Monthly Archives: September 2013

New Compressed Air Storage Deals Fatal Blow To Zombie Lies About Wind And Solar

We don’t expect the wind and solar naysayers to give up any time soon, but new utility-scale energy storage solutions are beginning to come on line, and they will put to rest this whole notion that intermittent energy sources (namely, wind and solar) can’t provide a significant proportion of reliable power to the national grid.

The latest development comes from a company called SustainX, Inc. The technology is called an isothermal compressed air energy storage system, and since we’ve been following its progress for the past several years we’re happy to tell you that SustainX has completed construction of its first utility scale system. It was hooked up to the grid earlier this month and it’s now in the process of revving up to speed.

Isothermal Compressed Air Energy Storage System

An Isothermal Compressed Air Energy Storage System

We first took note of SustainX back in 2009, when it spun out of Dartmouth College. The goal was to store four megawatt-hours worth of energy in transportable 40-foot long containers, while achieving a 70% reduction in the amount of energy needed for conventional compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems.

Last year, the company took a big leap forward by entering a technology licensing agreement with the University of Minnesota.

Isothermal refers to storage of compressed air at a constant temperature, which is a key element in the improved energy efficiency of the system.

The new SustainX CAES system is located in New Hampshire, at the SustainX headquarters. As SustainX describes it, the new system represents a next-generation improvement over earlier CAES systems dating back to the 1970′s which typically are located underground and run on fossil fuel.

The SustainX system was designed to run on grid-supplied electricity, so depending on the local grid mix it can potentially run exclusively on emission free sources including wind and solar. That also means that it is not dependent on caves or other geological quirks for site selection.

Some patented, cutting edge tweaks by SustainX make all the difference, but other than that, the entire system consists of practically nothing but steel, water, and air. Here’s how it works:

A mechanical drivetrain utilizes an electric machine and a crankshaft…This efficient mechanical link powers a two-stage, mixed-phase (water-in-air) heat-transfer process within pneumatic cylinders. During piston strokes, water is sprayed into the air-filled chamber of each cylinder, allowing heat to be transferred from water to air during expansion or from air to water during compression. The same ICAES power unit provides both isothermal compression and expansion, eliminating the cost of separate compressor and expander subsystems.

We Built This CAES!

If the new facility proves successful we taxpayers can all do a group hug because SustainX received a $5.4 million award from the Department of Energy to help accelerate the project, as part of the Obama Administration’s Smart Grid initiatives.

The project, which also includes private sector investors, appears to be on track. Completion of the test phase is due by the end of this year and a final technology report is due in 2015.

CAES and other new storage technologies fit into the Smart Grid concept partly by eliminating the need to construct new peaking plants. Peaking plants, which typically run on natural gas, are designed to come on line quickly to address demand spikes, but most of the time they sit idle, which means that they are a very expensive way to provide for variations in local energy consumption to say nothing of their dependence on fossil fuel sources.

In terms of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE, not to be confused with EROI), a mechanically simple system like the SustainX solution has some clear advantages over building new peaking plants, including the potential for far lower operating, maintenance and repair costs in addition to lower fuel costs.

In the past, CAES systems were primarily sited to take advantage of caves and other geological quirks, so the Smart Grid goal of developing more geographically flexible, above ground systems is also critical if CAES is to play a major role in the national grid. More

 

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UNSG Issues Recommendations on Clean Technology


18 September 2013: A report of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on 'Options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies,' finds that Member States and stakeholders share the objective of accelerating technology facilitation, but differences exist on the details and approaches. The report follows on a mandate in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).


The report (A/68/310) summarizes written inputs and discussions from four workshops that discussed, inter alia: developing countries' technology needs; options to address these needs; capacity building; and options for a technology facilitation mechanism.


Workshop participants supported a comprehensive approach for technology facilitation, stressing the challenge goes beyond technology transfer. They found that capacity building focuses on later stages of the technology cycle, particularly diffusion, with little emphasis on strengthening capacity in earlier stage activities such as research and development.


