Archive for 16/07/09

Hybrid Squared: Ingenious Energy-Generating Bike Rental System

16/07/2009

Designer Chiyu Chen has conceived of an ingenious transit system that encourages the use of sustainable transportation by crediting people for renting and riding bicycles. His Hybrid2 system consists of a fleet of rentable bicycles that are capable of generating and storing kinetic energy, which is then used to power the city’s hybrid electric buses. Simply rent a bike, charge it up with kinetic energy from pedal power, and then return it to a kiosk – the station feeds energy into the city’s smart grid, and you receive a credit towards your next bus pass!

hybrid-ed01

FUENTE – Inhabitat – 15/07/09

The core of Hybrid2 is Chen’s regenerative braking system for bikes, dubbed “Hybrake”, which allows riders to generate and store energy from braking and normal biking in an ultracapacitor. In Chen’s vision, the more energy a bicyclist generates, the more monetary credit they are given to use on public transportation.

The designer also proposes a solar-powered bike stand outfitted with an RFID card reader to lock and unlock bikes. Personal ID cards will be used to store credit gained from biking for future bus rides, and the whole thing is tied together with a hookup to transfer energy from bikes to the smart grid. Sounds like an ingenious plan for any city trying to reduce traffic congestion!

Author: A. Schwartz

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Pantalla con paneles solares basada en tinta electrónica

16/07/2009

Uno de los problemas más urgentes -sino el más- que enfrenta la humanidad por estos días es la crisis ecológica. En efecto, la contaminación ambiental es uno de los conflictos centrales que debe ser considerado a la hora de desarrollar nuevas tecnologías.

FUENTE – gstriatum – 15/07/09

La empresa coreana Neoluxiim adoptó este criterio ecológico procurando aprovechar las fuentes de energías renovables como la solar, y ha creado un prototipo de una pantalla que se alimenta de energía solar y que sólo necesita que sus paneles queden expuestos a la luz natural algunas horas al día.

Estos tipos de pantallas podrían sustituir en un futuro, tal vez no muy lejano, a los tradicionales carteles hechos a base de papel o, incluso, a los electrónicos que requieren uso de baterías o tecnologías contaminantes.

Otra variante de esta tecnología ecológica estaría aplicada a los libros electrónicos (e-books), de forma que contribuiría notablemente en la disminución de los residuos tóxicos.

Esperemos que estas innovaciones sean prontamente accesibles al mercado para el bien de nuestro planeta.

Más de 200 empresas madrileñas quieren participar en el ‘plan anticrisis’ de Obama

16/07/2009

Más de 200 empresas madrileñas se han interesado por participar en el Plan de Recuperación Económica puesto en marcha por el gobierno de Estados Unidos a través de la Confederación Empresarial de Madrid-CEOE (CEIM), según informó hoy la patronal en unas jornadas organizadas junto a la Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Madrid, PromoMadrid y el Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior.

FUENTE – Europapress – 15/07/09

A estas empresas se les ha informado de las oportunidades que supone el plan de la Administración de Barack Obama, que persigue crear y preservar de 3 a 4 millones de empleos y reavivar la economía estadounidense, para impulsar su internacionalización en este mercado.

La CEIM señaló que este programa de actuaciones abarca las áreas de acción relacionadas con la energía limpia y eficiente, la transformación de la economía con la ayuda de la ciencia y la tecnología, la modernización de infraestructuras, la educación, recortes de impuestos, reducción de los costes de sanidad, ayudas a los trabajadores afectados por la crisis y la protección de los puestos de trabajo en el sector público.

Cabe recordar que España es un país líder en el desarrollo de la energía eólica en el mundo y mantiene una posición muy relevante en otros sectores asociados al cambio climático, como la energía solar y el transporte y las técnicas de gestión eficiente del agua.

Por este motivo, el Gobierno español ha lanzado una campaña de apoyo a la imagen de las empresas españolas en Estados Unidos a través del plan ‘Made in Spain’, presentado a mediados del mes de marzo en Nueva York por el ministro de Industria, Turismo y Comercio, Miguel Sebastián junto a los Príncipes de Asturias y una importante representación de las más de cien compañías españolas con presencia en este mercado.

El proyecto plantea más de 50 acciones anuales en torno a estos sectores. Esta iniciativa tiene una duración de dos años y una dotación presupuestaria cofinanciada por la Administración y las empresas de 20 millones de euros en 2009, partida que podría aumentar hasta los 24 millones el próximo año.

