VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Jul-Sep 2014

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New and Renewable Energy Jul-Sep 2014

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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Singapore PE fund invests in Indian renewable energy companies

Indian renewable energy companies are fast attracting investments and funds from international companies as the Indian renewable energy sector looks set for a major push backed by a favorable government. AT Capital, a Singapore-based private equity fund, has announced a $40 million investment in Orange Powergen Limited to help the latter expand its renewable energy infrastructure. Orange Powergen is active in the development of wind, solar, biomass, and hydro power projects, and it is expected to commission a 100 MW wind energy project by March 2015.

Over the course of this year, a number of international companies have made big-ticket investments in Indian renewable energy companies. In July, ReNew Power announced that it had raised a total of $140 million in equity investments from Goldman Sachs, the Asian Development Bank, and the Global Environment Fund. With this round, the total equity investment in the company reached $390 million. The Asian Development Bank also invested $50 million in Welspun Renewables Energy Limited, picking up 13.3% equity share in the company. In May, GE Energy Financial Services picked up an equity stake worth $24 million in India’s largest solar power project. The 151 MW solar project is owned by Welspun Energy.

ADB equity investment to boost renewable energy pipeline in India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made an equity investment of $50 million in a leading Indian renewable energy company ReNew Power Ventures Private Limited (ReNew Power), underscoring ADB’s commitment to help India meet its clean energy targets. ADB financing will allow ReNew Power to tap into ADB’s extensive network, knowledge, and experience in the field of renewable energy, especially in India, according to ADB’s Principal Investment Specialist Siddhartha Shah. ADB’s investment is a signal to private sector companies that India’s renewables sector is ripe for further investment.

An extra 1,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity is expected to be generated annually by ReNew Power’s renewable energy projects, eliminating nearly 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. More generally, increased private sector participation in Indian renewables will enhance the sector’s efficiency through increased competition and a deeper pool of invested funds. Energy access, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency are priorities at ADB. In 2013, ADB invested $2.3 billion in clean energy and has pledged to continue investments of at least $2 billion per year.

China boosts offshore wind power development

China has taken steps to accelerate the development of its offshore wind power industry in a bid to increase the installed capacity beyond its 428.6 MW installed at the end of 2013. The China National Renewable Energy Center (CNREC) said that a number of new offshore wind farms are scheduled to kick off within this year, including the 100-MW Phase II expansion project of Donghai Bridge in Shanghai and China Longyuan Power Group (Longyuan) Nanri Island project already under construction in Fujian province. Two projects are also under contruction in Jiangsu province: China General Nuclear Power Group’s new offshore project in Rudong on track to start construction in the second half of this year and Longyuan’s windmill project in Dafeng.

In early 2014, the National Energy Administration (NEA) issued a Notice on Developing Offshore Wind Power Projects, selecting Shanghai as well as Fujian and Zhejiang provinces as the locations for the country’s key pilot construction projects for offshore wind power.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that it would allocate approximately $141 million to three pioneering offshore wind demonstration projects over the next four years to help speed up the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies.

ADB’s $300 million approval cuts fuel use and boosts renewables

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million dual-tranche loan to help Sri Lanka scale up its use of clean energy and cut its reliance on costly petroleum oil for electricity generation. The first $150 million tranche will finance a 30-megawatt (MW), run-of-the-river hydropower plant at Moragolla in the central province and expand and upgrade transmission lines and other infrastructure in needy areas, including the former conflict-affected northern and eastern provinces. The hydropower plant will generate an additional 97.7 million units of hydropower for the grid, saving about 72,300 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year, whereas improved transmission lines will further reduce annual CO2 emissions by 98,400 tons. The second tranche, expected to be delivered in 2016, will include expanding the 33 kilovolt medium voltage network to improve distribution of electricity to consumers and the development of transmission network facilities to allow power delivery from two 100 MW wind parks due to be built in the northern province in 2017 and 2020.

Assistance will also be given for demand-side energy efficiency improvements, including the use of smart grid and metering technologies, the retrofitting of buildings with energy saving features, and the installation of cold thermal storage in selected buildings. The improved transmission system is expected to boost access to reliable power for about 300,000 customers in rural areas and small towns who currently suffer from low quality supplies. The program also supports Sri Lanka’s wider energy investment road map, including its plan to increase the share of grid power generated from nonconventional renewable energy sources, such as mini-hydropower, wind power, and solar power, to 20% of the total by 2020. There will also be cofinancing of approximately $60 million from France’s Agence Française de Développement, and counterpart funds of $80 million from the Government of Sri Lanka, for a total program cost of $440 million. The program is expected to be completed by late 2020.

China’s solar exports increased by 18% in first half of 2014

China’s solar energy exports increased by about 18 percent to $7.42 billion from a year earlier in the first half of the current year as manufacturers retained market share in the United States and Europe, according to an industry group. Solar cells and modules constituted most of the exports, which totaled $12.3 billion for the whole of 2013, according to Sun Guangbin, secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products. Asia accounted for 51 percent of the overseas shipments in the first six months of this year, followed by Europe and North America.

On July 25, 2014, the United States called for anti-dumping duties ranging as high as 165 percent for some Chinese manufacturers and 44 percent for those in Taiwan. About 38.3 gigawatts were installed last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. According to Sun, China had 354 companies selling solar cells and panels abroad in the first half, which was almost half of the number two years earlier; this number will be further reduced as China works to consolidate the industry through mergers and acquisitions.

480,000 new solar home systems for Bangladesh

The World Bank has offered to lend the Bangladeshi government $78.4 million for financing 480,000 solar home systems. This huge solar home systems project aims at installing about 7,000 photovoltaic systems in Bangladesh every month. If it achieves this rate, it will be the largest of its kind in the world. There are already 3 million home solar systems in the country, and they were installed because the World Bank provided the support. Nearly 60% of the Bangladeshi people do not have access to grid-connected electricity. The government has set a goal of 100% citizen access by 2021. Millions of people’s lives have been impacted in Bangladesh because of the addition of more solar PV power.

Clean solar energy has benefits in terms of quality of life and improved health. Solar power is growing in Bangladesh, resulting in more jobs. Nearly 114,000 jobs have been created, from assembling solar panels to selling, installing, and maintaining them. The number of solar-related jobs nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013.

