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Tag Archives: Electricity generation

Green Business Ideas: Solar Net Metering can help provide solar power in the night.


In the Indian Express Newspaper on the 19th October, a news caught the eye of one of my friend and client, for whom I’m designing a Green township. Rooftops as Energy FarmsGujarat has launched a pilot project where rooftops of homes and commercial establishments are being rented out to generate solar power that is fed into the state grid, translating into a source of income for property owners and greening electricity production.

The State of Gujrat, under CM Narendra Modi is quite tuned to the Climate change and understands the need to engage the common person in creating an energy surplus state. With each house-hold given the incentive of Rupee 3/- via the Grid interactive system. Starting with Gandhinagar, the program of giving ‘carbon credits’ to five more cities have been approved by the Gujrat government. One hopes the rest of India would follow this sensible way of boosting the energy issue, without courting controversy.

Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers who own (generally small) renewable energy facilities (such as wind, solar power or home fuel cells) or V2G electric vehicles. “Net”, in this context, is used in the sense of meaning “what remains after deductions” — in this case, the deduction of any energy outflows from metered energy inflows. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate. (Source: Wikipedia)

In simpler words, When your home is equipped with a renewable energy source (such as wind or solar power), it sends the excess energy that’s generated back into the grid to power other homes. While you’re away, your house is generating energy but you’re not using it. Net metering ensures the energy you generate at home doesn’t go to waste. An electrical converter called an inverter turns the DC (direct current) power coming from your renewable energy source into AC (alternating current) power, which matches the voltage of the electricity flowing through the power line. If you’ve generated more energy than you’ve used at the end of the year, your electric company may pay you back for the extra power. Net metering can be measured over the month or year. Annualized net metering provides a more accurate measurement because it takes into account your changing energy usage and production over the four seasons. ( Source:How Stuff Works).

This week Tamil Nadu opened up the GBI –The scheme of generation-based incentive (GBI), essentially aimed at covering domestic consumers, will be administered jointly by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (Teda) and the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco). Included in the recently unveiled Solar Energy Policy, the scheme envisages providing Rs. 2 per unit for the first two years; Re. 1 per unit for the next two years and 50 paise per unit for the subsequent two years.

While it is good to see that the state after state is awaking to the solar policy and even looking at giving a return, what they also need to look at is innovation. The most important factor is who would be the beneficiary of this GBI ? Will it actually elevate the suffering of the needy? Who guarantees that the surplus power thus created would eventually given back to the very locality which is providing the roof-tops? With states having shortfall in their generation, it would be easy to send the power for commercial use and thus encourage more commercial enterprises to set shop; having found assured power. This is most possible because commercial power brings in more profit to the electric company. The other profitable venture is from the rich residential area where the tariff is decent. However, the rich and the upper middle class in megalopolises, live in tall sky-scrapers where open roof-top is a premium. But they require system which is minimum 5KW. Here the price becomes steep even if space can be found even for most upper middle class consumers.

The roof-tops which is available & most need the power belong to the tier-II cities middle class and the rural poor, who are already finding hard to make ends meet. With, the cost per watt peak between INR 50/- to 120/-  which per Kilo Watt translates to One Lakh Twenty thousand, is not something every “Aam Admi” ( aam = common; it also denotes – Mangoes) can aspire to purchase and that is something our policy makers have not thought about. A person who uses only 5kwhr of power or 5units a day is not someone who could or need to spend Rupee 1.2 lakh or $ 2232. Therefore, it could be easy for the unscrupulous to capture vast rooftops, set up the solar and skim the poor roof-top owners. Imagine, the economically weaker section providing their collective roof-tops at the city fringes and receiving Paise Ten of every Rupee envisaged in the scheme, while the rest the “investor” pockets. It is not that such eventuality would not have been thought by the policy makers, but who would be monitoring? In the “scam a week” India of today, every utopian idea can get bastardized easily.

But, here is the way one may improve the concept and provide the power to one and all especially the middle class, who are a fairly large consumer as a group staying in class 1 cities like Pune, Bangalore and the likes where roofs; unlike Mumbai are still available in size large enough to cater to a decent solar power generation. One can also add New Delhi as the megalopolis which can afford and need the solar to stem the power outages in Summer.

There are already RESCO‘s who have been supporting my concept of OPEX Solar and the only thing they are interested is in banking the extra-generation and availing it when required from the DISCOM. Here they are wanting to put up the system which generate power during the day which is enough to cater to the needs of that very roof owner for a 24hour period.

The solution is simple. Say for example, a restaurant requires 100Kw and consumes 40KwHr during the daytime and 60KwHr in the night. As solar does not function in the night, ideally they would require a battery bank to store the power. However, if the surplus 60Kw is sent to the grid and in the evening the grid supplies that much power back to the establishment, then in effect the restaurant is running its operations on 100% Solar power. Same can be thought for residential areas which are large consumer of power.

The Grid can benefit in many ways –

1. It can charge a fee say between 2 to 5% ( similar to wheeling charges ) from the RESCO.

2. During the daytime when peak demand makes it difficult to manage, the extra solar power coming to it would ease the pressure and can be sold at commercial rate while eliminating the chance of a Grid collapse.

3. It would also help them not to short-change the rural and the urban poor, by being able to cut down on their load-shedding hours, which in certain places is 6 hours or more. Which would eventually help the countries growth.

What we require are policy which are driven from the Centre and applied equally by all states. The incentives which are envisaged are good. Let that be given to the RESCO’s who find it un-viable to provide the services to the rural and urban poor, whose tariff does not allow the companies to have a IRR which is acceptable. A decent  tariff is INR 7.50. Therefore if the state gives the extra INR 3.00 on the tariff of INR 4.50 which is the tariff in some places, almost all the roof of India would see a solar panel within 3 years.

