Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS)


Jointly owned by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) sprawls across the California and Nevada border in the Mojave Desert. This 377 to 400 megawatt solar complex is revolutionizing the solar energy industry, proving that large scale renewable energy projects are not only possible, but can both thrive and surpass expectations. With just three plants, the ISEGS produces enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes during peak hours, and double that amount during off hours. In fact, ISEGS produces double the amount of commercial solar thermal energy than any other plant in the United States.


ISEGS officially broke ground on October 27, 2010 and opened for business in February of 2014. Despite being one large complex, the project was actually broken down into three separate plants, each with their own 400-plus foot tower affixed with water filled receivers / boilers. The specific technology used is known as Luz Power Tower 550, which was developed by BrightSource Energy with the goal of creating a unique take on traditional energy generation that harnessed and increased the power of the sun. Stretching across 3,500 acres, each plant relies on solar receivers filled with water nestled atop the towers. By using 300,000 mirrors, known as heliostats, to increase the sun’s energy and reflect the light directly onto the solar receivers at strategic angles, the water in the receivers is heated to such high temperatures that it dissolves into steam...


Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 breakthroughs in wind turbine technology drive down the costs of building wind farms

Breakthroughs in wind technology have everything from lasers pinpointing the direction of the wind, so that turbine blades can optimize their productive capacity by automatically adjusting their position, to advancements in blade design that increase flow and decrease drag. 2014 saw the increased use of strong, light corrosion resistant composite materials for tower and foundation structures. Blades have been increasingly produced from not only fiberglass, but also epoxy resins, polyesters and carbon fiber. In addition, the latest trends in global wind turbine technology include augmenting wind power with energy storage, integrating smart grid technology into turbine operation and moving wind farms offshore.
Recently, this renewable energy technology has been put on a stronger economic footing to compete with coal and natural gas. Two types of technologies in particular address storage and intermittency concerns, factors which have held wind back from achieving grid parity with fossil fuels until 2013-2014. An industrial smart system sends data to operators in many new turbine units, predicting wind strength and optimal position for turbines based on the forecasted wind speed and direction. In addition, renewable energy storage technologies (like lithium-ion batteries) store excess electricity when more energy is produced by the wind than what is needed, and feed it back into the grid when the wind slows down, or when it stops blowing.
As of 2014, the number of countries with more than 1 GW of installed capacity for wind energy reached at least 24: with 16+ in Europe, 4 in Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan & Australia), 3 in North America (Canada, Mexico, US) and 1 in Latin America (Brazil)...
Please see: http://www.greencitytimes.com/Renewable-Energy/wind.html for the rest of the article.

Related wind energy articles:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Renewable energy: solar and solar thermal (PV and CSP)


Recently, there have been dramatic breakthroughs in solar energy that will help further the mainstream use of photovoltaic (PV) technology, bringing solar closer to cost parity with fossil fuels as a viable energy source to power the grid. A key development that will enable the widespread use of solar is the production of cells using less expensive, and readily available materials. Silicon has traditionally been the preferred material for PV, however cadmium telluride, copper and selenium (among other materials) are now also used to produce PV cells. These materials are used to produce highly efficient, low cost cells.
Nano PV cells result in much more compact, thinner, more efficient solar units. Nano technologies in PV with from 4 to 7 times (or more) the efficiency of standard photovoltaic cells are in the R&D phase today, with limited commercial availability. There are nano and alternative material PV cells with substantially higher efficiency than the standard (double to triple the standard 12-15% efficiency) in use today. The solar arrays now being produced could be exponentially improved with the development, refinement and implementation of nano technology. 
In addition to advancements in traditional photovoltaic technology, there have been exponential advancements in the field of solar thermal energy. Instead of simply converting energy from the sun into electricity, with solar thermal technology, solar energy heats water, molten salt, or another working fluid, and then steam is used to drive generators. Solar thermal represents an advancement in solar energy with 4 to 5 times the power density of PV. However, reductions in the cost of this technology have been difficult to realize, preventing it from really taking off.
One commercially successful application of solar power is the solar powered water heater. Solar powered water heaters are mandatory in new construction in the entire country of Israel, and now, in the state of Hawaii. Some of the other applications of solar energy include power generation and heating even in remotely situated buildings, in industrial buildings, schools, hospitals, etc...
Both types of solar energy (PV and solar thermal) will continue to steadily lessen in cost as technological advancements are made. However, photovoltaic is projected to remain ahead of thermal in terms of cost of production and utilization. Solar thermal does have a couple of advantages which compensate for the higher cost. Solar thermal energy is produced consistently throughout the day, not relying on weather conditions. relatedThe turbine will run on natural gas if there is no sun for an extended period of time. Solar thermal units fit easily with power storage systems and will continue to produce energy at night, using energy harnessed during the day.