Nepal plans net metering to promote clean energy

For the first time in the country, the government has provisioned a separate net metering system that would allow an individual or an institution to bank on one’s own energy generated from the installation of a rooftop solar photo voltaic system for later use or share for credits from Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) through the connection to the national grid system. Net metering is widely practiced in countries such as the United States, Germany, and Japan to promote consumers’ participation in producing electricity from renewable energy sources and to reduce the dependence on a state-provided energy system. Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat announced that the NEA would buy the excess energy to encourage the public to use solar energy systems, including rooftop panels with a capacity of more than 100 kilowatt, to produce electricity on a large scale in Kathmandu and other urban cities. The annual budget has prioritized the utilization of various renewable sources to meet the energy needs and to contribute to the mitigation of the ongoing energy crisis due to slackness in hydropower development.

Various studies have estimated that Kathmandu and many other parts receive solar radiation at around 4.7 kilowatt-hour per meter square daily. Likewise, of the total 365 days a year, the country gets around 300 sunny days, which is feasible to generate around 2,100 MW energy for a grid connection.

Pakistan boosts clean energy spending

Latest budget figures indicate that energy shortages in Pakistan are driving politicians in Punjab to back a surge in spending on renewable energy. The federal government has earmarked hefty funds in its budget for the fiscal year 2014–15, which began on July 1, to harness Pakistan’s huge clean energy potential, especially solar, to power the economy. Federal budget documents show that around $150 million has been allocated for several major renewable energy projects. They include the 1,000 MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park, a 5 MW solar power plant in the Moola area of the southwestern district of Khuzdar in Balochistan province, and multi-megawatt wind power projects in Jhimpir and Gharo towns in southern Sindh province. The 1,000-MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park is Pakistan’s biggest energy project, for which the Punjab government has allocated $172 million from its own kitty for 2014–15. The solar park, Asia’s largest such project, is expected to start generating 100 MW of solar energy by December 2014. Its capacity will be expanded to 1,000 MW within the next three years, requiring a total investment of more than $2 billion.

Among Pakistan’s five provinces, which also presented their 2014–15 budgets in June, the Punjab provincial government has earmarked the highest amount ($324 million) by far for investment in solar, wind, and biomass energy sources. More than 80 percent of this is for generating power from solar and biomass, including biogas. The Punjab government has allocated $20 million for biomass power plants in rice and wheat-growing areas. It also plans to spend $500,000 on studies to explore local sources of power such as biomass, biogas, solar, and wind in 36 villages. The government has decided to spend nearly $12 million to install 13,000 irrigation tubewells run on biogas in rural areas, which would save the use of 40 million liters of diesel annually.

Sindh province’s new budget shows that, of a total $203 million allocated for the energy sector, more than 60 percent is to establish coal power plants and less than 20 percent has been earmarked for renewable energy. Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa provincial government plans to spend $71 million on constructing 350 hydropower projects with a capacity of 1 to 10 MW in its Hazara and Malakand areas.

New hydrogen fuel standard

SAE International, a global standards organization operating within the auto industry, has published a new standard regarding the use of hydrogen fuel in electric vehicles. The standard, SAE J2601, aims at establishing a global basis for the use of hydrogen fueling technologies and their use in distributing clean fuel to vehicles equipped with fuel cells. Such a standard could make it easier for a hydrogen infrastructure to take shape and could ease the adoption of fuel cell vehicles.

The standard published by SAE International introduces a new fueling protocol based on an average pressure ramp rate that has been in use for the past 13 years. The standard uses fueling tables to make it easier for fuel providers to dispense hydrogen and determines at what pressures the fuel cells would be delivered. SAE International believes that the standard will help create a more robust hydrogen infrastructure and ensure that fueling stations can service fuel cell vehicles in less than 5 minutes.

Such standards can help make building a comprehensive infrastructure simpler, which will also likely make fuel cell vehicles somewhat more attractive.


Scientists develop new spray-on solar cells

A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield, the United Kingdom, were the first to fabricate perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process – a vital discovery and a major step for cutting the cost of solar electricity.

Efficient organometal halide perovskite-based photovoltaics serve as a very promising new material for solar cells, as they combine high efficiency with low material costs.The spray-painting process wastes very little perovskite material and can be scaled up to high volume manufacturing.Most solar cells are manufactured using energy-intensive materials such as silicon, whereas much less energy is required to make perovskites. The team found that by spraypainting perovskites they could make prototype solar cells with an efficiency of approximately 11 percent.

Solar power is becoming an increasingly important component of the worldwide renewables energy market and continues to grow at a remarkable rate despite the difficult economic environment.

For further information, please contact: Hannah Postles, Media Relations Officer, University of Sheffield, Tel: 0114 222 1046,

Precision tests for PV modules

The calibration laboratory of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has optimized its precision measurements even further. After performing comprehensive analyses, “CalLab PV Modules” was able to improve its measurement precision of PV module performance tests to 1.6 percent. A round robin event carried out among the internationally leading calibration laboratories (NREL in USA, AIST in Japan and JRC in Italy) confirmed the exceptional reproducibility of the measurements. Thus, Fraunhofer ISE once again strengthens its technological lead in the precision of electrical performance measurements of PV modules.

Due to the improved performance measurements, “CalLab PV Modules” at Fraunhofer ISE can now provide even more reliable results for the evaluation of PV module quality. “The low measurement uncertainty in our PV module test procedures increases the confidence in our measurement results. This equally benefits module manufacturers, project developers, banks and investors,” says Dr. Harry Wirth, division director of “Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability.” For example, a reference module with low measurement uncertainty has a positive effect on the measurement accuracy of the module manufacturer. This, in turn, strengthens the purchaser’s confidence in the information provided on module label and specification sheet. For international clients, who use module measurements for the quality assurance of PV power plants, the improved measurement precision also has advantages. Banks and investors profit from precise measurements since they improve the chances of achieving a secure return.