 

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Greening The HVAC Energy Supply


English: A huge double HVAC exhaust of an offi...

English: A huge double HVAC exhaust of an office building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The HVAC &R industry is transforming and morphing itself to the needs of the current Environmental scenario. They are packing more efficiency with less energy consumption and maintenance needs. The home versions too are coming with intelligent functions and sleeker smaller sizes which blend with the décor. Yet there is one thing which the industry requires to truly make it, what the environmentalist can call a GHG friendly product. And that is tie it to a power source which is a RE (renewable energy) source.
Imagine the advantage, a major revenue consumer like the HVAC & R, would have as an impact to the market if RE could be packaged to it. Let us examine the possibilities and potential of this concept.
Renewable Energy source such as Geo-thermal (rock-heat essentially) combined with a Gas based electric source would be the choice where the premise has the space but not the roof-top which can hold the other RE-source that is a Solar +Wind hybrid.
This is a solution which the HVAC&R industry should study closely, especially in light of the new BEE norms that have come into play from the year 2012. While compliance to the law is a must, with a weak Rupee and a fluctuating consumer market innovation can be the only solution.

CIX Diesel Generator

CIX Diesel Generator (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)

While the roof-top AHU’s can be designed to have SPV panels on top, it would only increase the cost of the product, while making some energy generation green. However if the HVAC &R industry tie up with the nascent SPV industry which are offering Solar Solution in the Operation Expense Format, it can revolutionize the market dynamics.
Let’s first understand the OPEX-Solar model. In this model the certain SPV companies are offering solution in which the total EPC and O&M expense is being borne by the SPV Company for a minimum period of 15 years before handing over the ownership of the asset to the user. All that the Solar Co’s are asking is the tariff as generated. Although this model is already a success on individual roof-tops and can be provided for up to 1MW on connected load, this requires proper Government support to be able to increase the load to above 2MW and at nominal wheeling charges.
It would create a win-win situation for both the HVAC&R industry and the Solar Photo Voltaic industry and a revolution in India in the Clean Tech – HVAC & R space.

English: Worldwide Renewable energy, existing ...

English: Worldwide Renewable energy, existing capacities, at end of 2008, from REN21.http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/g2009.asp Total energy is from BP Statistical Review.http://www.bp.com/statisticalreview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another area which the HVAC & R tied to RE can get advantage from is synchronizing their system to Diesel Generators. During Grid power failure, the captive power used to run the HVAC & R plants are large Diesel Generators and an expensive option. Diesel is used for various purposes. Trucks (37%), Passenger Cars (15%), Buses (12%), Agriculture (12%), Industry (10%) and Power generation (8%). If we add the last three we get 30% of the total diesel pie of which we can easily allocate 40% as to be utilized for use of HVAC & R, by these three industries, for the purpose of cold storage, shop –floor cooling & cooling administration offices. Therefore with HVAC equipments tied to RE, the industry create a space which has no parallel till date. And in the process opens up a funding line which was till now only given for Clean technology purposes.

 

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Future Energy – Which are the three finalist ?


a collage about renewable energy. see at the s...What would be the best Sustainable Energy solution, if we can finally change over from the current set of energy options we have today? That it would be a renewable and clean energy is obvious, but which among the ones would it be? With various opinions and expert advise, the common persons tends to get confused. However, it would finally be the common person who would finally choose the Energy Next.  It is therefore important to make them aware from  a holistic point of view about all the Energy Mix that is available and help make a informed choice, because the Earth as we know today, hurtling towards cataclysmic GHG induced Climate Change, does not have the luxury of time to learn from mistakes any-more.

Conventional Energy – the total conventional energy field of Nuclear, Coal, Oil and Gas is considered cheaper than the Renewable and Alternative Energy which are being advocated. I am not discussing Hydro, neither Macro nor Micro, because with the pitiable state of Water in the World, having enough for irrigation and drinking would be a challenge in itself. And nobody in there right mind would like to build another huge dam, without inviting controversy. And for the smaller ones, finding a fast flowing stream close to civilisation is difficult.  Perhaps one must also tread with caution when we look at the total boutique of Alternate and Renewable Energy source and not take things at face value.

We will explore through this article each form of energy and do a comparative analysis of the pro & cons. And in the most simple way possible.

1. Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world’s energy and 13–14% of the world’s electricity. Although now considered conventional due to the time frame it has been around, Nuclear technology is both an alternative energy as well as a renewable energy. Nuclear fusion and nuclear fission are two different types of energy-releasing reactions in which energy is released from high-powered atomic bonds between the particles within the nucleus. The main difference between these two processes is that fission is the splitting of an atom into two or more smaller ones while fusion is the fusing of two or more smaller atoms into a larger one.

Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and IAEA, contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions. It’s more environmentally beneficial solution since it emits far fewer greenhouse gases during electricity generation than coal or other traditional power plants.

Opponents, such as Greenpeace International and NIRS, believe that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment. Radiation isn’t easily dealt with, especially in nuclear waste and maintenance materials, and expensive solutions are needed to contain, control, and shield both people and the environment from its harm.

2. Coal, is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams.

Proponents, Coal could be the world’s most attractive fuel in years to come thanks to the methods of coal purification which are resulting in more cleaner coal, removing sulphur and other dangerous elements. Coal is not only burned directly, but it can also be transformed into liquid or gas form. Its claimed that liquefied or gasified coal burns cleaner, meaning less air pollution.Coal is one of the world’s most plentiful energy sources. Compared with other energy sources, such as oil and natural gas, coal is inexpensive. It has been a useful resource for human consumption throughout history. It is primarily burned as a fossil fuel for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes such as refining metals. Coal, a fossil fuel, is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide.