The most promising new technologies in the world of solar power are CSP and HCPV...






Please see: http://www.greencitytimes.com/Renewable-Energy/solar.html for the whole article.

Related links on solar energy:

http://technology.inquirer.net/39483/worlds-biggest-solar-powered-mall-in-ph


http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-18/the-world-benefits-from-germanys-use-of-wind-and-solar-power


http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/19/sunpower-solar-energy-us5-trillion-industry-within-20-years/




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Green City Times - Top 5 Greenest Cities in the World

www.greencitytimes.com

Top 5 Greenest Cities in the World





Green City Times
 is a resource on sustainability, urban planning, renewable energy, sustainable mass transportation, energy efficiency and green building. Find facts on renewable energy including: hydroelectric (from dams, mills, waves, currents and tides), solar, wind, geothermal, biomass (and biofuel). Also get info. about everything from recycling to clean coal...

You will discover information on 7 of the world's most sustainable cities. Green City Times also features articles on the latest sustainability technology. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC)

Public Transportation Revolution: From CUTE to CHIC

In an effort to create energy efficient, environmentally clean public transportation systems, Europe has spent the last decade testing fuel cell electric buses that utilize hydrogen fuel cells in lieu of traditional diesel. The Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project is the latest and most exciting development in this sector, but it was preceded by the Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) and the HyFleet: CUTE, two highly successful programs that have worked to lay the foundation for a revolution in the European public transportation system.

Exploring CHIC’s Origins: CUTE

The original CUTE project started with only a few units, but in just two years it expanded to 27 buses across 8 European cities, including Hamburg, London, Stockholm, Porto, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Luxembourg, Madrid and Amsterdam. Overall, this first incarnation of CUTE ran from 2001 to 2006, and the project was deemed a success, paving the way for the next incarnation: HyFleet. This second project was responsible for 33 new and improved buses with updated internal combustion engines. On a whole, it garnered even more public support for the program, operating in 9 cities around the world.

The Future of CHIC

After the wild success of the CUTE and HyFleet:CUTE programs, the push to commercialize fuel cell electric buses began, and CHIC was born. The project spans 14 European regions and is funded via a joint partnership between the European Union’s Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the European Commission, with a budget of € 1.4 billion in total for the period between 2014 and 2020.
During the start-up phase, CHIC has operated 37 buses in the same regions as the CUTE programs, as these areas are already accustomed to and have some of the infrastructure in place for hydrogen-based transport. Phase one expands operations from Cologne, Berlin and Whistler to London, Oslo, Aargau, Bolzano, and Milan with 26 additional buses. Phase two will complete the expansion, although the exact targeted regions have not yet been nailed down. In total, the CHIC program is expected to function in 14 different regions across Europe...

Please see: http://www.greencitytimes.com/Sustainability-News/clean-hydrogen-in-european-cities-chic.html for the rest of the article.


Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) on the web:

http://chic-project.eu

https://www.facebook.com/chicproject




Friday, November 14, 2014

The greenest city in Europe


Vauban, Germany is a sustainable town for every other city in the world to emulate. Vauban is a “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany.

The town is not completely carbon neutral, as cars are actually allowed, if you pay at least $23,000 USD for a parking spot on the outskirts of town. Thus, the majority of residents don’t own a car, choosing instead to use the tram, cycle or simply walk. Most streets don’t even have parking spaces.
The radical culture of Vauban has roots in its dramatic history. Ironically, Vauban was a military town through WWII and into the early 90’s. When the military left, the vacant buildings were inhabited by squatters. These vagabonds eventually organized Forum Vauban, organizing a revolutionary eco-community. Today, Vauban is modern, beautiful and represents the very cutting edge of sustainable living.
Careful urban planning helped to create a city layout which lends itself to cycling as the primary mode of transit. The terms “filtered permeability” and ”fused grid” refer to a plan that ultimately means connected streets throughout the town, as well as plenty of pedestrian and bike paths. Residents primarily live in co-op buildings, such as the "solar ship", a large area of co-op buildings that run strictly on renewable energy. The "solar ship" is the first housing community in the world in which all the homes produce a positive energy balance. The solar ship is part of Vauban’s solar settlement, helping make the town one of Europe’s most significant solar communities...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Smart meters - a more efficient use of utilities



smart meters - a more efficient use of utilities

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For decades, residential and commercial energy, water and gas were measured by one-way meters, with billing determined by periodic readings. Despite relative accuracy, these systems are cumbersome and inefficient.

