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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Mar-Apr 2010

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New and Renewable Energy Mar-Apr 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 wins solar power funding

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, is investing in India’s first commercially viable solar power project, giving a vote of confidence to ambitions to develop the technology there. Azure Power Private is India’s first megawatt-scale solar power developer, and IFC is set to invest US$10 million.

The Azure project sets a precedent in India for connecting solar plants to the national grid. This method could be used by other producers. The plant, linked to the electricity grid, supplies power to about 20,000 people in 32 villages in the Amritsar district of the Punjab.

The push by IFC into solar power comes when private funds are targeting India’s generating companies, including those with significant renewable energy portfolios. A consortium – including Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs Investment Management – has invested US$425 million in Asian Genco, a Singapore-based company that is building power plants in India.

India is engaged in a vast expansion of power infrastructure to drive its rapidly growing economy and aid its 1.14 billion population, more than half of which do not have regular access to electricity. The country is seeking to raise its solar power generation capacity to 20,000 MW by 2022.
Source: www.ft.com


China set to build smart grid to tap renewable energy

China is stepping up the “smart grid” construction across the country, as Premier Mr. Wen Jiabao put it in the work report to the top legislature in March 2010. Smart grid is an intelligent system capable of seamlessly integrating the alternative sources like solar and wind from power suppliers into the electricity network.

Mr. Cai Guoxiong, Deputy Chief Engineer of the China Electric Power Research Institute under the State Grid Corporation, said the smart grid has been piloted in large and medium cities since the State Grid kicked off the construction in May 2009. A “unified, strong and smart grid” system is to be built nationwide by 2020 incorporating thermal, hydroelectric and nuclear power, as well as renewable ones, said Mr. Cai. China has put the smart grid building on strategic agenda to facilitate the use of renewable energy and reduce the country’s excessive reliance on the high-polluting coal power generation, he said.

According to a long-term outline for renewable energy development issued in 2007, China planned to increase the renewable energy proportion to 10 per cent of the total energy use by 2010, and 15 per cent by 2020. China is now taking the lead in solar and hydropower generation and its wind power installed capacity ranks fourth in the world.
Source: news.xinhuanet.com


Funding scheme for renewable energy projects

The Government of Pakistan has finalized a scheme to provide financing for the establishment of power projects using renewable energy. New power plants of up to 10 MW installed capacity using alternative and renewable energy sources like wind, biogas, biofuels, solar power and geothermal energy as fuel will be considered for funding under the scheme. The Board of Investment (BOI) has designed the financing scheme under which banks and development financial institutions (DFIs) will finance projects on “first come first serve” basis within the overall amount earmarked for the purpose. The government will give preference to projects in less developed areas.

Investors in power projects can tap the financing facility for new locally manufactured and imported plant, machinery and equipment. Under the BOI policy, sponsors of power projects will be required to meet the requirements of Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and other departments in compliance with the prevalent renewable energy policy of the government.

Financing under the scheme will be available for a maximum period of 10 years, including a grace period of two years. The grace period will be over and above the ‘availability period’ of one year. However, maximum period of financing will not exceed the period of 10 years, including grace and availability period from the date of first disbursement.
Source: www.dawn.com


Renewable energy bill approved in Republic of Korea

The parliament in the Republic of Korea has approved a government bill to hike the country’s consumption of renewable energy and support solar, wind power and fuel cell markets. The assembly passed the bill, dubbed Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), that requires 14 state-run and private power utilities to boost supplies of renewable energy beginning in 2012, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

“Through RPS, the government also expects to create large-scaled renewable energy markets, which will help domestic firms to actively invest and help related industries to expand,” the statement said. Under the bill, the utilities should boost renewable energy by two per cent of the total power generation in 2012, and the requirement will grow by five times to 10 per cent in 2022.

Renewable energy accounted for 2.4 per cent of Republic of Korea’s total energy consumption in 2008. The country aims to increase that to 11 per cent by 2030. The government estimates that a renewable energy market worth 4.1 trillion won (US$3.64 billion) would exist by 2012, rising to 54 trillion won (US$ 48 billion) by 2022.
Source: uk.reuters.com


Philippines set to receive financing for clean energy

The Philippines can receive as much as US$1.8 billion in financing from multilateral lenders, international agencies, foreign governments and the private sector in support of innovative projects designed to reduce the impact of climate change.

Ms. Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, and Ms. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Asian Development Bank President, said the Philippines and three other pilot Asian countries – Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam – will get support under the Clean Technology Fund (CTF). Five countries outside Asia – Egypt, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and Turkey – have also adopted their own CTF-funded investment plans. CTF is a multi-donor trust fund created and managed by the World Bank as a part of the Climate Investment Fund to finance low-carbon technologies.

Out of the estimated US$1.8 billion investment plan for the Philippines, some US$250 million has already been committed to support the gov-ernment’s efforts to maintain and increase the country’s large share of renewable energy and implement the National Environmentally Sustainable Transport Strategy.
Source: www.manilastandardtoday.com


Research on oil palm biomass nearing completion

The comprehensive research on viable renewable energy, using oil palm biomass and palm oil mill effluent, currently being undertaken by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, will be ready soon, said Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the Plantation, Industries and Commodities Minister. “The research covers all aspects including economic viability, problems faced by parties involved and the actual number of oil palm mills which can generate biomass-based energy,” the Minister added.

The Minister said the industry had the potential to generate 1,335 MW of energy if the use of the palm oil biomass produced in the country is maximized. However, he cautioned that despite the industry’s immense potential, exorbitant start-up cost and high capital outlay could pose challenges. The Minister identified the distant location of palm oil mills from major transmission line grids and the low tariff offered for biomass energy as two other major impediments for the development of the sector. He said the government had allocated M$1.5 billion (about US$466 million) under the Green Technology Fund, which can be utilised by palm oil mills to produce bio-energy.
Source: www.bernama.com


World Bank helps Indonesia increase geothermal energy

The World Bank will provide US$400 million to help double Indonesia’s geothermal energy capacity, as part of a broad effort at the World Bank to ramp up climate change spending in the developing world. Indonesia is estimated to have about 28,100 MW of geothermal capacity – the equivalent of about 12 billion barrels of oil – which would make a major source of energy in the future.