Opponents, Coal usually has a negative impact on environment, mining can damage ground and surface waters and when coal burns as the fuel it releases CO2 which is the main greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The soft coal, which many power plants burn, contains sulphur. When the gaseous by-products are absorbed in clouds, precipitation becomes sulphuric acid. Coal sometime also contains radioactive material. A coal-fired power plant may also emit some radiation into the air, and is one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases.

3.Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds,  it is a fossil fuel.

Proponents, Due to its high energy density, easy transportability and relative abundance, oil has become the world’s most important source of energy since the mid-1950s. No other energy source can move vehicles with greater speed at longer distances than oil. Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics wax, sulphur, asphalt ; the 16% not used for energy production is converted into these other materials.

Opponents, Oil may contribute to global warming in its production and use by releasing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Burning oil releases extra carbon dioxide, that has been stored in the earth for millions of years. This is disrupting the natural carbon cycle. It also causes strong localized effects. CO, NOx, and particulates damage local ecosystems and directly impact life expectancy (think smog, asthma, etc). Separating and refining oil takes a lot of energy. Oil exists as a mixture of hydrocarbons with traces of sulphur and other compounds. For useful products to be separated from crude oil, it must be treated with “thermal cracking,” an energy-intensive process that separates and reforms different hydrocarbons based on their boiling point.

4.Natural Gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, with up to 20 percent concentration of other hydrocarbons as well as impurities in varying amounts such as carbon dioxide. Natural gas is widely used and is an important energy source in many applications including heating buildings, generating electricity, providing heat and power to industry and vehicles and is also a feedstock in the manufacture of products such as fertilizers.

Proponents, Widely used, contributes 21% of the world’s energy production today. Used extensively for power generation as well as heat.Cleanest of all the fossil fuels. Burns quite efficiently. Emits 45% less CO2 than coal. Emits 30% less CO2 than oil. Low levels of criteria pollutants, (e.g. SOx, NOx) or soot when burned. Can be used as an automotive fuel. Burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel
No waste (e.g. ash ) or residue to deal with. Lighter than air, safer than propane which is heavier than air. Can be used to makes plastics, chemicals, fertilizers and hydrogen.

Opponents, Emits carbon dioxide when burned. Contains 80-95% methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Additionally, there are significant environmental risks associated with “fracking”. Water pollution due to run-off of fracking chemicals. Water can also bring up adsorbed underground toxins including arsenic. GHG footprint of shale gas greater than coal over 100 year time frame.
Fracking has been linked to earthquakes.

The most important fact of Coal, Petroleum and Natural Gas that they are a finite source. And with the World Human population growing to 9 Billion strong, finite source of Energy would soon divide the World into haves and have nots. Wars have been fought for less. Of Nuclear as far as attracting controversy, it can be considered the champion.

So that brings us to the New age energy mix, one one hand is the Alternative Energy and on the other Renewable Energy.While RE is in itself an alternative energy source to the conventional energy, I would still elaborate it so that the common person does not get confused by the smart use of words. Let me explain.  The definition for alternative energy is found thus –Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels.

Say the undesired consequence from coal fired thermal power plants is sulphuric acid rain, so can the alternative be, oil fired power plants or wood is used as fuel ? They would not have the same “undesired consequence” of  the replaced fuel but bring in some other equally undesired results such as decimation of the rain-forest. Or instead of ‘fracking’ the gas,  extraction of Gas Hydrates is propagated as the next alternative. The problem related to it I have already dealt with and can be read via the link. Then there are some alternative energy source, like bio-fuel which presently at a nascent stage to really make an impact. And that too has its own set of problems. One would require vast land mass to cultivate the cash-crop and other  than it having the potential of destroying indigenous plants of the region, it would also require large security to keep it safe from natural disasters and man made mischief.  One may also  consider Nuclear, but unless the science fiction cold fusion becomes a reality, the present form has its own set of disadvantages. Therefore one must pause at the explanation for Alternative fuel which says “undesired consequences of the replaced fuels.

Corporations with vested interested use these very languages to confuse the common person in accepting solutions which are not truly beneficial but can be presented as such till the problems it creates becomes endemic and the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

The bitter truth is there are no real solutions to the problem at present, all the solutions which are being presented are lets say – “bridge solutions”. Although I  am a self declared fan on all Renewable Energy source. (even Nuclear, if its safety can be guaranteed ; unlikely in the present understanding of the technology), the fact can not be denied that for manufacture and transport and assembly of the New Age renewable energy machines, we still need to use mineral and machinery which can not be considered to be “clean”. This we must bear in mind while advocating for the RE technology. Therefore it is imperative that we back the right technology, lest “the sacrifice” we need to make in terms of environmental damage, to create the ultimate clean technology leaves us with no room to manuvere.

This brings us to the Gen Next solution of Renewable Energy. Let’s see how they stack up.

Krafla Geothermal Station.

Krafla Geothermal Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.Geothermal Energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. At the core of the Earth, thermal energy is created by radioactive decay and temperatures may reach over 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5000 degrees Celsius). Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth’s geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.

Proponents,Once produced, geothermal energy is nearly completely non-polluting. Geothermal power plants are relatively inexpensive to operate. The energy is technically renewable and can be used as direct power source. These power plants are environmentally friendly and leave few carbon footprints. Fossil fuels are not needed to bring geothermal power plants on-line.  Geothermal energy (geothermal power) is a vast, renewable, clean, green, low carbon energy source that can be converted to electricity, and used to condition building environments. Improved technologies have the potential to access vast untapped sources of geothermal energy estimated to contain 50,000 times the energy of all oil and gas resources in the world. Geothermal energy requires no combustion; its energy already exists as heat. Capital costs for geothermal installations are lower than for comparable-size fossil or nuclear-fueled plants, and once a plant is built, there are no fuel costs.Where resources are abundant and accessible, geothermal power is already an energy bargain, usually less expensive than electricity generated by coal and nuclear plants It is flexible in its applications. It is well-suited for integrated industrial use – producing electricity, process steam, and heat for a a variety of industries and agricultural activities in a single region. There are no major economies of scale in production; small generating modules can be added one at a time as local development and need dictate.