In power plant projects, the measurement uncertainty of the given test lab is often used as a pass/fail criteria for the module power. Frank Neuberger from “CalLab PV Modules” explains the advantages of optimized precision measurements from an economic perspective: “Many laboratories are still working with 2.5 % measurement precision. For a large 50 MWp power plant, the difference of using a higher measurement precision of 1.6 % can quickly lead to a savings of several hundred thousand euros.” Clients that commission certification tests, long-term and degradation analyses at Fraunhofer ISE profit from the improved measurement precision. In certification tests for products, a higher precision reduces the risk of an unfounded rejection of a tested module type and in aging tests, degradation can be detected earlier.

Self-cooling solar cells

By adding a specially patterned layer of silica glass to the surface of ordinary solar cells, a team of researchers led by Professor Shanhui Fan,an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, the United States, has found a way for solar cells to shed unwanted thermal radiation. Though solar cells are readily available and easily manufactured, even the best designs convert only a fraction of the energy they receive from the sun into usable electricity. A part of this loss is the unavoidable consequence of converting sunlight into electricity.

Under normal operating conditions, solar cells can easily reach temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) or more. These harsh conditions quickly sap efficiency and can markedly shorten the lifespan of a solar cell. The newly proposed design avoids these problems by embedding tiny pyramid- and cone-shaped structures on an incredibly thin layer of silica glass.Solar cells work by directly converting the sun’s rays into electrical energy. As photons of light pass into the semiconductor regions of the solar cells, they knock off electrons from the atoms, allowing electricity to flow freely, creating a current. The most successful and widely used designs, silicon semiconductors, however, convert less than 30 percent of the energy they receive from the sun into electricity – even at peak efficiency.

Cheaper and more efficient perovskite solar cells

Scientists from China and Ecole Polytechnique (EPFL), Switzerland, have made a very efficient perovskite solar cell that reduces the cost of manufacture and increases the energy conversion efficiency. Thephotovoltaic cellachievesan energy conversion efficiency of 12.8% and is stable for more than 1000 hours under full sunlight. These solar cells have been strong contenders for thin-film photovoltaics due to their large absorption coefficient, high charge carrier mobility, and long diffusion length. However, they are also costly because of the hole-transportation layer, which demands high purity materials and complicated fabrication procedures.

Solar cell manufacturers face a tricky trade-off between performance and cost. Despite the high efficiency of conventional crystalline silicon solar cells (around 20%), high production and installation costs decrease their economic feasibility and widespread use.Thin-film solar cells have lower material costs and are also less efficient.

The challenge to find a cheaper alternative led to the development ofperovskite-based solar cells, as organic–inorganic metal trihalide perovskites have both abundant and cheap starting materials. Organic-inorganic lead halide perovskite solar cells exhibit conversion efficiencies of more than 16%, and, thus, are one of the most promising emerging contenders in the drive to provide a cheap and clean source of energy.

Solar cell efficiency rises by 30%

A group of four chemists from the University of California, Riverside, has worked out a way for one photon to generate a pair of excited states rather than just one. This is called “singlet fission,” and by using it, we should be able to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30%, providing third-generation solar power.

Dr. Bardeen cites a recent work at MIT that has already demonstrated an organic photovoltaic cell with more than 100% external quantum efficiency based on this effect and believes that we can use this effect to raise the efficiency of inorganic semiconductors.The next steps involve finding new materials that exhibit singlet fission, figuring out how to efficiently turn the triplet excitons into photocurrents, and determining how the spin properties of the electrons affect exciton dynamics.

Dye-sensitized solar cells

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) rely on dyes that absorb light to mobilize a current of electrons and are a promising source of clean energy. Jishan Wu at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and colleagues in Singapore have now developed zinc porphyrin dyes that harvest light in both the visible and near-infrared parts of spectrum1. Their research suggests that chemical modification of these dyes could enhance the energy output of DSSCs. The DSSCs are easier and cheaper to manufacture than conventional siliconsolar cells, but they currently have a lower efficiency.

In 2011, researchers developed a more efficient dye based on a zinc atom surrounded by a ring-shaped molecule called a porphyrin. Solar cells using this new dye, called YD2-o-C8, convert visible light into electricity with an efficiency of approximately 12.3 per cent. Wu’s team aimed at improving that efficiency by developing a zinc porphyrin dye that can also absorb infrared light.The most successful dyes developed by Wu’s team, WW-5 and WW-6, unite a zinc porphyrin core with a system of fused carbon rings bridged by a nitrogen atom, known as an N-annulated perylene group. Solar cells containing these dyes absorbed more infrared light than YD2-o-C8 and had efficiencies of approximately 10.5 per cent, matching the performance of a YD2-o-C8 cell under similar testing conditions.

Theoretical calculations indicate that connecting the porphyrin and perylene sections of these dyes by a carbon–carbon triple bond, which acts as an electron-rich linker, improved the flow of electrons between them. This bond also reduced the light energy needed to excite electrons in the molecule, boosting the dye’s ability to harvest infrared light.Adding bulky chemical groups to the dyes also improved their solubility and prevented them from aggregating—something that tends to reduce the efficiency of DSSCs.However, both WW-5 and WW-6 are slightly less efficient than YD2-o-C8 at converting visible light into electricity, and they also produce a lower voltage. Comparing the results from more perylene–porphyrindyes should indicate ways to overcome these hurdles, and may even extend light absorption further into the infrared.


Multi-turbine wind tower

INVELOX™ system developed sheerwind Inc, the United States, consists of one large funnel that captures, concentrates, and accelerates wind before delivering it to turbines safely and efficiently located at ground level. One 1,000-kW turbine-generator system produces electrical energy for 341 houses, whereas 2 turbines operating in succession produce electrical energy for 579 houses in the United States. On adding a second turbine to a single INVELOX wind funnel, power output increases by 1.7x and provides near zero downtime. Multiple turbines in a single INVELOX tower mean nearly zero operational downtime, because maintenance can be done on one turbine while the other continues energy production.