On renewable energy, the report urges action on, inter alia: increasing energy access, particularly for the poor; closing the gap between what needs to be done to avoid rising temperatures and what has been pledged at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and addressing the 'artificial divide' between climate mitigation and energy access. To help eradicate poverty, it calls for greater attention to clean, environmentally sound technologies in sectors such as agriculture, noting that renewable energy and sustainable transport dominate technology transfer discussions in the context of climate change mitigation.


The report concludes with three types of recommendations. Recommendations on initiatives that can be acted upon without institutional reforms include: conducting methodological examinations of achievements and needs on the topic through a framework such as the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF); fostering a global reporting system and demonstration projects on relevant technologies; and mobilizing UN support for the agreed technology bank for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).


Recommendations on initiatives that individual countries or groups could voluntarily act upon include: considering a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) or targets on technology; and promoting voluntary national peer reviews of relevant technologies and options.


Recommendations on initiatives proposed by participants but not universally accepted include: creating a forum within the UN for a regular dialogue on the topic; and creating a UN global technology facilitation mechanism.


The report, dated 18 August, was circulated as an official document on 18 September. It is expected to be taken up in the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee during the 68th Session. [Publication: Options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies: Report of the Secretary-General] [IISD RS Story on Workshop Report] [Reports of UN Secretary-General to Second Committee] More



 

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Small Island States Urged to take Steps to Become Energy Independent

13, September, BRIDGETOWN. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) calls on global leaders to commit to a secure sustainable energy supplies and a greater use of renewable energy beyond asking for technical and financial support and create a level playing field for them to compete with fossil fuels.

In addressing delegates at a ministerial luncheon at the 3rd Interregional Preparatory Meeting of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan indicated that energy costs are one of the most pressing challenges to development among SIDS. Addressing the topic Sustainable Energy: Placing Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency at the Centre of the Sustainable Development of SIDS, Ms. Grynspan said SIDS are vulnerable to volatile market prices for fossil fuels, which drain revenues and threaten the foreign reserves of the countries.

“Too many people have watched as their sustainable dividends have been eroded or wiped out by rising energy costs,” she said. She further noted that these high costs also contribute to high debt levels and stressed that beyond economic growth energy is vital for global human development because it facilitates education, good health and jobs.

Ms. Gryspan said there are still many people around the world who do not have access to modern, adequate and safe sources of energy and are forced to rely on wood charcoal and animal waste to cook meals and heat their homes, exposing themselves and their family to indoor pollution, which has killed nearly two million people across the globe. She noted that while more women and children die annually from this kind of pollution than from malaria it is still an invisible cause of health, thus another reason for cheaper and more sustainable forms of energy.

UNDP’s Energy and Environment Practice Leader, Martin Krause said UNDP studies have shown that when electricity is introduced to villages and households there is a marked increase in income-generating activities, using Fiji as an example he said because refrigerators were able to preserve fish longer villagers were able to make more sales.

Mr. Krause said with the advent of electricity there was also increased security. He highlighted two programmes currently supported by the UNDP – a bio fuel initiative in Cuba where the aim is to increase that country’s access to bio-energy technology particularly to farmers in rural areas and at the same time knowledge sharing in order to inform policy.

In Haiti only ten per cent of the population has access to electricity, that country only consumes 75 kilowatt hours per capita, the lowest in the world. Mr. Krause said this urgent, sustainable energy project will set up independent power producers who will feed power into the grid for communities across the country.

For similar projects to work elsewhere Mr. Krause said there needs to be strong government commitment and support from the private sector.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. More

 

 

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OTEC pilot plant built in Okinawa Prefecture

This month, Japanese engineering companies IHI Plant Construction Corporation, Xenesys Incorporated and Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced their collaboration in building a 50kW OTEC demonstration plant in the waters of Kumejima Island, located in the very south of Japan and part of the Okinawa Islands.

Kumejima Island

The OTEC plant will be integrated in the Okinawa Prefecture Deep Seawater Research Center, which is the largest of four deep seawater pumping systems in Japan. The companies aim to have the OTEC plant up and running in March 2013.

