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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Jan-Feb 2010

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New and Renewable Energy Jan-Feb 2010

ISSN: 0971-5630

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

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

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Contents

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IN THE NEWS

India targets 1,000 MW solar power

India is readying to launch its Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power. The Cabinet is going to consider the Mission document, which requires India to generate 1,000 MW of solar power every year by 2013. A complete package has been proposed to propel the power sector into ‘solar reforms’ that could lead to annual production of 20,000 MW by 2020 if Phase I of the solar mission goes well. The country currently produces less than 5 MW every year.

The Mission is envisaged to entail three phases with the ambitious targets and financial mechanisms for the latter two phases being reviewed on the basis of performance in the first three-year phase. In the first phase, from 2010 to 2013, the government is proposing to generate 200 MW of off-grid solar power and cover 7 million sq. m with solar collectors.

By the end of Phase III in 2022, the Mission hopes to produce 20,000 MW of grid-based solar power, 2,000 MW of off-grid solar power and cover 20 million sq. m with collectors. Solar lighting systems would also be provided to 9,000 villages under existing schemes by providing soft loans which would be refinanced by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited.

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. will be made the nodal agency in the first phase to purchase solar power from producers at the rate recently established by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. It would then sell the power to state utilities, crediting the sale against the compulsory renewable energy purchase targets that the respective state electricity regulatory commissions set up. Specific targets for solar power may also be set up for the utilities to buy as part of their power portfolios.
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Faster registration of RE projects in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the National Renewable Energy (NRE) Board and the Board of Investments (BoI) have agreed to a transition arrangement to facilitate continuing registration of huge renewable energy (RE) projects. Mr. Elmer Hernandez, Trade & Industry Undersecretary and Managing Head of BoI, said the transition arrangement is necessary while the NRE Board and the BoI have yet to come up with the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).

While the MoA is getting finalized, the RE projects need a provisional certification from the Department of Energy that they are classified as RE projects to enable them to be registered with the BoI, Mr. Hernandez said. Under the Renewable Energy Act, the BoI is mandated to administer the incentives granted to RE projects. As such, all the RE projects seeking registration with the BoI should be endorsed by the Department of Energy (DoE).

“There are billions worth of RE projects,” Mr. Hernandez said, adding that the RE projects are expected to improve its investment figure for 2009. As of August 2009, approved BoI investments had reached over P70 billion (US$1.55 billion), 70 per cent behind the investments haul last year (US$6.36 billion). He said that BoI would be able to catch up, and that big ticket investments in green energy projects, mining and oil refinery, particularly from the Middle East, are underway. DoE has reported an estimated P90 billion (US$2 billion) worth of RE projects to be put up in the country.
Source: www.mb.com.ph

China’s largest biogas project connects to grid

The 20,000 m3 Minhe biogas project in Shandong, one of China’s largest biogas projects, is now successfully connected to the grid. Minhe is the first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project, which has been registered with the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board, United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with annual revenue of •0.6 million.

The project is expected to handle 180,000 tonnes of animal waste, produce 10.95 m3 of methane and 250,000 tonnes of organic fertilizer, and generate 21.9 million kWh of electricity. China has 652 CDM registered projects in fields such as wind power, hydropower, biomass and landfill, which account for 34.8 per cent of the total worldwide.
Source: www.biofuels-news.com

Electrification in Pakistan’s remote villages

On directives of the Prime Minister, Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is to electrify 7,874 remote villages in Sindh and Balochistan; 6,968 of these villages are located in Balochistan. According to planning and development sources, the National Rural Electrification Programme is the main project being implemented by Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to provide electricity to the villages of all the four provinces in the country.

Solar energy projects are to supplement WAPDA’s initiatives and are to be implemented in the areas where electricity cannot be supplied through national grid due to technical, financial and economical hindrances, the sources added. The villages selected for electricity supply through renewable energy technologies are located beyond 20 km radius of national grid.

AEDB developed four plans for rural electrification via renewable energy in Sindh and Balochistan costing PRs 1,167.73 million (US$13.9 million) and these were approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in March 2006. Three projects envisage 100 villages each to be electrified in the remote areas of Balochistan (total 300 villages) and one in Sindh (100 Villages).
Source: www.pakobserver.net

Indonesia to electrify rural villages with solar power

Indonesia will spend US$84 million to build large-scale solar plants to supply electricity to rural areas of the country, according to Mr. Jacobus Purwono, Director General of Electricity at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. The Ministry has plans to build 250 solar power plants, with a total capacity of 2.2 MW by 2014, to provide electricity to remote areas that have no access to the national power grid.

According to government data, only 65 per cent of Indonesia’s 240 million citizens have access to electricity. The population is spread out over more than 17,000 islands, and some of the easternmost isles are not connected to the National Grid. “The electricity produced by the plants will benefit between 150,000 and 200,000 households in different parts of the country,” Mr. Purwono said.

The solar plants are part of Indonesia’s alternative energy plans, which call for installation of solar panels at 192,000 homes, construction of 570 small-scale hydroelectric plants with a total capacity of 45 MW, and the development of 270 wind farms with a combined capacity of 21 MW. Equipping remote regions with renewable energy sources would help electrify villages while keeping with the plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions 26 per cent by 2020, said the government.
Source: www.businessgreen.com

Malaysia’s RE policy to be unveiled soon

The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water of Malaysia has finalized the new National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, which is expected to play a key role in the future energy mix and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development. This new policy and approach would be unveiled after its endorsement by the Cabinet, Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said in his keynote address at the Second National Solar Photovoltaic Conference, held in November 2009.

The Minister said that the new Renewable Energy Policy aimed to enhance the use of indigenous renewable energy resources towards the national energy autonomy and sustainable socio-economic development. He noted the introduction of an appropriate regulatory framework to facilitate the Feed-in Tariff mechanism as the basic thrust of the policy. A legal team has been appointed to draft the new Renewable Energy Act, which is expected to be approved by the Parliament in 2010.

Datuk Chin said the government was serious in promoting green technology and solar energy. The National Technology Council will meet in December 2009 for the first time to oversee the progress in green technology. The government is aiming to have five per cent of power in the country coming from various renewable sources by 2050, without including hydro-electric plants.
Source: www.bernama.com

Republic of Korea mulls over biofuels

Motorists in the Republic of Korea could be using more eco-friendly fuels in their vehicles in just a few years’ time. The introduction of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) system, which would mandate the use of a biofuel-and-petrol mixture in vehicles, is currently under consideration. The government will review its plans and if everything works out, the RFS system could be implemented as early as 2013.

