VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Jan-Feb 2009

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New and Renewable Energy Jan-Feb 2009

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.

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International Renewable Energy Agency to open shop

The Madrid preparatory conference attended by 51 governments agreed on the statutes of an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA will promote the utilization of renewable energy such as wind energy by providing accurate information about these key technologies. The founding treaty will be signed in January 2009.

The world urgently needs such an independent international authority providing unbiased information about renewable energy...we expect that IRENA will closely co-operate with the renewable energy sector worldwide, said Dr. Anil Kane, President of World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). One key task for IRENA will be to transfer the know-how from the leading countries to all other countries so that they can also start implementing wind power utilization on large scale and benefit from its advantages immediately, said WWEA Secretary General, Mr. Stefan Gsnger. Contact: Mr. Stefan Gsnger, Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association, Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5, 53113 Bonn, Germany. Tel: +49 (228) 369 4080; Fax: +49 (228) 369 4084; Website:


Clean energy to meet half of Asias power needs

Renewable energy sources will account for 67 per cent of the electricity produced in developing countries in Asia by 2050,
according to a report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). Renewable energy will supplant the
need for nuclear energy and reducing requirements for fossil fuel-fired power plants, said the report entitled Energy
[R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook.

The report shows that aggressive investment in renewable power generation and energy efficiency could create an annual US$360 billion industry worldwide, provide half of the worlds electricity, and slash over US$18 trillion in future fuel costs while protecting the climate, said Greenpeace in a statement. It provides a practical blueprint to rapidly cut energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to help ensure that greenhouse gas emissions peak and then fall by 2015. This can be achieved while ensuring developing economies in Southeast Asia, China, India and other developing nations have access to the energy that they need in order to develop.

The report estimates that additional costs for coal fuel from today until the year 2030 are as high as US $15.9 trillion, more than what is required for implementing the Energy [R]evolution scenario. Renewable energy sources will produce electricity without any further fuel costs beyond 2030, creating an enormous number of jobs and helping to lift the world out of recession.

The global market for renewable energy can grow at double digit rates until 2050, and overtake the size of todays fossil fuel industry, Mr. Oliver Schfer, EREC Policy Director said. From around 2015 onwards, we are confident that renewable energies across all sectors will be the most cost-effective energy capacities. The renewable industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity to make the energy revolution a reality. There is no technical impediment, but a political barrier to rebuild the global energy sector, he added.


Indo-Japanese collaboration on fuel cell tech on the cards

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), one of Indias state-run oil marketing company, is planning to generate up to 1,000 MW of power through fuel cell technology over the next three to five years, and is holding talks with Japans Nippon Oil Corporation for technology collaboration. The technology in focus is a polymer electrolyte fuel cell, the worlds first co-generation system for residential use based on liquefied petroleum gas, developed in 2005 by Nippon Oil, Japans largest oil importer and distributor.

If BPCL is able to commercialize this project, it would be a first in the country. While BPCL did not reveal the investment details, an analyst said it could range between about Rs 40 billion (US$786 million) and Rs 80 billion (US$1.57 billion) for 500-1,000 MW capacity.

The company recently developed a prototype fuel cell-based energy system using hydrogen as fuel. The project involves production of hydrogen through electrolysis of alkaline water. BPCL is entering into the non-conventional energy business. It is setting up a 1-MW capacity grid-connected solar farm in Punjab, and 5 MW capacity windmills in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.


Pakistan eyes power from molasses

A recent meeting chaired by the Secretary of Pakistans Planning Commission was informed about the potential of producing 1,600 MW of electricity through biogas produced using molasses, a by-product from sugar mills. There are about 80 sugar mills in the country and each one has the capacity of easily producing 20-25 MW power, said an official who attend the meeting.
The sugar industry stakeholders and the officials of the departments concerned including the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Petroleum and Pakistan Sugar Mills Association attended the meeting to explore the full potential of the power co-generation of the industry. The meeting agreed to make a comprehensive policy on tariff for power produced through sugar mills and ethanol production.

Sugar mills across the country have turbines and generators that they could use to produce this cheaper source of energy. It was suggested during the meeting that the government should impose regulatory duty on or completely ban the export of molasses for making use of it to produce biogas for electricity generation. The meeting noted that the power produced from molasses will be much cheaper than the power produced from other sources.


< a name="alt"> ADB loan to Bangladesh for energy infrastructure

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh recently signed a loan agreement of US$165 million for Public-Private Infrastructure Development Facility (PPIDF). ADB is providing US$82 million to help finance large infrastructure projects; US$50 million to assist small and medium energy projects primarily in rural and semi-urban areas; and US$33 million to promote renewable energy, such as solar-powered home systems and biomass installations though a micro-finance based, direct sales programme.

A technical assistance grant of US $500,000 will also be provided for capacity building to support project implementation. The grant will support PPIDF, which seeks to catalyse private sector investments of up to US$600 million, mostly in energy, and could add at least 900 MW of power generation capacity in Bangladesh and provide electricity to about 100,000 more households through the renewable energy programme.


Indonesia biofuel policy to reduce palm oil exports

Exports of palm oil from Indonesia, the largest producer, may decline by as much as 1.5 million tonnes a year after the nation made the use of renewable energy mandatory, Mr. Bayu Krisnamurthi, a deputy to Mr. Boediono, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, has stated.

Indonesias biofuel industry can produce between 1.3 million tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes annually, said Mr. Krisnamurthi. Capacity may double to 3 million tonnes by 2010, he said. However, a slump in exports from Indonesia, the top producer of the tropical oil, may help support prices that fell to a two-year low in October 2008 on concern that slowing global economic growth will dent demand for commodities.


Philippine renewable energy law comes into force

President of the Philippines, Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has said that new Renewable Energy Act is the first and most comprehensive renewable energy law in Southeast Asia that would enable the country capture part of the soaring investments in renewable energy development. The new law Republic Act 9513 provides fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for renewable energy investors. These include tax credits on domestic capital equipment and services, special realty tax rates on equipment and machinery, tax exemption of carbon credits, duty-free importation mechanisms and income tax holidays.

The Act also provides for the establishment of a Renewable Portfolio Standard system, which would require electricity suppliers to source a certain part of their energy supply from renewable resources such as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass. The standard system will be complemented by a feed-in tariff system to encourage the speedy entry of renewable energy projects.


