Archive for Benjamin Maddox

Solar Panel Bicycle Paths

The Netherlands, known for their massive sustainability projects, is now testing solar panels on bicycle paths. Their project named “SolaRoad” is underway this week, testing a new way to collect solar energy. The “cycle-crazy Dutch” are developing the first SolaRoad near Amsterdam. It is built of massive, “Lego-like modules” of solar panels into the concrete with heavy-duty glass on top to protect it. Another great aspect is the translucent plastic coating so bikers don’t slip. Each square yard of road generates about 50-70 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, almost enough for the initial strip of 70 years to supply power to one or two Dutch households. This first test is in Krommenie, said to run three years costing 3 million euros ($3.7 million), funded by the province of North Holland and a couple Dutch companies who are excited to commercialize solar roads. The project is already up and running, and generating electricity before it’s actual opening tomorrow. If this works like planned and brings a sufficient amount of profit against the initial installation costs, this project will hopefully open ideas to other countries willing to make the commitment.

The full article can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/dutch-installing-solar-panels-bicycle-path-26832160

By Molly Denson

Universities Make A Move Towards Solar Energy

SolarPV_300x2001

In a move to transition to more sustainable energy production American University, George Washington University and George Washington University Hospital are joining together in a plan to provide all three institutions with clean solar energy. The three joined together for a 20 year solar purchase that will supply 123 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year. The clean energy will be supplied from several large scale solar farms in the surrounding North Carolina area comprised of 243,000 solar panels and will comprise the largest PV project on to the East of the Mississippi River. This partnership will remove roughly 15,000 metric tons of CO2 which equates to the removal of roughly 3,000 cars from the roads. This step forward in energy production by the three institutions will hopefully lay a blueprint for other universities who are wanting to switch to cleaner means of energy production.

Read the full report from the American University here: http://www.american.edu/finance/sustainability/au-to-source-50-percent-power-from-solar.cfm

White House on Climate Change

Solar panels on the White House

Volkswagen Chattanooga Powers Up Largest Solar Park In Tennessee

VW solar plant

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant powered up the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in the state of Tennessee. At a dedication ceremony here, dignitaries today flipped a giant light switch to signal the official opening of the “Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park”, built on Volkswagen’s compound in Chattanooga.

The solar installation at Volkswagen Chattanooga confirms the awarding of the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification to VW by the U.S Green Building Council in late 2011. At that time, the Building Council called the Chattanooga manufacturing facility “the world’s greenest auto plant” and noted it was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the top LEED certification. Today, the Chattanooga plant remains the only auto plant worldwide to earn the LEED Platinum certification. 


The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs more than 3,000 people who manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.


Silicon Ranch (www.siliconranch.com), which develops and operates solar energy solutions tailored to meet its customers’ needs, will own the solar park and sell the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Phoenix Solar Inc. (www.phoenixsolar.com), the U.S. subsidiary of Phoenix Solar AG (www.phoenixsolar-group.com), provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services in building the solar park over the last six months. 


Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC, said, “We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park,” he said, “is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”



Ford develops solar powered car for everyday use

Ford has developed a concept model that runs primarily on solar power, which could bring the world one step closer to having a vehicle for everyday driving that is not dependent on traditional energy sources.

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is a collaboration between Ford, SunPower Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The concept car is expected to be unveiled next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Creating A Solar Energy Bank

solar-works-rooftop-panels-310x224What if households could deposit excess solar output in an “energy bank”, and use it to drawn down when needed or loan energy to others.

There is no doubt that rooftop solar systems are seen as a threat to incumbent utilities – be they they generators suffering from lower demand or network operators finding their business model under threat.

Most of the scenarios generated for the development of rooftop solar, such as that by the CSIRO Future Grid forum, suggest the development of in-home battery storage that could enable householders to shift their peaks, store energy for night-time or even, one day, go off grid.

But another proposal involves a different way of thinking about this – using storage, in this case compressed air, to create a sort of “solar bank” that would allow householders to deposit surplus electricity, and either draw down for their own use or lend it out to others.

The proposal comes from General Compression, a Boston-based company which is developing and trialling technology that allows excess output to be stored as compressed air in large caverns.

General Compression argues that its proposal avoids the pitfalls of rooftop solar created when too much strain in put on the network when the sun goes down, or from too much electricity being sent back to the grid.

But what if a single bulk energy storage facility could act like a bank for thousands of distributed solar system owners, suggests Peter Rood, the development manager from General Compression.

