The companies storing energy in cold air

March 16, 2018 by  
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Renewable sources of energy are getting more efficient by the day – yet energy storage remains an obstacle standing in the way of wide adoption. To fill this gap, some companies are thinking outside the box and investing in developing energy storage that relies on cold air. “Compressed air is an interesting technology,” Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage at Greentech Media told the BBC . “It can be a form of bulk storage.” Alacaes in Switzerland is one company that has explored cold air energy storage by drilling a hole in the side of the mountain, in which compressed cold air is stored until needed to drive a turbine. Read on to learn more about this and other efforts to hold energy in cold air. Alcaes’s mountain drilling technique may prove effective, though it is limited in its applications. “The downside is it has to rely on specific geological formations… It needs underground caverns which in itself is a limitation,” said Manghani. The United Kingdom-based Highview Power Storage is pioneering an alternative method for cold air energy storage by using refrigeration to cool air to -196 degrees Celsius, at which point air becomes liquid. This liquid air is then held in low pressure environments until it is needed. Related: New rooftop cooling tech beams excess heat into outer space Highview has constructed a facility near Manchester that uses heat generated by burning waste gas from a landfill to expand liquid nitrogen in the stored air. The expanded air is then channeled through a turbine, which generates electricity. Highview expects this facility to be connected to the UK energy grid in spring 2018. Highview hopes their facility will serve as a model for a planet that desperately needs clean energy storage solutions. “Globally the world is realizing that true grid scale, long duration storage is a requirement if we’re to go for a decarbonised future,” Stuart Nelmes, Highview’s engineering director, told the BBC , “and this tech will play a key part in that.” Via BBC Images via Gasworld and Highview Power Storage

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The companies storing energy in cold air

California puts solar procurement on hold despite production records

March 12, 2018 by  
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California set two new solar power records this month, Greentech Media reported . But utilities seem to be slowing down their procurement of new capacity. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposed utilities procure almost no extra renewables this year — but critics worry how this affects the State’s renewable energy targets. Solar energy is thriving in California. Power plants sourced 0.5 percent of electricity from solar in 2010 in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times , but that figure had risen to 10 percent last year. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric, the state’s three investor-owned utilities , which “comprise approximately three quarters of electricity supply” according to the California Energy Commission, are all ahead of schedule on clean energy procurement plans, and are on their way to meeting California’s mandate of sourcing 33 percent of energy via renewables by 2020. Related: The U.S. just generated 10% of its electricity from solar and wind for the first time But these investor-owned utilities didn’t procure any new renewable energy capacity last year, and CPUC has proposed they procure nearly none in 2018. Independent Energy Producers Association CEO Jan Smutny-Jones told Greentech Media, “They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while.’” The state is still setting records. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) saw solar serve a peak percentage of demand at 49.95 percent on March 4. The peak prior to that was 47.2 percent in May 2017. CAISO senior public information officer Anne Gonzales told Greentech Media, “The record is a result of a cool, sunny day. Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts. Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.” The next day, March 5, CAISO set another record: solar production hit a peak of 10,411 megawatts. The record before that was 9,913 megawatts, set in June 2017. Smutny-Jones told Greentech the CPUC is “too absorbed in modeling”, adding, “For me, it’s a little hard to sit in a meeting and talk about 100 percent renewables when our chief regulator isn’t moving the ball.” Via Greentech Media Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Depositphotos

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California puts solar procurement on hold despite production records

Greece Planning a Solar Power Boom

September 6, 2011 by  
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Greece has laid out a new plan to get itself out of a recession and to spread renewable energy through the country and the EU.  The new plan called Project Helios would see the country expanding its solar power capacity to 10 GW by 2050 through financing by international investors. Greece is hoping to capitalize on one of it’s great resources:  the country gets 300 sunny days a year.  Greece would lease out land to investors to build solar installations as a way to generate income and add jobs. To make the deal more attractive to investors, the country is promising to greatly ease licensing obstacles and cut out most of the red tape involved in building these projects. The solar power systems would be connected to the mainland, islands and to the rest of continent, which would help other EU countries meet the renewable energy mandate that requires member countries to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020.  The set up would be similar to the huge DESERTEC project in North Africa, but on a smaller scale within the EU. The project would see 2.2 GW of capacity installed by 2020, 10 GW by 2050 and ultimately the country would become an exporter of renewable energy. via Greentech Media

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Greece Planning a Solar Power Boom

Sticker-Like Lens Improves Solar Panel Efficiency by 12.5%

August 2, 2010 by  
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SolOptics , the solar division of Genie Lens, has created a new lens design that improves solar PV performance by 12.5 percent.  The new thin-film design can be applied to any PV module, just like a sticker. The new design is created by the company’s ray tracing software that embosses microstructures onto thin polymer film.  That film can then be applied to solar panels much like tinting film can be applied to a window.  In testing, the microstructures in the lens improved PV efficiency by 10 to 12.5 percent.

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Sticker-Like Lens Improves Solar Panel Efficiency by 12.5%

US to Become World Leader in Solar PV Market?

December 12, 2009 by  
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A new comprehensive study of the PV market in each US state and the US as a whole comes to some interesting and hopeful conclusions. One finding is that the US might surpass Germany as the leading PV market in the world within the next few years .

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US to Become World Leader in Solar PV Market?

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