Benefits of twin turbines in succession Increase power output by 1.7X at minimum added cost Reduce capital expenditure per kilowatt Increase production capacity Gain in output without increasing footprint Offer upgradability to meet increase in customers’ power demands

SheerWind’s technology is changing the course of power generation. Patented INVELOX electricity generation successfully funnels wind to accelerate it, allowing wind to be harvested at its optimum state of energy and producing more power with commercially available turbines and smaller blades that are located safely at ground level. Operating at wind speeds as low as 2 miles per hour, SheerWind’s INVELOX requires no subsidies, is price competitive with, and has less environmental impact than traditional generation technologies. The U.S. electric power generation market is $250 billion and globally exceeds $1 trillion. INVELOX offers a global renewable energy solution that integrates with the power grid for small and commercial operations.

Contact: Carla Scholz, SheerWind, Inc. 143 Jonathan Blvd, North Suite 200 Chaska, MN, 55318 USA. Tel: 952-556-0173

Direct-drive wind turbine

Siemens Energy has obtained type certification from certifying body DNV GL for the company’s innovative D6 offshore wind turbine. The model Siemens SWT-6.0-154 is equipped with a modern direct-drive generator, rated at 6 megawatts (MW), and equipped with a 154 meter rotor. The official certificate is a further step in ramping up the serial production of the turbine. The certification process included DNV GL experts being given full access to the engineering and Siemens assembly facilities in Brande as well as testing facilities at Oesterild, Denmark, and Hunterston, the United Kingdom. Evaluation included assessment on the maturity of the turbine design, its manufacturing, installation and commissioning processes, and related documentation.

The development of the SWT-6.0-154 marks a significant step towards reducing the cost of energy. With a tower head mass of only 360 tons, the new 6-megawatt machine is around one third lighter than comparable systems. This weight advantage provides improved economic viability across all project phases, from assembly to transport, foundations, and installation all the way up to operation. Wind power and energy service are a part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. Around 43 percent of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. This makes Siemens one of the world’s leading providers of eco-friendly technology.

Automatic self-optimization of wind turbines

Siemens is “teaching” wind turbines how to automatically optimize their operation in line with weather conditions. The turbines are learning to use sensor data on parameters such as wind speed to make changes to their settings. These changes ensure that the turbines can optimally exploit the prevailing conditions. Wind power facilities cannot always generate their maximum electrical output when wind speeds are moderate or low.Specialists for learning systems at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) developed the self-optimization software for wind turbines in cooperation with Technische Universität Berlin and IdaLab GmbH in the ALICE project (Autonomous Learning in Complex Environments), which is funded by Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research.

The researchers have a demonstration wind turbine unit that uses its own operating data and gradually increases its electrical output. The scientists’ approach combines reinforcement learning techniques with special neural networks. A neural network is a software algorithm that operates in a way similar to the human brain. For several years till date, Siemens CT has been developing neural networks in order to model and predict the behavior of highly complex systems, such as wind farms, gas turbines, factories, or even stock markets.The software programs learn from historical data, which also enables them to forecast the future behavior of a system. A model can, thus, be created that predicts the electrical output of a wind turbine under specific weather conditions. The researchers examined a large amount of very noisy data to identify relevant attributes that would enable the efficiency of a wind turbine to be improved by changing settings such as rotation speed. Patented neural networks were then used to create a “so-called reinforcement learning policy” from the analysis results.The system, thus, learns to change certain wind turbine settings in a manner that ensures the maximum possible amount of electricity is generated in a given situation. After just a few weeks, the system is able to define and store the optimal settings for common weather occurrences. After an additional extended period of training, it can even regulate electrical output under rare and exceptional weather conditions.

Ongoing analyses of relevant operating parameters ensure the system can continually improve itself through repetition. The methods used here can be employed in many other fields, which means that additional Siemens products can also be taught to optimize their own operation.

The software programs used learn from historical data, which also enables them to forecast the future behavior of a system. A model can thus be created that predicts the electrical output of a wind turbine under specific weather conditions. The system thus learns to change certain wind turbine settings in a manner that ensures the maximum possible amount of electricity is generated in a given situation. After just a few weeks, the system is able to define and store the optimal settings for common weather occurrences. The technology was successfully tested at a Spanish wind farm last year. Ongoing analyses of relevant operating parameters ensure the system can continually improve itself through repetition. The methods used here can be employed in many other fields, which means additional Siemens products can also be taught to optimize their own operation.

Contact: Dr. Norbert Aschenbrener Editorial Office, E-mail:; Mr. Florian Martini Media Inquiries, Tel: +49 (89) 636-33520, E-mail:

Noiseless shell-shaped wind turbine for households

A super-efficient and completely soundless wind turbine developed by a Dutch company, The Archimedes, aims at enabling every household to generate its own wind energy.Officially unveiled today, the shell-shaped Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine offers much better efficiency compared with conventional designs. Its shape, modeled after the perfectly logarithmic spiral of a Nautilus shell, enables the turbine to always position itself at the best angle toward the direction of the wind, achieving an efficiency that is about 80 per cent of what is theoretically possible.

With an average wind speed of about 5m/s, the turbine generates about 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy,which is about half of the consumption of a regular household. The Archimedes, the company behind the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, believes that in combination with efficient solar panels, the turbine can make every household completely energy self-sustainable.

“When there is wind you use the energy produced by the wind turbine, when the sun is shining you use the solar cells to produce the energy,” Richard Ruijtenbeek, an engineer from The Archimedes, explained the company’s vision.

The company believes that the low energy yield along with the unpleasant and constant noise of conventional wind turbines is the major obstacle preventing a more widespread uptake of wind as a renewable energy source among users in towns and cities.

The turbine, officially unveiled today, has already attracted interest from all around the world. The company, which it was said had not originally believed the test results of the Liam F1 turbine as they seemed too good to be true, has already started developing a smaller version of the turbine for boats and lamp posts.

For more information, contact: The Archimedes BV-RDM Campus, Innovation Dock – ‘Flying Office, Scheepsbouwweg 8-K8, 3089 JW Rotterdam-, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 (0)10–820 1727, Fax: +31 10 820 9782, E-mail:


1.5-MW tidal turbine design

Lockheed Martin has commenced a contract with global tidal energy leader Atlantis Resources Ltd. to optimize the design of Atlantis’ new 1.5-megawatt tidal turbine, the AR1500. The AR1500 turbine, which is designed to operate in highly energetic tidal locations, will be one of the largest single rotor turbines ever developed. It will have active rotor pitch and full nacelle yaw rotation. This technology will be deployed at the MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth and in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. This project is expected to deliver approximately 398 megawatts of power, enough energy to power 200,000 homes, and will contribute to Scotland’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2020.

