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VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy . Sep-Oct 2009

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New and Renewable Energy Sep-Oct 2009

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

Small-scale biofuel production holds more promise

Decentralized biofuel production, or small-scale factories built on degraded or under-used lands, has the potential to provide energy to half a billion people living in poverty in rural Asia, says a report sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The report, entitled Biofuels in Asia: An Analysis of Sustainability Options, stresses that decentralized production offers a promising path to enhance the energy independence of Asian nations in a manner that is also commercially viable and without large subsidies. Furthermore, local production and use of biofuels could significantly benefit rural communities by providing access to energy for the millions currently relying on either expensive fossil fuels or traditional biomass for cooking, lighting and transportation needs.

The report argues that large-scale biofuels production could become less viable in view of the global economic crisis. Even under optimistic assumptions of crop expansion and deployment of second-generation technologies, biofuels will meet not more than 3-14 per cent of the total transport fuel demand in Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, India and Indonesia by 2030. Furthermore, biofuels currently supply less than 1 per cent of transport fuel worldwide and approximately 3 per cent in developing Asia. The USAID report encouraged countries going into biofuels production to ensure that producers use non-food feedstock grown on under-utilized land. Biofuels producers must avoid converting forests and peat lands at all costs and instead plant on degraded or under-utilized lands using high-yielding feedstock that require minimal inputs, the report advised.
Source: businessmirror.com.ph

Innovative funding for the developing world

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an Austria-based non-governmental organization, reports that piloting innovative finance methods is one of its key priorities in its small-scale project funding designed to have a wide ripple effect. Microfinance facilities offer the rural poor a way to access energy services. REEEP intends to work in Uganda to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) to establish small businesses selling solar, biogas and high-efficiency cook stoves, and to provide loans to 5,000 consumers who buy them. In parallel, another REEEP project will help set up a network of retail outlets to sell energy-efficient CFLs, pressure cookers, stoves and solar lanterns in the villages of Karnataka, India, and structure guarantees with MFIs to provide financing to end users.

Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) is a finance coaching and investor matchmaking service that works well in many developing markets, as well as in India and China. A new REEEP project will expand PFAN activities to Uganda and Mozambique, and aims to attract US$ 10-60 million to fund clean energy projects in the two countries during its first year. The Pacific Renewable Energy and Microfinance (PREM) project aims to establish microfinancing systems on the islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa. It will kick off with a baseline study on renewables and energy efficiency in these countries and later, a set of training tools will be created to assist MFIs develop their own sustainable loan products. In Brazil, REEEP will focus on the agricultural sector in a project combining international and local sources of finance to make solar water pumps for irrigation, solar dryers for drying fruits and biodigesters for agricultural waste.
Source: www.renewableenergyfocus.com

China to boost use of renewable energy

A joint statement released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Housing & Urban-Rural Development of China states that the government will pay subsidies to pilot cities and rural areas for renewable energy projects to help the country save energy and cut emissions. Each of the pilot cities will carry out projects using renewable energy technologies and products, such as solar water heaters and solar radiators, and will receive 50-80 million yuan (US$7.3-11.7 million) in subsidies from the central government.

At the same time, the nations vast rural areas are also encouraged to introduce renewable energy technologies and products. Each pilot county will be able to obtain up to 18 million yuan (US$2.6 million) in subsidies for installing renewable energy facilities in housing complexes, schools and other public buildings. China plans to raise the share of renewable energy to 10 per cent of the nations total energy consumption by 2010 and to 15 per cent by 2020.
Source: www.chinaknowledge.com

World Bank unit to fund renewables in Sri Lanka

International Finance Corp. (IFC), a World Bank unit, is providing a US$15 million risk-sharing facility and project structuring expertise to help evaluate and finance renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka, including small hydropower. IFC will supply the risk-sharing facility to Commercial Bank of Ceylon to help the bank evaluate and finance renewables projects to provide environmental and economic benefits.

IFC stated that the programme is intended to help the private sector mitigate climate change effects, while continuing to meet significant infrastructure gaps in South Asia. IFC will share its financing, project-structuring capability and benchmark data for renewable energy technologies, and help enhance Commercial Banks ability to appraise projects using these technologies. An advisory component funded by the governments of Japan and Ireland and the World Banks Global Environment Facility will help Commercial Bank build the capacity and skills to implement the programme. In April, the Asian Development Bank approved US$160 million in loans to Sri Lanka to improve electricity services, including support for renewable energy that is to add 200 MW of small hydropower to the national grid.
Source: www.hydroworld.com

Solar power on the rise in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the number of solar-powered homes has doubled to 300,000 within a year. The countrys renewable energy business is now reported to be the fastest growing green industry in the world. About 2.5 million inhabitants now get their power from the Sun. According to energy expert Mr. Shahidul Islam from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the rapid expansion of solar energy has brought down the cost of panels. Rahimafrooz, a company that produces storage batteries for solar energy, has tripled its production this year to meet the burgeoning demand.
Source: en.cop15.dk

Geothermal energy in Pakistan

Offices of a private firm in Islamabad, Pakistan, have become one the first place in the country to be powered by geothermal energy. The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) facilitated Shan Geothermal in setting up a pilot project of geothermal energy in line with the governments policy of promoting the use of renewable energy in the countrys power generation mix. It is an exciting demonstration, a way of making sure Pakistan has another exploitable source of green power, said Mr. Arif Alauddin, CEO of AEDB, during the launch of the pilot project. It is reported that the initial capital cost for the installation of the geothermal energy system was competitive with traditional energy systems.
Source: www.dailytimes.com.pk

US$2.35 billion for green energy

According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of the Republic of Korea, nine state-run energy companies will invest 3 trillion won (US $2.6 billion) in renewable energy in 2009-2011. These companies have already invested a combined 605.9 billion won (US$525.3 million) in the past three years. Considering the returns on these investments, the nine firms will raise their investments by five times for renewable energy supply. Under the new investment, the state-run companies will supply 1,330 MW of renewable energy facilities including solar, wind and hydropower generation. With the expanded investment, renewable energy output will account for around 1.7 per cent of total power capacity, from less than 1 per cent currently. The nine firms are Korea Electric Power Corp., Korea District Heating Corp., Korea Water Resources Corp. and six power generating companies. The Republic of Korea aims to invest 107 trillion won (US$ 92.77 billion), or 2 per cent of its annual GDP, in environment-related industries over the next five years, but it did not specify how it would fund the investment.
Source: www.reuters.com

Renewable energy trust fund to support development

In the Philippines, the Department of Energy (DOE) is set to establish a Renewable Energy Trust Fund to support further development of renewable energy projects in the country. The Fund will be used to finance the research and development of renewable energy sources. According to Mr. Mario Marasigan, Energy Assistant Secretary, The Fund is part of the overall framework of the Renewable Energy Act of 2009.