Malaysia doubles 2008 biodiesel export forecast

Malaysia has raised its 2008 biodiesel export forecast to 200,000 tonnes, more than double that of 2007 exports. Export of biodiesel is picking up in volume and speed. The spread between the selling price of palm methyl ester and the feedstock is allowing biodiesel producers to make some money, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin. The Minister had earlier estimated biodiesel exports to grow by one-and-a-half times from last year. Mr. Kohilan Pillay, Deputy Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities, said that of the 91 biodiesel licences issued to date, 15 plants with a combined 1.6 million tonnes capacity have been built, and five of these are exporting methyl ester.



Light concentrator eliminates need for solar tracking

In the United States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a light concentration system for solar cells that has no need to track the sun. The method can utilize display glass and even window glass in homes and office buildings as solar concentrators. In addition, it helps reduce the cost of the solar cell system to a tenth or less.

Until now, Fresnel lenses and similar materials have been used in solar cell concentrators, but along with mechanisms to track the suns motion. The new concentrator has no lenses it merely uses a light guide. It consists of an organic thin film with fluorescent or phosphorescent properties placed on a sheet of glass with a high refractive index of about 1.8. Light enters the light guide, and only light of a specific wavelength is absorbed by the organic material, which emits light of a slightly longer wavelength. This emitted light travels inside the glass and is collected at the edges.

If solar cells were to be placed at window edges, it would be theoretically possible to use small solar cells to generate the same amount of electrical energy as a solar cell of the same area as the light guide. The concentration function of the light guide is not affected by the angle of incidence, making tracking mechanisms unnecessary. Light concentration efficiency is determined by the ratio of light guide area to the area of the solar cells mounted at the glass sheet edges, and by the efficiency with which light is transmitted to the edges by the light guide. If the light guide area is increased, the light concentration efficiency increases geometrically as the ratio of areas, but light guide efficiency drops. This imposes limits on maximum light guide area.

The effective efficiency of the newly developed solution is about 10-61 times higher than the solar cell area. An MIT source said the improvement is due to a better understanding of the organic materials, improved film growth technology and other factors. Only the light guide has been fabricated at present; measurements of performance when mated to an actual solar cell are scheduled for the future.


High-efficiency dye solar cell

An untreated silicon solar cell only absorbs 67.4 per cent of sunlight shone upon it meaning that nearly one-third of that sunlight is reflected away and thus unharvestable. Dr. Shawn-Yu Lin, a physics professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the United States, and his team have nano-engineered an anti-reflective coating that has absorbed 96.21 per cent of sunlight shone on it meaning that only 3.79 per cent of the sunlight was reflected away. This huge gain in absorption was consistent across the entire spectrum of sunlight, from ultraviolet to visible light and infrared, and moves solar power a significant step forward towards economic viability. A stationary solar panel treated with the coating would absorb 96.21 per cent of sunlight irrespective of the suns position in the sky. Along with significantly better absorption of sunlight, Dr. Lins discovery could thus enable a new generation of stationary, more cost-efficient solar arrays.


Two-faced approach creates better solar cells

Dye-sensitised solar cells designed for outdoor conditions typically have an efficiency of about 6 per cent at present. Dr. Michael Grtzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland who co-invented dye-sensitised solar cells in 1991 had thought it might be possible to double the efficiency of his low-cost cells simply by designing one that collects light from both sides simultaneously. Working with Dr. Seigo Ito of the University of Hyogo, Japan, Dr. Grtzels team has now achieved just that. Their new dye-sensitised solar cell is almost as efficient at light-to-energy conversion when it strikes the rear side as when it strikes the front.

To achieve the trick, Dr. Grtzels team first replaced the opaque back panel with a second sheet of glass, making the entire device transparent to let light into the system also from the rear. The new panel, coated with tin oxide, acted as the second electrode, giving electrons back to the electrolyte and thus completing the circuit.

Dr. Grtzels team experimented with varying the thickness of the dye-filled layer. They found that if that layer was around 15 m thick, the solar cell converted 6 per cent of the light arriving through its front into electricity and a further 5.5 per cent of the light arriving through the rear. There is always an albedo effect [as light bounces off surfaces] and on a cloudy day, collecting light from both sides will buy you almost double the normal efficiency, says Dr. Grtzel. Other electrolytes have reached 10 per cent or even higher, he adds. Using those electrolytes in the new two-sided solar cell can help reach efficiencies of 15 to 20 per cent, which is better than the performance of silicon wafer solar cells under similar conditions.


Tiny solar cells hold promise of portable power

Researchers have developed some of the tiniest solar cells ever made. So far, they have managed to pull 11 volts of electricity from a small array of the organic cells, which are each just a quarter of the size of a grain of white rice, said Dr. Xiaomei Jiang from the University of South Florida, the United States, who led the research.

Because it is in a solution, you can design a special spray gun where you can control the size and thickness. You could produce a paste and brush it on, Dr. Jiang said. She envisions the solar cells being used eventually as a coating on a variety of surfaces, including clothing. The cells might generate enough energy to power small electronic devices or charge a cell phone, for example.

The tiny cells from Dr. Jiangs lab are made from an organic polymer that has the same electrical properties of silicon wafers but can be dissolved and applied to flexible materials. The main components are carbon and hydrogen materials that are present in nature and are environmentally friendly, she said. The researchers showed that an array of 20 of these cells could generate 7.8 V of electricity, about half the electricity needed to run a microscopic sensor for detecting dangerous chemicals and toxins. They are now refining the manufacturing process with the hope of doubling that output to 15 V.


Method to extend life of organic solar cells

Belgiums IMEC has reported that its associate laboratory, Institute for Materials Research in Microelectronics (IMOMEC), has developed a method to stabilize organic solar cells, with multi-fold improvement in cell lifetimes. IMOMEC, located on the campus of the Hasselt University, said the research paves the way for commercial organic solar cells with an operational lifetime of more than five years. The researchers optimized the nanomorphology of the active layer, creating a more stable mix of organic compounds that can trap photons and transport them to an electrical contact.

