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Archive for the category “solar”

Stirling Engine & Solar Thermal Power

Simple solar thermal power with a Stirling engine. Storage comes included.

[pointfocus.com] – EuroDish – Stirling System Description
[azelio.com] – Company site
[swedishcleantech.com] – Company site

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Solar Panels That Create Hydrogen Out of Thin Air

The university of Leuven in Belgium has developed a solar panel that can use the electricity it generated to convert atmospheric water vapor into hydrogen gas. Current production rate 0.25 m3 per panel per day (on average over a full year), where 15% of the sunlight is converted in hydrogen. The researchers claim that 20 panels can provide a family of electricity and heat all year around (1825 m3 hydrogen).

The claims are to be verified in a test home in Oud-Heverlee, near Leuven, where 20 “hydrogen panels” will be installed in combination with a 4 m3 hydrogen storage.

[kuleuven.be] – KU Leuven scientists crack the code for affordable, eco-friendly hydrogen gas
[sciencebusiness.net] – Solar panel produces hydrogen gas at KU Leuven
[cleantechnica.com] – Belgian Scientists Announce New Solar Panel That Makes Hydrogen
[twitter.com] – University Leuven, Solar Fuels
[kuleuven.be] – Solar Fuel Efficiency Records

[vrt.be] – Lots of Dutch language videos here

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EU Largest Floating Solar Park in the Netherlands

Households: 600
Scale: 6150 panels
Date: September 2018
Initiative: grass-roots
Installation time: 4 weeks
Wind resistance: Beaufort 10
Financial payback time: 15 years
Location: Lingewaard, Bemmel (Nijmegen)
Advantages: higher yield because of water reflection, surface water has a cooling effect on the the panels (higher yield), no alternative economic exploitation.

We couldn’t find any exact figure of the surface area, but we estimate it to be 10,000 m2. In the Netherlands an additional 7,000,000 m2 similar surface water could be used for the same purpose. That would be enough for 700 similar additional projects or 420,000 households of 8 million in total.

Unexpected additional benefit: reduction of evaporation of scarce surface water. This could become more important in the light of climate change.

[energiekaart.net] – Lingestroom gaat zonnestroom leveren van grootste drijvende zonnepark in de EU

[source]

[source] After a month the first results are in: the first 1 MWh has been harvested. Negative development: bird poop, lots of.

Solar Panel Still Working After 40 Years

Journalists discovered a shabby, nearly-forgotten, 40 year old solar panel in New Hampshire. And it was still producing electricity. Perhaps not as much as in the beginning, but “on a partly cloudy midafternoon” it could still cough up 24 Watt of the original 42 nameplate peak-Watt. This shows that the standard 20-year economic lifetime of solar parks is very conservative.

[concordmonitor.com] – A solar panel in the New Hampshire woods is old enough to run for president

Even more spectacular and accurately German-academically established are the results from a 35 year old solar array at the University of Oldenburg:

[presse.uni-oldenburg.de]
[uol.de] – 30 Years at the Service of Renewable Energies

Spectacular! Conversion efficiency decreased only mildly from 8.55% to 8.2%! The panels survived the companies AEG and Telefunken that build the installation.

[source] The 35 year old solar modules at Oldenburg University

Some calculations. A standard 300 Watt panel of 160 x 100 cm at a price of 250 euro (without installation cost) will produce in Oldenburg something like 285 kWh per year. Multiply that with 50 years = 14.250 kWh lifetime total. One liter of gasoline contains 12 kWh energy in the form of heat. Note that electricity from a solar panel is “higher grade” than heat. You can power your fridge on electricity but not on heat. Conversion of heat into electricity comes with a loss of perhaps 50%.

So this 30 kilo solar panel will produce the thermal equivalent of 1188 liter of gasoline over 50 years or 2375 liter of gasoline if required for electricity generation. Note that these 2375 liter gasoline weigh 1710 kilo. An amount that needs to be transported from Siberia or Saudi-Arabia to Germany first, where the Good Lawd deliverers all these photons at location in Oldenburg, free of charge.

Current consumer price gasoline in Oldenburg: 1.35 euro/liter.
1188 liter would cost 1604 euro.
2375 liter would cost 3208 euro.
The panel would cost ca. 500 euro, including installation and grid connection.

From this it becomes obvious that once a society is able to store renewable electricity efficiently, and all the signs are that this is going to work (battery 98%, pumped hydro 80%, power-to-gas 70%, CAES 60%), the shocking result is that renewable energy will be much cheaper than fossil fuel. Note that the figures here relate to Oldenburg in Northern Germany. In North-Africa, Australia or elsewhere, solar conditions are up to twice as good and renewable electricity prices can be slashed accordingly, giving poor but sunny countries the excellent opportunity to make money with the export of hydrogen-based stored energy (H2, NH3, CH4, NaBH4), generated by huge solar arrays at a cost of 2 cent/kWh.

