QUICK NEWS, 11-29: SPAIN LEADS BUILD OF MONSTER 15 MW TURBINE; A WHOLE NEW APPROACH TO SUN; WIRELESS CHARGING; SUN STORED IN LIQUID
SPAIN LEADS BUILD OF MONSTER 15 MW TURBINE
Gamesa Leads 11-Company Group Developing World's Largest Wind Turbine
Sally Bakewell, November 23, 2010 (Bloomberg News)
"Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA is leading a project with 10 more companies including Alstom SA, Acciona SA and Iberdrola Renovables SA to build a 15-megawatt turbine in a bid to drive down costs of offshore wind power.
"Gamesa is coordinating Azimut: Offshore Wind Energy 2020, an initiative that requires a 25 million-euro ($33.8 million) investment by the companies during the next four years. The program will establish technology by 2013 to develop the turbine from 2020…"
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"By building turbines more than twice as powerful as current models sold, the promoters are betting they can overcome hurdles to offshore wind power including the higher investment requirements compared with land-based wind power and the challenges in delivering energy to shore."
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"German turbine makers Enercon GmbH and REpower Systems AG have developed 6-megawatt offshore wind machines. REpower’s model, with a capacity of 6.15 megawatts, has a rotor diameter of 126 meters (413 feet). Clipper Windpower Plc is developing a 10-megawatt machine and Norwegian renewable energy company Sway AS is working on a floating version.
"Under the Azimut program, Gamesa will oversee the turbines, while Acciona Windpower will undertake the technology required to convert wind energy to electricity. Acciona Energia will carry out construction, operation and maintenance of the offshore sites and Alstom will be responsible for the sea-based substructures. Iberdrola Renovables will manage integration of offshore wind energy into the electricity grid…22 research centers specializing in offshore wind technology joined the project, which won approval from Spain’s Center for the Development of Industrial Technology…"
A WHOLE NEW APPROACH TO SUN
Solar updraft tower technology: Not all hot air; Could 2011 be the year that solar updraft towers finally make their debut on the commercial renewable energy landscape?
Rikki Stancich, 15 November 2010 (CSP Today)
"Like many other solar technologies, the concept behind solar updraft towers, or solar chimneys, has been around for more than one hundred years. Based on the principle that heat rises, the idea is that heat, captured in an enormous greenhouse, funnels upward into a tall, hollow tower. As the hot air moves through the greenhouse and upward into the tower, it propels a series of turbines (similar to Kaplan hydro turbines) positioned around the base of the tower.
"…[T]he height of the tower creates the temperature differentiation to create the airflow that drives the turbines…The technology relies on radiant heat, rather than direct sunshine, to heat the air inside the greenhouse. This means that, unlike concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaics (PV), the technology can operate in diffused sunlight – including cloudy or wet weather. In good weather, the plant should operate at a capacity factor of 50% plus, according to Australian solar updraft tower technology developer, EnviroMission."
The concept (click to enlarge)
"Despite the first prototype, (built in 1982 by Schlaich Bergermann in Manzanares, Spain), having been hailed a success, the technology has yet to be commercially developed. But 2011 may well be the year that the technology proves it weight in gold.
"EnviroMission, listed on the Australian securities exchange in 2001, has since been dedicated to refining the technology…[but] has struggled to get [a] project off the ground in the absence of adequate policy support frameworks and incentives…In  the company set up its US headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona…[and its] solar updraft tower project was selected out of hundreds of others from the Southern Californian Public Power Authority’s RFP response for renewable energy projects."
The prototype at Manzanares (click to enlarge)
"EnviroMission has since filed land applications in Arizona for two 5,500 acre (2225.85 hectare) sites, suitable in size for development of two 200MW Solar Tower power stations, has negotiated an SCPPA approved PPA for the off-take of energy generated by the first of two planned solar updraft towers, and has appointed international engineering, design and consulting firm, ARUP, as its design engineer…"
[Roger Davey, CEO, solar updraft tower technology developer EnviroMission:] "The major [advantages are] that…solar updraft towers can produce more power per megawatt installed…it does not use any water in the generation cycle…[and] we can guarantee the output, unlike PV and wind…Nuclear is probably more expensive…While coal has a capacity factor in the 80% region, when you start costing in water, [solar updraft technology] is competitive…But all new technology needs incentives…The first solar updraft tower will be roughly 750 metres tall and 130 metres in diameter. Its visibility is unlikely to cause concern …The towers have a lifespan of around 80 years…"
Wireless Power; Wireless Charging and Transmission for Mobile Devices, Consumer Electronics, Electric Vehicles, Industrial Markets, and Military Applications
Richard Martin and Clint Wheelock, 4Q 2010 (Pike Research)
"…Technological advances in wireless power charging and transmission have shown great promise for enabling plug-free and, in many cases, contactless charging for a wide range of devices and machinery – from mobile phones to electric vehicles to unmanned aircraft.
