Available data World Solar Challenge 2017:
Nuna Solar Team TU Delft: 3021 km, 14:10:41, average speed 81.2 km/h
Solar Team TU Eindhoven: average speed 69 km/h, 6 charges, 10197 person-km, 45.7 kWh external energy, average passengers: 3.4, energy efficiency (person-km/kWh) 223.2
Note that the external energy was necessary due to the long distance of 3021 km in merely 6 days. If the available time would have been 12 days, no extra electricity would have been required. In other words, the daily range without external (grid) charging (but “24h” solar charging) under Australian conditions in October would be ca. 250 km with 5 persons.
Eindhoven btw drove with 5 persons until a major technical malfunction occurred, after which no risks were taken and a single driver-passenger completed the race alone, which pressed down the passenger average. If you offset these 250 km with a daily average distance of merely 37 km in an industrialized country like Holland, you can verify that an energy-autonomous car is not a pipe-dream at all.
[wikipedia.org] – Stuart Highway
Here, we demonstrate an ambient-temperature aqueous rechargeable flow battery that uses low-cost polysulfide anolytes in conjunction with lithium or sodium counter-ions, and an air- or oxygen-breathing cathode. The solution energy density, at 30–145 Wh/L depending on concentration and sulfur speciation range, exceeds current solution-based flow batteries, and the cost of active materials per stored energy is exceptionally low, ∼US$1/kWh when using sodium polysulfide. The projected storage economics parallel those for PHS and CAES but can be realized at higher energy density and with minimal locational constraints.
[cell.com] – Air-Breathing Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage
Cleantechnica.com calls for caution:
[cleantechnica.com] – Sulfur Battery Promises Less Expensive Grid Scale Storage Solution
You can take this story with a grain of salt, literally and figuratively. Researchers at MIT, responding to a challenge issued by the US Department of Energy, have developed a new battery for use by utility companies to store electricity that costs 100 times less than the conventional lithium ion batteries in use today. The new battery uses sulfur, air, water, and salt — all readily available materials that are cheap to buy. The new battery has store twice as much energy as a typical lead acid battery. Their research was published for the first time on October 11 by energy journal Joule… Under the leadership of former Energy Department head Steven Chu, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research set a goal of reducing grid storage battery costs by a factor of five while increasing energy density also by a factor of five and all within five years… “Through an accidental laboratory discovery, we figured out that it could actually be oxygen, and therefore air. We needed to add one other component, which was a charge carrier to go back and forth between the sulfur and air electrode, and that turned out to be sodium.” The total chemical cost of their proposed battery is roughly $1 per kilowatt-hour. Since all the chemical components of the battery are dissolved in water, the researchers decided to use a flow battery architecture. In a flow battery, a system of pumps and tubes causes the components of the battery to flow past each other, generating chemical reactions that help it capture electrons… The sulfur-oxygen-salt battery under development currently has a useful life of 1500 hours — far less than the 20-year lifespan needed to attract commercial interest in the technology. The researchers have a long way to go yet, but the prospect of ultra low cost grid storage makes their quest worthwhile.
Renewable energy is generally associated with windturbines and solar panels. It is often ignored that electricity is only part of the entire energy story. In northern Europe for instance an average household needs to pay more for space heating than for electricity on a yearly basis. The BIQ building in Hamburg could provide the solution for an energy-neutral home that collects solar energy all year around and stores part of the solar energy in the form of algae. The algae biomass can be used for gas production and is easier and cheaper to store than warm water. Up-front capital costs are high though: $2500/m2. Reduction on fossil fuel cost to date is 33%. This number could increase if solar panels are placed on the roof, used to produce electricity to power heat pumps.
BioAlgaeSorb is an EU-Norwegian project. From the Cordis site:
The BioAlgaeSorb collaboration will benefit European SME-AGs in diverse business sectors by developing technologies for remediating and valorising industrial and agricultural/aquacultural effluents via microalgae cultivation. The resultant microalgal biomass will form a carbon neutral, environmentally sustainable raw material that is a source for commercially valuable end products, among them renewable energy. The set task is to utilise unwanted effluents as nutrient sources for photosynthetic microalgae, thereby reducing effluent discharge by SMEs and yielding high quality biomass which will be harvested and upgraded using an integrated biorefinery approach into valuable products.
