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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hybrid Power Solutions industry on the rise as popularity and cost-effectiveness of renewables continues to increase

No doubt about it: Hybrid technology is leading us away from fossil fuel as our primary source to power our economy.  Market conditions look great for growth.

The global hybrid power solutions market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2016 to 2021, to reach a market size of USD 689.5 Million by 2021. Download PDF brochure 

Browse 68 market data tables and 47 figures spread through 131 pages and in-depth TOC on “Hybrid Power Solutions Market by System Type (Solar-Diesel, Wind-Diesel, Solar-Wind-Diesel), Power Rating (Upto 10 kW, 11 kW–100 kW, and Above 100 kW), End-User (Residential, Commercial, Telecom), and Region - Global Forecast to 2021"

To enable an in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape, the report includes profiles of some of the leading players in the hybrid power solutions market. These players include SMA Solar Technology AG (Germany), Siemens AG (Germany), Huawei Technologies Co., LTD (China), ZTE Corporation (China), Flexenclosure AB, LTD (Sweden), and Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG (Germany) among others. Leading players are trying to penetrate the markets in rural areas of developing economies and are adopting various strategies to increase their market share.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Could Puerto Rico’s Disaster have a “Solar Lining?” Elon Musk Believes, YES./RNN

Mankind has proven to be resilient.  We steadily pick ourselves up off the mat when flattened and quickly rebuild.  We see this again in an island pounded by Mother Nature this year--Puerto Rico.

One of the things holding them back, and is a potential liability for all of us dependent on an antiquated grid, is restoring electrical service.  Elon Musk steps in and offers new tech to rebuild their system.  Why would we not take advantage of today's smart tech?

The ever business minded, problem-solving entrepreneur, Elon Musk says he could rebuild Puerto Rico’s shattered electrical infrastructure with his solar energy technology.
The vast majority of the island territory remains without power, weeks after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.
On Twitter, Mr Musk said his technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.
The island’s governor responded to Mr Musk with the message: “Let’s talk”.
“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project,” the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, said.
Mr Musk’s Tesla company is best known for its electric cars, but it also incorporates SolarCity – a solar panel firm which specialises in efficiently storing large amounts of electricity in power banks.
The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta’u in American Samoa. There, it installed a solar grid which can power the entire island and store enough electricity for three days without any sun....MORE AT RENEWABLE NOW

Thursday, October 19, 2017

First zero-emissions transport refrigeration unit unveiled by eNow/PBN

eNow is a tech co--focused on using batteries, solar and advanced/smart energy management systems to reduce emissions within the transportation industry--we've been following for many years.  In fact their CEO, Jeff Flath, spent a year with us as a rotating co-host and expert on revamping our global transportation system.

Good to see they continue to innovate with new products that meet the operational, financial and environmental needs of their customers.  It helps all of us breath easier as emissions are significantly cut.

THE REFRIGERATED delivery truck pictured above is equipped with eNow's new zero-emissions Rayfrigeration unit, powered by photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the vehicle's roof. / COURTESY eNOW

WARWICK – Renewable-energy company eNow announced a new solar-powered refrigeration unit last week that has been declared the first zero-emissions unit for the urban commercial transport industry.
Unlike traditional refrigeration units, which are powered by high-polluting, small diesel engines, the Rayfrigeration system features eNow solar photovoltaic panels mounted on the truck’s roof in combination with a Johnson Truck Bodies refrigeration unit and Emerson compressor technology.
The refrigeration unit’s cold plates and auxiliary batteries are initially charged via utility power when the vehicle is plugged in overnight, but while on a delivery route, the roof-mounted solar panels provide power to keep chilled products at the correct temperature.

