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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Sep-Oct 2003

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New and Renewable Energy Sep-Oct 2003

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

Wind supplies energy for 35 million

The Worldwatch Institute has stated that wind turbines around the world generate ample power for 35 million people. More wind power generation capacity is installed each year than nuclear and this green technology is closing in rapidly on hydroelectric power. According to Mr. Christopher Flavin, President of the American Council for Renewable Energy, sales of turbines generated US$7 billion last year, and support about 100,000 jobs. Also, biodiesel and geothermal are expanding rapidly around the world, with wave and tidal projects under examination.


Website: www.sparksdata.co.uk 

Potential to develop renewables in Russia

A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) reveals that Russia is at or near the top of countries with significant potential for renewable energy. Opportunities for Renewable Energy in Russia states that since Russia is located next to many energy-hungry neighbours who are also searching for ways to improve their environment as well as energy security, Russia could establish a commercial market for renewable energy. The report has forecast that Russian renewables-based energy would power homes and industries in Russia, Europe and China in the following decades. It details Russias enormous and diverse potential for renewables as well as demonstrates market applications that can yield immediate economic returns with very small initial investments. Also suggested are strategies that could build a market for renewable energy technologies.


Western Russia has 37 per cent of wind resources, with 63 per cent in underpopulated Siberia and the far east, while the best solar energy location is in the south-western and southern Siberia where the average solar radiation is 1,400 kWh/m2/y. The Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands hold the richest geothermal resources. At present, Russia uses very little of its colossal renewable energy potential and the domestic energy market is still distorted. Many regions are gifted with local renewable resources and the fact that their current energy supplies are costly and unreliable means that renewable energy technologies will be attractive commercially, and increasing the share of renewables in the energy systems means that regions can increase security of energy supply.


The global financial community is likely to favour eco-friendly investments like renewables, fortified by growing awareness and concern by the population. Russian companies have technological knowledge and engineering skills sufficient for mass production of renewable power units, with 100-150 companies involved in renewable energy systems, many of which were formerly with the military but have converted into peacetime technologies. The report notes that the former Soviet Union was the first in the world to construct utility-scale wind turbines in the 1930s and was an early leader in solar PV due to its space programme that sent Sputnik into orbit in 1958. Its current renewable energy technologies are on par with foreign technologies with regard to function, scientific and technical characteristics.


Website: www.sparksdata.co.uk 

 Global initiative on renewable energy

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is a global initiative launched by the United Kingdom at last years World Summit on Sustainable Develop-ment. REEEP provides an open and flexible framework within which the partners can take joint actions to promote sustainable energy. The 6th regional meeting of REEEP, held at Magaliesberg in South Africa, coincided with South Africas National Energy Efficiency Week. Dr. Amal-Lee Amin, the head of the REEEP Secretariat, stated that REEEPs overriding objective is to accelerate global uptake of sustainable energy sources and technologies to deliver key development goals. It can make a significant contribution by drawing the region together in capacity building, market research and awareness raising, establishing blueprints and demonstration projects for sustainable energy, and championing the benefits of regional trade in sustainable energy.


Website: www.allafrica.com 

Renewables report

A report released recently by the International Energy Agency (IEA), reveals that the prices for renewable energies have fallen to a point where most are now cost-competitive with fossil technologies when all values are taken into account. The Renewable Energy....into the Mainstream explains that there is a convergence of important components affecting the overall value of renewables, with several technologies delivering cost-effective services at present, while others could become commercially viable soon. Despite progress, renewable energies have generally not achieved market take-off whereby those technologies can compete in the market place on their own merits without government support, notes the report. A few technologies are still immature and need significant reductions in costs to make them competitive, while market barriers or entrenched beliefs result in the continued use of conventional fuels. The report applauds the European Union for requiring a specific percentage of generation to come from renewables, even as it liberalizes the power market on the continent, and observes that many states in the United States are introducing Renewables Portfolio Standards.


Website: www.sparksdata.co.uk 

Stationary fuel cell market quantified

Fuel Cell Today (FCT), an on-line resource, has stated that at present about 1,900 small stationary fuel cell systems are in operation worldwide. Fuel cells in this field continue to make progress as power sources for homes and back-up applications. FCT evaluated the activities of all the related organizations and companies involved and summarized major projects and achievements over the last 16 months. A notable finding is that there has been a shift from residential to back-up power as the first markets. Another feature of recent development is the increase in market share of solid oxide fuel cells. The survey examines these features and others, as well as details major key players, projects and future developments.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Joint venture for biodiesel production

DaimlerChrysler has joined hands with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, to produce biodiesel. The estimated cost of this project is US$620,000. The German government would fund US$200,000, while the rest will be contributed by DaimlerChrysler and CSIR. The five-year project will focus on trial operations with biodiesel extracted from Jatropha plants, which are cultivated on eroded soils. Two tonnes of Jatropha seeds per hectare would be cultivated with 25-30 per cent yield, roughly translating into 500-750 kg of biodiesel per hectare.


Website: www.atimes.com 

Worlds largest landfill gas plant

In the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy has approved a project to build the worlds largest power facility to be fuelled with landfill gas, as part of its efforts to expand the use of alternative energy. The 50,000 kW plant, recommended by Eco Energy, will be operated using methane gas from a landfill mine in Incheon. Following completion, the facility will produce about 400,000 MWh of electricity to meet the energy needs of 100,000 homes. The US$7.97 million plant is expected to commence operation in November 2005. Eco Energy will build the facility, manage it for 11 years and then transfer operations to the government.


Website: www.wasteinfo.com 

Geothermal heat pumps tested in Japan

In Japan, the Environment Ministry plans to introduce an experimental programme to use a geothermal heat pump system for public facilities as part of the nations efforts to mitigate global warming. Under this project, the energy-saving geothermal heat pumps would be employed for hot water and air-conditioning applications at public facilities, including hospitals, libraries and city halls in 60 locations. These systems would use geothermal heat 20-100 m below the ground and provide a stable year-round temperature of 10-15C. As pipes carrying heat to the surface are completely enclosed, groundwater will not be affected. It is estimated that up to 40 per cent energy savings could be achieved. Besides saving energy, the pumps address the heat island phenomenon of excessive warming of urban areas. The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization has developed domestic geothermal heat pump systems.


Website: www.japantimes.co.jp 

Large PV plant to come up in Thailand

Germanys RWE Solutions, Frankfurt, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) have signed an agreement to construct the largest solar energy facility in South-East Asia. The photovoltaic (PV) facility will have 1,680 modules, with a solar area exceeding 4,000 m2, and produce 500 kW of power. SAG Energieversorgungslosungen GmbH of Frankfurt, a subsidiary of RWE Solutions AG, is responsible for the overall project management, construction and installation at the Mae Hong Son site. This project is the first step towards environmentally compatible power generation in and around Mae Hong Son. Future plans include five solar plants with a total capacity of 4.7 MW.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

Rural China opts for clean energy

Marsh gas, a new generation clean energy, is substituting firewood, the traditional fuel in Chinas vast rural areas. Marsh gas is a kind of clean energy produced through airtight fermentation of stalks and can be used as a fuel to light lamps and cook meals. Further, marsh liquid can be utilized to feed livestock like pigs while marsh residue is used as high-quality fertilizer.