"…[S]ystems have evolved to the point of promising the ability to transmit dozens of watts over dozens of kilometers…[A]n active and emerging industry has begun to take shape around wireless power…[that] includes such major manufacturers as General Motors and General Electric, as well as start-ups such as WiTricity, Powercast, PureEnergy Solutions, and Powermat…[but it] remains diffuse…[T]here are a wide range of potential applications…no clear leaders…no industry wide specifications or standards…little agreement regarding the size of the market opportunity and the most promising areas for investment…"
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"…[O]ne of the primary drivers of WP will be convenience…[It] offers a range of simple and convenient charging modalities, from a mat that will charge several devices at once to a room-based system that will wirelessly charge all devices in a given range or volume…The second driver is cost…[T]he overall cost per watt (or kilowatt) for charging systems will inevitably go down as physical chargers and adapters are removed from the equation…[T]he opportunities posed by advances in wireless power for both cost savings and higher consumer satisfaction are extremely promising…[in] the electric vehicle market… [some] industrial applications…[and] military applications…
"…[T]here is nothing inherently green about wireless power charging and transmission…However, wireless power has a number of secondary effects with potentially important and far-reaching benefits for clean energy and carbon emissions reductions…[such as the] reduction in the number of cords, adapters, and wall outlets…Moreover, wireless charging is seen as a significant enabler for the adoption of electric vehicles. Many believe that plug-in systems present a large market hurdle for consumer adoption of EVs; the expectation is that in-garage, wireless power stations will dramatically accelerate the EV market when they become available over the next few years…"
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"…[W]ireless power transmission…could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in [five] different ways… Eliminating the need for copper-wire transmission grids… Transporting power from remote generation sources, such as wind farms and solar arrays… Collecting and utilizing micro-power from ambient sources, such as cellular networks, that otherwise dissipates…[ 4] Replacing costly and carbon-intensive electricity sources, such as diesel generators, in temporary applications and locales…[and, 5, facilitating the launch of] massive solar arrays into geosynchronous orbit, and beaming power back to Earth in the form of microwaves…
"Pike Research believes the adoption of wireless power charging and transmission devices, particularly for mobile devices, consumer electronics, and electric vehicles, will climb steadily over the next five years and then accelerate rapidly as prices fall and WP systems are integrated into many everyday products…Pike Research believes that worldwide revenues from wireless power transmission and charging systems will reach $11.8 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36%."
SUN STORED IN LIQUID
Liquid battery could harness, store solar energy; Researchers say sun-absorbing molecule could be used to help heat homes
David Teeghman, November 22, 2010 (MSNBC)
"…[T]echnologies designed to harness solar energy — for example, photovoltaics that capture photons or solar-thermal collectors that harvest heat — are not designed to store it. The sun comes out and the electricity is generated on the spot. Any extra sunlight (and there's a lot of it)…[is] forever wasted.
"…MIT's Jeffrey Grossman and his colleagues have done some initial research that could lead to an entirely new method for capturing and storing sunlight, and it has the potential to make this renewable energy indefinitely storable and transportable."
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"The research is based on the molecule fulvalene diruthenium, which is derived from the rare, expensive and platinum-like element, ruthenium…Grossman and his team found that when a fulvalene diruthenium molecule absorbs sun, it changes shape into a semi-stable formation. Adding a catalyst to the mixture, snaps the molecule back into it original form.
"This is very interesting from a solar energy perspective because the molecule can absorb sun and remain in the semi-stable state indefinitely until a catalyst snaps it back into its original form. When that last change occurs, energy is released that can be used to heat a home or power appliances."
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"Grossman thinks such a molecule could work in liquid form to convert and store solar power…
"The only problem, and it's a big one, is that the diruthenium molecule is expensive and so using it as a rechargeable liquid battery is not practical. But now that Grossman and his team understand the fundamental mechanism, they think they can find other, cheaper molecules that exhibit the same characteristics."