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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . May-June 2003

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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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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy Oct-Dec 2017
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VATIS Update Biotechnology Oct-Dec 2017
Waste
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VATIS Update Waste Management Oct-Dec 2016
Food
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Ozone Layer
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VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
Tech
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Asia-Pacific Tech Monitor Oct-Dec 2014

Contents

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BIOMASS ENERGY

New gasification system

A biomass gasification methanol synthesis system has been developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Ltd., Japan. Biomass is dried and pulverized to about 1 mm and sent into a normal pressure gasifier.Oxygen and steam are also fed to the gasifier as gasifying agents. First, a part of biomass is burnt with oxygen to produce adequate heat required for gasifying the remaining biomass. On cooling the synthesis gas, gasifying steam is generated through heat recovery. After removing ash and surplus steam, synthesis gas is pressurized to 3-8 MPa and synthesized into methanol using copper-zinc catalyst.


A 50 kg/d pilot plant was successfully tested at the Nagasaki R&D Centre using various biomass products such as Italian ryegrass and rice straw. As the final phase before commercialization, MHI, Chubu EPCO, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Society and Technology have jointly started a demonstration plant project supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.


Contact: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., 5-1 Marunouchi 2-Chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 8315, Japan.


Website: www.mhi.co.jpv 

Biomass gasification

In the United States, PRM Energy Systems Inc. is offering a biomass gasification unit wherein the entire gasification/combustion procedure, from infeed to ash discharge, can be controlled either manually or by a computer. The system includes a metering bin, reactor/gasifier, combustion tube and chamber, gasifier cooling water system, water-cooled ash discharger, conveyors, multi-zoned combustion air supply rotary feeders and instrumentation needed to provide automatic process control.


The gasifier is basically a vertical cylindrical steel shell, reduced in diameter in the upper portion and lined with a refractory that can withstand temperatures up to 1,560C in a reducing atmosphere. The cross-sectional area of the upper portion of the gasifier is reduced to provide the turbulence necessary to insure precise mixing of the product gas and the combustion air introduced into the combustion tubes in this area of the gasifier. The lower portion contains an appropriately sized grate and develops a design heat rate of about 350,000 Btu/ft2 of grate area. Fuel is sent to the gasifier from the fuel metering bin, which is equipped with an infeed levelling conveyor and a variable speed outfeed conveyor that delivers fuel to the gasifier. The speed of the outfeed conveyor is adjusted by the automatic control unit to maintain a pre-set temperature in the first stage gasification zone. Discharge from the outfeed conveyor is directed through an impact weigh metering device that yields accurate indication and control of feed rate.


The gasification systems design enables complete fabrication and procurement of all parts on a local basis. Single gasifier input capacities range from 5-110 million Btu/h. The system is modular and several gasifiers can be coupled for large applications. 


Contact: PRM Energy Systems Inc., 504, Windamere Ter, Hot Springs, AR 71913, the United States. Tel: +1 (501) 7672 100; Fax: +1 (501) 7676 968.


Website: www.prmenergy.com 

Treatment of organic wastes

Organic Waste Systems (OWS) of Belgium has developed technology for anaerobically treating household wastes, source-separated organics, concentrated sludges and other biodegradable products. The patented Dranco process converts biodegradable organic wastes into biogas and a stabilized, hygienically safe compost marketed as Humotex. Celtic Waste has teamed up with OWS to develop arrangements in Ireland with local/regional authorities, or other managers of organic waste streams, where this proven technology can be applied.


The Dranco process comprises a thermophilic, single-phase anaerobic fermentation step, which is followed by a short aerobic maturation phase. During anaerobic digestion, which akes place in an enclosed digester, organic material is converted into biogas. The total solids (TS) content in the digester depends on the waste material. This flexibility of Dranco technology permits treatment of a wide range of wastes. Digested residue is extracted from the digester, dewatered to a TS content of about 50 per cent and stabilized aerobically over a period of 15 days. Aerobic maturation ensures thorough stabilization of the material, which cannot degrade any further under anaerobic conditions. Key advantages of the Dranco process include:
  • It allows very large fluctuations in dry matter content of the waste material;
  • Digestion occurs at thermophilic operating conditions (50-55C) and yields a residue, which is thoroughly stabilized and hygienically safe after a short additional aerobic maturation phase;
  • Stationary fermentation eliminates the need for internal mixing or agitation in the vessel, which works at very low pressure; and
  • Aerobic treatment followed by aerobic maturation phase assures optimum hygiene, degradation and compost maturity.

Website: www.celticwaste.com 


Fluidized bed reactor

Kemestrie Inc., Canada, is offering fluidized bed reactor technology for the gasification of organic matter. Biosyn process yields combustible gas for energy recovery. It assures energy efficiency that exceeds conventional combustion or pyrolysis processes by approximately 50 per cent, with reduction in atmospheric emissions and the volume of waste to be buried. The technology can be applied to organic residues from any source, such as sorted urban waste, peat-moss and straw, and wastes from various industries, such as oil, wood, rubber and agro-food. It involves three main stages:
  • Preparation and conditioning of the raw material;
  • Biomass gasification in bubbling fluidized bed reactor; and
  • Cold or hot purification of the producer gases, depending on the intended use.

Energy efficiency of biomass gasification varies between 75 to 80 per cent. The cost, including coupling to the energy production unit, ranges between US$1,500-2,000 per kilowatt installed. 


Contact: Mr. Nicolas Abatzoglou, Director, Energy and Environment, Kemestrie Inc., 4220, Garlock, Sherbrooke, Quebec J1L 2P4, Canada. Tel: +1 (819) 5694 888; Fax: +1 (819) 5698 411


E-mail: kem@interlinx.qc.ca 


Website: www.enviroaccess.ca 


Energy converters for rural communities

Ormat, the United States, recently commercialized a novel biomass-fuelled power unit. E4V combines the field proven Ormat Energy Converter (OEC), a hermetically sealed turbogenerator, with a simple furnace to combust biomass. Various types of biomass and agricultural residue can be used, including rice husks, maize cobs, coffee husks and pulp, sugar-cane tops, wood (trimmings, chips and saw dust) and others. The self-contained, factory-tested, fully automatic power unit is easy to install (skid mounted) and operate. It is virtually maintenance-free, requiring just a daily load of biomass and simple ash removal. E4V is available in two models, 4 kW and 6 kW, to serve the demand for small-scale, distributed power units in rural areas where fuel is costly and logistics of fuel availability is difficult. 


Contact: Mr. Yoram Magen. 


E-mail: ymagen@ormat.com 


Website: www.ormat.com 

Jojoba oil to fuel automobiles

An oil frequently found on bathroom shelves could prove to be a cost-effective alternative for diesel. Tests have indicated that jojoba-fuelled engines emit fewer pollutants, run more quietly and longer, and performs on par with diesel. Jojoba is a desert shrub that can reach a height of up to 4.5 m and typically lives over 150 years, producing nuts that yield half their volume in oil. The non-toxic oil is widely used as a non-greasy skin-smoothing ingredient in cosmetics, and as a base for make-up and shampoos.