The country has pledged to reduce its growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent in the coming decade. World Bank believes the funding will help Indonesia, which has the largest geothermal energy potential in the world, meet its goal. Under the plan, Indonesia will use the financing to “expand large-scale geothermal power plants and to accelerate initiatives to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy by creating risk-sharing facilities and addressing financing barriers to small- and medium-scale investments,” the World Bank stated. The national energy policy of Indonesia aims to derive 9,500 MW of power from geothermal sources by 2025.
Source: www.nytimes.com


Renewables are a viable energy source for Viet Nam

At least 5 per cent of total electricity production in Viet Nam could come from renewable sources by 2020. This equates to 2,400 MW a year, experts say. However, before the South-East Asian country could reach this figure, the government will need to provide hefty capital assistance. According to Mr. Le Tuan Phong, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Industries and Trade’s Energy Department, the sector will focus on developing biogas projects, as well as small-scale hydropower plants and wind and solar energy plants. The Ministry had submitted to the government a master plan for the development of the renewable energy sector, including strategies, incentive policies and regulations, Mr. Phong revealed.

Experts say that the government would need to create favourable conditions for the renewable energy to develop, including rapid approval of land grants, pricing policies for alternative energy and permission for different sectors to get involved, say experts.
Source: www.biofuels-news.com


Renewable power projects in India

India’s public sector giant National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is planning to undertake renewable energy power projects having large capacities. Taking a first step towards this, NTPC has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state-run Gujarat Power Corporation (GPCL) for putting up solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 500 MW in Gujarat state.

NTPC aims to have 1,000 MW renewable power generation capacity by setting up solar, wind and geothermal power projects, according to Mr. R.S. Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director. This capacity is likely to be added by 2014. Apart from Gujarat, NTPC is at present exploring possibilities in Karnataka and Rajasthan for these types of projects.

As per the MoU inked with GPCL, NTPC will execute 100 MW solar and 400 MW wind power projects in the state. For the 500 MW power plants, NTPC will pump in Rs 40 billion, said Mr. Bharatsingh Solanki, India’s Minister of State for Power.
Source: www.business-standard.com


China to focus on energy restructuring

China would put more emphasis on adjusting its energy structure in 2010, with emphasis on renewable energy and nuclear power, says Mr. Zhang Guobao, Director of National Energy Administration (NEA).

Mr. Zhang, also Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said adjusting the energy development pattern would be the top priority in NEA’s blueprint for this year. The aim is to fulfil China’s promise at last year’s Copenhagen climate summit to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of the GDP by 40-45 per cent by 2020 from the 2005 level. Mr. Zhang said although China was at the world’s advanced level in new energy development, there was still much room for improvement. As an example, he said that China’s installed wind power capacity was only 22 million kW, though it had wind power reserves of 2.6 billion kW.
Source: www.chinadaily.com.cn


Tariff scheme for renewable energy in the Philippines

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the Philippines has issued the draft rules for the feed-in tariff for renewable energy projects. Ms. Zenaida Cruz Ducut, ERC Chairperson, said the draft rules, which would undergo public consultations, would fast track the development of green energy sources in the country. Feed-in tariffs represent the guaranteed rate that proponents of renewable energy projects will be paid for the energy they produce. It is one of the incentives under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which seeks to promote the development of alternative and sustainable sources, such as solar, wind, ocean, run-of-river hydroelectric and biomass.

Under the draft rules, different sets of tariffs for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources shall be approved by ERC, based on the petition of the National Renewable Energy Board. The initial tariffs that the regulator approves would last for 15 years and would be brought down little by little according to a schedule that ERC will set.

The feed-in tariffs will be incorporated into consumers’ electric bills under a uniform charge called FIT-All, the implementation of which would be similar to the universal charge. ERC will set the FIT-All on a yearly basis upon the petition of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, which is tasked with settling and paying the tariffs to eligible renewable energy power plants.
Source: www.manilatimes.net


SOLAR ENERGY

Tiny plastic solar cell

A discovery at the Université Laval, Canada, has led to the invention of a tiny plastic solar cell that will allow people to charge cellular phones as they sit in a bag, or to recharge a laptop from a sun umbrella.

The technology was developed by Konarka Technologies, the United States, in part using the discovery by Professor Mario Leclerc, Director of the Macromolecular Science & Engineering Research Centre of Université Laval. Prof. Leclerc discovered a family of plastics that can conduct energy.

Konarka employed that discovery to develop a plastic film that has the capability to capture outdoor and indoor light and convert it to energy. The technology is being evaluated by the United States Army for lightweight and portable battery charging. It has also been incorporated into the Energy Sunbags – solar energy bags, which can power cell phones, MP3 players and cameras – manufactured by the German company Neuber’s.
Source: www.montrealgazette.com


Nanowire promises higher-efficiency solar cells

Mr. Cun-Zheng Ning and Mr. Alian Pan of Arizona State University in the United States have fabricated quaternary semiconductor nanowire materials, which could lead to more efficient photovoltaic (PV) cells and possibly also to better LEDs.

High solar cell efficiencies require a wide range of energy bandgaps that matches the entire solar spectrum, explains Mr. Ning, a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering. “The lack of available bandgaps is one of the reasons current solar cell efficiency is low, and why we do not have LED lighting colours that can be adjusted for various situations,” he says.

The researchers used a new method to produce an extremely wide range of bandgaps. They alloyed the two binary semiconductors, zinc sulphide (ZnS) and cadmium selenide (CdSe), to obtain the quaternary semiconductor alloy ZnCdSSe that produced continuously varying compositions of elements on a single substrate. Mr. Ning says this is the first time a quaternary semiconductor has been produced in the form of a nanowire or nanoparticle. The team has produced light emission ranging in wavelength from 350 nm to 720 nm on a single substrate just a few centimetres in size. The colour spread across the substrate can be controlled to a large degree, and the researchers believe that this ‘dual-gradient method’ can be more generally applied to produce other alloy semiconductors or expand the bandgap range of these alloys.

