rilpoint_mw113

VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . May-Jun 2006

Register FREE
for additional services
New and Renewable Energy May-Jun 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.

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

Editorial Board
Latest Issues
New and Renewable
Energy
VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy Jul-Sep 2017
Bio
Technology
VATIS Update Biotechnology Jul-Sep 2017
Waste
Management
VATIS Update Waste Management Oct-Dec 2016
Food
Processing
VATIS Update Food Processing Oct-Dec 2016
Ozone Layer
Protection
VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
Tech
Monitor
Asia-Pacific Tech Monitor Oct-Dec 2014

Contents

__NOTOCNUM__

IN THE NEWS

FAO predicts major shift to bioenergy

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has predicted a major international switch from fossil fuels to renewable bioenergy because of soaring oil prices and growing environmental constraints. In order to address the complex technical, policy and institutional problems involved in bioenergy production, FAO has set up an International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP), which would be officially presented at the United Nations in New York on May 9.


IBEP will provide advice and expertise to governments and private operators to formulate bioenergy policies and strategies. It will also help them develop the tools to quantify bioenergy resources and implications for sustainable development on a country-by-country basis. It will help in the formulation of national bioenergy programmes, drawing on the experience of FAO in promoting global, regional and national bioenergy development.


The gradual move away from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see biofuels providing a full 25 per cent of the worlds energy needs, said Mr. Alexander Mller, Assistant Director-General for the sustainable development department of FAO. Factors pushing for such a momentous change in the world energy market include environmental constraints increased global warming and the Kyoto Protocols curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and a growing perception by national governments of the risks of oil dependence.


FAOs interest in bioenergy stems from the positive impact that energy crops are expected to have on rural economies and from the opportunity offered to countries to diversify their energy sources. At the very least it could mean a new lease of life for commodities like sugar whose international prices have plummeted, noted Mr. Gustavo Best, FAOs Senior Energy Coordinator.


Website: www.petrochemical.ihs.com 

The largest windmill in China

In China, Shanghai Electric Power Generation Group (SEPGG) has received a clean energy contract by the Germany-based Aerodyn Energiesysteme GmbH to jointly develop the largest windmill in China, in a move to increase the use of wind energy to try and resolve Chinas soaring power demand. The installed electric generation capacity of each windmill, with blades more than 40 m in length, could reach 2,000 kW, SEPGG said.


The first wind power generating unit with more than 70 per cent of home-made parts will debut in the beginning of 2008. Its annual capacity is expected to be 200,000 to 300,000 kW by the end of 2010, according to an official with the wind department at SEPGG. The contract will also enable SEPGG, a large conglomerate that makes electrical and mechanical equipment, to be the first home-grown firm to participate in the research and development of wind power equipment.


The company accelerated its development in the wind power sector from 2006, after it signed a contract with Britain-based EU Energy Wind Ltd. to introduce the technology of a 1,250 kW windmill, which will start production early next year. Wind energy is set to become Chinas third major power source by 2020, with a likely installed capacity of 40 million kilowatts, according to China Renewable Energy Industries Association, Greenpeace and the European Wind Energy Association.


Website: www.news.xinhuanet.com 

Korea to introduce biodiesel for private vehicles

Biodiesel for private vehicles is to go on sale in the Republic of Korea from July. The move, the government asserts, will reduce oil imports and air pollution. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said that in accordance with a voluntary pact among local refiners to supply more eco-friendly fuel, biodiesel a mixture of diesel and five per cent rapeseed oil is ready for commercial release. The agreement calls for gas stations to sell the biodiesel.


Since the proportion of rapeseed oil used is low, consumers will not notice any difference in vehicle performance, said Mr. Lee Won-geol, Vice Minister of Industry and Energy. Although the cost of producing this type of eco-friendly fuel is higher than the cost of refining crude oil, the measure will help reduce crude imports and contribute to a reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide the country emits, he said. Mr. Lee added that since the government provides tax waivers to clean fuel, people can expect to pay less for biodiesel. The government also plans to permit more eco-friendly fuel to be used so that by 2011, five per cent of all energy used will be from reusable, eco-friendly sources.


Website: www.korea.net

Shanghai to invest in fuel cell vehicles

Shanghai in China is planning to invest up to 1.5 billion yuan (approx. US$190,000) in supporting the development of new energy vehicles, according to the citys economic commission. One-third of the money will be funded by the local government and the remaining two-thirds will be from a special fund for auto industry development in Shanghai. The capital will be in place within three years, said a well-informed source. The city has established an office in charge of the programme.


Presently, the development of new energy vehicles comprises short-term, medium-term and long-term plans. The short-term plan refers to the development of alternative energy vehicles, the medium-term one refers to hybrid vehicles while the long-term plan refers to fuel cell vehicles, which will obtain the most financial aid from the programme. Adoption of China-made components and parts is encouraged by the programme, meaning that it will set a low requirement for new energy vehicles obtaining financial aid in proportion to China-made auto parts the vehicle is equipped with.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Korea to inject cash into fuel cell development

The Republic of Korea is planning to inject 367.1 billion won (US$387.6 million) into a project for energy and resources development technology this year, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. The amount, a 26 per cent increase on last year, reflects the need to develop alternative energy technologies, the Ministry stated. Emphasis on spending will be centred on such areas as funding for hydrogen fuel cells and improved use of solar and wind power, said Mr. Kim Hak-do, head of the Ministrys energy management division. The latest plan also calls for development of stable, eco-friendly energy resources that can provide an impetus for national growth.


The plan calls for 144.6 billion won (US$152.7 million) to be injected into various research and development projects in the power industry sector, with 124.5 billion won (US$131.5 million) to be used to support new and reusable energy endeavours. The remainder of the money will be spent on technology related to en-hancing energy efficiency and dealing with the emission of greenhouse gases. The latter includes the creation of carbon capture storage technology that will be required when the country is obliged to meet the commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The Ministry said that the country will finalize its energy and resources technology development roadmap for 2006-15 in upcoming months.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com

Philippines to set up biofuel testing facility

In the Philippines, the Department of Science & Technology (DoST), in cooperation with the Department of Energy (DoE), will soon create the National Research and Testing Facility for Biofuels. In a statement, DOSTs sub-agency, the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD), said the testing centre would be set up at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of the Philippines.


The centre would conduct vehicular performance, fuel cost and emission reduction testing for alternative fuels such as coco-methyl ester, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas. It will be equipped with a chassis dynamometer and emissions analyser, and its main clients will be car owners and vehicle manufacturers who may want to test various fuel options for their cars.