Researchers from the United Arab Emirates University and Helwan University, Egypt, connected an array of sensors to a diesel engine and kept track of its performance while burning regular diesel fuel. Jojoba methyl ester, obtained by mixing a dash of methanol and a catalyst with raw jojoba oil, was then substituted for the fossil fuel. Results have shown that the jojoba oil matched diesel for torque and power over the engine speeds tested, between 1,000 and 2,000 rpm. Jojoba is worth pursuing as a fossil fuel substitute as it has less carbon than fuels like diesel or petrol, which means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and soot.


Website: www.newscientist.com

FUEL CELLS

Patented hydrogen generation system

In the United States, Millennium Cell Inc. has developed proprietary technology to safely store, generate and deliver pure hydrogen. The novel Hydrogen on Demand hydrogen storage and generation system has been awarded a patent (No. 6,534, 033) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This patent relates to a method for storage and controlled release of hydrogen, in particular to the use of borohydride-based blends as a hydrogen storage source and a catalyst system for releasing hydrogen. The company presently holds 14 patents in the United States and abroad, and has pending applications for 41 more in the areas of hydrogen generation, catalyst development and borohydride synthesis. 


Contact: Mr. Chris Messina-Boyer, Millennium Cell Inc., the United States. Tel: +1 (732) 5445 712.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Fuel cell for PCs

Toshiba Corp., Japan, has launched the worlds first prototype of a small form factor direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for portable PCs. This clean energy breakthrough could help end reliance on rechargeable batteries. The new model currently realizes an average output of 12 W and a maximum output of 20 W. It can achieve approximately 5 h of operation with a single fuel cartridge, offers instant power supply and ensures significant advances in operating times with replaceable methanol cartridges.


Generally, methanol in a fuel cell delivers power most efficiently when it is mixed with water in a 3-6 per cent methanol concentration, a process necessitating a fuel tank that is much too large for use with portable equipment. Toshiba overcame this hurdle by developing a system that allows higher concentrations of methanol to be diluted by water produced as a by-product of the power generation process. This technology allows methanol to be stored at a high concentration and achieves a fuel tank less than 1/10th the size of that required for storing the same volume of methanol in a 3-6 per cent concentration.


Additionally, the company realized essential technology for miniaturization of a high performance fuel cell. These include interface and electric circuits to assure efficient control of power supply, sensors to monitor methanol concentration and liquid level, and a quantity sensor to tell users when they need to change the methanol fuel cartridge. All these components and low-power liquid and air transmission pumping units are controlled by a super small DC-DC converter.


Website: www.toshiba.co.jp 

Portable power plant

In Germany, Fraunhofer-Institut fr Solare Energiesysteme (ISE), along with Masterflex, recently developed a membrane fuel cell system to run laptops and other electrical equipment. The new Mobile Power Box supplies mains-free energy in the medium power range. It offers a high degree of reliability and produces energy from hydrogen released by replaceable metal-hydride tanks of various sizes. The Power Box provides greater power density than any of the prototypes presented so far, according to Mr. Marco Zobel, ISE project manager. With 300 Wh of hydrogen storage, a laptop can run for up to 10 h, which is five times longer than feasible with a conventional battery. At present, the unit has achieved a continuous power of over 50 W and can handle peaks of more than 100 W. A higher version is planned so that devices such as printers and beamers could also be supplied with power for prolonged periods.


Also, a prototype fuel cell system has been devised for professional film and TV cameras. The compact and easy-to-handle system eliminates the need for changing batteries at regular intervals. When coupled with a camera, the prototype supplied a continuous output of 40 W. The hydrogen accumulators have been designed so that the camera can run for an entire 8 hour day of filming.


Contact: Mr. Ulf Groos, Fraunhofer-Institut fr Solare Energiesysteme, Heidenhofstrasse 2, Freiburg 79110, Germany. Tel: +49 (761) 4588 5202; Fax: +49 (761) 4588 9202.


Website: www.globaltechnoscan.com 

Fuel cells to replace diesel sets

The National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) at Pune, India, has developed a 5 kW fuel cell to replace noisy and polluting diesel generators used for back-up power at homes and offices. According to Mr. Paul Ratnasamy of NCL, the fuel cell power pack is the outcome of a US$1.25 million national programme launched by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Other partners in this endeavour include the South Indian Petrochemical Corp., BHEL and 
Kirloskar Engineering Co.


TERI Newswire,1-14 February 2003

Bacteria produce electricity in fuel cell

A research team at the University of Massachusetts, the United States, has developed a method in which bacteria can be employed to convert organic matter into electricity in a fuel cell. The microbe-based fuel cell endeavours to eliminate earlier problems in the theory, including that to yield electricity bacteria needed the addition of toxic chemicals as mediators. Tests using Geobacter sulphurreducens for power generation have shown that in a microbial fuel cell utilizing graphite rods, the bacteria produced a stable, low-level electrical current without the need for a toxic mediator. These trials have demonstrated that G. sulphurreducens grows on the surface of energy-harvesting anodes in mediator-free microbial fuel cells, forming a stable, attached population that continually generates power through oxidation of organic matter. 


Contact: Mr. Jim Silwa, the United States. Tel: +1 (202) 9429 297


E-mail: jsliwa@asmusa.org 


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

New 1 kW SOFC

Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Japan, has developed a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) prototype with an energy output of 0.2 W/cm2 of electrode. This output surpasses Mitsubishis own target by 50 per cent. The 1 kW residential fuel cell utilizes a newly developed lanthanum-based material for the electrodes. A novel electrode design ensures higher conductivity than conventional zirconium-based electrodes. Furthermore, this technology enables operation at temperatures of around 800C, 200C lower than competitive models. The other collaborators for the 1 kW fuel cell include Kansai Electric Power Co., Japan Fine Ceramics Centre, Oita University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Power for medical implants

Two innovative microfluidic fuel cells developed at Brown University, the United States, may help realize long-running medical implants. The new prototypes offer features sought after by manufacturers to provide long-term power for devices such as implants that monitor glucose levels in diabetics. Conventional fuel cells run on either hydrogen gas or liquid methanol. However, it was recently shown that fuel cells could be run on glucose or formate.


Brown fuel cells do not require an ion-conducting membrane or selective catalysts at the electrodes to separate the fuel-containing fluids, two thorny technological traits of fuel cell design that must be taken into consideration in the development of miniature fuel cells. The new fuel cells exploit the fact that fluids do not mix under certain conditions. The fuel cells work in tandem to provide power under the pulsating conditions that mimic the flow of blood in the body. One of the microfluidic fuel cells features a branched channel, which encloses six electrodes. This fuel cell is most suitable for generating electrical power under conditions of pulsed flow. The design of this unit facilitates delivery of power to a chip as a result of changes in the concentration of a fuel, such as glucose. This power feedback is a crucial component in an imbedded sensor for diabetes.


