Archive for February 21st, 2009

Sustainability News Headlines – 2/20/2009
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Wind Power Turbine Generator – All You Need to Know about Wind Turbine Generators

The wind power turbine generator converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.
Wind turbine generators are a bit unusual, compared to other generating units you ordinarily find attached to the electrical grid. One reason is that the generator has to work with a power source (the wind turbine rotor) which supplies very fluctuating mechanical power (torque)

Wind Power turbine generator with large wind turbines (above 100-150 kW) has the voltage (tension) generated by the turbine is usually 690 V three-phase alternating current (AC). The current is subsequently sent through a transformer next to the wind turbine (or inside the tower) to raise the voltage to somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 volts, depending on the standard in the local electrical grid. Large manufacturers will supply both 50 Hz wind turbine models (for the electrical grids in most of the world) and 60 Hz models (for the electrical grid in America).

Wind Power turbine generator need cooling while they work. On most turbines this is accomplished by encapsulating the generator in a duct, using a large fan for air cooling, but a few manufacturers use water cooled generators. Water cooled generators may be built more compactly, which also gives some electrical efficiency advantages, but they require a radiator in the nacelle to get rid of the heat from the liquid cooling system.

If you connected a large wind turbine generator to the grid by flicking an ordinary switch, you would be quite likely to damage the generator, the gearbox and the current in the grid in the neighborhood.

Wind Power turbine generator with offshore wind turbines may have a slightly more favorable energy balance than onshore turbines, depending on local wind conditions. In Denmark and the Netherlands, where wind turbines onshore are typically placed in flat terrain, offshore wind turbines will generally yield some 50 per cent more energy than a turbine placed on a nearby onshore site. The reason is the low roughness of the sea surface.

On the other hand, the construction and installation of foundations require 50 per cent more energy than onshore turbines. It should be remembered, however, that offshore wind turbines have a longer expected lifetime than onshore turbines, in the region of 25 to 30 years. The reason is that the low turbulence at sea gives lower fatigue loads on the wind turbines.

No landscape is ever completely quiet. Birds and human activities emit sound, and at winds speeds around 4-7 m/s and up the noise from the wind in leaves, shrubs, trees, masts etc. will gradually mask (drown out) any potential sound from e.g. wind turbines.
This makes it extremely difficult to measure sound from wind turbines accurately. At wind speeds of around 8 m/s and above, it generally becomes a quite abstruse issue to discuss sound emissions from modern wind turbines, since background noise will generally mask any turbine noise completely.

As you move from a 150 kW machine to a 600 kW machine, prices will roughly triple, rather than quadruple. The reason is, that there are economies of scale up to a certain point, e.g. the amount of manpower involved in building a 150 kW machine is not very different from what is required to build a 600 kW machine. E.g. the safety features, and the amount of electronics required running a small or a large machine is roughly the same. There may also be (some) economies of scale in operating wind parks rater than individual turbines, although such economies tend to be rather limited.


Visit the original post at: Wind Power News

Entech Solar Appoints GridPoint CEO Peter L. Corsell to Board of Directors
FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Entech Solar (OTC BB: ENSL.OB), a leader in concentrating solar energy systems, announced today that it has appointed GridPoint CEO Peter L. Corsell to its Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to have Peter Corsell join Entech Solar. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he is a true visionary in the clean technology industry,” said Frank Smith, CEO of Entech Solar.

Mr. Corsell is CEO and founder of GridPoint, Inc., a leading smart grid company whose software platform benefits electric utilities, consumers and the environment. He is Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Alternative Energies and serves on a number of boards and committees, including Newsweek’s Global Environment and Leadership Advisory Committee, Xcel Energy’s Smart Grid Advisory Board, the Environmental Media Association’s Corporate Board and the board of directors of Standard Renewable Energy. MIT’s Technology Review magazine has recognized Mr. Corsell as one of the world’s top innovators under age 35 for developing a practical solution to advance the development of a Smart Grid.