Mr. Marasigan said that, apart from the various government agencies, 1.5 per cent of the proposed fund will be sourced from the revenues of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. as well as some from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. DOE will contribute a part of its collection from royalties from other sources (not necessarily from renewable energy). The Philippine National Oil Co. will also contribute to the fund. The fund will be administered by DOE and will be deposited in a government financial institution, Mr. Marasigan stated. To guarantee efficient disbursement of the fund,that task will be supervised by the National Renewable Energy Board.
Source: businessmirror.com.ph

World Banks clean energy gift

The World Bank and its subsidiary, the International Finance Corp. (IFC), will offer Thailand US$700 million in financial support to help develop renewable energy. The two organizations will finance development projects through the World Banks Clean Technology Fund and IFC. The average interest rate will be 0.25-2.0 per cent, with repayment period of 20-40 years. Mr. Jitendra Shah, country sector coordinator at the World Bank, said Thailand is one of the first 10 countries where we have launched the support programme. The World Bank and IFC will provide technology and support for loan applicants. They will coordinate the markets clean development mechanism or carbon credit trading. The agencies said that the development of projects could cut total annual oil imports by about 3.25 million tonnes and greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes a year.
Source: www.bangkokpost.com

World Bank helps Viet Nam promote renewable energy

The World Bank will provide US$ 202 million for Viet Nam to implement a renewable energy development project during 2009-2013. An agreement to this effect was signed between the Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Mr. Nguyen Van Giau and the World Banks Director in Viet Nam, Ms. Victoria Kwakwa, in Hanoi on 16 June.

Under the agreement, the project, capitalized at US$318 million in total, aims to provide more renewable electricity for the national grid to ensure Viet Nams social development and protect the environment.

Apart from the US$202 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Banks concessional lending arm, further investment will come from the governments own budget, local banks and private investors. Ms. Kwakwa said, The aim of the project is to increase the supply of electricity to the national grid from renewable energy, which is important to help Viet Nam expand and diversify its sources of electricity generation and also join Viet Nams efforts to reduce climate change. The project has three components. The first is investment in renewable energy through participating commercial banks, which will provide loans to eligible renewable-based projects not exceeding 30 MW developed by private sponsors. The second and third components will help develop the regulatory framework and capacity of the Ministry of Industry & Trade and relevant agencies, as well as help develop other renewable energy projects in the future.
Source: www.nhandan.com.vn

ADB to double clean energy investments

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has set a target to double its clean energy investments in the region to US$2 billion yearly beginning 2013, in a bid to accelerate reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The new investment target, which is part of ADBs Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI), will add to its already significant clean energy investments. EEI was formed by the ADB to help increase energy security and mitigate the regions growing GHG emission. In 2008, ADB met its US$ 1 billion a year investment target set at the outset of EEI four years ago.

ADBs clean energy investments included the energy efficient lighting for low-income households in the Philippines, wind power projects in China, hydropower development in Bhutan and a biomass power plant in Thailand. ADB also supported the improvement and expansion of energy-efficient mass transit systems in several Asian cities under the Sustainable Transport Initiative. In the first quarter of the year, ADB loans to the clean energy sector in the region rose by 1.5 per cent to US$478.6 million from year-ago level of US$471.3 million. ADB approved loans for seven projects during the period in India, China, Viet Nam, the Philippines and Thailand. It plans to distribute 13 million fluorescent globes to households and businesses in exchange for incandescent bulbs.
Source: business.inquirer.net

India cuts customs duty on wind power equipment

The Indian government has reduced the basic customs duty to 5 per cent on permanent magnets, a major component for wind power projects, to help promote power generation through renewable sources of energy. According to Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, It is imperative that the contribution of new and renewable energy sources of power is enhanced if we have to successfully combat the phenomena of global warming and climate change. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has fixed a target of 10,500 MW wind power during the 11th five-year plan period (2007-2012). In the 10th Plan (2002-2007), India saw the installation of 5,426 MW of wind power generation capacity, as against the target of 2,200 MW.
Source: www.business-standard.com

SOLAR ENERGY

Nanopillar solar cells

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, the United States, have created a new kind of solar cell by growing an array of upright nanoscale pillars on aluminium foil. The flexible solar cells are fabricated by encapsulating the entire cell inside a transparent, rubbery polymer. The nanopillars allow for the use of cheaper, lower-quality materials than those used in conventional silicon and thin-film technologies. The technique used to make the cells could be adapted to make rolls of flexible panels on thin aluminium foil, cutting manufacturing costs, according to Dr. Ali Javey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences who led the study.

The solar cells are made of uniform 500 nm high pillars of cadmium sulphide (CdS) embedded in a thin film of cadmium telluride. Both materials are semiconductors used in thin-film solar cells. The cells have exhibited a conversion efficiency of about 6 per cent. Dr. Javey and his colleagues made the nanopillar cell by first anodizing aluminium foil. This creates a periodic arrangement of 200 nm wide pores that act as templates for CdS crystals to grow erect. Then comes a coating of cadmium telluride and the top electrode, a copper and gold film. The cell is then attached to a glass plate or made flexible by pouring polymer solution on top and setting it.

The nanopillar design splits up silicons duties the material surrounding the pillars absorbs light and the pillars transport them to the electrical circuit. This increases efficiency in two ways. The closely packed pillars trap light between them, helping the surrounding material absorb more. The electrons also have a very short distance to travel through the pillars, so there are fewer chances of their getting trapped at defects.
Source: www.technologyreview.com

Low-cost processing for CIGS solar cells

New players in the solar industry have been looking at panels that can harvest energy with copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) or CIGS-related materials. CIGS panels have a high efficiency potential, may be cheaper to produce and would use less raw materials than silicon solar panels. Researchers at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science of University of California Los Angeles, the United States, have developed a low-cost solution processing method for CIGS-based solar cells that could provide an answer to the manufacturing issue. Prof. Yang Yang and his research team have developed a low-cost solution processing method for their copper-indium-diselenide (CIS) solar cells that have the potential to be produced on a large scale. The solar cell has achieved 9.13 per cent efficiency in the laboratory.