Website: www.globaltechnoscan.com 

Micro catalytic fuel processing reactor

In the United States, a team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed the worlds smallest catalytic fuel reactor system as a low-watt power source for sensors, hand-held wireless equipment and other small but essential devices utilized by troops. The petite system measures about the size of a cigarette lighter and converts liquid fuel into electricity through a micro-scale fuel processor coupled with a micro-scale fuel cell developed by Case Western Reserve University. An integral part of the system is a revolutionary fuel reformer, about the size of a pencil eraser, which enables the system to convert fuel and water into hydrogen-rich gas. The miniaturized fuel processor incorporates several chemical processes and operations in a single device. It comprises two vaporizers, a heat exchanger, catalytic combustor and steam reformer, all within a compact package no larger than a dime.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

New geothermal plant

A new geothermal plant set up and commissioned at Altheim, Austria, provides both thermal (12.5 MW) and electrical (1 MW) energy. Engineers from Italy, France and Germany were involved in this project, which was financed in part by a European Union research fund. At the heart of this geothermal system is an Organic Ranking Cycle (ORC) turbine, which converts heat extracted from a depth of 2 km into clean power and feeds up to 2.5 million kWh to the Linz-based Energie AG Oberosterreichs regional utility grid. The water, still hot after it is used to produce electricity, heats about 2,000 households.


The usage of geothermal energy in Europe is much less than its actual potential since this technology is expensive and problems are aplenty with regard to acceptance. According to the Geothermal Association in Germany, there are geothermal plants with a capacity of 6,000 MWth and 1,000 MWe installed in Europe. Some countries, like Iceland, utilize geothermal energy to fulfil 50 per cent of their heating and power necessities. Geothermal power installations with a capacity of 15 GWth and 2 GWe could be set up in Europe by 2010. With suitable subsidies, it is feasible to set up even 8 GWe facilities by 2020.


The sectors hopes are based on ambitious schemes like the European Hot Dry Rock (HDR) research project at Soultz-sous-Forets in Alsace region. Unlike Altheim and most hydro-geothermal projects, the one at Soultz is not about tapping into hot water reservoirs for energy. HDR technology involves injection of high-pressured water through hot layers of rock 3-5 km underground, causing the rock to form fissures and crevices. Water flowing through the cracks heats up and is then pumped back to the surface. HDR technique could be employed in most parts of Europe.


New Energy, February 2003

Binary geothermal power plant

In Australia, Geodynamics Ltd. is leading the nations first commercial endeavour to tap geothermal power from a hot dry rock (HDR) resource. A federal grant enabled the company to drill its Habanero 1 well, that would extend about 4.8 km under South Australias Cooper Basin, to tap one of the worlds hottest geothermal resources. HDR geothermal process is a closed system with two loops. The first loop uses water to extract heat from buried hot rocks. The simplest HDR power plant comprises an injection well and two production wells. Cold water is pumped under pressure down an injection well where it flows through an underground heat exchanger in the hot granite. It is returned to the surface via production wells. Since this loop operates under pressure, the superheated water remains a liquid, with no steam generated.


Heated water (>200C) returns to the surface under pressure. The high temperatures of the hot water are transferred to the geothermal power station loop via a heat exchanger. This second closed loop uses liquids with a low boiling point to drive a turbine system. Cooled geothermal water goes back to the underground heat exchanger where it is reheated. The twin loop system is also known as a binary geothermal power plant. 


Contact: Ms. Lisa Huet, Geodynamics Ltd., P.O. Box 2046, Milton 4064, Level 3, 11 Lang Parade, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia. Tel: +61 (7) 3721 7500; Fax: +61 (7) 3721 7599


E-mail: lhuet@geodynamics.com.au  


Website: www.geodynamics.com.au 

German projects making headway

Bewag AG, a 90 per cent subsidiary of Vattenfall Europe AG, has ordered a 200 kW turbine from mechanical company GET GmbH for upgrading the district heating station built at Neustadt-Glewe into a power plant. The company intends to generate 1,200,000 kWh/y of electricity after upgrading. The new set-up is being subsidized by the German governments Investment in the Future programme. Energy from the depths of the earth will be supplied to 500 flats.


New Energy, February 2003

CONTENTS

IN THE NEWS

Fuel cell buses lower pollution in China

A project funded jointly by Chinas Ministry of Science and Technology, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was launched in China to help reduce the cost of fuel cell bus (FCB) technology, one of the most encouraging methods for developing emission-free public transport. Over the next five years, the US$32 million programme will help transit companies in individual municipalities obtain six FCBs and use them for a total of 1.6 million kilometres. Experience and knowledge gained through the project will enable technology suppliers identify cost reduction opportunities as well as municipal public transit operators to prepare for larger fleets. Chinas FCB project is part of a global GEF strategy to support FCB technology in developing nations.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Global market for wind power

A new report by BTM Consult ApS of Denmark predicts that the global market for wind power would grow by an average of 11.2 per cent a year over the next five years. The annual industry survey indicates that production from wind turbines will grow by 24 per cent this year, reaching 8,965 MW. By 2012, annual installations would reach 24,000 MW with cumulative installations of 177,000 MW, fulfilling nearly 2 per cent of the worlds electricity needs. The five largest turbine manufacturers supply 75.6 per cent of the global market, with Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems leading with 22.2 per cent of the market. Germanys privately owned Enercon now holds 18.5 per cent of the market compared with 15.2 per cent in 2001. NEG Micon of Denmark is in the third place with 14.3 per cent share, up from 12.8 per cent, while Gamesa of Spain has a market share of 11.8 per cent and is placed fourth. GE Wind lost four percentage points and dropped to 8.8 per cent of global share.


Last year was a world record, with 7,227 MW of new wind capacity set up, raising total capacity to 32,000 MW and sufficient to supply power to 16 million homes. Europe consolidated its lead position, installing 85.3 per cent of new turbines in 2002 while the United States market fell back to one-quarter of its peak in 2001 and Asia demonstrated steady development. In addition to Spain, Germany, Denmark and the United States, newcomers to the top ten are Australia and the Netherlands.


Website: www.re-focus.net 

 Annual wind power installations worth US$7 billion

According to American and European wind energy associations, the global wind power capacity exceeds 31,000 MW, owing to a 28 per cent increase last year. A record 6,868 MW of new wind capacity was set up in 2002, representing a total value of US$7.3 billion. Worldwide, about 90 per cent of wind power capacity is located in Europe and the United States, accounting for 93 per cent of new installed capacity in 2002. Total wind capacity in Europe grew 33 per cent to 23,056 MW while the United States added 410 MW. The leading country is Germany (12,001 MW), followed by Spain (4,830 MW), the United States, Denmark and India.