To investigate the use of quaternary alloy materials for making PV cells more efficient, the team has developed a lateral multi-cell design combined with a dispersive concentrator. The multiple sub-cells can collectively absorb the entire solar spectrum to achieve very high efficiency with low fabrication cost, it is believed.
Source: www.semiconductor-today.com


Thin film solar cells

In the United States, Miasolé has developed copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film photovoltaic cells. The thin film solar cells are made from three different materials: CIGS, amorphous silicon triple junction and cadmium telluride. CIGS has a lab efficiency of 19.9, amorphous silicon triple junction has 12.3 per cent and the cadmium telluride has 16.5 per cent. CIGS has all the key features required for a photovoltaic material: efficient solar semiconductor, flexible substrates, low cost and cost effectiveness. Contact: MiaSolé, 2590 Walsh Avenue, Santa Clara, California, CA 95051, United States of America. Tel: +1 (408) 919 5700; Fax: +1 (408) 919 5701. Website: www.miasole.com.
Source: www.azocleantech.com


Solar cells made cheaper

IBM, based in the United States, has developed a solar cell with a light absorption layer made using cheaper and readily available metals rather than the rare, more expensive metals. Currently, thin film solar cell modules are based upon compound semiconductors that operate at 9 to 11 per cent efficiency levels, and are primarily made from two costly compounds – copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride. In contrast, IBM’s new cell is made of copper, tin, zinc, sulphur or selenium, all of which are relatively abundant earth metals. It has achieved a 9.6 per cent efficiency rating, which is about 40 per cent better than earlier attempts using these materials.

The solar cell development also sets itself apart from its predecessors, as it was created using a combination of nanoparticle-based as well as solution-based and approaches, rather than the popular but expensive vacuum-based technique. This would reduce production costs and make the manufacturing process – which involves printing, dip and spray coating and slit casting – faster, less wasteful and more efficient.
Source: www.irishtimes.com


Hybrid solar cells: a ‘green’ innovation

Mr. Huiming Yin, an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the United States, is developing a solar panel that could help put sustainable energy within reach of more households. The system incorporates solar cells that have a conversion rate of 12 per cent, which makes them a good deal less effective at converting sunlight to energy than some of the new technology on the market, but they have the potential to become a good deal more affordable.

Rather than focusing on getting the highest solar cell conversion rate, Mr. Yin is concentrating on other factors that can make solar power more cost-effective and attractive to potential users. He is combining two emerging trends in the solar industry – “integrated” solar panels that double as building elements, and “hybrid” solar systems that produce both electricity and hot water.

Mr. Yin’s system consists of a layer of solar cells and thermoelectric material, under which are plastic water tubes. The tubes draw heat from the photovoltaic layer, which serves a dual purpose: they provide hot water to the building and keep the photovoltaic layer cool enough to maintain a high level of efficiency. The new panels are still in development at a private engineering firm.
Source: www.scientificamerican.com


Monocrystalline silicon solar cells with high efficiency

In Germany, Sunways AG and the Institut für Solarenergieforschung Hameln (ISFH) have jointly produced a monocrystalline silicon solar cell with an efficiency of 19.1 per cent. Sunways and ISFH used established screen printing technology for metallizing silicon solar cells to achieve the record, under a joint development project with the aim to further increase the efficiency of silicon solar cells. Sunways’ Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Roland Burkhardt, says: “An efficiency of more than 19 per cent for silicon solar cells with screen-printed contacts is an internationally leading achievement.”

The work focused on the development of a highly efficient back for silicon solar cells, resulting in yield improvements in the longwave range of the solar spectrum. The approach combines the high-efficiency potential of the new back with the tried and tested processability of solar cells that have been metallized by screen printing. The individual process steps for the production of the prototypes with an area of 155 cm2 were carried out in near-production conditions at Sunways.
Source: www.renewableenergyfocus.com


High-performance photovoltaic cells

RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD), the United States, has announced its success in the manufacture of the industry’s first photovoltaic (PV) cell using high-volume six-inch gallium arsenide (GaAs) machinery. The PV cell was manufactured in RFMD’s existing high-volume, six-inch GaAs wafer fabrication facilities without equipment modification. This achievement represents the first in a series of milestone achievements anticipated by related to the commercialization of high-performance multi-junction PV cells.

RFMD – a pioneer in compound semiconductor manufacturing with a proven ability to commercialize new technologies – had entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy to develop a high-volume and commercially viable compound semiconductor-based process for high-performance multi-junction PV cells from “bankable” manufacturers.

RFMD achieved this PV cell milestone in the Foundation Phase of the agreement, during which the capability to manufacture basic PV cells at the RFMD manufacturing facilities is being established. After the Foundation Phase, a Technology Demonstration Phase will begin, during which PV cells will be fabricated at RFMD’s manufacturing facilities leveraging NREL’s intellectual property and technology. In the final Production Readiness Phase RFMD will demonstrate the high-performance PV cells having high yields, high reliability, high reproducibility and low cost.

The successful implementation of RFMD’s multi-year agreement with NREL is expected to result in the high-volume production of PV cells in RFMD’s facilities as early as the calendar year 2012, using technology capable of best-in-class solar cell conversion efficiency. NREL’s technology has demonstrated one of the world’s highest reported solar cell conversion efficiencies, at 40.8 per cent, and continued substantial improvements in efficiency are expected.
Source: money.cnn.com


WIND ENERGY

Improved prediction of wind power

Researchers at the Solar Energy Resources Evaluation Centre, part of China Meteorological Administration, have developed a meso-scale short range wind power prediction system, based on the historical wind power data. Researchers created a non-linear model able to predict wind power every 15 minutes, based on the wind power data derived from 200 wind turbines at a wind farm in Gansu Province and on the meteorological elements fields collected during the same period.

To validate the results of the model, researchers made a prediction test during January-December 2008. The comparison between the wind power prediction and actual wind power output at an interval of 15 minutes show that the model is able to predict the monthly wind power variations in a reasonable manner, with a limited Root Mean Square Error ranging from 2.76 per cent to 12.89 per cent.
Source: www.most.gov.cn


Highly responsive wind turbine

Small wind turbines are becoming more popular, as consumers look for greener energy alternatives. Mr. Dan Parker, an inventor from New Hampshire, the United States, has developed a wind turbine that could reshape the market. “It has got a small front set of wings, three blades that actually spiral,” says Mr. Parker, who calls it the Spiralairfoil.

Spiralairfoil is a funnel-shaped wind turbine that is 6 ft in diameter and 10 ft long. The prototype turbine has plastic blades that spiral in the wind like a corkscrew. “A lot of the wind spills over the front blades and then wraps back in and collapses into the back set of blades,” Mr. Parker explains. As a result of the spiral, he says the contraption pivots itself into the wind like a weathervane.

