Tag Archives: solar

Solar Heart converts ‘low temperature’ heat

800px-Solar_panels_on_a_roofCool Energy of Boulder, Colorado  is working at the completion and operation of the  Solar Heart engine which converts low temperature heat into electrical power. http://www.coolenergyinc.co

The  team has produced the engine near 1 kW  and will now be using a higher temperature working fluid to simulate a solar application.  And  it is expecting  to generate power in the 1,5 kW.

A good performence! Cool Energy is talking about low temperature, but don’t mention what temperature. Are we talking about heat lower than 300 C or higher ?  De “Green Turbine “works  by a low temperature of 150 C and by using Organic Rankine Cycle  it is possible to work with low temperatures of below 100 C. ( www.greenturbine.eu)


Huge solar farm build by US firm

First Solar, a US solar panel firm,  plans to build  a two-gigawatt solar farm  in990288_solar_panel_in_the_field_4 China.   The farm will be 20 times bigger than the solar energy farm, China is now building in Portugal. When the farm is working in five years, it will produce one thousand megawatts, one gigawatt of energy.  This is about 10 times more than the country’s entire installed solar capacity at the moment. In 2019 the plant in Inner Mongolia, will be generating  two gigawatts.

So far the Chinese government has been pretty cautious about solar energy. Officials were not very excited about the idea  to build much solar capacity until they knew for sure wich technology they wanted  to support. They preferred to cooperate with  First Solar, one of American  most technologically advanced companies. It is remarkable that they did not choose  a Chinese firm.

The  thin film panels, now technically improved   by First Solar,  will not be entirely manufactured in China.  The firm is considering to build a factory in Ordos. Inner Mongolia.  If the plan will be executed,  it is expected  that  if Chines engineers, after learning and improving  the technology,  start making their own thin film panels to compete with First Solar.

The Chines industry plans to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Yet the industry will  still mostly rely on coal in the near  future.  Currently China  is the leader, when it comes to  pollution and greenhouses gases.  No other county emits so much CO2.


Solon solar powered passenger ship

Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit  has formal launched  the first  passengership deriving its power from solar energy.  The SOLON  is a zero emission ship, producing  clean and green energy and running  on alternative fuels. It is manufactured by Solon SE a  Berlinbased solar company.

cruiseshipOn the roof of the ship are installed 24 solar modules with a capacity of 5,6 kWp.  They take care of the  energy needs of the  ship.  The ship has also the distinction of first solar charging station for solar powered boats in the Kopenick district of Berlin.  SolarWaterWorld AG,  the  manufacturer en operator  of it, is working together with Solon SE. . Both companies  have more than 17 years of experience in the research  and developping of solar shipping.  ‘We are pleased  that in Solon SE we have a strong partner that is involved  in the wideranging expansion of climate-friendly solar mobility’  says CEO Thomas Meyer.  ‘ The future belongs to solar mobility and whether its on road, rails or water,  SOLON is one of the main drivers of this development.’

The  solar ship will provide accomodation for 60 passengers. It  will sail on Berlin’s waterways  and offer tours of the city and cruise  trips.  It is the most greenhouse emitting clean ship  for inlands tours that will make the trip environment friendly.   Though the ship is costly, Solon SE is trying to make it easy on pocket too. Anyway, it has the advantage to remain uneffected by fluctuations in future fuel price.

In 2006/2007  a  prototype of this craft completed its first Atlantic crossing to New York.  SolarWaterWorld now manufacturers and sells production built C-60 catamarans worldwide. Also a smaller version in the form of the Suncat23 is for sale. The possibility to sail without licence makes it appropiate  to use by boat hire companies.


talking about ‘smart grid’

The discussion about ‘smart grid’  never comes to an end. Even at the White House  President Obama  emphasizes to  support the development of wind and solar power and to use less energy.electriciteitsnetwerk

The future of smart grid is a world where home thermostats and appliance work automatically,  depending on the cost of power. A world where a boiler gets power from a neighbour’s rooftop solar panel and  a plug-in hybrid electric car charges in one minute at a very hot day  and the next moment sends back the electricity  to prevent  the grid  going down.

A world in which energy companies will be warned directly when a transformer  is out of order and  can choose easily among energy sources. Wind and solar energy will produce energy  from coal-burning plants and provide homes and business automatically from prearranged power agreements.

‘ The electric network will be  a  close cooperation of information technology and automation technology’, said Bob Gilligan, vice president for transmission at GE Energy. ‘ This is the energie Internet which is hunting the smart grid development. In the next ten years  there will be applications of which nobody can says if  whether we shall need them.’

Smart grid is the future for  hundreds of  technology companies and utilities and for technology there will be  $4,5 bilion  available  in federal economic recovery. However, cost estimates run as high as $75 billion  and the question is; who will  pay for the bill?

Today’s grid is an aging spiderweb of power lines that crisscross  the country. An inefficient one-way movement of electrons from power plants to consumer. The grid has to be more flexible and reliable and more easily controlling the flow of electrons. From houses and business  energy will flow and neighbours will use local power in stead of a single source.

It is important to convince people of the  benefit from smart grid.  The purchase may be  more expensive, but  through efficiency and demand reduction it will save 5 to 15 percent.  So this pays for itself.

Although a Smart Grid can save substantially on costs, we have to realize that about 60% or more of centrally generated power is wasted. So it may be a wise policy to invest also in decentralized power generation. Not only in Solar PV systems and wind turbines, but also in micro CHP (Combined heat and Power on a domestic scale). Here, virtually no energy is wasted.

Others are also worried about security.  If not very well secured, it can be a  major securety risk.  So smart grid has to be incredibly secure.  And maybe consumers will turn the thermostat down if they feel spied in their home.

Desert sun ‘electrifies’ Europe

891149_solar_collectorThis Monday twelve European companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Munich. This will begin planning the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) targeted at providing fifteen percent of Europe’s electricity requirements through a solar power plant network in the desert of North Africa by 2050. They have allowed themselves three years to work out a technical concept, the time scale and the finances.

The Desertec Industial Initiative project, which envisions relatively low-tech solar thermal power (using mirrors in the desert) rather than an array of high-tech photovoltaic cells. This is called concentrating solar power where large amounts of sunlight are focused onto a small area. This creates extremely high levels of heat which can be converted into electricity using a steam turbine or a stirling engine. Also, the waste heat from the electricity generation could be used to provide desalinated water to dry regions, and the shade of the mirrors could facilitate horticulture in areas usually too hot to support it.  The idea of the solar thermal plant dates back to 1972, when the Club of Rome released the controversial ‘The Limits to Growth’, one of the earliest modern predictions that global demographics and global resources were unevenly matched.

The companies involved are mainly German companies, among them; Siemens, Münchener Rück , Deutsche Bank and energy company RWE. How much money each company will deposit towards this project is not as yet known. The partners hope to get a 1 billion euro funding from the European Commission to get them started. The total costs of the project have been estimated at 400 billion Euros, which will be spent on the grid infrastructure needed to carry the vast amounts of electricity north from Africa to Europe.

A very ambitious and expensive plan, which in theory should work. Scientists even say that less than 1% of the world’s deserts would provide enough space to produce as much electricity as the world currently consumes.

But one step at a time.