Website: www.re-focus.net 

World PV market

A report prepared by Solarbuzz Inc. reveals that the world photovoltaics market (PV) grew by 26 per cent in 2002, reaching 436 MW. One main reason for this phenomenon was the launch of incentive projects in the United States, Germany and Japan. Worldwide shipments of PV cells increased by 36 per cent, reaching 530 MW, as manufacturers in Japan set the pace on expansion of solar cell manufacturing capacity. Investment in new manufacturing capacity remains ahead of the pace of market growth, allowing the industry to continue its price decline this year.


Website: www.re-focus.net 

Chinas biogas potential untapped

China has around five million mini biogas plants; however, 98 per cent of its potential remains unused. This scenario was brought to light through a report tabled before the German parliaments research and technology committee on bio-energy sources and developing nations. The Bundestag report further states that China has enough raw materials to operate 200 million biogas facilities with an annual output of 145 billion m3 of fermentation gas. The German Biogas Association and China Biogas Society agreed for closer ties more than two years ago. This involves exchange of expert knowledge and technology transfer to China. Additionally, the Bundestag report states that India ranks second with three million biogas plants and also has a vast growth potential.


New Energy, 6/2002

Renewable energies for rural areas

In India, more than 300 villages in the southern state of Karnataka will be supplied with power tapped from renewable resources. The Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) has identified about 18,000 villages in the country for electrification through 10,000 MW of power generated from renewable sources. Broadly situated in the north interior part of Karnataka, the villages are geared to tap mostly solar and biomass energy for power generation. The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development has been nominated as the nodal agency to execute this project. Solar and biomass are the two large renewable sources that fulfil the needs of electrification, but are not likely to be grid-connected. Other alternatives to ensure power supply in rural areas would be to set up small generating units based on a variety of local fuels and localized distribution by roping in NGOs, rural cooperatives and entrepreneurs. The MNES initiative complements the national objective of Power for All by 2012, wherein the Ministry of Power has targeted cent per cent village electrification by 2007 and to provide electricity to every house by 2012.


Enviroline, Issue 16, 24 February 2003

Cleaner alternative to fossil fuels

In the United States, researchers from several fields of engineering are striving to curb the dependency on foreign oil reserves and mitigate toxic emissions from automotive vehicles through the efficient use of fuel cell technology. Fuel cells are electrochemical engines that can generate electricity without combustion in an efficient and eco-friendly manner. The United States Presidents pledge of future investment in fuel cells has evoked enthusiasm with regard to energy-safe automotive emissions control. Automotive companies such as Honda and Nissan are producing hydrogen fuel cell technologies that have substantial potential to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the short term. However, Prof. Yohan Schwank opines that to become a reality, the hydrogen economy will need to overcome many obstacles, among them infrastructure development and technology refinement. Making fuel cells cost-effective and appealing would require 10-20 years.


Website: www.michigandaily.com 

Measures to raise consumption of  renewable energy

National Power Corp. (Napocor), the Philippines, will prioritize the use of new and renewable energy (NRE) resources as part of its efforts to energize remote islands through a missionary electrification programme. Napocor strongly supports the Renewable Energy Act of 2003, which endeavours to promote development and efficient utilization of NREs. This bill seeks to provide impetus to the use of power facilities based on non-conventional energy sources such as wind, solar, ocean, biomass and hybrid systems, while concurrently offering private sector backing for boosting commercialization of these NREs.


In recent years, Napocor has joined hands with private proponents and embarked on projects for developing hydro, mini-hydro and geothermal power projects that are likewise renewable energy resources but were not undertaken in missionary areas. The company accepted that policies and incentives governing the use of NREs such as solar, tidal, wind and biomass in off-grid areas should not be institutionalized through the Renewable Energy Act of 2003 to promote its utilization and to generate private sector support. According to the proposed bill, incentives being prepared for private sector participants in NRE projects include unregulated tariff, income tax holiday and tax- and duty-free importation of capital equipment, value added tax exemption, tax credit on locally sourced equipment and real estate tax exemption.


Website: www.manilatimes.net 

India to set up 500 solar shops

The Indian government plans to set up 500 new solar shops around the country by March 2007. This goal is part of the nations 10th five-year plan, which also foresees an additional 200 MW of PV production.According to Mr. E.V.R. Sastry, solar energy adviser at the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), 90 per cent of the shops will be set up by private entrepreneurs and NGOs. Each establishment can avail of a one-time grant equal to about 20-25 per cent of the cost of starting the business. While MNES plans to sanction 50 shops, the rest would be set up directly by the government.



Website: www.photon-magazine.com 

Australia aims at 10 per cent ethanol limit

In Australia, the federal government plans to set a 10 per cent limit for ethanol in petroleum. This decision follows initial test results on vehicle engines that suggest blends of 20 per cent are not suitable for a portion of Australias fleet. According to the Minister of Environment, A 10 per cent limit on ethanol blends, in combination with mandatory Commonwealth labelling of ethanol blends, will restore confidence in the use of ethanol blends among consumers and industry. Ethanol is a renewable resource that may be added to petrol as an octane enhancer and has some air quality benefits, which have been verified by the Commonwealths tests. Ten per cent ethanol is used around the world and widely accepted as causing no damage or operability problems in automobile engines. 


Contact: Dr. David Kemp, Australia. Tel: +61 (02) 6277 7640.


Website: www.ea.gov.au 

Increase in spending on alternative energy

The worlds fourth biggest oil importer is scheduled to increase spending on developing alternative energy resources in 2003. The Republic of Koreas economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices since it imports all of its crude demands. It has earmarked US$72.66 million for developing energy sources such as solar and wind power this year, up 21 per cent from last year. The country intends to raise the share of alternative energy to 5 per cent by 2011, from 1.4 percent in 2002.


Website: www.planetark.org 

Biogas in Viet Nam

Many farmers located in the northern province of Thai Nguyen, Viet Nam, have switched to biogas. Livestock farmers are eager to apply biogas tanks to treat breeding waste and at the same time protect the environment. The province is now spending part of its budget to set up 500 biogas tanks for households. If one-third of the provincial population utilizes biogas, savings up to US$6.7 million can be accrued each year, equivalent to the money earned from exploiting 9,000 ha of forest. Since only 2,000 ha of forest is replanted each year, biogas tanks would be effective in reducing timber destruction.


Viet Nam Infoterra Newsletter, January-March 2003

Incentives to reduce GHG emissions

In Western Australia, the government recently launched an incentive programme for solar water heating units, in an effort to reduce emission of greenhouse gases. Householders can now take advantage of this initiative to install solar DHW systems. Incentives will also be provided for gas-boosted solar hot water units and electric-boosted systems fitted with timers. The scheme is designed to augment other similar government steps to boost renewable energy use, including new regulations to allow more favourable terms of access to the transmission network by green energy generators, construct wind farms and investing in green energy projects over the next decade.