Opponents, Technology only makes geothermal energy available from certain regions on the planet. Initial drilling costs are expensive and the process is complex.Geothermal energy requires a wide area. It needs to have a massive area in order to lay the pipes and to build the power plant itself. Studying an area if there is enough geothermal energy source is costly. Geothermal energy plants have the possibility to cause earthquakes. It is not viable in areas where geothermal heat is not abundant. Geothermal characteristics change with the area, so exploration is not easy. Geothermal turbine efficiency is comparatively low due to the low temperature and pressure of steam input. Overall plant efficiency is estimated to be about 15 percent less than that of a fossil-fuelled plant. Possible environmental dangers posed are land subsidence; production of waste water with high mineral content; release of noxious gases, such as hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and boron into the atmosphere, and large amounts of water vapour; and noise produced are substantial. Initial construction cost is expensive.

© Guerito 2005

© Guerito 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.Wind Energy, Wind is the movement of air across the surface of the Earth, from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. The surface of the Earth is heated unevenly by the Sun, depending on factors such as the angle of incidence of the sun’s rays at the surface (which differs with latitude and time of day) and whether the land is open or covered with vegetation. Also, large bodies of water, such as the oceans, heat up and cool down slower than the land. The heat energy absorbed at the Earth’s surface is transferred to the air directly above it and, as warmer air is less dense than cooler air, it rises above the cool air to form areas of high pressure and thus pressure differentials. The rotation of the Earth drags the atmosphere around with it causing turbulence. These effects combine to cause a constantly varying pattern of winds across the surface of the Earth. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using: wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships. ‘Wind Energy’ is the kinetic energy of air in motion.

Proponents,Wind energy is a green energy source. Wind energy is friendly to the surrounding environment, as no fossil fuels are burnt to generate electricity from wind energy.  Wind Power is free and in abundance in certain areas. The Wind Speeds are always higher on the shoreline, at the top of a hill, and in places free of obstructions. Wind Power does not generate “Pollution”, or radioactive waste. It does not consume any of the non-renewable resources such as coal, natural gas, or oil. Wind Power can generate enough energy for large numbers of people. By using larger turbines connected to an electrical grid it allows people the benefit of wind power without owning their own wind system. With new technology, the cost of a residential wind power turbines have decreased significantly while increasing in their efficiency. Small Wind Turbinesgaining some traction – While Wind Turbines are not generally used in distributed form, it is possible to now use small wind turbines being built by a number of companies to power small establishments.It is reported that costs have decreased well over 60% since the 1980’s. Wind power has no hidden costs, and it has become more cost-effective with each new round of technological advancements. It is a “permanent energy”. Wind turbines take up less space than the average power station. Windmills only have to occupy a few square meters for the base, this allows the land around the turbine to be used for many purposes, for example agriculture. Another advantage of wind energy is that when combined with solar electricity, this energy source is great for developed and developing countries to provide a steady, reliable supply of electricity. The offshore Wind Energy sector has the advantage of no land usage,no noise problems and the wind is much better leading to higher load factors. The costs are currently higher but in the future are expected to come rapidly come down. Wind power may be used to provide electricity to individual homes or other facilities on a self-reliant basis, with no need for fuel or other materials to be supplied. If a natural disaster severs power lines, residents with windmills will not lose their supply of electricity. The wind will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, Wind is unpredictable and the availability of wind energy is fluctuating. In many areas, the winds strength is too low to support a wind turbine or wind farm.Wind energy is therefore not suitable as a base load of energy source . This is why wind turbines have to be used together with other renewable or even non-renewable to meet the power demand. Another of the disadvantages is that they can be damaged in thunderstorms, partially because of their tall, thin shape. The website of the US National Lightning Safety Institute indicates that most damage to wind turbines is caused by lightning. This is more of a problem in warmer parts of the world, where they are frequent.Wind turbines generally produce a lot less electricity than the average fossil fuelled power station, requiring multiple wind turbines to be built in order to make an impact. The noise pollution from commercial wind turbines is sometimes similar to a small jet engine. Wind Turbines can sometimes use large amounts of land if not properly planned and built.The construction of roads to access the wind farms etc also takes up some land. Environmentalists express concern about the loss of trees, because the large turbines require turbulence free wind and also  for bird life as they can intrude on birds migration flight path.

3.Wave Energy, Wave power is the transport of energy by ocean surface waves, and the capture of that energy to do useful work,for example; electricity generation, water desalination, or the pumping of water (into reservoirs). Machinery able to exploit wave power is generally known as a wave energy converter (WEC).Wave power is distinct from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. Different regions of the earth’s surface receive different amounts of heat from the sun – the polar regions, for example, receive less sunlight than equatorial regions. This uneven heating creates differences in air temperature and pressure that cause wind. Winds blowing out at sea cause waves to form; these waves travel across the ocean surface and break on shores and beaches around the globe. In many areas of the world, the wind blows with enough consistency and force to provide continuous waves. There is tremendous energy in the ocean waves. Wave power devices extract energy directly from the surface motion of ocean waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface.

