NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, January 9: iTURBINE? APPLE STUDIES THERMAL STORAGE FOR WIND; SOLAR BUSINESS CYCLES TO SMOOTH; TWO WHEELERS PLUG IN

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, October 16:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Get The Stacked Values Of Battery Storage
  • QUICK NEWS, October 16: Worse Than ‘The New Normal’; New Energy To The Rescue; How Rooftop Solar Cuts Everybody’s Power Bills

    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, January 9: iTURBINE? APPLE STUDIES THERMAL STORAGE FOR WIND; SOLAR BUSINESS CYCLES TO SMOOTH; TWO WHEELERS PLUG IN

    iTURBINE? APPLE STUDIES THERMAL STORAGE FOR WIND Apple's wind turbine technology uses heat, not rotational energy to generate electricity

    Mikey Campbell, December 27, 2012 (Apple Insider)

    “In a rare non-computing related patent filing…Apple proposes a wind turbine that generates electricity from converting heat energy rather than rotational energy created by the rotation of the unit's blades…[A]n application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the "On-demand generation of electricity from stored wind energy," [described] an invention wholly dedicated to solving problems of variability associated with the alternative energy production method.

    “The application, filed for in June 2011, notes that most contemporary wind turbines convert kinetic energy from wind into mechanical energy, or in some cases electricity…[W]ind energy is…converted into rotational energy through a drive shaft, which then powers machinery or, more recently, electric generators…[To mitigate wind’s variability] the filing proposes a system that converts rotational energy from the turbine into heat, which is then stored in a ‘low-heat-capacity’ fluid. From storage, heat can be selectively transferred to a ‘working fluid’ that is used to generate electricity during lulls in wind activity.”

    “In some embodiments, heat is generated from the friction created between blades connected to the rotor shaft and the low-heat-capacity fluid, such as mercury, ethanol or an inert gas, in which they are immersed. Thermal energy is stored in an insulated vessel. A thermally insulating component like a radiator or conductive rod can be used to selectively transfer heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid…[to boil water to create steam] which rotates a turbine connected to an electric generator.

    “According to the patent application, the ‘on-demand’ electric generation system can reduce costs associated with natural variations in wind supply. Further, the method can be used as a replacement for current conventional energy storage methods such as batteries…Whether Apple plans to deploy such a wind turbine system is unclear, but [it] is investing heavily in alternative energy sources…”

    SOLAR BUSINESS CYCLES TO SMOOTH Quarterly PV Demand Cycles Set to Become Less Turbulent

    Micheal Barker, January 2, 2013 (SolarBuzz)

    “As solar PV incentive policies continue to be reduced and installed system prices decline, strong cyclic changes in quarterly demand will start to [disappear]…In a policy-driven environment, policy adjustments often cause large surges in quarterly demand as c customers and developers rush to secure incentives before they are reduced.

    “…[T]his can lead to a dramatic surge in end-market demand with the final calendar year quarter often becoming the ‘make or break’ quarter for annual shipment targets…[T]he PV industry has followed this trend for the past few years…[I]f year-end demand does not meet expected levels…[manufacturers’ inventory can be] surplus to demand at year end…[while] installers and developers try and delay new purchases until current inventories are depleted or prices have become more attractive.”

    “In 2012, demand was more evenly distributed across the four quarters than seen in previous years…[and] there is every possibility that these demand trends will be repeated in 2013 also…However, the shift to more stable quarterly demand is largely a global phenomenon. At the country level, demand phasing can still vary dramatically. For example, Q4’11 demand in Germany accounted for 45% of annual demand in 2011; in China, Q4’12 demand made up almost 60% of China’s 2012 annual total.

    “As PV demand sees increasingly global contributions - and is driven more by project economics than by government policies - quarterly demand will resemble the phasing seen in 2012. This more stable demand profile will assist in stabilizing manufacturing production levels, with a gradual shipment increase each quarter accounting for the overall annual PV demand growth…[T]his would definitely represent a strong shift from the boom-and-bust patterns…[and be] a step in the right direction ahead of supply-demand rationalization…”

    TWO WHEELERS PLUG IN Electric Motorcycles and Scooters; Market Drivers and Barriers, Government Policies, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, and Global Demand Forecasts

    4Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “Sales of e-scooters and e-motorcycles have shown slow but consistent growth over the last few years, resulting in sales volumes in many regions that are high enough to be attractive to new competitors, but not large enough for breakaway market leaders or profitability yet…

    “…The one exception is in China, where e-scooters and e-motorcycles represent a much more mature market, selling in the millions of units for several years. In 2012, the Chinese market accounted for 81% of the global e-scooter and e-motorcycle market.”

    “The significantly lower operating cost and falling prices of e-motorcycles and e-scooters have grown interest from fleet customers like delivery companies, police and security forces, and even taxi services in some regions…

    “As these products provide more robust features, including longer range capability and higher speeds, demand for e-motorcycles and e-scooters will accelerate even more quickly. Pike Research forecasts that annual sales of e-motorcycles and e-scooters will reach 18.6 million by 2018…”

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