Archive for April 30, 2012

A New High Energy Storage Concept for Solar PV

If you cannot beat them, then join them

 Hydrogenics Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement with Enbridge Inc. to jointly develop utility scale energy storage in North America. The collaboration will bring together Hydrogenics’ expertise in water electrolysis with Enbridge’s expertise in the ownership and operation of natural gas pipeline networks and renewable energy generation. . With ’Power-to-Gas’, the hydrogen produced during periods of excess renewable generation will be injected into the existing natural gas pipeline network, proportionally increasing the renewable energy content in natural gas pipelines for essentially the operating cost of the electrolyzer. Small quantities of hydrogen can be manageable in existing natural gas pipeline networks. With the significant scale of the natural gas pipeline network, these same quantities of hydrogen have a very meaningful impact on electricity energy storage potential. The natural gas pipeline network represents a vast energy storage system which already exists. The utility scale energy storage leverages existing natural gas pipeline and storage assets to enable improved operability for the electrical system. Furthermore, the economics are further improved by leveraging existing gas generators to bring this renewable energy back to the electrical grid where, and when, it is needed most.

read more

Senate ag committee votes to restore energy funding in Farm Bill

The Senate Agriculture Committee marked up the 2012 Farm Bill on April 26 and approved a new version by a vote of 16 to 5 that includes an amendment introduced by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Dick Lugar, R-Ind., to restore funding for the Farm Bill’s energy title programs. Nine other committee members signed on to co-sponsor the Conrad-Lugar proposal, which provides $800 million to fund core energy programs through fiscal year 2017.

more

EPA, NREL Offering New Tools For Solar Projects On Contaminated Land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have launched new tools designed to test underutilized sites and contaminated land for solar and wind energy potential.

The “decision trees” give local communities and landowners ways to evaluate sites for renewable energy potential without the need for technical expertise, the agencies explain. The EPA estimates that nationwide there are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties.

The tools can be used to evaluate individual or multiple sites, such as brownfields, Superfund and other hazardous waste sites, abandoned parcels, landfills, parking lots, and commercial or industrial roofs, depending on the technology.

more

Tennessee Could Power the World’s 1.5 Billion Without Electricity

An estimated 1.5 Billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, are without electric power.  Reliable electric power is key to economic development around the world.  Electricity is needed to power cell phones, medical equipment, schools, lighting, radio, and many other uses to increase human health and the quality of life.  The answer to reliable electric power for all people is a solar powered, inexpensive, air-droppable power source.

According to the Humanitarian Technology Challenge sponsored by the United Nations Foundation and the IEEE, what is needed is a low cost, high reliability, low maintenance, high scalability and flexibility, environmentally friendly solution to energy accessibility.  A household in a rural area without power only needs a modest 0.1 to 1 kW of power, and a rural hospital only needs 3 to 5 kW of power.  A solar powered air-droppable power source fits all of these requirements.

Our vision is a 5 kW solar array combined with a power box that will house all the power electronics and enough energy storage to continue supplying power at night or through the rainy season.    The power source is neatly packaged and air-dropped into location, where it can be set up in a few hours by the local population.  All they have to do is inflate the solar panel array, plug it into the power box, and then simply plug in their lights, cell phones, or anything they require day or night.

As the village requires more electricity, the modular design of the system allows for the flexibility of adding more panels or more energy storage in the future.  A system can accommodate energy storage levels from 1 kWh to 50 kWh.  The system could also be used as an energy source for a micro grid connecting to all of the houses and small businesses in the village.

This is an achievable goal with new technology in the next 5 years at a low price that would enable a village to buy their own systems.  Instead of relying on foreign aid money, the people of the village can pay as little as $2.00 a month to buy their own power source through micro loans.

We could build a factory for these systems here in Tennessee, and sell these systems to the people of less developed countries all over the world.  This would be a giant leap to helping our fellow humans.  We can bring jobs and money into our community, while making the world a better place for everyone.  We are our brother’s keeper.

For more information on the Humanitarian Technology Challenge, visit their website at: ieeehtc.org.

Energy Department Announces Funding to Develop “Plug-and-Play” Solar Energy Systems for Homeowners

As part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $5 million available this year to develop “plug-and-play” photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be purchased, installed, and operational in one day. This effort is part of the Department’s broader strategy to spur solar power deployment by reducing non-hardware, or “soft” costs, such as installation, permitting, and interconnection, which currently amount to more than half of the total cost of residential systems. The funding will help drive innovations to fundamentally change the design and installation of residential PV systems, reducing costs for homeowners and simplifying installations and grid connectivity.

more