Proponents,Wave Energy does not produce any GHG emissions or cause air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels unlike coal,oil or gas.This makes them very attractive as a source of cheap,non carbon dioxide producing electricity. Wave Energy does not require any fuel like most other sources of energy. Wave Energy Generators can be installed in various sizes with as little as 1 MW.This is not possible for other energy forms which require a minimum large size such as Coal,Nuclear etc. Compared to wind,wave energy has a major advantage. The air that drives the turbines  is about one thousands less dense than the water just below the ocean surface. The energy that can be harnessed and used in electricity generation is parallel to the density of the medium. This means  that wave energy could be harnessed at much lower speeds.The amount power in that comes in waves is huge.  The energy density is typically around 30-40 kW for every meter (3.2 feet) of wave along the shore. Further into the ocean 100kW for every meter may be achieved. Waves are hardly interrupted and almost always in motion. This makes generating electricity from wave energy a reasonable reliable energy source ( when  compared to solar and wind). Wave energy source ultimately comes from the heat energy that is emitted from the sun. Thus will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, strong ocean storms and salt water corrosion can damage the devices, which could increase the cost of construction to increase durability and/or cause frequent breakdowns. This especially holds true with the increased complexity of the devices. Sea life could be harmed or have habitats disrupted or displaced by the operation of the devices or the mooring of the devices. The potentially larger footprint of ocean-dwelling device farms could reduce shipping channels and fishing and recreation areas. The movement of Attenuators or Point Absorbers or intake and movement of water in the OWC and Overtopping devices could produce a loud, constant noise. This noise is unlikely going to be significantly louder than the waves would make on their own.

4.Solar Energy, Solar Power, as the term is commonly used, applies to energy systems that produce energy directly from sunlight. Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.

Proponents, All forms of solar power are extraordinarily clean and abundant. They produce zero pollution when operating. Well suited in also providing power in home or single building applications, such as rooftops of home owners, office buildings, etc. This reduces loss of power in transmission from utilities. Ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid. Very efficient in a large area of the globe, and new technologies allow for a more efficient energy production on overcast/dull days. The technology is proven by its ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid. A prime example of this is in space, where satellites are powered by high efficiency solar cells.  Small solar power systems are easily installed. Solar energy systems can be used in solar heating water systems, photo voltaic solar systems, solar home heating systems and solar home cooling systems. Its scalable & portable to be used in products like calculators, flash-lights, camping lanterns, attic fans, pond heaters and racing car kits. They are silent and have no moving parts. It is the most reliable form of energy -The sun rises daily, without fail. Will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, Solar energy is only able to generate electricity during daylight hours. Although there is a variety of options for storage, the most obvious is batteries, which are quite expensive. The weather can affect the efficiency of solar cells. Pollution levels can affect a solar cells efficiency. Low efficiency, requires large surface areasSolar panels take up quite a bit of roof space and there are reported problems from glint and glare.

The above completes the complete energy mix available to Humankind of the 21st Century. But it also opens up more questions than answers as to which would be the final energy medium to be declared the Champion. To find the answer we must explore a bit more.

The two essential components of all generators on the power grid are dispatch-ability and reliability. Dis-patchability means that generators can be started when operators need them, any time day or night, regardless of weather conditions and Reliability means that a generator will, virtually every time it’s fired up, produce constant, controllable power exactly as required by the power plant operator.  The electrical grid system, run through conventional power works not because every piece of equipment is one hundred percent reliable, but because there are hundreds of components with a large amount of reserve output capability (back-up) that work together to form one, very large, reliable system. The modern electrical power grid is designed and managed to operate 99.9% of the time with less than a 2% variance in voltage, regardless of the load swings placed on the system. The new age renewable energy systems need to match up to this.

Now if we bring in Geo-thermal and wave technology, the former was never considered as a major source of energy by many nations, not because it does not have potential, but because it is limited to a great extent by geography, and even where it may be present in abundance, it can not be totally green because the basic method of extraction is drilling, which is similar to fracking and can have similar problems and hazards.

Lets look at Wave Energy. There are many forms of this technology.But none are having the ability to produce large amounts of power yet. But if you look at the one devised by Palamis which I wrote in my earlier article it holds a lot of promise. Yet it too is not completely dis-patachable or reliable. High waves are not always a constant feature and vary from on geographical location to another, therefore reliability would require customisation depending on which part of the globe it is to be installed.

Wind power also  isn’t completely dis-patchable; it can’t be started unless the wind is blowing. Solar power also can not be produced in absence of sunlight.  Wind power also fails the reliability test because, even when the wind is blowing, it rarely blows at a constant speed. Wind tends to blow in gusts with an ebb and flow that makes wind generated power difficult to control. Solar too faces the uncertainties of weather. Also Solar insolation is not the same throughout the globe.

So as of now there seems to be no ‘perfect solution’ in sight, unless we combine the three, Wind – Wave – Solar. In an article some time back I had written about the benefits of Wind-Solar and Geothermal, while keeping Wave power separate in another article. But if you combine the three, the probability that at any given time one would be producing power can not be discounted. However, the problem therefore would be how to calibrate the power generation between the maxima and minima. Therefore breakthroughs in energy storage technologies is required to change this in the future. Already lot of work is being done, but it is not a ready solution yet.

But learning for Humans is a continuous process and I too have learnt that the Final winners for ENERGY NEXT would only be the combined strength of all the three. TRI -RE. ( pronounce – tree )

The most important advantage is that all the three energy is renewable and cannot be depleted. As long as the sun heats the earth and winds drive ocean waves, we will never run out of wave energy either. Fossil fuels, by contrast, are replenished so slowly by natural processes that for are essentially non-renewable. Once we run out of fossil fuels, we won’t have any more. If the tri-energy combine proves practical, it might help to replace fossil fuel combustion as a source of electric power. To do this we must look towards the sea, away from visual horizon, to take the aesthetics in mind and more power extraction, yet closer to the coast – for minimizing it from natural hazards and easier transmission. (The moorings can act as artificial reefs, thus attracting fish and other plant life, while keeping the deep-sea trawlers away. ) And complementing the loss in transmission by creating relay system using which ever technology among these  is appropriate for the geographical place, thus minimizing the impact on land surface area.