Regarding the roles in this project: Xenesys will design and manufacture the power generation unit and the heat exchangers; Yokogawa will design, manufacture and do the engineering of the monitoring and control system for the generation unit and the electronics for the interconnected power schemes; and IHI will develop and construct the entire facility.

Kumejima Island deep seawater research station

Okinawa Research Center is active in deep seawater utilization for over 10 years. The center established several deep seawater projects, including local area cooling services, water desalination, aquaculture and agriculture. Next year the OTEC demonstration plant will be added and connected to the deep seawater infrastructure. The OTEC plant will be used for practical testing and optimization of the output. It is an important step in the commercialization following the 30kW demonstration unit at Saga University in Saga, Japan.

The current capacity of the Okinawa Research Center is about 13,000 tons of seawater per day, pumped up from a depth of 612 meter where the water is between 6 and 8°C. The temperature of the surface seawater is around 26°C annual average, providing stable production possibilities.

Regarding future scale-ups, Xenesys estimated that it is possible to increase the intake of deep seawater to 100,000 tons per day and install 1.25MW OTEC power capacity. This would supply 10,600 MWh of electricity per year, which accounts for 10% of Kumejima’s total annual consumption.The island of Kumejima, which entered into a Sister City Relationship with the county of Hawaii last year, aims to become a self-sustaining community and model for other small islands in the Okinawa Prefecture. More

September 2013 This plant is now operational and is producing hydrogen. Editor

 

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OTEC pilot plant built in Okinawa Prefecture

This month, Japanese engineering companies IHI Plant Construction Corporation, Xenesys Incorporated and Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced their collaboration in building a 50kW OTEC demonstration plant in the waters of Kumejima Island, located in the very south of Japan and part of the Okinawa Islands.

Kumejima Island

The OTEC plant will be integrated in the Okinawa Prefecture Deep Seawater Research Center, which is the largest of four deep seawater pumping systems in Japan. The companies aim to have the OTEC plant up and running in March 2013.

Regarding the roles in this project: Xenesys will design and manufacture the power generation unit and the heat exchangers; Yokogawa will design, manufacture and do the engineering of the monitoring and control system for the generation unit and the electronics for the interconnected power schemes; and IHI will develop and construct the entire facility.

Kumejima Island deep seawater research station

Okinawa Research Center is active in deep seawater utilization for over 10 years. The center established several deep seawater projects, including local area cooling services, water desalination, aquaculture and agriculture. Next year the OTEC demonstration plant will be added and connected to the deep seawater infrastructure. The OTEC plant will be used for practical testing and optimization of the output. It is an important step in the commercialization following the 30kW demonstration unit at Saga University in Saga, Japan.

The current capacity of the Okinawa Research Center is about 13,000 tons of seawater per day, pumped up from a depth of 612 meter where the water is between 6 and 8°C. The temperature of the surface seawater is around 26°C annual average, providing stable production possibilities.

Regarding future scale-ups, Xenesys estimated that it is possible to increase the intake of deep seawater to 100,000 tons per day and install 1.25MW OTEC power capacity. This would supply 10,600 MWh of electricity per year, which accounts for 10% of Kumejima’s total annual consumption.The island of Kumejima, which entered into a Sister City Relationship with the county of Hawaii last year, aims to become a self-sustaining community and model for other small islands in the Okinawa Prefecture. More

September 2013 This plant is now operational and is producing hydrogen. Editor

 

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OTEC pilot plant to be built in Okinawa Prefecture

This month, Japanese engineering companies IHI Plant Construction Corporation, Xenesys Incorporated and Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced their collaboration in building a 50kW OTEC demonstration plant in the waters of Kumejima Island, located in the very south of Japan and part of the Okinawa Islands.

Kumejima Island

The OTEC plant will be integrated in the Okinawa Prefecture Deep Seawater Research Center, which is the largest of four deep seawater pumping systems in Japan. The companies aim to have the OTEC plant up and running in March 2013.