Organic solar cells deteriorate as the compounds tend to separate into different phases, reducing conversion efficiency. IMEC has shown that this phase segregation is related to the organic polymers mobility, and that fixing the nanomorphology of the polymers could improve their lifetimes.

To stabilize the nanomorphology of the active layer, IMOMEC developed conjugated polymers. Experiments on bulk heterojunction organic solar cells based on the material showed no degradation after 100 hours, whereas reference cells degraded after a few hours. The result, IMEC said, is a lifetime improvement by at least a factor of 10. The cells achieved efficiencies near 4 per cent, with an expectation that efficiencies could be improved to more than 10 per cent.


Expert creates large-area solar cell using nanotech

Prof. Arie Zaban, Head of Bar-Ilan Universitys Nanotechnology Institute in Israel, claims he has created using nanotechnology a solar cell 100 times larger than a typical solar cell. An expert in photovoltaics, he demonstrated how metallic wires mounted on conductive glass can form the basis of solar cells with efficiency similar to that of conventional, silicon-based cells, but that are much cheaper to produce.

While Prof. Zabans earlier efforts produced photovoltaic cells 1 cm2 in size, he has now achieved a cell measuring 10 cm 10 cm, which he hopes would boost the techniques utility in producing commercial amounts of solar power. We have found a way to produce platinum nanodots tiny crystals measuring only a few nanometres in diameter, he said, adding that the technique helped reduce the amount of platinum needed by a factor of 40.

Prof. Zabans previous research had developed a low-cost process of depositing semiconductor material in a sponge-like array on top of flexible plastic sheets. Key to the system is the use of an organic dye that allows the semiconductor, transparent in its natural form, to absorb light.


Vacuum processing for solar cells

Solar cell manufacturing depends on many vacuum-based processes, from plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition of silicon (Si) to lamination of the finished module. For these processes to meet the throughput needs of the solar cell industry, high pumping speeds and rapid chamber cycling are critical.

Solar cell manufacturing poses special challenges for pump designers. For example, the amorphous silicon (a-Si) cells that achieve the best conversion efficiency incorporate substantial amounts of hydrogen achieved at lower deposition rates. A slower deposition means that the chamber load and unload time is a smaller fraction of the total process time.

The hydrogen passivates dangling bonds and densifies the film, improving carrier lifetime and reducing recombination. However, as Mr. Clive Tunna, Technical and Commercialization Director for Oerlikon Leybold, explained, hydrogen is bad news for vacuum pump designers: the gas is notoriously difficult to pump. At 77K that the cold traps in standard cryopumps operate in, hydrogen is still a gas. Hydrogen molecules are small enough to leak through seals, and high concentrations of hydrogen anywhere in the system pose an explosion risk.

Another issue is that a-Si deposition chambers require to be cleaned often, usually by means of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) etching. NF3 tends to corrode seals and pump components, a problem that Oerlikon Leybold addresses by flooding the components with purge gas. At the same time, the cleaning process generates a large volume of dust. Handling both dust and light gases in the same system requires careful optimization, Mr. Tunna said.

Problems with dust also appear in wafer-based solar cell manufacturing, as the crystal growth process produces large amounts of Si dust. This dust is hazardous because it spontaneously ignites below room temperature, and is reactive with water. To eliminate explosion risks, traditional system designs place a complex metal dust filter before the pump assemblies. Oerlikons pump design mixes air or oxygen with the Si dust, forming non-reactive silicon dioxide that can be captured by a less costly standard dust filter.

Vacuum processing appears in a different form towards the end of the solar cell assembly process, as wafer-based cells are laminated into the module frame and encapsulated in thin-film ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) panels. These processes take place under vacuum to avoid trapping of air and water vapour. However, the volatile monomers from curing EVA can attack pump seals and react with pump oil. Standard pumps require oil replacement after as little as 200 hours in this environment, and dry pumps can be damaged if process gases infiltrate the gear box. Pumps that use oil-cooled rotors prevent polymerization of EVA by-products, while shaft seal purging helps isolate process gases from the pump oil.


First silicon solar cell with 25 per cent efficiency

Scientists in Australia have developed the first silicon solar cell to achieve the milestone of 25 per cent efficiency. The solar cell has been developed by scientists at the ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence of University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The Centre of Excellence already held the world record of 24.7 per cent for silicon solar cell efficiency. Now, a revision of the international standard by which solar cells are measured, has delivered the significant 25 per cent record to the team led by Prof. Martin Green and Prof. Stuart Wenham. According to Prof. Green, new knowledge about the composition of sunlight was the basis for the jump in performance leading to the milestone. The new record has moved the UNSW team closer to the 29 per cent theoretical maximum efficiency possible for first generation silicon photovoltaic cells.

Blue light is absorbed strongly, very close to the cell surface where we go to great pains to make sure it is not wasted. Just the opposite, the red light is only weakly absorbed and we have to use special design features to trap it into the cell, said Dr. Anita Ho-Baillie, who heads the high efficiency cell research effort of the Centre. These light-trapping features make our cells act as if they were much thicker than they are, added Prof. Green. The focus of the Centre is now improving mainstream production.



Laser system for wind sensing

The VindicatorTM laser wind sensing system, from Catch the Wind Ltd., the United States, measures real-time horizontal and vertical wind speed and direction data at varying ranges ahead of the sensor location. The system comprises a fibre optic laser module, processor, control system interface and a remote lens assembly. The laser module and processor are in a separate assembly that may be located within the wind turbine nacelle or with the remote lens assembly.

Using concepts of Doppler radar, with light as the medium of detection, the Vindicator system quickly senses air particle movement. The system processor analyses the air particle movement, producing speed and direction data for wind field determination. The first production variant of the system will sense the wind out to 300 m; longer ranges can be incorporated, if needed.

The Vindicator works by integrating with a wind turbines control system. The fibre optic lasers sense the wind that is approaching the turbine at a range of 300 m and report this to the control system in sufficient time to adjust and orient the turbine. Using control algorithms, the control system will decide how best to exploit the wind and direct internal systems to either change blade pitch and/or re-orient the nacelle to maintain efficiency, reduce the effects of wind shear and gusts, or maintain a constant blade speed. Contact: Mr. Bill Fetzer, Director of Business Development, Catch the Wind Limited, 10781 James Payne Court, Manassas, VA 20110, United States of America. Tel: +1 (703) 393 0754; E-mail:


A new design in wind turbine

In the United Kingdom, BroadStar Wind Systems has introduced the AeroCam, a radical new design in wind turbines. The innovative AeroCam turbine uses horizontal blades arranged in a rotating cylindrical structure, which can be placed on buildings or to infill existing wind farms. With its parallel rotor blades giving it the appearance of a water wheel, it not only looks radically different from traditional windmill designs, but is also more aerodynamically efficient, smaller and more compact.