Yet, they would be the ‘bridge solutions’ till the science fiction Nuclear Cold Fusion happens and can be packaged as fuel cells. Perhaps its time for  WBCSD to think of Vision 2075 and look at all the Green Energy Combine.

Courtesy to :wikipedia, energy-consumers-edge, nuclearpowerprocon, ehow, energyformankind, energy-green, energyinformative, clean-energyideas, greenworldinvestor, renewablesguide, hubpages, windturbine, ocsenergy,  idebate, gentle-earth, earth911, greenfuture. 

 

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Challenges of roof-top Solar: Can we have make them more non-reflective ?


Every new idea faces some challenges. Those which can rise up to them quickly and even before they become problems are the ones which have a future. Many articles speak of some opposition to Solar Power plants. Some don’t want it to cover large expanse of land, while others find that it changes the scenery around their habitat, thus an eye-sore. Wind power too has faced similar problems.

India  has through its National Action Plan for Climate Change, brought about 8 missions of which 3  look at the direction of energy efficiency with scope for renewable. As the power plant through Solar, which is comparatively new in implementation, in India matures, so would the problems. And the problems it would face would be unique to it.

English: Solar One power plant in Mojave Deser...

Large solar-plant in India, would not face much problems as long  as they are  installed in low density, arid to semi arid regions, for now. Although it would be better for the investors to do the Environmental Impact Assessment and have back up plans for adaptation. And those  close to rural habitation, must also think of innovation in case pressure in land due to population density increase. Which is a definite possibility in India.

However, Roof-top solar; which in my opinion is the real game changer in the immediate future; would be facing issues which the Indian Solar industry has not yet perhaps anticipated . The problem would be from the potential hazard of glint & glare of reflected sunlight, especially in high-density Urban settings. ( even the large rural SPV plants would have the problem if directly under flight path of the air-force / aviation industry )  The sooner the manufacturers and all related stake-holders wise up to it the better it would be for all.

In my earlier article on OPEX Solar I have already started receiving tremendous response. Therefore, I am able to anticipate the issues which could come up first hand. Buildings in any city are of varying hight. Tall buildings overlooking clusters of row-houses or commercial centre like malls, cinema halls and even hospitals and schools. Typical settings where one can seek business in roof -top solar. More often than not, these roof installation would be of a fixed type south-facing system angled in accordance to the latitude of the city. The reason to make them face south is for receiving the maximum  sunlight as the sun traverses the sky from dawn to dusk. While this would ensure maximum power-generation, it would also generate maximum ire from the poor souls who would be occupying the buildings which would be bouncing the reflected sunlight. And the Indian summer, well to put it mildly is very bright indeed. Not only would it add to the glare, in-fact the reflected heat if intense could also damage PVC pipes and other materials, if preventive steps are not taken before hand.

So what are the precautions one must take to avoid this situation ? Some article have already covered this issue. However I am for the solution and not flagging the problem and leaving it there.  While solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight to convert it into electricity, most commercially available PV panels today lose about 4 percent of their potential power output due to light reflection from the front surface of the cover glass. Solutions are already on the way, with Honeywell launching the SOLARC anti-reflective coating in February 2011. SOLARC materials are based on advanced materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. They are transparent coatings that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers photovoltaic, or PV, panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output. These coatings also significantly reduce glare from the glass, allowing the PV panel to better blend with its surroundings.

Here one needs, especially in India to educate the potential investor to be ready to invest a little more on the prevention and precautions with respect to glint & glare. Especially to avoid the opposition, the type I have posted as links through out this article. India, needs the power through SPV. It is the only way to reduce the carbon emission, which is sure to increase as the Country grows. And as all know, carbon emission is a politically loaded subjected. It can bring intense pain or relief in terms of international relations in the years to come.

Should we lose out on the potential of the Sun, which India has in abundance due to wrong application, it would be a tragedy for the Nation.

 

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Green Business Ideas: Solar,Wind power Ships while Geothermal beats recession away – Future RE


It is cold, freezing deadly cold in Europe. There is death. Both reported human deaths and others which go mostly unreported. Ask that to the farmer whose live-stock may have also suffered and the animal lovers, they too would have a story to tell. In a report, I read that some western European and former East block countries are not getting enough Gas from Russia. While we must honor business treaty and longterm business collaborations, we must also understand that traditional sources of Energy must be re-looked  and the potential for all types of alternate Energy must be vetted. Form this vetting the one that is the most practical must be given precedence over the rest, world wide. This is the only way to avoid the discomfort EU faces due to the shortage of energy in this harsh winter.

 I would like my readers to pause at the Alternate Energy  which may be different form Renewable Energy. To my mind man has yet to devise a system which can perfectly ape the Earth Ecosystem in Generating Energy in a T-ZED form. ( Total Zero Emission Design). For every activity we partake there would be some thing that needs to be – MINED – EXTRACTED – CUT  out form the Natural system. We have not yet become that “advanced” as the advanced Nations like people to believe.

Having said that, we must now see which among the alternate energy sources we can get the maximum, within the constrains of resources we have, be it – technological, social, political or combination of all. Solar, my beloved is yet a baby which needs to catch-up to its big brother wind, who is having the adolescent problems of its own in various countries. Micro – hydle although better than its father the large Hydle dams in mobility and not as cruel to devastate large Eco-systems by sinking them; is too weak to power cities. The logistics of Bio-gas is another story, therefore it can have regional success in mid-size generation. Wave technology has not yet caught on.

So while we wait for Solar to take its place under the Sun, which no doubt it would and even avoid eating up large swats of land by just floating on water, while keeping in mind to allow sunlight down below; and compliment Wind turbine which line the Oceans along the sea faring route, in large floats which allow ships to charge up their dynamos from one point to the next, thus limiting the use and carriage of bunker fuel; especially when they enter territorial waters form the Blue Seas. In fact these floating Wind turbines could act as buoys / light-houses too and being closer to shore more easy to maintain, while avoiding the socio-political problems it faces on land, we must at the UNFCCC level hail Geo-thermal as the Messiah for now.

