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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Mar-Apr 2011

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New and Renewable Energy Mar-Apr 2011

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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Contents

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IN THE NEWS

IFC to invest US$15 million in Indian wind project

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group member, will provide up to US$15 million in corporate equity financing to Simran Wind Project Pvt. Ltd., a privately owned Indian entity that is into wind-based power production. The company will use the money to finance its pipeline projects worth US$40 million in Tamil Nadu state. Presently, the company has installed capacity of 50.4 MW in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and is now expanding its wind power capacity for a total new capacity of about 126.9 MW in Tamil Nadu. Simran is promoted by Techno Electric & Engineering Company Ltd., a power engineering, procurement and construction company holding 100 per cent shares in Simran.

IFC will provide up to US$15 million to Simran in corporate equity financing and up to US$40 million in debt financing in the form of IFC ‘A’ Loan for financing the 126.9 MW wind projects. The tenor of the ‘A’ loan will be up to 12 years, with a grace period of up to three years. The IFC Post-2012 Carbon Facility proposes to forward purchase up to 1.75 million Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) to be generated through 2020 by Simran’s wind power projects. Simran will receive from IFC a pre-determined percentage of the CER spot price on delivery, subject a floor rate and a cap rate.
Source: http://www.business-standard.com

US$500 million plan in Bangladesh to light remote villages

Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), Bangladesh’s state-owned energy and infrastructure financing body, has taken up a large-scale programme for renewable energy expansion, investing US$500 million to light remote villages. IDCOL will set up solar home systems (SHSs), 5 MW capacity biogas-based power plants and 3 MW capacity biomass-based power generators. IDCOL is currently looking for donors – such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan – the government’s Economic Relations Division (ERD) for the required funding support, stated Mr. Islam Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of IDCOL. ERD has already requested the World Bank for financing the renewable energy installation programme of IDCOL.

Installation of 2.50 million SHSs will cut nearly 7.20 million tonnes of carbon emission per year. Under the present programme, IDCOL has already installed 763,000 SHSs in remote villages of the country as of December 2010, which will check 220,000 t/y of carbon emissions. IDCOL’s solar energy programme is reported to be one of the fastest growing renewable energy programmes in the world. According to Mr. Sharif, “We are targeting at installing 1 million SHSs by December 2012, which will be achieved by July this year – one and a half years before the completion date. If the donors continue to support us, as they did in previous days, we are hopeful of expanding renewable energy across the country.”
Source: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com

China: 26.7 per cent renewables by 2030

In China, renewable energy could make up 26.7 per cent of the total energy consumption by 2030, while a more probable middle scenario sets the share at 20-22 per cent, according to the Centre for Renewable Energy Development (CRED), Beijing. A report containing three scenarios for the contribution of renewable energy to China’s energy consumption has been developed by CRED. In the three scenarios, the renewable energy utilization in China could be 8.3 billion tonnes of coal equivalent (tce), 10.5 billion tce and 13.3 billion tce in the low, middle and high scenarios, respectively.

All the scenarios take into account China’s economic development targets, energy resource availability, environmental policies, as well as the country’s future as a potential technology leader. China’s renewable energy potential is reported as 5,900 million kilowatts, with solar (2,200 million kilowatts) and wind (700-1,200 million kilowatts) heading the list. Hydro potential is estimated at 500 million kilowatts, while geothermal scores 20 million kilowatts. China has already set a goal of 15 per cent of its primary energy demand to be fulfilled by renewable energy by 2020.
Source: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com

Philippines prepares renewable energy market

In the Philippines, the Department of Energy (DoE) is taking steps to put up the country’s first renewable energy (RE) market, which will be a venue for issuance, trading and monitoring of RE certificates to comply with the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). According to the Renewable Energy Act, RPS is a market-based policy that requires electricity suppliers to source an agreed portion of their energy supply from eligible RE sources. RPS is seen to contribute to the growth of the renewable energy industry by diversifying energy supply, and to help address environmental concerns of the Philippines by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will be imposed on all electric power industry participants, serving on grid areas, on a per grid basis upon determination by the New and Renewable Energy Board (NREB).

A Steering Committee for the Establishment of RE Market created by DoE will formulate and establish the framework that will govern the RE market operations. The Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) has also formed a group to coordinate with the DoE Steering Committee. The Joint Secretariat is composed of members from various agencies of DoE and PEMC. The two entities have already held several discussions on the regulatory framework of the RE market. Under the proposed RPS rules, there will be priority connections to the grid for electricity generated from emerging RE resources within the nation.
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph

ADB to fund geothermal power plants in Indonesia

Indonesia will receive a US$500 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to set up three geothermal power plants with a total capacity of 165 MW. According to Mr. Djajang Sukarna, Secretary of the Alternative & Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Directorate General, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, the deal will be signed in late 2011 and the power plant constructions will commence in 2012.

At the Sungaipenuh power plant in Jambi, the state oil and gas firm Pertamina’s subsidiary Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) will handle upstream operations while the state electricity company PT PLN will handle downstream operations. At the Karaha power plant in West Java, all operations will be carried out by PGE. For the Mataloko plant in East Nusa Tenggara, PLN will take full control.

PLN’s Renewable Energy Division Head Mr. Muhammad Sofyan said that the US$500 million loan could cover 80 per cent of the funds required to build the power plants and the remaining 20 per cent would come from PLN’s budget. PLN has received a grant from ADB totalling US$1.5 million to conduct the feasibility studies in the three areas, Mr. Sofyan said. The three power plants are part of the Phase II of the 10,000 MW fast track programme. The Sungaipenuh power plant is scheduled to start operation in 2015, Karaha 2014 and Mataloko 2013, Mr. Sofyan revealed.
Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com

Sri Lanka promotes renewable energy

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Power and Energy Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka said that Sri Lanka is actively promoting, non-traditional renewable energy sources like solar power, wind energy, biomass and nuclear energy to gear up for energy crisis situations. Mr. Ranawaka noted that the long-term objective of the Ministry is to use non-traditional renewable energy sources with a view of making considerable contribution to the national grid by 2015. The contribution of non-conventional and renewable energy sources to the national grid has gone up from 5.5 per cent in 2009 to 6.8 per cent in 2010.

The Minister expressed the belief that the non-conventional and renewable energy sector will be able to make a 10 per cent contribution to the national grid by the end of 2015. The Ministry will launch 38 biomass projects to generate electricity using solid waste in Colombo city and suburbs, adding 259 MW to the national grid. It will also help tackle the garbage disposal problem and prevent environmental pollution in these areas.
Source: http://www.sundaytimes.lk

KfW earmarks funds for renewable energy projects in India

KfW, the German government-owned development bank, plans to lend 800 million euros in 2011-2012 to finance various renewable energy projects in India. This would be in addition to the 1.5 billion euros that the bank has already financed in the energy sector in India, stated Mr. Oskar von Maltzan, Director of KfW, at the Renewtech India Summit. The German government is keen to promote investment in energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects in India by providing sustainable financing through various agencies, he stated.