Greenpeace pide a Zapatero que reactive el acuerdo sobre cambio climático

16/07/2009

Greenpeace pide al presidente del Gobierno, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, que llegará hoy a L’Aquila como representante de uno de los países invitados a la reunión del G8, que lidere personalmente la lucha contra el cambio climático.

FUENTE – energelia – 10/07/09

Esta madrugada activistas de la organización ecologista se han encaramado a la chimenea de la central térmica de carbón más nueva de Italia para pintar el mensaje “G8 STOP THIS”.

Con está ya son cinco las centrales térmicas de carbón italianas ocupadas por Greenpeace desde ayer por la mañana. La organización quiere llamar la atención sobre la necesidad de un acuerdo de los líderes reunidos para afrontar de forma definitiva y contundente la lucha frente al cambio climático.

“Los líderes actúan y los políticos sólo hablan”,- ha declarado Raquel Montón, responsable de la campaña Cambio climático y Energía de Greenpeace. “Pese a que el acuerdo es novedoso para el G8, y para países como Estado Unidos, Canadá, Rusia y Japón, no representa ningún avance para los 124 países que ya apoyaban este compromiso”.

Greenpeace considera insuficiente la referencia del G8 a la necesidad de mantener el aumento de la temperatura global por debajo de los 2ºC, sin establecer un plan claro ni el dinero o los objetivos de reducción de emisiones que deben contribuir a alcanzar esta meta.

First Offshore Wind for Germany

16/07/2009

The first wind turbine for Germany’s alpha ventus project, the first offshore wind development for the country, has been installed by the Deutsche Offshore- Testfeld und Infrastruktur GmbH (DOTI) consortium.

1332-first-offshore-wind-for-germany (1)

FUENTE – Renewable Energy World – 15/07/09

The DOTI consortium, comprising EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall, have completed construction of the first of 12 wind turbines for the €250 million development in the North Sea.

The 5 MW Areva Multibrid turbine is situated 45 km north of the island of Borkum. All 12 machines are scheduled to be in operation by the end of this year.

Construction work for the building and installation of the wind turbines has been underway since mid-2007 and construction of the wind turbines began in mid-April of this year after a first attempt had to be aborted in August 2008 due to bad weather. In September 2008, DOTI completed the offshore transformer station and an underwater cable was installed last year by Transpower GmbH to connect the transformer station with the German power grid.

The next step in the development is the phased launching of the first wind turbine. Also involved is connecting the turbine to the offshore transformer station, which will follow in the coming weeks. EWE will later be responsible for supervision and overall operational management of the newly constructed wind farm.

A webcam positioned on the research platform FINO1 is focused directly on the construction site and can be found here.

“This is a first for offshore wind energy utilisation in Germany,” says Wilfried Hube (EWE), overall project leader of alpha ventus, adding: “For the first time, wind turbines of this size are being constructed this far offshore in waters up to 30 meters deep. EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall are accomplishing a truly pioneering feat in the offshore wind industry and I am certain that alpha ventus will be a success story.”

UK announces long-term carbon reduction and renewables strategies

16/07/2009

The UK has today announced its strategy for meeting carbon emissions targets and to a massive increase in renewable energy.

FUENTE – Renewable Energy World – 15/07/09

“We expect 40% of the electricity we use in 2020 to come from low carbon sources – 30% from renewables, the rest from nuclear (including new build) and clean coal. We need to all-but eliminate carbon from electricity by 2050,” Ed Miliband, UK Energy Climate Change Secretary.

Plans announced this morning by UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, have been met with cautious praise by industry and environment groups.

The plan has three components: the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan sets out how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the 2009 Budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020. (According to figures from the government, emissions have already fallen by 22% from 1990.) Also published today is the Renewable Energy Strategy, which maps out the UK government’s strategy for reaching the EU target of 15% of the UK’s total energy consumption from renewables by 2020, from around 2% today, and the government’s Low Carbon Transport Plan which sets out how to reduce carbon emissions from domestic transport by up to 14% over the next decade. The strategy identifies a range of low carbon sectors with potential for job creation and growth. These include: wave and tidal power; civil nuclear power; offshore wind; and ultra-low carbon vehicles. It also sets out the government’s strategy for removing barriers that are blocking the development of Britain’s full potential in these areas.