Low temperature geothermal applications include space heating and in agricultural uses (greenhouse heating, the drying of fruits and vegetables, aquaculture and seawater desalination, and in spas), providing an ideal synergy with other widespread commercial ventures. As technological advances allow for the exploitation of lower temperature geothermal resources, found at just a few meters below the ground surface, the heating and cooling of water for domestic use, for instance, becomes highly viable and attractive. Such applications lessen reliance of non-RE resources, are highly reliable and cost effective, and emit far less carbon dioxide. Advantages of investing in Geothermal are many as there are a  wealth of geothermal resources around the World. This can provide emerging markets with substantial entry-stage opportunities due to wide variety of synergistic applications.

 And Messiah it could very well be for Greece. All the Greeks need to do is look towards  Santorini. It is the most famous volcano in Greece. The most recent volcanic eruption in Greece was Santorini in 1950. Greece has 752 hot springs which are popular tourist destinations.   Greece lies in a geographic position that is favorable to geothermal resources, both high temperature and low temperature. High temperature resources, suitable for power generation coupled with heating and cooling, are found at depths of 1-2 kilometres on the Aegean islands of Milos, Santorini, and Nisyros. Other locations that are promising at depths of 2-3 kilomteres are on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samothraki as well as the basins of Central-Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.  Low temperature geothermal resources are found at the plains of Macedonia-Thrace and in the vicinity of each of the 56 hot springs found in Greece. These areas include Loutra-Samothrakis, Lesvos, Chios, Alexandroupolis, Serres, Thermopyles, Chalkidiki, and many others.

Geothermal power – the energy derived from stores of superheated water and steam in seismically-active areas – could, according to geologists, offer a realistic alternative to fossil fuels in the production of electricity and position the country as a regional leader in what is a growing global market.  According to an energy profile of Greece in a US Commercial Service report, there are up to 2,000MW of electrical output available from ‘high temperature fields’ across the country.

By the end of 2007 the installed thermal capacity of the direct geothermal uses in Greece amounted to roughly 75 MWt. Despite the large high-enthalpy resources in the active Aegean volcanic arc ,no electric power is produced from geothermal resources in Greece.  With  the existence of 30 geothermal fields in Greece – two of them sizable enough to produce at least 250MW of uninterrupted electrical power, Greece can not only pay its way out of the Economic crisis but also show the way to the EU Nations on how they could   meets its Kyoto Protocol and EU targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The above story is also true for India, which does not even exploit its easily available recourses.  In fact Mumbai is practically sitting on it. Should the State Government of Maharashtra seriously consider the use and application of geothermal lying under utilized it could use the applications of geothermal energy, which  vary according to their temperature and include:

Power generation(θ>90 °C)

 Space heating (with radiators, θ>60 °C, fan-coils, θ>40 °C, floor heating systems, θ>25 °C)

 Refrigeration and air conditioning (using absorption heat pumps, θ>60 °C, or with water-cooled heat pumps, θ<30 °C)

 Heating greenhouses and soil because plants grow more quickly and become bigger with heat (θ>25 °C), and for protection from frost.

 Aquaculture (θ>15 °C) because fish need a specific temperature to grow.

 Industrial applications such as desalination of seawater (θ>60 °C), drying agricultural products, etc.

 Thermal spas (θ = 25-40 °C)

Besides geothermal fields, with today’s technology, heat from rock at a shallow depth, as well as low temperature underground or surface water can be used for heating and air conditioning.  Hot dry rock, which is found everywhere at depths between 3 and 5 kilometers, by artificial water circulation through it at a temperature of up to 150 °C . If the cost of energy is calculated over the life cycle of the system, geothermal heat pumps cost less than a system which consumes oil or natural gas.

Geothermal energy should be exploited in India where using Nuclear Energy is meeting with stiff social resistance, especially after the Fukushima daiichi incident in Japan . Moreover, it has been proved beyond doubt by the experts of Geo-thermal in India that setting up a plant would cost far less than that of Nuclear and produce more and safer energy.

The other advantage it could have over coal based thermal or large hydle generated power is its “portability”. The size of a Geo-thermal plant compared to the above two would be very small – generation capacity wise. Moreover it would neither flood vast areas causing socio-economic upheaval nor produce fly-ash a dangerous polluter. The only thing it emits is water vapor. However, in some certain trace gases are found which can be easily treated.

This portability has a very great business advantage, which perhaps power companies have overlooked. It is a fact that energy generation and distribution in India is far costly than the tariff applied.  Typically, domestic (24% of total power supply uptake) and agricultural (22%) enjoy cross subsidies from industrial (38%) and commercial (16%) users. Industrial and commercial users still pay 30-60% above average power price. Therefore if Geo-thermal plants are placed close to the industrial & commercial areas by the Private power companies, they would be able to evacuate and distribute power at a far cheaper cost, which would be beneficial to both.

 

 

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Building A Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings


GHG emissions from building construction, reno...
Image via Wikipedia

The building sector can and should play a role in achieving the deep GHG reductions that science tells us are necessary to combat the threat of global warming. The building sector contribution to GHG emissions is mainly driven by its end use of, or demand for, electricity. This is a key difference from many other sectors where the main issue is emissions from the supply of energy. The building sector as a whole could reduce its share of GHG emissions by 30-35 per cent whilst accommodating growth in the overall number of buildings by 2050. This can be achieved by using today’s technology to significantly reduce the energy needed by residential and commercial buildings to perform the same services. For example, by replacing equipment with more energy-efficient models, at the natural replacement rate, and upgrading the performance of the building shell.