Mr. Corsell’s appointment follows several changes to the Board announced earlier this year, including David Gelbaum’s appointment as Chairman of the Board, Joseph Bartlett’s appointment to the Board, and the resignation of former board members Hong Hou, Reuben Richards and Quentin Kelly.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Gov. Crist Dedicates Solar Roof By Advanced Green Technologies
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gov. Charlie Crist dedicated a new solar roof at Florida Atlantic University installed by Advanced Green Technologies, a renewable energy solutions provider, on Wednesday.

Crist, accompanied by Advanced Green Technologies’ Rob Kornahrens, cut a ribbon on a 240-panel system at FAU, which the university indicates will produce 34 kilowatts of electrical power.

“It is important that we in the Sunshine State have the opportunity to have solar energy,” Crist said at the unveiling of the City’s first totally green roof. “As we continue to go green, we will provide new jobs and economic opportunities for fellow Floridians.”

Kornahrens has been working with Gov. Crist over the past year to identify additional opportunities for the state to transition to more solar power. Advanced Green Technologies procures building-integrated renewable energy products. As a leading distributor for FlexLight PV and GE Brilliance Solar Systems, Advanced Green Technologies provides the products, designs, and support for installations of the most advanced, cost effective, and efficient green solutions for customers. In just a few years Advanced Green Technologies has helped hundreds of educational and commercial facilities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a course for environmental stewardship.

“The solar panels convert sunlight into electricity and when combined with energy efficient roof systems provide a significant reduction on the usage of air conditioned electricity,” said Kornahrens. “It’s about time Floridians did our part to reduce the amount of electricity currently used every day.”

The solar roof at FAU will result in energy savings. The savings will be used to fund the University’s Sun Fund Scholarship, the United States\’ first scholarship literally funded by the sun.

Advanced Green Technologies, based in Fort Lauderdale, also has offices in North Carolina, Oregon, California and Europe. For more information, call 954-735-2641 or visit www.agt.com.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Thin Film Silicon Mass Production Ahead of Schedule
TAIPEI, Taiwan & TRUBBACH, Switzerland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oerlikon Solar and Sun Well Solar, a subsidiary of CMC Magnetics, announced today that the ramp-up of the 40 MW amorphous thin film silicon production line has been completed one month ahead of schedule. The installation includes the innovative Oerlikon Solar LPCVD TCO front and back contact technology, which has clearly proven its capability in mass production over the last 6 months. Average module power production yields exceeded contractual targets. The Sun Well IEC certification was accomplished in October 2008. The completion of the Sun Well production ramp-up marks the first successful “end-to-end” installation of a thin film silicon production line within the PV industry.

Every 50 seconds a PV module leaves the Sun Well Solar manufacturing line, resulting in more than 1,250 panels or 110 kW produced per day. At this stage of the emerging and quickly growing thin film silicon PV industry this output is equivalent to about 10% of the world’s module production, making Sun Well one of the largest in Asia. Oerlikon Solar and Sun Well have already announced plans to expand Sun Well’s production capacity in the future.

“Our decision to utilize Oerlikon Solar technology has been impressively confirmed by the timely completion of our first thin film production line”, said Bob Wong, Chairman of CMC Magnetics group. “Especially in this challenging market environment, the performance of our production has to be the most cost competitive in the industry.”

Success through cooperation

Experienced Sun Well engineers were very helpful in resolving critical issues during the ramp up with Oerlikon Solar specialists. Together, the project team was able to achieve all important milestones.

“This was our first end-to-end project and a very visible test of both our technology and our execution capability”, said Jeannine Sargent, CEO of Oerlikon Solar. “The teams exceeded all expectations. I am very proud of their work. Through their efforts we are demonstrating to customers that we can deliver on our promises.”

