Solar windows offer view of low carbon future

April 1, 2016 Windows of the future will not only generate solar power, but will also provide greater temperature control in buildings. This is the goal of a new research programme by the Centre for Process Innovation, a UK-based technology innovation centre that’s part of a consortium developing building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) devices. The project aims to … [Read more...]

Folding turbines duck out of tropical storms

March 18, 2016 Folding masts are being used as mounts for wind turbines on a South Pacific archipelago to protect them during tropical storms. The turbines’ masts can fold flat to avoid damage in the devastating high winds of the region's tropical storms. On the Vanuatu group of islands, six wind parks are now operational, having been installed by Alizés Energie, a … [Read more...]

Dutch develop silent wind power

February 29, 2016 Wind power technology without blades, airfoils or even moving parts is to advance with the development of an iconic, energy-generating building in The Netherlands. Dutch Windwheel, a 174 metre high structure to be built in the port city of Rotterdam, is set to feature a range of energy-generating technologies, including the recently developed EWICON … [Read more...]

Scottish coast to host first floating wind farm

February 10, 2016 A pilot project using floating wind turbines that capture the strong, consistent winds found far offshore in deep waters is set to enter construction this year. Norwegian energy giant Statoil plans to build the 30 MW project some 25-30 km off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The objective of this pilot is to demonstrate cost-efficient and … [Read more...]

Microbe technology converts agri-waste into fuel

February 4, 2016 A biofuels technology based on microbes has been developed to convert hard-to-process agricultural waste efficiently into liquid fuel. Woody or fibrous – cellulosic – materials like straw, wheat husks (chaff) and plant stems are notoriously challenging to process easily into biofuels. Now, US petrochemical giant ExxonMobil has struck an agreement to back … [Read more...]

Energy efficient solar desalination on trial in UAE

January 27, 2016 A new solar-powered desalination demonstration project has been launched in Abu Dhabi to produce low-cost drinking water in a more energy efficient way. Designed to treat brackish water, the project is based on the integration of a photovoltaic system but without batteries or energy storage. A partnership agreement between UAE renewable energy company … [Read more...]

Graphene-based oil spill solution is ‘five times’ more efficient

January 19, 2016 The world’s first graphene-based oil adsorption system for tackling oil spills is at least five times more effective than conventional solutions, its developers claim. Launched by Italian producer and supplier of graphene, Directa Plus, the so-called Grafysorber has been created to tackle environmental emergencies in the most efficient way … [Read more...]

Wireless sensors for buildings powered by router radio waves

January 14, 2016 Wirelessly powered temperature sensors developed in the Netherlands could enable more efficient energy use in buildings. The “smart city” of the future is likely to rely on a multitude of sensors recording a host of parameters, such as temperature and humidity in buildings. However, powering such widely dispersed sensors has presented a major obstacle to … [Read more...]

New reactor fires up fusion breakthrough

January 11, 2016 Harnessing fusion – the nuclear power source that energises the sun – came a step closer recently with the commissioning of a new reactor in Germany. Conventional nuclear power relies on fission, whereby large, heavy atoms such as uranium split or decay to release energy. In contrast, fusion combines smaller atoms such as hydrogen. While this … [Read more...]

Fleet of floating solar projects buoyed by funding

December 21, 2015 Floating solar power concepts are being pushed forward by research and demonstration projects in California and Australia. San Francisco-based power producer and developer Pristine Sun has been selected to receive U.S. Department of Energy funding to further develop floating solar power technology. Working in partnership with Jerusalem-based solar … [Read more...]

‘Patient’ private capital joins governments in clean-tech fund launch

December 11, 2015 Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are among those backing a new multi-billion dollar energy technology investment initiative. The Microsoft and Facebook founders are investors in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which will be focused on investment opportunities sourced from countries participating in the Mission Innovation scheme. Launched in Paris at … [Read more...]

Small turbine capacity to surge

December 7, 2015 A five-fold increase in global cumulative installed capacity for small wind turbines is expected in the next 10 years. According to new research from UK-based analysis firm GlobalData, installed capacity will increase from 912.6 MW in 2014 to 4.8 GW by 2025. Small wind turbines are defined as those with up to 100 kW capacity. Harshavardhan Reddy … [Read more...]

Winery wastewater fruitful for electricity generation

December 1, 2015 A five-year trial to generate electricity by using bacteria to process wastewater from a winery is underway in California, USA. In the pilot system installed at the D’Argenzio Winery in Santa Rosa, microbial fuel cells employ the metabolism of specially selected strains of bacteria to process organic waste in the water, generating … [Read more...]

UK slams door on coal in world first

November 18, 2015 The UK is to become the world’s first industrialised nation to end the use of coal in power generation. Energy secretary Amber Rudd has revealed plans for a spring consultation on proposals that would see coal use ended in 2025 with restricted usage from 2023. Coal-fired plants fitted with carbon capture technology would be excluded from this … [Read more...]

Battery solution for cold climates explored

October 19, 2015 Batteries that can work at temperatures as low as  -80°c are being developed in the UK. The technology has significant applications in vehicles as well as homes and businesses in cold conditions in places like Scandinavia and parts of North America. It is difficult to use battery systems efficiently in extreme temperatures, whether hot or … [Read more...]

Low-cost solar cells achieve efficiency milestone

September 28, 2015 A lower-cost solar photovoltaic manufacturing technology has made significant progress in achieving conversion efficiency. Envisaged as a replacement for the most widespread solar PV technology currently available – which uses single crystal silicon wafers – EpiWafer solar cells have now reached 20% efficiency. By comparison, peak efficiencies for … [Read more...]

Bioengineered bacteria boosts transport biofuels

September 7, 2015 A genetically engineered microbe is improving biofuel yields from hard-to-use biomass materials, such as wood. Producing fuels from biological processes like brewing is one route to alternatives to fossil fuels for transport. However, ethanol, for example, is typically produced from relatively expensive sources of sugar, like corn. Now … [Read more...]

UK marine turbine makes waves in Bristol Channel

September 2, 2015 An innovative marine and tidal current turbine is heading for deployment in the UK’s Bristol Channel. The Kepler Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine has demonstrated potential effectiveness significantly higher than existing axial flow systems, its backers claim. The turbine is also much lighter, has outputs several times higher and has … [Read more...]

Magnet technology advancements close in on fusion breakthrough

August 21, 2015 Successful development of practical fusion – the source of energy that powers the sun – has always been seen as about 50 years in the future, right from the earliest days of research into the field. While fusion is achievable, to date all fusion reactors have required more energy input than is extracted. But recent breakthroughs in materials … [Read more...]

For the birds: wind turbine tailored for nature reserve

August 17, 2015 The Palmyra Atoll, 1000 miles south of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, is host to a spectacular coral reef and now a new bird-safe wind turbine. Conventional wind turbines are often responsible for a significant number of bird strikes. Not only is Palmyra home to more than a million nesting seabirds, it also typically sees low wind speeds, making conventional … [Read more...]