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New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency

New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Solar Junction have set a new record for high-efficiency solar cells with an unprecedented 44% efficiency rate.

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital

Novo Site - Sustentabilidade Digital | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
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Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home

Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Installing a Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home Power from home-based wind turbines can be used locally, or sold back to the utility to offset power costs. Utilities buy green power from homeowners at retail rates, rather than the lower wholesale rates that the large generating stations receive. There is a great deal of power …

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FARNBOROUGH, England -- Although battery weight may keep electric planes from becoming mainstream in the near future, Airbus believes its E-Fan 2.0 will find a real market: pilot training.

It hopes to begin selling the E-Fan 2.0 in late 2017 for pilot training. That's only one fraction of the plane market. A later planned E-Fan 4.0 with space for four passengers, however, will be aimed at the general-aviation market.

Earlier this year, the company started publicly flying a prototype of the E-Fan 2.0, which weighs just 500kg (1100lbs). For the first time, the France-based aircraft maker showed it off this week at the Farnborough International Airshow here, one of the highest-profile aviation events on the annual calendar and a destination for many top executives and buyers in the industry.

Even though today's model is impractical, Airbus believes electric aircraft will become important in coming years as a way to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from conventional aircraft exhaust and to offer quieter planes. Noise isn't just an issue for people living near airports; quieter planes could be flown at hours that noisier conventional craft are prohibited, so airlines could schedule more flights, Airbus argues.

The E-Fan 2.0 has dual electric motors with a total power of 60kW; they drive two ducted fans with blades whose pitch can be adjusted. With a 120-cell lithium polymer battery, it can fly for one hour before a 15-minute reserve.

Its batteries are passively cooled -- in other words, they rely ultimately on air, not a powered cooling system, to keep them from overheating as they discharge power.

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Harvesting energy from humidity: Free, green energy from leaping water droplets

Harvesting energy from humidity: Free, green energy from leaping water droplets | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The study of a super-hydrophobic surface has led to discovery of a method for generating power from condensation. Condensing water droplets literally leap off the surface and produce an electric charge that can be harvested.
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It’s time to get rid of that dehumidifier — you are just throwing awayfree energy by sucking all the moisture out of the air, according to some new research published by a team from MIT. Postdoc researchers Nenad Miljkovic and engineering professor Evelyn Wang figured out last year that water droplets jumping off a hydrophobic surface could gain an electric charge, but now they’re worked out how to capture that energy, essentially pulling power out of thin air.

The team happened upon this mechanism quite by accident. The goal when the leaping water was discovered was to design a more efficient heat transfer material for power plants. That’s not nearly as sexy as conjuring power from humidity, but Miljkovic and Wang noticed something odd when working with a super-hydrophobic surface (pictured above). The condensing water droplets sometimes spontaneously jumped away from the hydrophobic surface, which was the goal as it cools much more efficiently. They didn’t expect the water droplets to produce an electric charge in the process, and that may have significant ramifications.

It’s the natural tendency of water to flow away from a hydrophobic surface, but in turning the leaping water into a viable method of power generation, the researchers had to give it somewhere to go. To encourage the water droplets to take a leap, a hydrophilic surface was placed just above the hydrophobic one. So the water really wants to make the trip from hydrophobic to hydrophilic, and it brings a few electrons along for the ride. The charge difference between the two plates can then be used to provide power.

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Panasonic’s Power Supply Container brings electricity to remote Indonesian islands

Panasonic’s Power Supply Container brings electricity to remote Indonesian islands | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A stand-alone photovoltaic power container is being trialled in an Indonesian school prior to a potential wider rollout in off-grid areas. A new stand-alone photovoltaic power package which could solve electricity problems for remote off-grid areas is to be trialled in Indonesia in July. Many inhabitants of the country’s 13,000 islands currently lack access to electricity. The Power Supply Container [pictured], which does not require professional assembly, contains 12 Panasonic HIT 240 solar modules capable of generating approximately 3kW of electricity, and is equipped with 24 leadacid storage batteries which can supply stored power (17.2kWh total).
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A new stand-alone photovoltaic power package which could solve electricity problems for remote off-grid areas is to be trialled in Indonesia in July. Many inhabitants of the country’s 13,000 islands currently lack access to electricity. The Power Supply Container [pictured], which does not require professional assembly, contains 12 Panasonic HIT 240 solar modules capable of generating approximately 3kW of electricity, and is equipped with 24 leadacid storage batteries which can supply stored power (17.2kWh total). “Island communities are at the forefront of many sustainability challenges, and solutions like this can point the way to a sustainable economy for the rest of the world”, says Will Dawson, Head of Energy at Forum for the Future. Panasonic’s newly developed Power Supply Control Unit will act as an energy management system, monitoring the surplus electricity level of the lead-acid batteries and controlling supply and demand, which Panasonic claim will heavily reduce deterioration, life-cycle cost and the maintenance requirements of the batteries. - See more at: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/panasonic%E2%80%99s-power-supply-container-brings-electricity-remote-indonesian#sthash.HCtk0qeC.dpuf

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Brazil’s Mineirão is the First World Cup Stadium Completely Powered by the Sun

Brazil’s Mineirão is the First World Cup Stadium Completely Powered by the Sun | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
An initiative by local electricity company CEMIG, Brazil’s Mineirão soccer stadium now features a whopping six thousand solar panels on its roof.
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While the world watches the nerve-racking matches being played inside, our eyes are completely dazed by what's going on outside the Mineirão stadium. This 1965 soccer stadium in Belo Horizonte was recently equipped with a whopping 6,000 solar panels on its roof just in time for the international competition. An initiative by local electricity company CEMIG, this is the first ever World Cup stadium completely powered by the sun.