After the facility has been set up, an inter-agency body composed of DoST, DoE and the Department of Industry would be created to certify biofuels and related products and equipment in the market. The DoE and the DoST said they have been working closely to develop a national alternative fuel infrastructure, which aims to make the Philippines less dependent gasoline and diesel fuel.


Website: www.news.inq7.net 

Malaysian government to start using bio-diesel

As part of a campaign to promote biofuel and fight increasing crude oil costs, two Malaysian government ministries are planning to start using vehicles that run on a fuel mixture of diesel and palm oil. Prime Minister Mr. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is to launch the campaign by flagging off the vehicles for the defence and plantation ministries that use bio-diesel, a blend of 5 per cent palm oil and 95 per cent diesel, the government announced.
The palm oil-diesel mixture has been tested in many countries and appears effective. Malaysia is a major palm oil producer, and the government says the benefits of using it are obvious. However, bio-diesel cannot be sold commercially until legislation is passed allowing its sale, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mr. Peter Chin Fah Kui said.


Website: www.chinapost.com.tw

Nepal cashes in on alternative energy use

Nepal will receive US$600,000 annually from the World Bank through sale of carbon that the country saves by using alternative energy sources such as biogas. The World Bank has agreed to provide the amount for the carbon saved through the use of 19,396 biogas plants in the first phase, as per its earlier agreement to buy one million tonnes of carbon, the national news agency RSS reported. The agreement to buy carbon at the rate of US$7 per tonne was reached in the meeting of the executive committee of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Convention, RSS said.


Website: www.hindu.com

Philippines looks at coco oil as bio-fuel

According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), several of its vehicles, shallow tube well pumps and other farm equipment are running with 100 per cent coconut oil for the last two months. A series of tests on the use of filtered coconut oil as fuel has been conducted and initial results have shown that it works.


In its press statement, PCA said the production of filtered crude coconut oil shall be done at the barangay (ward) level. A one-tonne mini oil mill, run by the farmers themselves under various cooperatives, could produce filtered coconut oil that could supply the fuel requirements of their farms and their community. Such a mill could produce at least 600 litres of coconut oil a day, which is cheaper by five pesos per litre compared with diesel.


If this would be realized, PCA said, it would have great impact on the lives of the coconut farmers, to the industry and the country. It would also stabilize the copra price, make available cheaper fuel and energy, and increase income and productivity in the agricultural as well as aqua culture production. PCA said that a filtered coconut oil protocol must be established immediately so that the dissemination of the process and technology of producing filtered coconut oil could be started to fully develop the biofuel alternative.


Website: www.sunstar.com.ph

Thai Ministry of Energy to fully support biodiesel

The Ministry of Energy of Thailand is certain that biodiesel production can be increased by 160,000 litres per day, and affirms that the nation will not import foreign palm oil, in order to encourage domestic palm harvests. The Deputy Minister Mr. Polchai Rujiprapa said that the Ministry will fully support the production of biodiesel in the country. Mr. Polchai said that there are currently five major biodiesel production centres in the nation, producing 100,000 litres of biodiesel daily.


The Deputy Minister added that there would be three new biodiesel factories constructed by the end of this year, adding 60,000 litres of daily production to the national quota. He said that up to 200,000 tonnes of raw palm oil will be required for biodiesel production per year, and up to 2 million tonnes of palm oil will be required to meet biodiesel production needs in 2007.


Website: www.thaisnews.com

Methane helps relieve Tibets energy dearth

Methane is finding wide application in the rural areas in Tibet, helping to relieve energy dearth. Although methane gas has long been used in many other rural areas in China, it is technically difficult to get the animal waste to a high enough temperature. A series of greenhouses were built to solve the problem.


A greenhouse can generate each day enough methane to last for five hours and the average life span of the generating facility is 15-20 years. It costs 4,000 yuan (US$500) to build the special greenhouse, but the local government finances a big part of it. The government of Xigaze Prefecture in central Tibet has spent 2 million yuan (US$250,000) in R&D to help more than 360 rural families get the methane-generating greenhouses. It cuts fuel costs by an average 2,000 yuan (US$250) a year for each family, said Mr. Li Shengrong, a local official in charge of the scientific and technological renovation. We aim to make methane gas available to 1,000 rural families in the coming five years.


Website: www.english.people.com.cn 

Photovoltaic module assembly line in India

Spire Corporation, the United States, has completed installation and commissioning of a turnkey SPI-LineTM photovoltaic module assembly line for EMMVEE Solar Systems Limited of Bangalore, India one of Asias leading manufacturers of solar energy products. The fully automated production facility has Spire equipment for solar cell stringing and lay-up, lamination, and module testing as per IEC standards with a plant capacity of 15 megawatts.


The EMMVEE plant in India is now fully operational with the flexibility to manufacture a variety of PV modules from solar cells, conforming to international specifications, to meet the growing global demand for solar energy.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Solar panels with better performance

Evergreen Solar Inc. of the United States has introduced the Spruce LineTM of photovoltaic panels, which is approximately 50 per cent more powerful than the its Cedar LineTM panels. The Spruce Line includes 170 W, 180 W and 190 W panels. With a sealed junction box, factory-installed electrical connectors and 1 kV rated backskin, these panels are ideal for grid-connected or larger off-grid applications. The 190 W model offers 12.7 per cent module efficiency, a substantial increase from Cedar panels.


The Spruce Line offers several other improvements that boost power rating and energy performance, such as higher packing density and anti-reflective coated glass. The coated glass improves both rating at standard test conditions and average field energy performance. Spruce panels have a white backskin for higher internal reflection and cooler operation, and are tested to a stringent -2 per cent peak power (Pp) rating. Spruce products have the following safety and quality certifications: IEC 61215 Edition 2, UL Class C fire rating, TV Safety Class II and CE.


Contact: Evergreen Solar, Inc., 138 Bartlett Street, Marlboro, MA 01752-3016, United States of America. Tel: +1 (508) 357 2221; Fax: +1 (508) 229 0747.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com

A promise in solar power

Solar power has usually been dismissed as an unlikely answer to the energy problem because of its high cost and relatively low efficiency. But concentrator photovoltaic cells (CPV cells), being developed in Israel by Prof. David Faiman of Ben Gurion University in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany and other European institutions, could change that.


Traditional photovoltaic cells do two things: collect sunlight and generate electricity from it, says Prof. Faiman of Ben-Gurion Universitys Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research. What we have done is simply split those two functions, so that the sunlight is collected and concentrated by a dish-shaped mirror, and a small number of concentrator cells generate electricity from that highly concentrated sunlight.