On this project Oerlikon Solar has implemented a special high performance front and back contact method in its production lines. A Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) process is used to generate a transparent and conductive Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer which is superior to conventional methods. The light transmission and scattering properties of this layer are very important for the efficiency, with which the solar module can convert sun light into electric power. The excellent performance of the Sun Well PV modules and the outstanding line productivity clearly demonstrate Oerlikon Solar’s TCO technology mass production is mature and ready for the scale that the industry will demand.

“Just one more milestone in Oerlikon Solar’s mission to make solar power economically viable.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Santa Clara University, SolarTech to Celebrate Solar Energy and Sustainability
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Santa Clara University and SolarTech will celebrate an exciting collaboration as California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) grant partners on Friday, Feb. 20.

Leaders from the three organizations will join Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan to shed light on their vision for clean energy and sustainability.

This is an especially important year for SCU. Santa Clara students are working on the next house that they hope will claim the top spot at the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, D.C.

Students will present this year’s plans at Friday’s Solar Celebration and give tours of the 2007 Solar Decathlon house that won third place at the international event. At that contest, Santa Clara University beat out Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and two-time decathlon winner University of Colorado, Boulder. It was the first year SCU entered the biennial competition that’s sponsored by the Department of Energy, in which 20 student teams compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient house, powered exclusively by the sun.

Solar Celebration takes place Friday, Feb. 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Santa Clara University’s Bannan Engineering Laboratories in the Multipurpose Room.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Heard About Solar Shingles?

Heard About Solar Shingles?

We all sure have heard about shingles. But these are made of wood or brick. But never solar cells. But there are now such things known as solar shingles and they will not only be part of the decorative aspect of your roof – they will also be playing a part in helping you save money by lessening your energy bills.

Vaguhn Prost works for Missouri Solar Applications. On solar panels and solar shingles, he says, “If you had one of these arrays on your home, it would produce about half of your electricity that you’d need for your average home.” Okay. Just check out that statement and imagine how much you will be saving. I bet you are thinking of getting yourself one now. If you are, go ahead! It’s worth the investment.

Prost also continued to share, “In the coming years, I think that people will look at solar shingles on their house as something as normal as having plumbing inside their house.”

And I think he’s right.

Source: KOMU

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Energy Related Details of Economic Stimulus Package

I was reading the  Economic Stimulus Package Details to see what sort of “stimulus” will the energy sector will get.

Let me pick out a few.

Note: All figures are in millions of dollars ($mil)

Energy Related Items in Economic package

  1. Home Weatherization Grants to low and Middle-Income Families  $5,000
  2. Funding for Energy Star Program offering tax credits to consumer purchasing new, efficient appliances $300
  3. Advanced Batteries manufacturing grants     $2,000
  4. Energy efficiency grants to states and local governments     $6,300
  5. Funding for states and local governments to buy efficient alternative fuel buses and trucks     $300
  6. Research and development of renewable and efficient energy technology     $2,500
  7. Loan guarantees for standard renewables     $4,000
  8. Fossil energy research and development     $1,000
  9. Grants for industrial carbon capture and energy efficiency improvement projects     $1,520
  10. Grants for identifying sites to store carbon dioxide emissions     $50
  11. Grants for training and research on safe storage of carbon emission     $20
  12. Physics research including high-energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy sciences     $1,600
  13. High-risk research into energy sources and energy efficiency     $400

Most people would probably like #1 and #2 because these two have a direct benefit on consumers.  Now check out these generous Tax Cuts.