Website: www.re-focus.net 

Thailand going solar

In Thailand, the nations largest solar power plant at Mae Hong Son province is slated to begin operation in March next year. Constructed by the state-operated Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the new plant will place Thailand as the leader of solar energy in Southeast Asia. The Mae Hong Son solar facility will have the capacity to produce 5 MW, bringing the nations total solar energy capacity to 10 MW by 2004. The government has plans to increase solar power production to 30 MW by 2006. At present, renewable energy technologies such as small-scale hydroelectric plants, biomass and solar power contribute only about 1 per cent of Thailands energy mix. Contact: Asia Times Online, 6306 The Centre, Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong.


Website: www.atimes.com 

Green credit trade launched in Japan

On 1 April 2003, Japans renewables portfolio standard (RPS) came into effect committing power companies and electricity suppliers to source 1.35 per cent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010. If 50 per cent of the RPS is met through wind energy, the Ministry of Economy and Industrys target for 3,000 MW of wind energy by 2010 would be met. In order to succeed, wind developers will have to fight it out with biomass and bank on retaining any RPS certificates generated from its projects.


Website: www.windpower-monthly.com 

Businesses may bank on fuel cells for power

Fuel cell technology, the dream of alternative energy visionaries and the hope of pollution-hating environmentalists, is accelerating towards widespread commercial application. Although these devices are undisputed as the potential replacement for petrol in motor vehicles, experts opine that by 2010 fuel cells are likely to have a much larger commercial impact as stationary power sources, allowing businesses to generate and manage their own power. According to Mr. Greg Romney, Vice President of fuel cells and fuel processing at Chevron Technology Venture Co., the United States, With improvements in small-generator technology, it is feasible to generate power on-site for about the same price as grid-connected power.


These power generators are most likely to come into common use first in Japan, Germany and the United States. Factors behind this prediction include access to technology, infrastructure conditions and availability of natural gas for producing hydrogen. The United Kingdom is also showing interest in commercial fuel cell applications. In the United States, a consortium of government agencies and businesses have set up a California Fuel Cell Partnership to put 60 fuel cell-powered vehicles on the road this year for testing.


Website: www.bizjournals.com

PUBLICATIONS

The Outlook for Fuel Cells to 2010: Commercial Opportunities in power generation markets

This report is intended for decision makers who need to be aware of the potential that fuel cells offer in this decade. With several fuel cell technologies reaching commercial viability in the near future, there are likely to be enormous commercial opportunities in sectors ranging from home power-and-heat to combined heat-and-power in commercial and industrial settings, distributed power and, over the longer term, for central power generation. The report provides details of technologies, which are going to be competitive in what environments, predicted costs and the future trajectory of fuel cell development.


Contact: Reuters Business Insight, City House Business Centre, City House, 287, City Rd., London EC1V 1LJ, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 7675 0990; Fax: +44 (20) 7675 7533


E-mail: info@rbi-reports.com 

Solar Energy and Housing Design

This two-volume publication is an essential reference tool on passive solar design in practice. It demonstrates how available sunshine can be used as part of site planning and architectural design for reducing fuel consumption for heating and to enhance the environment. Topics covered include site layout, internal planning, building form, window designing and opaque elements, ventilation, heating systems and controls, and conservatories.


Contact: Sustainable Energy Ireland, The Renewable Energy Information Office, Shinagh House, Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353 (023) 29145/46; Fax: +353 (023) 29154; 


E-mail: renewables@reio.ie


Website: www.sei.ie 

The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling

This book brings the principles of passive solar heating and passive cooling up to date. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, the guidebook highlights certain egregious and entirely avoidable errors.


Contact: Chelsea Green Publishing Co., Post Office Box 428, Gates-Briggs Building #205, White River Junction, Vermont 05001, the United States. Tel: +1 (802) 2956 300; Fax: +1 (802) 2956 444.

SOLAR ENERGY

Solar power systems

Shenzhen Topway Solar Co. Limited, China, is offering a range of solar power systems. Especially intended for use in rural homes, these systems can easily supply electricity to equipment such as lights, TV, fan, fax machine, etc. While models STW30A to STW180A incorporate amorphous silicon solar panels, STW50C-200C utilize monocrystalline solar panels. All units have lead-acid batteries. The company can also supply solar systems for families, villages, hospitals and marine base centres with power ratings varying of 1-100 kW. 


Contact: Shenzhen Topway Solar Co. Ltd., 10th Floor, West Ocean Building, Nanyou Dadao, Nanshan, Shenzhen, China. Tel: +86 (755) 2649 0201; Fax: +86 (755) 2671 2777; E-mail: sntopway@public.szptt.net.cn.


Website: www.solar3000.com 

Thin-film technology

RWE Schott Solar GmbH, Germany, is offering ASI thin-film technology. Based on amorphous silicon, this system features stable efficiencies, low energy requirements during production and minimal consumption of resources. Silicon is deposited on glass, exhibiting homogeneous, dark appearance. A wide variety of design possibilities for customized modules is feasible. 


Contact: RWE Schott Solar GmbH, Herrmann-Oberth-Str. 11, Putzbrunn D 85640, Germany. Tel: +49 (089) 4626 4200; Fax: +49 (089) 4626 4111


E-mail: phototronics-sales@rweschottsolar.com 


Website: www.ase-international.com 

Solar drinking water purification system

A system for process water pumping and drinking water purification has been developed by Solar-Fabrik of Germany. The WATERpps unit runs purely on solar power and provides new impulses for sustainable development in developing countries. Capable of fulfilling the needs of up to 50 people, this system purifies water by microfiltration, thereby eliminating the use of chemicals. The innovative product can purify groundwater, surface water, cistern water as well as severely contaminated brackish water into drinking water compliant with WHO standards. Two photovoltaic modules generate sufficient power to pump water from a depth of up to 60 m. 


Contact: Mr. Andrea Ocker, Solar-Fabrik AG, Munzinger Str. 10, Freiburg D 79111, Germany. Tel: +49 (761) 4000 130; Fax: +49 (761) 4000 199.


Website: www.solar-fabrik.de 

Residential solar power generators

In Japan, Kyocera Corporation has launched new solar power generation models for households. Samurai, a roof installation type unit, is primarily for ready-built houses while Heyban, a roof material type, is meant for new houses. The Samurai unit eliminates the existing structural frame needed for the solar module. It comprises a frameless edge cover solar module, revamping the conventional concept, the junction box of standard specification and a power conditioner. This latest module is now in a dramatically thinner, smaller and lighter form compared with that of the existing product. Heyban works with flat tiles and is available in long and short modules with a width equivalent to four or five tiles, designed based on the size of a standard flat tile.