The material created by Prof. Yangs team does not need to go through the conventional, costly and time-consuming vacuum evaporation process normally required for producing CIGS solar cells. It is simply dissolved into a liquid, applied and baked. To prepare the solution, Prof. Yangs team used hydrazine as the solvent to dissolve copper sulphide and indium selenide in order to form the constituents for the CIS material. In solar cells, the absorber layer (CIS or CIGS) itself is the most critical for performance and the most difficult to control. Prof. Yangs CIS layer is in solution form and can be easily painted or coated evenly onto a surface and baked.
Source: www.sciencedaily.com

Drying systems for solar cell metallization

Rehm Thermal Systems, Germany, has launched an advanced new series of drying systems for solar cell metallization. The RDS 2100 and RDS 3000 offer a variety of advanced process features and thermal control that enable photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers to move their processes to an entirely new level of efficiency and yield.

The drying process consists of a combination of either five or seven IR zones and one central convection zone. This design combination offers temperature profiling that can be adjusted for both precision and flexibility. These horizontal throughput systems guarantee a safe transport through the oven either via mesh belt or with pin chain up to three lanes. In the mesh belt systems, the conveyor of the heating zone can be separated from that of the cooling zone. Hence, no latent heat is carried into the cooling area. At belt speeds up to 6 m/minute, the RDS Series provides throughputs of up to 5,700 wph. The entire process chamber is readily accessible for maintenance. Contact: Rehm Thermal Systems GmbH, Leinenstrasse 7, 89143 Blaubeuren-Seissen, Germany. Tel: +49 (7344) 96 06-0; Fax: +49 (7344) 9606-25; E-mail: info@rehm-group.com.
Source: www.engineerlive.com

High-efficiency single-junction solar cell

QuantaSol Limited, a designer and manufacturer of strain-balanced quantum-well solar cells based in the United Kingdom, has developed what it believes to be the most efficient single-junction solar cell ever manufactured. QuantaSols single-junction device, developed in just two years, achieved 28.3 per cent efficiency at greater than 500 suns when independently tested by Fraunhofer ISE, Germany.

QuantaSols approach combines several nanostructures of two or more different alloys, to obtain synthetic crystals that overcome the problems associated with current solar cell designs. It also greatly enhances the photovoltaic conversion efficiency. The company recently completed a second funding and will now concentrate on cutting the cost of ownership of solar energy by moving to multi-junction devices. Contact: Mr. Kevin Arthur, Sales & Technical, QuantaSol Ltd., United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 8972 8830; E-mail: info@quantasol.com; Website: www.quantasol.com.
Source: www.marketwatch.com

Advancement achieved in next-generation solar cell

A team led by Mr. Park Nam-gyu, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), the Republic of Korea, has found a new approach that could enable dramatic improvement in the low-cost, thin-film solar cells now being developed in laboratories around the world. The new technique could improve the power conversion rates of dye-sensitized solar cells by more than 50 per cent of the current level once commercialization is made. Dye-sensitized solar cells, a relatively new class of thin-film solar cell, are considered extremely promising because they are easier to manufacture and use cheaper materials than conventional solar technologies. However, current lab prototypes of dye-sensitized solar cells convert about one-tenth of the incoming suns energy into electricity, which is about half as efficient as the commercial, silicon-based cells used in electronics devices and rooftop panels.

Mr. Park Nam-gyus breakthrough method enables a sequential bonding of dyes in the thin, titanium dioxide (TiO2) layers used in dye-sensitized solar cells. In the existing prototypes, the TiO2 films bond with just one kind of dye, and developing techniques to allow the films to absorb dyes of different colours, thus allowing the solar cell to absorb and use a broader spectrum of daylight, has been a key issue, Mr. Park Nam-gyu said. We were the first to achieve this by developing materials in both the mobile and stationary phases that enables the selective position of dye molecules with different absorption ranges. This could significantly improve power conversion rates that currently max at 11 per cent, he added. Selective positioning of the dye molecules is critical in boosting power conversion rates, as it enables different absorption ranges in the TiO2 films. The team mimicked the concept of the stationary phase and mobile phase in chromatography to accomplish this.
Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr

New world record for plastic solar technology

Solarmer Energy Inc. in the United States is presently the world record holder for plastic solar cell and solar panel efficiencies. At this years Large-area, Organic and Printed Electronics Conference (LOPE-C), Solarmer announced that it has achieved 6.77 per cent plastic solar cell efficiency, certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and 3.9 per cent plastic solar panel efficiency, certified by the Newport Corporation, which are the highest performances recorded to date by these organizations. Solarmers Materials Development team, led by Dr. Jianhui Hou, made the polymers used for both record-breaking devices. Contact: Dr. David Stone, Solarmer Energy Inc., 3445 Fletcher Ave., El Monte, CA 91731, United States of America. Tel: +1 (626) 4568 090; Fax: +1 (626) 4568 082; E-mail: davids@solarmer.com.
Source: www.earthtimes.org

Germanium semiconductor nanowires

Researchers at Stanford University, the United States, have found a way to produce solar panels with greater performance through the use of semiconductor nanowires. Building on a 1907 scientific discovery that worked out that some stained glass windows scattered light better than others due to tiny metal particles, it is thought the nanowires, made of semiconductor germanium, could improve energy absorption in solar panels. The germanium nanowires act like antennas, absorbing visible as well as infrared light and bouncing them around inside the devices. Mr. Mark Brongersma, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the university and a senior author on the paper, said: Here we show that we can boost the light absorption by a factor of 10 for some wires at some wavelengths of light.
Source: www.rapidonline.com

WIND ENERGY

Floating wind turbine

Germany-based Siemens AG and StatoilHydro of Norway have set up a floating wind turbine about 12 km south-east of Karmoy in Norway at a water depth of about 220 m. The Hywind project was developed by StatoilHydro, and Siemens supplied its SWT-2.3 MW wind turbine with a rotor diameter of 82 m. Hywind is designed for installation in water depths of 120-700 m, thus opening up many new possibilities within offshore wind turbine technology. Existing offshore turbines are mounted firmly on the seabed. However, foundations become very expensive at water depths of more than 30-50 m, thereby limiting the large-scale exploitation of offshore wind power.