Publication today of the Renewable Energy Strategy follows a year-long consultation process. It recommits the government to a massive increase in renewable electric power generation going up from 5% today to 30% by 2020.

Among key points of the Low Carbon Transition Plan are a huge increase in employment in the low-carbon sector, energy efficiency measures in buildings and transport, and for an increase in low-carbon power. As envisaged, the plan will see:

  • More than 1.2 million people in green jobs
  • 7 million homes enjoying pay-as-you-save home energy makeovers, and more than 1.5 million households supported to produce their own clean energy
  • 40% of electricity will be from low carbon sources, from renewables, nuclear and clean coal
  • The average new car will emit 40% less carbon than now.

Responding to today’s government energy announcements, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “If this plan becomes a reality, it will create hundreds of thousands of green jobs and make Britain a safer and more prosperous country. This will be good for the British economy and, in the long-run, save householders money as we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas.”

The government announcements said that around 50% of the annual emissions cuts between now and 2020 will be achieved by further greening of the electricity mix. “We expect 40% of the electricity we use in 2020 to come from low carbon sources – 30% from renewables, the rest from nuclear (including new build) and clean coal. We need to all-but eliminate carbon from electricity by 2050,” said Miliband.

The UK Renewable Energy Association said that “while delivery will be the crucial test, and concerns remain, the announcements made today undoubtedly demonstrate a step-change in political leadership that is desperately needed to ensure renewables can tackle the serious threats of UK energy security and climate change.”

How much wind power?

Earlier this week, the UK’s Confederation of British Industry called on the government not to rely heavily on wind power in its energy planning. Reacting to today’s announcements, Maria McCaffery MBE, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to delivering on the 2020 targets. They have rightly ignored the siren calls to abandon wind as the driving force for reaching the targets. The RES provides a clear routemap for the growth of a new £60 billion (US$96 billion) industry and the creation of 60,000 UK jobs. However, industry is now looking for a cross-party consensus on the detail of delivery. This will help convince investors that the country is serious about fighting climate change and developing domestic, renewable sources of energy.”

The British Wind Energy Association has calculated that, based on the figures in last year’s draft strategy, this implies that 22% of all electricity will come from offshore and onshore wind and another 2% from marine technologies.

Although the strategy places a strong emphasis on wind to deliver the bulk of the targets, BWEA said it is surprised that the government has not taken the opportunity to give confidence to investors by clearly stating its ambition for the size of the sector, especially offshore. David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, reiterated to the need for clarity. He pointed to the massive investment in the UK electricity system required and a number of serious issues that have to be resolved. “Electricity companies need to invest well over £100 billion ($160 billion) on new power production in the next 10 years and perhaps another £100 billion in the decade after. Companies want to invest, but, these are very large sums of money in a difficult financial climate. So, it is vitally important that the UK is an attractive place for energy investment,” he said.

Some key investments and steps

The strategy also sets out the first investments from the £405 million ($665 million) for low carbon industries and advanced green manufacturing announced at Budget 2009. Key investments related to renewables include:

  • Up to £60 million to capitalise on Britain’s wave and tidal sector strengths, including investment in Wave Hub – the development of a significant demonstration and testing facility off the Cornish coast – and other funding to make the South West Britain’s first Low Carbon Economic Area.
  • Up to £120 million ($192 million) to support the development of a British based offshore wind industry.
  • Up to £10 million for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • £11.2 million ($18 million) to help regions and local authorities prepare for and speed up planning decisions on renewable and low carbon energy whilst protecting legitimate environmental and local concerns.
  • Up to £6 million ($10 million) to start development of a ‘smart grid’, including a policy road map next spring.

Other related actions include:

  • DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) to take direct responsibility from regulator Ofgem for establishing a new grid access regime within 12 months.
  • Launch of the new Office for Renewable Energy Deployment within DECC to speed up the growth of renewables in the UK.
  • The final shortlist of the schemes for the Severn Tidal Power feasibility study is confirmed as three barrages (including the Cardiff-Weston barrage) and two lagoons. Three innovative schemes have also won funding to support their development.
  • A consultation covering the changes to the existing Renewables Obligation, such as extending the life-time of the RO to at least 2037 and the introduction of a 20-year limit on support, to make it capable of delivering some 30% of our electricity from renewables.
  • Approval for the UK’s largest biomass power station on Teesside. The £500 million ($815 million) 295 MW, Tees Renewable Energy Plant, located at Teesport in northeast England and being developed by British company MGT Power Limited, will be one of the largest-ever biomass plants to be built in the world, and one of the largest of all renewable energy projects. The Tees Renewable Energy Plant will begin commercial operation in late 2012.