The main technical innovation in the AeroCam design is its ability to continually adjust the pitch of its rotor blades to an optimum angle as the turbine rotates. This unique active pitch control capability helps optimize its aerodynamic performance for the same reasons a bird changes the shape of its wings in flight. Consequently, AeroCam can handle a wide range of wind velocities, between 6 km/h and 130 km/h. It also generates its power at lower rotational speed; there is hence less noise and vibration, and less wear and tear. AeroCam has a very low start-up speed, requiring a wind velocity of just 6 km/h, and it starts generating power at an unprecedented 8 km/h, according to BroadStar.


Kites for off-grid power

WindLift LLC, the United States, is looking to fly kites to produce power. The company plans to build a kite package that costs US$5,000, will climb up to 300 feet in the air and produce 10 kW of power. The ideal application for the initial version of their kite power package is water pumps and irrigation systems in off-the-grid locations, said WindLift founders Mr. Robert Creighton and Mr. Bart Bartlett. The kite provides about a kilowatt per metre for a 5-20 metre kite.

Launching the WindLift kite is very much the same process used for normal kites, which can be done in about 5-10 minutes in 6-10 mph winds. Once the kite is in the air, it will be able to fly by itself; when the wind dies down it will be automatically reeled in. Contact: Mr. Robert Creighton, CEO, WindLift LLC., 3825 S. Roxboro Street, Suite 136-251, Durham, NC 27713, United States of America.


Ancient Persia inspires modern wind catcher

Windation Energy Systems Inc. of the United States has developed a new wind power machine inspired by a centuries-old idea: the Persian wind catchers. The wind appliance has a 8 ft 8 ft frame around a 10 ft high cylinder. Wind blows at the top and is directed to the bottom where it turns a turbine to generate up to 5 kW of electricity.

Mr. Mark Sheikhrezai, Windation CEO and founder, said he was inspired by ancient Persian buildings that use air currents and reservoirs of water to cool buildings. Using differences in air pressure, these wind catcher buildings create a steady flow of air without any mechanical devices. Although Windations wind appliance does draw air from the top like these buildings, Mr. Sheikhrezai used his expertise in rotors and centrifuges to coax the flow of the wind to generate electricity. As all moving parts are enclosed, there is no potential danger to bats, birds or people. The units will work well with gusty, inconsistent wind, Mr. Sheikhrezai said.


Technologies to protect wind turbine in voltage dips

In Spain, an engineer at the Public University of Navarre has developed two new methods to protect wind generators during voltage dips. In his Ph.D. thesis, Mr. Jess Lpez Taberna describes a rotor model that anticipates how a wind power unit will behave in these situations. One of the protection techniques, which has already been transferred to a manufacturer, allows the generator turbine to remain in operation during these voltage dips and thus prevent the wind energy converter from ceasing to function.

The growth and development of wind energy converters has been slowed by problems that have arisen from the increase in the number of these connected to the electric grid. One of the most important problems is precisely the manner in which the wind generators behave during voltage dips, which happens in a few milliseconds. But, for a machine, this can be an eternity, explained Mr. Lpez. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to seize up.

With wind generators, voltage dips can cause the electronic part of the unit to burn out. The current protection system, the Crowbar, protects the machine but it also halts it, thus causing the generators to cease producing electricity. As a result, the power dip is even more accentuated and, consequently, it is even more difficult to bring the voltage up to its normal operating value.

Mr. Lpez produced a rotor model to study the role each parameter of the machine plays, how they interact, how the current drops if we increase the leak inductances and so on. With this model, it is more or less easy to propose solutions. Mr. Lpezs second system of protection, also patented, continues to be developed for applications in new generations of wind turbines.


More efficient wind turbines

ExRo Technologies Inc., a Canadian start-up company, has developed a new kind of generator that is more efficient in harvesting energy from wind. As the new generator runs over a wider range of conditions than conventional generators do, it could lower the cost of wind turbines while increasing their power output by 50 per cent.

When the shaft running through a generator is turning at the optimal rate, more than 90 per cent of its energy can be converted into electricity. If it speeds up or slows down, the generators efficiency drops dramatically. This is a problem in wind turbines, as wind speed can vary wildly. ExRos new design replaces a mechanical transmission with an electronic one. That increases the range of wind speeds at which it can operate efficiently and makes it more responsive to sudden gusts and lulls. While at the highest wind speeds the blades will still need to be pitched to shed wind load, the generator will allow the turbine to capture more of the energy in high-speed winds. As a result, the turbine can produce 50 per cent more power on average over a year, says Mr. Jonathan Ritchey, ExRos Chief Technology Officer.

In ordinary generators, all coils are wired together. In ExRos generator, in contrast, the individual coils can be turned on and off with electronic switches. At low wind speeds, only a few of the coils will switch on to efficiently harvest the small amount of energy available. At higher wind speeds, more coils will turn on to convert more energy into electricity. The switching is quick enough to suit fast-changing wind speeds.

Instead of arranging all coils inside a very-large-diameter generator, the ExRo generator distributes the coils among several small-diameter generators, in stacks along the length of the shaft. This keeps the rotor on which the magnets are mounted small, making it easy to get it moving or to change its rotation speed. The multiple-stack design also facilitates customizing the generator for a particular wind site easier. Contact: Exro Technologies Inc., 200-1847 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7V 1J7 Canada. Fax: +1 (604) 925 9961; E-mail: info




Buoy turns waves into electricity

A yellow cylinder that floats inside a doughnut bobbing in the waves, just a mile offshore from Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base in Hawaii, the United States, marks the latest phase of a wave energy research programme to power the countrys shore-side military bases and reduce dependence on fossil fuel. The PowerBuoy which resembles an ocean buoy is being developed by Ocean Power Technologies to convert the wave energy to electrical power. It is 3.65 m in diameter, 15.85 m in length and 17 tonnes in total weight. About 4 m of the device floats above water. It has a maximum rated power output of 40 kW.