KfW finances government agencies which either implement renewable energy projects or lend funds to private or public investors. It has provided funds to hydro and solar projects of state-run power generating companies like North-Eastern Electric Power Corp. (NEEPCO) and National Thermal Power Corp. (NTPC). The bank has also financed power infrastructure companies such as Power Finance Corp. (PFC), Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Rural Electrification Corp. (REC), and energy efficiency projects of agencies such as National Housing Bank (NHB) and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL).
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Renewable sources for power generation in Pakistan

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Aga Khan Planning and Building Services-Pakistan (AKPBS-P) have jointly set up wind turbines and solar panels to provide environment-friendly electricity to approximately 6,500 people in 29 villages of Thatta district in Sindh province, Pakistan. AKPBS-P – with the support of PPAF and the World Bank, and contribution by the village residents in the form of unskilled labour – installed 29 wind turbines, 29 solar panels and streetlights in various villages located in Thatta, which were without electricity for decades.

The immediate benefit of electrification is improved lighting, which is more bright and safe than that provided by kerosene lamps. Utilizing local and renewable energy resources instead of diesel for power generation not only helps protect the environment but also stimulates economic benefits for an improved quality of life. A key reason why this village had not yet benefited from an electric grid connection is its geographical isolation, which offered an extremely low return on investment made in grid extension. This challenge required a local and cost-effective solution.
Source: http://www.brecorder.com

New guidelines on renewable energy architecture in China

On 3 March 2011, the Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, China, published a circular on carrying forward renewable energy (RE) architecture, stressing broader reach and improved implementation at all levels of government. Significant points of the March 2011 circular include:
  • Promoting higher RE production targets from solar, geothermal and biofuel energy, and achieving a renewable energy consumption of 20 per cent by 2020;
  • Increasing RE construction to 2.5 billion sq.m by the end of 2015, thus providing alternative energy equal to 3,000 t of coal;
  • Expanding RE construction in rural areas – accounting for 10 per cent in key areas – and encouraging implementation at the local level, with emphasis on improving technical standards, infrastructure and clean energy supply;
  • Accelerating RE technology use and application and increasing demands on technological standards, including promoting competition and enhancing system structure; and
  • Overall, attaching great importance to RE efforts, from organization and leadership to housing construction, finance and real estate, at both central and local levels. There needs to be a coordinated and unified effort to address these major issues.
    Source: http://www.china-briefing.com

Renewable energy posts gain in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the contribution of non-conventional and renewable energy sources to the national grid has increased from 5.5 per cent in 2009 to 6.8 per cent in 2011. Going in line with the government’s expectation, the sector targets to have a share of 10 per cent in the national grid by the end of 2015. Renewable energy sources have contributed 213 MW to the national grid as on 31 January 2011, with mini hydropower leading the sector by contributing 172 MW. The capacity of the mini hydropower energy is generated by 84 projects. The second renewable energy source is wind power, which accounts for 30 MW from three projects. Power generation from biomass and agricultural and industrial waste follows with a contribution of 11 MW.
Source: http://www.dailynews.lk

Agreement on tapping geothermal energy in the region

In the Philippines, a deal between a geothermal leader and a wildlife conservation group is expected to hasten development of the geothermal energy potential of Asia, commencing with the Philippines and Indonesia. Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and Worldwide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-Philippines) will work through the “Ring of Fire” project to accelerate geothermal development in Asia, as well as replicate the Philippines’ success in sustainable geothermal production for Indonesia’s untapped geothermal energy resources. WWF-Philippines said the project is in line with its “100 per cent by 2050 Renewable Energy Vision” and to increase Asia’s geothermal capacity by 150 per cent by 2015 and 300 per cent by 2020. Besides increasing geothermal production, the project will also address issues on environmental sustainability, energy security and climate change.

According to the agreement, EDC will establish a Gold Standard Geothermal Showcase project – the 50 MW Mindanao 3 project in North Cotabato – as benchmark for the geothermal projects. WWF-Philippines will focus on helping reform the energy sector in the direction of a more sustainable market that supports geothermal sources, said its Vice-Chairman and CEO Mr. Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph

SOLAR ENERGY

PV metallization paste increases solar cell efficiency

DuPont, based in the United States, has introduced the Solamet PV701, a photovoltaic (PV) metallization paste. The paste was developed to deliver conversion efficiencies above 0.4 per cent in Metal Wrap Through (MWT) technology cell designs. The Solamet PV701 paste is used for p-contact metallization in the tabbing interconnects on the back side of the cell. The MWT technology features a special type of cell structure where the front side bus bars are transferred to the back side of the cell. This reduces shading that may occur on the cell’s front side. The Solamet PV701 paste provides high-line conductivity and has low shunting properties. It also enables good solderability and provides effective electrical contact from the back side to the front side.
Source: http://www.azocleantech.com

Low-cost solar cell production technique

In the Netherlands, an engineer at the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) has developed a process to produce inexpensive solar cells 10 times faster than existing systems, without any detriment to their energy yield. The device employs amorphous silicon, which has a lower energy yield than crystalline silicon but allows solar cells to be produced far more cheaply. “The nature of the material means that much thinner layers can be used – around 250 nm thick, compared with the 200 µm-thick layers of crystalline silicon,” stated Prof. Miro Zeman of TU Delft.

Although amorphous silicon solar cells are already being produced, the usual technique used to produce the cells – vaporizing silane gas to deposit the amorphous silicon on glass – is too slow for the industry. It takes about one second to apply a 0.1 nm layer; so, about 40 minutes are required to apply a complete 250 nm layer. To speed up that process, Ph.D. student Mr. Michael Wank turned to a newer, expanding thermal plasma chemical vapour deposition (ETP-CVD) technique, which he demonstrated could speed up the production by a factor of 10 – to 1 nm per second – while maintaining a yield of approximately 7 per cent.

However, a conventional ETP-CVD production technique could not be used because it requires a temperature of ~350°C, which would damage the solar cells and affect their energy yield. To circumvent this, Mr. Wank applied ion bombardment during the production process, enabling the production to take place at a lower temperature of around 200°C.
Source: http://www.theengineer.co.uk

Low-cost solar cells hold new European record

By combining copper, zinc, tin and sulphur or selenium, all abundant and low-cost elements, the University of Luxembourg has produced a solar cell with 6.1 per cent efficiency. The university’s Laboratory for Photovoltaics has developed an improved preparation process for kesterite solar cells, which resulted in a new European record efficiency of 6.1 per cent, certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Germany, one of eight labs in the world that is authorized to certify solar cell efficiencies.