Statistics reveal that by the end of 2001, more than ten million rural households had been using marsh gas throughout the country and over 400 counties had turned into ecotypic agricultural bases backed by marsh gas energy. For example, by last year-end 0.18 million new households in Yunnan province started to use marsh gas, under a provincial government programme, raising the total to 800,000. As a result, the province saves 2.4 million t/y of firewood, almost equal to 40,000 ha of forest or two million tonnes of coal. Each household can save around US$60-US$96 on energy each year about US$72 million on the whole.


Other types of clean energy witnessing increasing popularity are solar energy, wind power, etc. According to a national development project on the use of marsh gas, 10 per cent of the overall rural households will be able to use clear energy by the end of 2005 and 20 per cent by 2010. In Yunnan province, another 300,000 rural households would be able to use marsh gas this year and some 80,000 m2 of solar energy water heating capacity will be built with help from the provincial government.


Website: www.news.xinhuanet.com 

Largest solar cell factory in China commissioned

Shanghai Solar Energy Science and Technology Co., China, has set up the nations largest production line for solar cells. The US$7.2 million production line is scheduled to begin operation in October and will turn out products with a total power generating capacity of 10 MW, about half of the countrys total solar energy production. Currently, solar powered lanterns, caution lights on expressways and garden lights are widely employed in Shanghai.


Website: www.english.peopledaily.com.cn 

New wind resource mapping technology

In Australia, a group of researchers has developed what they claim to be the worlds best wind resource technology. Windscape, a mapping tool, allows wind farm developers to identify sites with strong wind resources, down to property partitions. A related program, RaptorNL, finds how wind accelerates and decelerates over complex land features and vegetation, claiming to offer notable improvements over current industry models. Conceived and designed by WindLab Systems, this technology reduces cumulative impacts caused by multiple developers competing for known coastal wind sites. The company has mapped 70 regions, including most of Australia.


Website: www.sparksdata.co.uk 

India emerges as a leader in solar energy solutions

India, placed amongst the top five countries in the production of solar power, now offers other nations solar energy solutions for electrification of remote areas, after having achieved considerable success in the use of renewable energy resources in many parts of the country. According to the Director of Photovoltaic Division under the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), out of the 121 MW of solar production capacity, nearly 55 MW of modules have so far been exported to the United States, Europe, Australia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A major benefit of PV modules, being produced largely by public sector companies such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. and Central Electronics Ltd., is that they do not have to be connected to the power grid. At present, eight Indian companies hold international certification for their products. Indias biggest solar power success has been the electrification of villages in the Sunderbans, the worlds largest mangrove forest.
Website: www.hindustantimes.com

India emerges as a leader in solar energy solutions

India, placed amongst the top five countries in the production of solar power, now offers other nations solar energy solutions for electrification of remote areas, after having achieved considerable success in the use of renewable energy resources in many parts of the country. According to the Director of Photovoltaic Division under the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), out of the 121 MW of solar production capacity, nearly 55 MW of modules have so far been exported to the United States, Europe, Australia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A major benefit of PV modules, being produced largely by public sector companies such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. and Central Electronics Ltd., is that they do not have to be connected to the power grid. At present, eight Indian companies hold international certification for their products. Indias biggest solar power success has been the electrification of villages in the Sunderbans, the worlds largest mangrove forest.
Website: www.hindustantimes.com

Renewable energy in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is amongst the most energy-starved nations in the world, with a per capita power consumption of 110 kWh. The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), along with independent power producers, can cater to only a peak demand of about 3,400 MW despite having an installed capacity of 4,710 MW. While the conventional source being used for electricity generation is gas, the growing demand for power, at a rate of 10 per cent a year, will burden this resource in the long run.


Though Bangladesh is blessed with abundant solar energy, an average of 3-5 kWh/m2/d throughout the year, application of solar energy for power generation has been confined mainly to R&D and demonstration projects. However, solar energy has traditionally been employed for drying crops, fishes and in the production of salt from sea water. There have also been some attempts to put PV to real-life use. The Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB) is operating a PV unit with 62 kW peak capacity to supply electricity in many villages on Narsinghdi island. Several NGOs and private organizations too have started selling PV home systems for the rural population, offering various financial packages. The government has also relaxed duty and taxes on solar and other renewable energy equipment to encourage both public and private investments in the green energy sector.


The cleanliness and safety of wind power makes this renewable source an attractive option in rural areas. A recent study on wind velocity across the country reveals that some areas offer enormous prospects for utilizing wind power, specially to pump water. Biogas, another important source of energy, is emerging as a principal renewable energy form in villages. As regards hydropower, so far only one facility, with a total installed capacity of 230 MW, exists in the country. A survey of potential small hydropower sites has uncovered 23 locations ranging in capacity from 10 kW to 5 MW.


Website: www.nation.ittefaq.com 

Indias wind power potential assessed

In India, the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) has estimated the nations gross wind power potential at about 45,000 MW. The technical potential that can be tapped at present is about 13,000 MW. A total wind power capacity of 1,870 MW has been installed to date, representing 14.4 per cent of the exploitable potential.


Also, MNES has been implementing a National Programme for Energy Recovery from Urban and Industrial Wastes since June 1995. This programme offers financial and fiscal incentives for setting up waste-to-energy projects, including garbage produced in cities. The energy recovery potential from urban wastes has been estimated to be around 2,700 MW. Twenty-one projects with a total capacity of 25.75 MW have so far been set up, while 11 projects with a total capacity of 25.5 MW are in the process of being installed.


Chemical Weekly, 5 August 2003

Wind power subsidy

In India, the Union Ministry of Textiles has declared an interest rate subsidy for select textile units setting up captive wind energy-based power plants. Units fulfilling specific norms would be eligible for an interest rate subsidy of 5 per cent on investments made to set up wind power plants. Funds for the subsidies would be drawn from the Technology Upgrade Fund Scheme.


Future Energy, June 2003

Thermal plant based on biomass and coal

Electric Power Development Co. of Japan is testing the use of biomass fuel and coal as fuel sources for a thermal power plant. The company will utilize biosolid fuel made by mixing sewage sludge with discarded edible oils, followed by heating and drying out the substance. This biosolid fuel will be purchased from a treatment centre for the Mikasa river and used at the companys plant in Nagasaki prefecture. The biosolid fuel will be mixed with coal, with the biosolid fuel accounting for 0.07-1 per cent of the mix. It is estimated that if all the unused sewage sludge generated in the country were used for power generation, it would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.8 million tonnes. This corresponds to 0.2 per cent of total domestic output of carbon dioxide in 1990.