Smart meters change this, improving energy efficiency to shield consumers from the rising cost of electricity and other utilities, including water and natural gas. They record consumption every hour or less, sending information directly back to the company for real-time reporting. Outside of the amount of utility used, smart meters send near-instant power, gas and water outage notifications as well as monitor quality, all with easy-to-read displays showing up-to-date information on intake.

While currently being looked at for all utilities, smart meters will soon replace standard electric meters. Smart energy meters give utility companies and consumers a clear look at energy usage and allow companies to offer lower rates during off-peak times. Because smart meters dramatically reduce the amount of labour required to monitor consumption, they also pose a direct savings, allowing investment in smart grid development concepts and other environmentally-friendly technology. They eliminate estimated bills, allowing households and companies to better budget for utility costs, and provide a realistic way for consumers to utilize energy during off-peak hours.

Due to the reduction in operation cost and improvement in energy efficiency, especially when smart meters are integrated into smart grid development (a network that works with the two-way communication to increase or decrease energy production based on local usage at any given minute), several countries are working to replace traditional meters with smart meters.

Europe: Great Britain plans to have smart meters in all residential properties by 2020 as well as most small businesses, which accounts for 30 million homes and 2 million commercial properties.

US: Six states in the US currently have solid plans to incorporate smart meters for electricity, water and gas, with Texas, Maryland and California currently working on purchasing and installing the new technology.

Canada: Ontario leads the push to have smart meters installed throughout the province, boasting 800,000 residential and commercial properties with updated smart meters.

Japan: Private corporations currently utilize smart meters throughout the country, and Japan’s Energy Conservation Centre is testing smart meters and their effect on energy efficiency.

Australia: Victoria began implementing a plan to update 2.6 million properties with smart meters. As they work towards their goal of integrating these energy efficient meters into the public utility system, Victoria is offering three separate in-home displays tied to the smart meters, eliminating the need to go outside to look at the display.

 

As climate change and its effects become more apparent, the energy industry and is working to change the current system as quickly as possible to improve energy efficiency and reduce human activity’s impact on the environment. Although some companies and countries are slower to adopt smart meters and similar concepts than others, no one can argue the fact that a massive overhaul of the current systems is imperative. 

Public Transportation Revolution: From CUTE to CHIC

Public Transportation Revolution: From CUTE to CHIC

In an effort to create energy efficient, environmentally clean public transportation systems, Europe has spent the last decade testing fuel cell electric buses that utilize hydrogen fuel cells in lieu of traditional diesel. The Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project is the latest and most exciting development in this sector, but it was preceded by the Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) and the HyFleet: CUTE, two highly successful programs that have worked to lay the foundation for a revolution in the European public transportation system.

Exploring CHIC’s Origins: CUTE

The original CUTE project started with only a few units, but in just two years it expanded to 27 buses across 8 European cities, including Hamburg, London, Stockholm, Porto, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Luxembourg, Madrid and Amsterdam. Overall, this first incarnation of CUTE ran from 2001 to 2006, and the project was deemed a success, paving the way for the next incarnation: HyFleet. This second project was responsible for 33 new and improved buses with updated internal combustion engines. On a whole, it garnered even more public support for the program, operating in 9 cities around the world.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creating Clean Coal: Carbon Capture and Storage


Conversations centering on climate change focus heavily on renewable energy sources, with solar and wind energy dominating the priority list of solutions. But there are other options available that work by upgrading current systems to harness the power of coal without heavy carbon dioxide emissions: carbon capture and storage (CCS) and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Simply put, CCS is integrated into fossil fuel power plants, capturing carbon dioxide emissions so that they can be transported to a storage site, preventing them from entering into the atmosphere. Perhaps one of the simplest means of utilizing the infrastructure already in place, CCS turns carbon-emission-heavy fuel sources into a clean form of renewable energy, acting as a simpler means of combating climate change.
The first stage of this process involves capturing the CO2 and compressing it for storage. Methods vary, although for coal, CO2 is often captured post-combustion. From here, the emissions are pumped through a pipeline to a storage site deep underground, about 7,000 feet below the surface. In cases where pipelines are impossible, CO2 can also be transported to a storage site via ship...


Saturday, October 25, 2014

London Array - paving the way for efficient offshore wind energy farms

World-renowned as the single largest operational offshore wind farm in the world, the London Array officially opened in July, 2013. It was founded and run by three energy companies: E.ON, DONG Energy, and Masdar. Featuring 175 wind turbines, the facility produces 630 megawatts of electricity, powering half a million UK homes every year, which works out to two-thirds of the homes in Kent. The London Array also reduces harmful carbon dioxide emissions by over 900,000 tons annually.