StatoilHydro is responsible for the floating structure that consists of a steel floater filled with ballast. This floating element, which extends 100 m beneath the surface, is fastened to the seabed by three anchor wires. StatoilHydro and Siemens jointly developed a special control system for the Hywind turbine to address the special operating conditions of a floating structure. In particular, the advanced control system takes advantage of the turbines ability to dampen part of the wave-induced motions of the floating system. Contact: Mr. Dietrich Biester, Press Office (Energy), Siemens AG, Germany. Tel: +49 (9131) 733559; Fax: +49 (9131) 733615; E-mail: dietrich. biester@siemens.com.
Source: www.innovations-report.com

High-altitude wind turbine kites

In the United States, Stanford University researchers are working on designs for high-altitude wind turbine kites that fly so high that airliners would have to fly around them. Flying at about 30,000 ft above the Earth, the tethered kites would be able to reach powerful jet streams that can flow 10 times faster than winds closer to the ground. The turbines spinning rotors would capture the winds power and convert it into electricity that would be sent down a wire to a distribution grid on the ground. If you tapped into 1 per cent of the power in high-altitude winds that would be enough to continuously power all civilization, stated Mr. Ken Caldeira, an associate professor at Stanford and a researcher at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Moreover, to generate the same amount of power, solar cells on the ground would have to cover roughly 100 times more area than a high-altitude wind turbine.
Source: www.computerworld.com

Offshore wind power system development

In the Republic of Korea, Doosan Heavy Industries & Constructions efforts to develop and commercialize technology for offshore wind turbines are picking up speed. The company successfully completed the final test of a step-up gearbox for wind turbines that will be installed at the WinDS 3000 wind power generation system being developed for the systems planned commercialization next year. The test successfully examined the step-up gearbox at its maximum input load of 3 MW, with performance tests to check vibration, noise and temperatures, as well as its cooling and lubrication systems.

The step-up gearbox is a gear assembly that suitably steps up the rotational speed of the rotating wind turbine blades. It has an approximate 90:1 gear ratio, yet it is ultra light. Doosan will supply three step-up gearboxes for the WinDS 3000 wind power generation system. The company has been implementing the WinDS 3000 as a national project. It will construct a prototype WinDS 3000 plant and undertake a year long test to commercialize the system by the end of next year. Meanwhile, Doosan has completed the testing of blades and power generators that are key facilities for the wind power generation system.
Source: www.yourindustrynews.com

New drive solutions for wind turbines

Germanys ABM Greiffenberger has applied its vast experience in developing and producing drive systems for demanding applications to develop a novel gearbox line for wind turbine yaw and pitch drives. ABMs new yaw drives maintain nacelle positions to the wind to maximize energy generation. Here, a combination of induction motors and multi-stage planetary gearboxes are used. Motor outputs range from 2.2 to 22 kW, and gearboxes are available in ratios from 100 to 2,000. Drive systems have output torque ratings from 2,000 to 50,000 Nm, with maximum output torques of up to 100,000 Nm.

Pitch drives, which position the setting angle for each blade to the wind, must be more compact than yaw drives and likewise guarantee high reliability. ABM pitch drives meet these requirements. Even when exposed to the toughest environment they perform steadily over 20 years and more. High-grade and perfectly tuned components and the robust roller bearings ensure maximum life with minimal maintenance. High torsion resistance guarantees that even with high wind gusts the exact position is maintained. The drives that feature silent running and high overload capacity can be used at low ambient temperatures of up to -40C. Contact: ABM Greiffenberger, Friedenfelser-strasse 24, D-95615 Marktredwitz, Germany. Tel: +49 (9231) 670; Fax: +49 (9231) 67 145; E-mail: postmaster@abm-antriebe.de.
Source: www.abm-drives.com

M&M technology for wind turbines

Siemens AG, Germany, is testing a new monitoring and maintenance (M&M) technology to keep its wind turbines turning. According to the company, the technology developed by its researchers from Corporate Technology in China can reduce the costs of operation and allow more efficient running of turbines. The solution consists of a single algorithm that monitors all the turbine parts and gives the operator early warning when a part needs to be replaced.

According to Siemens, the reliability, ease of operation and price advantages offered by the software could help to increase wind power output in China to 100 GW by 2020, as planned. The technology is to undergo testing in China. The new solution uses existing technology in the motor of the pitch system controlling the turbines rotor blades and output. With Siemens turbines, the highly sensitive sensors from the Simotion line are used to monitor the critical parts and perform the standard measurements of electric currents in the motor. The Siemens researchers in Beijing discovered that the currents change if the wind turbine is not running properly. The software uses the precise measurements as a basis to develop an algorithm that predicts the level of wear of the individual components. Contact: Siemens Australia, 885 Mountain Highway, Bayswater VIC 3153, Australia. Fax: +61 (1300) 360 222; E-mail: customercare.au @siemens.com.
Source: www.factorymaintenance.com.au

Prototype of 4.5 MW wind turbine

Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica, Spain, recently showcased the first prototype of the Gamesa G10X 4.5 MW product platform at the Cabezo Negro R&D wind farm in Saragossa province. Some of the technological innovations that will subsequently be incorporated into the production version are being tested on this prototype that has already fed its first kilowatts of energy into the grid and recently generated 50 MWe in a day. Its modular design is entirely designed by Gamesa and similar kind of transport and installation equipment can be used for smaller wind turbines. The Gamesa G10X 4.5 MW wind turbine has a rotor diameter of 128 m and blades measuring more than 60 m long. The 120 m high tower is made of concrete and steel.
Source: www.windtech-international.com

Vertical-axis wind turbine

The Aerospiral from Aerowind Systems Ltd., China, is a small vertical-axis wind turbine specially designed for even the most harsh working environments and extreme conditions, be it in urban locations or at the countryside. Model BEN500 is the latest product applying highly advanced technologies to enable homeowners and businesses generate their own clean energy. Key features include:

Revolutionary omni-directional low starting torque generator; State-of-the-art airfoil; Excellent performance in low winds; Maintenance-free design; Noiseless operation; No vibration; and User-friendly installation.