Website: www.co2e.com 

BP Solars new marketing blitzkrieg

Australias BP Solar has announced its first customer incentive project called enviro-cashback. Under this scheme, when customers buy a BP solar electric system, they would be eligible for a cashback offer. An enviro-rebate will combine a manufacturers rebate from BP with a payment for benefits of its emissions savings, known as renewable energy certificates. This enviro-cashback offer is applicable to the companys new solar modules of 800-10,000 W capacity. Contact: Mr. Nigel Morris, BP Solar, Australia. Tel: +61 (02) 8762 5739.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

Renewable energy to perk up Pakistan

The first ever wind-propelled power facility in Pakistan is to commence operation shortly. The Chairman of the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) reports that solar and wind energies are set to contribute vitally to the nations economic advancement. AEDB is tasked with the development of alternative technology at a galloping pace using an initial fund of US$3.5 million. AEDB plans to fulfil 10 per cent of the total energy requirements through renewable resources by 2015. The plan includes introduction of 1,000 solar cookers in Ziarat, Gilgit, Chore/Badin and Bahawalpur. Furthermore, 6,000 solar geysers are to be set up in Islamabad and elsewhere, and each province will be housing 5,000 solar homes.


Website: www.atimes.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Solar cells may yield cheaper energy

A new type of solar cell developed in the Republic of Korea could make solar energy cheaper than oil within 10 years. This system uses organic materials such as carbon, oxygen and hydrogen that can be extracted from air. However, according to Prof. Kwanghee Lee at Pusan National University, the new system is not yet as efficient as presently available silicon-based systems in converting sunlight into energy. Researchers also uncovered that these organic solar cells can work in reverse, i.e. transforming energy into light in the form of light-emitting diodes similar to those in cellphone screens. Prof. Kwanghee foresees solar-powered cellphones that utilize sunlight to charge batteries. Potential benefits of organic solar cells include:
  • Can be much bigger than silicon crystals;
  • Fabrication at room temperature is feasible, thereby eventually lowering costs to less than one-tenth of presently available inorganic cells;
  • Can be made in the form of a thin, transparent film that could fit over the windows of a building; and
  • Cars coated with the material can be charged simply by parking them in the sun.

Website: www.nzherald.co.nz 

Pact helps launch new technology

In the United Kingdom, Shell Solar has agreed to supply 2,400 copper-indium-selenium (CIS) thin-film PV units for a major construction project in North Wales. This is the largest order to date for the next-generation technology in which copper, indium and selenium are deposited as very thin layers on glass, by means of a vacuum process. The CIS panels provide a peak energy output of 84 kW, sufficient to meet the energy requirements of 60 typical homes. This project is being supported by the Large-scale Field Trial for Public Buildings, a Department of Trade and Industry initiative to encourage solar energy by establishing solar modules in government buildings.


Website: www.isa.org 

Highest efficiency record for terrestrial concentrator cell

Spectrolab Inc., the United States, has achieved an unprecedented conversion efficiency for a terrestrial concentrator solar cell. Using concentrated sunlight, the new PV cells can transform 36.9 per cent of the suns energy into electricity. This technological breakthrough has the potential to dramatically lower the cost of power generation from solar energy. The terrestrial concentrator cell, measuring about 0.25 cm2 in area, was fabricated and tested at Spectrolab and then re-measured at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The modified cell design is appropriate for the terrestrial solar spectrum, thus paving the way for higher performance terrestrial concentrators. According to Spectrolab, a major advantage of concentrator systems is that fewer solar cells are required to achieve a specific power output, thus replacing large areas of costly semiconductor material with relatively inexpensive optics, which provide optical concentration. The slightly higher cost of multi-junction cells is offset by the use of fewer modules.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

Novel technology

In Israel, a revolutionary technology developed for the production of solar-powered electricity can lower manufacturing costs by 150 per cent. This technology is based on reducing the production cost of PV cells and other systems. The cells produce a voltage when exposed to radiant energy, for instance, sunlight.


Website: www.israel21c.org 

Nanocrystalline solar technology

Solar cells developed by the Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland, using proprietary technology have been shown to be much cheaper but just as effective as silicon modules. The new process reduces the cost of producing nanocrystalline cells by nearly 80 per cent. The cells, which produce electricity by simulating the natural process of photosynthesis, have also passed a set of crucial tests which could hold the key to their commercial success. These tests were devised to establish the cells durability and ability to withstand heat. It is estimated that two years more are needed to refine the product and a further year to produce it commercially.


Website: www.nzz.ch 

Solar receiver for power generation

SRT Group Inc. is developing a new approach to efficiently capture solar energy for power generation. In this technique, a blend of halogen gases photochemically absorb up to 50 per cent of the terrestrial solar spectrum. Interior black body surfaces within the receiver cavity will adsorb the remaining (infrared) solar radiation. The hot solid surfaces are used to preheat the cooler in-flowing absorbing fluid, which results in even higher temperatures by thermally broadening the absorption spectrum of the halogen mix. The absorbed energy is exchanged to an inert carrier gas by the three-body recombination of halogen gas blend. The innovative design ensures high efficiency and relatively low radiative losses since the outer surface and window of the receiver are maintained at the lower temperature of the incoming absorbing fluid. Although this concept is targeted at Brayton cycle systems, it can even be applied to Stirling, thermoelectric and possibly thermionic power systems.


The company has also pioneered an innovative concept in solar receivers. Based on radiation augmented fluid absorption technology (RAFT), the new receiver addresses the problem of heat transfer by absorbing a large portion of solar energy directly into the fluid itself. Concentrated sunlight enters the receiver through a window and is absorbed photochemically as it passes through a fluid stream. The walls of the receiver remain cooler than the absorbing fluid. Coupled to a Brayton or Stirling cycle generator, the fluid adsorption receiver could provide an efficient, lightweight and low-cost power system.


Website: www.energypulse.net 

New PV system

A photovoltaic module introduced in the United States by Kyocera Solar Inc. is said to be the most efficient unit yet available. d.Blue is based on new cell processing technology that offers a breakthrough in energy conversion efficiency. This unit provides about 5 per cent more power than the companys highly successful KC120-1 and KC158G modules, with no increase in dimension. The newly developed d.Blue manufacturing process creates a microscopic texture on the cells multicrystalline silicon surface, reducing reflectance and maximizing the amount of sunlight the cell can absorb.


Available with a maximum rated output of 167 W (KC167G) or 125 W (KC125G), d.Blue systems feature quick connect output cables and a heavy-duty box-style dark anodized aluminium framework. Suitable for all types of residential and commercial buildings, these models are covered by Kyoceras 25-year power output warranty. The d.Blue systems dark blue cells and black module frame allow it to blend in visually with a buildings architecture while producing energy at enhanced efficiencies. 


