Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

ESA Ariane 6

14 June 2018 – The ESA Council met today in Paris to discuss the path towards the future exploitation of Ariane 6. In view of the progress made in the Ariane 6 programme, Participating States have decided on the completion of the development up to full operational capability and agreed to fund industrial incentives associated with the development of Ariane 6 and P120C solid rocket motor.

[] – ESA decides to complete Ariane 6
[] – Ariane 6
[] – Ariane 6
[] – Ariane 6 user manual
[] – Erster Startauftrag für die Ariane 6 [9/2017]

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Uruguay – the Forgotten Renewable Energy Champion

A few astonishing facts about Uruguay and its quiet renewable energy revolution: currently 95% electricity and 55% primary energy from renewables, chapeau! All potential for hydro-power has already been exhausted, now wind, solar and biomass are next.

Key facts about Uruguay: 176,215 km2 (somewhat smaller than the UK), 3.2 million people, 88% white (mostly Italian and Spanish), population density: 19/km2, GDP-PPP/capita: $24k, energy consumption/capita: 1800 Watt 24/7/365 average (US 9208 Watt)

[] – Renewable energy in Uruguay
[] – Uruguay
[] – Electricity sector in Uruguay
[] – Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy
[] – Uruguay’s Energy Transition Will Make You a Believer in a Clean Energy Future

In less than 10 years the country has slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs, without government subsidies. Delegates at the Paris summit can learn much from its success

Uruguay is the best example we have seen so far that the renewable energy transition is perfectly doable, in no-time, even resulting in lower energy prices and at an national per capita income level a la Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia or Panama.


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E-Road – The Somewhat Different Railroad

There is Still Potential in Thermal Solar

[] – Solarthermie: Effizienter durch neue Techniken

How Big Oil Conquered the World

Liquid Solar

Solar window covers.

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


Sono Sion Solar Car

German solar car. Price 16,000 euro. Range 250 km. On a sunny day the owner gets 30 km “for free” from the sun. Did you hear that, Australians? Californians? 35 kWh battery needs to be rented additionally. Deliveries starting by the end of 2019. The producer hopes to sell 10,000 cars per year.

[] – Official site
[] – Sion (electric car)
[] – Sono Sion moet zonnewagen voor alledag zijn

LightYear Solar Car – Update

Lightyear One is a 5 student initiative, a follow-up of the successful participation’s of the Solar Team Eindhoven at the World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2013, 2015 and 2017 (three times a win). Prototype completed by 2019. 23 potential buyers. Price tag: 119,000 euro ex BTW. The Lightyear One Car will by on the road by 2020. The car has 4 motors, one in each wheel. In April the initiative managed to collect 5 million euro investment money, which suffices to complete the prototype. The hope is to sell 3,000 cars eventually.

[] – De Lightyear One… rijdt in 2020 over de Brabantse wegen
[] – Official project site
[] – Lightyear groeit snel
[] – Lightyear One: Elektrische auto op zonnepanelen
[] – Sioux koopt Lightyear One ‘Signature Edition’
[] – Lightyear al naar Automotive Campus Helmond

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Dutch-British project involving storing/retrieving electricity by lifting/sinking large weights in a mine shaft (59,000 of those in the UK alone). Claim made by startup “Gravitricity”: power up to 20 MW per installation, life span ±50 year and a storage efficiency of 80 à 90%.

[] – Nederlands-Brits team bouwt mijnschacht om tot energieopslag
[] – Short-term energy storage with “Gravitricity” – iron versus ion
[] – Why don’t we use weights to store energy?

Wire Up Geothermal Heat With Graphene

Two Russian scientists discovered that graphene can have exceptionally large thermal conductivity, up to 5300 W/(m.K), something like 12,000 times better than copper and got rewarded with the Nobel Prize in 2010. Watch the video below showing how you can cut though ice with a graphene blade, using heat from your fingers. The Manoj Bhargava Indian billionaire thinks that graphene (carbon) cables could revolutionize how we extract heat from geothermal wells and distribute heat and invests in the technology. The idea is to abandon the concept of geothermal heat transfer through fluid motion, and instead use thermal conductivity of graphene to bring heat to the surface of the earth via wires, without moving material, pumps and pipes.