The CPV device resembles an enormous satellite dish. Each of the dish mirrors can concentrate solar energy by a factor of about 20 before reflecting it up to the solar cells that hang suspended over the apex of the dish. When all 50 of the mirrors used for the project are uncovered, the cells are on the receiving end of the light of a thousand suns. The dish, which weighs about 10 tonnes, is wheel-mounted on a rotating base so that it can turn around, tracking the sun. The CPV cells use gallium arsenide as their principal photovoltaic material, whereas traditional solar cells are made of crystallized silicon.


Website: www.israel21c.org

New record with NIR-absorbing organic PV cell

Global Photonic Energy Corporation (GPEC), the United States, has announced that its research partners at Princeton University and the University of Southern California (USC) have achieved a new record in an organic solar cell that is responsive to near infrared (NIR) range of the solar spectrum. This achievement is the highest level of conversion performance yet achieved for an organic solar cell in the IR portion of the solar spectrum.


Recent research on photovoltaic cells has focused on the use of organic materials, as these have the potential to achieve ultra-low production costs and high power output. The materials are ultra-thin and flexible and can be applied to large, curved or spherical surfaces. The research team at Princeton, led by Prof. Stephen R. Forrest focused on organic small-molecule devices, which are assembled literally one molecule at a time in highly efficient nanostructures. These have layers and/or structural elements that can be extremely small at only 0.5 billionth of a metre thick and can be applied to low-cost, flexible plastic surfaces.


In sunlight, the amount of incoming photons across the ultraviolet (UV), visible and infrared (IR) spectrums is about 4 per cent, 51 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. As the photons absorbed by a solar cell directly impact the power output, solar devices must take in as much of the solar spectrum as possible. This novel approach that harvests light from the IR and near-IR portion of the solar spectrum has the potential to double the power output of organic solar devices.


Website: www.oemagazine.com

Cheap solar cells based on nanotubes

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, are developing portable, personal, cheap solar cells that will be able to recharge laptops and mobile phones. The solar cells are made of an inexpensive composite material made up of carbon nanotubes and a conductive polymer that forms a flexible sheet only 100 nm thick. After use, the solar cells can be rolled up and packed away. Their extreme portability means they can be taken anywhere to free users-on-the-move.


Prof. Nunzio Motta from the School of Engineering Systems and Dr. Eric Waclawik from the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences are developing the new renewable energy source using nano-technology. These cells weigh only 10 g/cm2 and can be linked up in a patchwork to generate additional power. Prof. Motta said that the solar cell could generate enough energy to recharge the batteries of low power devices such as laptops and mobiles.


Website: www.future.org.au

Holographic solar panel

Prism Solar Technologies of New York, the United States, has developed a proof-of-concept solar module that uses holograms to concentrate light, cutting the cost of solar modules by about 75 per cent, making them competitive with electricity generated from fossil fuels.


The system needs 25-85 per cent less silicon than a crystalline silicon panel of comparable wattage, said Mr. Rick Lewandowski, the companys President and CEO, as the PV material need not cover the entire surface of a solar panel. Instead, it is arranged in several rows. A layer of holograms laser-created patterns that diffract light directs light into a layer of glass where it continues to reflect off the inside surface of the glass until it finds its way to one of the strips of PV silicon. Reducing the PV material needed could bring down costs from about US$4 per watt to US$1.50 for crystalline silicon panels.


In their ability to concentrate light, holograms are not as powerful as conventional concentrators. They can multiply the amount of light falling on the cells only by as much as a factor of 10, compared with a factor of up to 1,000 for lens-based systems. Lens or mirror based systems, however, need a mechanical tracking device as well as a cooling system. These make them unwieldy and not practical for residential uses.


Holograms have advantages that compensate for their relatively weak concentration power. They can select certain frequencies and focus them on solar cells that work best at those frequencies, converting the maximum possible light into electricity. They also can be made to direct heat-generating frequencies away from the cells, so the system does not need to be cooled. Further, different holograms in a concentrator module can be designed to focus light from different angles so they dont need moving parts to track the sun. However, to be competitive with other solar technologies available today, Prism Solars modules need to cost below US$2.40 per watt.


Website: www.technologyreview.com

Ge cells for thermo-photovoltaic applications

IMEC, the European research centre in nano-electronics and nano-technology, has reported a research breakthrough that paves the way for thermo-photovoltaic cells based on low-cost germanium (Ge) bottom cells. It says that records in open-circuit voltage, AM1.5 efficiency and spectral response were achieved by combining improved surface passivation and contact technologies.


Thermo-photovoltaic cells, which are optimized to convert radiation from heat sources at lower temperature as the sun, require materials with a lower bandgap as silicon, which is commonly used for solar cells. Principally, Ge is suited because of its low bandgap, but problems related to proper surface passivation had been hindering its development. IMEC combined improved surface passivation and novel contact technologies, which led to Ge cells with an open-circuit voltage over 270 mV, an AM1.5 efficiency near 8 per cent and a broad spectral response from 400 to 1,700 nm. These values are claimed to exceed significantly the figures reported under the given illumination conditions. The shallow emitter of the Ge cell was formed by diffusion from a spin-on oxide, whereas the improved surface passivation was based on a thin plasma-deposited a-Si:H layer.


Website: www.neasia.nikkeibp.com 

WIND ENERGY

Floating windmills

Norsk Hydro ASA of Norway has developed Hywind, a new concept for producing power at sea. Floating concrete construction technology developed for the North Sea oil industry is being applied to offshore windmills. Model testing is under way at the Norwegian R&D institute Sintef Marinteks ocean basin laboratory in Trondheim. One model of the floating windmill tested has re- portedly yielded promising results.


Hywind is a future-oriented project combining our offshore oil industry experiences with our knowledge of wind power to take advantage of wind resources where it blows most at sea, says Hydros director of new energy forms, Ms. Alexandra Bech Gjrv. Currently, Hydro is evaluating the placement of a windmill in the North Sea to demonstrate that it is possible to build offshore wind parks at sea depths of 200-300 m.


Based on data determining that average wind speeds at sea are higher than on land, Hywind will be exceptionally energy efficient. Ms. Bech Gjrv emphasizes that Hywind will be a supplement, not a substitute to land-based wind parks. A demonstration project is currently being planned based on wind turbines with power generation capacity of 3 MW. The windmills will reach 80 m above the seas surface and will have a rotor diameter of about 90 m.