Tested on a dairy-product delivery truck in Fresno, Calif., the Rayfrigeration unit reduced the truck’s total emissions by 98 percent nitrous oxide, 86 percent carbon dioxide and 97 percent particulate matter over the five-month test period. The 1,800-watt eNow solar system provided enough energy to maintain optimum temperature throughout a typical day of opening and closing the truck doors in California’s summer heat.
In addition to eliminating harmful emissions, the Rayfrigeration unit is projected to reduce operations costs by up to 90 percent compared with diesel-powered units, by eliminating diesel fuel and maintenance costs and improving battery life.
“The Rayfrigeration product is an important step forward in reducing emissions while maintaining the highest levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction for companies delivering perishable goods,” said Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow. “[Our] solar technology is powerful, reliable and efficient, and more than up to the task of providing emissions-free energy for critical tasks such as refrigeration of fresh foods, even the most challenging conditions. We are proud to be a part of this important project.”
Rayfrigeration solar-charging technology is available through eNow, which currently has more than 4,000 solar-powered systems operating nationwide on trucks, buses, emergency and utility vehicles.
The Rayfrigeration initiative was funded in part by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Technology Advancement Program, which encourages innovation through the development of new emission-reduction technologies.
Galen Auer is a PBN contributing writer. Email or follow on Twitter at @PBNAuer.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Air Pollution Affects Kids’ Working Memory/RNN

Ouch.  Kids walking to school in dirty air feel the affects in their lungs and, under this study, in their brains.

Of course some kids may now use air pollution as an excuse for bad grades.  Not a bad line.  But as playful as this scenario might get, bad environmental conditions diminish our health--period.

Do we want our kids wearing masks to school?  Is that the solution?  Cans of clean air.  Or, do we speed ahead with a clean energy plan that restores good air quality for all?  What is the better, long-term strategy?  Is that a worthy industrial revolution?


A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institute supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, has demonstrated that exposure to air pollution on the way to school can have damaging effects on children’s cognitive development. The study, published recently in Environmental Pollution, found an association between a reduction in working memory and exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon during the walking commute to and from school.
The study was carried out in the framework of the BREATHE project. Previous research in the same project found that exposure to traffic-related pollutants in schools was associated with slower cognitive development. The aim of the team undertaking the new study was to assess the impact of exposure to air pollution during the walking commute to school. The findings of an earlier study had shown that 20% of a child’s daily dose of black carbon — a pollutant directly related to traffic — is inhaled during urban commutes.
“The results of earlier toxicological and experimental studies have shown that these short exposures to very high concentrations of pollutants can have a disproportionately high impact on health” explains Mar Álvarez-Pedrerol, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study. “The detrimental effects may be particularly marked in children because of their smaller lung capacity and higher respiratory rate,” she adds.
The study was carried out in Barcelona and enrolled over 1,200 children aged from 7 to 10, from 39 schools, all of whom walked to school on a daily basis. The children’s working memory and attention capacity was assessed several times during the 12-month study. Their exposure to air pollution over the same period was calculated on the basis of estimated levels on the shortest walking route to their school....

Green space coming along nicely/The Times

Here's one example, in a midsize New England city, of green space growing in urban settings.

The expansion of open space in our most congested cities is critical as we contemplate a future in which 60% of the population will reside in those places.  Sure, there are other factors driving people back into old downtowns:  great schools, mixed-use spaces, good transportation systems but quality of life, with lots of play areas, arts, culture, sports is the main draw.

Whether it is parks, vegetation for controlling rain runoff, grass roofs or tree canopies, green space is much needed amid our concrete jungles:


PAWTUCKET — Work is ongoing on a new passive park in the gateway to the Quality Hill neighborhood, which city officials say will bring green space and a place for recreation to the area of Summit and Division streets.
The Summit Street Park is currently being built on a parcel of land adjacent to Interstate 95 on the city's east side within walking distance of such destinations as the Seekonk River, McCoy Stadium, Saint Raphael Academy, and Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church.
The contract for the construction of a new passive park along Summit Street was recently awarded to Green Acres Landscaping and Construction Co. of Lakeville, Mass. The project will include the installation of a new gazebo, concrete walkways, lighting, fencing, landscaping, lawn areas, new electric and water service, and an irrigation system, city officials said.
“As we continue to invest in our infrastructure, roads, and schools, it’s important that we also create spaces for residents to get outside and enjoy their neighborhood,” Mayor Donald R. Grebien said via email. “I look forward to opening the park with residents.”
The park's budget is $282,065, which is funded through a Community Development Block Grant. It's estimated to be complete and ready for use by the middle or end of next month.
Follow Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Los Angeles to Receive Two All-Electric Garbage Trucks/RNN

More good news on the trash business--another community (we reported Sacramento's purchase of similar waste haulers) invest in electric.