The RFS system will see the minimum proportion of biodiesel fuel contained in petrol grow. Currently petrol in the Republic of Korea only contains 1.5 per cent of vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel. If successful, the move would be a breakthrough for the use of renewable energy in the country. When the pilot scheme was launched in 2002 to ensure that petrol contained 20 per cent biodiesel fuel, it met strong opposition from refiners and carmakers regarding its quality.
Source: www.biofuels-news.com

Viet Nam eyes rice husk as clean energy source

As part of its efforts to fight climate change, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam is working with the World Bank on an initiative to develop rice husk biomass as a source of clean energy. The advantages and challenges in using rice husk came in for discussion at a recent seminar on “Rice husk biomass: turning waste into energy and profit,” held in Ho Chi Minh City by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank, and the Ministry.

Speakers highlighted the benefits of using rice husk, pointing out that besides providing electricity and serving as a way to dispose of agricultural waste, ash from the husk, a by-product at power plants, can be used in the cement and steel industries. A study released by IFC showed that Viet Nam, one of the world’s largest rice producers – estimated at 7.52 million tonnes in 2010 and increasing to 7.9 million tonnes by 2020 – had the potential to turn rice husk into a source of clean energy to replace fossil fuels. IFC expects around 1.5 million tonnes to be used to generate 1.2 billion kWh of power annually from 2010.

There were also challenges, the experts said, such as difficulty in mobilising investment, inadequate policy framework and doubts about sustainable rice husk supply. The Ministry and the World Bank are working on a policy framework to promote renewable energy resources like biomass. Besides, IFC will work to build partnerships between rice mills and traders to secure a steady supply. It will also provide funds to local banks for entering the business of financing renewable energy.
Source: www.vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn

Philippines targets geothermal energy development

The Philippine government aims to approve contracts to explore and develop the country’s massive geothermal energy resources, which could attract more than US$2.5 billion in private investment, the Division Chief for Geothermal Energy at the Philippine Energy Department, Mr. Alejandro Oanes, stated. The world’s second-largest developer of geothermal energy, the Philippines plans to approve 19 deals to allow foreign and domestic companies access to geothermal projects, Mr. Oanes added.

“Incentives for renewable projects are giving (the country’s) geothermal development a much needed boost,” Mr. Oanes claimed. Tariff exemptions and tax holidays for renewable energy projects are boosting investment in clean energy in the Philippines, with the government recently awarding 87 contracts to develop alternative energy sources.

Geothermal power accounted for 17 per cent of the country’s total power mix at the end of 2008, with installed capacity close to 2,000 MW, Energy Department figures showed. The government was issuing tenders for the development of 10 geothermal sites and negotiating nine more deals directly with various companies, Mr. Oanes said. Combined, the deals could harness more than 620 MW of geothermal energy.
Source: www.reuters.com

Malaysia to reduce biofuel in fuel mix

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry of Malaysia is planning to reduce the biofuel blend with fossil fuel diesel to 3 per cent from the current 5 per cent owing to the slow take-up rate. Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said his Ministry would be tabling a paper on the proposal to the Cabinet soon.

The government had introduced B5 programme, which called for a 5 per cent blend of palm methyl ester with diesel, for government vehicles beginning in February 2010. The government departments involved in the programme include the Defence Ministry, Selangor’s Public Works Department and Kuala Lumpur City Hall. So far, about 4,000 government vehicles are using B5.
Source: www.bernama.com

New technology set to turn CNG greener

In a move towards converting to a greener fuel, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has started the process of optimizing the engines of certain vehicles for use with hydrogen-blended CNG (HCNG). After research, SIAM and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have hit upon an ideal blend of 18 per cent hydrogen with CNG to produce the least quantity of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and give the highest power to vehicles.

HCNG is among the latest technology under consideration for reduction in vehicular pollution. SIAM Director General Mr. Dilip Chenoy said that by April 2010, “We should be ready and will be converting a fleet of about 50 vehicles to run on the cleaner fuel. Once they are tested for about 50,000 km or more, we will then start retrofitting all CNG vehicles for the new fuel.” This move would mean that almost all public transport in New Delhi will be changing over to HCNG. While CNG reduced sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, it did lead to problems with emissions of NOx and carbon dioxide (CO2). HCNG is known to reduce both CO2 and NOx levels in emissions, and promises to give better mileage since HCNG is 1.13 times as much as CNG in terms of volume.
Source: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Three-dimensional photovoltaic system

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the United States, have developed a new type of threedimensional photovoltaic (PV) system. The approach using zinc oxide nanostructures, grown on optical fibres and coated with dye-sensitized solar cell materials, could allow PV systems to be hidden from view and located away from traditional locations such as rooftops.

“Using this technology, we can make photovoltaic generators that are foldable, concealed and mobile,” said Prof. Zhong Lin Wang from Georgia Tech School of Materials Science & Engineering. “Optical fibre could conduct sunlight into a building’s walls, where the nanostructures would convert it to electricity. This is truly a three-dimensional solar cell,” he revealed.

Fabrication of the new PV system begins with optical fibre. First, the researchers remove the cladding layer, then apply a conductive coating to the surface of the fibre before seeding the surface with zinc oxide. Next, they grow aligned zinc oxide nanowires around the fibre much like the bristles of a bottle brush. The nanowires are then coated with the dye-sensitized materials that convert light to electricity. Sunlight entering the optical fibre passes into the nanowires, where it interacts with the dye molecules to produce electrical current. A liquid electrolyte between the nanowires collects the electrical charges. The result is a hybrid nanowire/optical fibre system that can be up to six times as efficient as planar zinc oxide cells with the same surface area.

Prof. Wang and his research team have reached an efficiency of 3.3 per cent and hope to reach 7-8 per cent after surface modification. While lower than silicon solar cells, this efficiency would be useful for practical energy harvesting. If they can do that, the potentially lower cost of their approach could make it attractive for many applications. Contact: Mr. John Toon, Research News & Publications Office, Georgia Institute of Technology, 75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314, Atlanta, Georgia 30308, United States of America. Tel: +1 (404) 894-6986; E-mail: jtoon@gatech.edu.
Source: www.gtresearchnews.gatech.edu

Hybrid solar cell aims for low-cost power

Most current solar cells use crystalline silicon or cadmium telluride, but growing a high-purity crystal is energy- and labour-intensive, making the cells expensive. The next generation solar cells, called hybrid solar cells, use a blend of cheaper organic and inorganic materials. To combine these materials effectively, scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy have refined a technique to manufacture solar cells by creating tubes of semiconducting material and then growing polymers directly inside them. The process could be significantly cheaper than the one in current use.