Contact: Norsk Hydro ASA, N-0240 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 (22) 538 100; Fax: +47 (22) 532 725


E-mail: www.corporate@hydro.com 


Website: www.hydro.com

A new twist for wind power technology

In the United States, a Wyoming-based company called TMA is about to launch its first vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) for commercial pro-duction. The TMA turbine has two sets of vertical blades a curved inner pair that catches the wind and rotates around a central axis, and three fixed outer blades shaped like aircraft wings. The interaction between the two sets causes low air pressure, which increases rotation speed. TMA says its VAWT will convert 43 to 45 per cent of the winds available energy, compared with the 25-40 per cent horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) and operate in wind speeds of up to 68 mph (compared with HAWTs that have to be shut down at 50 mph).


VAWTs are also considered by some to be the best design for offshore wind farms, where giant turbines are preferable. Eurowind Developments, a British consortium, is developing a VAWT with an output capacity of 10 MW, which would power around 10,000 homes. At present, the largest HAWTs produce around 5 MW, and larger constructions are proving problematic due to the strain caused by the weight of the blades. Blades rotating on a vertical axis do not suffer the same stresses and are therefore cheaper to engineer and easier to assemble on site crucial in an offshore environment.


There are even plans afoot for floating VAWTs to be used in offshore farms. A London-based engineer Mr. Clive Croker has developed a prototype that can be mounted on a floating platform, eliminating the need for monopiles attached to the seabed that are costly and impractical in deep waters.


However, most of the VAWT designs are yet to be proven in commercial installations, and much of the mainstream wind energy industry still bank on HAWTs. Mr. Nigel Crowe, director of the British Wind Energy Association, says this is largely due to historical factors rather than technological benefits, and that with application requirements changing, it might be time to look at the technology again.


Website: www.upi.com

Innovative wind turbine

Southwest Windpower of Arizona, the United states, is introducing a wind turbine that is just 45 feet high and will produce electricity even at modest wind speeds. The turbine, now known as Beta 1.8, is suitable for properties as small as half an acre and claimed to save an average household about US$500 a year (based on current energy prices).


Mr. David Calley, Southwest Windpowers co-founder, says the Beta 1.8 will feature a new alternator that operates with very little friction, and a new blade design that can produce electricity in wind speeds as low as 5 mph (10 mph for a conventional small-wind turbine). Users will hear only a quiet swishing sound of about 45 db, the level of bird chirping. The turbine will be plug-and-play: a single, integrated unit that connects directly to a houses circuit breaker panel.


Website: www.money.cnn.com  

Planetary gearboxes for wind turbines

A major advantage of horizontal axis wind turbines is the flexibility of its design that accommodates low power devices as well as large wind power generators with output above 1 MW. The efficiency levels and
compactness demanded from gearboxes in wind turbines mean that only the epicyclic planetary gearbox is really suitable for use in this type of application. The planetary range from Brevini, the United Kingdom, is being used in horizontal axis wind turbines all across Europe.


As the direction of the wind changes constantly, the rotor of the wind mill has to be forced into a position that is perpendicular to the wind direction. This position is calculated by a microcomputer, based on data regarding the direction of the wind and the present position of the turbine. The results are then used to operate a motorised slewing planetary gearbox from Brevinis RPR range. A wind generator may have one or more of slewing drive gearboxes, depending upon its size. The gearbox is mounted in the vertical position at the top of the tower with its pinion facing downwards. The drive can be generated either by an electric or a hydraulic motor.


In addition to ensuring the correct tower position, the correct orientation of the turbine blades is another major factor in the efficiency of the turbine. This is also ensured by the microcomputer in conjunction with a two- or three-stage planetary gear-box from Brevinis Standard series range. Several different options are available in terms of gearbox/pinion configurations.


Contact: Mr. Sian Roberts, Officer Manager, Brevini UK, Planet House, Centre Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 1QX, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1925) 636682; Fax: +44 (1925) 624801


E-mail: www.sroberts@breviniuk.com


Website: www.manufacturingtalk.com

Wind turbine with vertical-axis rotation

Recently, manufacturers were giving preference to the new type of wind turbines employing the Darrieus vertical axis rotation system, which has a high coefficient of wind power use (0.45). Scientists at the Kazakh National University (KazNU), Kazakhstan, have developed a new turbine version, which allows them to make the effective value of this coefficient 1.3-1.5 times higher (0.75), increasing efficiency above average for the wind turbines.


A unique aspect of the invention is in the increased power output from the wind flow while the area swept by the turbine blades is the same. The proposed BiDarrieus device consists of two coaxially positioned shafts, which are differently connected to a pair of working blades. The same as with the known Darrieus machine, each pair of working wings (blades) is connected to its rotation shaft through a flywheel or by the troposkino technique. A special feature of the BiDarrieus machine is its design that employs the independent operation principle of shafts connected to the turbine and transmitting the wind power to its power generator, the essence of which is the know-how of the invention.


Website: www.partnershipsforprosperity.net

A hybrid turbine for remote areas

Electric power is often necessary in remote regions of difficult access, settlements, expeditions and at timber plantations. Specially for such occasions, researchers from the Moscow Institute of Heating Engineering have invented a hybrid wind turbine, which can be delivered and set up without much difficulty. The developers promise that the device would supply energy without interruption: in calm weather, the second part of the hybrid turbine, the diesel generator, will start working.


Both devices in LARK ensure capacity of 30 kW each. When there is no wind, the diesel generator will be working; when the wind is gentle, both devices will be operating; and in high winds, wind turbine will take over the power production. LARKs control algorithm is built in such a way that maximum of energy is collected by the wind turbine from the wind, and the missing part is added by the diesel. The rotor, with a diameter of 10 m, has a service life of 25 years.


Unlike ordinary wind turbines, the device does not require a foundation, thereby eliminating a major chunk of power generation cost. The system is fully automated and does not require operator intervention. LARK wind turbine is factory-assembled and needs to be just set up on firm ground for it to turn downwind with the help of horizon scanners. Its price is about US$200,000.


Website: www.innovations-report.com

WAVE/TIDAL ENERGY

Tidal stream turbine

Overberg Limited, the United Kingdom, has invented the Evopod Tidal Stream Turbine, which works on a principle similar to wind turbines but harnesses the power of free-flowing tidal currents to generate environmentally friendly energy.


The Evopod has none of the problems associated with wind turbines visual impact, noise and effect on ecology as it operates in deep water sites using the current to generate power, without any adverse effect on the environment. Results from extensive tests run by the Newcastle Universitys School for Marine Science and Technology on the Evopod prototype have highlighted its huge potential.