As the PowerBuoy bobs with the rise and fall of the waves, a piston-like structure moves inside its spar. This movement drives a generator on the ocean floor, producing electricity that is sent to the shore by an underwater cable. The company hopes to develop a 100 MW system using an array of PowerBuoys to lower the cost of generating electricity to US$0.03 to US$0.04 per kilowatt-hour.


Easy maintenance tidal energy system

Sea Generation Ltd. in the United Kingdom is on track to begin full operation of its giant 1.2 MW SeaGen tidal energy system, following the replacement of two rotor blades on the second of its two turbines. The second turbine is now running under test mode, while the first has been generating power into the local grid, at varying levels up to its maximum of 600 kW.

The blade replacement operation also demonstrated the benefits of SeaGens design that allows the rotors to be raised out of the water, so that it can be maintained a small service vessel. When fully operational, the tidal systems twin rotors with 16 m diameter will operate for up to 18-20 hours per day to produce enough clean electricity to power around 1,000 homes.


Fish technology for energy from slow water currents

A University of Michigan (UM) engineer has built a machine that works like a fish to turn potentially destructive vibrations in fluid flows into clean, renewable power. VIVACE, for Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy, is the first known device that could harness energy from water currents slower than 2 knots. While conventional turbines and water mills need an average of 5-6 knots to operate efficiently, most of the currents are slower than 3 knots.

VIVACE is a unique hydrokinetic energy system that relies on vortex induced vibrations undulations that a rounded or cylinder-shaped object makes in a flow of fluid. The object puts kinks in the currents speed as it skims by, causing to form vortices in a pattern on opposite sides of the object. The vortices push and pull the object up and down or left and right, perpendicular to the current. Both in water and air, these vibrations have damaged bridges, cooling towers, docks, oil rigs, coastal buildings, etc.

Prof. Michael Bernitsas of the UM Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering says that VIVACE copies aspects of fish technology. Fish curve their bodies to glide between the vortices shed by the bodies of the fish in front of them. Their muscle power alone cannot propel them through the water at the speed they go, so they ride in each others wake. The working prototype in Prof. Bernitsas lab is just a sleek cylinder attached to springs and hanging horizontally in a tank across a water flow of 1.5 knots. The vortices push and pull the cylinder, creating mechanical energy, which the machine converts into electricity.


Novel technology for power from waves

In China, a collaboration between Chuan Shiyu Machinery and the Institute of Electric Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has recently worked out a display unit to demonstrate the feasibility of wave power generation principle that is completely different from the conventional wave power generation theory. The new method of power generation uses a megnetohydrodynamic generator, which works by creating a solid mechanical resistance to the waves. The method is claimed to enjoy several merits, such as high conversion rate, large power density, compact structure, lower cost and enhanced mobility.



A low-cost fuel cell electrolyte

Indias National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) has developed an efficient, low-cost electrolyte for hydrogen-based fuel cells. NCL researchers have innovated a variant of polybenzimidazole a type of polymer used in making spacesuits that can be used as an electrolyte.

As making fuel cells that use pure hydrogen is prohibitively expensive, scientists make do with the cheaper diluted hydrogen. Diluted hydrogen, however, has its set of problems such as a higher working temperature and corrosive reactions that reduce performance of the cells. The polybenzimidazole variant promises to be an electrolyte that can get around these problems, said Dr. K. Vijayamohan, a senior NCL scientist.

Most hydrogen fuel cells currently use DuPonts Nafion polymer. The NCL polybenzimidazole variant will be at least 100 times cheaper to manufacture than Nafion, said Dr. Vijayamohan. The new electrolyte is superior to Nafion as it is resistant to carbon monoxide and works efficiently at 150C, he said, while Nafion doesnt tolerate temperatures above 80C. However, crucial parameters on the variants viability, such as how many hours it could run without a replacement, remain to be verified.


Zinc-fuelled portable power pack

Power Air, start-up company in the United States, says next year it will introduce a small portable power pack that employs zinc-air fuel cell technology developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The technology an alternative to lithium-ion battery or hydrogen fuel cell creates an electrical current by exposing a zinc solution to the oxygen in air. Power Airs product line, called ZAFC PowerPacks, is aimed at people who need an auxiliary source to extend power of a cell phone for another hour at the end of the day.

In a zinc-air battery or fuel cell, zinc powder or pellets are fed into an electrolyte solution. Exposing the solution to air causes a chemical reaction that starts the flow of electricity. With the ZAFC Powerpack, the consumer would open a lid on the pack to get the current flowing. Inside is a gel that contains the zinc powder and electrolyte. The technology has many advantages over existing battery technologies and that zinc is a better energy source than, say, lithium. Zinc is already used in many products, including batteries, and it is abundant. It has high energy density, which means that batteries or fuel cells can pack more power into a given space as compared with other batteries. It is also safe, and the material can be recycled.


Mobile power based on fuel cells

In the Netherlands, a collaboration between Bredenoord and NedStack Fuel Cell Technology BV has resulted in the development of Purity, a prototype mobile power generator based on fuel cells. Purity is free from polluting emissions such as oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur and can be used wherever AC power is needed. The Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack sees to the conversion of hydrogen into electricity, water and heat. The system can produce 4 kW power for about 40 hours with standard hydrogen cylinders.

NedStacks fuel cell technology is at the base of the Purity power generator. Purity is mobile and works off-grid. The power supply comes with a high efficiency of 40-60 per cent, and zero vibration, sound and hazardous emissions. Contact: Mrs. Margien Storm van Leeuwen, NedStack Fuel Cell Technology BV, P.O. Box 5167, 6802 ED Arnhem, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (26) 319 7600; Fax: +31 (26) 319 7601; E-mail:


Hydrogen fuel cells to power buses

Scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have leveraged their know-how of liquid hydrogen handling to design and develop hydrogen fuel cells to run automobile buses. ISRO and Tata Motors agreed in 2006 to design and develop an automobile bus that uses hydrogen fuel cell, says Mr. V. Gnana Gandhi, ISROs honorary adviser. Technical specifications for all the elements and general specifications for the bus, along with the preliminary and detailed design review for all components and sub-systems, have been completed, Mr. Gandhi added. Tata Motors is working on the locomotive and handling systems of the bus. The first proto-model has already been assembled.