Hybrid solar cells have two separate types of semiconducting material: one conducts electrons, the other holes. At the junction between the two semiconductors, the electronhole pair gets pulled apart, creating a current. In designing an alternative, the scientists paired an electrondonating conjugated polymer with the electron acceptor titanium dioxide (TiO2), which readily forms nanotubes. Rows of tiny, uniform nanotubes sprout across a film of titanium that has been submerged in an electrochemical bath.

As filling these nanotubes with the organic polymer could end up with the polymer being twisted and bent, which leads to inefficiencies, the researchers hit on the idea of growing the polymer directly inside the tubes. They filled the tubes with a polymer precursor, turned on ultraviolet light, and let the polymers grow within the tubes. Tests suggest the polymer and TiO2 mingle at the molecular level, and together they are able to capture light at wavelengths inaccessible to either of the two materials alone. This “homegrown” method is potentially much less expensive than the energy-intensive process that produces the silicon crystals used in today’s solar cells. These devices clearly outperform those fabricated by filling the nanotubes with pre-grown polymer, producing about 10 times more electricity from absorbed sunlight.
Source: www.physorg.com

Research for super efficient solar cells

In Australia, University of Sydney researchers Dr. Tim Schmidt and Prof. Max Crossley have come up with an ingenious low-cost device to harvest low-energy photons, with the potential of significantly boosting the efficiency of conventional solar cells using a process called “upconversion”. Researchers, from the University’s School of Chemistry, have achieved a massive jump in upconversion efficiency, enabling increased efficiency in single threshold solar cells by about one-third.This is done by harvesting the part of the solar spectrum currently unused by solar cells. The team is synthesising unique sensitizer and emitter molecules to bring about tailor-made devices to boost solar energy conversion efficiencies in amorphous silicon and crystalline silicon solar cells.

The findings pave the way to boosting the efficiency limit to over 50 per cent under the standard solar spectrum and up to 63 per cent under 100-fold solar concentration. By performing upconversion cheaply, the researchers lift the ceiling afflicting traditional solar calls and bring a revolution in solar cell efficiencies.
Source: www.azonano.com

Technology to boost solar power generation

A new high-performance coating technology would enhance a solar panel’s power generation capacity by 5 per cent, claimed Mr. S.P. Gon Chaudhuri, Managing Director of West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC), India. He said representatives of Japan-based Kenko Corporation and Chem-Well Co. Ltd. had recently explained their new technology to him.

“The company has developed a high performance coating for solar cell (Airrin PV-100) that will help solar panels to absorb and generate 5 per cent more power than normal panels without the coating,” Mr. Gon Chaudhuri said. The new coating is a kind of spray on the solar panels. It is said to increase the absorption and power generation capacity of a solar panel by 5 per cent. “Surprisingly, the cost of this material is very nominal,” Mr. Gon Chaudhuri explained.
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Thin-film solar cell with high efficiency

Solar cells made from cheap nanocrystal-based inks could be as efficient as the conventional inorganic cells currently used in solar panels. Solexant, the United States, is currently manufacturing solar cells to test the technology. To compete with other thin-film solar manufacturers, Solexant is using simpler, cheaper printing processes and materials, as well as on lower initial capital costs to build its plants. The company expects to sell modules for US$1/watt, with efficiencies above 10 per cent.

Solexant has licensed methods for growing nanocrystals and making them into inks from Prof. Paul Alivisatos of the University of California, Berkeley, and Interim Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. According to Prof. Alivisatos, the advantage of these materials is their potential to combine low cost with high performance.

Solexant would not disclose what the nanoparticle inks are made of, but says they are suspensions of rod-shaped, semiconducting nanocrystals that are 4 nm in diameter and 20-30 nm long. The Solexant cells are printed on a metal foil as the substrate. Nanocrystal films are simple to print but have poor electrical properties, as electrons tend to get trapped between the small particles.

Solexant begins with nanocrystals because they are easier to print, and heats them as they are printed, causing them to fuse together into larger, high-quality microcrystals that don’t have as many places for electrons to lose their way.

The remaining parts of the solar cell, including electrical contacts and light-absorbing layer, are also printed on the flexible metal films. This process allows Solexant to print very large areas. When complete, the cells are cut and then topped with a rigid piece of glass. Making the entire cell using a roll-to-roll process gives Solexant an advantage over the other thin-film photovoltaic companies that print on glass, which is heavier and limited to small areas.
Source: www.technologyreview.com

Record efficiency in solar cells

Sharp Corporation, Japan, has developed a compound solar cell that has achieved 35.8 per cent conversion efficiency. Developing a new base layer for its triple-junction compound solar cell has improved on Sharp’s previous conversion efficiency by almost 4 per cent.

To improve the photo-sensitivity of the stacked compound layers, the company replaced the germanium base layer in the triple-junction cell with indium-gallium arsenide. Germanium generates a lot of current but much of this is wasted, the new compound is more efficient at utilizing the current generated. Before creating the new structure, Sharp managed an impressive 31.5 per cent conversion efficiency. Using the new compound has raised this to 35.8 per cent, confirmed by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology. These results have been achieved at the research level with a 1 cm cell, which means that the technology has not yet been put into any application.
Source: www.gizmag.com

WIND ENERGY

Wind power systems with performance monitor

Windspire Energy Inc., the United States, manufactures the Windspire wind power system that generates about 2,000 kWh of energy in one year, at 9 m/s average wind speed. The economical as well as visually attractive wind power system has a 1.2 kW wind turbine and offers ultra quiet operation. The propeller-less wind turbine is 1.2 m in width and is mounted at a height of about 9 m.

