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...