But what makes Spiralairfoil different from much of the rest is that it is very responsive to the wind – it picks up even a breeze of 2.5 kmph. Squeezing more power from available wind is ideal for customers who may not live in very windy locations. Spiralairfoil is still in the development phase, but if the preliminary tests hold true, the turbine could make wind power systems more affordable.
Source: www.mpbn.net


Vertical axis wind turbine gets patent

Blackhawk Project LLC, based in the United States, has patented its wind turbine. Blackhawk had prototyped, test-manufactured and field-tested the vertical-axis wind turbine with articulating rotor over the past couple of years. The turbine is meant to supplement power generation for a home, farm or field device – it is designed to be attractive from a cost standpoint up front and in the long term – though turbines could be combined for larger applications.

Blackhawk researchers tested the turbine at various field sites and at the Centre for Advanced Energy Studies of Idaho National Laboratory (INL). A distinguishing characteristic of the Blackhawk turbine is that its airfoils rotate parallel to the ground. Airfoils are attached to a tilt rotor in the centre of the turbine; the slanted rotor allows the long-armed turbine to self-start without external devices. INL reported that this passive control system is de-signed to offer power generation without the noise, clutching, tower heights, electronics and the heavy blades associated with many wind machines. Blackhawk turbine has the ability to operate in lower wind-speed areas. With fewer parts than most turbines, Blackhawk turbine was designed to be durable and easily maintained.
Source: sunvalleyonline.com


Circulation control technology for wind turbines

In the United Sates, a technology originally developed to increase lift in aircraft wings and simplify helicopter rotors can reduce the cost of manufacturing and operating wind turbines. Circulation control aerodynamics technology would allow wind turbines to produce significantly more power than current devices at the same wind speed.

Engineers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and PAX Streamline recently embarked on a two-year project that will construct a demonstration pneumatic wind turbine. “Our goal will be to make generation of electricity from wind turbines less expensive by eliminating the need for the complex blade shapes and mechanical control systems used in current turbines,” says Mr. Robert Englar, principal research engineer at GTRI.

Circulation control techniques use compressed air blown from slots on the trailing edges of wings or hollow blades to change the aerodynamic properties of those wings or blades.

In aircraft, circulation control wings improve lift, allowing aircraft to fly at much lower speeds – and take off and land in much shorter distances. In helicopter rotor blades, the technique simplifies the rotor and its control system, and produces more lift.

The project will apply the technique to control the aerodynamic properties of wind turbine blades, which traditionally must be made in complicated shapes and controlled by complex control mechanisms to extract optimal power from the wind. “The speed at which these turbines would begin to operate will be much lower than with existing blades,” says Mr. Englar. The technology will also allow a reduction in the size of wind turbines, and safe operation at higher wind speeds and in wind gusts that would cause existing turbines to be shut down to prevent damage.
Source: www.assemblymag.com


Low-speed synchronous wind turbine generators

ABB, the Switzerland-based multi-national power and automation giant, offers synchronous wind turbine generators. These generators employ permanent magnet technology and have been designed for medium-speed, high-speed and direct-drive applications. Synchronous wind turbine generators generate output power in the range of 500 kVA to 5,000 kVA. The number of poles in these generators varies from 4 to 60 or more. ABB’s synchronous wind turbine generators operate at a maximum voltage range of 400 V to 4,000 V. Their operating speed is up to 2,000 rpm.

The synchronous wind turbine permanent magnet generator is available in three different versions: low speed, medium speed and high speed. The low-speed generator has a simple and robust design that requires minimal maintenance. This gearless efficient system incorporates a low-speed rotor and is devoid of a separate cooling or excitation system, which results in low life cycle costs, minimum wear and better durability. This synchronous wind generator can be attached directly with the turbine that results in the formation of a structurally integrated unit.
Source: www.azocleantech.com


Floating 10 MW wind turbine prototype

Sway A/S, Norway, has developed 10 MW floating wind turbines for location in deep waters. The buoyancy of the large wind turbine is due to the hollow tower support, and it will be anchored to the seabed to depths of several hundred metres.

This prototype is equipped with a rotor having a diameter of 145 m. Unlike most wind farms, which are based directly on the seabed (up to a maximum depth of 60-70 m), the Sway turbine floats and can therefore be installed offshore at depths of several hundred metres. This implies a substantial difference in terms of generated energy, as winds blowing at deep sea (50 km off coast) are much stronger than nearer coast (such as 15 km off the coast where the large power plants were built up to now).

The buoyancy of the new wind turbine is based on the large internally hollow supporting tower, which extends below the water surface and is filled with ballast, thus having sufficient stability to resist wind loads. The structure is anchored to the seabed also by means of lateral suction anchors, allowing the tower to tilt a few degrees and turn around, so as to harness more energy from winds, while reducing excessive structural tensions.

According to Sway designers, the wind turbine’s features allow it to be more efficient in terms of wind power production and less costly in terms of operational management. Sway guarantees a minimum life span of 20 years and the ability to withstand the impact of a tidal wave of over 30 m. Contact: Sway A/S, Laguneveien 9, 5239 Rådal, Norway. Tel: +47 55706500; E-mail: post@ sway.no; Website: www.sway.no.
Source: www.evwind.es


Wind power systems with electronic stall regulation

Freedom Renewable Energy in the United States offers a wind system from New Englander (also from the United States) featuring Aerostar wind turbine that provides continuous 1.9 kW output. This wind turbine has the ability to generate power to support an average home or a small business. It features a downwind design, vibration damping technology, and a double-blade design for smooth and quiet operation.

The New Englander wind power system has wireless remote control with two-way interface facility to facilitate users to monitor and control the system conveniently. The wind system features an electronic stall regulation braking system controlled by a redundant relay switch. It also features passive yaw control, and a permanent magnet alternator that is slotless and brushless. The cut-in wind speed of the system is 3.5 m/s, with a rated wind speed of 9 m/s. The rotor of the wind power system measures 6.7 m in diameter and rotates at 50-325 rpm.
Source: www.azocleantech.com


WAVE / TIDAL ENERGY

New turbine design to be tested

A new turbine designed to capture energy from slow flowing rivers is to be demonstrated on the Amazon River in Brazil. The turbine, developed by MTDS, a Scotland-based engineering company, uses vertical rotors, like revolving doors. According to the company, because the turbine’s blades move at about the same speed as the current – unlike conventional rotors that slice across the water flow – efficiency is max-imized, and potential marine life impacts are reduced or removed. As the turbine does not need to dam rivers and estuaries, habitat disturbance is also minimized.