Windspire is a complete wind power system featuring a high-efficiency generator, hinged monopole, integrated inverter and a wireless performance monitor. The monitoring software, WindSync, helps monitor the wind power system in real time. The wind energy generator system features an aircraft aluminium and steel construction, and industrialgrade corrosion-resistant paint. The Windspire system is designed to withstand ice and snow. Its vertical axis rotor offers a maximum speed of 400 rpm. Other key features are instantaneous wind tracking, redundant electronic speed control and custom grid-tie inverter. The cut-in wind speed is 3.5 m/s, while the survival wind speed is 47 m/s.
Source: www.azocleantech.com

Efficiency gains for wind turbines

By using hydraulic pumps and drive motors based on digital displacement technology, Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd., the United Kingdom, has developed a prototype hydraulic transmission system for a 1.5 MW wind turbine that it claims could be a more reliable and less expensive solution than mechanical gearbox and direct coupling.

The concept of digital displacement originated from the research of Prof.Stephen Salter at Edinburgh University, the United Kingdom. While developing devices to generate power from the ocean, Prof. Salter recognized that a hydraulic transmission system could provide a means to transfer wave energy into a source of electricity. He set about developing the technology that is now being commercialized by Artemis. Digital displacement, which uses electronically actuated valves to control the flow of hydraulic fluid in hydraulic pumps and motors, provides some key technical advantages over conventional designs.

The displacement of a pump or the speed of a motor can be accurately controlled by opening or closing the valves associated with each cylinder. Electronic control of the valve timing eliminates the high-frequency noise associated with existing hydraulic pumps and motors. Pumps and motors based on the new technology are more than 90 per cent efficient, even at partial flow rates – close to uniform efficiency over the whole displacement range. In applications such as wind energy, where the average load on a system is 30 per cent of the peak power, that part-load efficiency would be critical, said Dr. Michael Fielding of Artemis.
Source: www.theengineer.co.uk

More reliable wind turbine design

Researchers at the National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (Risø DTU) and their European colleagues have found a way to develop a more reliable wind turbine design. By taking detailed measurements of the load distribution on a 10 m long wind turbine blade in natural wind conditions, the team can offer precise information concerning the wind flow over the turbine blade surface.

The team, led by Risø DTU Wind Energy Division’s Mr. Helge Aagaard Madsen and Mr. Christian Bak, included researchers from the Danish groups Vestas, LM Glasfibre and DONG Energy, and Siemens from Germany. LM Glasfibre developed the wind turbine blade, which has 350 measuring points formed by pressure sensors and microphones, among others. These features are linked to a measuring laboratory at the root of the wind turbine blade. The Norwegian group Det Norske Veritas (DNV) checked the safety calculations for the wind turbine.

Over 12 measuring periods from late spring to late summer, the team obtained extensive data. It has also “listened” to the air flow across the blade using 60 microphones and recording 50,000 measurements a second, thereby obtaining a very detailed picture of how the wind is translated into load on the blades. “Our measurements are by far the most comprehensive to date,” said Dr. Madsen.

According to the researchers, one of the objectives of the experiment is to provide a basis for designing the optimum wind turbine blade profile. The goals are to find a balance between design strength and sensitivity, as well as to guarantee that the maximum amount of energy is Windspire wind turbin produced in a consistent manner. The team also hopes to establish the difference between the properties of a blade profile on a full-scale wind turbine in the open air, and the properties of a similar profile under controlled wind conditions in a wind tunnel.
Source: www.ec.europa.eu

‘Energy bags’ to solve wind flow dips

Speaking at a recent Engineers Ireland seminar, Dr. Seamus Garvey, professor of dynamics at the University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom, said that the wind farms – featuring larger turbines and new tower designs – could be combined with compressed air energy storage devices that store power until it is needed.

Dr. Garvey proposed a design using robust and durable turbine blades that are larger than current ones, combined with floating turbine towers that are moored to the seabed. This would reduce the cost of the turbines by as much as 80 per cent, he has calculated. Integrating these with wave and tidal farms and energy storage devices would bring the cost of electricity produced in line with, or below, coal power. The compressed air storage devices that he proposed – called “energy bags” – are made of steel or polymer. They would draw air from solar-powered heat exchangers and store it. The air would be released at peak energy demand to turn the wind turbine to generate electricity.
Source: www.irishtimes.com

Rugged wind power generator

Helix wind power generators from Helix Wind Corp., the United States, are suitable for residential and commercial applications. These devices mounted at a height of 10.5 m can generate electricity in a low wind speed of 4.5 m/s. The wind speed, output, temperature of the bearings in the generator, and the system performance can be monitored.

Helix wind Model S322 wind generator is designed for commercial and residential utilization. The wind power generator has a rugged aluminium and steel construction to withstand harsh climates and environment. As this wind system uses omni-directional wind immediately, there is no need for yaw control. The rugged aluminium alloy rotor measures 2.64 m × 1.2 m. The rotor blades have a swept area of 3.19 m. The wind turbine can generate an output ranging from 110 V AC to 240 V AC. It does not need a braking system for normal operation and maintenance could be carried over manually.
Source: www.azocleantech.com

High efficiency wind turbine

A breakthrough in wind turbine efficiency by Dr. Markus Mueller and Dr. Alasdair McDonald of the Institute for Energy Systems, University of Edinburgh, the United Kingdom, has the potential to revolutionize the wind power industry by making large turbines more failure-proof by cutting their weight in half. Normally, wind turbine blades are connected to a generator via a gearbox. The new technology substituted a Cshaped core generator (initially in a 20 kW prototype) to test how by changing the mechanical structure of the generator they could still maintain rigidity and structural integrity while cutting the weight by half.

The structural mass of a direct-drive generator can exceed 80 per cent of the total mass. It is required to overcome the magnetic attraction force between the stationary and moving parts of the generator. This attraction force can be 10 times the torque producing shear stress. A successful direct-driven generator will be able to produce a moderate to high shear stress while negating the effect of the magnetic attraction. The new concept takes the active materials in the machine – copper, magnets and steel – and changes their relative positions to minimize the effects of the normal force. Thus, the machine structure only has to support the mass of the active components, leading to a reduction in total mass of about 55 per cent, as compared with conventional permanent magnet (PM) machines. A new PM generator topology introduced has the relative positions of active components countering the magnetic attraction forces. As a result, the structural support only has to bear the mass of the machine. The key to the C-GEN technology is the elimination of undesirable magnetic forces, simplifying manufacture and assembly, and saving in mass and cost. Contact: Mr. Derek Shepherd, Acting CEO, NGenTec Ltd., Adam Smith House, Melville Castle Estate, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH18 1AW, United Kingdom. E-mail: derek.shepherd@ngentec.com.
Source: www.evwind.es

WAVE / TIDAL ENERGY

Kites harvest tidal power from slow currents

Minesto, based in Sweden, is developing a new technology, named Deep Green, for electricity generation from slow water currents that could raise tidal power potential significantly. Minesto has unveiled a way of using an underwater kite that can harness tidal power.