Hydrogen generated using red hot steel

Tata Steel in India has developed a high-temperature cracking method of steam to create hydrogen. In the process of manufacturing steel, red hot slag is created. With the new process, water is sprayed over the red hot slag-steel achieving temperatures of around 1,600C. At high temperatures such as this, water molecules separating into atoms of hydrogen and oxygen.

The upside for Tata Steel is that the process yields around 70 per cent pure hydrogen, which can be used to power its plant. Currently, Tata Steel uses mainly oil for power, but this will be replaced by hydrogen power once the high temperature water splitting process goes online.


Ultra low-carbon hydrogen production

Scientists at Manchester University, the United Kingdom, are working on a new method of producing hydrogen that they claim could reduce the energy required to produce the gas by a factor of 10, potentially a energy-efficient and cost-effective means of powering fuel cells. The research involving 13 universities across the country is on plasma reforming, which scientists believe could slash the temperatures required to produce hydrogen.

Currently, hydrogen is mostly produced through steam reforming, in which catalysts are applied to a mixture of methane and steam at high pressures and temperatures (800-1,000C). Achieving such temperatures requires high levels of energy and as a result, the carbon savings that the zero-emission fuel cells offer are partially offset by the energy spent to produce hydrogen. However, Professor Christopher Whitehead, who leads Manchester Universitys research effort, insists that the plasma-reforming process could help cut the carbon footprint associated with hydrogen production by up to 90 per cent.

Adding an electrical discharge to the plasma initiates the reaction needed to remove hydrogen from methane at relatively low temperature, about 100C, improving the energy efficiency of the process, explained Prof. Whitehead. The process has been pioneered on a small scale to remove pollutants from gas flue pipes, but Prof. Whitehead is confident that a technically feasible version of the process could be developed within five years. The technology would be highly scalable, helping to address the hydrogen distribution problems that experts believe will represent the biggest stumbling block to mainstream adoption of fuel cells.


See-through hydrogen generator

It may look like a simple canister but it can help save money and keep pollution out of the air. Mr. Roger Seratt of Fairdealing Hydrogen Cell Company has developed a new hydrogen cell that he assures will increase fuel mileage of automobiles by up to 40 per cent. Mr. Seratts See-through hydrogen cell technology allows a water-burning hybrid. The hydrogen cell kit simply hooks up to any vehicle without any modification required, he claims.

The unit requires only 12 volts of DC power, and the power is drawn from the battery only when the vehicles ignition switch is on. The cell is filled with a mixture of baking soda and water, adequate to generate hydrogen for 2-4 tanks of petrol, depending on the size of the vehicle.

The hydrogen-oxygen mixture produced is drawn into the vehicle intake system and burned by the engine together with the petrol. The hydrogen gas causes the vehicle to burn the petrol more efficiently and replaces part of the petrol needed to power the vehicle. The result of the system is a quieter, smoother running car, reduced emissions and huge savings, claims Mr. Seratt.


Fifth generation fuel-cell vehicle

A Volkswagen Lingyu running on hydrogen fuel cell was manufactured by Shanghai VW on its latest fuel cell power-train platform. The model is based on Volkswagens Passat. The eco-friendly Lingyu achieves zero emissions, releasing only water as a by-product of the chemical reaction of oxygen and hydrogen that powers the car. Both safety and performance have been improved. The car has a top speed of 150 kmph and can run for more than 300 km without the need for re-charging, according to sources at VW Shanghai.


Lightweight hydrogen tank

Dr. Robin Gremaud, a researcher sponsored by the Netherlands, has shown that an alloy of magnesium, titanium and nickel is excellent at absorbing hydrogen. This light alloy brings a step closer the everyday use of hydrogen as a source of fuel for powering vehicles. A hydrogen tank using this alloy would have a relative weight that is 60 per cent less than a battery pack.

The main problem of using hydrogen in transport is the secure storage of this highly explosive gas. This can be realized by using metals that absorb the gas. However, a drawback of this approach is that it makes the hydrogen tanks somewhat cumbersome. The battery comes off even worse. An electric car would require to carry 317 kg of modern lithium batteries for a journey of 400 km. Dr. Gremauds light metal alloy will cut this down to a hydrogen tank of only 200 kg.

In his research, Dr. Gremaud made use of a technique for measuring the absorbance of hydrogen by metals, based on the switchable mirrors phenomenon discovered at the VU University, Amsterdam that some materials lose reflection ability by absorbing hydrogen. Using this technique of hydrogenography or writing with hydrogen, Dr. Gremaud was able to simultaneously analyse the efficacy of thousands of different combinations of the metals magnesium, titanium and nickel.

The analysis requires each of the three metals to be eroded from an individual source and deposited onto a transparent film in a thin layer of 100 nm using sputtering deposition. This ensures that the three metals are deposited onto the film in different ratios. When the film is exposed to different amounts of hydrogen, it is clearly visible, even to the naked eye, which composition of metals is best at absorbing hydrogen. Dr. Gremaud is the first to use this method for measuring hydrogen absorption.


A revisit to an old hydrogen production experiment

In the early 1800s, during the peak of the Industrial Revolution, science revolved around steam engines and other coal-powered applications. It may hence seem a bit out of place that, in 1833, an Italian physicist, Mr. G.D. Botto, was experimenting with a method for generating hydrogen.

Mr. Bottos main objective was to show to the scientific community that electricity could be obtained by a source of heat through his ingenious device, said Dr. Roberto De Luca of University of Salerno in Italy. Dr. De Luca is part of a team of Italian scientists who revisited Mr. Bottos experiments to investigate whether the technique could have any application for todays energy problems. The Italian team was inspired by the convenience of the 1833 device, which can be easily fabricated using widely available materials. A modified version of the device produced enough electromotive force to generate hydrogen, though it had very low power conversion efficiency.

