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Archive for the month “July, 2015”

Hybrid Solar

panel-thermoSolar thermal-electric hybrid

volther-powertherm-180wConventional thermal solar collector

In densely packed cities in overcrowded north-western Europe, space is the real scarce commodity, more than money. The consequence is that if this scarce (roof) space is used for solar energy, preference is usually given to solar panels over thermal solar collectors. In fact, when we visited the 2014 Munich Intersolar exhibition, there were hardly any producers of solar thermal collectors present.

It is premature however to write-off thermal solar completely. If sun rays hit a solar panel, ca. 15% is converted into electricity and the rest is lost in heating up the panel, which degrades performance. The idea of hybrid solar is to use the same (scarce) surface for both electricity and heat:

volther-connection
A solar hybrid panel has two energy outlets: one for electricity and one for hot fluid, utilizing nearly all solar energy.

volther-europe

[newformenergy.ie] – Photovoltaic Thermal PVT
[solartherm-hybrid-pv.de] – Solartherm Hybrid PV
[solenergo.lv] – Volther Hybrid PV-T Panels
[hausundsolar.de] – Volther PowerVolt PV-T Hybrid Collector

hybrid-solar[source] Robust two-edged sword

Stella Lux

Solarteam Eindhoven, a club of students from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, has presented the successor of the ‘Stella’ solar car that won the Solar Challenge 2013 in Australia: the Stella Lux. In Oktober the Stella Lux will participate in the 2015 edition, 3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide. Improvements: more comfortable, more solar cells, increasing range from 750 to 1000 km (on a sunny day + fully charged batteries). A few key facts:

  • Development effort: more than 20 student year
  • Participation cost Solar Challenge 2015 Australia: 100,000 euro (donate here / premium)
  • Less aerodynamic drag due to a ‘tunnel’ under the car
  • Improved interior
  • Maximum speed: 125 kmh
  • Solar roof: 5.8 m2
  • Electrical storage capacity: 15 kWh (City Smart: 17.6 kWh)
  • Dimensions: 4,52m long, 1,75m width, 1,12m height
  • Weight: 375 kg (carbon fiber)
  • Obviously you never have to visit a petrol station ever again. An Australian pensioner wit modest income, who happens to owns a solar car, can spend the rest of his life driving if he wanted to. Since operational cost is near zero, expect congestion of solar cars to be a distinct possibility in the future.

graph_range_1The average commuting distance in countries like Holland and Germany is ca. 40 km/day. That means that almost all year round these types of cars can be utilized without extra charge from the grid. It is enough to have the car parked in an open space to get the batteries sufficiently charged for these kind of relative short trips.

Solar cars like the Stella Lux require far less maintenance than the diesel/gasoline powered standard car; electric motors can run for decades.

[solarteameindhoven.nl] – Stella Lux, The energy positive family car
[e52.nl] – Stella Lux sees the light and it’s going to surprise the world
[spiegel.de] – Solarmobil Stella Lux: Schnell, bequem, 100 Prozent öko
[ed.nl] – Opvolger van gezinsauto op zonne-energie Stella heet Stella Lux

SolarTeam_Interior0005


Read more…

Global Solar On Track With 52 GW New Installation in 2015

global-irradiance[source]

In the first quarter of 2015, more than 12GW of solar installations were added globally, according to EnergyTrend’s research. The forecasted 52GW annual demand is likely to be achieved, and installations in China, USA and Japan will represent up to 63% of the global installing capacity.

The UK is currently the largest market in Europe, German market is ‘saturated’, France obliges builders of new homes to provide for solar capacity.

[energytrend.com] – Solar Installation in the First Quarter of 2015 Exceeded 12GW, Globally

solar-countries

Yearly EU Wind Energy Report

Europewind-537x404[source]
Just out: the yearly EU wind energy report. Highlights:

  • Increase global wind capacity over the last 20 years: from 3 GW to 370 GW
  • European share: 130 GW
  • Leading European countries: Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Romania and Germany, generating between 10-40% electricity from wind
  • By 2020, at least 12% from EU electricity will come from wind
  • European manufactures produced 43.5% of the 52 GW new global installed capacity
  • Levelised cost of EU onshore wind in 2012: 4.5-9.7 euro cent/kWh. Offshore: 9-15 euro cent/kWh.

