


The Angstrom Micro HydrogenTM fuel cell system operates passively and requires no pumps, valves or heaters. Start-up is instant, requiring no assistance from any auxiliary battery. The system can operate as a complete stand-alone power source for portable electronics and is suitable for integration into a variety of portable devices, including two-way radios, handheld scanners and lighting. The micro hydrogen systems are available currently in several portable devices such as flashlights, bike lights and power modules.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

New approaches to hydrogen energy

Recent developments at three facilities of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the United States, are moving fuel cell technology towards a hydrogen economy. High-temperature fuel cells being promoted by NETL use both hydrogen and carbon monoxide to create electricity by a virtually pollutant-free, electrochemical process. This technology operates on a variety of fuels (hydrogen, natural gas or coal) to efficiently generate electricity on demand and on location. Two NETL facilities Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Experimental Laboratory (SOFCEL) and the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) are taking the lead in bringing this alternative technology to the general market.


SOFCEL investigates SOFC fundamentals and has made advances in understanding the root causes of fuel cell degradation, while SECA develops SOFC prototypes. New tools for fuel cell designers, such as high-temperature strain gauges, are also being developed. These and a few other SOFCEL research developments would improve the understanding of fuel cell operation and contribute to the optimal design of SECAs fuel cell technology. NETL is already planning next-generation, large-scale energy solutions that build on SECAs SOFC development. Creating a bridge to the hydrogen economy, SECA technology will serve as the building blocks of zero-emission power plants, like the FutureGen, when integrated into high-efficiency hybrid systems.


A third NETL facility, the Hybrid Performance Project (HYPER), looks into the operability of such fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid systems combining actual turbine hardware and computerized simulations of fuel cell models. HYPER has achieved successful start-up of the system without stalling, which can otherwise cause heavy damage to real fuel cell stacks. The facility is also addressing fuel cells response to transient events and evaluating related control strategies to aid in the development of appropriate design as well as operational parameters for future hybrid systems.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

ENERGY FROM WASTE

Fuel from processed refuse

Processed Refuse FuelTM or PRF technology from EnergyAnswers, the United States, features a centralized processing facility with large capacity (800 t/day) and an energy recovery system. A centralized PRF facility is based on three primary sub-systems: waste receiving and processing, power production and residuals management.


PRF is created by shredding municipal solid waste, commercial waste and selected industrial wastes, and removing from the mix a portion of the ferrous metals. The shredding process is claimed to eliminate offensive smell and render the waste unattractive to vermins. For longer term (months) storage, the PRF can be baled. Even if stored outdoors and exposed to the elements, the material will have little change in its combustion characteristics.


Fuel preparation is accomplished in 16 hours each day. PRF technology is claimed to have eliminated all recognized mass burn technology problems besides improving efficiency and ash quality. The boiler and associated power production equipment are less costly and more efficient than European mass burn designs. Efficient combustion minimizes ash production.
Bottom ash and fly ash can be collected and processed together or separately. With bottom ash a proprietary technology is employed to recover metals, and produce Boiler AggregateTM that can be used as landfill gas vent material, in paving roads and in concrete blocks.


Contact: EnergyAnswers, 79 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12207, United States of America. Tel: +1 (518) 434 1227; Fax: +1 (518) 436 6343


E-mail: info@energyanswers.com


Website: www.energyanswers.com

RDF manufacturing system

Kobe Steel, Japan, has developed a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) manufacturing plant that offers an efficient recycling solution for municipal solid waste. In the standard process flow of Kobe Steels RDF manufacturing system, most incombustibles in the refuse are rejected at the crushing and selection stages. Using a dryer, the refuse is dried to 10 per cent moisture. Remaining coarse incombustibles are removed in the air blow selector. The waste left is crushed again and formed into pellets by the pelletizer. The plant capacity is 8-80 t/d.


The advantages claimed for the plant include:
 
  • Good quality fuel from waste;
     
  • Remote controlled rejection system for unsuitable waste;
     
  • Ozone and catalyser deodorizing system to fully eliminate bad smell; and
     
  • Optimized and adaptable design suited to different types of refuse collection system and plant capacities.
     