Mr. Bottos original device consisted of a chain of iron and platinum wires alternately connected to form thermocouples, which are used to convert a temperature difference into an electric voltage. The chain was wrapped around a wooden stick so that the iron-platinum junctions were evenly positioned on opposite sides of the stick. By heating the contraption with a flame of burning alcohol, he could create an electromotive force. He then passed the generated electric current through water to illustrate how the method could be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis.

The Italian team made some major adjustments to Mr. Bottos device. They first considered substituting copper for platinum in the thermocouples and totally replacing the thermocouples with thermoelectric semiconductors for greater efficiency. Also, instead of a flame of burning alcohol, they considered using solar power to heat the thermocouples/semiconductors. To cool the other side and thus create a temperature difference, the wooden stick might be replaced with a hollow electrically insulating material through which water could run to cool the desired junctions.

The researchers then estimated the temperature difference and found it was only about 1 mV. They also estimated a power output of about 20 mW. Despite the low power conversion efficiency, the team proposed that the solar-powered device could generate enough current to produce hydrogen gas through electrolysis.



Olive stones could yield biofuel

Scientists have discovered that olive stones can be turned into bio-ethanol, a renewable fuel that can be used as an alternative to petrol or diesel. The development gives the olive processing industry an opportunity to make profitable use of the four million tonnes of olive stones it generates every year. The process was developed by scientists from the Spanish Universities of Jan and Granada.

The low cost of transporting and transforming olives stones make them attractive for biofuels, said researcher Mr. Sebastin Snchez. The olive stone, expelled in the processing of olive oil and table olives, makes up around a quarter of the total fruit. It is rich in polysaccharides that can be broken down into sugar and then fermented to yield ethanol.


Biodiesel filtration technology

In the United States, Schroeder Biofuels has released a new biodiesel purifying solution, which is capable of purifying biodiesel generated from any feedstock in a single pass process. Eco2Pure is described by the company as a unique cellulose-based, natural and sustainable composition of adsorbents. It has the powerful dry-washing capability of Magnesol, but has the applicability of a column-based treatment, said Mr. Jonathan Dugan, Schroeders biofuels product specialist.

Eco2Pure system works by passing unwashed biodiesel through a fixed bed of purification media. The media clean the fuel by removing the residues, fuel contaminants and soaps. Each kilogram of the product is capable of purifying between 350 to 700 litres of biodiesel, keeping the frequency of media replacement to a minimum, Mr. Dugan said.


Biofuel production using fungi

Prof. Amir Sharon, from the Plant Sciences Department of Tel Aviv University in Israel has genetically modified some fungi to yield large biomass, which can then be converted into a first-rate biofuel.

Prof. Sharon and his colleagues developed a transformation-based approach to cultivating Aspergillus niger that is, the fungus has been genetically engineered to be less sensitive to external conditions and environmental stresses, have improved sustainability in fermentation culture, and have both enhanced growth rate and spore production. As a result, the fungal cultures exhibit a dramatic increase in fresh and dry biomass production, enhanced spore production and extended viability.

Scientists at University of Warwick, the United Kingdom, are co-ordinating a global effort to sequence the genome of the mushroom Agaricus bisporus also known as the table or button mushroom. A better understanding of the mushrooms genome could assist in the creation of biofuels and help remove heavy metals from contaminated soils, the scientists feel. Button mushrooms are highly efficient secondary decomposers of plant material, such as leaves and litter, breaking down the material that is too tough for other fungi and bacteria to handle.

Mushroom research has reached a higher stage with scientists saying that the Chinese mushroom that is growing in Novozymes A/S laboratories may hold a solution to the global energy problems. Scientists in the Danish company are testing mushrooms and lichen to find one that will turn corn cobs and sugarcane stalks into biofuel. An affordable alternative to petrol made from plant waste will end concerns that global hunger for energy is driving up food prices worldwide.

Fungi like mushrooms and lichen make enzymes to eat rotting logs and decaying leaves. Biofuel producers use these enzymes to break down the complex carbohydrates in plant cells into a soup-like mixture of simple sugars that yeast can eat. In a process much similar to making beer, yeast ferments the mixture, producing ethanol. Enzymes now on the market cant break down the tougher parts of plants effectively enough to be affordable.


Biogas converted to electricity and heat using fuel cells

Helbio S.A. of Greece, a subsidiary of Morphic Technologies AB in Sweden, has been converting biogas from sewage to electricity and heat. Following a four-month trial with Patras Municipal Corporation for Water Supply and Waste Water Management starting in June 2008, the company has decided to launch a range of these energy systems in Europe. The trial system produces 20 kW of electrical energy and 25 kW of heat energy.

The first part of the system is a purification filter for the biogas that filters out sulphur, malodorous substances and other impurities. The biogas is then converted into hydrogen using Helbios reformer before being fed into a fuel cell manufactured by the Italian subsidiary of Morphic, Exergy Fuel Cells.

The trial has demonstrated that the generated hydrogen is pure enough to run a fuel cell without contaminating the membranes and catalyst. The carbon monoxide (CO) content of the hydrogen must be less than 50 ppm. Helbios biogas reformer has been shown to achieve a purity of 1.5 ppm CO, which is considered exceptionally good. The next step will be to offer products with higher outputs 125 kW and 250 kW fuel cells in partnership with Exergy Fuel Cells.


Mr. Chuck Flynn, a research chemist at the Eastern Ag Research Centre of Montana State University (MSU), the United States, is studying the potential of biodiesel from locally grown oilseeds. SunBio Systems, based in California, set up a small, farm-style biorefinery and reactor at the MSU site. Mr. Flynn is making biodiesel in the hope of refining some that will measure up to ASTM standards. If it doesnt meet ASTM standards, the biodiesel wont burn clean in the engine.

Mr. Steve Austin, SunBio Systems President, said the company has set up a couple of these small refineries in the country. The goal is to find several producers who want to pool together to buy a refinery, set it up in a shop, grow their own oilseeds, crush them and make biodiesel to run their farm equipment.

Mr. Flynn said he will be using all different kinds of oilseeds including canola, sunflower, camelina and flax. After crushing both oleic and linoleic types of these oilseeds, they will use the oil to create the biodiesel. Then they test the product to measure its horsepower. Mr. Flynn said the research involves looking at how biodiesel developed from the crops compares in terms of storage, combustion, gelling properties and energy levels.