The project has been developed with the support of the regional development agency One NorthEast, Newcastle University and the North East Business and Innovation Centres (BIC) Product and Process Development Unit (PPDU) whose team helped to build the initial Evopod model using their Rapid Prototype machine.


Website: www.ne-bic.co.uk

Tapping marine wave power

Kobold, the wave turbine developed by Ponte de Archimede S.p.A., Italy, has managed to supply power generated by waves to the national electricity grid. The prototype developed and tested for the ENEMAR project is environmentally friendly because much of its own power comes from 39 solar panels.


The successful experiment was conducted at Italys southern city of Messina in Sicily, where the waves of the Strait of Messina generated 40 kW of power. This is claimed to be a first in the world. The device consists of a floating barge with a 3-blade vertical axis Kobold turbine mounted beneath it. The ENEMAR prototype consists of a 10 m diameter 2.5 m deep raft supporting a 6 m diameter 5 m high turbine in 20 m depth of water. The raft is moored using four 3.5 tonnes concrete blocks in an area where the current speed averages 2 m/s but can reach 3 m/s. The turbine is self-starting at a cut-in speed of 1.2 m/s. The turbine rotates independent of the direction of the current, and the high torques permit self-starting even under intense conditions.


The company, together with the Institute of Energy Conversion of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is currently studying the application of the system in the Strait of Jintang (Zhoushan Archipelago), China.


Contact: Ponte di Archimede S.p.A., Viale Libert IS.515, 98121 Messina, Italy. Tel: +39 (90) 44973; Fax: +39 (90) 41049.


Website: www.pontediarchimede.com

Catching a wave of power potential

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) in the United States are fine-tuning the design of a new electricity-generating ocean buoy that can turn the churning of the sea into clean, green power to supply an energy-hungry grid. They are helping to lay the groundwork for what would be the nations first offshore wave energy park.


Engineers have estimated that by harnessing just 0.2 per cent of the oceans untapped energy, the entire planets power needs could be met. Oregon is the sweet spot for wave energy in the world, said Professor Annette von Jouanne, who is leading an OSU wave energy project with Prof. Alan Wallace. To realize that potential, OSU is working on a new type of generator that converts the motion of waves into electricity.


Rather than using pneumatics or hydraulics, the prototype is based on a linear magnetic generator that uses what researchers call a contactless force transmission system to generate electricity. What that means is that the buoy can produce electricity without having its main parts in contact, reducing the effects of wear and corrosion at sea. The buoy basically is a copper wire coil surrounding a shaft made from high-density, rare earth magnets. A cable running to the seafloor holds the shaft approximately in one position, while the outer part of the buoy holding the coil bobs up and down on the waves to generate electricity. Each buoy should produce about 250 kW; four rows of 20 buoys each would extract 20 MW of electricity.


Website: www.registerguard.com

Wave-driven generator without moving parts

A wave-driven generator with virtually no moving parts could make wave power a more efficient and competitive form of renewable energy. The key to the device, dubbed the Snapper, is the way it converts a slow, steady wave motion into an efficient current-generating jack-hammer-like action. Mr. Ed Spooner, a consultant engineer based in the United Kingdom at County Durham, has devised a buoy linked to a generating unit on the seabed. The buoy is attached to a vertical armature inside the generating unit, and as it bobs up and down, the magnets mounted on the armature induce a current in static coils fixed to the generating unit. Mounted next to the armature is a parallel set of fixed magnets, aligned with the magnets on the armature. It is the interaction between the two sets of magnets that produces the Snappers jerky motion.


The attraction between the two sets of magnets tends to hold them in place next to each other. As the buoy tries to rise with a wave, this attraction initially holds it down. When the buoyancy force becomes large enough to overcome the attraction between the magnets, the buoy and the armature attached to it move sharply upwards until the magnets align again. As the buoy continues to rise this behaviour is repeated. Then as the buoy descends after the wave has passed, a spring produces a similar effect as the armature moves downwards.


The result of this is a sequence of rapid movements, which generate pulses of current. Experiments on a prototype show the arrangement results in increased current-producing forces compared with existing wave-power systems, suggesting that much smaller generators could be built for the same output, reducing costs.


New Scientist, 11 March 2006

Focusing the power of ocean

A new water lens may allow engineers to focus the power of ocean waves to potentially enhance the out-put of wave-powered energy generation schemes, protect ocean front real estate from wave damage, and even amplify waves for surfing and other seaside recreation activities. Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology showed that it would be possible to make a lens from an array of vertical cylinders secured below the water, which focus small ocean waves into larger ones. They reached their conclusions by simulating the propagation of water waves through an array of ocean bottom-mounted cylinders. By varying the size and spacing of the cylinders, the re-searchers showed that they could control the reflection, transmission and direction of the water waves through the array, in much the same way that mirrors and glass lenses control light.


Website: www.physorg.com

Amplifying waves for power generation

Big ocean swells could one day be as exciting to homeowners as they are to surfers, thanks to an innovative new device that harnesses the power of waves to produce cheap, clean electricity.


A prototype wave energy device, pioneered by scientists at Energetech in Randwick, Australia, is currently in testing off the Australian coast. Moored several miles offshore, the 40 ft tall rig of Energetech relies on the up-and-down motion of waves to force air in and out of a chamber, turning a turbine that produces electricity. Recent theoretical work of two Chinese scientists Xinhua Hu of Iowa State University and Che Ting Chan of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on amplifying wave energy could soon make devices such as that of Energetech even more effective.


The first step is to enhance waves. The height of a wave increases as it moves into shallower water. According to scientists, a football-field-size array of solid columns, situated at some 300 ft from the rig, could effectively act as a false ocean bottom. The portion of the wave that flows through the columns would behave as if it had reached the shallows, doubling in height. In the next step, the cylinders amplify the part of the wave headed straight for the converter. As the wave enters the device, the height of the parabolic wall increases, further focusing its energy.


When the trough of the wave is passing beneath the chamber, air gets sucked downwards. Then, as the waves peak rolls through, air is forced back up, making the turbine spin faster. Bigger waves mean more airflow and more energy. A generator then converts the mechanical energy of the spinning turbine into electricity, which flows by way of an underground cable to a power station that hooks up to the main grid onshore.


