Cleantech heats up

As you might have notices, I have added a new Cleantech category to this blog. I expect to post there information related to all clean technologies – from green energy production to reduction of waste and everything related. I feel that it is time to start to follow news on this section after COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris. World Unites For Historic Climate Change Deal: A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed. The first universal and legally binding climate accord in the world will commit its signatories to limit global warming below the critical target of 2.0 degrees – or 1.5 degrees, if possible – above pre-industrial levels.

There is lots to do to as the world has united in its aim to limit warming to below 2°C (3.6°F) by the end of the century. We need to create new green energy sources and think how we use energy. We need solar energy, we need wind energy and we need other renewable energy sources. We also need to use the energy more efficiently. And we need to adapt the energy distribution systems for this new situation – electrical car charging and increasing amount of renewable energy generation add challenges. For example for solar and wind energy there is one big challenge – the generated power is intermittent – so we need some efficient way to store the energy when there is excess of it so that we can use it when sun does not shine and there is no wind. At the moment the big enough  the energy storage is a real challenge that needs to be solved before we can get rid of the traditional power stations that generate power at needed rate at 24/7 without problems.

I think what we need also nuclear energy at least as an interim solution to reduce CO2 emissions. The reason for the need is that renewable energy alone is highly unlikely to scale up fast enough to provide enough energy for the world at the moment. Maybe and hopefully in the distant future, not not now or in few years. A large block of self-proclaimed pro-environmental campaigners are doing their utmost to prevent the use of our single most important low-carbon energy technology in the fight against climate change. Despite these clear findings by the world’s leading experts, anti-nuclear activists claim that nuclear cannot be even a partial solution to mitigating climate change, and are calling for nuclear to be banned. Energy4Humanity, we criticized some of the claims prominently made in support of one of the staples of established anti-nuclear activism: the Don’t Nuke the Climate campaign.

The fact is that no technology is really carbon neutral now. If someone argues, for example, that nuclear energy cannot be part of the climate fight because of (supposed) emission intensity of 66 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (gCO2/kWh; most studies estimate figures between 10 and 20 gCO2/kWh), then surely one should conclude that solar photovoltaics (IPCC median estimate 46 gCO2/kWh) are not very good either, and that biomass (IPCC median estimate 230 gCO2/kWh) is right out?

There needs to be development in many fields to have our growing energy needs full-filled in way that generates considerably less CO2 than the current practices. And doing that takes lots of research and opens new business opportunities. This development also causes problems to some existing players that produce oil, gas and coal.
Sun under clouds

Let’s look at the new opportunities. Hopefully it will help high tech industry in Finland. The climate accord adopted in Paris on Saturday will improve the competitiveness of Finnish industries, predicts Markku Ollikainen, a professor of environmental and resource economics. The accord will according to Ollikainen boost the competitiveness of Finland relative to the rival economies that have yet to adopt an active climate policy. The metals industry will be one of the beneficiaries as China has cranked out cheap steel produced with extremely emissions-intensive technologies. The Government may also seek to promote energy efficiency in heat and electricity production. The ambitious climate objectives will have repercussions for all aspects of life in Finland by encouraging the proliferation of electric cars, and energy-efficient housing, building and renovating solutions. The question for Finland is can we take advantage of those new business opportunities better than other competitors? Engineers have a key role in the design and the construction of emission-reducing technologies. Finland has a wide range of skills, and the need for new solutions makes it possible to commercialize more cleantech innovation. Opportunities do exist, but as has been available until now – and they have been utilized in varying success. What then should be done? Designers and builders of emission-reducing technologies, engineers are key. Finland must, like other countries, to know how to pull towards home, and favor domestic technology. Companies, in turn, should take customers more involved in development work.