Kesterites combine the low cost of thin film solar cell technologies with extremely low raw material costs. Their main component consists of copper, zinc, tin and sulphur or selenium. Several laboratories have reported that the loss of tin during the preparation limits the ability to control deposition processes. The Laboratory for Photovoltaics therefore developed a preparation process that allowed controlling the tin loss and led to the record efficiency. Dr. Susanne Siebentritt, Head of the Laboratory for Photovoltaics, says that they have understood the limitations of such solar cells, which will help them further improve the efficiency.
Source: http://www.compoundsemiconductor.net

Concentrated PV generator with space-grade solar cells

Amonix Inc., the United States, has introduced its 7700 Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Generator, developed jointly with the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The technology places advanced space-grade solar cells, used for their superior strength, beneath an Earth-bound lens. The CPV cells have been made more resistant to heat using a gallium-based triple junction technology. The cells have improved efficiency because more sunlight can be concentrated on them. Another advantage of the generator is that electricity can be produced at prices competitive with natural gas.

The solar power generator employs Fresnel lenses developed by NREL to concentrate 500 times more solar energy. A silicon wafer used in PV panels generates about 2.5 W of electricity whereas the same wafer used in a CPV cell generates more than 1,500 W of electricity. Irrespective of the generator’s giant size, it comes with greater efficiency at a lower price compared with other generators. This will help lower the installed cost of solar energy to US$1 per watt. Contact: Ammonix Inc., 1709, Apollo Court, Seal Beach, CA 90740, United States of America. Tel: +1 (562) 2007 700; Fax: +1 (562) 4304 774; E-mail: fieldservice@amonix.com.
Source: http://www.azocleantech.com

New solar cells power artificial electronic “super skin”

In the United States, ultrasensitive electronic skin developed by Stanford University chemical engineering professor Dr. Zhenan Bao can now be powered by a new, stretchable solar cell that she developed in her lab. The super skin is self-powering, using polymer solar cells to generate electricity. The new solar cells can be stretched up to 30 per cent beyond their original length and snap back without any damage or loss of power. The foundation for the artificial skin is a flexible organic transistor, made with flexible polymers and carbon-based materials. To allow touch sensing, the transistor contains a thin, highly elastic rubber layer, moulded into a grid of tiny inverted pyramids. When pressed, this layer changes thickness, and that changes the current flow through the transistor. The pyramids number from several hundred thousands to 25 million per sq. cm, corresponding to the desired level of sensitivity.

To sense a biological molecule, the surface of the transistor has to be coated with another molecule to which the first one will bind when it comes into contact. The coating layer only needs to be 1-2 nm thick. Having the sensors work on solar energy makes generating the power needed simpler than using batteries or hooking up to the electrical grid, allowing them to be lighter as well as more mobile.

The stretchable solar cells open up other applications. The cells can be designed to stretch along two axes. The microstructure of these cells is wavy and extends on stretching. A liquid metal electrode conforms to the wavy surface of the device in both relaxed and stretched states. The solar cells continue to generate electricity while they are stretched out, producing a continuous flow of electricity for data transmission from the sensors.
Source: http://news.stanford.edu

Solar floats on water

Solaris Synergy, Israel, has developed a new kind of solar array that floats on water and improves the efficiency of silicon cells in hot weather. The technology concentrates sunlight onto an array of solar cells and uses the water to keep them cool, increasing the amount of electricity they produce.

The efficiency of silicon solar cells become less as their temperature increases. Concentrating sunlight onto the cells in hot conditions can raise their temperature to as much as 200°C. “Our core technology is a very efficient cooling system to allow the silicon solar cells to still provide superior efficiency,” said Dr. Elyakim Kassel, Solaris’ Business Development Manager. As the cells can float on industrial water reservoirs, the arrays can be deployed without impacting on public space or the environment. The water is used to cool solar cells by means of a submerged closed-loop heat exchanger.

The solar array is positioned facing down above a series of mirrors that float on the water and reflect and concentrate sunlight back up to the silicon cells. The concentration system adds up to 2 per cent efficiency to the monocrystalline cells, which operate at a standard efficiency of 17 per cent. Each module produces a standard amount of 200 kW of electricity. The cells’ efficiency falls by approximately 0.5 per cent for every degree above 25°C by which their temperature increases. Even without the concentrators, the cell temperature can rise up to around 80°C. The heat exchanger maintains a steady temperature of ~35°C, eliminating fatigue caused by changes in temperature.
Source: http://www.istockanalyst.com

WIND ENERGY

An innovative new approach to large-scale wind power

SkyMill Energy, the United States, has developed an innovative concept that could potentially deliver massive amounts of clean, reliable power to the Middle East and Asia by harvesting the Asian jet stream. At its heart, SkyMill’s core innovation involves a remote-controlled, rotary lift, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is kept aloft in the upper atmosphere on a strong tether. To produce power, the UAV is allowed to increase in altitude. In doing so, its tether is pulled through a spool attached to a generator stationed on the ground. In response to the ground command, the UAV’s lift is dramatically reduced, permitting a low-power rewind. A full cycle takes about 20 minutes.

While power generation is only during the rising stroke, a field of such units can be managed in such a way that power is generated continuously. The key components of this system have been tested and are patent pending. The system is flying successfully in sub-scale prototypes and high-fidelity simulations. Experts in the field have confirmed the essential performance capabilities of the system.