In principle, the new technology is a two stage process. The first stage increases the relative flow speed entering a tidal turbine. When the tide hits the wing it creates a lift force, since the kite is tethered to ocean bed and is controlled by a rudder, the kite can be taken in the desired trajectory. The method increases the flow velocity into the turbine with 10 times the current speed. The following stage uses a conventional plant to convert kinetic energy into electrical power.

The tidal power plant weighs 13-14 tonnes/MW and power generation costs are in the range of •0.06 to 0.14/kWh. Minesto’s tidal concept has been verified on a scale of 1:10 and the company is now working on the next prototype in a 1:4 scale.
Source: www.renewableenergyfocus.com

Vertical axis turbine

A tidal stream energy turbine attached to a mooring rather than a rigid foundation could cut the cost and complexity of tidal energy installations, according to Cormarent, a start-up company in the United Kingdom. Cormarent’s vertical axis turbine, which has been analytically modelled and tested in the laboratory, is designed to take water flows from any direction without loosing efficiency.

Mr. David McSherry, Cormarent’s creator, said the turbine incorporates concentric rotors designed to counter-rotate, a feature that provides better buoyancy. The device is held in position by tension leg mooring and does not need to be rigidly mounted to the seabed. This allows the device to be installed at midstream and in water that is more “energetic”.

“We are looking at our device going up to as high as 2 MW in the more energetic flows,” Mr. McSherry said. Cormarent’s 1 MW units are being designed for waters deeper than 40 m, but the devices could theoretically be designed for waters up to 150 m in depth. The device’s main selling point, Mr. McSherry added, will be the ease of its installation and operation. The cost of electricity per megawatt hour generated from the turbine is expected to be comparable to coal-fired power plants with carbon-capture and storage technology or new nuclear plants.
Source: www.theengineer.co.uk

Flight technology to allow for wave energy harvesting

Scientists from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy are currently working on a new method of making wave energy available for harvest. The technology would be able to exceed the current limitations that plague the industry, and could result in power plants that can better withstand the rigours of the sea, while at the same time capturing more energy more efficiently.

Moreover, the innovation can theoretically be placed at any depth, and at any location in the ocean. Essentially, what the new harvesting method – which relies on technologies used to keep airplanes in the air – does is that it harvests the energy of incoming waves by flattening them out. This implies that the application could also be used as a type of energy-generating wave breaker for ports in the near future.

In the approach, the active elements are sensors and adjustable parts, which allow the fluid to flow around airfoils submerged in water-like air flows around wings. Scale models and computer simulations have revealed that the work, even in its initial stages, is capable of harvesting more electricity from waves than the most efficient wind turbines can do from air flows. The design relies on cycloidal propellers, a technology from the 1930s that still powers tugboats, ferries, as well as other manoeuvrable ships. The propeller is oriented vertically rather than horizontally, which allows the new device to use a standard geardriven or direct-drive generator to produce electrical energy.
Source: www.news.softpedia.com

FUEL CELL

Improved method for testing fuel cell performance

Fuel cell equipment manufacturers will be able to test more efficiently the performance of fuel cell electrodesthrough a new technology developed by NuVant Systems Inc., the United States. The Powerstat test station can evaluate membrane electrode assembly (MEA) components, including the polymer membrane that is located between the positive and negative electrodes of the fuel cell. Powerstat increases fuel cell testing efficiency by providing current up to 18 A along with options to control temperature and reactant flow rates.

MEA, a polymer electrolyte sandwiched between the electro-catalytic layers, is the heart of the fuel cell: it separates hydrogen from oxygen. When a hydrogen molecule is split into two protons and two electrons, the protons pass through the MEA and the electrons provide useful electricity. The protons and electrons then combine with the oxygen on the other side of the membrane to produce water.

Powerstat was created to address a performance drawback in products that evaluate MEAs. In contrast to traditional load units, Powerstat can provide power required for testing one electrode layer separately from the other. “Proper evaluation of a fuel cell’s MEA requires single-cell fuel cells properly paired with electronic instrumentation,” Mr. Eugene Smotkin, NuVant Systems founder and CEO, said. “For every sq. cm of active fuel cell electrode area, the instrumentation must deliver at least 1 A at voltages up to 0.8 V. Powerstat pairs with larger 5-10 sq. cm single-cell fuel cells and packs a higher maximum current of 18 A.”
Source: www.valpolife.com

Micro fuel cell with improved power density

MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc. (MTI Micro), the United States-based developer of the Mobion® off-the-grid mobile power sources, has announced a significant power achievement for its Mobion technology. The Mobion fuel cell engine has demonstrated a power density of 84 mW/cm2 while maintaining its fuel efficiency of 1,800 Wh/kg or 1.4 Wh/cc.

This achievement shows a 30 per cent power density improvement over the initial 62 mW/cm2 announced in 2008. This improvement places Mobion in what is believed to be the highest power density ranking within the micro fuel cell industry, particularly in the development of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) solutions meant for the portable electronic device industry.

MTI Micro’s Mobion micro fuel cell provides full power in any orientation, at any humidity level and within the operational temperature range of consumer electronic devices. This significant improvement addresses manufacturers’ needs for a compact,power-dense energy supply, while incorporating a simplified design. The new design is engineered to greatly reduce assembly time and cost to pave the way for high-volume manufacturing, say company sources. Contact: MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc., 431 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205, United States of America. Tel: +1 (518) 533 2222; Fax: +1 (518) 533 2223; E-mail: mtimicro@digcommunications.com.
Source: www.mtimicrofuelcells.com

Experiments with fuel-cell home generator

In 2009, the world’s first household hydrogen fuel cell was made available in Japan. The fuel cell is capable to provide for a family’s energy needs, although some unresolved issues still remain. The Ene-Farm system, which generates electricity and hot water at the same time using municipal gas supply, shows 80 per cent energy efficiency, twice what a conventional power generation system has. Although it emits a certain amount of carbon dioxide, it still cuts 30 per cent of emission of the gas, compared with a general household using a conventional hot water system and electricity generated by heat power plants.