Detailed ‘bottom up’ analysis of energy efficiency opportunities suggests that net cost savings can be achievable in the medium to long-term. Rather than a cost per tonne of GHG abatement, many energy efficiency options have a positive financial payback in addition to providing abatement benefits. The payback period, can vary from a matter of months to many years. This finding is consistent with a large collection of case studies within the Country and overseas. When coupled with a broad-based GHG abatement target and a supporting policy environment, additional energy efficiency investments by the buildings sector would reduce the costs of change for the building sector and the economy at large.

Despite being cost neutral in the medium to long-term, achieving the additional GHG abatement action from the building sector faces challenges as well as opportunities.

1.Adopting energy efficiency strategies requires upfront investment by businesses and households to become more energy-efficient.

2.The benefits, or payback of these investments, are gradual, accruing over the medium to long-term, as savings on energy bills.

3.The building sector will need some additional incentives to overcome the impediments to change. These need to address a range of issues, such as the need to spur behavioural change, particularly to encourage adoption, and to offset the required upfront, direct capital expenditures.

4.Essentially, there is a need to encourage the rebuilding of our current building stock to upgrade the energy efficiency of assets within buildings to deliver a more   sustainable outcome.

5.The pay-off from investing in the energy efficiency potential of the building sector would flow through the entire economy by reducing the cost that others would face to  achieve their reduction in GHG emissions.

It is vital for government and the community at large to recognize the evidence showing the valuable role that demand side management and energy efficiency in the building sector can play in GHG abatement. Significant gains are available now without the need to invent and apply new technologies. They do not involve substantial risk or uncertainty and would provide significant gains now and into the future.

THE BUILDING SECTOR

The building sector can be viewed as being comprised of two broad elements:

Residential buildings — housing the population; and

Commercial buildings — housing a range of activities including retail trade, accommodation, business services, government and government agencies, recreation and cultural services and industry, which represents around two-thirds of national employment.

Component parts of the building sector are noted in chart

Residential Building Commercial Building
Detached housesAttached dwellingsBuildings containing two or more soleoccupancy units Wholesale tradeRetailAccommodation, cafes and restaurantsCommunication servicesFinance and insuranceProperty and business servicesGovernment administration and

Defence

Education

Health and community services

Cultural and recreational services

Personal and other services

The estimate of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption in the building sector takes account of:

1.  the amount of energy consumed;

2. the mix of fuels used;

3. the average greenhouse gas emissions from the different fuels (electricity is treated as a fuel); and

4.upstream emissions from transmission and other activities.

The electricity consumed within a building is only a part of the energy used to support that demand. A large amount of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions is also involved in distribution, transmission and generation. When reducing demand for electricity it is practical to eliminate the need for this upstream energy use and GHG emissions.

A larger proportion of GHG emissions are attributable to the building sector than its share of energy use because the building sector uses greenhouse gas intensive energy. Notably the building sector energy end use is dominated by electricity consumption which is dominated by coal fired generation located at the end of long transmission networks.

Emissions from the building sector are broadly of the same scale as emissions produced by the entire transport sector.

THE ABATEMENT POTENTIAL

The building sector could reduce its GHG emissions by 30–35 per cent by 2050 on an economical basis. Economic in this context means that the initial costs would be offset — and in many cases be more than offset — by subsequent energy savings over time.

The potential for increased energy efficiency in the building sector has been estimated through a bottom up analysis to identify energy efficiency opportunities in the building sector. The analysis:

1.Examine like-with-like replacement of energy inefficient appliances and building services with more energy-efficient equivalents;

2.focus on additional application of existing technologies;

3.take into account the costs of change and the expected benefits from reduced energy costs; and

4.factor in expected population growth and sustained economic growth which tends to bring pressure for increased energy use.

For the potential energy efficiency investments a much wider range of options exits. This set, however, generally represents the diversity of existing, mature technologies.

In the residential sector changes can be achieved through:

1. substitution for more energy-efficient light fittings;

2. greater use of natural light;

3.substitution for more efficient refrigeration;

4.adoption of more efficient hot water appliances with solar where possible;

5.adoption of appliances with a low standby energy use;

6. the introduction of more efficient heating and cooling mechanical systems; and better insulation.

In commercial buildings substantial savings to both costs and greenhouse gas emissions could be generated by:

1. improving air conditioning systems efficiency and including ‘economy’ cycles;

2.use of natural ventilation where possible;

3. the use of more efficient office appliances;

4.better insulation;

5.improved heating and ventilation;

6.the use of efficient light fixtures;

7.upgrading to more efficient water heating systems; and

8.where possible use of co-, and tri-generation (that is, using heat discharged from on-site power generation for water heating, and for absorption air-conditioning etc).

Energy efficiency measures would take time to be adopted by households and business. Analysis of the technical possibilities suggests the potential for GHG abatement is between 57 Mt and 66 Mt per annum by 2030. This would increase to between 86 Mt and 98 Mt by 2050.

Facts

• Buildings’ share of final energy consumption: 30-40%

• Global CO2 emissions from energy in buildings (2005): 9Gt

• Estimated growth by 2050 in all 6 EEB regions: 76%

• Growth in global population by 2050: 2.7 billion or 42%

Many energy efficiency projects are feasible with today’s energy costs. At energy prices proportionate to oil at US$ 60 per barrel, building energy efficiency investments in the six EEB regions (Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the US) studied, totaling US$ 150 billion annually, will reduce related energy use and the corresponding carbon footprint in the range of 40% with five-year discounted paybacks for the owners. A further US$ 150 billion with paybacks between five and 10 years will add 12 percentage points and bring the total reduction to slightly more than half.

There are three key elements to

achieving progress:

– Use less energy

– Make more energy (locally)

– Share surplus energy (through an intelligent grid).

The most significant, long-term gains will come from using less energy.

Note: The data has been collected form various noted publications and condensed for easy understanding.

 

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