Originally built in 1965, the public listed Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto is one of this year’s World Cup venues. Topped with 6,000 rooftop solar panels, it doubles as a complete photovoltaic solar plant (USF) capable of supplying power to 1,200 households. The plant was built by the Minas Gerais State Electricity Company (CEMIG), in partnership with German bank kfW and Minas Arena, the group that manages the Mineirão.

Related: Brazil Cuts the Ribbon on Mineirão Stadium’s New $16.1m Solar Roof

Because the panels produce more energy than is necessary to power the stadium (1,600 megawatts-hour per year), 10 percent of the remaining power goes directly to regular consumers.

Although the Mineirão is the First World Cup stadium completely supplied by solar power, is not the first one in the world. This idea takes inspiration from Germany’s Freiburg and Switzerland’s Bern stadium, which also works thanks to the brightest star.

 

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$5.1 Trillion to be Invested in Renewable Energy by 2030

$5.1 Trillion to be Invested in Renewable Energy by 2030 | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
$5.1 trillion dollars is one very big number. It’s a figure equal to just a little less than one-third of the U.S. economy’s annual GDP. $5.1 trillion is the amount that will be invested by 2030 to build new power plants that use renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg News Energy Finance report. Out ofRead More
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$5.1 trillion dollars is one very big number. It’s a figure equal to just a little less than one-third of the U.S. economy’s annual GDP. $5.1 trillion is the amount that will be invested by 2030 to build new power plants that use renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg News Energy Finance report. Out of 5,000 gigawatts of power generation capacity to be added worldwide by 2030, renewable power will account for 4,000 gigawatts—nearly 80 percent of all new capacity. The leading technology in these new clean energy installations will be solar power, say the Bloomberg analysts. They predict that solar will be economically competitive with other power sources by 2020.

Falling prices for solar cells are making this power source a profitable business that doesn’t depend on subsidies for support. Decreasing prices for wind turbines are also driving the growth of wind power. Solar and wind power’s combined share of global generation will rise to 16 percent of the world’s total by 2030, up from its current 3 percent, predicts the Bloomberg forecast. And the report notes that this growth is taking place despite the downsizing of incentives for renewable energy from the U.S. and German governments. Since 2011, annual investment in renewable energy technologies has totaled more than the dollars invested in fossil fuel power generation. This upward trend for clean energy shows every sign of continuing to rise.

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New green lease guidelines focus on people

New green lease guidelines focus on people | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The Building and Construction Authority has launched a new toolkit to improve transparency and accountability of ‘green lease’ agreements between building...
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Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on Friday launched a new set of guidelines to help commercial building owners and their tenants improve their sustainable green building practices.

The government agency aims to promote the concept of ‘green lease’ agreements, which is about enabling landlords and tenants to work together on increasing energy efficiency, water efficiency and other measures that will make a building more sustainable. This new guidelines will also help improve transparency and accountability between building owners and tenants.

Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Foreign Affairs Grace Fu launched the new ‘green lease’ toolkit during the Green Building Exhibition, which was held at Singapore’s Marina Square on Friday until Sunday.

Singapore is currently working on its 3rd Green Building Masterplan, which places people at the heart of the sustainable building agenda and the ‘green lease’ agreement is one way to engage landlords and tenants to collaborate on managing buildings sustainably, Fu told industry professionals during her speech.

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Hertz And Zem2All Partner To Create Additional City Mobility

Hertz And Zem2All Partner To Create Additional City Mobility | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Hertz and electric charging operator Zem2All have announced a partnership that aims to put more sustainable vehicles on the city streets of Malaga and elsewhere across Spain.
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Hertz and electric chargingoperator Zem2All have announced a partnership that aims to put more sustainable vehicles on the city streets of Malaga and elsewhere across Spain.

“As a leader in the car rental industry, Hertz is well positioned to help customers and cities to gain first-hand experience with electric vehicles, said the company’s Michel Tirade. “We strongly believe that investing in innovative and convenient solutions that reduce the environmental impacts of travel is an important step towards sustainable transport on a global scale. In partnership with Zem2All, we will be working to create a compelling electric drive transport model that can be easily exported to other cities.”

The Hertz program will deliver zero-emissions electrical rental vehicles at a number of major locations across the city including its airport, various hotels and standalone outlets. The commercial rental program will employ the Nissan Leaf sedan, and will be based on an initial fleet of 160 vehicles.

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Green investors favor Apple after environmental reforms

Green investors favor Apple after environmental reforms | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
By Ross Kerber | 17 June 2014 (Reuters) – Apple Inc, criticized in the past for greenhouse gas emissions, use of toxic materials and the hiring of underage workers, has …
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Apple Inc, criticized in the past for greenhouse gas emissions, use of toxic materials and the hiring of underage workers, has improved its practices and earned better scores from groups such as Greenpeace. That’s good news for environmentally-aware mutual funds that hold Apple for another big reason – it makes money.