A network connected storage project would allow multiple customers to “deposit” energy into the bank during the day when they have excess generation and later “withdraw” that energy when the sun goes down.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/18/creating-solar-energy-bank/#8XV1VeDRoeQXUWD2.99

WattJoule Licenses Exclusive Rights to Breakthrough Energy Storage Technology

WattJoule Corporation, a developer of next-generation flow battery energy storage systems, has entered into an exclusive, worldwide intellectual property licensing agreement with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation. This agreement allows the full commercialization of patent pending, breakthrough energy storage technology developed over the last three years and funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, under the program leadership of Dr. Imre Gyuk; the Office of Naval Research; and the National Science Foundation. The latter two funding sources have focused on various fundamental aspects of the technology. The DOE funding, in particular, has focused on more applied development which has led to significant performance improvements. “The aim of our research is to provide industry with proven, cost-effective new technology,” said Dr. Gyuk, “we are setting the stage for widespread deployment of Energy Storage.”

“This technology allows us to practice high-power, high-efficiency operation that enables low-cost energy storage across a number of chemistries,” said Greg Cipriano, VP Business Development and Founder of WattJoule. “The heart of our new redox flow battery is a greatly improved electrochemical cell, where we can produce 10 times more power, for the same volume, over commercial flow battery systems. This high-power operation significantly reduces the amount of expensive material needed and this dramatically reduces cost. It also enables greater dynamic power range, which opens up a large spectrum of applications for one product platform that no other company can provide.”

About WattJouleWattJoule is developing a next generation electricity energy storage system that uses a safe water-based liquid. The company has patent-pending breakthroughs that solve the historical problems that have prevented the full commercialization of flow battery technology. WattJoule’s product platform will enable a wide range of customer benefits including a reduction in electricity costs and enabling the widespread deployment of wind and solar generation, microgrids, advanced smart grid capabilities and grid reliability improvements. More information is available at www.wattjoule.com.
About University of Tennessee Research Foundation UTRF is the not-for-profit organization responsible for commercializing and licensing technology discovered by faculty across the University of Tennessee System. For more information or to view technologies available for licensing, visit utrf.tennessee.edu.

PHG Energy and General Electric Provide Renewable Power to West Tennessee City

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec 18, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The first commercial collaboration between PHG Energy (PHGE) of Nashville and GE Power & Water business of the General Electric Company GE is officially online and creating electricity from waste materials at a new Covington, Tenn., facility.

GE’s Clean Cycle* generator, based on the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology, produces power by utilizing heat delivered through PHGE’s downdraft gasification system and waste-mixing process. The two companies successfully proved the coupling of the technologies in an extensive research and development project that resulted in the first collaboration. Now the system is deployed and functions using the city’s wood waste and sewer sludge. Previously both waste streams had been transported and dumped into landfills at considerable cost to the city.

NAACP: New Report Examines State Energy Policies

The NAACP has released a new report that assesses energy policy in all 50 states from a civil rights lens. Titled “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs,” the report provides analysis of each state’s energy sector policies based on both the environmental and economic impacts.

“Our report is a call to action for our community and our leaders,” stated NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller. “This is both a monumental moment and an opportunity for civic engagement. The decision made about energy by public utility boards and local officials have a direct impact on our community. We must know who the decision makers are and spur them into action with our votes.”

The report assesses states on five different criteria: Renewable portfolio standards, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards, Net Metering Standards, Local Hire Provisions, and Minority Business Enterprise provisions. Additionally, the report lays out the potential for each state to become a leader in clean energy.

“The ‘Just Energy Policies’ report lays out a vision, supported by practical data, of the path to transitioning from energy production processes that are harmful to our communities, to energy efficiency and clean energy policy landscape that reduces pollution and creates new jobs,” stated Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Director. “Given double digit unemployment and staggeringly stark wealth differentials for African Americans, the report explicitly details mechanisms for ensuring economic gain for our communities and businesses.”

Based on the analysis of the data, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York rank as the states with the best energy policies, while Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee are ranked at the bottom.

“While Alabama does a good job assisting families with their utility bills and winterizing homes, our state must put more money into research and create renewable energy in our state and stop depending on coal to produce our electricity,” stated Bernard Simelton, President of the Alabama NAACP. “The coal that we use to produce electricity causes pollution in our communities, river and streams and a vast majority of those facilities are located in or close to African American and poor communities. These plants causes health issues such as lung disease and the Governor has not extended Medicaid to those individuals that would have insurance coverage that live in these areas. Therefore, many will die early from exposure to pollution if we do not change now.”

“The NAACP views clean energy as a civil rights and social justice issue. In Tennessee, we have to step away from spending billions of dollars on imported energy resources and embrace the renewable energy resource opportunities in our own backyard,” stated Gloria Sweet-Love, President of the Tennessee NAACP. “Tennessee has no renewable portfolio, no energy efficient resource standards, no net metering standard and no state or local hiring goals. “

But Tennessee is on the cusp of change,” continued Sweet-Love. ” We already have a minority business enterprise certification provision, and just last year the state opened its largest solar plant. We must admit that African Americans are underrepresented in the energy sector workplace, having only 1.1 percent of energy jobs. Our new report identifies clean energy potential state-by-state. I am concerned that an African American child is three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and twice more likely to die of asthma attacks than a white American child.