DeepResource

Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

DonQI Urban Windturbine

Small windturbine with venturi for additional gain. According to manufacturer faq designed to generate 1400-1800 kwh/year. Diameter 2 m, 90 kg weight. Locations where this type of turbine is installed here. Saves 680 kg CO2/year at a minimum. In the Netherlands expect 22 euro cent per kwh returned into the grid. The design is special in that magnets are attached to the rotor blades, making the rotor a generator at the same time. Recently DonQI was acquired by the UK company Hidden Renewable Energy Limited. Price indication 6500 euro.

[donqi.nl]

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DoE Allocates $120M To Avert Critical Materials Shortage

rare_earth_mt_critical[source]
The US Department of Energy allocated $120 million to make sure near-term supply of five rare earth metals, dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium, will be ensured. These materials are essential components of advanced wind turbines, solar cells as well as electric vehicles and energy efficient lighting. For this purpose a new Energy Innovation Hub is launched, lead by the Ames Laboratory in Iowa, called the Critical Materials Institute and modelled after the successful Bioenergy Research Centers, founded under president Bush. DoE: “The new Hub will focus on technologies that will enable us to make better use of the materials we have access to as well as eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions“.

[cleantechnica.com]
[wikipedia] – rare earth elements

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World-Record Battery Performance

sulfer-yolk-full-2
SLAC and Stanford scientists have set a world record for energy storage, using a clever “yolk-shell” design to store five times more energy in the sulfur cathode of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery than is possible with today’s commercial technology. Application: electronics and electric vehicles. Cui’s innovation is a cathode made of nanoparticles. After 1,000 charge/discharge cycles, the yolk-shell sulfur cathode had retained about 70 percent of its energy-storage capacity. The group’s next step is to combine the yolk-shell sulfur cathode with a yolk-shell silicon anode to see if together they produce a high-energy, long-lasting battery.

[slac.stanford.edu]

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Yingli Green Largest PV Producer – 2.2 GW in 2012

top-solar-panel-producers[uschinatrade][rights]
The Chinese manufacturer Yingli Green produced most solar panels in 2012 and surpassed Suntech Power Holdings, another Chinese company. China is clearly global market leader (45%) before Taiwan (18%), Japan (9%), Germany (8%) and USA (5%).

[pv-tech.org]

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Oil Will Decline Shortly After 2015

Peak_Oil_2[source]
Olivier Rech worked for the International Energy Agency from 2006 to 2009. The IEA is often criticized for too optimistic forecasts concerning oil production levels. Now that Rech no longer works for that organization his forecasts have become much more pessimistic. He expects stronger tensions as of 2013, and an inevitable overall decline of oil production “somewhere between 2015 and 2020”. Summary of his views: non-OPEC 40 mbd (58% production, with 23% reserves), OPEC (42%, 77%). Annual decline non-OPEC 1-2 mbd. Existing production declines 5%/year. OPEC situation less clear. New offshore projects near Brazil, Ghana and Guyana. Gulf of Mexico far from depleted. Arctic uncertain, will take another decade for production from that region. Expects global peak production to remain below 95 mbd for conventional and unconventional oil combined. Oil production on a plateau of 82 mbd since 2005. Including biofuels and coal-to-liquid, that’s 88 mbd for all liquid fuels. According to Rech this will be about the maximum. Expects tensions between 2013-2015 and decline to start between 2015-2020, but it will not be rapid.

[theoildrum.com]

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By 2015 Electricity Uruguay 90% Renewable

URY_orthographic.svg[source]
Uruguay has 3.3 million inhabitants and already 1500 MW hydropower. According to new plans in three years time 90% of generated electricity should come from renewable sources: 30% wind, 45% hydropower and 15% biomass. Hydropower is intermittently available, which until now requires Uruguay to import electricity from Argentina.

[businessgreen.com]
[wikipedia]
[ipsnews.net] – In Uruguay, the Answer Is Blowing in the Wind

A Record 7.6 GW PV Installed in Germany in 2012

MK-AY547_solar1_G_20090924185909[source]
But now that feed-in tariffs are being slashed, expectations for next year are less high, somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0 GW. Previous records were 7.5 GW in 2011 and 7.4 GW in 2010.

[reuters.com]

China Explores Thorium Route

thorium-nuclear-alternative_203[source]
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports about developments in China that point at an increased interest the Chinese haven taken in thorium as a means to generate energy. With a startup budget of $350m and 140 PhD scientists to begin with, China is looking for a new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste and cannot blow their top like Fukushima. China is leading the pack but Norway and Japan are working on thorium reactors as well. The Americans had projects in the past but shelved these and gave preference to uranium, as they needed the plutonium byproduct to build nuclear bombs. China will probably work with molten salt as a transport medium for heat. A team hopes to realize a 2 MW prototype around 2020 and commercial scale reactors later. Estimated thorium reserves should cover China’s energy needs for 20,000 years. Thorium is not without problems, but the waste is far less toxic. Thorium reactors can even be used to destroy all the radioactive waste that has been piling up from conventional uranium reactors. Plants could be build below the ground, at small sizes. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is convinced.

[telegraph.co.uk]

Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

[part 2]

Erik Townsend discusses the consequences of resource depletion and peak oil for the international monetary system (IMS) and why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail. The IMS is basically Bretton Woods, the basis for all international trade. [*] Core element is the elevation of the dollar to world reserve currency status, simplifying international trade. The dollar at the time was still fixed to gold ($35/oz) and was backed by the most credit worthy nation. Countries promised to keep their dollar exchange rates fixed as well. To that end they would be required to hold dollar reserves. That system survived until August 15, 1971, when Nixon abandoned the gold standard.

In 1959 the economist Robert Triffin pointed at a dilemma: “if you choose a currency because it’s a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won’t be the strongest credit any more!” Indeed, Nixon proved Triffin right when he ‘temporarily’ had to abandon the gold standard, after a bullion bank run, as the dollar was no longer as good as gold. Especially the French under de Gaulle were notorious for exchanging their surplus dollars against gold. At the same time successful exporting nations had a problem with all these dollars. Changing them back into local currencies would appreciate this currency and result in ever lower returns for export nations. The answer was to not exchange but to invest in US government bonds. The result was that the US government could spend even more, all being a consequence of the reserve currency status of the dollar. The author claims that these exporting nations have little choice but to invest in US bonds. The US can borrow almost against zero cost, a situation described by de Gaulle’s finance minister Valery Giscard d’Estaing as exorbitant privilege.
The big miracle is that the IMS did not fall apart after 1971, when the gold standard was dropped. Sure, the Arabs forced an oil crisis, drastically increasing oil prices, partly because of this. But the system largely kept in place because there was no real alternative and because of the overarching power of the US military (DR: look what happened to Saddam and Khadaffi when they tried to circumvent the dollar).

Now that the U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S.has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone, we see increasingly that trading nations are conduction bilateral trade in their own currencies. Examples China, Brazil, Russiam Turkey and Iran. The author thinks that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown, going hand in hand with the dollar losing its reserve status. Key questions: when and how is this going to happen? Answer: the loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. We see that major players like China are openly calling for their own currency to be and alternative to the dollar. The only reason why the US can service its debt is because the FED is able to keep interest rates low… because of the reserve currency status of the dollar. Once that is gone the rates will skyrocket and servicing the debt can become problematic. The author puts great faith in the arguments made by Eric Janszen, or more precisely the Janszen Scenario: the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that’s needed at this point is a proximal trigger, or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike. The crucial thing is that in the seventees the US represented 80% of the world oil market, today that is 20% and growth comes from other countries than the US. This means that it makes ever less sense to price oil in dollar. Once this really happens, trading nations no longer will need so many dollars and will start to dump them.

The author ackowledges that unconventional oil/gas is not a marginal phenomenon, but denies that it will change a lot to the global picture and peak oil. In fact if the US would withdraw from the oil market because it can produce all its oil by itself (a big if), then this would hasten the demise of the dollar as reserve currency as oil exporting countries would no longer have an incentive in charging in dollar. The consequence would be dumping of the dollar and bonds, which would cause US interest rates to go up to a point where the US will be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. If the FED would respond by printing money, the dollar would lose its value and imports would become unaffordable.

The author fears that the US could use its military as a means of last resort to stave off a catastrophe by using (nuclear) blackmail… sell us oil against 50$/barrel or else…

[aspousa.org]

[*] The man behind Bretton Woods was a Lithuanian jew and Soviet spy, Harry Dexter White.

Hiriko


The Hiriko is a folding two-seat urban electric car being developed by the Hiriko Driving Mobility consortium in the Basque Country. The electric car is the commercial implementation of the CityCar project developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab since 2003. Pricing starts at €12,500 (US$16,400). Maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). The Hiriko Fold weighs less than 500 kg (1,100 lb), has an extended length of 2.5 m (98.4 in) and its hinged body allow the microcar to retract its front and rear modules, enabling the Hiriko to fold upwards to 1.5 m (59.1 in) for parking.