A scale-model turbine has performed successfully in controlled trails and a full-scale version will now be built for a 12-month demonstration project on the Amazon and to verify the power output. The components of the full-scale prototype, at nearly 50 tonnes and nearly 6 m wide, are to be manufactured in Caithness, Scotland, then shipped to Brazil and built and installed by the Scottish team by late 2010. Despite its size, it will be smaller and many times lighter than most other tidal turbines, allowing easier transport and installation, says the company.
Source: www.waterpowermagazine.com


Large ocean energy conversion device

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), the United States, will soon unveil its proprietary Turbine Generator Unit (TGU). The unit, with a capacity rating of 60 kW, will be the largest ocean energy device ever deployed in the United States waters.

ORPC’s TGU project incorporates significant new advancements and technological innovations, including its proprietary turbine engineered with 100 per cent composite materials, its proprietary underwater permanent magnet generator, a TGU support frame incorporating significant use of composite materials, and a power electronics system that will convert the variable generator output to grid-compatible power.

ORPC had proved the technical viability of its proprietary technology during a year-long demonstration programme in 2008. The upcoming demonstration project will confirm ORPC’s ability to reliably generate grid-compatible tidal energy on a commercial scale with its proprietary technology. It will also allow for collection of important data on TGU performance and its interaction with the marine environment.
Source: www.evwind.es


Ocean thermal energy conversion

Ocean thermal energy is a form of solar energy that is trapped in the upper layers of the sea. In tropical areas of the world, the water temperatures can be as warm as 26°C. Several thousand feet below the surface, the water temperature drops below 4°C. Ocean’s warm and cold waters can be used in an energy conversion system that drives turbine generators to produce electricity. In the United States, the Navy has awarded a US$8.1 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. to continue development of a 10 MW ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) pilot plant.

“OTEC is essentially a very large heat pump,” explains Mr. Robert Varley, Programme Manager of the contract. Warm ocean water drawn up through a pipe evaporates liquid ammonia. The gaseous ammonia turns the turbine generators that produce electricity. The ocean’s cold water condenses the generator exhaust back into liquid form. The ammonia is pumped back to the evaporator to start the cycle anew. Unlike fossil fuel plants, the fuel is free and carbon dioxide is not produced as a by-product.

In the conceptual design, the plant is roughly the size of an offshore oil platform. Hanging off the platform’s 150 ft long sides are 16 cylinders containing heat exchangers that are 10 ft × 10 ft × 30 ft in size. To produce the electricity, approximately 37,800 litres of warm and cold seawater would be pumped up through the system per second. The plant would send electricity to the shore via underwater cables. That power then would be transferred to the local grid.

The environmental impact on the oceans will be minimal, officials say. Water will be discharged back into the seas at depths that correspond to its temperature. Screens on the warm water intake pipes will prevent large fish from being caught up in the current. The pipes’ low velocity intake will allow smaller marine animals to swim out.
Source: www.nationaldefensemagazine.org


FUEL CELL

Drawing electricity from sewer water

In India, a 23-year-old student of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, has demonstrated production of electricity from wastewater. Mr. Manoj Mandelia, who is pursuing integrated MTech at IIT, developed the device that uses the concept of microbial fuel cell (MFC). The bio-electrochemical system that mimics bacterial interactions not only treats wastewater but also produces electricity in the process.

The Localised Operation of Bio-cells Using Sewage project (LOCUS) can achieve chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction levels in wastewater to about 60-80 per cent. “We have used a single chambered MFC for our LOCUS design. The electrical system has been designed to deliver and distribute power, while the mechanical design caters to filtering out the large, solid materials before sewage enters the MFC,” said Mr. Mandelia.
Source: www.indianexpress.com


Biogas-powered fuel cells

In the United States, the Coca-Cola Company has agreed to test ‘Bloom Box’, essentially fuel cells powered by environmentally friendly biogas, to power one of its juice packaging plants. The company has signed on as a Foundation Partner with Bloom Energy, a California-based firm that manufactures Bloom Box that can generate electricity from a variety of energy sources, such as natural gas.

The core technology – solid oxide fuel cell – was originally developed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is reported to be one of the most efficient devices currently available for converting hydrocarbon fuels, such as natural gas, into electricity. Five Bloom Boxes will be installed at the plant. Each box can generate 100 kW of power. The fuel cells have ceramic plates coated with a proprietary material that chemically reacts with oxygen and the source fuel to create electricity.

In the Coca-Cola plant, the fuel cells will run on re-directed biogas and are expected to provide 30 per cent of the plant’s power needs while reducing its carbon footprint by an estimated 35 per cent. Each of the commercial power servers costs about US$750,000.
Source: www.controleng.com and www.hindustantimes.com


New MFC to power underwater vehicles

The ocean is an underwater world of wonders, but there is also a lot of thick, messy substances down there, made of decomposed marine organisms. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) of the United States has announced a new microbial fuel cell (MFC) to convert those decomposing organisms into electricity.

“These fuel cells convert naturally occurring fuels and oxidants in the marine environment into electricity,” explains ONR, “offering a clean, efficient and reliable alternative to batteries and other environmentally harmful fuels.” Anointed one of the top 50 inventions of 2009 by Time magazine, the microbial cell should be a power source for long-term operation of autonomous, unmanned underwater vehicles and other devices designed for use under the sea. The microbial fuel cell is also environmentally friendly: given the cell’s return of clean energy, ONR believes it will play a part in reducing carbon emissions in the environment, as well as change the way homes and vehicles get power.
Source: www.earthtechling.com


Fuel cell for lighting

Freedom Power™ Systems from Altergy Systems, the United States, provide clean off-the-grid electricity to fulfil various power requirements. Freedom Power Systems (FPS) are fully integrated, self-contained, high-efficiency fuel cell systems which generate power at the point-of-use. These clean, zero-emission power generators deliver power with quality, reliability and on demand, and feature standby and ride-through capabilities required for telecommunications, cable/broadband, data centres, homeland security and other essential 24/7 operations.