Contact: Kyocera Solar Inc., Customer Service Division, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America. Tel: +1 (888) 5764 921


Website: www.kyocerasolar.com or www.solarbuzz.com 

Plug-and-play solar module

ICP Global Technologies, Canada, offers SolarPRO plugnplay 30 W solar panel. The lightweight, compact and easy-to-use power solution comes with a lifetime warranty. The plugnplay connection capabilities, tempered glass covering and sturdy heat-dissipating frame make it the panel of choice for first-time users of solar energy, campers, cottage and cabin owners, boaters, farmers, etc. It is claimed to be the most efficient solar panel in its category.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

SIngle-crystal photovoltaic module

Sharp Corp., Japan, has announced the launch of its new single-crystal PV module, NT-167AK, that offers a conversion efficiency of 17.4 per cent. Breakthroughs in PN-junction technology and electrode design, as well as lower interconnect resistance between solar cells within the modules, etc. have helped achieve the worlds highest module conversion efficiency. Using the NE-130AJ PV module (polycrystalline), the predecessor module, installing a 3 kW system required 23.1 m2 of surface area (24 units yielding 3.12 kW). NT-167AK allows a similar system to be established in an area of just 17.3 m2 (18 modules yielding 3.01 kW). The retail price of the new module is US$980, or US$5.90 per rated watt.


Website: www.solarbuzz.com 

Improved photovoltaic system

BP Solar of the United States has developed an improved 50 W photovoltaic unit. BP 350U addresses the needs of remote industrial applications like telemetry and instrumentation, and rural electrification for remote households without access to utility services. The new module uses advanced multicrystalline cells and has a 12 V nominal power output, making it suitable for charging batteries. Its robust design incorporates standard universal aluminium frame and high-capacity U-version junction box. The easy-to-install BP 350U comes with a power output warranty for 25 years and freedom from defects for five years. 


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


Website: www.bpsolar.com

WIND ENERGY

Wind-hydrogen automobile concept

In Denmark, a research team at the Folkecenter for Renewable Energy has tested a novel wind-hydrogen automobile concept. This system has shown that decentralized production of fuel hydrogen utilizing a renewable energy such as wind is a realistic and economical option, which could easily be realized even in rural areas.


The team developed all the methods and technologies for transforming a Ford Focus sedan with a ZETA 2 litre petrol engine to run on pressurized hydrogen as the primary fuel source. Measurements showed a maximum yield of 33 kW at 4,800 rpm. The ZETA motor installed in the car is connected to the hydrogen storage, which consists of a 200 bar battery of composite containers with a total volume of 90 l. The consumption of hydrogen was 0.22 m3/km during a 25 km test drive at an average speed of 110 km/h.


Contact: Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, P.O. Box 208, Kammersgaardsvej 16, Sdr. Ydby, DK 7760 Hurup Thy, Denmark. Tel: +45 9795 6600; Fax: +45 9795 6565


E-mail: energy@folkecenter.dk 


Website: www.folkecenter.net 

New system for stand-alone and grid-connected use

Ropatec AG-SPA of Italy is offering a patented high-speed vertical axle wind power turbine system. Optimal shaping of both rotor nucleus and the two wings allows for a systematic passage of wind from any direction. In addition, the reverse running wing is pulled backward resulting in an inversion, and consequently acceleration of the secondary air flow against the main wind stream. The Ropatec Windrotor makes use of all forms of wind forces and directions, and need not be turned off during gales. It can provide regular nominal power during storms. Independent of wind direction and at wind speeds of 2-3 m/s, the rotor starts automatically in any position, even under a torque load. Furthermore, it does not need any mechanical or electrical adjustment. A permanent-magnet generator eliminates any unwanted electromagnetic field generation. To increase aerodynamic performances and static requirements, both the wings and nucleus are sandwiched between top and bottom plates.


Ropatec windrotor is an excellent choice for direct drive applications such as water pumps, mills, etc. owing to its high rotation starting point. It is particularly suitable for consumers without access to the grid, e.g. refuges and mountain huts, isolated farms, beacons, television and radio stations, cellular bases, etc. The standard Windrotor models are guaranteed for maximum operational wind speeds of 56 m/s, exclusive of damages caused by alien objects. Also available is a special version of the Windrotor for speeds over 56 m/s. 


Contact: Ropatec AG-SPA, Siemensstr. 19 Via Siemens, I 39100, Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. Tel: +39 (0471) 568 180; Fax: +39 (0471) 568 183


E-mail: info@ropatec.com


Website: www.ropatec.com or  www.sovereign-publications.com 

Small wind power generation system

Shinko Electric Co. Ltd., Japan, has developed a small home-use wind power generation system to produce electricity whenever the wind speed surpasses 2 m/s. Featuring a vertical axis windmill consisting of five sail arms like airfoil, it produces almost no noisy sound and as such can be used without reserve in residential quarters. Available in four types that range from 1.6 m windmill diameter and 0.9 m sail arm length to 4 m windmill diameter and 2 m sail arm length, these systems can be installed on the roof or garden with a tripod or fixed on the balcony.


Website: www.jarn.co.jp 

EHN launches turbine production

Energia Hidroelectrica de Navarra (EHN), the largest wind farm operator in Spain, has started producing its own wind turbines. The company will initially manufacture gearless 1.5 MW units with 70 and 77 m rotor diameters. The converter itself is an upscaled version of the 1.3 MW turbine, which EHN presented as a prototype few years ago. Earlier, EHN had been buying turbines from the Gamesa Group. In future, apart from its own machines EHN will be using primarily turbines produced by General Electric, a United States-based company.


New Energy 3/2003

New low-cost two-bladed turbine

Windflow Technology, New Zealand, has developed a 500 kW horizontal-axis turbine, which incorporates a torque limiting gearbox system and a pitch-regulated teetering rotor. The 16 m blades are constructed with laminated New Zealand Pinus radiata. Compared with other 3-bladed systems, WF500 offers 20-50 per cent reduction in weight and cost. It operates more efficiently in all wind speeds and its cut-in wind speed is closer to 5 m/s than the expected 6 m/s. The performance of this pre-production unit will help improve the design and allow for refinements.


Website: www.scoop.co.nz or www.evworld.com

BIOMASS ENERGY

Commercial-grade charcoal obtained from green waste

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, a research unit of the University of Hawaiis School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), the United States, is constructing a commercial-scale demonstration reactor to convert green wastes into charcoal. Large, dense, green waste will be marketed as barbecue charcoal while lighter material such as tree trimmings and macadamia nutshells will be marketed as orchid potting soil. When fully operational, the reactor will yield 5 t/d of charcoal from green waste.