Tidal energy’s greatest advantage over other alternative energy sources, such as wind power and solar energy, is that it is almost entirely independent of the weather.

Lockheed Martin, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the United States, is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The company is partnering with customers and investing talent in clean, secure, and smart energy to enable global security, a strong economic future, and climate protection for future generations. Atlantis Resources Ltd. owns a portfolio of patents and patent applications related to tidal power generation and sells tidal generation equipment and engineering services to third-party developers, as well as its own projects.

A better water wing to harvest tidal energy

Led by Shreyas Mandre, assistant professor of engineering, at Brown University, the United States, a research group is developing a hydrofoil — a water wing — as a means to harvest tidal energy. Unlike other tidal energy technologies, the wing is a shallow water specialist. With support from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the group presented their preliminary results at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., and at The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, organized by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The group’s work grew partly out of a recent study commissioned by the Department of Energy to identify the best locations for harvesting tidal energy. The study found that many ideal locations are in shallow bays and inlets, often 10 meters in depth or less.

Harvesting energy from the shallows comes with a myriad of problems — especially for traditional, windmill-style turbines. The circular motion of a turbine means it must be as tall as it is wide, a geometry ill suited for a channel that is wide but shallow, similar to many of those identified in the DOE report. Bays and inlets are often shipping channels and recreation areas, so tall turbines could get in the way of commercial and recreational boats. There are also concerns about fish and other wildlife swimming among spinning blades.

A hydrofoil device offers a different approach. It catches the energy of tidal flows in much the same way that an airplane wing catches air. In the design that Mandre and his team are developing, a wing is attached to a central pole on which it moves up and down. At the bottom of the stroke, the wing is oriented in a way that causes the water to push it upward. At the top of the stroke, the orientation pushes the wing back down. The up and down motion is used to power a generator. The beauty of the design is that it is a good geometric fit in both wide and shallow channels. A single wing can span an area that would require a series of several turbines placed side by side — an expensive and inefficient arrangement. Gaps between the turbines would allow water to slip through untouched, which is a waste of potential power. A wide wing, on the other hand, could generate power from the entire span. Concerns about shipping traffic and wildlife are lessened by the wing design as well. The apparatus can lie flat on the sea floor when big ships come through. The oscillating motion is biomimetic — not unlike a flapping fin — and less violent than a turbine spinning similar to a lawnmower blade.

Mandre and his group hope the device can play a role in harvesting the estimated 440 terawatt-hours per year of tidal power there for the taking in the United States. One terawatt-hour per year of electricity is enough to power 85,000 homes, so tidal power could make a substantial contribution to the U.S. power supply.

It may take a wing to get America’s tidal energy effort off the ground.

Wave power test

UK-based AWS Ocean Energy has taken a major step forward with the successful deployment and initial testing of a half-scale AWS-III wave power generator. The test programme took place at Lyness in Orkney and will help the company develop its energy technology for variable applications – small-scale use (for example in offshore fish farms) through to utility-scale power generation.

Its AWS-III technology is unique in that it uses a simple and resilient diaphragm to capture wave power and turn it into pressurised air that turbines can use to generate electricity. The diaphragms, reinforced with aramid fibres, represent a major technical advance that will allow much cheaper wave power machines in the future.

Looking ahead, AWS Ocean anticipates its technology can be scaled to suit a range of applications from isolated power for aquaculture and remote communities, as part of breakwater installations through to a full 2.5MW utility-scale offshore power system. The company’s test programme will continue in parallel with its work to develop its first commercial product: an integrated power system designed specifically to meet the power demands of offshore fish farms in Scotland and worldwide.

In addition to its R&D for the AWS-III, the AWS Ocean team in Inverness has also developed other technologies for use elsewhere in the marine energy sector as well as the offshore oil and gas industry; these include sub-sea wave power systems, smart mooring systems and remote piling systems.

Ocean current energy test site to be installed

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC) will soon install the world’s first offshore test berth for small-scale ocean current turbines thanks to a recently signed five-year lease agreement between FAU and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

“This project is a potentially paradigm-shifting development in the global quest for clean energy sources and puts South Florida at the forefront of research in this critical effort,” FAU President John Kelly said. “It also demonstrates the multidisciplinary nature of marine renewable’s research, a successful public, private partnership and FAU’s international leadership in the field.”

The lease allows installation of multiple anchored floating test berths on the U.S. outer continental shelf 13 miles (22 km) offshore from Broward County, Fla. These test berths, each consisting of a buoy anchored to the sea floor, allow ocean current turbine prototypes (up to 100kW generation capacity) to be deployed from vessels moored in the Gulf Stream for a few weeks at a time.

“This is the first time a lease has been issued to test ocean current energy equipment in Federal waters,” said Walter Cruickshank, BOEM acting director. “The Gulf Stream contains a tremendous amount of energy, and this technology offers exciting potential to expand the nation’s renewable energy portfolio.”

Industry partners will have the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of their turbine designs while mooring buoys collect measurements of ocean conditions nearby.

“Our team’s hard work and dedication to our vision is symbolized by the signed lease,” said Susan Skemp, director of SNMREC in FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “We are now looking forward to working closely with our industry partners as we begin to collectively evaluate equipment to generate power from ocean currents and continue to inform future regulatory processes.”

FAU’s SNMREC has been working since 2007 to establish the world’s first offshore ocean current turbine test site. Researchers recently performed a successful final sea trial of the first test berth buoy as well as preliminary tow tests of a small-scale research turbine in late 2013 — key steps before the installation of the test site. Before receiving a lease offer from BOEM, an environmental assessment of the project concluded that “no significant impact” was expected. Before installation of the first test berth planned this year, a project plan will be reviewed by BOEM. This work is supported by close to $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the state of Florida and private companies.

On December 11, 2013, Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center researchers performed the first ever tow test of a small scale research turbine designed and built at FAU (see video below). Although this test did not include a generator to convert the rotor’s motion into electrical energy, very valuable hydrodynamic motion data was collected. Electrical systems are separately being prepared in a laboratory setting for future integration and towed turbine experiments. This turbine, which can generate up to 20kW with its 3 meter diameter rotor in a 2.5 m/s flow, is intended as a research platform to investigate and optimize components for commercial ocean current turbines.


