Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Planned in Wales: 250 MW tidal power station, based on a dam of 10.5 km, surrounding 11 km2 lagoon. The lagoon will generate on both ebb and flow tides using bi-directional turbines, allowing it to produce electricity for 16 hours each day. The lagoon could begin supplying electricity to the National Grid in 2017 and has an expected lifespan of 120 years. Investment volume: £650m (EUR 772m or $1006m). Other locations under consideration: Cardiff, Newport and Bridgewater Bay. The company planning to build tidal lagoon issues a £10m share offer to finance the early planning and research stages.




Flow Batteries

Youtube text: “In this video, Stanford graduate student Wesley Zheng demonstrates the new low-cost, long-lived flow battery he helped create. The researchers created this miniature system using simple glassware. Adding a lithium polysulfide solution to the flask immediately produces electricity that lights an LED. A utility version of the new battery would be scaled up to store many megawatt-hours of energy.



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Support for the Euro from Lithuania

We never heard of Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė before but we already like her. She is committed to bring her country into the euro area by 2015. She correctly denies that there is any euro crisis but instead a debt crisis, self-inflicted by irresponsible behavior of politicians. Hear, hear! Grybauskaitė rejects an opportunistic wait-and-see attitude and wants to join the euro out of principle and solidarity, because Lithuania is a European country. That’s the spirit! The EU is supported by 70% of the Lithuanians, even after the implementation of draconian measures during the past years, that were even more radical than the ones currently underway in southern Europe. Grybauskaitė wholeheartedly supports the austerity policies of Angela Merkel. We wished we had ten more Lithuanias in the EU and one Greece less. Where power hungry politicians with an eye on a career in Brussels try to sell a local southern European debt crisis as a euro crisis, using it as a pretext to further centralize the EU, this woman from Lithuania tells the truth.



Two 11 m2 parabolic mirrors can generate up to 4.5 kw electricity and 11 kw heat.


Concentrated Solar Power Development

IBM Zurich proposes a combined photovoltaic/thermal solution.

Youtube text: Bruno Michel, a research scientist at IBM Research – Zurich, explains his latest invention–a technique for concentrating solar radiation to create a much more effective system for harvesting energy from the sun. His hope is that this technique will prove to be so successful that we’ll be able to use it to replace all fossil fuel and nuclear energy with solar. The work is being done in conjunction with the Egypt Nanotechnology Center:


The World In 2030 According To Bloomberg

PowerPoint Presentation
Bloomberg foresees a sunny future for renewable energy and expects an annual global investment of ca. $630 billion per year for 2030.

PowerPoint Presentation

With current global average electricity consumption of ca. 2300 GW, it becomes immediately clear that if the scenario Bloomberg depicts will be all there is, the world is in for some major trouble.


Global Solar Demand Until 2016

The development of the global demand for solar panels until 2016 according to greentechmedia. The demand dominance will shift from Europe to Asia and although demand growth will decelerate, in 2016 global new installed capacity will exceed 50 GW.


Price Solar Down To 42 Cents/Watt In 2015

50% was the price drop for Chinese manufactured conventional silicon solar panels between 2009-2012. Expect another 30% decrease until 2015.


Global Clean Energy Investment 2012

CleanEnergy2012[click to enlarge]
Pew came with data concerning global clean energy investment in 2012. After eliminating peculiar geographical groupings like “Europe, the Middle East & Africa” or “the Americas” or “Asia and Oceania” we arrive at the following investment ranking in billion $, offset against population size and GDP:

EU $67B 503 $17T
China $66B 1350 $7T
USA $35B 315 $15T

This can be converted into clean energy investment in $/capita:

EU 133
USA 111
China 49

or clean energy investment in % GDP:

China 0.94
EU 0.39
USA 0.23

[pew] – Who’s Winning the CleanEnergy Race?

MIT Breaches The 34% Solar Efficiency Barrier

Some much needed good news from Boston. Killing two birds with one stone, that’s what MIT seems to have achieved by applying a cheap pentacene coating to solar cells. One of the birds killed might be the theoretical Shockley-Queisser efficiency upper limit of 34% assumed to apply to any solar cell, based on the idea that a single photon could merely knock a single electron out of atomic orbit. The people from MIT now have transfered the game of carom billiards to the realm of sub-atomic particles and are able to hit two electrons with a single photon, a real game changer in the world of solar cells.


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