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Archive for the category “solutions”

Should Storage be Included in EROI Considerations?

Article discusses the question whether storage should be part of EROI considerations and calculations. Take-away points:

1. A shift from an electrical system based mostly on energy stocks (with built-in energy storage function) to one based mostly on natural flows (with the construction of storage devices required to ensure large-scale availability) will probably be constrained by the energetic demands of the VRE-storage subsystem. Or in other words, high penetration of VRE will require the large-scale deployment of storage solutions, but there might be biophysical limits to how much storage can be deployed if the energy system is to remain viable.

2. Lithium-ion batteries, which are the fastest growing form of electrical storage today and are increasingly being touted as capable of supporting the energy transition to renewables, could probably only usefully contribute a short-term role to buffering VRE. The energetic productivity/EROI of an energy system reliant on lithium-ion batteries (and other similar electro-chemical storage devices) would indeed rapidly fall below the minimum useful EROI for society. The energetic requirements of pumped hydro storage, on the other hand, are sufficiently low to enable a greater displacement of conventional generation capacity and penetration of VRE, but wide scale deployment is dependent upon regional topography and water availability.

3. Storage technologies that would enable a full displacement of conventional generation capacity and 100% penetration of VRE at the current system reliability level are, as of today, unavailable. New storage solutions may emerge as a result of current and future research activities, but in order to assess their potential it will be necessary evaluate their energetic performances within the VRE-storage subsystem, all along the energy transition pathway. Only if these performances are markedly superior to existing technologies will storage potentially constitute the ‘holy grail’ of the energy transition that many expect.

VRE = Variable Renewable Energy.
EROI/EROEI = Energy Return On (Energy) Investment

[biophyseco.org] – Storage is the ‘Holy Grail’ of the Energy Transition – or is it?

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Netherlands – All Buses Electric by 2025

Largest electric bus fleet in Europe, made in Eindhoven, driving in Eindhoven. The buses are so quiet that they are equipped with a tram bell.

Dutch 18:00 News: by 2025, all 5000 buses in the Netherlands will be electric. Today 43 electric buses are operational in the Southern city of Eindhoven, and 41 elsewhere in the Netherlands. Later this year 100 electric buses will be driving in the Haarlem-Schiphol Airport region. World-wide the Netherlands is second, behind China, in promoting electric bus transport. The comfort level is higher as with petrol driven buses and much more quiet.

[nos.nl] – Nederland loopt voorop in elektrisch busvervoer
[vdlbuscoach.com] – VDL Bus & Coach introduces the Citea LLE Electric
[vdlbuscoach.com] – Citea Low Floor Electric (SLF Electric)
[wikipedia.org] – VDL Bus Chassis

Top 7 Ship Concepts Using Wind Power

Some of the ideas in the video in more detail below:

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Maritime Fuel Saving E-Ship 1 Flettner Rotor Cargo Ship

The German built E-Ship 1 and commissioned by German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon, is intended to carry wind turbine parts. A particularity is that propulsion is partially realized by four vertical rotating cylinders, 27 meters tall and 4 meters in diameter, exploiting the so-called Magnus effect. This results in 25% fuel savings.

[wikipedia.org] – E-Ship 1
[wikipedia.org] – Magnus effect

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Protix – Insects Replacing Fish as Protein Source

Over-fishing is a real problem in the modern world. A lot of fish is used for the production of protein, to be used for instance as food for animals. That protein can be obtained from another unexpected source: insects. There are about 1400 edible insects in the world. To name a few: crickets, cockroaches, worms, fruit flies, moths… Are you still there? These insects can produce high quality protein, suitable for humans as well. Europeans currently refuse to eat insects, but Africans and Asian do. Insects are cold-blooded so they don not need food to keep their body temperature high.