[] – Manoj Bhargava
[] – Physicists show unlimited heat conduction in graphene
[] – Graphene
[] – Could a new approach to thermal conductivity revolutionise geothermal?
[] – Thanks to Graphene, We May Harness The “Limitless Energy” Beneath Earth’s Surface
[] – Graphene thermal conductivity

Volkswagen SEDRIC Autonomous Concept

[] – VW Cedric
[] – Volkswagen unveils Sedric, its first fully autonomous vehicle
[] – Sedric in Shanghai: Self-Driving Car without a cockpit celebrates premiere in China

Autonomous Driving with Volkswagen MOIA

Uniti Electric Car

New electric car from Sweden, the Uniti. Project began at the university of Lund starting with a crowd funding of €1,227,990. To be bought online and brought to your doorstep (still by a human driver). On the market as of 2019/2020, first in India.
Range: 300 km, weight 450 kg, charge to 80% in less than 15 minutes, 75 kW peak power, 0-80 kmh < 3.5 sec, battery 22 kWh, efficiency 20 km on 1.0 kWh. Topspeed 90-130 kmh, depending on the version. 2 passengers sitting behind each other. The car has autonomous driving functions. Price tag “under €19,900” or ~$23,400 USD.

German industrial giant Siemens is involved and a production facility near Malmo will produce 50,000 units per year as off 2018.

[] – Official site
[] – Uniti
[] – Uniti Electric Car Pre-Orders Reach $60 Million



Power-to-heat (PTH) relates to the storage of electricity by converting it into heat, usually generated with heat pumps, often for space heating as the final destination. The electricity is often sourced from excess renewable electricity. Denmark is the country with the most experience with PTH. Denmark began to experiment with PTH ca. 2005 and in 2014 has 350 MW PTH capacity installed, including heat pumps of 30 MW. This number was to be increased to 450 MW in 2015, produced by 44 installations.

[] – Power to Heat
[] – Power-to-Heat
[] – Power-to-heat for renewable energy integration
[] – “Power-to-heat” oder “Power-to-gas”?
[] – Power to Heat
[] – Vattenfal, Spandau, 120 MW power-to-heat

Two-Blade Wind Turbines Are Back, This Time Offshore

Why three blades if two blades work as well? It is all the fault of 1970s Danish garage pioneers, who insisted there needed to be three blades. NASA did experiment at the same time with 2-blades (WTS-4), but that project was cancelled under Reagan, who decided that oil was American, not wind. And now we are stuck with three blades.

Or are we? The originally Dutch company Sea Wind Technology is betting on two-blades, especially for offshore, with higher wind speeds (higher loads) and more difficult installation.

Advantages two blades:

– simpler design
– less material (50% less weight, no heavy tower/monopiles necessary)
– easier offshore transportation and mounting (just pile them up)
– simpler installation vessels, flat barges suffice
– more rotor flexibility, 2 degrees of freedom: rotating and teetering, reducing load
– 2% less electricity gain, but offset by much lower installation and operational cost
– Levelized cost (LCOE) reduction: 50%

[] – Company site
[] – Two-bladed offshore turbines could cut the cost of energy by 50%
[] – Why two blades are better than three for floating wind turbines
[] – Seawind Ocean Technology
[] – Are three blades really better than two? (2011)
[] – The Scientific Reason Why Wind Turbines Have 3 Blades

Offshore wind hub Eemshaven in the Netherlands. After [1:30] you see an (onshore) two-bladed windturbine in operation.

[] – Nieuw type windmolen met slechts twee wieken getest in Eemshaven

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Boskalis Monopile Scour Protection

[] – Boskalis


Solar Panel Array Automatic Cleaning

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

Live Energy Production Data

[] – UK

Price of Hydrogen Production via Electrolysis


It was the old idea of the hydrogen economy (first use term: 1970): intermittent renewable electricity in –> hydrogen out. Storage problem solved. The idea got discredited for cost reasons. These reasons are no longer valid and hydrogen is making a come-back.

Basic fact: It takes about 50 kWh of electrical energy to electrolyze 9 liters of water to obtain 1 kg of Hydrogen.

Price hydrogen from electrolysis: 2-3 euro/kg

Energy density (MJ/kg):
Hydrogen: 143
LNG: 56
Diesel: 48
Gasoline: 46

[] – Hydrogen made by the electrolysis of water is now cost-competitive
[] – Hydrogen Economy
[] – Veel wegen leiden naar waterstofeconomie

Noah Recyclable Car

Students of the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands have developed a “100% recyclable car”.

Should be on the road by the end of 2018.

Made from flax fiber and sugar.
Elektromotor 15 kW, 6 x 10 kg batteries.
Speed 100 kmh
Range 240 km
Not suitable for a first date.

[] – Official site
[] – TU/ecomotive leaves Eco-marathon behind with ‘circular’ Noah
[] – Dieses Auto soll sich komplett recyceln lassen

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