The facility is based on an innovative, patent-pending technology known as flash carbonization of biomass, or green waste, involving ignition of a flash fire at elevated pressure in a bed of biomass, which quickly transforms into bio-carbon. The University of Hawaii will test a catalytic afterburner and also undertake additional research with the commercial-scale reactor to ensure it complies with state and federal environmental rules for commercial production. Green waste charcoal has the potential to be used in high-value markets and sold as barbecue fuel, a soil amendment, a digestive health aid, for steel or metal production and to manufacture activated carbons used to purify water.


Website: www.pacific.bizjournals.com 

Study investigates biofuel potential

In the United States, researchers at Mississippi State University (MSU) and Oklahoma State University are exploring the potentials of biofuels using new equipment that converts wood chips and agricultural residue into energy. A Biomax gasification unit is being used to determine how to efficiently transform various biomass materials into gases and, subsequently, into energy-related and value-added chemicals like ethanol and acetate. Researchers at both institutions are experimenting with grasses and residues from various crop processes such as cotton gin residue, rice husks and chicken litter.


The gasifier transforms biomass by low-oxygen thermal decomposition into a gas mixture including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and water. An independent biological reactor being developed as a part of the same research effort will be utilized to mix the gas with organisms, such as bacteria, in a fermentation-type process in which the organisms convert combustible constituents of the gas mix, primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide into chemicals like ethanol and acetate. In another related project, MSU is using an entirely different gasification technology to help Mississippi Ethanol accomplish the conversion of biomass into ethanol for use as a petroleum additive. This project is being supported by the Department of Energy, together with members of Mississippis congressional delegation.


Website: www.solaraccess.com 

Thermal utilization of solid biomass

Siemens AG of Germany offers an innovative procedure for generating thermal and electrical energy at high temperatures. SiPeb technology involves bulk material regenerators (so-called Pebble-Heater, proved in the steel industry with energy recuperation degrees of 98 per cent) and a hot air turbine unit without the water-steam cycle. Key systems and components include biomass storage, biomass processing, bulk material regenerator, combustion, turbine set and flue gas cleaning.


Subject to consistency, biomass is pre-processed and dried. Processed biomass is continuously transported for combustion. The heated flue gas flows through a regenerator, where energy in the flue gas is transmitted to the bulk material. As soon as the regenerator is charged, flue gas is re-routed to the next regenerator. Surrounding air is compressed by the turbine and passed in the reverse direction of the flue gas through the charged regenerator. Thermal and electrical energy is generated and flue gas is cleaned before venting into the atmosphere.


The plant concept allows for diversified industrial applicability and an efficient and environmentally safe power supply. Some benefits offered by this technology over conventional processes include:
  • Efficient utilization of biomass with an electrical efficiency of about 30 per cent and an overall system efficiency exceeding 60 per cent;
  • A wide range of biomass material can be used;
  • Simple plant concept with few components;
  • Robust and reliable components;
  • Eliminates the need for water;
  • Simple and safe operation; and
  • Comparatively low level of investment.

Contact: Siemens AG,I&S IS E&C, Werner-von-Siemens-Str. 60 Erlangen 91052, Germany.

Website: www.is.siemens.com 

New breakthrough improves combustion of biodiesel

In Germany, the research institute FAL and Volkswagen have together developed a fuel-sensor, which can differentiate biodiesel from conventional diesel in the tank and decide the engine timing according to the respective fuel blend. Application of the fuel-sensor assures that the use of biodiesel is optimal, in terms of emission reduction and fuel efficiency. This breakthrough raises the prospects for using biodiesel as a replacement for fossil fuels.


Website: www.solaraccess.com 

Rice husk gasifier

San San Industrial Cooperative Ltd. of Myanmar, with support from the Indian Institute of Technology, has devised a rice husk gasifier stove for smokeless combustion of rice husk. The path of air flow in the new stove is from the top to the bottom. Air passes from the rice husk portion at the top of the stove through the drying, pyrolysis, combustion and reduction zones, creating gas and char/ash by this reverse air flow system. Holes are provided for air flow and a hinged shutter aids char or ash removal. The stoves simple design facilitates easy fabrication.


Primary air flows directly into the producer gas burning zone at the bottom of the stove through air passage holes. Secondary air from the top passes through the four zones. In the drying zone, the temperature is just adequate to remove moisture present in the rice husk, but not high enough to initiate any chemical reaction. The organic structure of rice husk is broken down in the pyrolysis zone, through heat released from the combustion zone. Products of the pyrolysis step are water vapour, methanol, acetic acid, heavy hydrocarbon, tars and carbon. In the combustion zone, oxidation of carbon to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main chemical reaction.


The gas being processed passes through carbon in the high temperature reduction zone to change into producer gas. From the set of reactions in the reduction zone, the most important is that in which CO2 from the combustion zone is converted to carbon monoxide. Producer gasification can be improved by adding biomass, including potato peels and green stems of flowers or vegetables, which are dried along with rice husk in the drying zone. 


Contact: San San Industrial Coop. Ltd., 279, Shwegondine Rd., Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma).


E-mail: admin@benergyssic.com 


Website: www.benergyssic.com 

New gasifier

Eskom Enterprises (Pty.) Limited, South Africa, offers a self-contained, efficient and reliable system to produce fuel from solid biomass. The System Johansson Gasproducer utilizes wood and other biomass (in briquette form) as a fuel source to produce a virtually tar-free producer gas, which is then used to power a generator set. The gas can also be used for direct heating of boilers and drying kilns. The new gasifier technology is an ideal means to reduce energy costs, particularly where by-products of biomass material and/or plenty of biomass is available. Apart from producing electricity, other spin-offs include:
  • Hot water for communities using heat recovery from the hot producer gas stream (400C);
  • Hot producer gas can be used for directly heating boilers and drying kilns; and
  • Empowering rural communities to develop small industries such as bakeries and saw milling.

Contact: Eskom Enterprises (Pty.) Ltd., Megawatt Park (D2Y46), Maxwell Drive, Sunninghill, Johannesburg, South Africa. Tel: +27 (011) 8002 696; Fax: +27 (011) 8004 338.


Website: www.mbendi.co.za 

New combustion system developed

Carbon Cycle Co. International (C3I), the United States, is offering a new combustor system to burn standard wood (stove) pellets at 1,000C in a computer-controlled, continuous burn and modular small industrial furnace. The furnace provides over 99 per cent combustion of specific biomass fuel at a cost, efficiency and emission level far superior than existing technologies.


The complex structure of a biomass feedstock is thermally broken into useful fuel by three basic actions rapid heating (combustion), moderate heating (gasification) and low heating (pyrolysis). C3I employs the most stable process, combustion, to a variety of feedstock, including forest wastes, wood chips, sawdust pellets, corncobs, coffee hulls, olive pits, nutshells and wastepaper. 


Contact: Mr. Karl Gee, Carbon Cycle Co. International, 3020, Bridgeway Street, Suite 296, Sausalito, CA 94965, United States of America. 