A big plus of insect farming: no harmful methane production. Operating farm temperature: 28 degrees Celsius. Regarding efficiency:

Insects are nutrient efficient compared to other meat sources… For every 100 grams of substance crickets contain 12.9 grams of protein, 121 calories, and 5.5 grams of fat. Beef contains more protein containing 23.5 grams in 100 grams of substance, but also has roughly 3 times the calories, and four times the amount of fat as crickets do in 100 grams. So, per 100 grams of substance, crickets contain only half the nutrients of beef

Farming method (crickets):

Crickets are usually housed in small (4′ x 8′) containers, furnished with simple items like egg cartons to provide shelter. Heat is a necessity for breeding crickets as they require temperatures around 90° Fahrenheit. House crickets live up to about eight weeks. Until they are twenty days old they are fed high protein animal feed, most commonly chicken feed, that contains between 14% and 20% protein. In the days before harvesting the crickets at around forty to fifty days old, they are often fed various vegetables, fruits and other plant matter. This is done to improve the taste of the insects and reduce the use of expensive, high protein animal feed. Crickets are normally killed by deep freezing, where they feel no pain and are sedated before neurological death. In some parts of the world crickets are baked or boiled.

[protix.eu] – Protix home page
[wikipedia.org] – Entomophagy (insects as food)
[wikipedia.org] – Insect farming
[thrillist.com] – We dare you to eat these 8 insect recipes
[fao.org] – Environmental opportunities for insect rearing for food and feed
[journals.plos.org] – Article expressing slight skepticism.

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Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

Essence: convert a vertical ocean temperature gradient in electricity

[wikipedia.org] – Ocean thermal energy conversion
[bluerise.nl] – Blue Rise company home page
[oceanenergy.tudelft.nl] – TU Delft Ocean Energy department
[google.com] – Blue Rise picture carousel
[Luis Vega OTEC Summary] – OTEC: Electricity and Desalinated Water Production – Luis A. Vega, Ph.D. (pdf, 29p)

Operation: ocean vertical temperature gradient of 25 degrees Celsius. Continuous production of electricity has been demonstrated in pilot projects, like Hawaii 210 kW plant between 1993-1998. Minimum capital cost: 6$/Watt for a 50 MW plant. If only 10 km offshore, $4.2/Watt and $0.07/kWh is achievable. Hawaii could generate 100% of its electricity needs from OTEC.


Global potential

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Land Life Company – Desert Reforestation With a Cocoon


2 billion hectare, that’s 20 million km2 or twice the US or 2/3 of Africa or more than Russia including Siberia. Currently the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is 2.13 billion ton, in the ocean it is 38 billion ton. The carbon ratio atmosphere/vegetation is 750/560. Regarding vegetation, most carbon is stored in trees. In other words, if 20 million km2 vegetation could be added to the planet, this would significantly reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

[landlifecompany.com] – Land Life Company, restoring ecosystems
[crunchbase.com] – Land Life Company

[rtlz.nl] – Land Life Company krijgt 2,4 miljoen om nóg meer bomen te planten

The company has collected 2.4 million euro internationally to expand its tree planting business. The biodegradable donut contains 25 liter of water, of which half a cup per day is fed via (capillary) “fuses” to the plant. For a few months the box is a “lifeline” for the plant, after that the plant is on its own. The trick is to plant a few thousand trees that form a “community” that offers shelter to each other. In 2016 50,000 trees were planted, this year it should be several hundreds of thousand. The aim is for hundreds of millions. Expansion of production in Mexico and China is planned, where currently all boxes are manufactured in Germany. Local production is desired though. Price cocoon 8 euro and decreasing. After two years the box is gone. A lot of volunteers use the cocoon from an idealistic motivation. Next three “Central Park sized” projects underway in Mexico, Spain and California. So far 2 billion hectare degraded land (US + China together), with one Greece added to that amount every year, but that can be upgraded again.

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Dutch Sustainability Promo

Projects/companies referred to in the video:

[wikipedia.org] – Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)
[bluerise.nl]

[finchbuildings.com] – Finch Buildings

[protix.eu] – Protix protein

[elementalwatermakers.com] – Desalinization

[landlifecompany.com] – Land Life Company, restoring ecosystems

Under Water Kites

Youtube text:

Minesto develops a new concept for tidal power plants called Deep Green. Deep Green is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal currents. The power plant is applicable in areas where no other known technology can operate cost effectively due to its unique ability to operate in low velocities. Minesto expands the total marine energy potential and offers a step change in cost for tidal energy.

