A simple, cheap device turns sunlight into hydrogen fuel.
If solar power is to become a primary source of electricity around the world, we’ll need cheap ways to store energy from the sun when it isn’t shining. A paper published in the journal Science this week reports a major step toward such a system. Researchers have developed a device that cheaply and efficiently converts the energy in sunlight into hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel and is easily stored.
Computer giant IBM last week revealed the prototype of its advanced solar electricity generators: a 30ft-high concrete “sunflower” fitted with wafer-thin aluminium mirrors and a maze of tiny tubes for carrying coolant through the heart of each device. The machines, which will be built in conjunction with the Swiss company Airlight Energy, can convert 80% of the sun’s radiation into electricity and hot water, it is claimed, with each generating 12 kilowatts of electricity and 20kW of heat on a sunny day, enough to supply several homes.
Science publie aujourd'hui les dernières avancées du laboratoire de Michael Grätzel, à l'EPFL, dans le domaine de la production d'hydrogène à partir d'eau et du rayonnement solaire.
En combinant une paire de cellules solaires à perovskite et des électrodes à bas prix et sans métaux rares, les scientifiques ont obtenu un taux de conversion du soleil vers l'hydrogène de 12,3%, un record avec des matériaux si abondants. La course au rendement de l'énergie solaire se joue sur plusieurs fronts. Panneaux photovoltaïques au silicium de plus en plus performants, cellules à colorant, cellules à concentration et centrales solaires thermodynamiques visent tous un même objectif : produire un maximum d'électrons à partir des rayons du soleil.
Un collectif de 12 dirigeants de PME (G12) faisant la promotion de la place de l'électricité photovoltaïque dans le futur mix énergétique français, a apporté son soutien le gouvernement de porter à 32% la part d'énergies renouvelables de la consommation en 2030 et de faire voter le projet de loi dans les meilleurs délais. Pour le G12, la filière française des producteurs d'énergie solaire a atteint une certaine maturité et serait désormais compétitive par rapport aux autres nouvelles capacités de production électrique installées. En conséquence, ils se disent "vigilants à ce qu'aucun amendement ne vienne dégrader ce nouveau cadre favorable."
Tesla and Solar City say their vast manufacturing operations will make solar the cheapest source of electricity in the United States.
Both companies’ manufacturing plans are ambitious but also risky, given the recent track record of U.S. energy companies, and because unexpected technology advances could quickly render the components produced in those plants outmoded. In the case of solar panels, there is also the continued threat of heavily subsidized competition from China. For both companies, the bet is that rapidly growing demand will allow new economies of scale to lower the cost of manufacturing these components, which in turn will lower the cost of solar power.
China surpassed the European Union in pollution levels per capita for the first time last year, propelling to a record the worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions that are blamed for climate change.
The findings led by scientists at two British universities show the scale of the challenge of reining in emissions damaging the climate. They estimate that humans already have spewed into the atmosphere two-thirds of the fossil-fuel emissions allowable under scenarios that avoid irreversible changes to the planet.
Enerzine a évoqué le sujet récemment, un smart grid à l'échelle d'une zone d'activité a été installé dans une zone d'activité à Toulouse afin de connecter les installations qui consomment de l'énergie, celles qui en produisent et celles qui la stockent.
Sur ce site où travaillent en permanence 230 personnes dans des bureaux, des ateliers, des laboratoires…, 50 % des besoins énergétiques sont aujourd'hui couverts par la production locale d'électricité d'origine renouvelable, éolienne (60 kW) et photovoltaïque (300 kWc).
Last year, the global solar industry surpassed 100 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity, and it is quickly approaching 100 gigawatts of annual deployment. While solar has rapidly scaled up in the past ten years, there are several hurdles to clear before solar can make its way into the mainstream. One of the industry’s biggest impediments is that its technology is still perceived as “new” and therefore risky by the more conservative financial community.