Energy Tax Cuts

  1. Extending by three years the placed-in-service date for renewable energy investments $13,143
  2. Investment credits in lieu of production credits for renewable energy purchases     $285
  3. Removal of cap on tax credits for purchase of small wind systems $604
  4. $1.6 billion extra allocation of clean energy bonds     $578
  5. $2.4 billion extra qualified energy conservation bonds     $803
  6. 30% cap on tax credit for energy efficiency purchases by homeowners, up to $1500 per residence     $2,034
  7. Credit for purchase of residential solar, geothermal, wind and fuel cells $268
  8. 50% tax credit for purchase of alternative refueling stations $54
  9. Tax credit for plug-in electric vehicle conversion $2,002
  10. Equalization of parking and transit tax-free employer benefits at $230 for 2009

It’s nice to read the Economic Stimulus Package in Detail.   There’s a few items for farming, health sector,  transportation, and tohers.

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In Search of GreenVolts GV1 – Part 2

In Search of GreenVolts GV1 – Part 2

A new glimpse of the HCPV (High Concentration PhotoVoltaics) project.

[Byron, California USA]

Earlier this month, I had a chance to revisit the GreenVolts, Inc. GV1 site I first posted about In Search of GreenVolts GV1. This wasn’t part of a grand design; I just happened to be in the area and couldn’t resist.

Below is a YouTube video of the GV1 site. I didn’t notice during the visit, and it took prompting by GreenVolts until I realized the “staged materials” towards the southeast corner of Phase 1 were CarouSol units. I zoomed in on these towards the middle of the video without knowing. The SpyCamSystems Mobile Video Surveillance Trailer was new at the project site. I’ve also included a few Picasa slideshow photos. At the time, GreenVolts claimed this was “a working site with roughly 40 total arrays at various stages of deployment in the field,” and modules were on sun logging data.

As this RPS Project Status Table – 1st Quarter 2009 Update (download the spreadsheet) from the California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) webpage of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) indicates, the 2MW GreenVolts GV1 project is delayed without a revised online date. Although the final detailed schedule is being reworked with PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), GreenVolts is now targeting a mid 2010 project completion date for GV1. The project timing is driven by the improved module redesign and the macro economic environment.

GreenVolts enhances its technology” at CPV Today reports:

GreenVolts says it has come across a new technology opportunity that will allow the CPV technology company to make its CarouSol even more efficient.
Changes to CarouSol will lead to a more efficient, more reliable and resulting lower cost system. Further details at this point of time aren’t being disclosed.

Very mysterious, but a more efficient production III-V Triple Junction terrestrial solar cell is almost certain to be part of the “new technology”.

GreenVolts did not respond before deadline to my question regarding possible schedule acceleration as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

This may be public relations plain and simple, but I like the sound of “Spire Initiates “Come to America” Program.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

In Search of GreenVolts GV1 – Part 2

In Search of GreenVolts GV1 – Part 2

A new glimpse of the HCPV (High Concentration PhotoVoltaics) project.

[Byron, California USA]

Earlier this month, I had a chance to revisit the GreenVolts, Inc. GV1 site I first posted about In Search of GreenVolts GV1. This wasn’t part of a grand design; I just happened to be in the area and couldn’t resist.

Below is a YouTube video of the GV1 site. I didn’t notice during the visit, and it took prompting by GreenVolts until I realized the “staged materials” towards the southeast corner of Phase 1 were CarouSol units. I zoomed in on these towards the middle of the video without knowing. The SpyCamSystems Mobile Video Surveillance Trailer was new at the project site. I’ve also included a few Picasa slideshow photos. At the time, GreenVolts claimed this was “a working site with roughly 40 total arrays at various stages of deployment in the field,” and modules were on sun logging data.

As this RPS Project Status Table – 1st Quarter 2009 Update (download the spreadsheet) from the California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) webpage of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) indicates, the 2MW GreenVolts GV1 project is delayed without a revised online date. Although the final detailed schedule is being reworked with PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), GreenVolts is now targeting a mid 2010 project completion date for GV1. The project timing is driven by the improved module redesign and the macro economic environment.

GreenVolts enhances its technology” at CPV Today reports:

GreenVolts says it has come across a new technology opportunity that will allow the CPV technology company to make its CarouSol even more efficient.
Changes to CarouSol will lead to a more efficient, more reliable and resulting lower cost system. Further details at this point of time aren’t being disclosed.