The heart of Altergy’s FPS is its advanced fuel cell engine, employing proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells in 24 or 48 VDC configuration. The engine consists of a fuel cell stack constructed from durable stainless steel and plastic, integrated into the balance of plant that includes thermal, fuel, power and voltage management systems. FPS units have plug-and-play design that allows system modules to stand alone or be combined to produce a wide range of power output (1-30kW). Altergy’s products are claimed to have the smallest footprint of any existing PEM-based product in the marketplace. They are built using rugged and highly durable components that withstand the severe environment encountered in industrial use. Contact: Mr. Eric Mettler, President and CEO, Altergy Systems, 140 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 95630, United States of America. Tel: +1 (916) 458 8590; Fax: +1 (916) 200 0488; E-mail: info @altergy.com.
Source: www.altergy.com


New discovery in power generation

New research in the United States has found that miniature tubes layered with a chemical fuel can generate 100 times more electrical power by weight than conventional batteries. When these nano-scale “fuses” combust, they push an electrical current along their length at staggering speeds. Unlike normal batteries, these nanotubes never lose their stored energy if they are left unused.

For the study, Dr. Michael Strano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his colleagues coated their nanotubes with cyclotrimethylene trinitramine. The scientists used a laser or an electric spark to set off the reaction in a bundle of coated carbon nanotubes, and captured the results using a high-speed camera.

They discovered that the process created a useful voltage – a phenomenon that they call “thermopower waves”. Their nanotube bundles carry, gram for gram, up to 100 times more energy than a standard lithium-ion battery. According to Dr. Strano, because a tiny amount of energy is required to trigger the reaction before it becomes self-sustaining, it could be initiated in a small device with the energy in the push of a finger. Another advantage is that unlike standard batteries, the stored energy would not dissipate over time, and the device needs no non-renewable, toxic metals used in many batteries.

“What we have discovered is more than just a replacement for batteries. To our knowledge, it is a new scientific area for research. There are many, many questions about these waves: what their limits are and what the applications might be,” Dr. Strano said.
Source: sify.com


Fuel cells powered by silicon-water reaction

A new method that combines silicon and water to produce hydrogen could serve as a source of emergency gas for fuel cell vehicles of the future. The method developed by researchers led by Mr. John Foord from Oxford University, the United Kingdom, produces hydrogen locally at low temperatures. The technology is now being commercialized.

Under normal conditions, silicon does not largely react with water. While it initially rapidly reacts, it stops abruptly as soon as an oxide layer is formed. Mr. Foord and his team were able to overcome this by developing a new method for grinding silica, otherwise known as sand, into silicon nanopowder. When in this nano-state, it is claimed silicon will readily generate hydrogen when contacted with water at temperatures between 70° and 90°C.

One of the main advantages is the only by-product is sand, which can be safely disposed or recycled. In addition to devising a new method for milling sand into silicon nanopowder, the researchers also developed a material that encapsulates the silicon nanopowder particles. This was done mainly to shield the particles from the air because the silicon nanopowder is so reactive it could theoretically generate hydrogen on exposure to even minimal amounts of water. While initially being targeted for emergency supplies of hydrogen or lower power fuel cell applications such as laptops or communication devices, the technology has potential to be scaled up.
Source: www.theengineer.co.uk


New catalyst reforms biodiesel in fuel cell

A catalyst developed by the United States National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) exhibited stable, near-equilibrium performance while reforming biodiesel throughout a 100-hour test. Liquid biodiesel fuel reacting with air and steam across the monolithic structured pyrochlore-based catalyst produced hydrogen-rich synthesis gas that powered a fuel cell in the NETL Fuel Cell Test Facility.

Previously, more than 1,000 hours of continuous testing proved the catalyst successful in reforming commercial diesel. More recently, it was reproduced and validated for reactor products at a commercial facility. The amount of rhodium per kW of electricity produced, a major factor in the total cost of a reformer, was significantly less with the NETL catalyst than with others evaluated.
Source: www.favstocks.com


HYDROGEN ENERGY

ZnO crystals in water can lead to hydrogen

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States has made crystals of zinc oxide (ZnO) that, when immersed in water, absorb vibrations and develop areas of strong negative and positive charge. The changes rip apart nearby water molecules, releasing hydrogen and oxygen gas.

Lead researcher Mr. Huifang Xu describes it as “getting energy from the environment just like solar cells capture energy from the sun”. Mr. Xu and colleagues generate hydrogen employing a new variation on piezoelectric crystals, which are designed to be submerged. The charge that these ZnO crystals generate pulls apart water molecules to release hydrogen and oxygen gas, a mechanism that Mr. Xu and his colleagues call ‘the piezoelectrochemical effect’. The researchers grew thin microfibres of highly flexible ZnO crystals that flex when subjected to vibration, for example, due to sound waves. They showed that ultrasonic vibrations under water cause the fibres to bend 5° to 10° at each end, creating an electrical field with a high enough voltage to split water and release oxygen and hydrogen. Growing fibres with different dimensions changes the type of vibration they absorb best.

Conventional piezoelectric materials are not as efficient at converting vibrations into electricity, and typically achieve around a 10 per cent conversion rate. According to Mr. Xu, laboratory tests suggested that their material could convert 18 per cent of the energy it absorbs from vibration into energy locked up in hydrogen gas, which can be released by burning.
Source: sify.com


Storing hydrogen between graphene sheets

A team of scientists from the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Centre for Neutron Research has proposed a new approach to store chemical compounds. The researchers, who were joined in their study by colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania (UP), say that using layers of graphene to trap hydrogen could further fuel cell research to a large extent. Graphene is the most promising carbon compound out there today. Unlike graphite and diamond, graphene is only a single-atom-thick, and has a honeycomb-like structure. The compound has extremely interesting mechanical, chemical and physical properties.

What the NIST/UP team managed to produce was a graphene-oxide framework (GOF), a material that can effectively accumulate hydrogen. However, the properties of this structure have yet to be fully understood, the researchers say. “No one else has ever made GOF, to the best of our knowledge. What we have found so far, though, indicates GOF can hold at least a hundred times more hydrogen molecules than ordinary graphene oxide does. The easy synthesis, low cost and non-toxicity of graphene make this material a promising candidate for gas storage applications,” says Mr. Taner Yildirim from NIST.
Source: news.softpedia.com


Hydrogen fuel system that uses solar energy

Professor Y.K. Vijay and his team from the Physics Department of Rajasthan University, India, have developed a technique of hydrogen fuel cell technology for powering cars. This technology is reported to help reduce the pollution level more than compressed natural gas.