The weak point of the system is that it cannot be an alternative to fossil fuels, as the Ene-Farm relies on the city gas supply, made from natural gas, to manufacture hydrogen. Yet another weak point of the system is that it cannot work without electricity, meaning that it cannot be used as an emergency power source in case of a power outage. But most problematic is the system’s high cost. It is not easy to bring down the high cost of hydrogen fuel cells, as manufacturing hydrogen in abundance at a low price is not easy. There are difficult challenges with the manufacture, storage and transportation of the gas.

Japan, which has almost no underground fossil fuels, hopes to introduce hydrogen technology little by little, utilizing current infrastructure to the maximum extent possible. Manufacturers of household fuel cells and fuel-cell vehicles, another leading experimental technology, are counting on this trend to continue. While some energy experts remain sceptical about hydrogen, hydrogen experts believe that its weak points will be resolved in the future.
Source: www.upiasia.com

Breakthrough in fuel cell technology

Fuel cells are often touted as one alternative to fossil fuels. But much remains to be done before they become ready for mass use in transportation, home heating and portable power for emergencies. Chemists from Canada’s University of Calgary have reported advancing the cause through the discovery of a material they believe could hike the efficiency and lower the cost of fuel cells. They say the material enables polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells to work at higher temperatures. The researchers say that is important in terms of boosting effectiveness and cutting the cost of such fuel cells.
Source: www.mystateline.com

Fuel cell with multi fuel/oxidant capability

Neah Power Systems, the United States, utilizes multiple fuel solutions to power its patented methanolpowered fuel cells. Neah Power’s porous silicon design allows for the use of a variety of oxidants and fuels, including oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and nitric acid, while the anode loop has been run with several concentrations of methanol and formic acid for its fuel.

The unique porous silicon architecture not only gives high power densities, but also has the ability to run with on-board oxidant as well as on-board fuel, said Mr. Dan Rosen, Executive Chairman of Neah Power. Porous silicon is a form of the chemical element silicon that has introduced nanoporous holes into its microstructure, rendering a large surface to volume ratio in the order of about 500 m2/cm3. Contact: Neah Power Systems Inc., 22118, 20th Avenue SE, Suite 142, Bothell, Washington 98021, United States of America. Tel: +1 (425) 424 3324; Fax: +1 (425) 483 8454; E-mail: information@neahpower.com.
Source: www.yourindustrynews.com

High-power direct methanol fuel cell

Panasonic Corporation, based in Japan, announced it has developed a direct methanol fuel cell system that can produce an average power output of 20 W by increasing the output per cubic centimetre twice that of its previous prototype. Using this technology, Panasonic aims to develop a 100 W-class portable generator and start field testing in fiscal 2012 ending in March 2012.

In 2008, Panasonic had developed compact fuel cell stacks by reviewing the structure of its connecting parts. It also developed compact and energy-efficient balance-of-plant systems including a fuel supply pump that can directly mix and adjust the concentration of methanol internally. By improving the stack technology, Panasonic has successfully doubled the average power output to 20 W while retaining the same volume with the preceding prototype. The high output methanol fuel cell allows for powering feature-laden laptop computers, which have relatively high power consumption.

The new fuel cell system boasts of 5,000 hours of durability (based on eight-hour intermittent use per day). Durability was a major challenge for commercialization of fuel cells because power output drops as the electrodes deteriorate. Panasonic solved the problem by developing a technology that enables supplying high concentration fuel to the electrode.
Source: www.physorg.com

HYDROGEN ENERGY

Algae as high-temperature hydrogen source

New findings in the United States by a team of researchers from the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory show that photosynthesis may function as a sustainable, clean source of hydrogen. The team, led by Dr. Barry Bruce, a UT professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, found that the inner machinery of photosynthesis can be isolated from certain algae and, together with a platinum catalyst, is able to produce a steady supply of hydrogen on exposure to light.

Dr. Bruce says that, when compared with the production of biomass fuels, the algal route “has the potential to create a much larger quantity of fuel using much less energy, which has a wide range of benefits.” Dr. Bruce and his colleagues discovered that by starting with thermophilic bluegreen algae, they could sustain the reaction at temperatures as high as 55°C: roughly the temperature in arid deserts with high solar irradiation, where the process would be most productive. They also found that the process was more than 10 times more efficient as the temperature increased.
Source: www.sciencedaily.com

Hydrogen from water using solar power

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in the United States have developed a machine that can turn water into hydrogen, using concentrated solar energy. The machine can also be used to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO). CO could then be combined with hydrogen to produce ‘syngas’, which could be used to make transportation fuels. A machine has been hand-built in the laboratory for the demonstration of the concept.

The system uses concentrated solar power to trigger a chemical reaction in an iron-rich composite material, which gives up an oxygen molecule when exposed to extreme heat. The machine has two chambers, one hot and the other cool. Between the two chambers are 14 rings like Frisbees, rotating at 1 rpm speed. The outer edge of each ring has an iron oxide composite on it, supported by a zirconium matrix.

The inside of the hot chamber is heated to 1,500°C using a solar concentrator. This causes the iron oxide on one side of the ring to give up oxygen molecules. As this side of the ring slowly moves to the other chamber, it cools down and reacts with the water or CO2 being pumped in. The iron oxide will then steal oxygen molecules from the water molecules, leaving hydrogen behind, or steal oxygen from CO2 converting it to CO.
Source: www.h2journal.com

Recyclable chemical hydrogen storage system

In what might prove to be a long stride towards swapping hydrogen fuel cells for gas tanks in the cleanrunning cars of the future, researchers in the United States have found a better way to store hydrogen fuel efficiently. Researchers have found a way to recycle spent fuel from one of the most promising hydrogenstorage compounds, a lightweight solid known as ammonia borane.

Ammonia borane can store significant amounts of hydrogen gas in a compact yet lightweight form – a necessity in the confined space of a vehicle. While previous research had shown that hydrogen could be harvested from ammonia borane for use in a fuel cell, the process left behind spent fuel. But researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Alabama have shown that the by-product can be efficiently converted back into usable fuel through a series of chemical reactions. “To date, this fuel recycle scheme represents the most promising result in this area,” said Dr. John Gordon, a chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a lead author of the study.
Source: www.scienceline.org

Harvesting hydrogen with solar power

Hydrogen generators from Avalence LLC, based in the United States, are electrochemical devices that convert water and electricity into highpurity pressurized hydrogen gas through the process of electrolysis.