[full report] – 2014 JRC wind status report. pdf, 92p

[setis.ec.europa.eu] – The technology, market and economic aspects of wind energy

Wafer-Thin Silicon Discs on Leading Edge of German R&D

Drittelzellmodul_Detail[source]
The German Fraunhofer Institute continues to make progress in reducing the cost of wafer used to produce solar cells.

Roughly a third of the costs for a silicon solar module is accrued before production of the wafer even starts… Holding a wafer-thin silicon disc between his two index fingers, Schönfelder explained that it is the industry standard, roughly 180 micrometres thin. He said that his research project is about producing even thinner silicon wafers, as well as reducing the breakage rate… Fraunhofer’s DiaCell project… DiaCell refers to the name of the diamond wire saw involved in the research… Reducing costs for the entire value chain is the mission of the DiaCell research project… This sawing gap created by the wire cutting process is incredibly expensive, representing a nearly 50% material loss… another research effort is developing wafer-splitting strategies to produce zero material loss. Instead of sawing the wafer into slices, with wafer splitting, a special polymer is glued to both sides of the wafer. When in a frozen state, the special polymer layer contracts, developing a strong enough force to split the wafer into slices.

[solarlove.org] – Wafer-Thin Silicon Discs on Leading Edge of German R&D
[invest-in-saxony-anhalt.com] – Highly coveted in the solar industry: wafer-thin silicon discs

Smart Hydro Power

The most visible application of hydro power are dams that artificially create large volumes of water, the potential energy of which can be converted into kinetic energy of water, descending in pipes.

The German engineering company Smart Hydro Power specializes in generating electricity from flowing, rather than from falling water, eliminating the need for dams.

[smart-hydro.de] – Smart Hydro Power Turbine
[en.openei.org] – Smart Hydro Power GmbH

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Denmark – 116% Electricity Demand Met by Wind

denmark-wind[source] Denmark: 75% onshore, 25% offshore
Last Thursday the wind conditions in Denmark were such that 116% of the wind energy demand could be met in the evening.

denmark-elec

Denmark’s wind energy infrastructure wasn’t even producing (3.77GW) what it could (4.8GW). Excess electricity was exported to Germany, Sweden and Norway.

Denmark aims to generate 50% of its electricity needs by 2020, but could reach that target even earlier: installation of new capacity adds 18% per year.

Editor: other countries like Sweden, Norway and Canada have even higher rates of renewable energy production, but they achieved that with relative easy means: hydro-power thanks to mountainous terrain, where Denmark is completely flat. Denmark is one of the most successful implementer’s of renewable energy in the world.

[theguardian.com] – Wind power generates 140% of Denmark’s electricity demand

[energinet.dk] – live, minute-to-minute electricity situation in Denmark

Voices From the Hades

hades[source]

[spiegel.de] – Athen will ganz schnell neu verhandeln –> Athens wants rapid negotiations.

Editor: Europe should have no hurry at all to speak with the OXI-morons. Europe has clearly stated that a ‘no’ means a Grexit. Athens should begin printing drachma. We will send some food aid and that’s it. We advice the king size army of Greece to standby and maintain order. Or perhaps take over government in case things get out of control, as they possibly will when the lights literally go out. Expect Angela Merkel and others to become the focal point of Greek hate. Today already a German camera team was stoned, apparently a habit there in the eastern Mediterranean. Thankfulness is a quality of noble people, not of the Greeks. The more you give them, the more they hate you.

Reactions from German convatives:

Scharfe Reaktionen aus der Union: “Die EU ist kein Wünsch-dir-was-Verein, in dem die einen die Spielregeln individuell bestimmen, und die anderen das Ganze bezahlen”, twittert CDU-Vizechefin Julia Klöckner. Die CSU setzt nach: “Gute Nacht, Griechenland. Ihr geht jetzt einen ganz schweren Weg.” Generalsekretär Andreas Scheuer spricht vom “linken Erpresser und Volksbelüger” Tsipras. Beim verbalen Zündeln nehmen sich deutsche und griechische Politiker nichts.

They all denounce Greece. CSU: “good night, Greece“. General-secretary Andreas Scheuer: “these people are leftist blackmailers and deceivers of the population“. CDU-vice chef Julia Klöckner: “the EU is not a wish something for yourself society and let others pay for it“.