Biggest problem in cars running with hydrogen fuel cell is that it needs refilling from an external fuel source, which are largely absent at present. Hence, these cars are not considered good for long-distance travel. To overcome this problem, Prof. Vijay and his team worked on an ‘onward fuel generation’ technique that generates hydrogen in the car itself. They prepared a fuel cell with aluminium electrode and saline water. Special type of air filters and thin film membrane separate fuel from hydrogen. Using electrolysis, the cell will produce hydrogen fuel in the car.
Source: www.merinews.com


Potent homogeneous catalyst for water oxidation

In the United States, Emory University chemists have developed the most potent homogeneous catalyst known for water oxidation, regarded a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight.

To be effective, a water oxidation catalyst (WOC) needs selectivity, stability and speed. Homogeneity is also a desired trait, because it boosts efficiency and makes the WOC easer to study and optimize. The fastest, carbon-free, molecular water oxidation catalyst (WOC) to date has all of these qualities. In addition, it is based on the cheap and abundant element cobalt, thus adding to its potential to help solar energy go mainstream.

According to Mr. Craig Hill, an inorganic chemist at Emory whose lab led the effort, the next step involves incorporating WOC into a solar-driven, water-splitting system. The long-term goal is to use sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen becomes the fuel, and its combustion produces water, which flows back into a clean, green, renewable cycle.

Three main technical challenges are involved: developing a light collector, a catalyst to oxidize water to oxygen and a catalyst to reduce water to hydrogen. All three components need improvement, but a viable WOC may be the most difficult scientific challenge.

The enzyme in the oxygen-evolving centre of green plants is one of the least stable catalyst in nature, and one of the shortest lived, as it is doing a tough job. “We have duplicated this complex natural process by taking some of the essential features from photosynthesis and using them in a synthetic, carbon-free, homogeneous system. The result is a water oxidation catalyst that is far more stable than the one found in nature,” Mr. Hill said.
Source: sify.com


Hydrogen fuel cell technology

Professor Y.K. Vijay and his team from the Physics Department of Rajasthan University, India, have developed a technique of hydrogen fuel cell technology for powering cars. This technology is reported to help reduce the pollution level more than compressed natural gas.

Biggest problem in cars running with hydrogen fuel cell is that it needs refilling from an external fuel source, which are largely absent at present. Hence, these cars are not considered good for long-distance travel. To overcome this problem, Prof. Vijay and his team worked on an ‘onward fuel generation’ technique that generates hydrogen in the car itself. They prepared a fuel cell with aluminium electrode and saline water. Special type of air filters and thin film membrane separate fuel from hydrogen. Using electrolysis, the cell will produce hydrogen fuel in the car.
Source: www.merinews.com


Renewable energy stored as hydrogen fuel

A French technology company says it plans to manufacture and test two prototypes for solid-state hydrogen storage that, if they prove workable at an industrial scale, can eliminate the problem of not being able to tap solar or wind energy when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

McPhy Energy has developed a new way to store hydrogen using magnesium hydride. While researchers have explored the potential of magnesium hydride for decades, the low energy capacities of the processes tested so far have proven to be a roadblock to wider use. McPhy Energy hopes to overcome that hurdle by using a nanostructure material and proprietary additives developed by the laboratories of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) – Institut Néel, CRETA and LEGI. McPhy Energy says it can store large quantities of hydrogen at low pressure in just tens of minutes using the processes developed at the labs. It also claims its storage systems’ modular design features a phase change material that allows hydrogen to be loaded and unloaded with “almost no energy losses.” If the technology can be brought to commercial scale, it could be linked to a hydrogen production device powered by renewable energy like solar or wind power, according to the company. That could solve the intermittency problem of renewables, making it possible for society to better tap clean energy sources around the clock.

The systems could also be used to provide electricity in isolated, off-grid locations, or to balance loads across electrical networks with better safety, no waste heat and no carbon dioxide emissions, according to the company. McPhy Energy plans to test two prototypes of its device through a new research contract with the Laboratory of Innovation for New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials, a European research centre that focuses on new energy technologies. During the test campaign, the prototypes will be coupled to both an electrolyser and a fuel cell to simulate a real-world, renewable energy storage application.
Source: www.greenbang.com


BIOMASS ENERGY

Microbes produce fuels directly from biomass

In the United States, LS9 Inc, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) collaborated to develop a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from cellulosic biomass in a one-step process. This breakthrough enables the production of advanced hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals in a single fermentation process that does not require additional chemical transformations.

A leader in synthetic biology, LS9 genetically engineers microorganisms to precisely produce fuels to have desired properties such as cetane, volatility, oxidative stability and cold-flow, while offering an 85 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared with conventional diesel. The new research demonstrates how the LS9 organisms can be further engineered to directly convert biomass to these advanced fuels and chemicals.

LS9’s UltraClean™ Diesel is the only finished diesel directly produced by fermentation of renewable raw materials in a single step. The company’s proprietary one-step process has higher yields and removes additional production costs associated with the multi-step process required by other renewable diesel technologies. LS9’s technology also results in superior products that are designed to uniquely achieve optimal overall performance.

The team of researchers will now jointly work on optimizing the efficiency by which their engineered microbe can convert cellulosic biomass into advanced biofuels. Dr. Stephen del Cardayre, Vice President of R&D at LS9 and a member of the research team said, “Combining LS9’s single-step advanced fuel and chemical fermentation processes with cellulosic bioprocessing will enable the production of petroleum replacement products at lower costs and with significantly lower carbon emissions than the current petroleum-based fuels and chemicals.”
Source: www.prweb.com


A breakthrough in biofuels production

Scientists from the University of Sheffield, the United Kingdom, have developed an innovative device that will make the production of alternative biofuels more energy efficient. It has adapted a unique bioreactor for use in the production of alternative renewable fuels, to replace fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. The manufacture of biofuels currently requires vast amounts of power and when the process uses too much energy, it is uneconomic. This new method requires much less energy and could prove to be vital to the economic, green production of alternative fuels.

The researchers have devised an air-lift loop bioreactor that creates microbubbles consuming 18 per cent less energy. Microbubbles are miniature gas bubbles of less than 50 microns diameter in water. They are able to transfer materials in a bioreactor much faster than larger bubbles produced by conventional bubble generation techniques and they consume much less energy.