Very mysterious, but a more efficient production III-V Triple Junction terrestrial solar cell is almost certain to be part of the “new technology”.

GreenVolts did not respond before deadline to my question regarding possible schedule acceleration as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

This may be public relations plain and simple, but I like the sound of “Spire Initiates “Come to America” Program.”

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Russian Natural Gas Caravan & Road Tour Adds Hydrogen Vehicles

Russian CNG CaravanLast summer I talked about the possibility of hydrogen and CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles being flex fuel companions of the future. In September 2008, the Russian CNG Caravan, featuring natural gas vehicles and one running on hythane (natural gas and hydrogen blend) drove from Saint-Petersburg via Novgorod and Tver to Moscow.

Because of the success of that NGV (natural gas vehicle) caravan, the organizers including Gazprom, VNIIGAZ and NGVRUS (Russian National Gas Vehicle Association) want to do it all over again. This time they are asking for hydrogen cars and vehicles to join this road tour.

Remember last summer, the U. S. had its own Hydrogen Road Tour 2008 that traveled from East Coast to West Coast in 13 days. This Russian road tour will last about 3 days beginning April 20, 2009 and will travel from Rostov-on-Don via Krasnodar and Novorossiysk to Sochi.

The city of Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics XXII and is looking forward to promoting a clean and progressive image. The mission of the Russian Caravan will be to promote environmental awareness along with information on green economics and safety.

Even though the focus of this event is on natural gas vehicles (Russia and the U. S. are not even in the top 10 worldwide of having CNG vehicles), it’s good to see the Soviets sympathetic to hydrogen as well. If Russia were to scale up their hydrogen program, similar to their past efforts in space, they could indeed be a world player of tomorrow.

Visit the original post at: Fuel Cell News

Sheik Says Biofuels Are Prohibited by Islam

Biofuels may have hit an unexpected roadblock with a pronouncement by Sheik Mohamed al-Najimi of the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy that the fuel may be prohibited by Islam. According to al-Najimi, the prophet Muhammad prohibited the buying, selling, transporting, drinking, and manufacturing of alcohol – including the ethyl alcohol present in ethanol.

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Visit the original post at: Energy News

Minneapolis company to lease land for wind farm near Rockford

From an article by Isaac Guerrero on BusinessRockford.com:

A Minneapolis company is leasing land from western Winnebago County landowners for its planned 100-turbine wind farm that would generate enough electricity to power 44,000 homes.

The turbines would dot the western half of the county and a bit of Stephenson County and would stretch from the Wisconsin border to just south of the Winnebago-Ogle county line. The precise layout, however, depends on how negotiations with landowners pan out.

In 2003, Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy built a smaller wind farm in Lee County near the Paw Paw exit on Interstate 39. More recently, the firm won zoning approval for wind farms in Stephenson and Ogle counties, though lawsuits have put those projects on hold.

Company officials have been canvassing rural Winnebago County for weeks. They’ve offered Richard Beuth about $7,600 a year for each plot of his farmland on which it could build a 410-foot turbine.

“We’re all for it,” said Richard Beuth, who farms near Seward. “The turbines actually wouldn’t take up that much space on our farm. After they’re built, each tower would take up a 100-foot-by-100-foot area, plus an access road that would need to go in there. It’s good money for the size of ground it takes up. Crop and livestock prices aren’t so good right now.”

The company’s lease agreements with landowners would last some 50 years. Rent payments from Navitas would increase a bit each year based on inflation, and the company would pay property taxes on land occupied by its turbines. Navitas would make money on the wind farm by supplying the local power grid with electricity.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

GE plans JV for hybrid trains in India

GE plans JV for hybrid trains in India
Bharat Heavy Electricals and GE plan to produce 120 electric-diesel hybrid locomotive cars per year for Indian Railways.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

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