U.S. ethanol plant capacity increases for third consecutive year

The majority of the 195 ethanol plants, and most of the U.S. fuel ethanol production capacity, are located in the Midwest region

Floating solar power sector has "considerable" bank support

Mark Lammey  for EnergyVoice:  A major bank’s decision to throw its weight behind a floating solar power scheme shows the sector is rich with commercial potential, bosses at engineering consultancy OST Energy said. OST acted as technical adviser for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) during the early stages of the project to bring Europe’s largest floating photovoltaic solar project to financial close earlier this year. The 6.3 Megawatt peak (MWp) array, installed by Lightsource Renewable Energy, is the first project of its kind to secure European bank financing. It now provides a source of clean energy to water utilities company, Thames Water, on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir west of London. Thames Water will buy all energy generated by the project as part of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Lightsource.   Cont'd...

Catch a Wave: Achieving Grid Parity With New Hybrid Ocean Technology Harnessing Various Wave Types for Increased Power Generation

Innovative ocean-borne technology, utilizing a dual rotor system and wave ramp to capture all the power contained in a wave, is a highly efficient wave energy converter that actually lowers the cost of delivered electricity.

How To Access Financing For Your Next Commercial Solar Project

Borrowers may underestimate the extent to which they need to be prepared before soliciting project financing. There are six key documents essential for obtaining capital for financing any solar project.

Nevada Court Rejects Solar Power Ballot Initiative As 'Inaccurate' And 'Misleading'

Samantha Page for ThinkProgress:  The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a solar industry-backed measure that would have let voters decide how customers are paid for the electricity they put back on the grid. The November referendum would have allowed voters to overturn a Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decision from late last year that gutted the state’s net metering program — a rate design element that ensures solar owners are paid retail rate for the electricity they put back on the grid. The court ruled that the description included in the referendum was “inaccurate,” “misleading,” and “argumentative,” the AP reported. But the industry was not bowed after the ruling, saying it would continue to fight to set fair rates for solar homeowners.   Cont'd...

Renewable energy storage revolutionised by flywheel device

Tereza Pultarova for Engineering & Technology Magazine:  A flywheel-based device invented by a Lancaster University student could help solve the renewable energy storage problem, offering a better alternative to battery technology. The Flywheel Energy Store, designed by 21-year-old Abigail Carson, retains energy kinetically in a levitating floating mass. The flywheel, about the size of a football, doesn’t require any additional control mechanisms, inputs or maintenance. “The global energy crisis is the biggest and most urgent problem that needs addressing,” said Carson, who is awaiting a patent for the device. “The Flywheel Energy Store can be used for a vast range of applications – most significantly in providing energy security and independence for everyone globally, but also including eliminating waste in power networks, pumping water to villages and allowing for cleaner cooking and heating in developing countries, instant charging of electric vehicles, and off-grid energy storage.” Carson’s flywheel can rotate at up to 144,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The majority of existing flywheel designs usually achieve a maximum of around 60,000rpm.   Cont'd...

Advances in Inverter Technology

Functioning as the brain of the PV system, advanced inverter solutions are now responsible for communications, monitoring, smart energy management, storage, grid interaction, safety and more.

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary - September - December 2016

Here is a summary of what Tradeshows, Conferences & Exhibitions to look forward to in the coming months.

Chernobyl is to become the world's largest solar power plant

ALEXANDRU MICU for ZME Science:  The Ukranian government plans to turn Chernobyl, the site of the world’s most famous nuclear meltdown, into a sprawling solar power plant — the largest in the world. Since the meltdown on April 26, 1986, no one’s been able to find any good uses for Chernobyl. A 1,600 square mile area was drenched in radiation and deemed an “exclusion zone,” so everyone was evacuated after the clean-up efforts were concluded and the plant was sealed in its ubiquitous sarcophagus. The buildings, goods, and infrastructure in the area were abandoned so fast that the city looks like time froze there 30 years ago — albeit with a Falloutesque look. Since we left, nature took over, and for the most part, is thriving in our absence (though the microbes that decompose dead organic matter seem to be having a hard time living here.) In a recent interview, however, Ukraine’s ecology minister Ostap Semerak said that the government is negotiating with two US investment firms and four Canadian energy companies to develop Chernobyl’s solar potential. The area is uniquely suited for the purpose — the land is extremely cheap, much of the required infrastructure, such as roads are already built. Even better, the power lines that served the old 4GW reactor are still useable.   Cont'd...

Transmission's Role in a Clean Energy Future

The power grid serves as the interstate highways of our electric system. A modern, flexible system for delivering electricity generation over long distances is essential to the nation's successful transition to a clean power future.

Tesla Lowers Bid, Agrees to Pay $2.6 Billion for SolarCity

Chris Martin for Bloomberg Technology:  Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. reached an agreement to buy SolarCity Corp. for $2.6 billion, about $300 million less than an initial proposal criticized as a “bailout” for the solar company in which he’s the largest shareholder. SolarCity investors will receive $25.37 a share in stock under the agreement, according to a statement Monday. Musk initially offered $26.50 to $28.50 a share in Tesla stock. Analysts have said in the past that the bid was too low and investors have questioned the wisdom of Musk combining his electric-car maker with the clean-energy company.  The deal, which allows SolarCity to solicit competing takeover offers through Sept. 14, will now go to the shareholders of the companies for approval.   Cont'd...   

Molten storage and thermophotovoltaics offer new solar power pathway

Georgia Institute of Technology:  New computer modeling suggests that high temperature TPV conversion -- which captures infrared radiation from very hot surfaces -- could one day rival combined-cycle turbine systems when combined with thermal storage using liquid metal at temperatures around 1,300 degrees Celsius. Advances in high-temperature components and improved system modeling, combined with the potential for conversion costs an order of magnitude lower than those of turbines, suggest that TPV could offer a pathway for efficiently storing and producing electrical power from solar thermal sources, a new study suggests. The underlying technologies of high temperature storage and thermophotovoltaic conversion could also be used to produce grid-scale batteries able to rapidly supplement other power sources by storing heat for quick conversion to electricity. The research, supported by ARPA-E, was reported July 4 in the journal Energy and Environmental Science by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.   Cont'd...

Flight to the future: Solar Impulse shows we can run the world without consuming the earth

The lessons of Solar Impulse are clear: by pushing the boundaries of technology, and refusing to accept limits, technological or psychological, we can run the world without consuming the earth, and reach heights we never believed were possible.

Using Particle Accelerator Technology to Manufacture Solar Cells

This technique is projected to reduce solar panel manufacturing costs by upwards of 60% compared to industry standards, while making them 25% more efficient, and resulting in a very cost-effective source of energy.

Belgian scientists make novel water-from-urine machine

Reuters:  A team of scientists at a Belgian university say they have created a machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, a technique which could be applied in rural areas and developing countries. While there are other options for treating waste water, the system applied at the University of Ghent uses a special membrane, is said to be energy-efficient and to be applicable in areas off the electricity grid. "We're able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy," said University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese. The urine is collected in a big tank, heated in a solar-powered boiler before passing through the membrane where the water is recovered and nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are separated.   Cont'd...

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