The approach is at present being tested on industrial stack gases by researchers from Suprafilt in the United Kingdom. The researchers are also testing the application of the device with local water company Yorkshire Water. They are using the components of the bioreactor that produce microbubbles to give a better performance in the treatment of wastewater. They hope to reduce the current electricity costs for this process by a third.
Source: www.innovations-report.com


New research could yield better biofuel

New research in the United States could yield better biofuel from oilseed crops like safflower and waste material like orange peel. Chemists at University of California, Davis, have developed a new process than can increase the yield from oilseed crops like safflower by up to 24 per cent.

Conventional processes extract plant oils and convert them into a form suitable for use in engines, leaving behind carbohydrates, the sugars, starches and cellulose that make up stems, leaves and seed husks of the plant. The new process converts both the plant oils and the carbohydrates into biofuel in a single step. The resulting fuel, a mixture of fatty acid esters from the plant oils and levulinic acid esters from the carbohydrates, also performs better at lower temperatures than conventional biodiesel. Although the new process could cost more than conventional production routes, that could be offset by better yields and higher performance fuels, say the researchers.

Researchers from the University of Central Florida have developed a way of producing ethanol from waste products that is greener and less expensive than the current methods. Mr. Henry Daniell’s process uses plant-derived enzymes to break down food waste – as well as non-food feedstock like sugarcane, straw and switchgrass – into sugar, which can be fermented to produce ethyl alcohol. There is some way to go before the technique can be used on the commercial scale, but Mr. Daniell says that production processes like this could be the turning point for using biofuel “as the norm” in vehicles.
Source: www.energyefficiencynews.com


Plasma TV display process can produce ultra-clean fuel

The process that lights up the big-screen plasma TV displays is getting a new life in producing ultra-clean fuels, according to a report presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The report described a small, low-tech, inexpensive device called a GlidArc reactor that uses electrically charged clouds of gas called “plasmas” to produce super-clean fuels from waste materials. One fuel is a diesel fuel that releases ten times less air pollution than its notoriously sooty, smelly conventional counterpart.

“Low-tech and low cost are the guiding principles behind the GlidArc reactors,” said Dr. Albin Czernichowski of University of Orleans, France, who presented the report. GlidArc reactors could be built with easily available materials and simple methods under US$10,000. He noted that the reactors, about the size of a refrigerator, are custom-designed to clean dirty gases produced by a low-tech gasification of locally available wastes, biomass or other resources to produce clean mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas to synthesize biofuels.

Dr. Czernichowski pointed out that biofuels production results in huge amounts of glycerol by-product – about one-tenth by weight of biodiesel – which is expensive to refine to the high purity needed for commercial use. GlidArc reactors could transform glycerol into clean syngas (carbon monoxide + hydrogen) for production of fuels, he said. The plasma permits chemical reactions to occur at dramatically reduced temperatures. The main advantage of such bio-based fuels is that the the technology can create “drop-in replacements” for fossil fuels, Dr. Czernichowski said.
Source: www.eurekalert.org


Turning sugar beets into alternative fuel

A biofuels start-up company in the United States, working with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell plc based in Netherlands, has begun turning sugar beets into a petrol substitute compatible with existing engines and pipelines. The fuel being made by Virent can be blended right into existing pipelines, gas stations and automobile fuel tanks without any problems. The industry says this “drop-in” biofuel is a large change from the current crop of biofuels. Corn-based ethanol, the dominant biofuel in the United States, cannot be moved through petroleum pipelines as it is too corrosive. What is more, no more than 10 per cent of petrol can be ethanol by law, a limit set to prevent engine problems. By comparison, Virent says it believes existing engines can operate on its fuel without any problems, while generating fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
Source: online.wsj.com


New technology to extract biofuel from algae

The Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) of Japan has developed a new method to extract biofuel from algae. In conventional methods, algae have to be dewatered before their cell walls are dissolved with organic solvent for oil extraction. The new method eliminates the need for dewatering by using liquefied dimethyl ether (DME), which mixes easily with oil. This reduces energy consumption by more than 50 per cent. The new method also yields 60-70 times the amount of oil extracted by conventional methods.

CRIEPI performed a demonstration experiment of the method with blue-green algae. DME was poured onto condensed blue-green algae to allow it to bind to oily components for extraction. DME was then removed from the extract by heating it to evaporation. Since DME evaporates at around 50°C, not much energy is needed for this. The demonstration experiment verified that CRIEPI’s method can achieve an oil extraction efficiency of more than 40 per cent. The extracted oil’s calorific value was comparable to that of petrol, at 10,950 calories/gram.
Source: www.shimbun.denki.or.jp


RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Fuel Cells: Modelling, Control and Applications

This book describes advanced research results on modelling and control designs for fuel cells and their hybrid energy systems. Filled with simulation examples and test results, it provides detailed discussions on fuel cell modelling, analysis and non-linear control. The book begins with an introduction to fuel cells and fuel cell power systems as well as the fundamentals of fuel cell systems and their components. It then presents the linear and non-linear modelling of fuel cell dynamics, before discussing typical approaches of linear and non-linear modelling and control design methods for fuel cells. The authors also explore the Simulink implementation of fuel cells, including the modelling of PEM fuel cells and control designs. They cover the applications of fuel cells in vehicles, utility power systems, stand-alone systems, and hybrid renewable energy systems. The book concludes with the modelling and analysis of hybrid renewable energy systems, which integrate fuel cells, wind power, and solar power.
Contact: CRC Press, London, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1235) 400524; Fax: +44 (1235) 400525; E-mail: book.orders@tandf.co.uk.


Biomass to Biofuels: Strategies for Global Industries

This book integrates technological development and business development rationales to highlight the key technological developments that are necessary to industrialize biofuels on a global scale. Technological issues addressed in this work include fermentation and downstream processing technologies. Business issues that provide the lens through which the technological review is performed span the entire biofuel value chain, from financial mechanisms to funding biotechnology start-ups in the biofuel arena up to large green field manufacturing projects, to farming, collection and transport of raw material to the bioconversion plant, manufacturing, product recovery, storage, and transport to the point of sale. Emphasis has been placed throughout the book on providing a global view that considers the intrinsic characteristics of various biofuels markets from Brazil, the European Union, the United States and Japan to the emerging economies.
Contact: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2 Clementi Loop #02-01, Singapore 129809. Tel: +65 6463 2400; Fax: +65 6463 4605; E-mail:enquiry@wiley.com.sg.



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