Hear, hear.

Editor: if we were German or Dutch tourists, intending to go to Greece later this summer, we would try to cancel the holiday, as Schaeuble, Merkel and Dijsselbloem will be blamed for what comes next. You are sure you want to take the risk of being mugged, beaten up or taken hostage?

[volkskrant.nl] – Dijsselbloem hoopt op ‘eerlijke’ Griekse politici

Jeroen Dijsselbloem wrote a letter to his own party the PvdA, explaining the events and where he calls for ‘honest Greek politicians’. We have our little suspicion that the OXI-morons Tsipras and Varoufakis don’t quite measure up to the Dijsselbloem’s standards.

[elsevier.nl] – Een euro zonder Griekenland is voor iedereen een opsteker

Syp Wynia: a euro without Greece is better for everybody.

Nord Stream 2.0

Discussion of the recent agreement between Gazprom and major European companies (E-ON, Royal Dutch Shell and others) about the construction of a second Nord Stream pipeline between Viborg and Greifswald. If the pipeline will be constructed, the pipeline through Ukraine won’t be needed any longer to supply Western Europe.

Editor: we obviously hope that Nord Stream 2.0 will be build, but companies signing a memorandum of understanding is not enough. There are still the enemies of Europe (US satraps Juncker, Merkel and Hollande) necessary for the signature. But indeed, the realization of Nord Stream 2.0 would be of even greater geopolitical significance than that of South Stream. Germany and Russia, with France as king maker, are essential to change the entire global geopolitical picture.

Oh and than this: did you know that already Nord Stream consists of two parallel pipelines, but that only one pipeline is allowed to be used by Brussels? In fact, building two more pipelines isn’t strictly necessary; it’s just to circumvent stupid bureaucratic rules.

nordstream2Opening ceremony of Nord Stream 1.0. Everything still hunky dory, because the US still hadn’t manage to drive a Ukrainian wedge between Europe and Russia. To be honest, we don’t see the gnomes Merkel & Hollande repeating the same gesture any time soon: too weak. It will take a SPD government to replace the useles careerist CDU Atlanticists to get things moving again between Germany and Russia.

UPDATE – the video claims that Brussels cannot obstruct Nord Stream 2.0 because the new pipelines will be constructed next to the two existing ones. We hope this is true.

[counterpunch.org] – Putin Gobsmacks Uncle Sam … Again
[thetrumpet.com] – Gazprom’s Dangerous New Nord Stream Gas Pipeline to Germany
[mirror]

Belgian Offshore Storage Solution

Die Energie-Insel aus der Luft.

Die Energie-Insel aus der Luft.

Vom Strand aus gesehenView from the Belgian beach

The idea is not new: build a circular dike in the sea and pump water out of it with energy from wind turbines for storage purposes if there is no actual demand for energy, like during the night. Let water flow back in again, propelling turbines to generate energy on the moment that you need it.

In 1981 the Dutch engineer Lievense presented the plan for this type of storage, but that was 1981 (when we heard him present his plans at our university) and now is 2015, where the energy problem has become acute. Decision for a go ahead: this summer.

Key data:

Discharge capacity: 500 MW for four hours
Max. difference water levels: 30 meter

In Europe, the on-land hydro storage capacity has been largely exhausted. Exception: Norway and Iceland.

[spiegel.de] – Belgien plant “iLand” in der Nordsee
[welt.de] – Wo unser Strom in Zukunft herkommen wird
[wikipedia.org] – Grid energy storage

plan-lievense[source] Original Plan Lievense

lievenseLuc Lievense

Read more…

Spectacular Short Payback Times Australian Solar Installations

solar-payback-australia

[cleantechnica.com] – Payback Predictions For Solar + Storage In Australia

Samsung Doubles Battery Capacity

Younicos-3[source]

More substantial progress from the storage front. Samsung has achieved a whopping 1 kWh/kg. This is extremely good news for e-vehicle proponents (cars, bikes), who can double vehicle range without any added weight. We care more about 24 hour home storage cycles in combination with solar panels.

Innovation: new technology that enables Samsung to coat silicon battery cathodes with high crystal graphene. The bad news: no substantial cost reduction yet.

[kompulsa.com] – Samsung Almost Doubles Li-Ion Battery Capacity

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