Contact: Aerowind Systems Ltd., RM 313, Private Enterprises Mansion, Technology Innovation Coast Phase One Zhuhai, Guangdong 519085, China. Tel: +86 (756) 3392 278; Fax: +86 (756) 3628 337; Website: www.aerowinds.com.
Source: www.tootoo.com

WAVE / TIDAL ENERGY

Portable power generator provides renewable energy

The new RiverStar BackPack power plant of Bourne Energy, the United States, is a portable power generator that offers a new dimension in renewable energy systems. Each unit is self-contained with its own integrated power, control, cooling and sensor systems. The unit collapses into a backpack size module with the generator, hub and folded turbine blades stored inside. The unit, measuring 3 ft in length and weighing less than 13.6 kg, produces about 500 W of high-quality continuous power, depending on the river current. It operates silently with no heat or exhaust emissions. The BackPack power plant can be set up singularly or in arrays of over 20 kW. These units can also be mounted at river bottom to be totally invisible.

The BackPack power plant can be carried into rugged, remote areas and quickly set up in small steady or seasonal rivers and streams using Bournes novel submerged horizontal mooring system. Its high mobility and quick installation and dismantling allows the users to move the unit during seasonal variations in river currents. Contact: Mr. Chris Catlin, Bourne Energy, Box 2761, Malibu, CA 90256, United States of America. Tel: +1 (310) 4568 112; Fax: +1 (310) 4561 928; Website: www.bourneenergy.com.
Source: news.thomasnet.com

Eco-friendly river turbine

OEN Enterprises, South Africa, is offering a power station that uses the kinetic energy of river water to generate electric power. Designed by International River Energy GmbH, Germany, the small F-LWK 5-300 kW is a low-cost hydro turbine that allows electricity to be generated without constructional or optical interferences to the landscape.

The turbine generates electricity without emissions out of over- and underground water courses, rivers, tidal waters and coastal streams, and even in industrial wastewaters. It is fastened in the bed of a stream with a ships anchor or concrete tie bar. Component requirements are anchorage, energy transmission, generator, GPS system, stream converter, interface for data transmission, electricity converter, sensors and additional elements.

The F-LWK 5-300 kW is based on a cone-shaped screw that is fixed to the riverbed and is directly connected to a generator. Contact: Mr. Mike Andrews, OEN Enterprises, P.O. Box 2333, Honeydew, 2040 Gauteng, South Africa. Tel: +27 (11) 675 4447; Fax: +27 (11) 675 4448; E-mail: mike@oenenterprises.co. za; Website: www.oenenterprises. co.za.
Source: www.instrumentation.co.za

Ocean energy converters

Swell Fuel, the United States, has announced the additional licensing of its Lever Operating Pivoting Float (LOPF) to several companies for testing purposes. Swell Fuel offers small ocean wave energy converters that can be linked together to provide a significant source of electricity for off-grid resorts, oil rigs and even small coastal towns. LOPF is patented in the United States.

Most recently, Swell Fuel licensed its LOPF to Mars Symbioscience for testing purposes at a plant in Indonesia. Additionally, Samkun Powertec in the Republic of Korea has licensed a 1 kW unit for testing at oil rig platforms, and a power company in El Salvador is at present conducting a two-year testing programme. Swell Fuel also promotes its units for coral reef restoration projects for companies that need to generate electricity for a process that creates new coral reefs using low-voltage electricity. Contact: Swell Fuel, 12220 Beechnut, PMB 199, Houston, TX 77072, United States of America. Tel: +1 (281) 3808 954; E-mail: info@swellfuel.com; Website: www.swellfuel.com.
Source: www.powerpulse.net

Small, affordable hydropower unit

Hydrovolts Inc., the United States, has developed an affordable way to use small canals and waterways to generate hydroelectricity. The companys Flipwing turbine relies on low flows that have a consistent, constant current to power the unique new turbine. The Flipwing is a good alternative to damming large rivers or placing turbines in unpredictable ocean currents. Although small in size, this turbine is a cheap way for small communities to meet their electrical needs. Hydrovolts hopes that its turbine would allow farms, factories and other such facilities become reliant on energy that is generated on-site.
Source: www.electric.co.uk

FUEL CELL

A step towards using recyclable lithium

In Japan, a consortium has started developing a new type of lithium-air cell with large capacity. In the new structure, an organic electrolyte is used on the anode (metallic lithium) side and an aqueous electrolyte is used on the cathode (air) side. The two electrolytes are separated by a solid-state electrolyte (lithium super-ion conductor glass film) so that the two electrolytic solutions do not mix. Only lithium ions pass through the solid electrolyte, and the battery reactions proceed smoothly. At the cathode, the reaction product in the discharge process is water-soluble and no solid substances are produced. Continuous discharging of 50,000 mAh/g (per unit mass of the carbon, catalyst and binder) has been experimentally confirmed.

This technology holds great potential for automobile batteries. At a filling station, the driver of a vehicle thus equipped could exchange the aqueous electrolyte for the air electrode, refill the metallic lithium for the anode in the form of cassettes and then continue driving without waiting for recharging the batteries. It is easy to retrieve metallic lithium from the aqueous electrolyte for reuse. The consortium comprises Haoshen Zhou, Energy Interface Technology Group, Energy Technology Research Institute of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Yonggang Wang.
Source: www.azonano.com

New design fuel cell

A new design could make fuel cells more fault-tolerant and resilient to adverse environmental and internal influences. A team from Imperial College London, the United Kingdom, is developing the technology through a project sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Current fuel cells are designed with electrodes connected in a series. The weakest link in the cell dictates performance and reliability.