Breakthrough in clean energy technology

General Electric is taking a big step forwardwith its interest in fuel cell technology,its support for various forms of clean energy, especially wind power,its being responsible for some of the most widely used clean technologies in the renewable energy sector nowadays, and its focus on fuel cells.

General Electric is preparing to build a new facility that will be responsible for the manufacture of fuel cell energy systems based on a breakthrough made by the company’s scientists. The breakthrough deals with solid oxidefuel cellsthat are often used for industrial purposes and have been seeing more use in the residential sector.

A research team associated with General Electric believes that the system’s efficiency can reach 95% when the system is configured to take advantage of the heat that is generated through its own electrochemical processes.General Electric has developed one of the most efficient solid oxide fuel cell systems in the world and this system may have myriad uses. In its most basic configuration, the fuel cell system can produce as much as 10 megawatts of electrical power. The system can be reconfigured to produce more electrical power or less, depending on the needs of those making use of it. Unlike conventional fuel cells, this new system uses a stainless steel catalyst instead of platinum, effectively reducing the cost of the fuel cell system by a considerable margin.

Scientists use urine to develop fuel cells

The world produces around 10.5 billion liters of urine every day – enough to fill 4,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Scientists are hoping to use urine to someday generate power for vehicles, homes, and cities. A group of scientists from the Korea University has outlined a plan to use carbon atoms recovered from human urine to produce cheap electricity.

Fuel cells are a promising technology that converts chemical energy into electricity by a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. These cellswork by delivering hydrogen gas to a negatively charged anode on one side of thefuel cell and oxygen is channeled to a positively charged cathode on the other side. At the anode, a catalyst – usually platinum – knocks the hydrogen atoms’ electrons off, leaving positively charged hydrogen ions and free electrons. A membrane placed between the anode and cathode allows only the ions to pass through; the electrons have to travel along an external circuit, generating an electric current.

The problem is that the catalyst used inside afuel cellis expensive and its high cost is currently holding back commercial development of the technology. By replacing platinum with carbon, which has been shown to have similar properties, Korean researchers believe they could reduce the cost offuel cells. The carbon recovered from urine could also be used in battery applications.

Nanoparticles could reduce the cost of fuel cells

Fuel cells are a promising, non-polluting way to power cars, but their platinum catalysts are so expensive that there’s no way that current technology could be economically scaled up for widespread use. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark, have developed an alternative that would use just one-fifth as much of the pricey metal. The new catalyst is a mixture of platinum and a second, cheaper element, yttrium, formed intonanoparticleswhose size can be precisely controlled.

Electron microscopy and X-ray studies show that yttrium atoms leach out of the surface of these particles, leaving a thin, dense, sturdy crust of platinum atoms to enthusiastically promote a key reaction in the fuel cell that convertsoxygen moleculesinto water.

Nowadays, most electric vehicles run on batteries, which are heavy and can only store a certain amount of energy; that’s why electric cars have a limited range. Fuel cells are an attractive alternative, because they are small and light and could run on a tank full of hydrogen replenished at a fueling station. In addition, the car’s exhaust would contain nothing but pure water.


Researchers mimic natural hydrogen production process

Researchers from France’s University of Lyon have discovered a new way to produce hydrogen fuel that may make fuel cells much more viable for transportation. Hydrogen production is often the target of criticism for those who believe that fuel cells have no place in clean transportation.

A team of researchers have discovered that the semi-precious gemstone Peridot can be used to produce hydrogen fuel by mimicking a natural process by using this material to strip one oxygen molecule and one hydrogen molecule from water, producing a mineral known as “serpentine.” This process produces more hydrogen molecules, which can easily be collected and used to power fuel cells, and occurs naturally over long periods of time, but researchers have found that it can be sped up through the use of aluminum oxide.

Hydrogen fuel production has been a problematic issue for some time. Most major automakers have plans to launch hydrogen-powered vehicles around the world beginning in 2015, but for these vehicles to find success they must be supported by a working hydrogen infrastructure,which, in turn,requires the development of efficient hydrogen production methods. Researchers from the University of Lyon believe that their discovery could pave the way to efficient hydrogen production. Several other research groups have also found similar ways to speed up production and make current production methods more convenient.

Water splitter that runs on ordinary AAA battery

At Stanford University, the United States, Hongjie Dai and colleagues have developed a cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas could be used to power fuel cells in zero-emissions vehicles.

The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.

“Using nickel and iron, which are cheap materials, we were able to make the electrocatalysts active enough to split water at room temperature with a single 1.5-volt battery,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low. It’s quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage.”

In addition to producing hydrogen, the novel water splitter could be used to make chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide, an important industrial chemical, according to Dai. He and his colleagues describe the new device in a study published in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

Splitting water to make hydrogen requires no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. But scientists have yet to develop an affordable, active water splitter with catalysts capable of working at industrial scales.

Contact: Hongjie Dai, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Tel: (650) 723-4518, E-mail:

Technology to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel

Rutgers University researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel – a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels.The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum for so-called electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The Rutgers technology is also far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated todate.

Finding ways to make electrolysis reactions commercially viable is important, because processes that make hydrogen nowadays start with methane,which is itself a fossil fuel. The need to consume fossil fuel, therefore, negates current claims that hydrogen is a “green” fuel.Electrolysis, however, could produce hydrogen using electricity generated by renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and hydro energy, or by carbon-neutral sources, such as nuclear energy.

In a recent scientific paper published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Asefa and his colleagues reported that their technology, called “noble metal-free nitrogen-rich carbon nanotubes,” efficiently catalyzes thehydrogenevolution reaction with activities close to those of platinum. They also function well in acidic, neutral, or basic conditions, allowing them to be coupled with the best available oxygen-evolving catalysts that also play crucial roles in the water-splitting reaction.