E-mail: kgee@carboncycle.com


Website: www.carboncycle.com

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

New geothermal power plants

Australia-based Toshiba Intl. Corp. Pty. Ltd. has designed a 110 MW geothermal steam turbine to exploit energy present in the earths crust. Geothermal turbines necessitate far more technical considerations than standard thermal turbines because of corrosion of turbine parts, accumulation of and erosion by solids in the steam path, etc. Since steam does not contain hot water and its maximum superheating degree is 9C, no flashing is required. Therefore, direct condensing units using natural steam springing out from production wells can be employed for the power plant.


Superheated steam is changed into wet steam from the turbine second stage and is expanded up to 102 mm Hg absolute, 52C. On contact-mixing with sprayed cooling water in the condenser, which is directly connected to the turbine, wet steam gets condensed into water at 49C. This water is pumped to the cooling tower by a condensate pump, cooled to 27C and utilized as condenser cooling water, oil cooling water, etc. The cooling water is delivered to the condenser by using potential energy between the cooling tower and condenser, rather than by pumping, and also by vacuum conditions in the condensers interior.


The need for water replenishment from the exterior is done away with since the condensed water is recycled by leading it back to the earth via injection wells. The non-condensed gases contained in steam are continuously ejected using ejectors approx. 34 t/h, about 4 per cent of the total. As 4,000 kW power is consumed to drivethe condensate pump, cooling fans and other pumps, net power output at high tension side of the step-up transformer is 106,000 kW. 


Contact: Mr. Tom Higashizawa, Toshiba Intl. Corp. Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9768 6618


E-mail: higashizawa@tic.toshiba.com.au 


Website: www.atals.com 

Award for innovative geothermal device

The United States-based Two-Phase Engineering and Research has developed a new system that makes geothermal energy production safer and more environmentally friendly. Low Emissions Atmospheric Metering Separator (LEAMS) is among 100 research innovations honoured this year by R&D Magazine. It won funding from the Energy Innovations Small Grant Programme, a part of the California Energy Commissions Public Interest Energy Research programme.


LEAMS is a family of atmospheric geothermal separators that safely contain and clean the vented stream of polluting solids, liquids as well as noxious gases during geothermal energy production. This method prevents damage to crops, trees, vegetation and aquatic life. The device also allows for the steam jet to be dissipated high into the sky, thereby protecting workers from residual gases settling on the ground. During the cold winter months, this device shoots the plume above tree lines to eliminate condensation and ice damage in forests.


Website: www.solaraccess.com 

New space conditioning system

Sound Geothermal Corp., the United States, is offering GeoExchangeSM systems for space conditioning heating, cooling as well as humidity control. This technique operates by moving heat, rather than converting chemical energy to heat. It may also be used to provide water heating, either to supplement or replace conventional water heaters. Each unit includes three major sub-systems, namely:
  • Earth connection to transfer heat between its fluid and the earth;
  • Geothermal heat pump to move heat between the fluid in the earth connection and building; and
  • Distribution sub-system deliver heating or cooling to the building.

GeoExchange systems utilize Earth as a heat source and heat sink. A series of pipes, commonly called a loop, carry a fluid used to connect the systems heat pump to Earth. In heating mode, heat is extracted from the fluid in the earth connection by the geothermal heat pump and then distributed to the home or building, typically through a network of air ducts. Cooler air from the building is returned to the geothermal heat pump, where it cools the fluid flowing to the earth connection. The fluid is re-warmed as it flows through the earth connection. In cooling mode, the process is reversed. Relatively cool fluid from the earth connection absorbs heat from the building and transfers it to the ground.
The geothermal heat pump is packaged in a single cabinet and includes the compressor, loop-to-refrigerant heat exchanger and controls. Units that distribute heat using ducted air also contain the air handler, filter, duct fan, refrigerant-to-air heat exchanger and condensate remover for air-conditioning. 


Contact: Sound Geothermal Corp., Rt. #3, Box 3010, Roosevelt, UT 84066, United States of America. Tel: +1 (435) 7225 877; Fax: +1 (435) 7225 089


E-mail: soundgt@soundgt.com 


Website: www.soundgt.com 

Combined heating for terraced houses

Shield Oy, Finland, has incorporated solar and geothermal energy into a new housing estate of rental terraced houses. While around 50 per cent of the energy requirement is fulfilled by solar energy, 25 per cent is met by geothermal resources and the remaining 25 per cent contributed by purchased electricity. The new terraced housing estate employs Shields Hot & Cold technology, which optimizes the use of solar and geothermal sources. The system can produce energy for heating all through the year, even through extremely severe winters.


Thirty-two solar collectors are set up on a terrace to produce heat for 8-9 months of the year. Heat thus produced is used to increase the efficiency of the houses heating unit and to warm the ground. Geothermal wells, which would have a combined total depth of 500 m if laid end-to-end, have been drilled on the estate. The deepest well is over 100 m. Heat exchange pipes have been installed in the wells, enabling heat extraction at depths exceeding 100 m. Energy from the solar collectors and heat wells is directed to the heating plant, where two traditional water storages have also been established, to be heated only during the lower night-time energy charges. 


Contact: Mr. Risto Kilpi, General Manager, Shield Oy, Engelinaukio 19 B 6, Helsinki 00150, Finland. Tel: +358 (9) 666 807; Fax: +358 (9) 6227 5777


E-mail: risto.kilpi@shield.fi


Website: www.shield.fi or www.tekes.fi 

Binary cycle geothermal process

Advanced Thermal Systems, the United States, combines traditional geothermal processes with a new technology to maximize geothermal resources without affecting the environment. The company uses binary cycle technology in its emission-free geothermal power production. A binary cycle power plant uses a closed-loop heat exchange system in which the heat of the geothermal fluid is transferred to a lower boiling point fluid, which is vaporized and used to drive a turbine/generator set.
Another process, the Kalina cycle system, enhances geothermal plant efficiency by 20-40 per cent while reducing construction expenses by 20-30 per cent, dramatically lowering the cost of geothermal power generation. This system uses a closed loop ammonia-water working fluid, which is vaporized by the geothermal heat to drive electricity-producing turbine generators. The technology allows for more efficient delivery of heat through variable vaporization and condensation of the working fluid. Contact: Advanced Thermal Systems, 50, West Liberty Street, Suite 750, Reno, Nevada 89501, United States of America. Tel: +1 (775) 3214 444; Fax: +1 (775) 3214 440


E-mail: info@advancedthermalsystems.com  


Website: www.advancedthermalsystems.com 

ORMAT geothermal facility

ORMAT Group is proceeding with the design, supply and construction of a second power facility at Mokai geothermal field, New Zealand. This is ORMATs seventh facility in the country. The 42 MW Mokai II geothermal plant is the second phase at Mokai, following the 60 MW Mokai I plant. The new integrated geothermal facility comprises a 34 MW ORMAT combined cycle module, operating on geothermal steam and a 8 MW ORMAT energy converter system operating on geothermal brine. This plant, which optimizes the use of energy available in the geothermal fluid by high efficiency utilization of both high pressure steam and brine, will be amongst the most efficient operating geothermal plants in the world. Efficiency of the Mokai II plant is projected at 21 per cent, achieved by employing high-efficiency organic vapour turbine, developed recently by ORMAT for geothermal and waste heat recovery applications. Also, this facility employs the unique ORMAT geothermal combined cycle system integrated with the ORMAT energy conversion units operating on geothermal brine.