“One of the reasons why the private market isn’t doing much with clean energy now is that it doesn’t understand the technology and its potential,” said Douglass Sims
Novatec Solar and BASF have commissioned a solar thermal demonstration plant based on a new type of molten salt technology, known as direct molten salt or DMS technology. The plant is located on the site of the solar thermal power plant PE1 in southern Spain. The plant uses inorganic molten salt as heat transfer fluid. Most solar thermal power plants currently use heat transfer oils, which have a limited qualification temperature near 400 °C. Using inorganic salts as heat transfer fluid allows temperatures above 500 °C, resulting in a significant increase in power yield.
This is the concept behind Camp Kernow, a UK-based not-for-profit children’s camp which teaches energy conservation and sustainability. Beginning at age 7, Camp Kernow campers are fully immersed in an environment that uses renewable energy and promotes energy conservation.
Situated in the fuel-poor Cornish countryside, the camp is run completely on solar power. The solar electricity system is responsible for powering everything from computers in the office, to lighting throughout the camp, to pumping and treating drinking water.
Raccordée au Parc solaire Romande Energie - EPFL, un dispositif expérimental de stockage d'énergie de la taille d'un container maritime, développée par Leclanché, sera installée sur le campus de l'Ecole, grâce au soutien financier de l'Etat de Vaud.
Un pas de plus dans la recherche de nouvelles solutions pour le stockage des énergies renouvelables. Dans le cadre de son programme « 100 millions pour les énergies renouvelables et l'efficacité énergétique », l’Etat de Vaud alloue quelque deux millions de francs au Laboratoire des systèmes électriques distribués du Professeur Mario Paolone de l’EPFL, afin de mettre en place un vaste système de stockage d’énergie.
Set to install an impressive 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity within a six-year period through 2018, Central America is attracting attention from PV developers from around the world, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS). This year, total PV capacity for the six countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama is forecast to reach 22 megawatts (MW), up from 6 MW last year. A gigantic leap is then expected to take place in 2015 when PV capacity bounds up to 243 MW, as shown in the attached figure. But it is in the following three years when the solar market will make its greatest strides in the region, with aggregate PV capacity from 2016-18 accounting for a massive 81 percent of the six-year projected total.
It’s always interesting to attend conferences in far away places because of the change in perspectives. At the World Energy Security Forum (whose organizers I advised) in Johannesburg, there was the usual discussion of different energy sources and their roles, but also senior politicians with much experience in governing.
A very perceptive remark was made by former Prime Minister Odinga of Kenya, who, discussing NGO opposition to some energy projects in Africa, remarked, “You can’t have grandchildren if your daughter remains a virgin.” Similarly, he added that Africans wanted to conserve their environment, but not as a virgin environment.
Solar power could outstrip fossil fuels, other renewables and nuclear to be the biggest source of electricity by mid-century, the International Energy Agency has said.
Solar technologies could generate more than a quarter of the world's electricity, with 16% from photovoltaic (PV) panels and a further 11% from solar thermal electricity systems, which collect the sun's rays to heat fluids that drive electricity turbines.
At this week’s European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014), nanoelectronics research center imec presents a fullerene-free organic photovoltaic (OPV) module of 160 cm2 achieving a conversion efficiency above 5 percent, and a semi-transparent OPV module with an efficiency above 4.5 percent. With both modules showing excellent electrical and optical properties, imec’s latest achievement in the upscaling of OPV cells into highly efficient and stable modules is an important step in realizing the product development of organic photovoltaics.
Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, will be the start and finish of the first solar-powered flight around the world, which Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are planning to undertake in March 2015 with Solar Impulse 2 (Si2). Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is the host partner of Solar Impulse. The team will be hosted by Masdar and Abu Dhabi at the start of January for testing and training before the start of the first solar-powered flight around the world, which is due to take place in March 2015.
ccording to statistics, roughly 20 percent of the world population — some 1.3 billion people — exist without access to an electrical grid. The vast majority live in developing nations and rely on diesel generators to provide primary power. This is a costly proposition, considering the lengthy supply chain involved in getting the necessary fuel. The recent announcement of a partnership between Ideal Power and EnerDel hopes to make life both easier and more affordable for that billion-plus population.