Coming off a recent announcement on California’s first all-electric refuse vehicle (ERV) heading to Sacramento, Motiv Power Systems is deploying two zero-emission refuse trucks to the City of Los Angeles. As a continuation of a demonstration project funded by the California Energy Commission, these Class-8 ERVs use the Motiv All-Electric Powertrain to drive a Crane Carrierchassis, with an automated side-loader body built by Amrep, Inc. The trucks will be built by Amrep, Inc. in Los Angeles and are projected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018. The City of Los Angeles Sanitation plans to run the ERVs on residential and recycling routes and expects to save as much as 6,000 gallons of fuel per year. Upon delivery, the Los Angeles ERVs bring the all-electric refuse trucks powered by Motiv to a total of three in California and four within North America.
“Fossil-fueled garbage trucks emit about 20 times the carbon of the average U.S. home. They achieve just two to three miles per gallon, and stick to standard routes, making them ideal electrification targets for LA’s sustainability program,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. “We’re proud that our all-electric refuse trucks will help the city achieve its cleaner air goals, as well as save on operational and maintenance costs.”
As the City of Los Angeles develops pathways to meet an 80 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by 2050, reducing air pollution from mobile sources plays a key role. Motiv’s scalable All-Electric Powertrain is uniquely suited for helping public works and city service vehicles contribute to GHG reductions by dramatically reducing diesel emissions from a wide variety of vehicles, from refuse and work trucks, to school and shuttle buses....

Battery technology keeping electric car adoption in the slow lane

Recently we ran a piece that confirmed auto manufacture's commitment to electric vehicles.  What might stand in the way of their sales goals?   See the story below.

Battery technology keeping electric car adoption in the slow lane

Oct. 6 — When Tesla unveiled its mass-market electric vehicle, the Model 3, this summer, CEO Elon Musk promised the company would deliver 1,500 cars by the end of September. The latest reports suggest the carmaker has delivered 260.

While production bottlenecks are frustrating for Tesla investors — and the some 500,000 deposit holders waiting for their cars — that’s not what’s keeping electric cars from making true inroads in the mass market.

The major barrier is battery technology. And one questions stands out: Will the lithium-ion battery suffice?

“Today’s technology is almost good enough,” Gerbrand Ceder, a material scientist and engineer working on battery technology at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, told UPI. “Further cost reduction and ‘incremental’ improvements can take EV’s to the 300-mile range. Together with fast charging this can take EV mainstream.”

Not everyone agrees.

Scientists and engineers are working in a variety of capacities to improve the electric car battery on several fronts, including efforts to boost its power, range, safety and durability. These efforts fall into two categories: research into incremental changes and research into step changes.

“Today, all modern batteries are dominated by one type of chemistry — lithium-ion,” George Crabtree, director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory, said.

Those working on incremental change are focused on improving the lithium-ion battery, while those with their hearts set on step changes are trying to invent a new type of battery.
Incremental changes are to thank for the Tesla Model 3’s industry-leading range. Working with researchers at Panasonic, Tesla has steadily tweaked the chemistry and components of the lithium-ion battery to meet the demand of its vehicles. The tweaks have yielded significant cost savings and a 60 percent increase in range. The Model 3 boasts a range of 220 miles and its extended range battery can provide power for 310 miles.

The incremental change blueprint is one followed by the majority of the battery technology industry.

“Historically, this is true, the advances in performance and price have come from a long line of incremental improvements over the last 25 years since Li-ion was introduced in 1991,” Crabtree said. “However the introduction of Li-ion in 1991 was itself not incremental but a step advance. Its energy density was twice that of the next best batteries.”

Lithium-ion batteries provide power, a flow of electrons, by moving lithium ions from one electrode to another across an electrolyte. The negative electrode is called an anode, and the positive electrode is called a cathode.