Hydrogen fuel storage tank

New storage methods are needed in order for hydrogen to be considered viable, especially in the field of transportation, where the fuel is becoming more popular.Researchers from the German Aerospace Center have made a breakthrough in hydrogen fuel storage with a newhydrogentank that is designed specifically to be used with vehicles. The tank is capable of storing hydrogen in a relatively compact space under modest pressures and at low temperatures. The team has equipped the storage tank with a vehicle that is using a fuel cell for energy, showing that it can effectively supply the fuel cell with what it needs to produce electrical power.The new storage tank is modular, consisting of tubes that are filled with storage materials which are capable of absorbing gaseous hydrogen. The sponge-like properties of these materials makes them able to reduce the volume of hydrogen and cut down on the need for hydrogen to be stored at high pressures. The tank is capable of storing hydrogen at 70 bar pressures, making it ideal forfuel cell vehiclesthat are expected to begin entering the global market next year.

Cracking breakthrough brings hydrogen fuel closer

A new technique for producing hydrogen from ammonia could allow for a new generation of clean, green vehicle fuels. Energy researchers at the United Kingdom’s Science and Technology Facilities Councilhave developeda way of turning ammonia into hydrogen that is far cheaper than previous methods.

Although hydrogen is an excellent fuel source, and totally carbonfree, it is difficult to store on board a vehicle in a safe and efficient manner – just ask the pilots of the Hindenburg. Converting existing fossil fuel infrastructure to hydrogen is also an expensive and complex task.

Ammonia has been eyed as a possible solution to both of those problems for some time. The gas could be stored on board vehicles at low pressures in plastic tanks, and delivered in a petrol station through the same infrastructure used for traditional fuel.

However, turning that ammonia into hydrogen, a process known as “cracking,” has always been tricky. The best catalysts, which accelerate the process, are very expensive precious metals. The team’s breakthrough came from using two simultaneous chemical processes in place of that catalyst – achieving the same result at a fraction of the cost. Their work waspublished in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Our approach is as effective as the best current catalysts but the active material, sodium amide, costs pennies to produce,” explained Bill David, who led the research team behind the discovery. “We can produce hydrogen from ammonia ‘on demand’ effectively and affordably.”

He added: “While our process is not yet optimised, we estimate that an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a two-litre bottle will provide enough hydrogen to run a mid-range family car. We’ve even thought about how we can make ammonia as safe as possible and stop the release of [polluting] NOx gases.”

David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said: “We believe that there is no single solution to the challenges we face in decarbonising the fuel chain, but this research suggests that ammonia based technologies are worth further consideration and may well play an important part in the future energy landscape.”

Process converts liquid waste to fuel

MagneGas Corporation, the United States, a technology company that counts among its inventions a patented process that converts liquid waste into a hydrogen-based fuel, announced that it has filed provisional patents on the production methods and composition of MagneGas(R) 2.This latest provisional patent is a part of MagneGas Corporation’s effort to strengthen and broaden its intellectual property. In this case, the application is related to new production methods and designs required to produce gas from high carbon liquid wastes as well as the composition of MagneGas(R) 2.

The Company is developing a variety of ancillary uses for MagneGas(R) fuels utilizing its high flame temperature for co-combustion of hydrocarbon fuels and other advanced applications. For more information on MagneGas(R), please visit the Company’s website at

Contact: KCSA Strategic Communications, Philip Carlson, Tel: +1 212. 896.1233, E-mail:, Vincent Piazza, +1 212.896.1289, Website:


New biofuel production technology

A team of researchers, led by Professor Charles E. Wyman, at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, the United States, have developed a versatile, relatively non-toxic, and efficient way to convert raw agricultural and forestry residues and other plant matter, known as lignocellulosic biomass, into biofuels and chemicals.Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF) helps produce fuels and chemicals from biomass at high enough yields and low enough costs and to become a viable alternative or replacement for petroleum-based fuels and chemicals.CELF is unique,as it can consolidate multiple processing steps – such as pretreatment, sugar hydrolysis, and sugar catalysis – into one step. This reduces the water content of the reaction to maximize the amount of actual solids that can be loaded and also conserves heat and energy. The process is also tunable so that different end products can be made by changing the configurations.

Using the combination of CELF with iron chloride, a type of metal halide, to break down the maple wood, Cai and the research team obtained yields of 95 percent of the theoretical maximum for furfural and 51 percent for 5-HMF in a single pot reaction. This presents an improvement in yield rates of almost 50 percent compared with current commercial technologies, thereby potentially reducing the cost of furfural production to within the range of current price of crude oil.In addition to the high yield rates, more than 90 percent of the lignin was dissolved and extracted by CELF and recovered as a fine powdered product.Lignin is often unused or burned. However, lignin is actually a promising resource for making additional high value chemicals and fuels once it is extracted and depolymerized with CELF.

New technique could help to lower cost of biofuels

Dr Studer and his team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich are developing a novel consolidated bioprocessing technique using a mixture of robust industrial microbial strains growing in one reactor. The main challenge was that the oxygen requirements of the involved organisms are different: fungal cellulolytic enzyme production requires oxygen rich (aerobic) conditions, whereas the conversion of sugars to ethanol by yeast takes place under anaerobic conditions. A special membrane reactor was developed to counter this problem, where the researchers layered the involved groups of microorganisms in a biofilm atop each other, creating a reactor in which both catalysts function simultaneously.

Oxygen necessary for the growth of the aerobic fungi is delivered via a dense oxygen-permeable membrane, whereas the upper layer of the biofilm and the fermentation broth are purposely deprived of it, creating different growth environments for the varied types of microorganisms needed. Enzymes secreted in the aerobic part of the biofilm are released into the slurry of pre-treated biomass, hydrolysing the cellulosic material to release monomeric sugars. Rapid fermentation of the sugars ensues due to the intervention of the faster growing yeast cells, which grow in the anaerobic regions of the reactor. As these complete their work, ethanol is released. “Our process definitely functions effectively,” says Studer. “Yields are around 80 per cent if we’re converting pure cellulose into ethanol. Using pre-treated, non-detoxified wheat straw as a raw material, the yield is only slightly lower - around 70 per cent.”