The Cupertino, California-based maker of the iPhone, the world’s biggest public company by market capitalization, has adopted a slew of green policies such as expanded product recycling and using solar power at its data centers. For managers who have made it a favorite of the largest “green” mutual funds tracked by Thomson Reuters’ Lipper unit, the improvements bolster the appeal of a stock that’s risen 15 percent this year, 19th best among the Standard & Poor’s 100 index.

The confluence of a rising price and improving environmental performance make Apple “the one stock you just can’t ignore,” said Anthony Tursich, senior portfolio manager of the $498 million Portfolio 21 Global Equity Fund, a green fund that bought Apple in 2011 after the company began providing more emissions data.

Tursich’s biggest holding is Google Inc, which he bought only after it made progress on renewable energy, reflecting how top U.S. corporations are embracing green goals, and how the funds jump on those firms once they start making those environmental moves.

Environmental fund managers may be broadening their shopping lists in part because they have more money to deploy: For the 12 months ended April 30 investors put $1.9 billion of new money into the 72 funds tracked by Lipper that use environmental criteria in their investment decisions. That’s still tiny relative to the $247.6 billion that went into all U.S. equity funds, but represents a 5 percent inflow that Lipper research head Tom Roseen said was significant. The bulk of the new money, more than $1 billion, went into the dominant $9.5 billion Parnassus Core Equity Fund, Lipper said..

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Five eco-friendly gadgets to use in our daily lives

Five eco-friendly gadgets to use in our daily lives | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Going green has become a necessity now to save the planet and if our day-to-day gadgets can be made sustainable then it will mean a lot in saving our environment. Apart from being eco-friendly thes...
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Google Self-Driving Cars May Get A New Laser Measurement System

Google Self-Driving Cars May Get A New Laser Measurement System | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The Light-Radar (LIDAR) measurement system in Google’s self-driving cars is central to the drivability of the self-drive, since it identifies both the location and distance of relevant obstacles in real-time, thereby allowing the vehicle to avoid collisions as it moves across its appointed waypoint map.
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Part of the challenge associated with high-risk research and development is considering the cost of systems that evolve over time. It is difficult to create something ‘new and innovative’, when critical systems have never seen the light of product shelves either, and instead exist only as one-off components that may, or may not work the first time ‘round.

This is true in the case of the recently re-discovered Google’s self-driving cars, and particularly, its Light-Radar (LIDAR) measurement system. This component is central to the drivability of the self-drive, since it identifies both the location and distance of relevant obstacles in real-time, thereby allowing the vehicle to avoid collisions as it moves across its appointed waypoint map.

 

Currently the Google LIDAR system costs approximately $80k per unit. That would be an acceptable cost if Google’s development vehicles were likely to be used only in a purely closed-course basis going forward. But now, with the recent conclusion of a series of practical city-test agreements in California and Nevada, the nature of the test program will require more budget-minding, as the company’s heretofore prototypes begin to evolve toward more productized variants.

That said, however, a group of developers at UC Berkeley have come up with a ‘smarter’ approach to the challenge of real-time laser measurement, by proposing to eliminate Google’s current rotating electro-mechanical ‘top-hat’ system, in favor of what they refer to as frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) packaging. According to the group, the FMCW system will provide the self-drive with the same level safety measurement at a considerably lower price point.

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Trucks Convoy under Computer Control to Save Gas

Trucks Convoy under Computer Control to Save Gas | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A recent demonstration involving two trucks tethered by computer control shows how automation and vehicle-to-vehicle communication are creeping onto the roads.
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A pair of trucks convoying 10 meters apart on Interstate 80 just outside Reno, Nevada, might seem like an unusual sight—not to mention unsafe. But the two trucks doing this a couple of weeks ago were actually demonstrating a system that could make trucking safer and much more efficient.

While the driver in front drove his truck normally, the truck behind him was partly operated by a computer—and it stuck to its leader like glue. When instructed to do so, the computer controlled the gas and brakes to pull to within 10 meters (roughly three car lengths) of the truck ahead. The computer then kept the two trucks paired at this precise distance, as if linked by some invisible cable, until the system was disengaged. If the truck in front stopped suddenly, the one behind could have reacted instantaneously to avoid a collision.

Most automobile companies are working on full vehicle automation, but they need to overcome significant challenges before they can deploy those technologies (see “Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think”). The technology demonstrated in Nevada, in contrast, could be deployed today, since the system is only partially automated (the driver behind still steers, with the aid of a camera that shows the view ahead of the truck in front). So it is covered by the same guidelines and regulations as adaptive cruise control, a feature in some cars that automatically keeps vehicles on the highway a safe distance from the ones around them.

This kind of “platooning”—as it is known—reduces the wind drag on both trucks, and could therefore save trucking companies millions of dollars in fuel every year. The trucks were fitted with technology developed by a startup calledPeloton Tech (“peloton” is the French word for platoon). Peloton’s system consists of radar sensors, a wireless communications system, and computers connected to each truck’s central computer. Video screens in both cabs show the drivers views of blind spots around the two vehicles.

Joshua Switkes, CEO of Peloton Tech, says the fuel savings are 4.5 percent for the front truck and 10 percent for the rear truck. This could amount to $100,000 each year. “For truck companies, these savings are enormous,” Switkes says. He adds that the technology could even allow competing companies to platoon together to get these savings.

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Charging a Smartphone, No Wires Required

Charging a Smartphone, No Wires Required | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A startup called Energous aims to let you charge your gadgets without plugging them in.
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“Do you want us to charge your phone?” George Holmes asks. Normally, that would be an odd question. But Holmes is the vice president of sales and marketing for Energous, a company that is developing technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch browsing Instagram, or top off your phone while buying a coffee or playing Candy Crush in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup called Witricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage, which means it’s not very good-looking. But it works, and during a visit to my San Francisco office, Holmes wants to show it off.

Devices can be charged wirelessly if they are connected to an external receiver, or slotted into a special protective case. Holmes plugs my iPhone into a white device shaped like a smartphone atop a little stand. Another iPhone sits on the table, wearing a bulky Energous case. Across the table, a briefcase-sized wireless energy transmitter sits on another tripod and a plug dangling from it is plugged into the wall.

Holmes picks up an iPad running a WattUp app that shows the two devices that are enabled for charging—mine, and the other iPhone in the case. He taps the app to tell the transmitter to find the devices and start the power-up process. My phone, which is 53 percent full, buzzes to indicate it is charging. Recharging works more than 10 feet from where the power is emitted, and you can move the device around while it’s charging.

Energous is the latest in a long line of companies fixated on the idea that life would be easier if we didn’t have so many wires and gadgets to plug in. Yet many of the wireless charging products that have come to market have relied on special charging mats that juice up devices at a short distance, and they’re still not that popular with consumers. “There’s not very many people that want to take their phone and go leave it somewhere while it charges,” Energous CEO Stephen Rizzone argues. “If they’re going to leave it somewhere while it charges, they’re going to plug it into a wall.”

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Startup Makes a New Kind of Flexible, Printed Battery

Startup Makes a New Kind of Flexible, Printed Battery | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Imprint Energy is developing a long-lasting, bendable, and rechargeable battery.
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A California startup is developing flexible, rechargeable batteries that can be printed cheaply on commonly used industrial screen printers. Imprint Energy, of Alameda, California, has been testing its ultrathin zinc-polymer batteries in wrist-worn devices and hopes to sell them to manufacturers of wearable electronics, medical devices, smart labels, and environmental sensors.

The company’s approach is meant to make the batteries safe for on-body applications, while their small size and flexibility will allow for product designs that would have been impossible with bulkier lithium-based batteries. Even in small formats, the batteries can deliver enough current for low-power wireless communications sensors, distinguishing them from other types of thin batteries.

The company recently secured $6 million in funding from Phoenix Venture Partners, as well as AME Cloud Ventures, the venture fund of Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, to further develop its proprietary chemistry and finance the batteries’ commercial launch. Previous investors have included CIA-backed venture firm In-Q-Tel and Dow Chemical.

The batteries are based on research that company cofounder Christine Ho began as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she collaborated with a researcher in Japan to produce microscopic zinc batteries using a 3-D printer.

The batteries that power most laptops and smartphones contain lithium, which is highly reactive and has to be protected in ways that add size and bulk. While zinc is more stable, the water-based electrolytes in conventional zinc batteries cause zinc to form dendrites, branch-like structures that can grow from one electrode to the other, shorting the battery. Ho developed a solid polymer electrolyte that avoids this problem, and also provides greater stability, and greater capacity for recharging.

Brooks Kincaid, the company’s cofounder and president, says the batteries combine the best features of thin-film lithium batteries and printed batteries. Such thin-film batteries tend to be rechargeable, but they contain the reactive element, have limited capacity, and are expensive to manufacture. Printed batteries are nonrechargeable, but they are cheap to make, typically use zinc, and offer higher capacity.

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Airbus shows E-Fan, its electric plane due in 2017

Airbus shows E-Fan, its electric plane due in 2017 | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The France-based aircraft maker believes there's a place in the market, not just the R&D lab, for the battery-powered two-seater it showed at the Farnborough airshow.
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FARNBOROUGH, England -- Although battery weight may keep electric planes from becoming mainstream in the near future, Airbus believes its E-Fan 2.0 will find a real market: pilot training.

It hopes to begin selling the E-Fan 2.0 in late 2017 for pilot training. That's only one fraction of the plane market. A later planned E-Fan 4.0 with space for four passengers, however, will be aimed at the general-aviation market.

Earlier this year, the company started publicly flying a prototype of the E-Fan 2.0, which weighs just 500kg (1100lbs). For the first time, the France-based aircraft maker showed it off this week at the Farnborough International Airshow here, one of the highest-profile aviation events on the annual calendar and a destination for many top executives and buyers in the industry.

Even though today's model is impractical, Airbus believes electric aircraft will become important in coming years as a way to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from conventional aircraft exhaust and to offer quieter planes. Noise isn't just an issue for people living near airports; quieter planes could be flown at hours that noisier conventional craft are prohibited, so airlines could schedule more flights, Airbus argues.

The E-Fan 2.0 has dual electric motors with a total power of 60kW; they drive two ducted fans with blades whose pitch can be adjusted. With a 120-cell lithium polymer battery, it can fly for one hour before a 15-minute reserve.

Its batteries are passively cooled -- in other words, they rely ultimately on air, not a powered cooling system, to keep them from overheating as they discharge power.

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Global Clean Energy Investment Spikes 33%, Tops $63 Billion

Global Clean Energy Investment Spikes 33%, Tops $63 Billion | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Global clean energy investment has been on a roll lately. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has just reported Q2 results and they're up 9% over Q2 last year. That's chump change compared to this year's quarter-to-quarter movement, which saw a 33% spike from Q1 to Q2.

The new Q2 report follows a strong Q1 for 2014. As
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The new Q2 report follows a strong Q1 for 2014. As to whether or not this signals a long term trend, think Solyndra bankruptcy — but in a good way — and you’ll see why BNEFanalysts are sharing a blue-skies outlook for global clean energy investment.

 Clean Energy By The Numbers

According to today’s BNEF report, the total for Q2 2014 was $63.6 billion, which sounds pretty impressive.

However, the record for global clean energy investment was set at $78 billion back in 2011 and it hit a second-highest mark of $69.6 billion in Q2 2012, so we still have some catching up to do.

You can check out the full report for a more detailed breakdown, but for those of you on the run the Q2 2014 highlights for investment in individual projects include the Netherlands’ record-breaking Gemini offshore wind farm and the Cemex Venitka wind farm in Mexico.

Also cited is the Ashalim 1 concentrating solar power project in Israel’s Negev Desert. That project is of particular interest to CleanTechnica because we had a chance to tour several new solar power plants in the Arava region of the Negev several months ago.

All located on kibbutzes (as is Ashalim 1), the solar projects have been coordinated to replace  diesel generators used by the tourist city of Haifa.

With the diesel-killing angle in mind, the demo projects are also designed as proof-of-concept for exportable solar technology, going head-to-head against cheap diesel generators to capture the growing energy market in Africa and other areas of development.

If you’re looking for a particular reason why BNEF is so optimistic, take a look at what’s going on in Arava and you’ll see that the energy transportation paradigm is shifting away from harvesting and transporting massive quantities of fuel, to a more sustainable model in which energy-harvesting technology is the main export.

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The 2014 Solar World Cup

The 2014 Solar World Cup | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
World Cup 2014: 31 days of madness as the world’s most popular sport has its biggest event of the past four years. We’re working on a couple of stories about solar and the World Cup that we’ll run over the course of the next month, but in honor of kickoff of this world-spanning event, below is … Read more
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World Cup 2014: 31 days of madness as the world’s most popular sport has its biggest event of the past four years.

We’re working on a couple of stories about solar and the World Cup that we’ll run over the course of the next month, but in honor of kickoff of this world-spanning event, below is a short look at how FIFA is working to make this event more environmentally friendly.

Before we start, let’s put the caveat out there that any event that requires hundreds of thousands of travelers to drive, fly or float thousands of miles is going to have an enormous carbon footprint. Not to mention even the waste generated by the event….

Putting that aside as much as we can, let’s talk about the environmental — and particularly the solar — upside to the World Cup.

Brazil Hosts The Most Solar World Cup Yet

While Brazil as a whole is not yet a solar powerhouse, a new report from Greentech Media lists the country as perhaps the most promising solar market in Latin America. GTM’s Latin America PV Playbook predicts that 2014 will double Brazil’s solar capacity — from 38.6 megawatts in 2013 to 72.6 MW this year.

A staggeringly huge chunk of that new generation is coming from solar-powered football stadiums. The British NGO Practical Action has put out a short report detailing just how much solar energy the World Cup can generate: 5.4 MW across four stadiums.

As Practical Action puts it, the 2014 World Cup will generate more solar energy than any previous World Cup, as well as more solar energy than many of the countries competing in the World Cup.

The chart below, from Practical Action’s double-duty World Cup bracket and energy poverty fact sheet [PDF], spells out the discrepancy between what’s happening in Brazil compared to the energy situation in many of the players’ home countries

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Solar Cell Efficiency Rises By 30% Through Singlet Fission

Solar Cell Efficiency Rises By 30% Through Singlet Fission | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Scientists were pretty excited when they discovered you could convert light energy directly into electricity by capturing photons in semiconductors, exciting them into “excitons” (bound electron with negative charge and hole with positive), and capturing the resultant current through electrodes. Now a group of four chemists from the University of California, Riverside, has worked out a
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It’s called “singlet fission,” and by using it, we should be able to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30%, providing “Third Generation” solar power. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters published the research results in an Editor’s Choice perspective article last month.

Christopher Bardeen, the chemistry professor whose lab led the research, explains what sent him  along this line of inquiry:

Our research got its launch about ten years ago when we started thinking about solar energy and what new types of photophysics this might require. Global warming concerns and energy security have made solar energy conversion an important subject from society’s point of view. More efficient solar cells would lead to wider use of this clean energy source.

“If a triplet exciton has half the energy of a singlet, then it is possible for one singlet exciton, generated by one photon, to split into two triplet excitons,” Dr. Bardeen explains. “Thus, you could have a 200% yield of excitons—and hopefully, electrons—per absorbed photon.”

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New green lease guidelines focus on people

New green lease guidelines focus on people | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The Building and Construction Authority has launched a new toolkit to improve transparency and accountability of ‘green lease’ agreements between building...
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Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on Friday launched a new set of guidelines to help commercial building owners and their tenants improve their sustainable green building practices.

The government agency aims to promote the concept of ‘green lease’ agreements, which is about enabling landlords and tenants to work together on increasing energy efficiency, water efficiency and other measures that will make a building more sustainable. This new guidelines will also help improve transparency and accountability between building owners and tenants.

Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Foreign Affairs Grace Fu launched the new ‘green lease’ toolkit during the Green Building Exhibition, which was held at Singapore’s Marina Square on Friday until Sunday.

Singapore is currently working on its 3rd Green Building Masterplan, which places people at the heart of the sustainable building agenda and the ‘green lease’ agreement is one way to engage landlords and tenants to collaborate on managing buildings sustainably, Fu told industry professionals during her speech.

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Recharge Wrap-up: Formula E comes to London, hydrogen fueling comes to Denmark

Recharge Wrap-up: Formula E comes to London, hydrogen fueling comes to Denmark | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Denmark gets new hydrogen stations, California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard upheld, London Formula E venue announced.
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Denmark will get four new hydrogen fueling stations from Air Liquide. The French company will put two of the hydrogen stations in Copenhagen, one in Aalborg and the fourth in Vejle. The new fueling stations are in addition to two already existing sites in Copenhagen and Holstebro. Read more at The Daily Fusion.

California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) stands, as the Supreme Court rejects oil and ethanol companies' request to review a previous ruling upholding the plan. LCFS would reduce carbon in California's transportation fuels by 10 percent by 2020. Earlier, California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld LCFS, when Big Oil and Ethanol claimed the plan was discriminatory toward out-of-state companies. Read more at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The FIA Formula E London ePrix will take place within the grounds of Battersea Park. Deputy Mayor of London Sir Edward Lister announced that the Wandsworth, South London location will be the venue for the final race of the inaugural season of the all-electric series. The season's 10 races will take place in city centers of major cities around the world. Formula E also announced BMW as its official supplier, its second female driver Michela Cerruti and a feature where fans vote for drivers to get a speed boost during the race. Read more in the press release below where you can also check out the video of Formula E cars tearing up the pavement of London's Westminster Bridge.

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Ljubljana wins European Green Capital Award for 2016

Ljubljana wins European Green Capital Award for 2016 | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Slovenian capital Ljubljana has been named European Green Capital 2016 at a ceremony in Copenhagen, the current holder of the Green Capital title. Ljubljana was commended for raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens.
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Slovenian capital Ljubljana has been named European Green Capital 2016 at a ceremony in Copenhagen, the current holder of the Green Capital title. Ljubljana was commended for raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens. The jury also recognised its sustainability strategy 'Vision 2025', which brings together plans covering environmental protection, mobility, energy and electric transport.

In addition, Ljubljana has made significant progress in implementing green procurement policies covering 70 % of all city purchases.

Transportation in Ljubljana has changed dramatically over the past decade. From a city which was rapidly becoming dominated by the car, the focus has now shifted to eco-friendly alternatives. In 2013, Ljubljana modified the traffic flow within the city to limit motorised traffic and give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Cycling is also increasing. By 2020 the city intends that public transport, non-motorised traffic and private vehicles should each account for a third of all transport.

Twelve cities applied to become European Green Capital 2016. Each entry was assessed by an international panel of 12 experts and five cities were shortlisted – Essen, Ljubljana, Nijmegen, Oslo and Umeå. All the finalists provided real-life examples of how respect for the environment, excellent quality of life and economic growth can all be successfully combined.

The European Green Capital Award is given to a European city that has a record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development and can act as a model to inspire other cities.

Copenhagen, Denmark is the current (2104) Green Capital - www.sharingcopenhagen.dk

British city Bristol is the Green Capital 2015 - www.bristolgreencapital.org

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Donovan Gillman's curator insight, July 2, 8:47 AM

Really looks worth a visit

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Delhi Metro Commissions Its First Rooftop Solar Power Project

Delhi Metro Commissions Its First Rooftop Solar Power Project | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Indian capital city's pride, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has earned yet another achievement by commissioning its first rooftop solar power project at one of its stations.

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Singapore, Denmark continue collaboration in building sustainable cities

Singapore, Denmark continue collaboration in building sustainable cities | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
The Centre for Liveable Cities and the Danish Architecture Centre ink new agreements to extend urban governance exchange programmes.
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The Singapore government through the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) has renewed its partnership with the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), marking the continuation of the two countries’ collaboration towards building sustainable and liveable cities.

The agreement, which was signed on June 3 on the sidelines of the four-dayWorld Cities Summit in Singapore, looks to extend the urban governance exchange programmes that the two centres have started last year, a statement from the summit said.

The CLC runs various urban governance programmes for city leaders, policy makers, and urban planners who would want to gain more understanding about Singapore’s city planning model. Through its Leaders in Urban Governance Programme (LUGP), CLC teamed up with DAC, which also runs a similar programme called Strategic Urban Governance Programme (SUG). The exchange programme gave opportunity for local public officials enrolled in both programmes to participate in site visits to both countries.

CLC, which was established by Singapore’s Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources in 2008 and one of the main organisers of the summit, is involved in research and capability development on how to make Singapore a more progressive and environmentally responsible city.

Meanwhile, DAC is public-private partnership

 

About 65 government directors from Singapore and Denmark have benefitted in the exchange programme, the statement added.

The partnership also paved way fordialogues in Singapore with notable urban leaders, such as Copenhagen’s mayor of administration and chair of the culture and leisure committee Pia Allerslev and world-renowned architect and professor Jan Gehl, CLC said.

Subsequently, CLC hosted 19 Danish executives for site visits in Marina Barrage, the city-state’s largest reservoir, as well as the famous Southern Ridges nature park as part of the inaugural exchange programme. This year, 15 government officials from Denmark also participated in a study visit and attended the summit.

“Denmark and Singapore are two small countries, but they are both absolutely world-leading in terms of making cities liveable and more sustainable and a great inspiration for cities around the world,” noted DAC chairman Fleming Borreskov, adding that the agreement particularly strengthens the good relationship between CLC and DAC.

Copenhagen ranks high among global liveability indices, while Singapore tops in Asia in quality of living surveys. Both countries are also highly commended for its initiatives to promote efficient public modes of transport. 

During the summit, CLC also reaffirmed its research collaboration with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) on how communities can be made more liveable and presented the results of their collaborative research work on ‘Active Mobility’ with Jan Gehl. The research revealed that through careful urban planning, hot and humid Singapore can possibly implement a robust cycling and walking culture.

More than 130 participants, including mayors and city leaders, researchers and urban planners, discussed and debated what makes a ‘smart city’ at the summit, the organisers said - and reached a broad agreement that a smart city must be ‘green’ and should be sustainable and liveable.

between philanthropy organisation Realdania and the Danish government, which focuses on the development and dissemination of knowledge about architecture and urban planning. 

CLC executive director Khoo Teng Chye noted on the success of the programme and the strong friendships built among participants. “After the successful exchange programme for Singaporean and Danish directors last year, we are pleased to work with DAC on the second edition this year,” explained Khoo.

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5 essential facts about emissions rules for power plants

5 essential facts about emissions rules for power plants | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Confused by what the president's new climate rules mean? Here's the quick rundown.
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On Monday, President Obama unveiled the latest — and likely greatest — emissions reduction policy since he announced his Climate Action Plan last year: new rules to limit carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants. With power plants accounting for around one-third of U.S. emissions, these rules will address the country’s single-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution.

Along with standards for new power plants, rules addressing methane emissions, and measures promoting energy efficiency, the forthcoming standards illustrate the way in which the president is using existing legislative authority to put the United States on a path toward meeting short-term and long-term climate commitments.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions on what these standards are designed to achieve, the impact they will have and why they’re so important. This blog highlights some of the most important aspects of these crucial actions.

1. EPA has the authority and obligation to propose these standards

EPA is legally required to develop and enforce regulations to protect the public from air-borne pollutants under the Clean Air Act, which Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in 1970, and further strengthened with subsequent amendments. Scientists agree that carbon pollution threatens American public health and welfare, and the Supreme Court affirmed in 2007 that the EPA has an obligation to protect the public from that threat. Currently we limit how much mercury, arsenic, soot and other air pollution power plants can dump into the air, but there are no limits on carbon pollution. EPA is doing now what it has done for decades — setting common-sense limits on harmful pollutants.

2. Transitioning away from uncontrolled coal is inevitable

Coal can be part of the future U.S. energy mix, but as the most carbon-intensive electricity source, it’s imperative that it rein in its pollution. Like other industries, coal can adapt by deploying technology to reduce its carbon footprint.

The U.S. power sector has been moving away from coal for years. It has accounted for only 5 percent of new capacity built since 2000, and only a handful of new coal plants are planned or under construction. Several of those will be outfitted with carbon capture technology.

Some pundits point to public health or environmental standards for the decline in coal industry jobs, but actually, the coal industry is using fewer miners to produce the same amount of coal. While coal jobs decreased by half since 1983, coal production in Kentucky and West Virginia held steady. New technology and techniques have driven this long-term trend.

The power plant rules also have the potential to create jobs in the efficiency and renewable industries. Studieshave shown that these industries support more jobs per megawatt-hour of electricity generation than fossil fuel industries.

3. States have many cost-effective carbon reduction opportunities

States are demonstrating that clean energy and efficiency policies create economic benefits and save electricity consumers money. For example, one study found that reducing Arkansas’s energy consumption by only 8 percent by 2020 would save consumers $1.8 billion, an average of $303 per household in that year. In Minnesota, the Department of Commerce found that the average cost of reducing electricity demand through the state’s Conservation Improvement Program is at least three times lower than building new generation from other energy sources. And studies by the Midwest Independent Service Operator (MISO) and the Illinois and Ohio Public Utility Commissions, among others, have found that increasing wind resources throughout the Midwest region will drive electricity prices down for customers.

4. America’s electric grid is ready for more clean energy

The grid is already able to handle more than 30 percent renewable generation in many places across the country. Over time, improved transmission and storage capabilities will allow for much more. Iowa, Colorado and Texas, for example, have absorbed a significant amount of new renewable energy supply in the last decade with no reliability issues. Furthermore, a recent report from the Analysis Group says that “reliability concerns are misplaced,” and that the president and EPA both acknowledge that emissions reductions from the power sector cannot jeopardize the reliable supply of electricity.

5. Other large emitters are already moving forward on climate action

Opponents of U.S. action on climate change often point to perceived inaction by other major emitters, notably China. Yet China is doing more to reduce its emissions than many realize. In 2013, China was once again the world’s No. 1 investor in renewable energy, with $54.2 billion, or 21 percent of the world’s total. And last year, China installed 12 GW of solar photovoltaic projects, 50 percent more than any country previously had installed in a single year. Other large emitters— such as Brazil and the European Union — are moving forward as well.

Many countries are waiting to see how determined the United States will be in setting reduction targets. A level of ambition that helps the United States meet its short-term climate goal (reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020) and that lays out a longer-term trajectory for even deeper cuts will send a powerful signal to the rest of the world. It will show that the country is prepared to do its part in helping to avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate.

We need these rules to protect communities from climate change

In the face of increased sea level rise, dangerous heat waves and drought and costly extreme weather events, it’s clear that the impacts of climate change are already here. Significant emissions cuts are needed now to reduce the impacts we will see in the future. As the largest source of U.S. emissions, setting carbon pollution limits on power plants is a reasonable and essential step to address climate change.

With the right level of ambition, this new federal safeguard will not only curb power sector emissions. It also may spur the kind of innovation that will power America with clean energy in the 21st century.

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Wood-waste biofuel to cut greenhouse gas and transform shipping industry

Wood-waste biofuel to cut greenhouse gas and transform shipping industry | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A sustainable biofuel made from Norwegian forest wood waste could help transform the shipping industry and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative sustainable fuels are urgently needed in the marine transport sector due to stringent upcoming regulations demanding reduced sulphur and carbon content in diesels and oils from January 2015.
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Aston University (UK) scientists are involved in the ReShip Project, which will use low quality wood waste, chippings and unmerchantable wood left in forests after logging has occurred to produce new biofuels. Via the process of fast pyrolysis, where material is heated in the absence of oxygen, the wood will be converted into crude pyrolysis oil. Compared to petroleum-based oil, however, crude pyrolysis oil cannot be used for direct use in diesel engines as it is too unstable.

To counter this, the Aston team, led by Professor Tony Bridgwater, will look to stabilise freshly produced pyrolysis biofuel through mild, rapid, low temperature catalytic hydrogen treatment. In cooperation with the Paper and Fibre Research Institute in Norway they will also seek to blend the bio-oil with conventional diesel and surfactant to form a multi-component fuel.

The most promising fuels will then be engine tested to assess their quality and use for potential marine transport.

Professor Bridgwater, Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, said: “This project will establish a knowledge platform for cost-effective production of all new sustainable fuels which have the potential to completely alter marine travel. All of the wood sourced will be from Norwegian forests, which represent a significant resource for bioenergy production. There is a net positive increment in biomass in Norway – it is growing faster than it is being consumed.

“We hope to pave the way for large-scale biofuel production by 2020, in a way that is completely sustainable and doesn’t impact on land usage. Aston University’s experience in fast pyrolysis and biofuel production technologies for biomass and biofuel products will contribute considerably in making that goal a reality.”

In Scandinavia, fast pyrolysis oil production is rapidly becoming commercialised. Energy company Fortum is to invest €20m in an integrate bio-oil plant, while Swedish packing firm, Billerud, received €32m from the European Commission to build a new biofuel plant based on forest residues.

The ReShip project is being led by the Paper and Fibre Research Institute in Norway, who are partnered with Aston University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The £321,000 project is funded by Norwegian industry partners and the Research Council of Norway and will run until 2017.

 
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Solar Farmers in Japan to Harvest Electricity With Crops

Solar Farmers in Japan to Harvest Electricity With Crops | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

Japan’s campaign to boost renewable power supplies since the Fukushima nuclear disaster is producing some unlikely winners: vegetable farmers.

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Japan’s campaign to boost renewable power supplies since the Fukushima nuclear disaster is producing some unlikely winners: vegetable farmers.

Makoto Takazawa and his father Yukio earned 1.7 million yen ($16,700) last fiscal year selling electricity from solar panels that hang in a giant canopy above their farm east of Tokyo. The cash was almost nine times more than they made from the crops growing in the soil below.

Harvesting dual incomes from sunlight was a godsend to the Takazawas. They’re among the majority of Japanese farmers who depend on a combination of outside work, pension payments and government subsidies to make a living. The easing of land-use rules and mandates for utilities including Tokyo Electric (9501)Power Co. to buy clean energy at premium prices is poised to fuel the spread of panels to more farms.

“I was racking my brain to figure out what to do on this land that I’ll take over from my father one day, because growing rice and vegetables doesn’t bring in much money,” Takazawa said. “Then I heard about solar sharing for farmland.”

The government is dismantling a subsidy system that’s supported Japan’s rice production for four decades. The country is under increasing pressure from trading partners to roll back import tariffs of 778 percent for the grain, along with levies of more than 300 percent on sugar and butter.

Takazawa, 51, still works full time in machinery sales while his retired father, 78, tends the farm in Chiba prefecture most days. Sixty-eight more farms across Japan have approval to follow in their footsteps and set up solar panels, according to JA Group, the country’s biggest agricultural organization.

 
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