These Lego-Like Batteries Plug In To Store Solar Power At Home

Adele Peters for Co-Exist:  Less than a year after Tesla unveiled its Powerwall battery for storing electricity at home, a startup has designed a much cheaper alternative that you can plug in yourself, without an electrician. The modular batteries, called Orison, can be hung on the wall or set on the ground to double as an LED lamp. If you want more power, you just add the units together. "Think of Orison like Legos," says co-founder and CEO Eric Clifton. "The 2.2 kilowatt-hour unit is really just one piece, so you can actually add as many as you need." The 2.2 kilowatt-hour version is as large as the company could make one unit and keep it under 40 pounds, so it could be easily shipped and moved. With one unit, if your power went out in a storm, you could keep an energy-efficient refrigerator running for about two days. If you want to back up everything in your house, you'd connect a long series of batteries together. For someone with solar panels on the roof, the batteries can store power to use at night. Right now, most people can sell extra solar power back to the grid when they're not using it, but many state laws are about to change so people will make less money. Batteries can help solar homeowners save money by making use of the power they've generated.   Cont'd...

Offshore wind projects in United States see renewed interest

By PHILIP MARCELO for AP:  The offshore wind industry has high hopes for establishing a permanent beachhead in the U.S. after years of disappointment. Business leaders and politicians who gathered for an industry conference in Boston this week said wealthy investment firms and seasoned European offshore wind companies are increasingly committing to projects along the East Coast. That, they said, is evidence a domestic industry dreamed about for nearly two decades is finally on its way. "There's a palpable sense that it's finally happening," said Bryan Martin, a managing director at D.E. Shaw & Co. That New York hedge fund is the principal backer of Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island-based company looking to launch the country's first offshore wind farm off Block Island by the end of the year. "The U.S. tends to start small and ramp up very fast. I believe that will happen with offshore wind." Among the significant new players to emerge in the past year is DONG Energy, a Danish firm that operates more than a dozen wind farms, including some of Europe's largest.   Cont'd...

These 10 Places Broke Records In Renewable Energy

The following nations have, at one point or another, broken global records in renewable energy use, production or technology development.

Warren Buffett Downplays His Battle With Elon Musk in Nevada Over Solar Power

Joe Carmichael for Inverse:  Buffett, in an interview with CNBC on Monday, responded to viewer questions about this clash (a clash that Bloomberg Business intensified with a cover story): two viewers asked why Buffett’s companies are preventing and deterring net metering in Nevada. Buffett responded: “We don’t have a problem with net meters, and we’re the leading in renewables in the country among regulated utilities. The [unintelligible] we do not want our million-plus customers that do not have solar to be buying solar at 10 and a half cents when we can turn it out for them at 4 and a half cents or buy it at 4 and a half cents. So, we do not want the non-solar customers, of whom there are over a million, to be subsidizing the 17,000 solar customers. Now, solar customers are subsidized through the Federal Government — as we are, with our wind and solar operations ourselves. … “In Nevada, [Musk's company, SolarCity] had an arrangement for a very limited number of people — and the public utility commission decides this — they had an arrangement where the utility had to pay way above market for solar produced by these 17,000 homes, and that —“ The interviewer interrupted to clarify: “For instance, if I have solar electricity that I’m producing, that’s more than I need, I can sell it back to you…”   Cont'd...

Electric Car War Sends Lithium Prices Sky High

The lithium oligopoly is already a dinosaur, and new lithium projects on highly prospective land forwarded by companies with lower market caps and strong management are what investors will be looking for.

Solar Thermal Fluids - Why It Is So Important To Choose The Right Fluid

The most popular fluid used in CSP plants is the eutectic mixture of BDO. This fluid has a high operating temperature (up to 400 degrees Celsius), a low viscosity and good thermal stability.

Sparking an Energy Revolution: Artificial photosynthesis in Fuel Cells a Promising New Discovery

Recently, there have been many boosting developments in the conception of new methodologies for generating hydrogen for fuel cells without resorting to fossil fuel as support.