A team led by chemist Mr. Anthony Kucernak will redesign fuel cell stacks so that they can switch out bad units and allow the cell to continue operation. We will do it with a series parallel geometry, said Mr. Kucernak. The stack will look like a normal stack but the electrodes will be in parallel with one another. While electrodes in a fuel cell stack are integrated with one expensive insulated gate bipolar transistor, the Imperial team proposes integrating less expensive multiple field-effect transistors with all the electrodes in the stack. The idea is to replace one monolithic piece of electronics with lots of smaller ones, which are actually a lot cheaper per amount of power they handle, according to Mr. Kucernak. The four-year project includes partners Applied Technologies Capital, SPC, Imperial Innovations and the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory.
Source: www.theengineer.co.uk

Fuel cell catalysts go sub-nano

Researchers in Japan have created sub-nano scale platinum clusters with high catalytic activity for use in fuel cell applications. The tiny catalyst particles the smallest of which contains just 12 atoms could help to conserve the planets limited supply of platinum. The team found that, as they decreased the size of the clusters, their catalytic activity for the reduction of oxygen increased. At 12 atoms, each and every atom was exposed at the surface and the catalytic current produced was 13 times that of commercial platinum nanoparticles that by contrast contain hundreds or even thousands of atoms. According to the team, however, the improved performance is probably not due to a simple increase in surface area but to quantum size effects that are not yet fully understood.

According to lead researcher, Mr. Kimihisa Yamamoto of Keio University in Yokohama, the fact that their sub-nano clusters perform so well goes against perceived wisdom within the field. In the community of catalyst chemistry especially fuel cell catalysts the fact that a platinum nanoparticle around 3 nm exhibits the best performance has become an established theory. However, our findings at least suggest that these sub-nano clusters made under specific conditions exhibit a high catalytic activity, Mr. Yamamoto said. The team created the platinum clusters by adding platinum (IV) chloride to dendritic phenylazomethine templates branched molecules that function as rigid, cage-like structures in which the metal atoms became trapped. They were able to tightly control the number of metal coordination sites, and therefore platinum atoms, in each cage. Adding a reducing agent released the platinum clusters as stable structures.
Source: www.rsc.org

New substitute for fuel cells

Showa Denko, Japans integrated chemical company, has come up with a niobium oxide and titanium oxide compound that will act as a substitute for platinum employed as catalyst in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs). The niobium oxide and titanium oxide compounds contain carbon and nitrogen, and like platinum, they have properties to accelerate chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. These compounds have shown the highest levels of efficiency among platinum substitutes developed so far, with open circuit voltage measuring over 1.00 V while the OCV for platinum is 1.03-1.05 V. The production costs for the compounds were US$6/kW less than 5 per cent that of platinum. Showa Denko is planning to develop mass production technologies for the compounds for eventual commercialization.
Source: www.commodityonline.com

Hydrogen fuel cell power plants for vehicles

In the United States, Dr. Andrew Goudy of Delaware State University (DSU) stated that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) can be an important part of the solution to the countrys energy crisis. Dr. Goudy is leading a research team striving to solve a key technical FCV puzzle. Hydrogen FCVs are powered by electric motors that derive energy from on-board fuel cells. The fuel cells convert pure hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. The research at DSU is pursuing lightweight materials to store hydrogen and release it, under control, as it is expended. Dr. Goudy defines several challenges such as: The ability to store adequate hydrogen to travel 300 miles (480 km), the approximate equivalent of a tank of petroleum; The ability to refuel with hydrogen quickly; and The hydrogen storage unit must be sufficiently compact and lightweight to be practical.

One hydrogen storage material that shows promise is the complex hydride LiBH4. However, its thermodynamic properties mean that it will release hydrogen only at high temperatures. Dr. Goudy is seeking ways to destabilize this material so that it will release hydrogen at a practical temperature.
Source: www.azocleantech.com

Prototype of anaerobic direct methanol fuel cell

Neah Power Systems, the United States, has demonstrated a new type of liquid electrolyte-based direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) that does not require air to operate. The reliability of the fuel cell system has been proven in sustained operation. The silicon-based DMFC approach promises low cost with high reliability and power. The prototype is self-contained and sized to generate 8 W of gross power. The methanol cartridges were replaced several times and repeatable performance was demonstrated. Neahs DMFC technology can run in both aerobic and anaerobic modes.
Source: www.renewableenergyfocus.com

Rhodium catalysts in fuel cell power plant

Anglo Platinum, South Africa, has opened a new fuel cell power plant that makes use of a rhodium catalyst in processes designed to create cleaner energy. The worlds largest platinum producer unveiled the stationary plant at an exploration site in Limpopo province. Capable of automatically switching from being grid-powered to operating independently, the 200 kW unit functions by reforming Anglo Coals coal-bed methane into hydrogen using the rhodium catalyst. As the hydrogen meets oxygen in the air, both electricity and heat are produced and efficiencies of up to 83 per cent can be attained.
Source: www.platinum.matthey.com

On-chip fuel cell

Japanese scientists have developed an on-chip fuel cell, which can be powered by a variety of fuels. The fuel can be chosen to suit the cells application, from laptops to mobile phones. Mr. Tetsuya Osaka and his colleagues from Waseda University, Tokyo, have made a microchannel-based fuel cell that is pump-free, membraneless and uses oxygen in the air as its oxidant. Its simple monolithic design two electrodes made in a single substrate means it is easier to make than conventional fuel cells, says Mr. Osaka.

Mr. Osaka had earlier tested the fuel cell using methanol. Methanol is suitable for long-life applications but is toxic. Hence, he repeated the test using ethanol and 2-propanol. He found that both fuels generated voltages comparable to that produced using methanol. Mr. Osaka also improved the fuel cells safety by replacing the acidic electrolyte with a phosphate buffer, which kept the pH neutral without significantly affecting the power output. He says he is working towards integrating the fuel cell with other micro-devices to demonstrate that they would work in a real system.
Source: www.rsc.org

HYDROGEN ENERGY

Hydrogen from water

A research team at the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, University of Florence, Italy, has developed a technique that could be used to make clean fuel from water. The method discovered by Mr. Roberto Bini and his team uses lasers to produce hydrogen from water under high pressure. Mr. Bini said that there is no other chemical agent involved in the process no solvents, catalysts or radial initiators. This is very important because it means that at the end of the process there are no substances left to separate, treat or dispose of. This reduces the costs and ensures zero impact on the environment.