 

10 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Flying Home for the Holidays Might Be Greener Than Driving
    http://www.wired.com/2015/12/why-flying-home-for-the-holidays-might-be-greener-than-driving/

    In July, British tabloid the Daily Mail came out with a screaming headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Video shows Hillary Clinton boarding private jet just hours after launching global-warming push.” Clinton’s strategy to slash carbon dioxide emissions

    Air travel by environmentalists has long been an easy punching bag for conservative pundits

    Michael Sivak, a transportation researcher at the University of Michigan, has found that from 1970 to 2010, the amount of energy consumed per mile, per passenger, on an average domestic flight dropped 74 percent. From 1968 to 2014, the fuel efficiency of new airplanes improved 45 percent, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

    For this good news, we can thank airlines’ obsession with fuel, which accounts for roughly one-third of their expenses. At Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, there’s a rule of thumb: A 1 percent improvement in efficiency adds up to $1 million in fuel savings over the course of a single-aisle plane’s 25-year life span.

    How are aircraft manufacturers making planes more efficient? For starters, they’re continually fine-tuning jet engines to create more thrust

    And they’re more crowded: Today the average domestic flight takes off with 84 percent of its seats filled, up from 70 percent in 2002, according to federal data.

    “You don’t fly a plane to the corner store.” If a car and a plane both make a trip that’s between 300 and 500 miles, the math tips back in favor of cars.

    That’s because cars get better fuel efficiency on the highway, and planes on short flights consume as much as 25 percent of their fuel during takeoff and landing. On longer flights, that peak burn rate is averaged out over more miles, meaning the overall fuel efficiency is better. In other words, the farther your flight, the more competitive its efficiency becomes compared with that of cars.

    The cars versus planes debate has other confounding factors: Due to the burn rate on takeoff and landing, any flight that requires a connection is a nonstarter, climate-wise.

    Meanwhile, scientists have estimated that the global-warming impact of airplane emissions at cruising altitude is up to four times greater than the impact when similar gases are released by cars on the ground.

    there’s no need to swear off flying altogether

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Science Behind the Paris Climate Accords
    http://politics.slashdot.org/story/15/12/22/2053248/the-science-behind-the-paris-climate-accords

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists offers a pretty thorough run-down of the pros and cons of the Paris climate accords. William Sweet examines not only the political machinations behind the agreement but much of what the agreement entails and how it got there after 21 years of COP meetings. “As for the tighter 1.5-degree standard, this is a complicated issue that the Paris accords fudge a bit. The difference between impacts expected from a 1.5-degree world and a 2-degree world are not trivial. The Greenland ice sheet, for example, is expected to melt in its entirely in the 2-degree scenario, while in a 1.5-degree world the odds of a complete melt are only 70 percent… But at the same time the scientific consensus is that it would be virtually impossible to meet the 1.5-degree goal because on top of the 0.8–0.9 degrees of warming that already has occurred”

    A surprising success at Paris
    http://thebulletin.org/surprising-success-paris9016

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    8 alternative ways to power a laptop
    http://www.edn.com/design/power-management/4440534/8-alternative-ways-to-power-a-laptop?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20151224&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20151224&elq=261ef956e9474ee6a64c6ffdc99d0e44&elqCampaignId=26243&elqaid=29985&elqat=1&elqTrackId=08b521720ecf4629b91fd6d1df287b7a

    Mobile devices are notorious for bleeding power. Laptops are no exception when it comes to power drainage, even if in standby mode.

    The question arises, though, as what to do if you’re in an area with no electrical outlet, or worse yet, forgot the charger and the laptop battery power is on the brink of being depleted? The answer depends on how creative the user is (and if they can rely on all those episodes of MacGyver to get them through).

    In this roundup, we look at some unusual alternative solutions laptop users have devised to power or charge their devices without the advantage of using an electrical socket.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “The demand for cleantech solutions is accelerating faster than previously estimated. Current level of 400 billion increasing 6 000 billion market can already be achieved in 2030. The Finns can join by creating solutions to the domestic market first, “analyzed the situation leading specialist Tiina Kähö from Sitra carbon-neutral industrial area

    Source: http://www.uusiteknologia.fi/2015/12/15/raportti-alyratkaisuille-tuhansien-miljardien-markkinat/

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Picking up Good Vibrations: Artificial Trees Harvest Energy
    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1328891&

    Researchers from the University of Ohio have shown that tree-like structures made with electromechanical materials are suitable for converting winds or structural vibrations into electricity.