The principle of the technology can be explained as a two stage process.

The first stage increases the relative flow speed entering a turbine. When the tide hits the wing it creates a lift force, since the kite is mounted to the ocean bed with a tether and is controlled by a rudder, the kite can be taken in the desired trajectory, here in an eight formed path. The method increases the flow velocity into the turbine by 10 times, compared to the actual stream velocity.

The second stage uses a generator to convert kinetic energy into electrical power.

The net result is increased power from a smaller package. The planned normal full size weighs only 7 tons excluding anchoring which gives an energetic payback time of 3 weeks, compared to 8 months for onshore wind.

The test confirms power production of the plant at Marin in Holland.

Potential: 800 kW per kite
First project: Anglesey, Wales/UK (Holyhead Deep)
Project size: eventually 80 MW
Span width kite: 12 meter
Argument pro under water kite: one needs 15 times less material per generated kWh as compared to wind turbines

[wikipedia.org] – Tidal kite turbines
[minesto.com] – Minesto Holyhead Deep, 30 million euro project
[trouw.nl] – Een onderwater-vlieger haalt stroom uit de stroming

Barsha Pump

Youtube text:

The empowering people. Award recognizes creative technological solutions for sustainable improvment of basic services. In 2016, the third prize was awarded to aQysta for the Barsha Pump – Hydro-powered Irrigation. Developed to help farmers, this waterwheel utilizes the energy from the flow of rivers and canals to pump water, regardless of the flow velocity. The device, which can pump long distances, is not only affordable but uses indigenous materials. It needs little maintenance and does not require any fuel or electricity to work. This ensures that the pump has no operating expenses.

Context: Nepal, high mountains and farmers breaking their backs while carrying buckets of water from the brook to their fields.
Solution: pump the water from the brook to the field, using hydro-power for the pumping, eliminating expensive fossil fuel. Pump and generator combined in a single device.
Inventors: Pratap Thapa (Nepal) and Fred Henny, working together in Aqysta, Delft, the Netherlands. Mr Thapa meanwhile operates in Nepal and mr Henny runs the business in Holland.
Installed base: 50 pumps world-wide and 40 in Nepal.
Required flow: 0.5-2 m/s, generating 1.6 bar air pressure
Max. elevation: 20 meters
Flow rate: 0.5 liter/second
Application potential word-wide: 250 million hectare agricultural soil
Price: 2,000 euro (diesel pump cost few hundred euro, but with the Barsha pump you have 10 years no fuel cost, resulting in 70% overall pumping reduction cost)
Potential new markets: Colombia, Indonesia, Ghana, Guatemala and Zambia
Innovative aspect: oval rather than circular hose diameter, allowing for higher pressure buildup

Product comes as a kit from parts produced in Europe.
Nepalese government wants to subsidize 200 pumps.
Larger prototype under development for Spain and Turkey.
Winners Siemens Empowering People Award.

[aqysta.com] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Spiral Pump
[trouw.nl] – Waterpomp bedruipt zichzelf

Nissan Leaf Autonomous Drive Demonstration in London

The London experience was not without problems and glitches. But again: the self-driving car harbors the potential to abolish expensive private car ownership and make it part of the public transport system. This will lead to fewer cars driving on the roads and zero cars parked, with as a consequence less embodied energy of the entire car fleet, that will be far more utilized than privately owned cars. More people will have access to affordable (because driverless) “taxis”.

[cleantechnica.com] – Firsthand Account Of Self-Driving Nissan LEAF Trip In London

Now You’re Talking: Tesla Storage for $350/kWh

teslaTesla storage home wall (sort of king-size Apple computer mouse; we reluctantly picked a photo with a car to give you an idea of the size)

Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for 10kWh and $3000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries begin in late Summer.