Website: www.livescience.com

FUEL CELLS

New solid oxide fuel cell for household use

Mitsui Kinzoku of Japan has developed a new solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with potential application in household dispersed power sources. The fuel cell, which may also act as an auxiliary power for automobiles, works at low temperatures with a high output density. The SOFC is easier to handle and provides lower cost since cheaper metal materials may be used. It allows low operating temperatures of 500-600C compared with conventional SOFCs. Moreover, the more solid electrolyte membrane ensures that the fuel cell can last for over 400 hours.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Industrial fuel cell system

Voller Energy Group plc., the United Kingdom, has launched a new industrial fuel cell system called VE100 Rack Mount (VE100RM). The new fuel cell system can charge remote monitoring equipment, surveillance cameras and industrial equipment in remote locations. The VE100RM can also be used in conjunction with other power sources such as photovoltaic panels or wind turbines to provide continuous power over an extended period of time.
The VE100RM is aimed at customers with a requirement for constant energy, or high up-time equipment in a variety of remote or potentially hostile environments. Historically, most of these applications use batteries, which have to be recharged. The new VE100RM fuel cell system will recharge them automatically. Using Voller Energys own software, the new fuel cell system logs and monitors the battery charge. This information can be accessed and monitored remotely through a GPS phone link.


The new fuel cell system is powered by hydrogen, which can be supplied from a normal compressed hydrogen cylinder and regulator available from any compressed gas supplier or from a refillable canister supplied by Voller Energy. This refillable can- ister stores hydrogen at low pressure dissolved in a metal hydride salt.


Contact: Stephen Voller, Chief Executive, Voller Energy Group plc., Rawdon House, Bond Close, Kingsland Business Park, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG24 8PZ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1256) 813 900; Fax: +44 (1256) 813901


E-mail: company.secretary@voller.com


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

Micro methanol fuel cell system

UltraCell Corporation of the United States has introduced the UltraCell XX25, a revolutionary micro fuel cell system powered by a unique, proprietary reformed methanol fuel cell technology.


UltraCells military and commercial methanol micro fuel cell systems provide Totally wireless - portable power anytime, anywhereTM. The UltraCell XX25, for example, will be able to run a laptop computer in a typical duty cycle for up to two working days on a single methanol fuel cell cartridge. As these lightweight cartridges are also hot-swappable, the UltraCell systems can run indefinitely without need for electrical recharging.


In addition, the UltraCell XX25 portable power source for the military will significantly lower the total weight carried by soldiers on extended missions, and reduce operational costs through the reduction of throwaway primary batteries and the logistic burden of recharging batteries. It will be manufactured to operate in sub-zero and desert environments or survive hard drops while in transit. Meeting these stringent requirements makes the UltraCell system ideal for a full range of ruggedized electronic product applications.


The Army has selected the UltraCell XX25 because it has up to a 70 per cent weight advantage over other currently available military rechargeable batteries, based on a 72-hour mission at 20 watts. UltraCell is at present initiating planning of Beta testing of the UC25 with qualified commercial customers for the second half of 2006.


UltraCells patented reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) system generates fuel-cell-ready hydrogen from a highly concentrated methanol solution. The new portable power system thus has the power density of a hydrogen fuel cell but uses the readily available, low-cost methanol fuel in a convenient, compact and attractive package.


Contact: Mr. William Hill, UltraCell Corporation, 399 Lindbergh Avenue, Livermore, CA 94551, United States of America. Tel: +1 (925) 4559400; Fax: +1 (925) 4557750;


E-mail: whill@ultracellpower.com 


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com

Microbial fuel cell in miniature

Imagine a submarine fleet of small machines at work in the ocean or a wastewater plant that can collect data while drawing their power from the food around them. Scientists from the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have taken the first step towards reaching that goal in the form of a miniaturized microbial fuel cell (mini-MFC) the size of a coin. This mini-MFC produces remarkably high power levels: 0.6 milliwatt.
Generating adequate power to do something useful has been a major hurdle with MFCs. The NRL scientists upped power output by using a spaghetti-like three-dimensional graphite electrode to capture electrons. This electrode sits in the 1.2 ml anode chamber within a flow-through reactor, which is connected to a flask that holds bacteria and food. The cell generates power by using a pure culture of Shewanella oneidensis bacteria. An advantage of S. oneidensis is that it can generate its own mediators substances that act as mobile electron shuttles between the bacteria and anode improving the practicality of this new fuel cell.


Currently, the scientists are scaling up the mini-MFC and studying ways that a small MFC, or groups of a few MFCs, can be deployed in natural water environments. Likely modifications include switching to an oxygen reaction at the cathode and adapting the cell so that nutrients from the environment can flow into the chamber for use by the bacteria.


Website: www.pubs.acs.org

High-efficiency micro tubular fuel cell

As solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are fabricated from solid materials, they are highly reliable and easy to handle. Despite this, their applications are limited since conventional SOFCs operate at temperatures of 800-900C. The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan has now developed a micro tubular SOFC which is operable at low temperatures between 500 and 600 C.


AIST has successfully enhanced the fuel reaction efficiency of the cell using as electrolyte a ceria-based material that exhibits high oxygen-ion conduction at low temperatures, and increased the thermal shock resistance to overcome the breakage problems caused by thermal distortion, which is serious especially for ceria-based materials. Moreover, the volumetric power density has been dramatically enhanced compared with that of conventional SOFCs. Once stacking technology too is developed, this micro tubular SOFC will be widely applied, in applications such as distributed power sources for homes, portable electronic devices and auxiliary power sources for vehicles.


Using an advanced micro-tube processing technique, AIST developed a high-efficiency micro-tubular SOFC with a diameter in the range of millimeters to sub-millimeters, to solve the thermal distortion problem through miniaturization. The micro SOFC fabricated has a tubular structure of approximately 1 cm in length and 0.8-1.6 mm in diameter. When hydrogen gas was flowed in a micro-tube with a diameter of 1.6 mm at 450-570C, power densities of 0.17-1 W/cm2 were obtained highest level in SOFCs with ceria-based electrolytes. For the micro-SOFC of 0.8 mm diameter, a hundred micro-SOFCs can be integrated in each 1 cm3, and thus power densities of 7 W/ cm3 at 500C, and 15 W/cm3 at 550C can be expected in theory.


Website: www.aist.go.jp

Enzyme-powered hydrogen fuel cell

A hydrogen fuel cell that uses enzymes instead of expensive metal catalysts to drive chemical reactions has been developed by researchers from Oxford University, United Kingdom. The researchers, who have already powered a digital watch by using their invention, say enzyme-powered fuel cells could be smaller, simpler and cheaper to make than conventional ones.