Lauded as an environmentally friendly, cost-effective source of reliable energy for southeast England, the project received its initial green light in 2003 when London Array Ltd obtained a 50-year lease for the 100 km2 location situated an expansive 20 km offshore...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Green City Times: YouTube





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Green City Times is a resource on sustainability, urban planning, renewable energy, sustainable mass transportation, energy efficiency and green building. Facts on renewable energy including: hydroelectric (from dams, mills, waves, currents and tides), solar, wind, geothermal, biomass (and biofuel). Also info. on everything from recycling to clean coal...

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Solutions to fossil fuels

As a finite resource, oil, and in turn gas and diesel, is eventually going to run out. For car lovers everywhere, this means that alternatives have to be successful, otherwise it may be a return to the days of horse-drawn carriage for all of us.
Of course, the impact from using, refining and also finding oil and other fossil fuels are vast and have a significant negative impact on the environment. All kinds of pollution stem from fossil fuels, including immediate dangers to the planet, such as, most significantly, the dramatic increase of greenhouse gas emissions. The only way to counter these issues is to find alternatives that allow us to produce cheap, clean and also plentiful energy – so, here are some of the alternatives:

Hydrogen fuel cells

The holy grail of power sources for transportation is H2. Hydrogen power is readily available, if only the car industry can come up with a cost-effective way to use it. The creation of a economically viable hydrogen fuel cell is being applied in some car models and buses, especially in Europe. One major advantage of using H2 in transportation is that its only emissions are water and oxygen.

Ethanol

The distillation or fermenting of crops has been used to make people merrier for millennium now, however it can also be used to create more efficient, greener transportation...

Please see solutions to fossil fuels for the rest of the article.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference 2015

The United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference 2015

World leaders gather every year for the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) to assess progress in dealing with climate change and negotiate protocols and treaties between countries to further address the plethora of issues. This includes plans for sustainability, funding and implementing renewable energy sources, and updating urban planning ideas and guidelines with energy efficiency and green building in mind; all of which is intended to meet the goal of dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference will meet again in Le Bourget, a northeastern suburb of Paris, France. Running from November 30th to December 11th, the 2015 meeting will be the 21st yearly session and focus on developing and funding the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and setting carbon pricing.

The GCF will transfer money from developed countries to underdeveloped countries, aiding them in investing in renewable energy, sustainable mass transportation, and green building projects. Perhaps the most contentious topic to be discussed is carbon pricing, where countries will be charged for their carbon dioxide emissions...

Monday, October 6, 2014

27 tips to reduce your carbon footprint

The following is a list of simple, smart tips which can help you reduce your carbon footprint. Help stop global warming, and make a greater impact by following more than just a few.
  • Change your regular light bulbs to LED (light emitting diode) or CFL (compact florescent) light bulbs. LED and CFL's use less energy, contain less toxic ingredients and last a very long time.
  • Try buying your groceries locally; this way you are buying products which are produced using the very least amount of energy. This helps reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Try using rechargeable batteries.
  • Avoid "phantom loads" (electrical equipment that still uses energy even after turned off) by using a power strip.
  • Start recycling newspaper, magazines, plastic, glass and cardboard.
  • Invest in a car with good gas mileage.
  • Try to avoid patio heaters.
  • Start car-pooling from work if possible.
  • Try to avoid peek driving hours to reduce your commute time and gas consumption.
  • Start using a compost bin to recycle the waste from your kitchen and garden.
  • Filter your own water instead of buying a fridge that does it for you.
  • Clean the lint filter of your dryer and furnace. You can save a lot of money as less electricity is wasted with dirty filters.
  • Turn off the tv when not being watched.
  • Use your own mug when you go into a coffee shop, instead of using one of the paper cups they provide.
  • Start using a clothesline to dry your clothes when the weather is appropriate.
  • Only use your dryer and dishwasher when they are full.
  • Plant trees.
  • Open up your windows during the summer and start depending less on air conditioning.
  • Purchase reusable bags to carry your groceries in.
  • Reduce your consumption of red meat, as cows and forest clearing for cow pastures generate significant amounts of CO2.
  • Turn off and unplug any electrical devices when they are not being used.
  • Turn off the lights when leaving a room.
  • Use solar powered lights when you can.
  • Save paper! Use cloth to clean.
  • Use the internet to read the news instead of purchasing a newspaper every day.
  • Invest in a laptop instead of a desktop as they use up less energy.
  • Try to install double-pane windows..
  • Keep your car tires inflated to the recommended pressures to save gas.
  • Try using a programmable thermostat and regulate the heating/ cooling of your home to use less energy.