[mashable.com] – The killer feature of Tesla’s Powerwall is the price
[cleantechnica.com] – Tesla’s Home Battery Offering In Context
[teslamotors.com] – Energy Storage for a Sustainable Home
[spiegel.de] – Batterie für Selbstversorger

Energy equivalent is one liter gasoline

Auftrag: Zero Emission – Die Fabrik der Zukunft

German language documentary.

Es ist Zeit für eine neue Fabrik. Weltweit arbeiten Forscher an ihrer Realisierung. Ihr Auftrag lautet: Entwicklung von Faktor 10-Technologien. Effizienzsteigerung. Integration von erneuerbarer Energie. Biobased Industry. Null Emissionen. Ein Jahr lang begleiteten die Dokumentarfilmer Claudia und Peter Giczy Pilotprojekte zum Thema Zero Emission. Der Film zeigt u.a. High-Tech-Innovationen in der metallverarbeitenden Industrie und ein „Cleaner Production” Projekt in Indiens Boomtown Gurgaon.

Driverless Car

Everywhere on the planet there are projects underway to make use of the new possibilities of mapping, GPS and IT (keyword: ‘location awareness’) to develop a ‘driverless car’, both for individual and freight transport. The potential is huge, because for the first time, the need to own a car would disappear and mass-car ownership can be replaced by ‘car on demand’. Additionally, the size of the car can be adapted to the number of people that need to be transported. In most cases, small, energy-efficient scooter-cars like these should suffice for most-often single-person transport:

All you need to do is use your mobile device and check availability and make a reservation. The transporter will drive to your home without a driver and all you need to do is step in and travel to your destination. Maintenance of the transporter is a responsibility of the company, not the individual.

Most commercial airplanes spend more time in the skies than on the ground and this for decades on end, which is unproblematic as long as the maintenance is done properly. With cars that is not different. The big advantage is that the transporter will be used all the time, based on the ‘law of large numbers’. In other words: the same transportation performance can be realized with far fewer transporters.

An additional advantage is that the cities will be freed of cars that spend most of their economic life time in a parked condition. Example: average number of kilometers/year driven in Holland per car is ca. 13,000. With an average speed of say 60 khm, that’s 200 hours, in a year that has 16*365 = 5840 daylight hours. Using supply/demand principle and subsequent pricing, people are encouraged to travel outside the peak hours as much as possible. Public transport can be used to take the brunt of commuting transport. When energy shortages really begin to bite, the number of kilometers/month can be rationed. If you realize that the embodied energy of a car is something like 76,000 kWh (that’s 14 kwh/day on a 15 year lifespan) before it has driven a single kilometer, the energy saving potential is considerable (ratio embodied energy/fuel cost is ca. 15-25%).

But hey, why not expand on the idea of driverless vehicles. Why go to the supermarket, if you can shop from home? Send your order over the wire and a little self-driving robot will come your way and deliver it literally on your door step. Why use a 1000+ kg car to drive to the supermarket to fetch perhaps 5 kg of groceries, if a small vehicle of say 50 kg will give the same result.

[wikipedia.org] – Google Driverless Car

Additional advantage of automatic driving: using the driverless principle and accurate computer control, large columns of personal cars and trucks can drive close to each other in a convoy and thus save a substantial amount of fuel.

And again, you don’t need fossil fuel to drive:

The car shown absorbs enough energy from the environment all by itself to transport 4 adult persons over 700 km/day (at least in a sufficient sunny environment like Australia).

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Cargo Bikes

[ecowatch.com] – 5 Reasons Cargo Bikes Are the Perfect Mode of Transportation

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Rocket Mass Heater

openhaard[source]
Many personal adds refer to it: a fire place, a glass of wine and a beloved one to have a ‘good conversation’ with (about the prenuptial agreement perhaps?), nothing beats an open fire to keep people warm. Or does it?