Hydrogen fuel cells are an attractive alternative to conventional batteries because they require only hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, and generate only water as a waste product. The researchers used two enzymes, one harvested from bacteria and the other from fungus, to catalyse the same chemical reactions. Each electrode is coated in one of the two enzymes. The bacterial enzymes break down hydrogen as part of their natural metabolism, and the fungal enzymes naturally combine hydrogen with oxygen usually to break down wood. As the enzymes are specially geared towards driving these two reactions, they can be used to make a more compact fuel cell, one that allows small amounts of both fuels to mix together.


Website: www.allheadlinenews.com

HYDROGEN ENERGY

New electrolyser

concept for on-site hydrogen generation
Norsk Hydro ASA, Norway, has introduced a new electrolyser concept, Inergon to meet tomorrows require-ments for on-site hydrogen generation. Inergon is based on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology and employs new, innovative solutions both inside the cell stack and in the balance of the plant. It takes electrolyser capacities up to 10 Nm3/h, whereas conventional PEM electrolysers normally offer capacities of less than 1 Nm3/h.


Within fractions of a second, the electrolyser can switch from 5 to 100 per cent utilization. This un-matched capacity range makes Inergon the perfect choice for generator cooling applications in power stations, but also opens up for usage in renewable source applications like wind and fuelling stations, where input power or gas output requirements vary a lot, says the head of Norsk Hydros hydrogen activities, Mr. Knut Harg.


The generator produces high-purity hydrogen at an outlet pressure of 30 bar g without a compressor, thereby reducing complexity (and cost) to an absolute minimum. The unit is designed to reduce downtime and simplify maintenance and repairs. Its safe design allows for placing the unit anywhere. New features inside the cell stack ensure low and sustainable ohmic resistance. This reduces excess heat to a minimum and achieves a new level of energy efficiency for this category of plant. Inergon can be operated in a stand-alone configuration, in either auto-matic or manual mode.


Contact: Norsk Hydro ASA, N-0240 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 (22) 538100; Fax: +47 (22) 532725


E-mail: corporate@hydro.com 


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com 

New fuel cell with high energy density

Maxell Hitachi, Japan, has developed a new variation of the Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC) with five times the energy density as that of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC). The limiting factor for the latter is its low power density and problems with the methanol crossover, while PEFC is limited by the complexity of equipment, need for high-pressure tank and high cost of the reformer.


Maxells new PEFC variation generates hydrogen from the reaction of aluminium and water and promises a simple and low-cost system suitable for application in fuel cell power sources up to 100 W.


Building on the work of Professor Masao Watanabe of the Muroran Institute of Technology, Maxell has further improved the hydrogen generation process and developed a new aluminium particulate conversion process to the point where it can generate 1.3 litres of hydrogen for each gram of aluminium. The company envisions that continuous, long-term power output suitable for a laptop PC or emergency power would be available by exchanging cartridges (containing aluminium and water).


Maxell has also developed a membrane-electrode assembly (MEA), one of key components of fuel cells, with a power density of 280 mW/cm2 at room temperature.


Website: www.gizmag.co.uk

New hydrogen storage technology

HCE LLC, the United States, has filed for patent protection on a new device and method for hydrogen storage. The invention is expected to permit the storage of gaseous hydrogen at room temperature in quasi-liquid form, having characteristics similar to gasoline. The device creates nanometre-scale water bubbles filled with hydrogen gas. At this scale, surface tension can maintain the gas within a bubble at very high pressure, about equal to 43,500 psi inside the bubble. The smallness of such bubbles confers on them stability against gravitational aggregation and merging.
The fluid is expected to be stored, distributed and handled like petrol. HCE reports that hydrogen stored in the form created by its proprietary device and process would have a volumetric energy density (higher heating value) from about 24 to 29 megajoules per litre. This stated range is attributable to uncertainties in compressibility and small-scale cohesion factors. The process is expected to have application to other high-value gases made more usable in such a storage medium, such as methane and propane.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com

Cheap hydrogen fuel

GE Energy, the United States, says its new electrolyser machine could make the hydrogen economy affordable, by slashing the cost of water-splitting technology. GE researchers have developed a prototype of an easy-to-manufacture apparatus that they believe could lead to a commercial machine to produce hydrogen via electrolysis for about US$3/kg a quantity roughly comparable to a gallon of petrol down from todays US$8/kg. That could make it economically feasible for future fuel cell vehicles that run on hydrogen.


The core problem in improving electrolysers for hydrogen manufacture is not how to improve the fundamental conversion efficiency but how to reduce capital costs, says Mr. Richard Bourgeois, an electrolysis project leader at GE Global Research. Electrolysers are made currently of metal plates bolted together manually, with gaskets between them, and the whole unit is typically housed in a chamber made of the same metals used in the electrodes. The materials are expensive and assembly requires costly labour.


Bourgeois research team came up with a way to make future electrolysers largely out of plastic. They used a GE plastic called Noryl that is extremely resistant to the highly alkaline potassium hydroxide. Because the plastic is easy to form and join, manufacturing an electrolyser is relatively cheap. Inside the plastic housing, metal electrodes still do the same job. Because GE is using less electrode material, the reactivity of the electrodes surfaces is improved.


GE has demonstrated the technology using a prototype, and is now building a larger production module one that can produce 1 kg of hydrogen per hour for testing in its labs later this year. A machine of that scale could be attached to small electricity sources to produce hydrogen on the side. The technology also could be massively scaled up to create a hydrogen gas station.


Website: www.technologyreview.com

Hydrogen from biodiesel using steam reformer

In the United States, InnovaTek and Seattle BioFuels have announced the successful production of hydrogen from 100 per cent biodiesel in a micro-channel steam reformer. This is the first time a renewable fuel source has been used to produce hydrogen in a micro-channel steam reformer to power emission-free fuel cells. InnovaTeks reforming system was initially developed to produce hydrogen from fossil fuels.


InnovaTek has also used its technology to produce hydrogen from glycerol (a by-product of biodiesel production), and the raw soybean oil that is used to manufacture the biodiesel fuel. The use of glycerol as a source for hydrogen has the added advantage of producing a valuable commodity from a by-product of biodiesel production. This favours the economics of biodiesel.


One of the advantages of InnovaTeks technology is the use of milli- or micro-channel geometries for the heat exchangers and catalytic reactor. Micro-channel reactors offer some clear advantages over conventional reactors (tubular or vessel), including inherent safety, compact size and high rates of conversion. InnovaTeks micro-channel reformer achieved a 100 per cent conversion of the pure biodiesel (B100).


Seattle BioFuels claims to be the first company in the Pacific Northwest to open and operate a commercial scale biodiesel refinery certified by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). Em-ploying proprietary technology, the company produces a diesel fuel alternative made from vegetable oil.