Website: www.japancorp.net 

Sunproof cells

In the United States, researchers at Iowa State Universitys Microelectronics Research Centre and Ames Laboratory report to have uncovered the cause behind solar cell degradation. Solar cells exposed to sunlight exhibit lower efficiency, by as much as 15-20 per cent, over a period of several days. This troublesome degradation effect, also known as the Staebler-Wronski (S-W) effect, has been investigated by delving into the atomic origins of S-W effect and the subsequent exploration of possible new materials through computer molecular dynamics simulations.


According to Mr. Biswas et al., exposure to light can cause changes in hydrogenated amorphous silicon, resulting in defects known as metastable dangling bonds that disappear only when heated to a high temperature. Dangling bonds do not have a neighbour to which they can bond. As such, they capture electrons thus reducing the electricity that light can produce, thereby decreasing solar cell efficiencies. The question of how light creates the dangling bonds was solved with the help of a three-step atomistic rebonding model.


In the first stage, sunlight creates excited electrons and holes (vacant electron energy states) in the cell material. When the electrons recombine, they pair up with holes on the weak silicon bonds. This recombination energy causes weak silicon bonds to break, thus creating silicon dangling bond-floating bond pair. In the second stage, the floating bonds break away from the dangling bonds and move freely. This takes place when the extra floating bond from one silicon atom moves to a neighbouring silicon atom. The third step reveals that the short-lived floating bonds disappear. Some recombine with silicon dangling bonds, which results in no material defects, while others hop away from the dangling bonds and are exterminated when hydrogen atoms in the network move into the floating bond sites. The novel three-step rebonding model shows that defect creation in hydrogenated amorphous silicon solar cells is initially driven by the breaking of weak silicon bonds, followed by the rebonding of both silicon and hydrogen sites in the material.


For enhancing efficiency and reliability of solar modules, the team is working on mixed-phase solar cell materials a mixture of clusters of nanocrystalline silicon embedded in an amorphous matrix. One of the most promising developments is the success of hydrogen-diluted matter grown at the edge of crystallinity, the phase between microcrystalline and amorphous film growth. Materials and solar cells made from them exhibit much greater stability to sunlight-induced degradation than the traditional amorphous material.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

Record efficiency

BP Solar achieved a world record in solar cell efficiency for a 125 mm module. Fraunhofer Institut Solare Energiesysteme, Germany, verified the 18.3 per cent efficiency claimed by BP, which represents an 11 per cent improvement over the 16.5 per cent efficiency of Saturn solar cells. 


Contact: BP Solar, 989, Corporate Blvd., Linthicum, Maryland 21090, the United States. Tel: +1 (410) 9810 240; Fax: +1 (410) 9810 278.


Website: www.bpsolar.com 

Dye-based solar cells

At the University of California, the United States, a team of researchers have fabricated a device with a high internal quantum efficiency that can provide a low-cost alternative to traditional silicon-based solar modules. Internal quantum efficiency is the number of electrons released per photon absorbed. The multi-layered device separates the light absorption and charge carrier methods. Photons are collected using photoreceptor dye molecules placed on the surface of a thin gold film, which rests on a layer of semiconducting titanium dioxide. The photo-excited electrons from dye molecules are transferred first to the gold layer and then to the conduction band in the titanium dioxide layer, thereby generating electricity. A major benefit of this method is that an unusually large number of photons absorbed by the dye layer, about 10 per cent, produce electric current. In addition, the new device is based on electrons only, making it less sensitive to impurities and imperfections.


Website: www.optics.org 

Thin cells

Researchers from the Hahn Meitner Institute of Germany and Portland State University, the United States, have developed a new type of very thin solar cells. Fabricated utilizing inexpensive materials, the device is cheaper to manufacture than traditional solar cells. The team used a layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) that is full of tiny pores for obtaining an efficient device to harvest solar radiation. An extremely thin layer of light-sensitive cadmium telluride (CdTe) forms the material for the solar cell, on top of the porous TiO2 supported on a sheet of glass. The electrical contacts are located at the back of this sandwich.


Sunlight falling on the CdTe layer, is converted into electricity, which is tapped through electrical contacts. Any stray light bounces around inside the tiny pores in the TiO2 layer and is scattered back into the CdTe layer, thus making the device more efficient. This boosts efficiency by a factor of 50 over a similar cell based on a non-porous support material. The prototype solar cell produces a voltage of 0.67 V and a current of 8.9 mA/cm2 when illuminated with 100 mW/cm2 of light typical for a sunny day. The team also observed that an alloy of CdTe and mercury raised the current output to 15 mA.


Website: www.iop.org 

PV-powered irrigation

The worlds first solar-powered 50 hp irrigation pump has been installed at a farm in the United States. The state-of-the-art solar pump system incorporates a clean air alternative power source, e.g. solar power, to pump groundwater, as well as long-term economic savings in energy costs. AquaMax, the hybrid solar water pumping system, features a 108 ft long solar array that captures the suns energy to power a three-phase 36 kW 50 hp irrigation pump. A controller transforms solar DC current into AC, which powers the pump from either the solar array or from the electrical grid, or from both sources if necessary. The system works as a hybrid in automatic combination with the grid, allowing the electric meter to spin backwards, called net metering, when the self-generating electricity is not used.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com

WASTE TO ENERGY

Efficient combustor

Quality Recycling LLC has teamed up with Pedco Inc. to offer a material recovery facility (MRF) that merges well-known and time-tested tenets to create a rotating cylindrical combustion chamber that utilizes patented Rotary Cascading Bed Combustion (RCBC) technology. RCBC provides an ideal environment for clean combustion of diverse fuels, ranging from high-sulphur coals to municipal solid wastes and sludge. The RCBC and MRF combination yields the ultimate waste-to-energy plant. Outstanding benefits of this technology include:
  • RCBC lowers waste volume by up to 90 per cent, yielding ash as the end product that can be combined with compost from the MRF facility and used for soil conditioning and land reclamation
  • RCBC destroys bacteria, household chemicals and many other compounds that are a potential hazard to health and environment. These harmful components are converted into a product that can actually help the environment and
  • RCBC does away with odour and methane that is normally produced by waste and can virtually eliminate the need for landfills.

Website: www.solidwaste.com 


Two-stage anaerobic digestion process

Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the United States, is offering a two-stage anaerobic digestion technique to extract energy from wastes. HIMET anaerobic system treats wastewater and sewage sludges, and minimizes environmental liabilities while producing energy. Anaerobic digestion is a natural biological process which is carried out by a large number of bacteria that work together in the absence of air. These bacteria grow by undergoing several steps of biological treatment in which organic matter gets converted into methane and carbon dioxide. The by-product or digested solid is an environmentfriendly product that contains some protein and available form of nutrients, such as ammonia-nitrogen and other soil conditioners.