Regarding the roles in this project: Xenesys will design and manufacture the power generation unit and the heat exchangers; Yokogawa will design, manufacture and do the engineering of the monitoring and control system for the generation unit and the electronics for the interconnected power schemes; and IHI will develop and construct the entire facility.

Kumejima Island deep seawater research station

Okinawa Research Center is active in deep seawater utilization for over 10 years. The center established several deep seawater projects, including local area cooling services, water desalination, aquaculture and agriculture. Next year the OTEC demonstration plant will be added and connected to the deep seawater infrastructure. The OTEC plant will be used for practical testing and optimization of the output. It is an important step in the commercialization following the 30kW demonstration unit at Saga University in Saga, Japan.

The current capacity of the Okinawa Research Center is about 13,000 tons of seawater per day, pumped up from a depth of 612 meter where the water is between 6 and 8°C. The temperature of the surface seawater is around 26°C annual average, providing stable production possibilities.

Regarding future scale-ups, Xenesys estimated that it is possible to increase the intake of deep seawater to 100,000 tons per day and install 1.25MW OTEC power capacity. This would supply 10,600 MWh of electricity per year, which accounts for 10% of Kumejima’s total annual consumption.The island of Kumejima, which entered into a Sister City Relationship with the county of Hawaii last year, aims to become a self-sustaining community and model for other small islands in the Okinawa Prefecture. More

 

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Asia Pacific Clean Energy / Islands & Isolated Communities Congress

The 2013 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo will be held jointly with the 2013 Islands & Isolated Communities Congress at the Hawai‘i Convention Center starting tomorrow September 9th, and through September 11.

The event is the preeminent meeting place for international leaders and energy experts at the forefront of the clean energy movement. Securing energy independence and developing a clean energy industry that promotes the vitality of our planet are two reasons why it is critical to reaffirm already established partnerships and build new ones throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo and the Islands & Isolated Communities Congress provide a forum for the high-level global networking necessary to advance this emerging clean energy culture.

Islands and Isolated Communities are the planet’s vanguard societies facing imported energy dependencies, constrained resources, and vulnerability to climate change. Join global leaders developing solutions and projects; from island nations worldwide, to land-locked greening cities, to isolated military installations.

The sustainability and resiliency of island communities depends on best practices developed in energy, water, agriculture, security, resource and disaster risk management and societal actions. As island communities are facing these complex and interdependent challenges across the planet, the Islands and Isolated Communities Congress is focused on building a global movement to champion these solutions. The solutions developed on islands will lay the foundation for best practices world-wide.

Auyuittuq - The Land that Never Melts is Melting

Many Strong Voices (MSV) will be represented here by Nick Robson, D-G of the Cayman Institute who sits on MSV's Advisory Committee.

The goal of Many Strong Voices is to promote the well-being, security, and sustainability of coastal communities in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by bringing these regions together to take action on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to tell their stories to the world.

Coastal Erosion - Seychelles

The Arctic and SIDS are barometers of global environmental change. As they are on the frontlines of climate change, they are also critical testing grounds for the ideas and programmes that will strengthen the adaptive capacities of human societies confronting climate change.

Lessons learned through MSV support policy development at local, regional, and international levels. They provide decision-makers in the two regions with the knowledge to safeguard and strengthen vulnerable social, economic, and natural systems. More

 

The good news this week is that a new Pacific regional pact, the Majuro Declaration, calling for aggressive action to combat climate change has achieved a “major accomplishment” by gaining U.S. support, officials said Sunday.

The Majuro Declaration, endorsed by the 15-nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at their summit last week, contains specific pledges on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Majuro, Marshall Islands

The PIF nations, some of which are barely a meter above sea level and risk being swamped by rising waters, have since received wide support led by the United States after presenting the document to more than two dozen countries at a post-forum dialogue.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced during the session a new climate change fund for Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels.

“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time,” she said in launching the Pacific-American fund.

Separately, the U.S. was offering US$24 million over five years for projects in “vulnerable coastal communities” in the Pacific, she said. More

 

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