Website: www.renewableenergyaccess.com

New method to extract hydrogen

Dana Corporation, the United Sates, has successfully tested a new application to recover hydrogen from methane gas at an extremely high rate. The propriety process, which employs Danas AtmoPlas microwave atmospheric plasma technology, is unique since the hydrogen recovery rate could exceed 95 per cent. These results make AtmoPlas technology suitable for fuel-cell applications that may need on-demand production capability.


AtmoPlas technology generates and sustains plasma at atmospheric pressure without using costly vacuum equipment to effectively harness microwave energy. The plasma tem-peratures can exceed of 1,200C within seconds, and there is practically no known upper temperature limit. This reduces cycle times and can lead to lower energy use. Other key benefits include lower operating and maintenance costs and an overall reduction in capital investment. Potentially, this process could eliminate some of the hydrogen storage issues in mobile fuel cell applications. The overall energy efficiency of the process is currently being optimized.


Website: www.fuelcellsworks.com

BIOMASS ENERGY

Liquid motor fuel from cattle dung

Scientists in Japan have found a new source of motor fuel cattle dung. Prof. Sakae Shibusawa, an agriculture engineering professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, said his research team has extracted 1.4 ml of a petrol-like liquid fuel from every 100 g of cow dung by applying high pressure and heat.


The new technology will be a boon for livestock breeders to reduce the burden of disposing of large quantities of waste, Prof. Shibusawa said. The team, helped by staff from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, produced fuel by adding some unspecified metal catalysts to the dung inside a container and applying a 30 atm pressure and heat of up to 300C. The team hopes to improve the technology so that it can be used commercially in about five years, Prof. Shibusawa said.


Website: www.canada.com

Continuous synthesis of diesel fuel from wood

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Japan has succeeded at the laboratory-scale continuous synthesis of diesel fuel from woody biomass through gasification, purification using activated carbon, and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The process has eliminated the need for a cooling process, heat recovery and compression of gas, making it attractive for application in compact and portable plants making use of widely available woody biomass.


The gasification process is carried out at high temperature (800-900C) and high pressure (several MPa), removing the need for use of compressors or compression power. Gas cleaning is carried out through a dry refining process that uses activated carbon, instead of the traditional wet method that uses water, increasing the gasification heat efficiency. As a result, it was possible to produce equipment with compact dimensions. The main features of the equipment are the efficient use of heat that increases the energy efficiency and the removal of the compression process, which reduces the power requirements.


Website: www.aist.go.jp


A better way to make biodiesel?

Iowa State University chemists believe that they have devised a safer, better way to make biodiesel. The researchers have developed recyclable catalysts that can be used to convert soybean oil, animal fat and other oils to fuel, instead of toxic catalysts that are difficult to remove from the finished product and that cannot be reused.


Prof. Victor Lin, 37, an associate professor of chemistry, is the lead researcher. Prof. George Kraus and Prof. John Verkade have worked for about four years on the project. Prof. Lin is focused on finding catalysts that can help biofuels producers and other grain processors save time and expense. Conventional catalysts in biodiesel production are dissolved into methanol, which is then mixed with soy oil for conversion to fuel. The process produces biodiesel, and a toxic by-product that requires strong acid to neutralize.


The catalysts developed are solid materials that do not dissolve in the production process. Instead, the new catalysts are suspended in the biodiesel-making solution and can be removed through filtration or centrifuge. In addition, they catalysts can be reused a feature that yields environmental as well as economic benefits. In the laboratory, we can recycle them 20 times without reducing their reactivity, Prof. Lin said. These catalysts may cost more, but they will save producers money and will increase safety in the long run.


Website: www.desmoinesregister.com

Biodiesel plant with heterogeneous catalyst process

In France, Tecnip has received a contract from the French biodiesel pioneer Diester Industrie for building a new biodiesel unit in Venette, near Compigne. The new unit, with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes/year is based on Esterflip-H process, developed by IFP and commercialized by Axens, and will double the sites current production. The process em-ploys a heterogeneous catalyst a spinel-mixed oxide of two non-noble metals. The use of heterogeneous catalysts eliminates the need for catalyst recovery and washing steps and associated streams of waste thus generated required by processes using homogeneous catalysts, like sodium methylate.

 

The process uses two successive fixed-bed reactors, with glycerol separated to shift the equilibrium. Esters and glycerol are separated in a settler. Biodiesel is recovered after the final recovery of methanol by vaporization under vacuum, and then purified to remove traces of glycerol. Esterfip-H exhibits very high biodiesel yields and directly produces salt-free glycerol at purities exceeding 98 per cent. The quality of the glycerol yield adds to the economics of the process.


Website: www.greencarcongress.com


PUBLICATIONS

Biofuels for Fuel Cells

The increasing demand for energy and the related environmental concerns are the main drivers for the strong interest in biomass fermentation towards usage in fuel cells. The integration of biomass fermentation and fuel cells technology creates a new and interdisciplinary research area.


This book has a clear orientation towards making products of our waste. Biofuels for Fuel Cells comes at a time when this field is rapidly developing and there is a need for a synthesising book. The holistic and multidisciplinary description of this topic, including discussion of technological, socio-economic, system analysis and policy and regulatory aspects, make this book the definitive work for this market.


Biofuels for Fuel Cells will cross-link scientists of all fields concerned with biomass fermentation, fuel upgrading and fuel cells at European and world level.


Contact: IWA Publishing Limited, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London SW1H 0QS, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 7654 5500; Fax: +44 (20) 7654 5555


E-mail: publications@iwap.co.uk

Advances in Solar Energy

Advances in Solar Energy: an Annual Review of Research and Development is an annual publication from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Its main goal is to provide a review journal of significant research and development in renewable energy for solar professionals and students. Topics covered in this Volume 16 range from solar ponds through global warming to passive and solar cells. Spanning a broad range of technical subjects, including state of-the-art information, this volume and series will become a must-have reference on global developments in the field of renewable energy.


Topics covered include: solar ponds; modelling solar hydrogen fuel cell systems; quantum well solar cells; advances in parabolic trough solar power technologies; progress of highly reliable crystalline silicon solar devices and materials; solar heat for industrial processes case studies in industries in Spain and Portugal; passive cooling; compound multi-junction and concentrator solar cells; and a new energy revolution by solar PV for the 21st century


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


ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE FOR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY

This website is optimized for IE 8.0 with screen resolution 1024 x 768
For queries regarding this website, contact us
Copyright © 2010 APCTT | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Feedback