The anaerobic digestion process is a multi-step process involving two physiologically different groups of bacteria. A group of bacteria (acidogenic bacteria) that converts organic matter into soluble compounds and volatile fatty acids is fast growing, prefers a slightly acidic environment and is less sensitive to changes in the incoming feed stream. The other category (methanogenic bacteria) converts soluble matter into biogas, is slow growing, prefers neutral to slightly alkaline environments and is very sensitive to changes. Key benefits of HIMET process include:
  • High process and net energy efficiencies;
  • More stable digestion allows for higher throughput;
  • Small size tanks result in significant capital cost savings;
  • Higher methane content in the biogas results in better fuel value for on-site use;
  • Higher pathogen destruction enables safer use of digested solids for land fertilization and reclamation;
  • Higher digestion efficiency implies more methane recovery; and
  • Lower volatile solids content in the digested solids.
    GTIs two-phase digestion technology has been used at a wastewater treatment facility for over a decade.

Contact: Gas Technology Institute, 1700 S. Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018, the United States. Tel: +1 (847) 7680 500; Fax: +1 (847) 7680 501


E-mail: businessdevelopmentinfo@gastechnology.org 


Website: www.gri.org 


System to recover bio-energy from waste sludge

In Australia, Environmental Solutions International Ltd. has developed and patented Enersludge process for recovering energy from waste sludge and other biomass. A commercial-scale demonstration of the process has shown that this process is a viable treatment alternative for sewage and industrial sludges, as well as other wastes such as municipal solid wastes, agricultural wastes, plastics, rubber tyres and various other hazardous wastes. Enersludge provides safe and efficient sludge disposal while producing renewable energy in the form of green power. Also, this process generates significant carbon credits through the use of a renewable fuel source.


The Enersludge technique uses a relatively low temperature of 450C to convert organics in dried sewage sludge into clean fuels. Sludge comprising 2-4 per cent solids is first dewatered to about 28 per cent solids before entering a drier. Dried sludge then gets into the first conversion reactor where organics are driven off. The organics are catalytically transformed into hydrocarbons in the second reactor and then condensed, separated and cleaned, making it ready for further processing or as fuel in power generation. Catalysts necessary for the conversion are inherently found in all sewage sludges.


The non-condensable hydrocarbons, along with non-volatile carbon char, pass from the conversion reactor to the hot gas generator where they are combusted to produce heat, which is used to dry the incoming sludge cake, thus completing the cycle and utilizing all the heat of combustion in the process. Ash remaining after combustion is cooled and stored, ready for sale. Hot air exhausted from the drier is passed through an air pollution control device to ensure that the plant operates within environmental guidelines. The Enersludge process produces 200 to 300 l of oil per dry tonne of sludge, with a calorific value of approximately 35 GJ/l. Ash generated during the process is highly stable and suitable for use in the manufacture of brick pavers as well as other building products. The heat of combustion over char, non-condensable gas and reaction water in the hot gas eliminate the need for external energy to dry sludge.


Some benefits of Enersludge over incineration include:
  • Reductive process yields clean fuels for combustion;
  • All organochlorine compounds are chemically destroyed;
  • Mercury is removed from fuels;
  • The hot gas separator operates at temperatures lower than feasible in incinerators as no organochlorine compounds are present;
  • The hot gas generator is typically 1/10th the size of conventional incinerators; and
  • Low NOx emissions owing to reaction with ammonia.

Contact: Environmental Solutions International Ltd., 21, Teddington Road, P.O. Box 116, Burswood WA 6100, Australia. Tel: +61 (8) 9470 4004; Fax: +61 (8) 9355 0450


E-mail: trevorb@environ.com.au 


Website: www.oberon.com.au 


Power from sewage

In the United States, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority has installed three new micro-turbines at its wastewater treatment facility. About the size of three refrigerators, the turbines help convert sewage into electricity and save around US$600,000/year. Each box incorporates a small natural gas turbine, which gets its fuel from a pair of huge methane digesters. The digesters work like gigantic human stomachs, breaking down sewage to release approximately 52,000 ft3/d of methane-based natural gas. The turbines also generate heat that is used to warm the treatment plants digesters, which must be maintained at about 37C to perform effectively.


Website: www.pollutiononline.com 

Electricity from tyres and sewage

Creative Energy Systems, Canada, has developed technology that can help eliminate waste tyres and sewage while concurrently generating electricity and clean irrigation water. This system employs a combination of several existing methods. It takes tyres and dry sewage in a primary burner at about 204C, creating a vapour that is then passed into a secondary 760C chamber, which ignites the vapour and combustion occurs at 1,650-1,925C. At this high temperature, dried sewage is instantly vapourized in a third stage jet engine-like combustor. 


The emerging energy is combined with water, which turns into steam and cools the outflow and provides additional thrust that is conveyed through the turbines for generating electricity. Earlier to this step, raw sewage is passed through a new vortex process, which removes 98 per cent of water that can be sold for irrigation purposes or processed further for potable applications.


Website: www.remnantsaints.com 

Biogas plant

Kurimoto Ltd. of Japan, offers IMC biogas system for processing a wide range of organic wastes and obtain biogas through high-speed fermentation. A co-generating unit recovers electricity and heat with the help of a gas engine or fuel cell system. Weight-reduced, dewatered sludge cake, obtained following solid-liquid separation of the digested organic wastes, is composted or dried for use as fuel. Salient features of this system are:
  • Efficient fermentation system - Two fermentation stages hydrolysis and methanation are speedily and independently carried out under optimum conditions for each process, resulting in short processing time and space savings;
  • Foreign matter adaptability - The system can easily adapt to sorted food wastes, including plastic bags. After constant feeding/shredding, separation of coarse/heavy foreign matter is carried out. If sorting is not proper, a screw press for solid/liquid separation installed under the hydrolysis tank can separate coarse residues and foreign matter;
  • The enclosed processing system eliminates odour problems;
  • Excellent energy savings; and
  • Low running costs.

Depending on the waste composition, each tonne of waste can yield 90-140 m3 of biogas with a methane content of 60-65 per cent, while the co-generator produces 180 to 220 kWh/t of electricity. Organic wastes that can be fed to the IMC biogas plant include sorted kitchen waste from households and food industries, fruit/vegetable waste, garden grass/trees, etc. 


Contact: Kurimoto Ltd., 12-19, Kitahorie 1-chome, Nisiku, Osaka 550 8580, Japan. Tel: +81 (6) 6538 7681; Fax: +81 (6) 6538 7753


Website: www.kurimoto.co.jp 


Website: www.nett21.unep.or.jp


WIND ENERGY

Wind-diesel hybrid

In Denmark, NEG Micon A/S has taken over Danvest Energy A/S, a wind-diesel development company. This takeover has resulted in the former gaining access to a unique wind/diesel technology that allows for the wind turbines in a wind-diesel plant to contribute a higher share of the energy generated than currently feasible. Another benefit of the technology is that the diesel engine can be turned off when sufficient wind is available. According to Mr. Knud Hedeager, Director of NEG Micons wind/diesel division, as diesel consumption is very high owing to power generated by the diesel engine in a wind-diesel system, the new technology will be employed to address this aspect.