The problem with the standard open fire place is that perhaps up to 90% of the heat escapes unused via the chimney, just to heat the universe. And that the heat that is generated, is often too intense and short-lived. A remedy against that is to store the heat in a large mass and to release it evenly and slowly. That’s where the rocket mass heater comes in.

rocketmassheater1[source]
The hot air generated in the black stove is transported through the stone mass below the window, before it is released through the chimney at considerably lower temperature as would have been the case if released directly. Now the heat is stored in the large stone body. In this manner you need up to six times less fuel to achieve the same heating result. Additionally, you need to pay less attention to the fire during the day, just get the stone mass warm early in the morning and you’re warm for a couple of hours.

rocketmassheater2[source]

rmh-doug-2009[source]

[wikipedia.org] – Rocket mass heater
[inspirationgreen.com] – Rocket Mass Heaters

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Saving Fuel With More Gears

Volkswagen was the first to introduce in 2003 a gear-box with 6 gears. Mercedes and BMW took up the gauntlet and increased even more. Now Volkswagen brings a 10-gear gear-box for their mass market models Golf and Passat. Advantages: less wear of the coupling and better fuel efficiency (16%). The new gear-box weighs 5 kg more, but has the same size as the old one.

Zehngang-DSG

gearbox2

Zehngang-DSG

[spiegel.de] – Zehnganggetriebe von VW: Jetzt wird’s zweistellig

Volkswagen XL1 review

Youtube text:

After nearly ten years in the making, the Volkswagen XL1 has arrived, and we were lucky enough to drive one in this video review.

Volkswagen had one thing in mind with the XL1 – to create a useable, everyday vehicle that would use just a single litre of fuel for every hundred kilometres it travelled. Three concept cars and thirteen years of development later, the Volkswagen XL1 has now become a production reality.

It boasts a stylish teardrop design, shaped by aerodynamics to create as little drag as possible. It sits just over a metre tall, which is lower than most sports cars, including a Porsche Boxster.

When the XL1 finally arrives in the UK, only around 20-30 cars will be on offer, with early estimates of the price tag coming in at around £100,000.

Volkswagen claim the car can achieve 313mpg, so to put this to the test, we drove the XL1 around a short loop in full electric mode. Astonishingly, we managed to achieve 403mpg – so it actually beat the figures stated by Volkswagen.

Okay, so, when we did drive the XL1 a little faster, that figure did fall to 196mpg. But it’s still efficient, and hardly going to break the bank. Overall, we were pretty impressed with the XL1 – the build quality of the interior was stunning, and it was hard not to be seduced by the cutting-edge technology on board.

Don’t worry, though; it’s going to be a while before the next Volkswagen Golf looks like an XL1.

Short Term Battery Storage Could Eliminate Need Fossil-Based Backup Capacity

Battersea_Power_Station_London_7962288232[source]
Battersea power station in London

Earlier we reported about considerable progress being made in bringing down the price of storage of electrical energy. This could greatly reduce the need for maintaining fossil fuel based backup capacity. In the modern grid there is always spare capacity standing by, that can be switched on quickly to meet varying demand patterns. If indeed the cost of storage could be brought down to ca. 100-200$/kwh, than the need for the spare capacity mentioned above could be considerable reduced and backup power stations can be closed.

And it is not just batteries that will replace the need for backup generation capacity, there is also the option of pumped hydro storage, that could cover both short and medium term storage capacity.

[renewableenergyworld.com] – Energy Storage Will Soon Replace Simple Cycle Combustion Turbine Peaker Plants

SolaRoad Operational

kamp-solaroad[source]
Dutch minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp opened the SolaRoad, a bicycle path paved with solar panels.

Earlier reports from this site, here and here.

[miamiherald.com] – Dutch to test solar panels on bicycle path
[news.yahoo.com] – Dutch unveil world’s first solar-powered bicycle path
[nos.nl] – Fietsen over zonnepanelen
[green.wiwo.de] – Erster Solar-Radweg der Welt in Betrieb genommen

solaroad20

Solaroad-fiets-def-8303[source]

solaroad21[source]

solaroad-future[source]
The future?

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