Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

44.7% Solar Conversion Efficiency Record


Germand and French organizations (Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin) achieved yet another efficiency record for (four-junction) solar cells: 44.7%.


US Wind & Solar – Energy Cost & Deployment



Market mechanism in action.


Vindskip – Merging Ship and Sail

Potential fuel consumption cut: 60%.


Passive Solar Space Heating

A relatively cheap way to reduce your fossil fuel bill is to apply passive solar heating. In general it comes down to a glass plate covering a black plate or wall. Sunlight is absorbed and heats the air between glass plate and black absorber. The warm air rises and is lead into the building at the top. Air to be heated is lead into this space from the bottom. No moving parts necessary.

[wikipedia] – Solar wall
[wikipedia] – Trombe wall

Read more…

Solar Panels Installation Examples

All Dutch spoken videos. Interesting for those who contemplate investing in solar panels. Information about installation, but also longevity, quality, pack-back time, economic lifespan, etc.

Read more…

Peak Oil Demand


Richard Heinberg suggests that peak oil demand in reality is peak oil. We’re not so sure. Supply and certainly demand are confusing, somewhat abstract concepts. Better stick with the razor-sharp, well-defined and measurable concept of transaction, where demand and supply meet. Someone drives his car to the petrol station, pours 53 liter in the tank and – sigh – pays 100 euro (135$) at the counter. Transaction completed, 53 liter supply/demand entry added to the bookkeeping.

Yes it is true, transactions are down, because prices are up and wages have remained the same or even went south, and savings are gone, so something has got to give which hurts least: driving. Does this prove peak oil? This Bell-shaped ASPO-curve and peak-extraction 201x?


Not so fast. There is another scenario thinkable, the Michael Klare / Josh Fox-Gasland2 scenario, that is the possibility of a very prolonged plateau, deep into the future, of 1xx$ oil, where carbon fuel reserves to the tune of trillions of barrel of oil equivalent, are waiting to be harvested with ever more refined sophisticated technologies, but won’t be harvested, because gradually fossil fuel will lose the price competition against renewables. Apart from additional environmental damage due to fracking, this is not necessarily the worst of all scenarios, and preferable over all sorts of die-off/four horsemen scenarios.

The ASPO model was purely based on supply and it’s geological constraints. Images or cars lining up for petrol stations and wallets fuel of money, but no gas. Not going to happen. The more likely scenario will be: ever less, almost empty gas stations (empty of customers that is), ready to sell you all the gas you need, against high prices.

In this scenario you could very well speak of peak demand rather than peak oil. The last few trillion barrel equivalent of carbon fuel will remain in the ground, because nobody is interested anymore to pay these prices. And the world will carry on, economically in a much lower gear, with empty highways and airports, with lots of people tapping on their 3 Watt solar powered tablets, every now and then looking out of the window to watch the potato plants grow in the backyard, with 15 C/59 F room temperature and everybody wearing body warmers, batteries included, slashing heating cost with a factor of ten.


Statoil – What Will the Future of Energy Look Like?

Eirik Waerness, Chief Economist at Statoil presents the company’s report ‘Energy Perspectives 2013′. The main facts discussed are related to the increasing energy demand, new oil and gas sources and the increasing role of natural gas.

[full report]


Youtube: Published on Dec 4, 2012 – GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. For free.


Read more…

Zero Energy Home

Dutch language video. This is claimed to be the most energy efficient home in the Netherlands with no fossil fuel usage. Meanwhile the ‘zero home’ is a ‘plus home’, supplying surplus energy for a car to drive 36.000km/year. Location Groenlo/Netherlands. Person in the video Ronald Serne (inhabitant). Panes with three layers glass. Total autonomous electricity production 5000Kwh (4 persons, including 2 children), divided over 3500 Kwh direct consumption and 1500 Kwh for generation of 2500 Kwh heating and 3600 Kwh hot water. Energy neutrality only over the entire year; feed-in into the grid of generated excess electricity during the summer is accepted. Ingredients of concept: thorough isolation, air-tightness, soil heat exchanger, three layered glass, southern orientation, passive solar energy, heatpump, thermal solar sollectors, heat storage.


Read more…

Tow Icebergs For Drinking Water

Youtube: Uploaded on Oct 14, 2010 Turning Icebergs into Drinking Water? It’s a common mistake to confuse ice fields, which are composed of frozen seawater and populated with polar bears, with icebergs, our floating mountains composed of frozen drinking water. And did you know that, each year, the equivalent of the world’s supply in drinking water melts away into the ocean? Why should just sit by and let this happen? Why not use icebergs as an alternative source for drinking water? This is French Arts & Métiers Engineer Georges Mougin’s dream since 40 years! At first this idea may seem too outlandish, but perhaps Mougin is a visionary? Dassault Systèmes has decided to help Mougin reexamine his project with the help of 21st Century technology. And what if 3D scientific simulation and a virtual worlds can give life to an idea that died down last century? Perhaps this was due to technology-linked obstacles and limited knowledge of our oceans and weather. Perhaps Mougin was ahead of his times… A documentary under the direction of Jean-Michel Corillion is being made to tell this story. It’s called Ice Dreams and in a few months will be broadcast in various countries. We’ll keep you posted as the details unfold. But for now, enjoy the sneak preview below!

Read more…

Arctic Ice Sheet Increased By 60%

Global warming temporarily on hold.


Read more…

Sustainable Energy – without the hot air

Sustainable Energy – without the hot air
David JC MacKay addresses the sustainable energy crisis in an objective manner, this enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal level and an international scale—for Europe, the United States, and the world. In case study format, this informative reference answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries. While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the calculations of expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world at large.

[free pdf book download]

The State of the Solar Industry

It looks like that the bottom in the solar industry is in sight. Stocks and surplus capacity are declining, prices stabilised and margins improved. New markets are emerging where the European impulse, that kicked-off the solar boom a decade ago, is waning. China, the US, Japan are expected to become the new drivers of demand.


Core Labs CEO – Peak Oil Now

This statement does not come from a wannebee Cassandra/Nostradamus, but from someone with access to relevant data: Dave Demshur, CEO of Core Labs, a Netherlands-based company. Their business is analyzing drilling results for all major, and 100s of smaller companies in the global energy finding industry. Annual revenues are $1 billion. CLB scientists accumulate data about the current production of all major oil and gas basins on the planet. Demshur estimates planetary oil production in 2014, 2015, and maybe 2016 to be at the peak level we shall ever be able to generate. When asked about future oil independence here in the US, he just smiled — and added “no chance”.


Latest German Solar And Wind Data







Heating Homes With Mirrors

Heliostats are a low cost way to capture light and heat and direct it into a building through windows. In many buildings, some rooms never get direct sunlight at all – they face the wrong way. Heliostats placed outside these cold /dark rooms can direct warmth and light into the rooms, transforming them into enjoyable, comfortable spaces. Each H1 Heliostat can deliver over 2000 watts to a room, or over 230,000 lumens of light.


Price range: $1,349.00 to $1,699.00

Read more…

Young People Abandoning Cars

In 1991, of New South Wales (Australia) kids aged 20-24, 79% had licences. By 2001 it had risen to 80%. Yet by 2008 it had crashed to just 51% and continues to decline. US same story: In 1978, nearly 50% of American 16-year-olds and 75% of 17-year-olds had driver’s licences, according to Department of Transportation data. In recent years, that has fallen to 31% of 16-year-olds and 49% of 17-year-olds, with the decline accelerating since 1998. Young people are more interested in digital gadgets these days than in cars. Could have something to do with deteriorating budgets.


America Driving Less

change in VMT

annual VMT


Post Navigation