Avalence’s Hydrofiller system is a high-pressure hydrogen gas generator that doesn’t require a separate compressor. This cuts capital costs by up to 50 per cent and operating costs by 20 per cent. Given the lower energy requirements, it also means the Hydrofiller system can be powered by solar panels or wind turbines.

The company says electrolysis is the most direct method for creating hydrogen fuel from fluctuating renewable energy sources. The Avalence Hydrofiller enables 24-hour electricity availability from intermittent energy from not just solar and wind, but also hydraulic and tidal power.

In large applications, hydrogen produced during inexpensive or excess power production periods can be stored and later distributed to stationary fuel cell generators to supply electricity during expensive or peak demand periods.

Technology validation of the Hydrofiller has been completed on smallscale units for residential use and extensive factory tests using renewable energy have also been completed. The units are now being fieldtested and the company is undertaking a major scale-up of the core technology to a 300 kg/day design.

Contact: Avalence, 1240 Oronoque Road, Milford, CT 06460, United States of America. Tel: +1 (203) 701 0052; Fax: +1 (203) 878 4123; E-mail: info@avalence.com.
Source: www.energymatters.com.au

Creating clean fuel from coal and waste

Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be prevented from entering the atmosphere following the discovery of a way to turn coal, grass or municipal waste more efficiently into clean fuels. Researchers have adapted gasification process, which is very energy-intensive, requiring high-temperature air, steam or oxygen to react with the organic material. The process also releases large amounts of CO2. Further, gasification is often inefficient, leaving behind significant amounts of solid waste at the end of the process.

To find out how to make the process more efficient, researchers led by Mr. Marco Castaldi, at the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University, the United States, tried varying the atmosphere in the gasifier. They found that, by adding CO2 into the steam atmosphere of a gasifier, significantly more of the biomass or coal was turned into useful syngas.

The technique has a double benefit for the environment: one, it provides a use for CO2 that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere; and, two, after the hydrogen is siphoned off from the syngas, the remaining carbon monoxide could be buried safely underground, thus taking it out of the cycle. The researchers have calculated that using CO2 during gasification of a biomass fuel, such as beechgrass, to make enough biofuel for a fifth of the world’s transport demands would use up 437 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas. Preventing that from entering the atmosphere would be equivalent to removing 308 million vehicles from the road.

Replacing 30 per cent of the steam atmosphere of a gasifier with CO2 ensured that all the solid fuel was turned into syngas. The new process reduces the amount of water that needs to be heated in the gasifier, thereby saving energy, and is 10-30 per cent more efficient than standard gasification. Applied to a modern integrated gasification combined cycle power station, which gasifies coal, this can lead to an efficiency gain of up to 4 per cent, which is significant for a power plant producing, for instance, 500 MW of energy.
Source: www.guardian.co.uk

New hydrogen storage method discovered

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, the United States, have found that high pressure can be used to make a unique hydrogen storage material. The discovery paves the way for an entirely new approach to the hydrogen storage problem. The researchers found that the normally unreactive noble gas xenon combines with molecular hydrogen under pressure to form a previously unknown solid with unusual bonding chemistry. The experiments are the first time these elements have been combined to create a stable compound. The discovery could boost new hydrogen technologies.

As Dr. Maddury Somayazulu, a research scientist at Carnegie’s Geophysical Lab, explained: “Elements change their configuration when placed under pressure…like passengers readjusting themselves as the elevator becomes full.” The researchers subjected a series of gas mixtures of xenon in combination with hydrogen to high pressure in a diamond anvil cell. At about 41,000 times the pressure at sea level (1 Atm), the atoms became arranged in a lattice structure dominated by hydrogen, but interspersed with layers of loosely bonded xenon pairs.

At increased pressures, the distances between the xenon pairs contracted to those observed in dense metallic xenon. The researchers imaged the compound at varying pressures using X-ray diffraction, infrared and Raman spectroscopy. When they looked at the xenon part of the structure, they realized that the interaction of xenon with the surrounding hydrogen was responsible for the unusual stability and the continuous change in xenon-xenon distances as pressure changed from 41,000 to 255,000 Atm. While xenon is too expensive to be practical for use in hydrogenstorage applications, knowledge of how it works in this situation could lead researchers to substitutes.
Source: www.sciencedaily.com

BIOMASS ENERGY

From sewage to fuel

Researchers at Kansas University (KU), the United States, are working to turn algae from treated sewage into a commercially viable biofuel,fluid that one day could be used to power different modes of transportation. Algae are being grown in four farm tanks at Lawrence’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, and inside another four at a research station northeast of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Millions of cells of algae – fattened up with the waste from the city’s sewer system – will be harvested after absorbing organic pollutants and made to yield oil for transformation into clean-burning biodiesel.

KU’s Transportation Research Institute, using money from the United States Department of Transportation, is financing the research work. Mr. Bob Honea, the Director of the Institute, is confident that the work of KU researchers – led by Dr. Val Smith, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology – is on the right track. Using algae to make biodiesel simply makes sense, he said, given the aquatic organisms’ builtin benefits compared with traditional crops: higher yields on less land. By feeding algae with treated effluent from the sewage-treatment plant, the KU researchers just might be tapping into a system that one day could be commercially and environmentally desirable. “We are on the cusp on what I would call a major breakthrough,” Mr. Honea said.

KU’s project is among only a few in the world to include functioning, pilot-scale bioreactors connected to a municipal wastewater treatment plant. While corn can produce only 68 litres of plant oil per acre and soybeans can yield about 182 litres of plant oil per acre, Dr. Smith figures that algae could provide more than 18,900 litres of such oil per acre. The oil then could be used to make biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative fuel that wouldn’t be reliant on food crops, high-priced fertilizers or other ingredients that could be considered barriers.
Source: www.ljworld.com

A novel method of diesel production

Joule Biotechnologies, the United States, has used a genetic engineering process to create organisms that can turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into hydrocarbons, which can be used as fuel. The process will be solarpowered, and Joule is planning to create a viable diesel production process using light and air.