The team is now seeking to diversify its outputs. To date, ethanol as product has been the focus of the work. “But, in fact, we can produce any chemical which can be derived from sugar fermentation in an anaerobic environment,” says Studer. Alternative outputs have included lactic and succinic acid, and the scientists also intend to generate butanol. Generally, a significant challenge when switching to a new product is to establish an environment that nurtures all the different but cohabitant strains of microorganism. “Because of the varying pH and temperature conditions such entities may require, this isn’t easy. We must, therefore, ensure our system is sufficiently adaptable,” says Studer.

Ethanol plants produce new corn diesel

Fuel is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel. Two ethanol plants, developed by East Kansas Agri-Energy, the United States, have started turning a different part of corn into a fuel that can replace conventional diesel.Most diesel is made from petroleum, though synthetic fuels and biodiesel, made from vegetable oils, have a small share of the market. The renewable diesel will be different from biodiesel, because conventional trucks, trains, and planes could run on it exclusively, and it doesn’t experience the same difficulty in cold temperatures as in the case of biodiesel.

WB Services, based in Sedgwick, developed the process over the last four years and is working with East Kansas Agri-Energy, according to Ron Beemiller, president and CEO of WB. He said that some other companies had made plant-based versions of diesel earlier, but their “hydrocracking” process is new.It involves combining hydrogen with the corn oil, with some of the hydrogen combining to remove excess oxygen and some combining with the oil itself. The process also requires high temperatures and pressure, but consumes relatively little energy because the reaction generates its own heat after a certain point.

Trigeneration system shows potential for off-grid applications

A novel trigeneration system fueled by raw plant oils shows significant potential for off-grid applications.Developed by a consortium led by Newcastle University, the United Kingdom, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the small-scale combined cooling, heat, and power system has been designed to provide dependable electricity without the need for a grid connection.Ideally suited for smallholdings and businesses, and particularly applications in the developing world, the waste heat that is produced by the system is used for cooling and heating in order to recover the maximum amount of energy. Simultaneously, the team have incorporated advanced electrical storage into the system to make it even more efficient and more able to cope with the daily fluctuating demand for electricity.

The solution developed by the Newcastle-led consortium is a generator that runs constantly at high efficiency, coupled to the electrical storage system so that it can easily match sharp peaks in electrical demand when required. Waste heat is captured and stored via hot water tanks for heating and hot water needs. Cooling for refrigeration or air conditioning via an absorption chiller can also be run off the waste heat.To make the system even greener and more appropriate for the developing world, the team has also shown that the system can be powered by biofuels.In a follow-up study funded by the EPSRC, DFiD, and DECC, Tony Roskilly is exploring how the trigeneration system can be used on small farms in the developing world to refrigerate and process food crops, to reduce post-harvest losses.

Biodiesel reactor turns used cooking oil into fuel

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia introduced a mobile mini biodiesel reactor; this happens to be the latest invention by the university in its efforts to boost the people’s understanding on the importance and usage of biodiesel

Khairul Iman Khiruzzaki,director of Biodiesel Expedition 2014,said that the reactor which had developed in two months has the capacity to generate 15 liters of biodiesel alternative fuel, known as B5, from used cooking oil in two hours.

A second-year Bioprocess Chemical Engineering student said that the reactor, the first of its kind in Malaysia, was developed as a continuity to the “Go Green, Go Global” program, which promotes biodiesel usage, an initiative that had been started by the university in 2009.

“Nineteen undergraduates were involved in the invention of the mini reactor. It is hoped that the invention will provide more exposure and will rekindle interest among more undergraduates to take up the engineering field,” he told reporters at the university in Skudai.

According to him, the undergraduates were first- and second-year students from the chemical engineering and petroleum engineering and renewable energy faculties. The 22-year-old Khairul said that such reactors are already available in the market but on a bigger scale and are being used mainly by factories, whereas theprototype which was developed at a cost of RM15,000 was more suitable to be used by small and medium enterprises.

However, the mini reactor was only a prototype for the time being and will be used for research purposes and for demonstrations in schools and for the public.

Chemical Engineering Faculty senior lecturer Dr Norzita Ngadi said they have plans to work with the private sector to develop mini reactors for commercial use in future.She said such awareness programsshould be organized more often, as many students, particularly at primary and secondary levels, still do not know what is biodiesel and its usage. According to Norzita, who is also the adviser to the undergraduates who developed the reactor, this came to light from the university’s visits to primary and secondary schools to disseminate information on the alternative fuel. Todate, UTM has organized visits to eight countries, including China, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam, to explain the importance and usage of biodiesel, she added. — Bernama


Electrical Design for Ocean Wave and Tidal Energy Systems

Wave and tidal energy engineering has developed strongly in the past decade, with hundred-MW arrays of full-scale grid-connected wave and tidal devices planned for the next few years. Electrical Design for Ocean Wave and Tidal Energy Systems provides an electrical engineering perspective on these offshore power stations and their integration to the grid;it is essential reading for electrical design engineers, researchers, and students working in ocean energy development and renewable energy.

Contact: The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 2AY, UK, Tel: +44 (0)1438 313 311 Fax: +44 (0)1438 765 526, Email:

Biofuels from Algae

This book provides in-depth information on basic and applied aspects of biofuel production from algae. It provides state-of-the-art information on synthetic biology approaches for algae that are suitable for biofuel production, algal biomass harvesting, algal oils as fuels, biohydrogen production from algae, and formation/production of co-products;it also covers topics such as metabolic engineering and molecular biology for algae for fuel production, life cycle assessment, and scale-up and commercialization. It is highly useful and helps plan new research and design new economically viable processes for the production of clean fuels from algae.

Contact: Elsevier Singapore Pte Ltd (Corporate Office), 3 Killiney Road #08-01 Winsland House 1, 239519, Tel: +65 6 349 0200 Fax: +65 6 733 1510

Handbook of Wind Power Systems

Wind power is currently considered the fastest growing energy resource in the world. The Handbook on Wind Power Systems provides an overview on several aspects of wind power systems and deals with optimization problems in wind power generation, grid integration of wind power systems, modeling, control and maintenance of wind facilities, and innovative wind energy generation. Experts working on different aspects of wind energy generation and conversion have contributed to the chapters.

Contact: Springer Science+Business Media Singapore Private Limited, 152 Beach Road #22-06/08 Gateway East Singapore 189721 Singapore E-mail:


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