[source] Hans-Josef Fell
One of the main proponents behind the Energiewende in Germany is Hans-Josef Fell. Now he has written an article with a proposal how to speed up the global energy transition towards 100% renewable energy, enabled by the recent spectacular price declines. Fell says that 2030 should be possible. “80% energy from the region for the region” is the key to success in achieving 100% renewable energy.
Full story below:
The Swiss engineering company ABB has teamed up with Northvolt of Sweden to build the largest lithium-ion battery plant in Europe in order to meet growing demand from the automotive industry. The plant should rival the Gigafactory in the Nevada desert. Target: 32 GWh in 2023. 80-100 million euro will be necessary to get production started.
[reuters.com] – ABB teams up with Northvolt on Europe’s biggest battery plant
What a difference technology makes! Where some, mostly in the doomer corner, claim that it costs more energy to extract tar sands and convert it into fuel than you get in return, here a study that paints a different picture. While tar sands do indeed have a very low EROI, perhaps in another 7 years they could surpass a value of 10 and as such could contribute to complete the energy transition.
[mdpi.com] – Energy Return on Investment of Canadian Oil Sands Extraction from 2009 to 2015
French cabinetmaker Michel Robillard poses in his handbuilt wooden 2CV Citroen Car built as an exact one/one replica on March 20, 2017, near Loches, Central France.
A retired cabinetmaker has just completed the production of a Citroen 2 CV in a Touraine fruitwood, a life-size vehicle unique in the world, equipped to take the road, which is about to pass its first technical inspection. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT
Short German study regarding an inventory of power-to-gas projects, see map. Currently in Germany there are 36 PtG projects operational and 12 of those were highlighted, all demonstration projects. Start date projects 2010-2017. Power range 0.15 MW bis 6.3 MW. 9 projects are about hydrogen production, in 2 projects produced hydrogen is converted into methane. Reported efficiencies: 65-80% which includes heat utilization.
Most potential in systems integration and transport. Efficiency increases hydrogen production until 2030 are estimated as between 5-10%. Potential cost decrease until 2030: 30-70%. The majority of respondents expect PtG to be competitive with natural gas between 2020-2040 and of those a majority between 2020-2030.
EasyJet says that electric flying could be with us in a decade and for that purpose has begun a partnership with US firm Wright Electric to build a battery-powered plane for two hours flight duration.
[theguardian.com] – EasyJet says it could be flying electric planes within a decade
[money.cnn.com] – Your airliner may be flying electric within a decade
[telegraph.co.uk] – EasyJet could be flying battery-powered electric planes within the next 10 years
In a global trend of the world’s 50,000 largest ships moving away from relatively dirty fuel oil towards LNG, Royal Dutch Shell has introduced the South-Korean built Cardissa, a vessel able to refuel ships at sea with LNG and as such provide more flexibility. The future of LNG in shipping looks bright since the global acceptance of the Paris Accords. Heavy fuel oil is one of the dirties fuels around, due to its sulfur content.
[businesskorea.co.kr] – LNG Emerging as Marine Fuel
[eniday.com] – LNG fuel and the shipping sector
[lngworldnews.com] – Shell’s first LNG bunkering vessel on way to Europe
[helderline.nl] – Cardissa
[marinetraffic.com] – Cardissa
A UK government commission under former energy cabinet minister Charles Hendry has advised to go ahead with a 320 MW tidal energy project in Swansea Bay, Wales.
The British industry may have missed the boat with wind energy manufacturing, here is a chance to lay a claim on becoming a leader in tidal power.
Three largest operational tidal power plants:
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Groen licht voor Britse getijdencentrale van ±500 megawatt
[deepresource] – Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
[wikipedia.org] – Charles Hendry
[telegraph.co.uk] – Tidal lagoon developer to sign grid deal for £8bn Cardiff project
[bbc.com] – Ecotricity chief says Swansea tidal lagoon ‘too costly’
[walesonline.co.uk] – Everyone in Swansea is being urged to ‘Love the Tidal Lagoon’ to try to help make it happen
[power-technology.com] – Tidal giants – the world’s five biggest tidal power plants