The starting point for the technique is irradiating the water with a laser to excite the water molecules that produce hydroxyl radicals as well as hydrogen atoms. This separation usually lasts only for a few quadrillionths of a second before the parts recombine, but the scientists have found a way around this problem. They realized that by applying the laser in high-pressure conditions around 1,000 atmospheres the separation lasts far longer. This means that large-volume pressurized irradiation reactors can be used for several chemical processes, including the generation of hydrogen for use as fuel. Mr. Bini claims that, because the laser uses near-ultraviolet radiation, sunlight could in theory be used eventually to get the same result.
Source: ecoworldly.com

Production of hydrogen from urine

At the Ohio University in the United States, Dr. Gerardine Botte uses an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine the most abundant waste on Earth at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water. Urea, the major constituent of urine, has four hydrogen atoms per molecule and these are less tightly bonded than the hydrogen atoms in water molecules. Dr. Botte uses electrolysis to break the molecule apart and has developed an inexpensive nickel-based electrode to selectively and efficiently oxidise the urea.

To break the urea molecule down, a voltage of 0.37 V is applied across the cell much less than the 1.23 V needed to split water. During the electrochemical process, urea gets adsorbed on to the nickel electrode that passes the electrons needed to break up the molecule. According to Dr. Botte, the technology could be scaled up easily to generate hydrogen while cleaning up the effluent from sewage plants.
Source: www.physorg.com

High-purity hydrogen

Scientists in Iran report to have succeeded in producing hydrogen with a purity of 99.99 per cent through electrolysis. The high-purity hydrogen is produced by Color Pars Co. through high-pressure electrolysis (HPE). It can be used in making medicine, ore reduction, fuel cells, coal purification and green jet fuel. HPE decomposes water into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2), with a compressed H2 output of around 120-200 Bar. H2 is one of the best sources of energy and a valuable fuel that can greatly reduce pollution. Purity or quality of H2is a term employed to describe the lack of impurities in hydrogen for use as a fuel gas. The requirement for purity varies with the application. For example, a H2 internal combustion engine requires low hydrogen purity while a hydrogen fuel cell requires high hydrogen purity.
Source: www.tehrantimes.com

Cleaner fuel through hydrogen innovation

Mr. Fred McConahay, a mechanical engineer-turned-inventor from the United States, is using hydrogen to double the fuel efficiency of his truck. Revolution 22, a stainless steel cylindrical device developed by Mr. McConahay, is electrically wired to the truck in a way that permits it to breathe hydrogen into the engines intake manifold. From there, it quickens the flame spread during combustion, igniting more of the vaporized fuel and dramatically reducing carbon emissions. What comes out of the tailpipe is a clean and faintly white vapour that smells similar to soap. The simple device is being marketed by Go Go Green LLC a company formed by Mr. McConahay and his associates as a hydrogen fuel and emission reduction system.

The innovative part of the device lies inside the cylinder the chemical mixture that separates water into oxygen and hydrogen. Normally, hydrogen fuel generators use electrolysis to divide molecules. Using a chemical instead of an electrical reaction ensures less energy usage. The chemical mixture was created by molecular chemist Mr. Jonathan Knudsen, PhD holder in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the United States.
Source: www.tracypress.com

Energy-efficient hydrogen technology

Engineers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom are developing an energy efficient, environment-friendly hydrogen production system that could in the future power cars and laptops using old chip fat. The system enables hydrogen to be extracted from waste materials, such as used vegetable oil and glycerol by-product of biodiesel. The aim is to create the high-purity hydrogen-based fuel necessary not only for large-scale power production, but also for smaller portable fuel cells. The research is led by Dr. Valerie Dupont from the School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering (SPEME).

The new system being developed at SPEME known as Unmixed and Sorption-Enhanced Steam Reforming mixes a hydrocarbon-based fuel from plant or waste sources with steam in a catalytic reactor, generating hydrogen and carbon dioxide along with excess water. The water is then easily condensed by cooling and the carbon dioxide removed in situ by a solid sorbent material. A grant of about US$660,000 has been awarded to the research by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Source: www.sciencedaily.com

Patent for breakthrough hydrogen technology

In the United States, Proton Energy Systems has secured a patent for its proprietary control system for regulating the purity and pressure of the hydrogen gas used to cool large electric power generators. Protons StableFlow is a breakthrough system for electric power generators that actively controls purity and dew point, monitors pressure and enables more efficient power production, while also enhancing capacity and generator life.

Combining Protons HOGEN generators with the StableFlow system provides a utility with full control over its hydrogen generating system maximizing efficiency, cost saving and safety. StableFlow system can save most plants an average of 1 MW/h in windage losses per generator. Each megawatt of power production is equivalent to US$50-100 per hour in electricity revenue to the average power plant and is equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction per hour in stack emissions. StableFlow provides efficiency improvements to a plants power generators that effects both fuel consumption and CO2 emission, providing the plant with an attractive return on investment. Contact: Proton Energy Systems, 10 Technology Drive, Wallingford, Connecticut, CT 06492, United States of America. Tel: +1 (203) 678 2000; E-mail: info@protonenergy.com; Website: www.ProtonEnergy.com.
Source: pr-usa.net

Hydrogen storage advances with self-healing metal hydride

Hydrogen is considered one of the potential fuel sources of the future. However, three key challenges exist for the hydrogen economy production, storage and distribution. New research from the Savannah River National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) goes a long way to solving the problem of storage. In the new research, scientists take aluminium hydride (AlH3), also known as alane, and demonstrate a way that a standard pressure electrochemical process can be used to restore the material that is damaged each time it releases hydrogen gas.

Solid storage is a promising method for storing hydrogen. However, for a material to be an ideal solid-state storage candidate it must meet a gruelling set of criteria matching DOE targets in gravimetric and/or volumetric performances, having sufficient thermodynamic character to release the gas when needed and being able to reload the gas after release. Only one material thus far has met these criteria alane. However, alane slowly degrades with each refill as the hydrogen carries away a bit of the metal. Chemical reformation techniques require high pressures and are often hindered by stable metal chloride formation. The new method provides a cost-effective way to create a self-healing alane storage system.
Source: www.dailytech.com

BIOMASS ENERGY

Enzymes turn maize plant waste into biofuel

In the United States, bioscientist Mr. Cliff Bradley and chemical engineer Mr. Bob Kearns have succeeded in extracting powerful enzymes from selected soil fungi that eat cellulose. These special enzymes can cut biofuel costs by enabling existing corn (maize) ethanol plants to process cheaper, woody feedstocks such as corn stover leaves, stalks, husks and cobs of the plant itself. Replacing 35 per cent of the corn now used in a typical ethanol plant with inexpensive corn stover could result in significant savings. Further, the integrated starch-cellulose process also works for biofuels produced in Brazil where sugar cane and bagasse or highly cellulosic cane plant residue are used for ethanol production.