[wikipedia]

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SolaRoad

[source]

Driving over hardened glass with solar cells beneath. In the Netherlands in 2013 this will become reality, at least for a test setup of 100 meter bicycle lane. The cycle path is constructed of concrete elements measuring 1.5 by 2.5 metres and contains a safety glass top layer, made rough on purpose for safe driving. Beneath this one cm thick hardened glass layer lie crystal silicon solar cells. Expected yearly yield: 50 kwh per m2. An average household of 3500 kwh/year would require 70 m2. Btw, the Netherlands has 137,000 km asphalt road and 15,000 km bicycle paths and many new planned. With an estimated/gambled average width of 5 m, that would be 685,000,000 m2 or almost 10 million households. The Netherlands has 7.5 households. In money terms the road element shown could yield 200 kwh per year or 40 euro per year against 2013 Dutch electricity prices or 1000 euro during a life span of 25 years. Oh, and the solar panel comes with a road. The idea originated from TNO. The beauty of the idea is that in extremely densely populated countries like the Netherlands (448/km2) no extra scarce space is needed to set up an alternative energy base. The entire roadsystem as one big PV solar collector.

[tno.nl] – SolaRoad combines road and solar cells (english)

[source]

[source]

Unconventional Carbon Fuel From Australia

Australian coal seam gas mining documentary.

[wikipedia]

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Thermal Solar With Evacuated Tubes And Heat Pipes

The idea to capture solar radiation and turn it into heat using vacuum tubes and heat pipes exists at least 35 years, yet it looks that conditions have changed such that commercial introduction becomes feasible. These tubes are special in that much higher temperatures can be attained than using the standard flat plate solar collector.

[Wiki – Solar thermal collector]
[Early references to patent applications]

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Abengoa’s 280 MW Solana CSP Plant

Abengoa-new
Abengoa’s 280 MW Solana CSP Plant, located about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, nears completion. Uses molten salt solar for thermal storage capacity (6 hours). Site will consist of 32,000 parabolic trough solar collectors. After completion 85 permanent jobs will carry on maintenance. The Solana project will produce clean electricity for 70,000 homes.

[cleantechnica.com]

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The Impending World Energy Mess

Published jan 2, 2013. Youtube text: Robert L. Hirsch is a former senior energy program adviser for Science Applications International Corporation and is a Senior Energy Advisor at MISI and a consultant in energy, technology, and management. His primary experience is in research, development, and commercial applications. He has managed technology programs in oil and natural gas exploration and petroleum refining, synthetic fuels, fusion, fission, renewables, defense technologies, chemical analysis, and basic research.

[Robert Hirsch – ASPO 2012]

470 MW Wind Farm Operational In Kansas

18windpark1[source]
This is the largest wind farm in Kansas. Cost: $800 million. Name: Flat Ridge 2. Location: south-central Kansas/USA. Infrastructure: 294 GE 1.6 MW turbines on a 66,000 acre site. 500 jobs during peak construction, 30 permanent maintenance jobs.

[businessweek.com]
[factsheet]
[kansascommerce.com]

How Much Fuel Is Left?

Pagani_Turiel1-IEA
Liquid fuel reserves from all sources according to the IEA.
IEA thinks the world will have 100 million barrel of fossil fuel per day by 2035.

Pagani_Turiel2-IEA-corrected
Idem but corrected for energy content per volume as well as net energy.
After correction 70 million barrel per day remain in 2035.

Pagani_Turiel3-Oilcrash
After compensation for other factors, 40 million barrels per day remain in 2035, according to Antonio Turiel.

[crashoil.blogspot.it] – Original article in Spanish
[ecoalfabeta.blogosfere.it] – Summary in Italian
[cassandralegacy.blogspot.nl] – Translation by Ugo Bardi

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Country Ranking Wind And Solar Energy Per Capita

wind-per-capita
Wind energy per capita

solar-per-capita
Solar energy per capita

[reneweconomy.com.au]

Promised Land

Promised Land is a 2012 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, and John Krasinski. The screenplay is written by Damon and Krasinski based on a story by Dave Eggers. Promised Land follows two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents. Damon was originally attached to direct the film, but he was replaced by Van Sant. Filming took place mainly in Pittsburgh from early to mid-2012. During filming and afterward, the film’s highlighting of the resource extraction process hydraulic fracturing, colloquially known as “fracking”, emerged as a topic of debate. The film had a limited release in the United States on December 28, 2012 and will follow with a nationwide expansion on January 4, 2013. The film is scheduled to have its international premiere at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013.

Corporate salesperson Steve Butler and his sales partner Sue Thomason visit a rural town to buy drilling rights from local residents who seek relief after the recent economic decline. They encounter resistance from a schoolteacher, who is supported by a grassroots campaign organized by another man who seeks to rival Butler.

[wikipedia]

Interesting detail: the anti-fracking movie is financed by the government of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

[blog.heritage.org]

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Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

california-renewable
California state and US federal authorities are beginning to prepare for creating conditions that would allow for rapid introduction of large scale renewable energy (solar, wind and geothermal) in an area of hundreds of square miles in the desert of Southern California (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan or DRECP). The plan would cover portions of eastern San Diego County and stretch across much of Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It’s an area roughly the size of Indiana or Maine.

[nctimes.com]

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