Fusion Energy Facility Promises Clean Energy

July 11, 2014 (Source: Australian National University) -- The search for star power – fusion – has received a major boost with the launch of the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility (APFRF) at The Australian National University. The facility includes Australia’s largest fusion experiment, the newly upgraded H1, which will now be able to heat fusion experiments to temperatures hotter than the core of the sun. The facility also includes a new machine, MagPIE, which will accelerate research into extreme materials to be used in future experiments involving even higher temperatures and radiation levels. Senator Zed Seselja pressed the button to…

Using Sand to Improve Battery Performance

July 11, 2014 (Source: University of California) -- Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand. “This is the holy grail – a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes,” said Zachary Favors, a graduate student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both engineering professors at UC Riverside. The idea came to Favors six months ago. He was relaxing on the beach after surfing in San Clemente, Calif. when he…

Solar sparks rush for graphite

July 10, 2014 (Source: The Australian) -- The promise of mass production from new battery plants is prompting an unprecedented rush for stocks linked to mining of graphite — a key component in small, dense batteries able to store more power for electric cars and houses. Heightened focus on what could be game-changing battery technology for the solar and car industries — inspired by Tesla electric car founder Elon Musk’s planned $US5 billion ($5.3bn) “giga-battery” factory in the US — has seen a new boom in graphite stocks. The excited state of the sector was in full effect yesterday, when…

Exploiting the Potential of Geothermal District Heating

July 10, 2014 (Source: CORDIS) -- Recent turbulence in Ukraine has led to an even more intensified hunt for secure sources of energy for Europe. Geothermal district heating (GeoDH) is one of the solutions being touted as a valuable and immediate option for the alleviation of Central and Eastern Europe's dependency on Russian gas. While over 25 % of the EU population lives in areas directly suitable for GeoDH, the significant potential of deep geothermal is not yet being fully exploited in Europe. The work of GEODH, a project funded under the European Commission's Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE), may help to…

China to Scrap Purchase Tax on Electric Vehicles

July 10, 2014 (Source: Channel NewsAsia) -- China will exempt electric cars and other types of "new energy" vehicles from purchase tax, the government said, as it seeks to reduce pollution and conserve resources. The State Council said that buyers of new energy vehicles -- fully electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars -- would not have to pay the levy from September to the end of 2017, according to a statement. The tax is 10 per cent of the net value of the vehicle, according to state media. "For achieving industrial development and environmental protection, this is a win-win," the State…

Researchers Led by Stanford Engineer Figure Out How to Make More Efficient Fuel Cells

July 9, 2014 (Source: Stanford University) -- Solar power and other sources of renewable energy can help combat global warming but they have a drawback: they don't produce energy as predictably as plants powered by oil, coal or natural gas. Solar panels only produce electricity when the sun is shining, and wind turbines are only productive when the wind is brisk. Ideally, alternative energy sources would be complemented with massive systems to store and dispense power – think batteries on steroids. Reversible fuel cells have been envisioned as one such storage solution. Fuel cells use oxygen and hydrogen as fuel to…

GE to Operate 211-Megawatt Wind Farm in Texas Panhandle With EON

July 8, 2014 (Source: BNEF) -- General Electric Co., the largest U.S. producer of wind turbines, agreed to own and operate a project in Texas with EON SE, Germany’s biggest utility, that will power about 64,000 homes. GE Energy Financial Services Inc. and EON Climate and Renewables North America LLC each provided half of the equity investment in the 211-megawatt Grandview I wind farm, according to a statement today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The project will be built about 26 miles (42 kilometers) east of Amarillo in Carson County. It will include 118, 1.7-megawatt turbines provided by Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, which…

Deutsche Bank Lends $1B in Japan’s Solar Gold Rush

July 8, 2014 (Source: Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG plans to lend about $1 billion for Japan solar projects, joining Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in funding cleaner energy as the government struggles to restart nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster. The bank is ready to provide financing for three to six projects in the next 12 to 18 months, said Hans Van Der Sande, director of Deutsche Bank’s structured products group at its Tokyo branch. The Frankfurt-based lender agreed last month to provide a 11.1 billion yen ($109 million) loan for a solar power project on a former golf course north…

Solar Energy Gets a Boost

July 8, 2014 (Source: University of California) -- A perspective article published last month by University of California, Riverside chemists in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters was selected as an Editors Choice—an honor only a handful of research papers receive.  The perspective reviews the chemists’ work on “singlet fission,” a process in which a single photon generates a pair of excited states. This 1->2 conversion process, as it is known, has the potential to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Applications of the research include more energy-efficient lighting and photodetectors with 200 percent efficiency that can be…

SunMine solar farm construction begins in Kimberley, B.C.