A 40 m diameter SkyMill system can take off in wind speeds as little as 12 kmph and generate power in relative wind speeds of over 320 kmph. One potential design challenge is the management of tether wear. SkyMill selected a durable, high-strength, low-weight line that has an outstanding track record in tugboat and oil industry deep water mooring applications. After considering all potential wear factors, a conservative 4-year tether replacement schedule has been estimated for commercially operating units. Importantly, in the event of a tether break, the SkyMill would be able to descend in a controlled manner, thanks to a patent-pending system that would allow ground control to alter its centre of gravity to provide three axis controls. Together with a GPS, this would allow a descending SkyMill to be steered towards a safe landing area.
Source: http://www.ifandp.com

Direct-drive wind turbine passes critical grid test

China’s largest direct-drive wind turbine recently passed a critical international test on its capacity to withstand power dips in the national grid. The permanent magnetic, 2.5 MW wind turbine, developed by Guangxi Yinhe Avantis Wind Power Co. Ltd. (GYAW), passed the low-voltage ride through (LVRT) test. The test measures the capacity of a turbine to maintain continuous on-line operations when the voltage of the grid dips. On 5 March 2011, the wind turbine, located on a test site in Beihai, Guangxi, successfully passed two-phase and three-phase LVRT tests, carried out by the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI). On 7 March, the prototype successfully passed the LVRT test based on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard. The wind turbine had been earlier connected to the national grid for a trial operation in June 2009, making it the first grid-connected 2.5 MW wind turbine in China.
Source: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn

New offshore turbine

GE, based in the United States, has introduced its 4.1-113 wind turbine, a 4 MW class turbine optimized for offshore use and designed to bring more reliability to the offshore wind industry. With fewer moving parts, the simple and reliable design has built-in redundancy and partial operation for major components for reliable operation at sea. The direct-drive technology eliminates costly gearbox parts, lowering operating expenses and relying on a modular approach to maximize on site repair and reduce the need for large repair vessels.

The blade design of 4.1-113 is optimized for maximum energy capture. The base design has been operating since 2005 on a coastal site in Norway in a harsh environment with high wind speeds and turbulence. The lessons learned are built into the 4.1-113 design, making it the most mature and reliable direct-drive design for offshore applications. The design also draws from the solutions developed for GE’s onshore fleet, including GE’s Advanced Loads Control solution that helps reduce forces being passed to the machine and lower foundation costs.
Source: http://www.newdesignworld.com

Small wind turbines

The Dutch company EverkinetIQ International has developed its first small wind turbine series in close collaboration with Pekago and Albis Benelux BV, the Netherlands, and BASF, Germany. The PIQO series micro wind turbines are intended for installation on industrial facilities, high-rise buildings, hospitals and other municipal buildings as well as residences.

The first prototypes of these micro wind turbines have been installed on buildings in the Netherlands for extensive field trials. EverkinetIQ has recently carried out optimization steps and is preparing for the product launch. PIQO series wind turbines are rugged, compact and generate little noise. EverkinetIQ anticipates that, following the test phase, a relatively favourable price per kilowatt-hour will be achieved.

For the wind turbine’s rotor, the new BASF subsidiary Styrolution and its distribution partner Albis Benelux are using a 15 per cent glass fibre-reinforced material from the family of acrylic ester-styrene-acrylonitrile (ASA) polymers. The Luran® S 797 S offers notably good resistance to weathering, ultraviolet radiation and ageing, together with chemical resistance. The unfilled, and thus less rigid grade, material is suitable for the round frame, which measures about 1.5 m in diameter.
Source: http://www.evwind.es

Upgrade for 3 MW onshore wind turbine platform

Alstom, a major power generation equipment and services company based in France, has announced the upgrade of its 3 MW onshore ECO 100 platform. Alstom’s robust ECO 100 wind turbine platform that comprises the ECO 100 and ECO 110 turbines is among the most proven multi-megawatt platforms in the marketplace with over 150,000 cumulative operating hours since 2008, and more than 300 MW installed or under construction. Both ECO 100 and ECO 110 wind turbines are fully type certified.

To optimize available wind resources and further reduce wind power generation cost, Alstom is upgrading both existing turbines of the platform and will also introduce a new machine to specifically address low wind speed sites across the globe. The medium to high wind ECO 100 turbine is being upgraded to a high wind (IEC Class I-A) turbine that will have one of the leading capacity factors for turbines in this wind class.

The Class III ECO 110 turbine is getting upgraded to a medium wind (IEC Class II-A) turbine. Its 110 m rotor diameter is one of the largest available for Class II sites and maximizes the energy yield of the turbine. Longer blades capture more power more effectively. This means fewer turbines could generate the same amount of power – more megawatts generated per square metre of land. Hub heights of the platform are 75 m, 90 m and 100 m. Both turbines are being offered now for deliveries from mid-2012. Alstom will complete the range with a new high capacity low-wind (IEC Class III-A) turbine, named ECO 11X, with a rotor diameter in the range of 115-125 m.
Source: http://www.pennenergy.com

Hybrid drive wind turbine

The 3 MW FL 3000 wind turbine from Fuhrländer AG, Germany, will feature the HybridDrive geared drive concept developed by Winergy AG, also from Germany. The HybridDrive combines a two-stage planetary gearbox and a medium-speed synchronous generator in one unit, and is supplemented by a frequency converter. The FL 3000 wind turbine uses the same drive train concept as the earlier model FL 2500, and will have a rotor diameter of 120 m. It will be suitable for use up to wind class IEC 2a. The first prototype of the wind turbine is expected within a year. Contact: Fuhrländer Aktiengesellschaft, Graf-Zeppelin-Str. 11, 56479 Liebenscheid, Germany. Tel: +49 (26) 649 966-0; Fax: +49 (26) 649 9633.
Source: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com

Gearless wind turbine for low to moderate winds

The SWT-2.3-113 is a new direct-drive gearless wind turbine launched by Siemens Energy, Germany, for sites that have low to moderate wind speeds. The core feature of the new wind turbine is an innovative drive concept with a compact permanent magnet generator. This type of generator is characterized by its simple and robust design that does not require excitation power, slip rings or excitation control systems. This is claimed to offer high efficiency even at low loads. With a capacity of 2.3 MW and a rotor diameter of 113 m, the new wind turbine is designed to maximize power production at sites with low to moderate wind speeds. Like the SWT-3.0-101, the 3 MW direct-drive wind turbine launched in April 2010, the SWT-2.3-113 has only half of the parts that a conventional geared wind turbine has and a less number of moving parts.

The SWT-2.3-113 is fitted with the new Siemens B55 Quantum blades, which boosts efficiency and optimizes performance. The blade is 55 m long and features a redesigned tip and root section. The root section uses “flatback” profiles to minimize root leakage and offer greater lift. The redesigned blade tip minimizes loads and reduces noise levels to 105 dB – one of the quietest wind turbines on the market. Siemens has already commissioned five gearless SWT-3.0-101 wind turbines.
Source: http://www.ifandp.com

WAVE/TIDAL ENERGY

Research to improve tidal turbine design

The University of Washington, the United States, is stepping up its involvement in tidal energy research, as university scientists engage in a pilot tidal energy project at Puget Sound as well as in the development of numerical models to study the environmental effects of tidal turbines. The Snohomish County Public Utility District will deploy two tidal turbines developed by the Irish company OpenHydro in Admiralty Inlet, the entrance of Puget Sound. The 30 ft wide turbines will generate an average of 100 kW of electricity, enough to power up to 100 homes. This would be the first tidal energy project on the West Coast and the first array of large-scale turbines to generate power from ocean tides into an electrical grid.

Dr. Brian Polagye, a research assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and colleagues monitor the project in order to devise ways to best site tidal turbines. For two years, they have been measuring currents continuously at the site, using a monitoring tripod that tracks water quality, ambient noise, currents, temperature and salinity. The researchers will monitor the environmental effects of the turbines once they are in the water.
Source: http://www.ecoseed.org

New wave energy buoy that works like self-winding watch

In the United States, Oregon State University (OSU) is helping a private company, Neptune Wave Power, test the latest in wave energy technology by taking something old and making it new again. The company tested its newest prototype inside OSU’s wave research laboratory. “Our goal is to deploy our first life-sized buoy this year,” said CEO of Neptune Mr. Rene Larrave. The prototype is about one-tenth the size of the actual device.

The highly specialized buoy feed electricity back to the grid by harnessing wave power in a unique way. Instead of relying on the up and down motion of the waves, it uses a horizontal pendulum that actually rotates with the wave motion, says Mr. Larrave. It is based on the same technology used in a self-winding watch, but uses wave movements in place of wrist motion to generate power. “That motion actually drives the electric generator which is inside the buoy,” Mr. Larrave explains. A data system displays the amount of power that the buoy is generating. Researchers hope to have a wave energy test site established off the coast of Newport by the end of 2011.
Source: http://www.nwcn.com

Tidal energy – real world performance analyses

Tidal Generation Ltd. of the United Kingdom has developed an impeller tidal turbine to produce electrical energy from tidal currents. Tidal Generation contacted Nortek when it wanted to analyse the relationship between incoming currents and produced energy, to understand the effect of waves, and possibly in the future to control the pitch of the turbine blades.

Tidal Generation wanted to measure the wave height right in front of its newly developed impeller tidal turbine, with the current profile to be reported 35 m in front of the turbine. Furthermore, it did not want anything to be mounted on the seafloor and wanted data to be available online. The ingenious solution designed at Nortek uses the acoustic wave and current meter (AWAC) electronics, but not the standard mechanical design. An odd-looking transducer head along with some extra data processing utilizes two beams tilted 73º from the vertical to take the measurements and then generate the full current profile. The vertical beam measures the distance to the surface and this data is used to calculate the wave height using Nortek’s Acoustic Surface Tracking (AST) algorithms.
Source: http://www.nortekusa.com

DeltaStream concept

Tidal Energy Ltd., the United Kingdom, offers a new concept for energy generation from tidal waves. The DeltaStream device is a nominal 1.2 MW unit that sits on the seabed without the need for a positive anchoring system, generating electricity from three separate horizontal axis turbines mounted on a common frame. The use of three turbines on a single, circa 30 m wide, triangular frame produces a low centre of gravity enabling the device to satisfy its structural stability requirements including the avoidance of sliding and overturning.

DeltaStream concept was developed by Marine Engineer Mr. Richard Ayre. Experts from Cranfield University in England then undertook detailed design and optimization of the blade design. DeltaStream uses the same concept as a wind turbine together with ship propeller technology. The benefits of this design include: ease of manufacture, deployment and recovery, as well as maintenance; lightweight gravity foundation; low cost and environmental impact; and operation in varied water depths and velocities.

DeltaStream will save substantial amounts of carbon dioxide by the direct replacement of electrical energy from fossil fuels or the growth requirement from a renewable resource. Contact: Tidal Energy Ltd., Vision House, Oak Tree Court, Mulberry Drive, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RS, United Kingdom. E-mail: info@tidalenergyltd.com.
Source: http://www.tidalenergyltd.com

Power generation from tidal currents

Minesto, a developer of tidal energy systems based in Sweden, will perform trials on Deep Green, a unique technology for generating electricity from tidal currents. The new concept deploys deepwater structures resembling kites that can function even in slow water currents. The kites feature turbines and they “fly” in a group of eight, attached by a tether to a fixed point on the ocean bed and directed by a rudder. The speed of the water moving inside the turbine gets accelerated by around 10 times, generating more electricity. Deep Green could reportedly minimize cost overheads, thereby significantly expanding the size of the global marine energy market.

The trials will be performed off the Northern Ireland coast. Following successful trials, the company will employ several deepwater structures around the seashore of the United Kingdom. It is expected that these devices will produce around 530 GWh/y of electricity by 2020. This output is sufficient to meet the yearly domestic power requirements of a city measuring the size of Newcastle.

Mr. Benj Sykes, Director of Innovations at Carbon Trust, the United Kingdom, said that the Deep Green technology could enable cost reduction and enfold new methods of producing tidal energy. Tidal currents can potentially generate over 18 terawatt hours of power, which is equal to more than 5 per cent of the United Kingdom’s total power utilization, he added. The Carbon Trust R&D funding will help Minesto obtain site licenses for constructing installations, examining endurance of the installation in real ocean environment, and also for building and analysing a model for determining the cost of energy generated by the device. Contact: Minesto AB, Vita gavelns väg 6, 426 71 Västra Frölunda, Sverige, Sweden. E-mail: info@minesto.com.
Source: http://www.azocleantech.com

Utility-scale wave energy converter

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), with bases in the United Kingdom and the United States, has completed the PowerBuoy PB150, its first new utility-scale wave energy converter. The 135 ft long device, with a peak-rated power output of 150 kW, is designed for use in arrays for grid-connected power-generation projects. The PB150’s steel structure was fabricated in Scotland, and the power take-off and control system was built and tested at OPT’s facilities in Warwick and Pennington in New Jersey.

The rising and falling of the waves offshore causes the buoy to move up and down. The resultant mechanical stroking is converted via power take-off to drive an electrical generator. An underwater power cable is used to transmit the generated power ashore. Currently, the device is being prepared for ocean trials, which would test the response of the buoy’s structure and mooring system to waves, and the power produced by the on-board generator. An on-board simulator will mimic grid-connection conditions to ensure the buoy’s electrical systems are subject to full commercial testing. Data collected during the trials will be transmitted in real time for analysis by OPT’s engineers.
Source: http://www.theengineer.co.uk

FUEL CELLS

New type of Li-metal air fuel cell

In Japan, the Energy Technology Research Institute, has developed a new type of lithium-copper air fuel cell using hybrid electrolyte (organic electrolyte/solid electrolyte/aqueous electrolyte). A copper positive electrode is placed in the aqueous electrolyte and metallic lithium is used as a negative electrode in the organic electrolyte. The copper electrode is oxidized by oxygen in the air to generate copper oxide (Cu2O). Upon discharge, lithium atoms of the negative electrode supply electrons to the wire and dissolve as lithium ions, which go through the solid electrolyte towards the aqueous electrolyte.

At the positive electrode, supplied electrons reduce Cu2O molecules to copper atoms that precipitate on the electrode. After the discharge, copper is oxidized again through copper corrosion reaction. In this way, copper catalyses the electrochemical reduction of oxygen. The lithium-copper air fuel cell based on the copper corrosion reaction has shown stable discharge. Contact: Mr. Haoshen Zhou, Energy Technology Research Institute, Japan. E-mail: hs.zhou@aist.go.jp.
Source: http://www.aist.go.jp

Fuel-cell generator achieves milestone

Lockheed Martin, the United States, recently operated a fuel cell generator for 1,001 hours consecutively for the first time with JP-8 fuel, the military’s standard diesel fuel, thus validating potential in-theatre use for the military. Fuel-cell generators can reduce fuel consumption by 50 per cent or more compared with conventional internal combustion generators. Similar to a battery, fuel cells generate electricity using a chemical reaction, unlike the combustion engines utilized in military generators and vehicles. Lockheed Martin is working with TMI, Ohio’s oldest fuel-cell company, and Stark State College to mature the fuel-cell technology.
Source: http://www.upi.com

High power density PEM fuel cell

ITM Power, an energy storage and clean fuel company based in the United Kingdom, has announced an early technical result from the initial phase of the high power density fuel cell membrane testing, an ambitious technology development project supported with £108,000 of research funding from Carbon Trust, the United Kingdom. ITM Power has demonstrated exceptionally high power densities by developing its proprietary hydrocarbon membrane materials for hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells. From the current state of the art, a step change has been attained, with what is believed to be the highest power density ever recorded for a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell (5.5 W/cm2 and 10 A/cm2) using pure oxygen. The company has successfully demonstrated the performance of the membrane in a hydrogen/air fuel cell developing over 2.1 W/cm2 and 4 A/cm2, more than doubling the power density performance presently available on the market.

While ITM Power’s initial investigations have focused on fuel cells fed with hydrogen and oxygen, a commercial fuel cell system meant for a vehicle requires air to be used as the oxidant. This early result with air exceeds the ambitious target of 1.5 W/cm2 that was defined as part of the Carbon Trust project and is further evidence of the potential for ITM Power’s materials to offer a step change in performance.
Source: http://evworld.com

Low-temperature SOFCs with zirconia-based electrolyte

At Japan’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute, scientists have investigated a correlation between the microstructure of the anode of a tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and its electrochemical property. It was found that the electrochemical property of the cell was extensively improved when the size of constituent particles were reduced in a highly porous microstructure. Based on the results, an improved tubular SOFC was prepared using a conventional zirconia-based electrolyte, Ni cermet and (La, Sr)(Co, Fe) O3 for anode and cathode materials, respectively. The SOFC has shown outstanding power density of over 1 W/cm2 at as low as 600°C operating temperature. Thus, a zirconia-based cell could be utilized for low-temperature SOFC systems under 600°C just by optimizing the microstructure of the anode as well as operating conditions. Contact: Dr. Toshio Suzuki, Senior Researcher, Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute, Japan. E-mail: toshio.suzuki@aist.go.jp.
Source: http://www.aist.go.jp

Pioneering microbial fuel cell

In the United Kingdom, Arla Foods, Lindhurst Engineering and the University of Nottingham have unveiled a novel microbial fuel cell (MFC) that they predict will “revolutionize energy generation on farms and within the dairy industry by converting farm effluent and dairy by-products into electricity and biogas”. The pilot plant with 1 m3 capacity converts farm slurry and dairy wastes into electricity, and also produces hydrogen gas to create more renewable energy. A larger production-scale-sized cell has been calculated to be able to either supply a farm with all its annual energy needs if fed with slurry from 200 cows or provide 10 per cent of a large dairy’s annual energy requirement if fed by-products from a large dairy processing site. Neither use would require the need for any additives.
Source: http://www.foodbev.com

Research could advance fuel cell technology

In the United States, University of Alabama chemistry professor Dr. David Dixon and fellow researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory report a process for recycling ammonia borane, a material used to store hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles. To create ammonia borane, hydrogen is produced first by mixing natural gas or oil with water at a high temperature. The hydrogen is then combined with boron and nitrogen compounds to form ammonia borane, a colourless solid material. In a vehicle equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell, think of the block of ammonia borane as the gas tank. The hydrogen inside the ammonia borane stays put until the vehicle heats it up. Once the compound is heated, the hydrogen flows into the vehicle’s fuel cell, and powers the vehicle by combining with oxygen to produce electricity.

Once hydrogen leaves ammonia borane, the rest of the block stays behind as waste. Prof. Dixon said that hydrogen is regenerated within that waste by combining it with the compound hydrazine. Until now, that process has been so expensive that it hurt the technology’s economic feasibility in powering cars. In the newly released findings, Prof. Dixon and his colleagues have made the ammonia borane recycling process much cheaper. They have simplified the process to two reactors: in one, hydrazine is made and in the other, it is combined with the ammonia borane waste.

Prof. Dixon said the process of refuelling could look very similar to how it does today. “The first way would be pulling up to a service station and popping off a bolted-on container of ammonia borane in back and popping a new one in,” he said. “But we are also trying to make ammonium borane liquid, which would allow us to use the same pump infrastructure.” Drivers would pull up, pump out the ammonium borane waste and pump in recycled ammonium borane. Using that existing pump infrastructure with service stations would keep the capital cost down.
Source: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com

Innovative fuel cell power generators

Tropical S.A., a fast-growing Greek enterprise manufacturing fuel cell systems, has introduced TB-1000 and TB-5000, two portable fuel cell power generators, providing 1,000 W and 5,000 W of electric power, respectively, at 12/24/48V DC and at 110/230V AC. Tropical’s fuel cell systems are lightweight and small in size, have zero emission and require minimum maintenance. Both TB-1000 and TB-5000 are powered with stacks made by Ballard Power Systems of Canada – FCgen 1020 ACS (air-cooled) and FCgen 1300 (water-cooled) – that provide high power efficiency, enhanced runtime, reliability and noiseless operation. Mr. George Kaplanis, Chief Technical Officer of Tropical, said: “The intelligent controller, developed by our R&D team, is behaving tremendously well in all field trials. Our new product line is on the right time for this growing market.”

TB-1000 and TB-5000 can supply back-up power for telecom systems, seismographs, research centres, metro stations, schools and information kiosks, function as power chargers for motor yachts and boats, caravans, as well as supply power for demonstration projects, renewable energy hybrid systems and military applications. Tropical S.A. produces more than one hundred products integrating its technology into two main product lines: cooling systems for various mobile units, and fuel cell power systems that use various fuels such as natural gas, hydrogen and methanol. Contact: Mr. George Kaplanis, Chief Technical Officer, Tropical S.A., H2 R&D Centre - A/C Unit, 17 Krokeon Str., 10442, Athens, Greece. Tel: +30 (210) 578 5455; Fax: +30 (210) 578 5457; E-mail: info@tropical.gr.
Source: http://www.prnewswire.com

HYDROGEN ENERGY

Hydrogen from natural gas, sans CO2 emissions

The effort to produce hydrogen from natural gas has had the negative impact of producing carbon dioxide (CO2) during the process. Now, at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, Mr. Mohamed Halabi has demonstrated in his doctoral work the production of hydrogen fuel from natural gas, without producing CO2. The improved technology named “sorption enhanced catalytic reforming of methane” uses novel catalyst/sorbent materials. Mr. Halabi has demonstrated the feasibility of producing hydrogen through this process at temperatures much lower than those for conventional processes.

The process takes place in a packed bed reactor, and uses a rhodium-based catalyst and a hydrotalcite-based sorbent. When hydrogen is produced on the active catalyst, the cogenerated CO2 is adsorbed on the sorbent, thus preventing any CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. “Direct production of high purity hydrogen and fuel conversion greater than 99.5 per cent is experimentally achieved at a low temperature range of 400-500°C and at a pressure of 4.5 bar with a low level of carbon oxides impurities: less than 100 ppm,” explains Mr. Halabi. The standard hydrogen production process using natural gas, known as steam reforming, requires very high pressures (25 bar) and high temperatures of up to 850°C, and post-process, large amounts of CO2 have to be dealt with or released into the atmosphere.
Source: http://cleantechnica.com

Wastewater to yield hydrogen fuel

Scientists believe that wastewater can one day be utilized to produce hydrogen for powering motor vehicles. Dr. Georgina Botte from Ohio University, the United States, has devised an effective system where wastewater can be converted into fuel. Dr. Botte says that the scope to produce energy is great because animal waste can also be utilized. Urine from 1,000 cows can create 40-50 kW of power, which will be doubly beneficial because environmentally harmful ammonia would also be eradicated. Ds. Botte also suggested that areas receiving high volumes of people, such as football stadiums, could reap the advantages of the process that works like the electrolysis of water.
Source: http://www.envirotech-online.com

Hydrogen from waste processing

Ballard Power Systems, Canada, is partnering with GS Platech in the Republic of Korea to demonstrate waste-to-energy power generation using fuel cell technology with hydrogen produced from processing of municipal solid waste. The GS Platech pilot plant can treat 5 t/d of organic solid waste using plasma gasification technology, producing sufficient high-purity hydrogen to generate 50 kW of clean power. Ballard Power will supply a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell generator, based on its Dantherm Power DBX5000 fuel cell technology, that will be fuelled by this hydrogen. This will be the first demonstration of a waste-to-energy solution that combines these two technologies.
Source: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com

Nanocomposite material for hydrogen storage

Scientists have earlier tried to lock hydrogen into small volumes of solids having low reactivity, in order to keep this explosive gas stable. However, these solids can hold only a small amount of hydrogen and need more cooling or heating to enhance their energy efficiency. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) have developed a composite substance to store hydrogen comprising nanoparticles of magnesium splattered through a polymethyl methacrylate matrix, a polymer resembling Plexiglas. This malleable nanocomposite quickly soaks and emits hydrogen at low temperatures. Moreover, it does not oxidize the metal after cycling.

The development will solve thermodynamic and kinetic problems to find the perfect material combination, states Dr. Jeff Urban, Deputy Director, Inorganic Nanostructures Facility at the Molecular Foundry. It might also offer a better energy solution. The team verified presence of hydrogen in the composite material through spectroscopic testing with the Transmission Electron Aberration-correcting Microscope (TEAM) 0.5. The experiments that the researchers conducted using the Energy and Environmental Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab have shown that the TEAM could help in the capture of the gas directly in the materials.
Source: http://www.azonano.com

BIOMASS ENERGY

More efficient process to make biodiesel fuel

At the University of Connecticut, the United States, researchers report a new process for making biodiesel fuel more efficiently. A professor of chemical, materials and biomolecular engineering, Dr. Richard Parnas, has patented a biodiesel reactor that is unique both in its simplicity and efficiency. Dr. Parnas’ reactor uses gravity, heat and natural chemical reactions to make the biodiesel and separate the glycerol in one step, unlike the conventional process that uses one step to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel and glycerol, and then mechanically separates the glycerol from the diesel fuel in another step.

As chemical reactions take place inside a giant tube, temperatures reach more than 38°C. The glycerol starts to coagulate inside the tube and because the glycerol droplets are heavier than the biodiesel fuel, they gradually sink to the bottom, where they are siphoned off. At the same time, the biodiesel fuel floats to the top of the tube and is pumped into a holding tank, where it undergoes refinement before being mixed with petroleum-based diesel fuel.
Source: http://www.physorg.com

Biodiesel extraction from inedible food

In the United Kingdom, Greenergy International Ltd. has begun manufacturing biodiesel from food waste in partnership with the edible oil recycling company Brocklesby Ltd., resulting in a method that diverts unsaleable food products and food waste from landfills and compost facilities. According to Greenergy, the company’s initiative will help to reduce the environmental impact of the fuel it produces while creating a new feedstock base for biodiesel production.

Greenergy’s biodiesel plant at Immingham, England, is now able to process biodiesel utilizing as feedstock high-fat solid foods – such as pies, sausage rolls, pastries and chips – that are unsaleable because they were overcooked or expired. These food products typically contain 25-30 per cent oil and fat. The fats and oils in these foods are extracted by Greenergy via a process developed by Brocklesby and further purified by Greenergy.

“The quantities of biodiesel that we are currently producing from solid food waste are small, but we are expecting to scale up so that this soon becomes a significant proportion of our biodiesel... With multiple plants, the potential for this kind of technology to reduce fuel emissions is considerable,” said Greenergy’s Chief Executive Mr. Andrew Owens. Solid food items that remain after oil extraction are currently dried and composted or introduced into anaerobic digestion systems. However, Greenergy notes that in the future this waste could be used as a feedstock for ethanol production, and to make biomass fuel briquettes and pellets. The company has formed Scarab Distributed Energy Ltd. to develop novel ways to produce fuel and power from these forms of solid waste. Scarab plans to build waste and biomass processing facilities all around the country. These facilities will be capable of processing any form of industrial food waste, including those containing sugar, starch, fat, protein and cellulose.
Source: http://www.biodieselmagazine.com

Mobile indirect biomass liquefaction system

In the United States, the University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Centre (EERC) is building a mobile system for converting cellulosic waste into liquid products. Parametric testing of the system will be carried out during the summer and fall. In the EERC programme, the technology will be demonstrated by building and testing a 90.7 kg/h fixed-bed downdraft biomass gasifier, air-blown and with specialized gas cleaning to produce syngas. The system will be integrated with a 3 m long packed-bed catalytic reactor for producing the liquid fuels and highly automated to minimize labour requirement. A design review has confirmed the fixed-bed biomass gasifier selection as the lowest capital cost system for indirectly producing methanol. IdaTech LLC will test the methanol produced to determine whether it is sufficiently pure to power a fuel cell used to produce electric power and heat.

A strong advantage of the EERC gasification system is that it can be used with both green and wet wood. This reduces the need for drying the wood before gasification, resulting in substantial energy and processing savings. In fact, the moisture content creates syngas with a significantly higher hydrogen content than if the moisture were not present. A high hydrogen content is especially useful when making a liquid fuel from the gas stream, as the hydrogen-to-carbon ratio in a liquid fuel is much greater than that of the wood itself. By increasing the hydrogen content in the gas stream, higher carbon conversion efficiencies could be reached. By producing a liquid fuel for electricity generation elsewhere, the overall biomass-to-electric power conversion efficiency is reduced relative to firing the syngas directly in a generator. However, by making a liquid fuel, the site at which the power is required can be decoupled from the biomass resource site. Contact: Dr. John P. Hurley, Senior Research Advisor, Energy & Environmental Research Centre, University of North Dakota, United States of America. Tel: +1 (701) 7775 159.
Source: http://biomassmagazine.com

New biofuel to replace petroleum

A team of researchers headed by the BioEnergy Science Centre of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a new method for the conversion of woody plants directly into isobutanol, which can be used in place of petrol in conventional car engines. A key aspect of the cost-effective isobutanol process is that it does not necessarily rely on new agricultural production of biofuel crops: it can use almost any woody waste, including corn stover and wheat and rice straw.

Scientists at the BioEnergy Science Centre (an offshoot of DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory) worked with researchers from the University of California, the United States, to develop a new strain of the microbe Clostridium celluloyticum, which is a bacterium that breaks down cellulose. The problem is that different species can only produce certain aspects of the process. But the new strain combines all those talents in one microbe. The result is a process that breaks down plant matter and produces isobutanol in one relatively inexpensive step, in contrast to the multi-stage process demanded of conventional biofuel production.
Source: http://cleantechnica.com

Proteins used for biofuel production

In the United States, researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles have studied the feasibility of using proteins for biofuel production, creating a new alternative for biomass materials. The study at the university’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science regarding proteins is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of using protein as a carbon source for energy production. Up until recently, proteins were not viewed as potential biomaterial for biofuel production, with current use limited to carbohydrates and lipids. In addition, organisms use proteins to build their own proteins instead of converting them to other compounds.

The researchers created an artificial metabolic system to dump reduced nitrogen out of cells and essentially trick the organisms into degrading proteins instead of using them for growth. In a second part of the process, the ammonia in protein was taken away and recycled back to stimulate algae growth. The algae, fertilized by the ammonia, grew very quickly. The algae were then used as carriers to assimilate carbon dioxide and produce protein, resulting in more carbon dioxide fixation and growth. The team pointed out that a benefit of using protein instead of other raw materials is that its accumulation rate is much faster. In addition, protein biomass is more easily digested. The researchers did not specify how the biomass would be transformed into biofuel. They estimate that 1.9 per cent of the agricultural land in the United States would be adequate to meet 30 per cent of the country’s current transportation fuel needs (227 billion litres per year) based on their technology.
Source: http://www.ecoseed.org

A novel process for biodiesel production

Joule Unlimited, a biotech company based in the United States, reports to have found a way to create biodiesel using a bacterium, sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. However, some engineering challenges need to be overcome before the process becomes practical. The process utilizes a cyanobacterium that is said to be capable of producing 56,781 litres of biodiesel per acre, using very little biomass that has to be grown and then disposed of. On such a scale, biofuel can be used for sports cars, long-haul trucks and airplanes. Indeed, the factories for biodiesel fuel production could be co-located at coal-fired power plants, utilizing the carbon dioxide that is emitted from those plants. However, there is an engineering challenge to be solved: how to extract biodiesel from the water where the cyanobacterium will be. There will be a relatively small amount of biodiesel in a large amount of water. To create useable biodiesel on an industrial scale, Joule Unlimited will have to show it can extract the product from the water easily and cheaply.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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This guidebook provides engineers and students with a complete and practical guide to the characteristics, principles of operation and power potential of the most dominant renewable energy systems. It focuses on the engineering design of alternative energy systems, avoiding math-heavy treatments of underlying scientific background. Topics covered include photovoltaic, wind energy and hybrid wind/PV systems; renewable energy storage devices, with emphasis on batteries and fuel cells; biomass, wave/tidal and geothermal power; and ocean thermal energy conversion.

Contact: Elsevier B.V., Customer Service Department, 3 Killiney Road #08-01, Winsland House I, Singapore 239519. Tel: +65 6349 0222; Fax: +65 6733 1510; E-mail: asiabkinfo@elsevier.com.

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In this book, globally recognized renewable energy researcher Prof. Henrik Lund describes the modelling and simulation techniques that can be utilized to ensure at the outset of any renewable energy project that the resources available will meet the supply demands. A clear, comprehensive methodology is set forth for comparing the abilities of different energy systems to integrate fluctuating and intermittent renewable energy sources. Prof. Lund also offers EnergyPLAN, a freely available software tool that automates and simplifies the calculations supporting such detailed comparative analysis. The book also presents concrete design examples derived from successfully implemented renewable energy systems around the globe.

Contact: Elsevier B.V., Customer Service Department, 3 Killiney Road #08-01, Winsland House I, Singapore 239519. Tel: +65 6349 0222; Fax: +65 6733 1510; E-mail: asiabkinfo@elsevier.com.

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Contact: Elsevier B.V., Customer Service Department, 3 Killiney Road #08-01, Winsland House I, Singapore 239519. Tel: +65 6349 0222; Fax: +65 6733 1510; E-mail: asiabkinfo@elsevier.com.


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