The work of Mr. Bradley and Mr. Kearns has focused on developing effective ways to raise hard-to-cultivate soil fungi that secrete the crucial enzymes. One of their special enzyme readily degrades cellulose while another has the unique ability to break down corn starch at room temperatures, a talent that enables existing corn ethanol plants to incorporate cellulosic feedstocks into their standard starch fermentation processes. The integrated process uses the same equipment, which is important now that capital financing is so hard to get, Mr. Bradley says. Supporting the development of the promising new technology is AE Biofuels, which has established a commercial pilot facility where the integrated fermentation technology is demonstrated to potential licensing customers as a process that can be effectively a bridge to cellulosic ethanol.
Source: www.scientificamerican.com

Shrimp shells to catalyse biodiesel production

In China, researchers at Hua Zhong Agriculture University and HuBei Province South-Central University for Nationalities have developed a way to produce an effective, low-cost catalyst for biodiesel production from shrimp shells, a widely available waste product that is cheap and biodegradable. Shrimp shells are composed of chitin, a protein with a porous structure. The catalyst was produced by the partial carbonization of shrimp shells at a temperature of 450C. The optimum loading of potassium fluoride (KF) was 25 weight per cent and the optimum activation temperature was 250C.

To test its efficacy, the researchers used the shrimp shell catalyst to catalyse the transesterification of rapeseed oil with methanol. They found that the highest conversion of 89.1 per cent was achieved at a temperature of 65C, with 2.5 weight per cent of the catalyst, a methanol: rapeseed oil ratio of 9:1 and a reaction time of 3 hours. The catalytic activity is thought to arise from activation sites formed when KF reacts with the partially carbonized shrimp shells during the activation process.
Source: www.tcetoday.com

Bio-hydrogenated diesel ready for tests

PTT Plc., Thailand, expects its bio-hydrogenated diesel (BHD) pilot project will be ready for field tests this year. BHD is a higher-quality, 100 per cent biofuel wherein the hydrogenation process transforms vegetable oil from methyl ester to hydrocarbon, making it more suitable for blending 10 per cent biofuel in high-speed diesel. The highest current ratio of biofuel in diesel is 5 per cent. PTT expects its BHD field test can achieve a 20-40 per cent ratio that would also serve the Energy Ministrys policy to create better and cleaner fuels. Lab tests of BHD were completed at the end of last year. The field test will be carried out in collaboration with the Thailand Automotive Institute for oil quality accreditation and could be followed by accreditation from leading global automobile manufacturers.
Source: www.bangkokpost.com

Efficient generation of power from finely chopped material

A new biomass heating and power station of the Zweckverband Restmullheizkraftwerk Boblingen (RBB), Germany, has now started regular operations using finely chopped material to generate energy in a manner that is most compatible with environment protection. After beginning in February, trials were completed successfully by the start of May when the performance test was carried out. The Reject Power system, supplied by the Siemens Industry Solutions Division, enables the use of fuels with a high water content, such as screenings from wood chip processing.

The biomass heating and power station supplies electrical energy for about 5,200 people. At the same time, the heat produced can be fed into the district heating network. Compared with the use of fossil fuels for the generation of electricity and heat, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 10,200 tonnes/year. The biomass heating and power station supplements existing facilities for the thermal exploitation of residual materials.
Source: www.innovations-report.com

New process to turn urban waste into biodiesel

Spanish developers working for the company named Ecofasa have developed a biochemical process to turn urban solid waste into a fatty acid biodiesel feedstock. Utilizing microbes to convert organic matter into energy is not a new concept to the renewable energy industry, and the same can be said for the anaerobic digestion of organic waste by microbes that turn waste into biogas, mostly comprising methane. However, using bacteria to convert urban waste into fatty acids that can then be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production is a new twist. The company calls this process and the resulting fuel Ecofa. Ecofasa technique can be extended to other organic debris, plants or animals, such as those contained in urban sewage.
Source: bioenergy.checkbiotech.org

Biofuels from the sun and carbon dioxide

Joule Biotechnologies, the United States, uses micro-organisms to obtain ethanol at a high yield and at prices that are competitive with oil. The company believes its process could replace all fossil fuels in the transportation and farming industry. The unique biofuel process of Joule Biotechnologies relies on micro-organisms to do all the work. The company modified specially selected organisms that thrive in transparent photo-bioreactors. Such organisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels. The biofuel is then collected using simple chemical separation technologies.

The select micro-organisms are fed concentrated CO2 that can easily be obtained from power plants. The process outperforms other methods such as corn- or algae-based biofuels that yield smaller amounts of fuel per acre. The new microbial process yields a very high 90,920 litres of biofuel per acre per year. The company plans to build a pilot plant in the south-western United States early next year, with commercial production planned by the end of 2010.
Source: chattahbox.com

New method turns wood into sugar for biofuels

A new method of producing high-efficiency and easily available biofuels from wood, grass and plants could be available shortly, report researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Germany. The researchers have devised what they say is a more effective method of breaking down cellulose found in plants into sugar molecules that can then be used to produce ethanol. Even very tough microcrystalline cellulose can be broken down into sugar molecules by using this approach.

Conventional methods for converting cellulose to sugar use acid baths or high temperature and pressure that require massive amounts of energy. The new method, however, works by first dissolving cellulose in an ionic liquid so that the long chains are broken down into shorter, single stranded chains called oligomers. These ionic baths are organic salts that are liquid at room temperature; they are also capable of giving off H+ protons. The lead researcher Mr. Ferdi Schuth states: With this method, you can even use wood at the beginning of the process. That is why this approach really can be said to allow wood to be converted directly into sugar. The sugar molecules obtained at the end of the process can be used in many different ways. For example, they can be fermented to produce ethanol. And because plant, wood and straw waste can be employed to produce bioethanol and biodiesel, the new method does not compete with scarce corn or other food crops.
Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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