P.S. criticasters might bring forward that the gasoline prices contain a considerable chunk of taxes, which is true. The counterargument is that that argument applies to the solar panels as well. We are comparing end-consumer prices for both gasoline and solar panels. Add to that that gasoline prices are unlikely to fall, but could very well increase, certainly if a carbon tax is applied, hand-in-hand with increasing signs of disastrous climate change:

[omroepbrabant.nl] – February 15, 2019, warmest 15-2 day in recorded history in the South of the Netherlands.

It is safe to predict in contrast that prices for solar voltaics will further come down considerably:

[newenergyupdate.com] – Solar costs forecast to drop 40% by 2020

Massive further reduction of cost of solar arrays is possible if one abandons the concept of heavy and expensive solar modules and corresponding all-weather mounting racks and replace them with thin solar film, mounted on lightweight plastic and rails, much like a curtain. A bit like this:

They can be installed in a desert with low air circulation, with the possibility of closing “the curtains” in case of rare strong winds.

Rapid Growth Global Solar

From 40 GW in 2010 to 640 GW in 2020.

[energiebusiness.nl] – The Solar Future: einde aan dalende elektriciteitsprijzen

Impressions Car Solar Team Eindhoven

Solar Team Eindhoven will present its latest solar car in July and participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October 2019. Here a student of the TU Eindhoven in discussion with dr Peter Harrop.

[tue.nl] – ‘We want to show that solar cars are the solution in the energy transition’
[worldsolarchallenge.org] – World Solar Challenge Australia 2019
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar One Goes in Production

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Dutch Grid Can’t Take More Solar Power

Ameland, 6 MW

The Netherlands has 3.7 GW nameplate solar power, but the grid in its present shape can’t absorb much more new power and network operators refuse to take solar power from larger parties, like companies or private associations. Private households are still welcome. The problem is the largest in the North of the country, where land prices are relatively lower and much private money is available for new solar parks. It could take years to install new cable capacity.

[nos.nl] – Geen plek voor nieuwe zonneparken op stroomnetwerk
[nos.nl] – geen nieuwe zonneparken, het net kan het niet aan
[vk.nl] – Het netwerk is te krap

Perhaps the parties that are shunned by the grid should contemplate producing hydrogen off-grid:

[fluxenergie.nl]

In preparation:

– Hoogezand-Sappemeer, 103 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Zonnepark Midden Groningen B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Borsele, 55 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Solarpark Scaldia B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Steenwijkerland, 51.3 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Heerenveen, 51.3 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Tynaarlo, 32.06 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Herbo Groenleven B.V.. Nog niet gerealiseerd.
– Delfzijl, 30.8 MWp
Ontwikkeld door Sunport Delfzijl BV. Inmiddels gerealiseerd.

[zonopkaart.nl] – Map of solar projects in Holland, realized and planned

Frisian village Garyp is self-sufficient with largest solar park in the Netherlands

The Scale of the Global Energy Transition

[source] An area in the Sahara with the size of Bulgaria, covered with solar panels and all the world’s present day energy needs would be covered.

The Sahara is associated with strong solar irradiation. How much Sahara surface area would be required to power the entire world with pv-solar? Mehran Moalem, PhD, UC Berkeley, Professor, expert on Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Fuel Cycle, did the calculation.

How much energy is the world consuming anyway?

The total world energy usage (coal+oil+hydroelectric+nuclear+renewable) in 2015 was 13,000 Million Ton Oil Equivalent (13,000 MTOE) – see World Energy Consumption & Stats. This translates to 17.3 TW continuous power.

OK, so how much of the Sahara would be required to generate these 17.3 TW? Surprisingly little:

Now, if we cover an area of the Earth 335 kilometers by 335 kilometers with solar panels, even with moderate efficiencies achievable easily today, it will provide more than 17,4 TW power. This area is 43,000 square miles.

For Europeans, that’s 111,370 km2 or relatively small European countries like Bulgaria, Iceland or Greece. For Americans, think Tennessee or Virginia.