Website: www.geothermie.de

WAVE/TIDAL ENERGY

Tidal current turbine installed in  the United Kingdom

A tidal current turbine with a rated output of 300 kW has been installed successfully. Located about 1 km off the coast of Devon in the United Kingdom, the turbine is mounted on steel piles set into the seabed and its 11 m long rotor blades are turned by the movement of tides. It yields an output of 300 kW in tides of 2.7 m/s and offers the benefit of a predictable output. An innovative design allows the turbine to be easily raised to the surface for maintenance, without the use of divers.


Though some experimental devices of this type have been built, this is the first, of any size, to be installed. The US$5 million Seaflow project is supported by the United Kingdoms Department of Trade and Industry, German government and the European Commission. Marine Current Turbines developed this new concept while Seacore installed the device. The turbine will undergo 12 months of extensive testing. Another tidal device called SNAIL is scheduled to be tested in the shallow waters off Orkney in the United Kingdom.


Website: www.jxj.com 

Tidal stream generator

In the United Kingdom, a consortium has been awarded about US$2.3 million for developing the worlds first prototype tidal stream generator. This device utilizes tidal streams to drive underwater turbines linked to a hydraulic system, which, using eco-friendly vegetable oil, gathers the low pressure needed to drive a generator. The consortium is led by Tidal Hydraulic Generators and includes Cardiff University and Babtie Group.


The generator, devised in 1998, is a hydraulic accumulator unit, involving relatively small revolving blades that gather power to a central collector, where electricity is generated. The 80 m2 generator, located underwater, stands 15 m high and is designed to run for a minimum of 10 years without any service. A prototype is being evaluated in the Milford Haven waterway, with an overall concept featuring a number of turbines that are lowered into the water and need not be installed permanently on the seabed. These units are designed to produce power for over 20 h/d, requiring around only two knots of tidal flow. 


Contact: Mr. Louise Sloan, Communications Manager, Babtie Group, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0141) 5668 252.


Website: www.ipa-scotland.org.uk 

New tidal generator

SMD Ltd., the United Kingdom, has developed a tidal electrical generator known as TidEl. This project has been allowed to commence the next phase of development by the Department of Trade and Industry, which provides partial funding for the project. A patented feature of this unit is a two-point spread mooring. This, in combination with the buoyant twin generator arrangement, allows the system to passively follow the tide as it changes direction during its 24 h cycle. This implies that besides maximizing energy capture without the need for a control mechanism to orientate it, TidEl also eliminates significant costs for items such as piling and large support structures. The system can even be moved to the site by towing rather than using expensive lift equipment.
The full scale-model will be rated at 1 MW, but initially a 1/10 scale functional model will be constructed and tested. 


Contact: SMD Limited, Wincomblee Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 3QS, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0191) 2342 222; Fax: +44 (0191) 2340 444


E-mail: enquire@smd-uk.com 


Website: www.smd-uk.com 

New system to harness tidal energy

Tidal Hydraulic Generators of the United Kingdom has designed a tidal turbine system comprising a steel frame that supports five tubes of 6 m diameter each. The new system can produce about 1 MW of power, as the tide ebbs and flows. This project is a test run for much larger rigs, with up to 50 turbines apiece, that could produce sufficient power for a small town.


Since water is 800 times denser than air, tidal power is a more productive energy source. While a wind turbine may be up to 80 m in diameter, a tidal stream turbine need only be 10 m across to produce 50 per cent more energy. Though the blades turn slowly, just 10 revolutions/min, the rotation generates a great deal of torque to enable power generation. A hydraulic accumulator then turns this into energy and feeds to a motor that drives the generator.


Future Energy, April-June 2003

FUEL CELLS

New kind of fuel cell

Swift Enterprises Ltd., the United States, are investigating into a new type of fuel cell that could lower energy costs to just one-third their current level and also reduce toxic pollution. Researchers are developing prototype battery cells that use an oxygen and hydrogen peroxide mixture for creating chemical and thermal energy. Materials used in the new fuel cells are far less toxic than traditional battery ingredients. Chemicals used in these cells can be safely passed into the drainage without any fear of contributing to environmental pollution. Interestingly, humans may even safely consume the cells material if diluted, unlike most modern propellants and battery components that are toxic even in minute quantities. The propellants being developed are hypergolic, i.e. they start to burn when mixed with an oxidizer.


The new breed of fuel cells operate as an open system. Their function can be turned off, whereas regular batteries react continuously. These systems would be more efficient and safer than photovoltaic cells or solar panels. Batteries that use the new cells could be used in any type of machines, from palm pilots to large-scale generators, saving cost and virtually eliminating toxic waste. The fuel cells also conserve energy and chemicals, making them more eco-friendly. The company is about six months away from coming out with a functional prototype. When produced, the new fuel cell will have a maximum efficiency exceeding 90 per cent.


Website: www.purdueexponent.org 

Hydrogen-natural gas engine

Westport Innovations Inc., the United States, has developed a new engine, for transit buses, that is fuelled by a hydrogen-natural gas combination. The new system allows operators to start the transition to hydrogen fuel in internal combustion engines. Tests undertaken on a 230 hp spark-ignited Cummins Westport natural gas engine were calibrated to run a blend of 20 per cent hydrogen and 80 per cent natural gas, with results demonstrating a dramatic reduction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), the precursor to smog and also ground-level ozone, of over 60 per cent compared to the newest diesel engines, or over 80 per cent cleaner than the average transit bus on the road today. The company says that each bus fuelled by hydrogen-natural gas mix could lower greenhouse gas emissions by 10 tonnes/year, without compromising on torque and fuel efficiency.


Website: www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Fuel cell generator

Hydrogenics, Canada, has unveiled its 50 kW HySTAT hydrogen fuel cell stationary power generator, reported to be amongst the most promising clean energy technologies. The new fuel cell exhibits hydrogen-powered peak shaving, an energy management practice that can use hydrogen fuel cells to provide clean supplemental power during times of peak demand. Designed with partial funding from Natural Resources Canada, under the Government of Canadas Technology Early Action Measures programme, HySTAT can generate adequate electricity to cater to the needs of 10-15 average Canadian homes. HySTAT is equipped with a natural gas reformer as part of an integrated refueller system, which produces hydrogen fuel for the fuel cells. Also, the reformer supplies hydrogen to an adjacent hydrogen dispenser for vehicle refuelling.