In the biodiesel process, Mr. Flynn uses methanol, catalyst and the oil. He combines those in the reactor, and heats and mixes the ingredients until a reaction takes place. Biodiesel and glycerol are formed, and 95 per cent of the glycerine settles out in a half hour. Excess methanol is then removed. After some time, the biodiesel is washed to remove some of the impurities. Thereafter, the substance is passed through a resin column to remove as much impurities as possible and all of the methanol. Mr. Flynn said researchers have developed hybrid oilseeds that can be used to make biodiesel. Since biodiesel freezes, the oilseeds need to make the type of biodiesel that can pass the cold point test.


Research in earnest on biofuels

In the United States, Sustainable Energy Research Centre (SERC) of the Mississippi State University (MSU) is combating rising energy demands with focused research in bio-oil and bio-crude fuel sources. SERC co-director Dr. Gleen Steel said SERC research has moved from small-scale testing to near-commercial development and usage of bio-oil.

Currently, MSU researchers can produce an estimated litre of bio-oil per day, Dr. Steele said. SERCs research into bio-oil utilizes trees, one of Mississippis largest resources. SERC research has developed a process that stabilizes the bio-oil and allows the oil to be refined into a product comparable to petrol and diesel. These processes have the potential to create new industries in the state. SERC bio-crude research focuses on microbes that decompose waste by targeting the colonies that efficiently turn waste into oil, and extracting glyceride material from the decomposition process.


In the United Kingdom, the University of Oxford chemists have developed a process for converting glycerol an unwanted by-product in the production of biodiesel into methanol, another potential biofuel. The process offers an alternative production route for methanol, the vast majority of which is currently produced from natural gas. Prof. Edman Tsang, an inorganic chemist at Oxford and lead researcher on the project, says the glycerol-to-methanol process essentially creates methanol for free. Converting the unwanted glycerol to methanol can help make biofuel businesses more financially viable, he says.

The conversion process is attractive because it is relatively simple and inexpensive, as it operates at relatively mild conditions and low temperatures a pressure of 20 bar and a temperature of 100C sufficient, Prof. Tsang says. The process uses an unspecified precious metal catalyst that, according to Prof. Tsang, is extremely selective, producing almost no by-products such as methane or carbon dioxide. The new process has been patented.


Production of bio-ethanol from bamboo

In Japan, a team of researchers at Shizuoka University has succeeded in developing a new technology to efficiently produce bio-ethanol from bamboo. The woody grass grows faster than trees and using it for biofuel production will not impact any food sources, unlike like sugar cane or corn. This makes bamboo an attractive alternative for producing the fuel.

Led by Dr. Kiyohiko Nakasaki, a biochemical engineering professor, the team has developed a method of rendering bamboo into an ultra-fine powder, which, at 50 m, is 10 times finer than that produced by previous methods. To produce ethanol from bamboo, its cellulose, the largest component of its plant cells, needs to be broken down into a simple sugar, glucose, before fermentation. However, cellulose is hard to break down, and previous efficiency rates only reached 2 per cent.

With the new method, cellulose can be converted into glucose at an efficiency of 75 per cent. The method is a combination of various techniques, including removing lignin the second-largest component of plant cells using lasers, and a more efficient biodegrading process. The team is aiming to raise that figure to 80 per cent in three years, and lower production costs to around 100 yen (US$1) per litre.


Pond scum power: Fuel from algae

Renewable Energy Group of Ames, the United States, says it has developed a process that takes the oil from algae and converts it into biodiesel fuel. Algae oil would give us a third option as a biodiesel feedstock after soy bean oil and animal fats, states Mr. Daniel Oh, Chief Operating Officer of Renewable Energy Group.

The soy bean oil that has been the basic oil feedstock for biodiesel has doubled in price in the recent past, robbing operating biodiesel plants of their profitability and forcing shutdowns or delays at other facilities.

People who have made fun of green slime and pond scum will not do it in the future, when they find out not only how valuable the oil is but also the by-products, states Mr. Jimmy Simpson, an algae researcher at Maharishi University of Management. Mr. Simpson had won a US $2 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund for an algae experiment that will grow different types of algae cultures in Iowas varying climate conditions and separate the oil. Mr. Simpsons group will work with a process that he says can take a by-product of algae after the oil is extracted, and convert it into a high-protein human food additive. A third Iowa algae project is planned for Green Plains Renewable Energys ethanol plant, where the company plans to build a greenhouse close to the plant to extract oil that can be a feedstock for ethanol production.



Directory Indian Wind Power 2008

The current edition of Directory Indian Windpower, like the previous seven yearly issues, carries comprehensive data on wind potential sites in the various states of India. The 850-page directory also covers promotional policies and incentives of the state and central governments, supportive role of the Centre for Wind Energy Technology, the technical particulars of the wind electric generator, the current scenario on wind power development, and the regulatory environment in the country.

It provides encyclopaedic information on the windfarms in India and the details of the various stake-holders, compiled with more than 2,500 entries. Procedural steps for the establishment of windfarm, guidelines for diversion of forest land for wind power projects, etc. are some of the related subjects touched upon in the Directory. In nutshell, the Directory will serve as an indispensable reference book for all individuals and agencies directly or indirectly connected with the development of wind energy sector.

Contact: Consolidated Energy Consultants Limited, 162, Maharana Pratap Nagar, Zone II, Bhopal 462 011, India. Tel: +91 (755) 255 3681, 255 5479; Fax: +91 (755) 255 0481; E-mail:

Ocean Wave Energy: Current Status and Future Perspectives

This reference book provides an updated and global perspective on ocean wave energy conversion. The book is oriented to the practical solutions that this new industry has found so far and the problems that any device needs to face. It describes the principles applied to machines that transform wave power into electricity, and also provides a historical review, state of the art of modern systems, a full-scale prototype experience and future perspectives.

The authors are recognised researchers, and they give an overall perspective of the state of the art of different technologies. The book does not intend to point to a specific technology; the main motivation is to provide, both to academia and industry, a first contact with the current status of wave energy conversion technologies, hopefully inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Contact: Springer Asia Limited, Unit 1703, Tower I, Enterprise Square, 9 Sheung Yuet Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2723 9698; Fax: +852 2724 2366; E-mail:


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