[forbes.com] – We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara
[wikipedia.org] – List of countries and dependencies by area

PV-Solar Global Installed Base

Note that the European installed base grew from 45 GW in 2010 towards 120 GW in 2017. That’s 85 GW in 7 years. Linear extrapolation to 2030 would imply an extra 134 GW. In reality it could be (much) more as the price of solar panels is expected to further reduce significantly, think $100/m2 soon. Let’s say 300 GW nameplate in total in 2030, which would be equivalent to 30 GW average power 24/7/365 (see explanation of “nameplate power” in the previous post). From this it is obvious that wind power will be dominant in Europe for years to come.

[jrc.ec.europa.eu] – EU PV Status Report 2017

LightYear Solar One Goes in Production

Solar Team Eindhoven in the Netherlands made good on its promise to bring the world’s first solar car into production. Born from the Australian Solar Challenge, a race for solar cars through the Australian desert, students/engineers from the Technical University of Eindhoven helped maturing the technology to the production stage, realized earlier this month in Helmond, the Netherlands. Initial small volume price tag: 119,000 euro.

[cleantechnica.com] – Solar EV News — Buzz Lightyear, Your Car Is Ready!
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar Car – Update
[deepresource] – Solar Driving – State of the Art
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie
[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)
[deepresource] – Stella Lux (2015)
[innovationorigins.com] – LightYear ist Bereit für die Zukunft
[Google Maps] – Helmond, the Netherlands production facility

For the average Dutch daily range of 34 km and weather conditions, most of the year the car doesn’t need charging from the grid.

Solar Challenge Australia 2013 – Team Eindhoven

LightYear One chassis revealed

SolaRoad Followup Project

YouTube: Sten de Wits, co-founder and commercial director of SolaRoad, spoke to Global Footprint Network during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 13, 2018. He had kindly accepted our invitation to our affiliated event One Planet Progress VIP Breakfast. The event was organized in partnership with, and hosted by, the Dutch Consulate.

The SolaRoad world’s first solar bicycle path in Krommenie in the Netherlands, turns out to be a success and new a, more ambitious project is initiated in Haarlemmermeer. This time heavy traffic will test the solar panels, baked into the prefab concrete slabs.

Again the rationale for the project: Holland is a very densely populated country and soil is expensive and scarce. Where in, say, Mongolia there is ample space to setup a solar panel field, in Holland it makes economically sense for a dual use of road and energy generation function.

[haarlemmermeergemeente.nl] – Wegdek Fokkerweg als zonnepaneel
[sonnenseite.com] – Solarer Radweg hat mehr Energie als erwartet geliefert

[deepresource] – SolaRoad Project Still Alive (2017)
[deepresource] – SolaRoad Project Update (2016)
[deepresource] – SolaRoad Operational (2014)
[deepresource] – SolaRoad Finally Launched (2014)
[deepresource] – SolaRoad (2013)

[Google Maps] – Fokkerweg, Haarlemmermeer

World’s Largest Solar Park Noor in Morocco

– investment: $9B
– 540 MW peak
– Technology: CSP and molten salt
– Construction begin: 2013
– Commission date: 2016
– Build bij TSK-Acciona-Sener/Spain

[wikipedia.org] – Ouarzazate Solar Power Station

The State of Solar

[worldatlas.com] – Countries That Use The Most Solar Power
[energy-charts.de] – Electricity-production in Germany

There is Still Potential in Thermal Solar

[ingenieur.de] – Solarthermie: Effizienter durch neue Techniken

Liquid Solar

Solar window covers.

[theepochtimes.com] – Liquid Solar Technology Could Be Next Gen of Renewable Energy

[solarwindow.com]

Solar Panel Array Automatic Cleaning

This is NOT what you want, because of the water:

Thermal Solar Wood Chips Drying

Total collector size: 348 m2, used to dry 4,000 m3 wood chips per year.

Note how thin the collector really is

[cona.at] – Hackschnitzeltrocknung

Solar Road in China

[cleantechnica.com] – China Opens 1-Kilometer Long Solar Road

Printing Solar Cells

Solliance from Eindhoven, The Netherlands, wants to mover away from standard solar panels towards thin film solar and apply those to surfaces like cars, windows, curved building surfaces or even glasshouses:

They are close to printing cheap roles of hundreds of meters of solar thin film cells, with a conversion efficiency of 12.2-13.5 % on the basis of perovskites.

[hightechcampus.com] – Solliance dichterbij drukmachine voor zonnecellen op rol

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New Utility Solar Price Record

[source]

A developer of a 300 MW solar park in Saudi-Arabia, Masdar/Abu Dhabi, is willing to accept the world record low price of 1.79 dollar cent/kWh. There were initially 27 applicants for this tender.

[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Nieuw record: Zonnestroom tegen 1,5 eurocent/kWh voor Saudi’s

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