In Phase II, planned for the summer of 2004, HySTAT fuel cell stationary power generator will build on Phase I by demonstrating extended offsetting of the electricity required at the national Trade Centre. In Phase III, Hydrogenics will seek an opportunity to incorporate a renewable energy source, like wind or solar, to supply electricity to power a Hydrogenics electrolyser refueller to generate hydrogen, thus demonstrating how hydrogen and fuel cells could facilitate a totally clean and renewable solution to fulfil our energy needs.


Website: www.solaraccess.com 

Next-generation PEM fuel cells

Danish Power Systems, Denmark, has come up with a promising new technology for the next-generation proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The company has developed a PEM stack for automotive applications and stationary power, which raises operating temperatures by a factor two. Based on a novel component for the membrane, high temperature and a simple design, overall efficiency is increased while system costs are reduced. 


The new PEM fuel cell stack runs at up to 200C while traditional PEM fuel cell stacks operate at below 100C. This improvement makes the new stack ideal for household stationary power generation, as the surplus heat could be used for domestic heating.Instead of Nafion, the membrane of the new fuel cell is made of PBI, a material that has unique properties, including high thermal resistance, and is less expensive. The use of PBI also simplifies the chemical process and design, resulting in higher efficiency and lower costs. 


Contact: Mr. Niels J. Bjerrum, Chief Executive Officer, Danish Power Systems, Denmark. Tel: +45 4587 3934 


E-mail: daposy@daposy.dk


Website: www.daposy.dk or  www.fuelcelltoday.com 

Key fuel cell technology

Power and Energy Inc. (P&E), the United States, has developed new hybrid hydrogen separation technology specifically designed for fuel cell applications. Using advanced nanotechnology, a system the size of a typical telephone directory can supply hydrogen required for a 100 kW fuel cell. Utilizing P&Es technology, automobile manufacturers could dramatically bring down the projected time needed to make fuel cell-powered vehicles practical.


The new system permits fuel cell vehicles to utilize easier-to-handle liquid fuels like ethanol. Hydrogen can be extracted from the liquid fuel as and when needed. In the absence of the new device, vehicles would have to be fitted with high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks. The Department of Defence has provided some funds for R&D. P&E has submitted a proposal seeking additional funds for designing a hydrogen separation membrane that would be suitable for portable fuel cell units. 


Contact: Mr. Albert Stubbmann, Power and Energy Inc., 106, Railroad Drive, Ivyland, PA 18974, United States of America. Tel: +1 (215) 9424 600, ext. 17; Fax: +1 (215) 9424 600


E-mail: al@purehydrogen.com


Website: www.purehydrogen.com or www.newsroom.eworldwire.com 

Fuel cell for UPS

Ballard Power Systems, Canada, has launched the Nexa RM series hydrogen-fuelled stationary fuel cell power generators. Developed specifically for the uninterruptible power system (UPS) and telecommunications power sector, Nexa RM series is modular and its power output is scalable in 1 kW increments to suit individual needs. The company has already delivered Nexa RM systems for utility and server room UPS field trials and has scheduled deliveries for telecommunications field trials before this year-end.


The reliability and durability of the Nexa power module, together with the extended operational capability during lengthy blackout periods and environmental advantages of zero emissions, make this series a compelling choice for telecommunications, UPS and similar emergency back-up power uses. The scalable Nexa RM series has been designed for industry-standard 19 inch rack mounting. It includes electrical connections, an exhaust system and safety features combined with N+1 redundancy capability for specific market requirements. 


Contact: Website: www.ballard.com or www.fuelcelltoday.com 

CO2 process for hydrogen fuel cells

ThermoEnergy Corporation, based in the United States, has come up with a new process design for low-cost production of carbon dioxide (CO2). The new THERMO-CO2 unit can be located virtually anywhere, uses an oxy-fuel process that yields electricity and liquid CO2 from coal, natural gas, fuel oil or biomass with zero air emissions. When used in a gasification mode, the new multi-pollutant capture unit called TIPS is an efficient hydrogen production technology, supplying hydrogen for fuel cells and similar clean energy technology.


Website: www.solaraccess.com 

1 kW PEFC

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Japan, has successfully developed the worlds smallest 1 kW polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) power generator. Measuring 1 m high, 0.6 m wide and 0.3 m deep, the units compactness has been feasible by MHIs proprietary integrated piping technology. At the same time, it has become possible to curb heat loss during power generation and attain the rated energy generating efficiency of 36 per cent at the transmission end and overall thermal efficiency of 87 per cent.


Though the unit presently uses LPG/city gas as its fuel, MHI has already developed reforming techniques for six types of fuels, including naphtha, kerosene, methanol and dimethylether. By developing and incorporating a new reformer having a function for generating purge gas instead of nitrogen gas, daily start-up and shutdown (DSS) versatility has improved greatly.


Website: www.jarn.co.jp

PUBLICATIONS

Handbook of Fuel Cells

This four-volume set brings together the state-of-the-art in fuel cells, reflecting the rapidly growing rate of research in the quest for alternate and clean sources of energy. All aspects of fuel cells are covered and answers provided for the current technology problems.

Fuel Cell Systems Explained

This second edition covers the academic tools needed for explaining fuel cell systems on a multidisciplinary basis. It includes full and updated coverage of fuel processing and hydrogen generation and storage systems.


For the above publications, contact: John Wiley and Sons Ltd., United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (01243) 843 294; Fax: +44 (01243) 843 296


E-mail: cs-books@wiley.co.uk


Website: www.wileyeurope.com 

The Brilliance of Bioenergy

This publication covers all the main resources and technologies, principles, practices, social and environmental issues, as well as the economics involved.


Contact: James and James (Science Publishers) Ltd., 8-12, Camden High Street, London NW1 0JH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 7387 8558; Fax: +44 (20) 7387 8998


E-mail: orders@jxj.com


Website: www.jxj.com 

Fuel Cell Technology Handbook

This book provides the first comprehensive database of both technical and commercial aspects of high and low-temperature fuel cells, fuel cell systems, fuel cell catalysis and fuel generation. It sets forth the principles of fuel cell technology and summarizes key concepts, developments and remaining technical hurdles, especially in fuelling. It explores applications in automotive, stationary and portable power generation technologies and presents an experts look at future developments in both technology and application. Key features are:
  • Thorough, up-to-date overview of fuel cell principles, technologies and applications;
  • Uses clear explanations and abundant illustrations that make the information truly accessible; and
  • Explores automotive, stationary power generation and portable power applications, including in-depth coverage of hydrogen generation and storage.

Contact: SAE World Headquarters, 400, Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096 001, United States of America. Tel/Fax: +1 (724) 7764 841/7760 790.


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