Many scientists are experimenting with different anode materials to boost the lithium-ion battery’s power and energy density while bringing down cost.
“Right now, most anodes are made of graphite,” Crabtree said. “The lithium goes in-between the layers of the graphite. We can fit one lithium for every carbon atom in the anode. Silicon interpolates four lithium for every silicon atom.”

Unfortunately, silicon expands dramatically during the charging and discharging process. Over time, this action will break down the battery. The solution is to mix graphite and silicon.
“The more silicon you put in, the more energy density you can take on,” Crabtree said. “You get energy density up, you up the capacity, you up the range.”

But at what cost? How much silicon can you put in before you sacrifice safety and durability? Scientists are trying to find out.

“Some scientists are considering replacing the the graphite anode with exclusively lithium,” Crabtree said. “That’s been a goal since the 1980s.”

The problem is that the lithium becomes degraded over time. The layer becomes deformed, roughed up and begins to grow dendrites. These fingers of lithium grow out from the anode and damage the rest of the battery.

“The dendrite growth problem has been around for 40 years,” Crabtree said.
The effort to improve the Li-ion battery’s anode — and the incumbent challenges — offers a snapshot of the problematics of incremental improvements. Scientists don’t completely understand battery chemistry, and their understanding is especially rough during experimental phases. With each new tweak and each new material, new challenges and drawbacks inevitably surface.

“Whenever several materials are brought together — in a battery, for example — there are lots of chemical reactions that can take place,” Crabtree said. “Some of these are the desired energy storage reactions that will make the battery work, some are side reactions that are irrelevant for battery function but occur anyway because they are chemically favorable. When good ideas for batteries fail, these side reactions are usually the reason.”

Scientists are split over whether the slow, slog of incremental change will be enough to take the lithium-ion battery and electric car mainstream. Even Musk has acknowledged that the potential of lithium-ion may soon be maxed out.

A range of 300 miles is a major improvement, but will it be enough? The extended-range version of the Model 3 costs $44,000, more than twice the price of some compact gas cars. Electric car owners must also work 30-minute charging periods into their routine. Filling up a gas tank typically takes no more than 5 minutes.

Despite some resignation that the lithium ion battery might not have what it takes, the majority of research funding is being funneled into projects focused on incremental change.
“I wouldn’t be afraid to say more than 90 percent of funding and research is focused on gradual change,” Crabtree said.

But even for many startups working on gradual improvements, funding is scarce.
While Tesla has invested billions into its efforts to improve the Li-ion battery, startups’ efforts often have to get by on just a few million dollars per year. Many of the scientific tools needed to study the chemical reactions that could boost battery power are too expensive for small research outfits.

“Battery development is a long play,” Ceder said. “That is why it is very hard for startups to do. Big companies need to step up here, potentially together with government incentives.”
If funding for incremental change research is difficult, finding financing for step change research is nearly impossible.

“Pursuing step changes in performance is a high-risk enterprise — several innovations have to work simultaneously, and no unexpected detrimental side reactions can occur,” Crabtree said.

There is good news, though. Researchers have developed advanced computer modeling and molecule databases, like the Materials Genome Initiative, that allow scientists to streamline the experimentation process. Scientists can use the database and their advanced algorithms to identify promising compound combinations and new materials among millions of possibilities.

“Computer modeling is important because the requirements for novel battery materials are extreme and requires us essentially to look for a needle in a haystack,” Ceder said.
Projects like the Materials Genome Initiative rely on public funding. Crabtree believes publicly funded research is essential to taking battery technology and electric cars mainstream. Research at innovation centers like Crabtree’s JCESR “can create basic understanding that reduces the risk of failure of achieving a step advance,” Crabtree said.
With risks minimized, and with objectives and challenges in clear focus, private companies, both big and small, can take over.

Even with public and private entities working together, technological progress is inherently slow, Ceder said. It always has been.

“It is important to keep in mind that commercialization is a very long path,” he said. “Today’s commercial battery materials were all developed at least 15 years ago, and in some cases much longer.”