    The “trees” would be relatively simple structures – a trunk with a few branches and no leaves – and they may not be scaled up to sit among conventional forests or compete with windmills or solar farms. More likely they would be used at the small scale to power sensors that monitor the structural integrity of buildings, bridges and other civil engineering structures.

    “Buildings sway ever so slightly in the wind, bridges oscillate when we drive on them and car suspensions absorb bumps in the road,”

    Harne envisions tiny “trees” feeding voltages to a sensor on the underside of a bridge, or on a girder deep inside a high-rise building. In this way structural monitoring systems could be powered by the vibrations they are monitoring.

    To test the math Harne and colleagues built a tree-like structure out of small steel beams connected by an electromechanical material polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) that would convert the movement into electrical energy. From a noisy high-frequency input it was possible to put the structure into low frequency oscillation producing an energy source at 2V.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Could This Tiny Solar Charger Change the World?
    The SunPort solar charger wants to let everyone participate in a solar energy revolution — no panels needed.
    http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/09/could-this-tiny-solar-charger-change-the-world.html

    If you’re like most Americans, you would love to switch from powering your devices with energy from the grid (coal, natural gas, etc.) to juicing your life with pure clean solar power, but there’s one thing standing in your way: the initial expense and space needed for solar panels. Currently, though solar power is Americans’ most preferred energy source, less than 1% of U.S. energy comes from solar. But one enterprising company wants to change that percentage as fast as possible with an ingenious little device: the SunPort solar charger.

    The first thing you need to know about the SunPort is that it won’t save you money. In fact, after the first year, which the company will subsidize, it will cost money — though SunPort estimates it will cost just 1-2 dollars per month to charge all of your devices.

    Here’s SunPort’s proposal: you buy a small colorful device that looks almost exactly like a smartphone charger, and download the SunPort app. Plug the Sunport into any wall outlet and plug your device in, and the SunPort will measure how much electricity you use and “convert” it to solar power. It works by taking the huge, expensive solar credits usually only bought by large companies, and breaking them up into tiny bite-sized increments that can be distributed to many, with a sensor to measure how much each user consumes. The app will even show you how much solar energy you’ve used, so you can feel good about your contribution.

    What is that contribution, you ask? Well, as the SunPort Kickstarter page explains, by helping use up these huge solar energy credits much faster, you’re creating more demand for solar. More demand, of course, means a bigger rush by companies and the government to create more supply, by installing more panels and buying up extra solar power from those with existing panels.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1275963200/sunport-plug-into-solar-power-no-panels-required

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tiny 3-D Printed Building Shares Its Energy With an (Also 3-D Printed) SUV
    http://www.wired.com/2016/03/additive-manufacturing-integrated-energy-structure/

    In January, the big-name architects behind 1 World Trade Center rolled into the International Builders Conference with researchers from a small lab in Tennessee. They brought with them a most unusual building, a white tubelike structure that looked something like the convergence of an Airstream and a fish. It had ribs and gills and a slick black SUV like a Jeep. It looked like a Conestoga wagon from the future.

    They called it the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy Structure, a mouthful more easily called AMIE 1.0.

    It’s one of the largest carbon fiber structures ever created with a 3-D printer

    and shares energy with the SUV, which also was 3-D printed. The project offers a glimpse at how architects think we might live off-the-grid in the future.

    3-D printing has become increasingly common in small-scale applications, but architects and engineers are still figuring out how to use the technology for things like houses and infrastructure. China’s WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company made headlines last year when it 3-D printed a five-story apartment building. Joris Laarman, a Dutch designer known for 3-D printed furniture, plans to tackle a bigger, more ambitious project in Amsterdam with a footbridge using additive manufacturing techniques.

    3-D printing at this scale is fraught with challenges. One of the biggest issues is strength.

    When 3-D printing a continuous structure, large sections of unreinforced plastic can crack under loads that a traditional building would support safely.

    The AMIE project addressed the strength issue by printing the structure in pieces.

    Integrated Energy

    But the 3-D printed building is only half the story. From the beginning, Oak Ridge scientists Johney Green and Roderick Jackson saw AMIE as a chance to reimagine how we produce, store, and consume energy. Their plan: Connect two of the biggest energy sinks that people encounter on a daily basis—their house and their car—with an “integrated energy” system. In other words, they wanted the building and the vehicle to be capable of passing electricity back and forth.

    That’s exactly what the AMIE project does. Both the building and the SUV can generate and store energy.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solar Is Now Cheaper Than Coal, Says India Energy Minister
    https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/04/19/1741205/solar-is-now-cheaper-than-coal-says-india-energy-minister

    India is on track to soar past a goal to deploy more than 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, the country’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday. Speaking at the release of a 15-point action plan for the country’s renewable sector, Goyal said he was now considering looking at “something more” for the fast-growing solar sector. “I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant,” he said. “Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that — but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based.” In the past financial year, nearly 20GW of solar capacity has been approved by the government, with a further 14GW planned through 2016 according to the Union Budget.

    Solar is now cheaper than coal, says India energy minister
    Published on 18/04/2016, 3:51pm
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/04/18/solar-is-now-cheaper-than-coal-says-india-energy-minister/

    Energy minister says power realities are changing fast, predicting a fast uptake in solar energy despite concerns over baseload and storage

    Speaking at the release of a 15-point action plan for the country’s renewable sector, Goyal said he was now considering looking at “something more” for the fast growing solar sector.

    “I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant,” he said.

    “Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that – but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based.”

    Goyal added India was now willing to help developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific to develop clean energy plans free of charge.

    Panel suggests 15-point action plan to link renewable energy to electricity grid
    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/tech-panel-submits-recommendations-to-integrate-renewable-energy-into-electricity-grid/article8490160.ece

    A technical committee on Large Scale Integration of Renewable has suggested a 15-point Action Plan for facilitating large-scale integration of renewables in the country, in a secure and reliable manner.

    “The initiative undertaken by the committee would not only lead to smooth and secure grid operation with large scale integration of renewable but is also environment friendly and would help in fulfilling our commitment to green and clean environment. It would reduce the carbon foot print and help in meeting our commitment towards reduction in carbon emission,” said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy.

    “Our team will now take up ‘one nation, one grid, one price’ on a mission mode,” he said.

    India has a target of setting up 175,000 MW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022.

    To ensure that this is integrated into the national electricity grid, several measures need to be taken

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Norway To Ban the Use of Oil For Heating Buildings By 2020
    https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/07/03/217256/norway-to-ban-the-use-of-oil-for-heating-buildings-by-2020

    Norway, which is the largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East, is set to become the first country in the world to ban the use of gas to heat buildings. The country plans to pass legislation that will stop the use of both oil and paraffin to warm buildings from 2020 onwards. The Independent reports:
    Vidar Helgesenlaid, the nation’s Environment Minister, laid out the plans in a statement, saying: “Those using fossil oil for heating must find other options by 2020.” The country advises its citizens to research alternatives to oil such as heat pumps, hydroelectricity, and even special stoves that burn wood chips. By some stage, the legislation could be widened to include restrictions on using natural gas to heat buildings.

    Norway to ban the use of oil for heating buildings by 2020
    ‘Those using fossil oil for heating must find other options by 2020,’ says country’s Environment Minister
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/norway-ban-oil-use-heating-2020-a7819571.html

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Half of all new cars in Norway are now electric or hybrid
    Norway already has the highest per capita number of all-electric cars in the world
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/norway-half-new-cars-electric-hybrid-ofv-vehicle-registrations-a7615556.html

    Sales of electric cars accounted for 17.6 per cent of new vehicle registrations in January and hybrid cars accounted for 33.8 per cent, for a combined 51.4 per cent Sean Gallup/Getty

    Norway said that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far in 2017, as Norway continues its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries in the world.

    According to figures from the Road Traffic Information Council (OFV), cited by AFP, sales of electric cars accounted for 17.6 per cent of new vehicle registrations in January and hybrid cars accounted for 33.8 per cent, for a combined 51.4 per cent.

    Norway already has the highest per capita number of all-electric cars in the world and the experiment shows every sign of accelerating.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*