Is the US undermining India's solar power programme?

Justin Rowlatt for BBC News:  Whatever happened to all the talk of international co-operation to tackle climate change that we heard during the climate conference in Paris just a few months ago? That is what many environmentalists are asking after the United States delivered a damaging blow to India's ambitious solar power programme this week. In response to a US complaint, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled that India's National Solar Mission breaches trade rules. It judged that India's policies on buying locally made solar power equipment discriminates against imports. "The ink is barely dry on the UN Paris Climate Agreement, but clearly trade still trumps real action on climate change," Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Friends of the Earth International said in a statement. But is the decision really as damaging as many commentators seem to think? Let's start at the beginning.   Cont'd...

Here's How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis

Tom Randal for Bloomberg Business:  With all good technologies, there comes a time when buying the alternative no longer makes sense. Think smartphones in the past decade, color TVs in the 1970s, or even gasoline cars in the early 20th century. Predicting the timing of these shifts is difficult, but when it happens, the whole world changes. It’s looking like the 2020s will be the decade of the electric car. Battery prices fell 35 percent last year and are on a trajectory to make unsubsidized electric vehicles as affordable as their gasoline counterparts in the next six years, according to a new analysis of the electric-vehicle market by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). That will be the start of a real mass-market liftoff for electric cars. By 2040, long-range electric cars will cost less than $22,000 (in today’s dollars), according to the projections. Thirty-five percent of new cars worldwide will have a plug.   Cont'd...

Generating Energy with Graphene

Everyday researchers discover new applications for the properties of graphene. The future of graphene holds limitless possibilities from generating energy to literally every corner of industry and manufacturing. As the years pass it will likely become as commonplace as plastic.

How Battery Power Sustains Wind-Blown and Sun Struck Grids

Utilities are turning to energy storage systems (ESS) to help power grids withstand the effects of high peak demands, instability and the unpredictability of energy that can be gone with the wind.

Monumental Market Conditions Revealed as First Mexican Clean Energy Capacity Auction Prequalification Bid Window Closes

The first auction price bids are due in March, and prequalification for the second renewable auction in Mexico is expected to take place in as early as May or June.

Heat From Sewage

So far IWS technology has been installed in multi-unit residential developments, wastewater treatment facilities, a public theatre and a university campus.

Energy-Storage Startup LightSail Plots Long-Term Game Plan

Barbara Haislip for the Wall Street Journal:  Few industries are more daunting for entrepreneurs these days than clean energy. Developing the technology and hardware is expensive, and setbacks are common. Even if all goes well, getting a product to market can take a decade or more. Most venture-fund investors, meanwhile, want a quicker payout. Danielle Fong, co-founder and chief scientist of LightSail Energy, is trying to keep investors happy while working toward some ambitious clean-energy goals. Her company’s aim, she says, “is to produce the world’s cleanest and most economical energy-storage system” through a technology that uses compressed air to store energy from the grid. LightSail’s technology will do this more efficiently than other solutions, Ms. Fong says, by capturing some of the excess heat that comes when compressing air.  “Until now, this was wasted, reducing efficiency,” she says. Founded in 2009, Berkeley, Calif.-based LightSail has raised $70 million from several investors, including Bill Gates, Peter Thiel,Khosla Ventures and the French energy giant Total.   Cont'd...

Apple leftovers key for future energy storage

By Tereza Pultarova for E&T:  German researchers have developed a new carbon-based active material that can be manufactured from apple leftovers and used to build better energy storage systems. The apple-based material can be used as the negative electrode in sodium-ion batteries, which are currently being researched as a more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Instead of energy-intensive lithium mining, which frequently damages the environment, battery manufacturers in future could be using organic waste to make batteries. In tests, the new material discovered by researchers from the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, has demonstrated ‘excellent electrochemical properties’, allowing the researchers to carry out 1000 charge and discharge cycles during which the apple-based battery demonstrated high stability as well as capacity.   Cont'd...

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