Micropower now produces about one-fourth of the world’s total electricity. In a cover story and article 14 years ago about the emergent disruption of utilities, The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran coined the umbrella term “micropower” to mean sources of electricity that are relatively small, modular, mass-producible, quick-to-deploy, and hence rapidly scalable—the opposite of cathedral-like power plants that cost billions of dollars and take about a decade to license and build. His term combined two kinds of micropower: renewablesother than big hydroelectric dams, and cogeneration of electricity together with useful heat in factories or buildings (also known as combined-heat-and-power, or CHP).
(Reuters) - IKEA Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, said on Monday that it will widen sales of home rooftop solar panels from Britain to eight other nations including the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The Swedish company also said that plastic in its home furnishing products - which it said range from washing up brushes to garden chairs - would be made from recycled materials or from renewable sources such as wood by 2020
The proliferation of microgrids in Asia-Pacific has been encouraged by rural electrification programs in developing countries, and the establishment of commercial microgrids in developed nations, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Japan leads the countries in the region with several established microgrids, while Australia also set up microgrids last year. The key driver for the market remains the need for a resilient power supply, according to the study.
The report finds that the proliferation of microgrids in Asia Pacific has been encouraged by the rural electrification programs in developing countries as well as the establishment of commercial microgrids in developed nations.
Around the world, there is more salty groundwater than fresh, drinkable groundwater. For example, 60 percent of India is underlain by salty water -- and much of that area is not served by an electric grid that could run conventional reverse-osmosis desalination plants. Sun-powered desalination could deliver clean water for off-grid villages.
Now an analysis by MIT researchers shows that a different desalination technology called electrodialysis, powered by solar panels, could provide enough clean, palatable drinking water to supply the needs of a typical village.
San Diego, Calif. — In the midst of the rapid growth in its solar photovoltaic (PV) market, Japan is looking into its local resources — forests — to provide racking for PV systems. Several firms in Japan are turning domestic cypress or cedar trees into PV racks, which are traditionally made of metal such as aluminum and steel. A 150-kW PV system owner in Mie prefecture stated that it came naturally to choose wood as racking for environmentally friendly solar energy. The company used cedar wood, which was harvested locally.
PV systems in Germany are regularly generating higher yields than expected. An investigation by Fraunhofer ISE links these higher yields to an upward trend in solar radiation, pointing out that the current radiation level in Germany is considerably higher than the average values of the last 30 years. As these average values have generally been used in yield predictions up to now, actual PV system yields are exceeding their forecasts by approximately five percent, making them more cost-effective than anticipated. To take this effect into account, Freiburg researchers have adapted their quality assurance services for PV systems and are now basing their yield predictions on solar radiation data from the last ten years.
OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Sep 10, 2014) - Oxford PV, a developer of innovative technologies and materials for solar applications, has introduced a new application for its thin-film perovskite technology. The breakthrough is designed to boost the conversion efficiency of existing silicon solar cells by 20 percent -- the equivalent of a substantial 3 to 5 percent increase in absolute conversion efficiency terms.
"Perovskite has the potential to change the solar industry," said Kevin Arthur, Oxford PV's co-founder and CEO. "Simply put, the material delivers very high performance at a low cost. Applied as a tandem layer, perovskite can have a significant impact by 'turbo boosting' the efficiencies of current mainstream crystalline-silicon products.
A tender for a new 50 MW solar PV park in Israel will be launched on Monday. pv magazine has the story exclusively ahead of the tender's official announcement.
Israel's Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative will announce on Monday the tender of the Timna Solar Park in the region of Eilat in southern Israel.
The aim is to build a 170 MW solar photovoltaic park, said Dorit Davidovich-Banet, CEO of the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. However, "we are now ready to announce the tender of the first phase of this project concerning 50 MW only.