The RDF pellet measures 10-20 mm in diameter and 20-40 mm in length. Specific gravity in bulk is 0.6-0.7 and the lowest calorific value is 3,500-4,500 kcal/kg.


Contact: Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., 4-78, 1-chome, Wakinohama-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0072, Japan. Tel: +81 (78) 232 8018; Fax: +81 (78) 232 8051.


Web-site: www.kobelco.co.jp


Website: www.nett21.gec.jp


Engine converts waste to energy

STM Power, the United States, has developed a new technology that turns palm oil and other such organic wastes into energy. STMs technology, which generates electricity on site, is based on the Stirling cycle engine and can harness the power of a variety of fuel sources, including methane and environmental pollutants. The burning takes place outside the engine, and the heat is then transferred to a small amount of hydrogen contained in tiny, semicircular tubes inside the Stirling engine. The heated hydrogen drives the pistons, to create new energy, and is then cooled and transferred back to be reheated, where the cycle repeats itself. STMs refrigerator-sized power plant generates 55 kW of electricity, enough to power 11 homes.


Website: www.mlive.com

From human waste to rocket fuel

A researcher from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands has discovered that the anaerobic bacterium Brocadia anammoxidans can produce energy from nitrite and ammonia, which are found naturally in human waste. As the bacterium is anaerobic, treatment plant will not require costly aeration equipment.


B. anammoxidans takes in ammonia, producing the rocket fuel hydrazine in the process. Dr. Marc Strous, a microbiologist at the University of Nijmegen, said They are the only organism on Earth that produces hydrazine. The bacteria safely stores the toxic fuel in an organelle, a specialized cell structure, binding it with a fatty-acid membrane that could itself have some scientific applications, including the design of optoelectronic equipment. The hydrazine cannot be used for rocket fuel, as the bacteria are dependent on it. So, the researchers are using the bacteria for more down-to-earth applications, such as sewage treatment.


Website: www.news.nationalgeographic.com

PUBLICATIONS

Fuel Cell Fundamentals

Fuel Cell Fundamentals is an introductory textbook covering the basic science and engineering behind fuel cell technology. Focusing on the fundamentals, it provides straightforward descriptions of how fuel cells work, why they offer the potential for high efficiency, and how their unique advantages can be best used. The book is divided in two parts. The first, Fuel Cell Principles, focuses on basic fuel cell physics. The second part, Fuel Cell Technology, provides a brief discussion of the practical applications of fuel cell technology. The book provides examples, problems, and pedagogy for classroom use. A solutions manual is also available.


Contact: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Private Limited, Customer Service Department, Clementi Loop #02-01, Singapore 129809. Tel: +65 64632400; Fax: +65 64634604


E-mail: csd_ord@wiley.com.sg

Geothermal Energy: Utilization and Technology

Geothermal energy refers to the heat contained within the Earth that generates geological phenomena on a planetary scale. Today, this term is often associated with human efforts to tap in to this vast energy source. Geothermal Energy: Utilization and Technology is a detailed reference text, describing the various methods and technologies used to exploit the earths heat.


Beginning with an overview of geothermal energy and the state of the art, leading international experts in the field cover the main applications of geothermal energy, including: electricity generation, space and district heating, space cooling, greenhouse heating, aquaculture, and industrial applications. The final third of the book focuses upon environmental impact and economic, financial and legal considerations, providing a comprehensive review of these topics. Each chapter is written by a different author, but to a set style, beginning with aims and objectives and ending with references, and self-assessment questions and answers. Case studies are included throughout. While written primarily for professionals and students interested in learning more about geothermal energy, the book can be used by anyone to understand and review the potential of this exciting alternative energy source.


Contact: Earthscan / James & James, 8-12 Camden High Street, London NW1 0JH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 7387 8558; Fax: +44 (20) 7387 8998


E-mail: orders@earthscan.co.uk


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