Growing the workforce

Commenting on the strategy, Trade Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said: “That will require a highly-skilled workforce, and it is very welcome that the government is recognizing today the need to help re-train workers who have lost their jobs in traditional manufacturing to give them the skills they need to take up jobs in the new, greener firms, and become part of the transition to a new style, low carbon economy … there is no conflict between economic success and a low-carbon world. Indeed the only prosperous future for the UK is to use our know-how to ensure that we become world-leaders in low carbon industries.”

Don’t forget heat

While the focus is on electric power generation and transport, heat is also an important issue. The Renewable Energy Association said that the announcement that renewable heat projects being built today will be eligible for the forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) should help ease the paralysis in the renewable heat industry. A similar announcement has been made for Renewable Electricity Tariffs. However, the REA is still pressing for the RHI to be expedited as heat is the biggest single use of energy in the UK and renewable heat still has no dedicated support.

Graham Meeks, director of the UK Combined Heat and Power Association also welcomed the announcements, “but they are still only half the picture. No comprehensive energy strategy can be thought complete without fully factoring heat into the equation. And it is noticeable that it is still the junior partner in the strategy documents published today … We need to see a fundamental change in perspective in energy policy if we are to meet the challenge of arresting climate change in the most cost-effective way. Integration is key, as is a holistic vision. Compartmentalising energy policy in the way we have seen today is simply no longer an option. Such an approach to energy policy may be convenient, but it isn’t clever.”

The money to deliver?

Several groups have warned that the government needs to ensure an appropriate long-term budget to make sure the plans can be delivered. Robin Oakley, head of Greenpeace’s climate and energy team in the UK, said: “If Miliband’s vision was to become a reality it would create hundreds of thousands of green jobs and make Britain a safer and more prosperous country. But that won’t happen with the paltry budgets being offered by the Treasury. It is scandalous that Miliband’s low-carbon ambitions, which have potential to create whole new green industries, are met with a budget that is only about half the amount the Chancellor allocated for bonuses for a bunch of failed RBS bankers.”

European solar thermal industry provides over 40,000 full-time jobs

16/07/2009

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) has published its latest statistics on the solar thermal market in Europe, demonstrating that this €3 billion market provides over 40,000 full-time jobs in Europe where the industry has forged a clear technological lead in generating solar heating and cooling.

FUENTE – Renewable Energy Magazine – 15/07/09

Solar thermal creates economic benefits on two different levels: it reduces the costs associated with burning imported fossil fuels or using electricity for heating and cooling, while also creating jobs and economic wealth in the production, marketing and installation of solar thermal systems.

The European solar thermal industry grew by over 60% to 3.3 GWth of new capacity (4.75 thousand square metres of collector area). While much of the market is in one- and two-family houses, demand by housing companies, office building operators and other commercial users is increasing significantly. Last year, the total annual turnover of the European solar thermal industry exceeded the €3 billion mark. A major slice of this turnover comes from local SMEs, through selling, planning, installing and servicing solar thermal systems. Today, solar thermal already provides the equivalent of 40,000 full-time jobs in Europe (approximately one full-time job per 80 kWth of newly installed capacity).

“We replace imported fuels with local jobs,” explains ESTIF President Olivier Drücke. “Solar thermal has a strong local dimension, it supports domestic economies, and created jobs are mostly for the long-term.”

European manufacturers have taken the technological lead in the international solar thermal sector during the past 20 years. Nowhere has the technology been developed further than in Europe. Collectors and products are usually tested against strict European Standards (EN 12975 for collectors and EN 12976 for factory-made systems). Many non-European countries are looking to adopt similar standards and the successful Solar Keymark certification scheme which ensures that a product complies with the EN standards.

“It is now time for Europeans to enact decidedly supportive policies and framework conditions for renewable heating and cooling throughout Europe to unlock the tremendous domestic energy potentials that all countries have natural access to,” says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke.