IBM Solar Collector Magnifies Sun By 2000X – These Could Provide Power To The Entire Planet


Courtesy of Arjun Walia @ Collective Evolution:

A team at IBM recently developed what they call a High Concentration Photo Voltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns, they are even claiming to be able to concentrate energy safely up to 5,000X, that’s huge.

The process of trapping the sunlight produces water that can be used to produce filtered drinkable water, or used for other things like air conditioning etc. Scientists envision that the HCPVT system could provide sustainable energy and fresh water to communities all around the world.

“Each 1cmX1cm chip can convert 200-250 watts, on average, over a typical eight-hour day in a sunny region. In the HCPVT system, instead of heating a building, the 90 degree Celsius water will pass through a porous membrane distillation system where it is then vaporized and desalinated. Such a system could provide 30-40 liters of drinkable water per square meter of receiver area per day, while still generating electricity with a more than 25 percent yield or two kilowatts hours per day. A large installation would provide enough water for a small town.” (2)

The heat is absorbed into hundreds of tiny solar cells called photovoltaic chips. These gather the energy and are then cooled by microchannled water, which is why they are safely able to concentrate such large amounts of solar energy.

According to Greenpeace, this technology can establish itself as the third largest player in the sustainable power generation industry. A study published in 2009 predicted that solar power could supply all the world’s energy needs, with minimal space. (1) Greenpeace estimates that it would take only two percent of the Sahara Desert’s land area to supply the entire planet’s electricity needs.(1) Continue reading

Wind Turbine Makes 1,000 Liters of Clean Water a Day in the Desert

Courtesy of the amusingly named


A cool new concept being tested in the Abu Dhabi desert uses a wind turbine to condense water from the air and pump it into storage tanks for filtration and purification. The technology was created by Eole Water after its founder, Marc Parent, was inspired by the water he could collect from his air conditioner unit while living in the Caribbean. He began thinking of ways that water could be condensed from air in areas without access to grid power and the wind turbine concept was born.

The 30-kW wind turbine houses and powers the whole system. Air is taken in through vents in the nose cone of the turbine and then heated by a generator to make steam. The steam goes through a cooling compressor that creates moisture which is then condensed and collected. The water produced is sent through pipes down to stainless steel storage tanks where it’s filtered and purified.

image Continue reading

World’s first tidal lagoon power plants could meet 10% of UK’s energy demand


Courtesy of

Plans for the world’s first man-made, energy-generating lagoon have been submitted for official approval today.

Cheltenham-based Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd (TLP) said it had taken a major step towards realising one of the UK’s most game-changing infrastructure projects.

After three years of feasibility work and impact assessments, TLP today submitted its application – which runs to 5000 pages – for a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the planning laws.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would be the largest tidal power plant in the world. As a project of national significance, the application, which has been developed through extensive consultation in Swansea Bay, will now be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate before public examination, and then sign-off by Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

The project would see a 9.5 km long sea wall built to capture enough renewable energy from incoming and outgoing tides to power over 120,000 homes for 120 years. It aims to source at least 65% of the supply chain in the UK, kick-starting a new manufacturing industry and future export market.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, said that the submission of the application marks a turning point in the development of the UK’s tidal resource.

He said “Until now, tidal energy has been heavily promoted by governments and environmentalists as an intuitive source of clean and reliable energy for our island nation, but the business response has focused on relatively small-scale tidal stream devices.

“The UK has the second highest tidal range in the world and today we are submitting an application for a development that will prove that this resource can be harnessed in a way that makes economic, environmental and social sense.

“Tidal lagoons offer renewable energy at nuclear scale and thus the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in UK industries and coastal communities. Continue reading

IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

For those people that choose growth over the sustainability of our planet for future generations are malevolent fools. Not only do we need to look at renewables but alternative energies need to be sought and government black projects need to released to the public. Courtesy of Damien Carrington @ The Guardian:

Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards, according to a landmark UN report published on Sunday. It concludes the transformation required to a world of clean energy and the ditching of dirty fossil fuels is eminently affordable.

The authoritative report, produced by 1250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, dismisses fears that slashing carbon emissions would wreck the world economy. It is the final part of a definitive trilogy that has already shown that climate change is “unequivocally” caused by humans and that, unchecked, it poses a grave threat to people and could lead to lead to wars and mass migration.

Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report concluded. Furthermore, the analysis did not include the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which could outweigh the costs. The benefits include reducing air pollution, which plagues China and recently hit the UK, and improved energy security, which is currently at risk in eastern Europe after the actions of major gas-producer Russia in Ukraine.


The new IPCC report warns that carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. But its comprehensive analysis found rapid action can can still limit global warming to 2C, the internationally agreed safety limit, if low-carbon energy triples or quadruples by 2050.

Continue reading

George Osborne is preparing to kill off Britain’s renewable energy revolution

Courtesy of The Guardian:

George Osborne quietly moved to kill off Britain’s renewable revolution in Wednesday’s budget as he stealthily enacted David Cameron’s rumoured call to his cabinet to kill off the “green crap”.

With such stealth that it went almost entirely unspotted by environmentalists and journalists, who were busy focusing on his move to reduce fossil-fuel energy costs for big business, Osborne at a stroke abolished a key tax break that has attracted hundreds of millions of pounds of private money to help build Britain’s green energy future.


Tucked away in the budget’s red book is an innocuous-looking line that Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax breaks will no longer be available for companies benefiting from the renewables obligation certificate (ROC) scheme or the renewable heat incentive (RHI).

Of these, the ROC scheme is the big one. It underlies all the big wind, solar and other renewable technologies in the UK. The EIS tax breaks are available to investors who put money into all sorts of start-up companies. Until now that has also included firms building wind and solar farms. Now, after royal assent to the legislation in July, it will not be. Continue reading

Five things you need to know about: the return of direct current

Courtesy of Andrew Stone @

How the idea of channeling direct current electricity using circuit breakers could give rise to supergrids.

What is it?

In the early era of electrification, the distribution of electricity by direct current (DC) ruled. Thomas Edison’s first electricity utilities in the late 19th century used DC, but Westinghouse Electric Corporation championed alternating current (AC), developed by Nicola Tesla, which transmits more power more efficiently over longer distances than direct current. Edison did his best to smear the new technology, developing the electric chair as a means of demonstrating the danger of AC and going as far as to electrocute dogs and an elephant, to further illustrate its danger. But to no avail – AC’s superiority was evident and it was soon widely adopted.

Why the renewed interest in DC?

DC has been used since the 1950s to transport electricity at high voltages over distance. In the right application it is more economical and efficient, and suffers fewer power losses. But conversion equipment at terminal stations (transforming high voltage direct current (HVDC) back to AC) is complex and costly, and controlling the flow of power where there are multiple terminals in an HVDC-only network is tricky.These drawbacks have limited HVDC to specific and relatively simple applications that, for example, transfer power between nations using undersea cables or carry power from China’s remote hydropower schemes. But companies including ABB, Alstom and Siemens are competing to show that a much wider application of HVDC is possible. These companies believe an application with new circuit breakers and powered by renewables can be developed. ABB was the first to demonstrate an HVDC circuit breaker in late 2012. Continue reading

Organic mega flow battery promises breakthrough for renewable energy

Courtesy of Harvard Seas:

Cambridge, Mass. – January 8, 2014 – A team of Harvard scientists and engineers has demonstrated a new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar far more economical and reliable.

The novel battery technology is reported in a paper published in Nature on January 9. Under the OPEN 2012 program, the Harvard team received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) to develop the innovative grid-scale battery and plans to work with ARPA-E to catalyze further technological and market breakthroughs over the next several years.

The paper reports a metal-free flow battery that relies on the electrochemistry of naturally abundant, inexpensive, small organic (carbon-based) molecules called quinones, which are similar to molecules that store energy in plants and animals.

The mismatch between the availability of intermittent wind or sunshine and the variability of demand is the biggest obstacle to getting a large fraction of our electricity from renewable sources. A cost-effective means of storing large amounts of electrical energy could solve this problem.

The battery was designed, built, and tested in the laboratory of Michael J. Aziz, Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Roy G. Gordon, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science, led the work on the synthesis and chemical screening of molecules. Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, used his pioneering high-throughput molecular screening methods to calculate the properties of more than 10,000 quinone molecules in search of the best candidates for the battery.


A prototype flow battery in Aziz’s lab at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. (Photo by Eliza Grinnell, SEAS Communications.) Continue reading

The real reason why energy prices are spiralling out of control

Courtesy of CITY AM:

LIKE most readers, I have had my run-ins with energy companies. One especially pushy door to door salesperson once tried to forcefully convince me that I needed to sign up to his firm because I had just moved into a new home. Fortunately, I wasn’t naïve enough to succumb to his lies but many others were fooled; the unpleasant practice of sending cold-callers to knock on people’s doors has fortunately now been ditched by most of the industry. More recently, I was forced to part company with one supplier after the member of staff who showed up unannounced at my house turned out to be as rude as he was incompetent.

We’ve all been there at one point or another. Like many large consumer-facing UK companies, energy firms’ customer service remains woeful. It’s a nightmare trying to get through to helplines; and most of us know of people who have been harassed for bills that were in fact incurred by previous owners or tenants and wrongly sent nasty letters threatening bailiffs.

But while firms urgently need to get their act together on all of these issues, it is important to dispassionately analyse what is driving up energy prices and not to allow irritation at this widespread corporate stupidity to cloud our judgment. British Gas’s price hike yesterday was primarily caused by forces out of its own control – forces that politicians, not businesses, are directly responsible for. Continue reading

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

I’ve been a fan of solar thermal towers for quite some time, a clean and relatively cheap form of electricity production, after the initial capital outlay. Even when its cloudy it still produces but this new system uses water instead of molten salts, the salts when heated up during the day will continue to work into the night making the plant more efficient. It’s a step in the right direction and we need investment in these forms of energy, to step away from nuclear and fossil. One thing to bare in mind, the cost to relocate 200 tortoises was $50,000 a pop, $10,000,000 which smells of fraud to me. I would’ve done it for half of that! Courtesy of Gizmodo:

Sometime in the next few months, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will flip the switch on the largest solar plant of its kind in the world: A 377-megawatt, 3,500-acre solar thermal energy system. It’s located in California’s Mojave Desert near the Nevada border and it’s ridiculously big. I would suggest going to check it out in person during your next Vegas binge weekend, but from the 15 freeway it’s little more than a silvery blur—a rippling, mirage-like, silvery blur that feels like it might sear your retinas if you look at it too long. So it’s a good thing they’ve just posted this incredible virtual tour..


A boiler atop one of three towers where the mirrors focus the sun’s light. It really does glow white-hot like this.

Unlike traditional photovoltaic cells, where semiconductors create an electronic circuit to convert solar radiation into energy, Ivanpah uses “heliostats,” or giant computer-controlled mirrors, that focus the sun’s energy onto boilers located atop 459-foot towers, creating steam that powers turbines, thus creating energy. The water is then air-cooled and recycled in a closed-loop system.


Heliostats are mechanically moved as needed to maximize the sun’s reflection.

Since photovoltaics are static and have to be positioned very precisely, the heliostats are more low-impact, requiring minimal land grading. The plant estimates it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 400,000 tons per year, the equivalent of taking 2.1 million cars off the road during its 30-year lifecycle.


It’s like a funhouse! Heliostats waiting to be put into place.

When finished the plant will have over 300,000 heliostats, or enough mirrors to replace all the windows of the Empire State Building 54 times.


The heliostats are assembled in here, using metal poles which are drilled into the ground.

Ivanpah will power over 140,000 California homes during peak hours. The plant also features investors like Google and a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.


Here’s where “pad bonding” happens, attaching the mirrors to their steel frames.

But it hasn’t been all sunshine and Google investments for Ivanpah. After determining that the habitat was threatening 200 desert tortoises, the tortoises were relocated to other parts of the Mojave Desert at a scandalous cost of $50,000 per tortoise.

Last month, President Obama’s climate action plan set a goal to permit enough wind and solar projects on public lands to power six million homes by 2020, and from the number of new projects underway, it looks like it might happen. About an hour northeast, construction has started on Copper Mountain 3, a 250-megawatt, 1,400-acre photovoltaic plant outside Boulder City, Nevada. This is the third phase of a massive development will also be one of the largest solar plants in the world. SOLAR POWER SMACKDOWN, y’all.

But they both better watch their backs: The Blythe Solar Power Project, a 485-megawatt, 7,000-acre photovoltaic project is expected to start construction in 2014. In the meantime, Ivanpah reigns supreme—check it out in all its glory on the virtual tour.