New Energy, February 2003

Versatile system

Vertical Wind Turbine Technologies (VWTT) LLC, the United States, has developed a novel turbine system. Windcrank incorporates a unique design that uses proven methods of capturing and controlling energy from any moving force such as wind, water, geothermal, etc. It can be used in a vertical or horizontal application, depending on the end use. These proven methods include, but are not limited to, centrifugal force, louvers, deflectors, blade timing, sail effect and flywheel effect. Key benefits of this design include:
 
  • Exceptionally high torque
  • Two power take-offs
  • Harmless to birds
  • Stackable applications
  • No braking required
  • Controlled rpm; and
  • Slow speed.

Preliminary testing of a 4 ft diameter turbine has been completed and 8 ft diameter units are presently being tested. 


Contact: Mr. Jack Dean, the United States. Tel: +1 (808) 9340 803; E-mail: omega7_jad@email. msn.com; Or Mr. George Sikes, the United States. Tel: +1 (352) 7951 988


E-mail: windcrank@yahoo.com / inventors@xtalwind.net  


Website: www.geocities.com 


Wind energy for remote sites

Twin Turbines, New Zealand, has designed a renewable power system aimed specifically for remote farms and isolated island communities. It captures wind energy and stores the power in a battery. It can generate without any other power source being available and is ideal for light wind conditions. The complete system includes a generator with blades and related battery storage, inverters and battery chargers. A key innovation is the black start capability of the generator, meaning it can generate power as soon as the rotor begins to turn, without the usual kick-start from another power source.


Another breakthrough achieved is in the generator design and layout, with only one moving part and no gearbox, couplings, rotating windings or slip rings. This significantly reduces maintenance, improves reliability and cuts manufacturing costs by nearly 30 per cent. The stand-alone unit is estimated to have a life of about 20 years. 


Contact: Mr. Mike Kramer, Twin Turbines Limited, New Zealand. Tel: +64 (09) 5264 910


E-mail: mrk@ihug.co.nz 


Website: www.frst.govt.nz 

Horizontal/vertical axis system

HVA system developed by Wintec LLC, the United States, operates in a radically different manner, compared with conventional wind turbines that rely on a horizontal axis wind generation system. The new system yields efficiencies approximately 40 per cent more than feasible using presently available wind turbines. In the HVA system, the output axis that drives the generator is coupled perpendicularly to the horizontal input axis (rotors). Rotational energy produced by the horizontal input axis is transferred to the vertical output axis (generator) through a specially designed gear system.


Some benefits of this type of positioning include:
  • HVA unit operates with two or more rotors, markedly raising the aerodynamic efficiency and resulting in enhanced power production;
  • It eliminates the heavy nacelle associated with most wind turbines, which severely limits the turbines ability to follow and take advantage of changes in wind direction;
  • Reduction of nacelle weight and size correspondingly reduces the size and strength requirements of the tower and footing, which significantly lowers construction costs;
  • The free yaw capability eliminates the need for aerodynamic braking or feathering systems, other than as may be required to permit the HVA unit to operate at peak efficiency;
  • Vertical orientation of the gearbox and generator permits the HVA system to turn as the wind direction changes (free yaw), without twisting control or electrical leads; and
  • It allows for easy access, removal and/or replacement of the generator or gearbox, substantially reducing maintenance costs.

Contact: Wintec LLC, Kruse Centre, 4800 SW Meadows Rd., Suite 300, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035, the United States. Tel: +1 (503) 5343 699; Fax: +1 (503) 5343 698.


Website: www.wintec4nature.com 


Clean and quiet ventilation from wind

A team at Ove Arup, Zimbabwe, have developed a wind turbine that can compete with conventional energy resources. The Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Extractor (Vawtex) can be installed at the same cost as traditional ventilation systems but it is less noisy, does not cause pollution and eliminates fuel costs. The new wind turbine rotates on a vertical axis and drives a fan. It is also designed to take advantage of the winds lift effect the effect that makes an aircraft lift off the ground to enable it to rotate three times faster than if pushed by wind speed alone. Vawtex is 10 feet tall and can rotate in winds less than 3 mph. However, it is designed to turn less and less efficiently as the wind speed increases to higher levels.


Website: www.greenbiz.com 

New wind turbine

Windmission, based in Denmark, has developed a 1.5 kW turbine with a rotor diameter of 2.7 m. Blades of the Windflower are fabricated using glass fibre while the generator is a three-phase 1.5 kW standard induction generator, 400 V AC. 


Contact: Windmission, Denmark.


E-mail: windmission@vip.cybercity.dk  


Website: www.windmission.dk 

New turbine design may lower costs

In the United States, a technological breakthrough from Wind Turbine Co. could bring down the cost of wind energy production by 25 per cent. The two-blade, downwind turbine requires fewer materials to build and is much cheaper to manufacture. In this design, the blades are turned away from the direction of the wind thereby allowing them to flex away from the tower, similar to the way the blades of a helicopter bend. A conventional 1 MW wind turbine typ-ically costs around US$1 million to build. However, WTCs design could trim nearly 25 per cent off this total, helping bring the cost of wind energy on par with other forms of power.


Website: www.bizjournals.com 

Rotor blade warning light

Enertrag AG, based in Germany, has designed a new system for designating wind turbine rotor blades. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing has certified the EST 10 aviation warning light. The certificate verifies that the rotor blade warning light complies with national requirements as well as international specifications stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Hence, it can be used as equipment to mark obstructions to aviation.
The EST 10 system, which can be integrated directly in the blade tip, is to replace customary warning lights used on the nacelle. A major drawback of the latter is that owing to the large distance from the wind power stations highest point, the nacelle lamps have to be operated with a luminous intensity of 1,600 candela. On the other hand, the red LEDs equipped on the blade tip requires a luminous intensity of just 10 candela as they are located almost at the stations highest point. Moreover, only LEDs on the uppermost rotor blade are turned on, thus reducing light emission to a bare minimum. Enertrag is working with NOI Rotortechnik GmbH and Sudwind Energy GmbH on equipping a prototype, 
scheduled to be installed in spring 2003.


Website: www.windpoweronline.com 

Rooftop wind turbine

A household wind turbine has been developed by Renewable Devices, the United Kingdom. About the size of a satellite dish, the US$2,500 rooftop-placed generator is silent and can provide constant hot water at no extra cost. The prototype works like a solar panel; installed on the roof and directing energy straight into the water tank. The company is set to begin a series of 50 demonstrations throughout the country.


Website: www.thescotsman.co.uk


ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE FOR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY

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