July 8, 2014 (Source: CBC) -- Construction on SunMine, the biggest solar field west of Ontario, was officially started Monday, as part of a $5.3M project to make use of a contaminated mine site in Kimberley, British Columbia. The field, on a ridge overlooking the Rocky Mountains, is the first commercial solar farm of its kind in Western Canada, the first solar farm on an old mine site and the first big solar field to hook into the BC Hydro grid. The site, donated by Teck from the former industrial lands for the Sullivan Mine, will hold 4,000 solar cell modules, mounted on 96 solar tracking stands following…

Silicon Sponge Improves Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

July 8, 2014 (Source: Phys.org) -- The lithium-ion batteries that power our laptops and electric vehicles could store more energy and run longer on a single charge with the help of a sponge-like silicon material. Researchers developed the porous material to replace the graphite traditionally used in one of the battery's electrodes, as silicon has more than 10 times the energy storage capacity of graphite. A paper describing the material's performance as a lithium-ion battery electrode was published today in Nature Communications. "Silicon has long been sought as a way to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries, but silicon swells so much…

ET Solar to supply North Carolina

June 7, 2014 (Source: Recharge News) -- The US subsidiary of China’s ET Solar Energy says it has won a contract from developer FLS Energy to supply 24.5MW of PV modules for six utility-scale projects in North Carolina. ET Solar did not reveal financial details of the deal. The company expects to supply 81,833 modules for the plants, which will provide electricity for 3,200 homes. FLS Energy will finance, design, construct, own and operate the projects. "This is an exciting time for FLS Energy and this portfolio of projects represents FLS Energy's continued growth in the utility scale sector," says…

U.S-China trade war pushes thin film market to 11-month high

July 4, 2014 (Source: PV Magazine) -- Spot prices for thin film modules rise 5.2% in a month as ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China depresses prices for polysilicon panels. Data compiled by analyst firm PVinsights has revealed that spot prices for thin film modules have reached their highest level since the end of July last year as uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute rumbles on. Thin film modules were spot-priced at 61.2 cents/kW today – a 5.2% increase in the past month and the highest price since July 31 2013. Having plunged to a record low of…

Solar Panels Light the Way from Carbon Dioxide to Fuel

July 2, 2014 (Source: Princeton University) -- Research to curb global warming caused by rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, usually involves three areas: Developing alternative energy sources, capturing and storing greenhouse gases, and repurposing excess greenhouse gases. Drawing on two of these approaches, researchers in the laboratory of Andrew Bocarsly, a Princeton professor of chemistry, collaborated with start-up company Liquid Light Inc. of Monmouth Junction, N.J. to devise an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid. The study was published June 13 in the Journal of CO2 Utilization. The…

NIST Test House Exceeds Goal; Ends Year with Energy to Spare

July 2, 2014 (Source: NIST) -- The net-zero energy test house at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in suburban Washington, D.C., not only absorbed winter's best shot, it came out on top, reaching its one-year anniversary on July 1 with enough surplus energy to power an electric car for about 1,440 miles.* Despite five months of below-average temperatures and twice the normal amount of snowfall, NIST's Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) ended its one-year test run with 491 kilowatt hours of extra energy. Instead of paying almost $4,400 for electricity—the estimated average annual bill for a comparable modern…

European Renewable Energy Investment Set to Surge by 2030 on Back of Nearly $1 Trillion of Investment

July 1, 2014 (Source: BNEF) -- The next decade and a half will see renewable energy raise its share of European electricity generation capacity from 40% in 2012, to 60% in 2030, while the share of fossil-fuel sources such as coal and gas falls from 48% to 27%, according to a major report from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report, BNEF 2030 Market Outlook, based on modelling of electricity market supply and demand, technology cost evolution and policy development in individual countries and regions, forecasts that 557GW of new renewable power capacity will come online in Europe by 2030. In…

New, High-Energy Rechargeable Batteries

June 30, 2014 (Source: National Science Foundation) -- While electric vehicles offer many advantages--including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the country's dependence on imported petroleum--at least one barrier stands in the way of their large-scale adoption: "range anxiety." The current 2014 electric Nissan Leaf, for example, has a range of just 84 miles on a fully charged battery. With support from the National Science Foundation, researchers at George Washington University, led by Stuart Licht, think they have developed a novel solution, and they're calling it the "molten air battery." These new rechargeable batteries, which use molten electrolytes, oxygen from air, and…

R+D to Develop an Intelligent New High Performance Electric Motorcycle

June 26, 2014 (Source: UC3M) -- The “intelligence” of Bultaco’s new electric motorcycle is being developed on the south side of Madrid, in Science Park of the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), where the company has established its R + D center to work on new products and more innovative technology. The Bultaco Rapitán is not just an electric motorcycle, but it is also a real motorcycle. That is how it is presented by the engineers who have designed it and equipped it with cutting-edge technology. This vehicle, which is equipped with its own electric propulsion system, generates the equivalent…

Mitsubishi to Join 52.5-Megawatt Solar-Power Project in Jordan

June 26, 2014 (Source: Bloomberg) -- A unit of Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) and its partners will build a 52.5-megawatt solar-power plant in Jordan as the country targets developing 1,600 megawatts of clean energy by 2020. Mitsubishi’s Diamond Generating Europe Ltd. and Nebras Power Q.S.C. will each have a 35 percent stake in the Shams Ma’an project, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi said in a statement today. The rest will be held by Kawar Group. The plant has a long-term power-purchase agreement with the National Electric Power Co. for the entire output beginning 2016, according to the statement.

Breakthrough In Solar Panel Manufacture Promises Cheap Energy Within A Decade

June 26, 2014 (Source: The Independent) -- A breakthrough in the production of solar cells will make the next generation of solar panels cheaper and safer, and promises to accelerate the development of solar energy over the next decade, scientists said. A technical advance based on an edible salt used in the manufacture of tofu could revolutionise the production of future solar panels to make them less expensive, more flexible and easier to use than the current models seen on millions of roofs across Britain. Researchers believe they have found a way of overcoming one of the most serious limitations of the…