The novel, photosynthesis-driven approach to producing renewable fuels, avoids the economic and environmental burden of multi-step, cellulosic or algal biomass-derived methods. Joule employs a ‘Solar-Converter’ system, together with proprietary, product-specific organisms and state-of-the-art process design, to harness the power of sunlight while consuming waste CO2.

Its pioneering technology platform has already been proven out with the conversion of CO2 into ethanol at high productivities. With this process, Joule is now capable of directly producing hydrocarbons – setting the stage for delivery of infrastructure-compatible diesel fuel without the need for raw material feedstock or complex refining.

The breakthrough was made possible by the discovery of unique genes coding for enzymatic mechanisms that enable the direct synthesis of both alkane and olefin molecules – the chemical composition of diesel. Production has been achieved at lab scale, with pilot development slated for early 2011.
Source: www.physorg.com

A catalyst for change in organic-based fuels

Conventional biodiesel is made by transesterification process, a reaction of triglycerides with alcohols (usually methanol), with sodium or potassium hydroxide as catalyst. The process consumes lot of energy, requires high temperature inputs and produces large amounts of alkaline wastewater. Dr. Sobhi Bashee, the founder of TransBioDiesel based in Israel, has developed a way to minimize the toxic by-products created while making biofuel from organic waste, that too at lower production costs.

The catalyst-based solution that Dr. Bashee has developed helps create usable fuel from organic materials, while reducing the toxic wastewater produced in the process. The biocatalysts developed are environmentally benign and can lower the total production costs of biodiesel fuels, he claims. The company’s biological enzyme technology has been installed already at a pilot site in Israel where it is breaking biomass down to usable fuel, and helping to produce some 500 litres of biofuel every day. Another site being built will produce about 2,000 litres a day of cleaner biofuel.
Source: www.israel21c.org

A new route to cellulosic biofuels

ZeaChem, a biofuel start-up firm in the United States, has started building a biofuel pilot plant that will turn cellulosic feedstock into ethanol via a new approach that uses microbes found in the guts of termites. The company says the ethanol yields from the sugars of its cellulosic feedstock are significantly higher than the yields from other biofuel production processes.

The company employs a hybrid approach that uses a combination of thermo-chemical and biological processes. It first uses acid to break down cellulose into sugars. Then, instead of fermenting the sugars into ethanol using yeast, as is typical, the sugars are fed to an acetogen bacteria found in the guts of termites and some other insects. The bacteria convert the sugar into acetic acid, which is then combined with hydrogen to form ethanol.

In conventional biofuel processes, much of the carbon content locked up in the sugars is lost in the formation of carbon dioxide (CO2) when the sugars are fermented into ethanol. But converting the sugars into acetic acid and then ethanol yields no CO2. As a result, this method has the potential to raise biofuel yields by as much as 50 per cent, claims ZeaChem. At laboratory scale, the company has achieved a yield of 510 litres per tonne of feedstock, 35 per cent higher than those of its competitors, says ZeaChem CEO Mr. Jim Imbler. Contact: ZeaChem Inc., Union Tower, 165 South Union Boulevard, Suite 380, Lakewood, CO 80228-2257, United States of America. Tel: +1 (303) 279 7045; Fax: +1 (303) 279 9537; E-mail: info@zeachem.com.
Source: www.technologyreview.com

Biodieselfrom industrial by-products

Sachtleben, a unit of Rockwood Holdings Inc. in the United States, has developed catalytically active particles that stand to revolutionize the production of biofuels using sustainable and environment-friendly means. Sacthleben is working with Augsburg College and the biodiesel producer Ever Cat Fuels, the United States, which is currently designing its first commercial-scale pilot plant incorporating this new technology.

The innovative fluidized-bed catalytic process is simpler, sustainable and more energy efficient, unlike existing biodiesel production that often relies on food crops, mostly cereal grains and soybeans. In addition, the production of biodiesel, as practiced for many years, uses a catalytic process followed by the complex removal of the dissolved catalyst and then purification of the biodiesel. The process will also permit the conversion of inferior fats, paper-industry waste and algae oil to high-quality diesel fuel.

The new process, developed by Prof. Arlin Gyberg from Augsburg College and Dr. Clayton McNeff, co-founder of Ever Cat Fuels LLC., uses highly catalytically active particles supplied by Sachtleben. These particles play a major role in the new approach. They are stable enough to withstand the extreme reaction conditions, and make possible the rapid and complete transesterification of the feedstocks. Up until now, the reaction time in the process took several hours, whereas the new process using Sachtleben particles takes just a few seconds.

In addition, the catalyst particles are capable, unlike established process, of converting to biodiesel free fatty acids that are present, for example, in spent or rancid natural fats and oils. It is, therefore, possible to process not only high-quality sunflower, rapeseed, soy or palm oil, but also waste products with a high fat content, such as used frying oils and fats. Recent research has shown that even algae with high free fattyacid content, can be converted in to biodiesel. Contact: Mr. Timothy McKenna, Rockwood Holdings Inc., 100 Overlook Centre, Princeton, NJ 08540, New Jersey, United States of America. Tel: +1 (609) 734 6430; Fax: +1 (609) 514 8720; E-mail: tmckenna@rocksp.com.
Source: www.marketwatch.com

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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Alternative Fuels: The Future of Hydrogen, Second Edition

Newly revised, the second edition of this pioneering work addresses emerging factors affecting energy production and use, including the availability and desirability of various fuels. The text extensively discusses hydrogen sources, solar, nuclear and fuel cell technology, as well as other alternative fuels such as biomass and wind power. It delves into cost analysis, regulatory issues, barriers to implementation, conversion and storage systems, thermodynamic and fuel chain efficiencies, air emission issues, and safety. For the above two books, contact: CRC Press, Tel: +44 (1235) 400524; Fax: +44 (1235) 400525; E-mail: book.orders@tandf.co.uk.

Deploying Renewables – Principles for Effective Policies

This publication highlights key policy tools to fasttrack renewables into the mainstream. It illustrates good practices by applying the combined metrics of effectiveness and efficiency to renewable energy policies in the electricity, heating and transport sectors. The book highlights significant barriers to accelerating renewables penetration, and argues that the great potential of renewables can be exploited much more rapidly and to a much larger extent if good practices are adopted. Contact: International Energy Agency, Bookshop, 9, rue de la Fédération, 75739 Paris Cedex 15 France. Tel: +33 (1) 4057 6690; Fax: +33 (1) 4057 6775; E-mail: books@iea.org.


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