Global climate goals threatened by lack of clean tech collaboration: IEA

Birds fly over a closed steel factory where chimneys of another working factory are seen in the background, in Tangshan, Hebei province, China, February 27, 2016. Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Global efforts to reduce emissions and curb rising temperatures are threatened by a lack of collaboration between countries in sharing and developing new technology, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report on Tuesday.

Major economies around the world such as the United States, and European countries are seeking to reach net zero emissions by 2050 to try to limit a rise in global temperatures well below 2 deg C, requiring huge changes in energy production, transportation and food production.

“Through international collaboration, we can make the transition quicker, cheaper and easier for everyone,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement with the first Breakthrough Agenda report, released on Tuesday with the International Renewable Energy Agency and the United Nations (UN) Climate Change High Level Champions.

“Without this collaboration, the transition to net zero emissions will be much more challenging and could be delayed by decades,” he said.

The report said collaboration needed to ramp up and made 25 recommendations including increasing cross-border power super grids to support cross country trading in low-carbon power such as wind and solar.

It also said countries should agree a common date by which all new vehicles should be zero emission, such as electric vehicles, suggesting 2035 for cars and vans and 2040 for heavy duty vehicles.

“This will send a clear signal to industry and unlock larger economies of scale and faster cost reductions, making the transition more affordable for all countries,” the report said.

Countries should also work to increase the production of low-carbon steel to over 100 million tonnes by 2030 from less than 1 million tonnes today, it said.

The report was requested by world leaders at last year’s COP climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, to help align actions and scale up investment in technology in five major sectors – power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture – that account for around 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Author: Susanna Twidale

Southeast Asia needs $210 bln annual investment on renewables -IRENA

Workers walk between solar cell panels over the water surface of Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand April 8, 2021. Picture taken April 8, 2021 with a drone. Source: REUTERS/Prapan Chankaew

JAKARTA, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Southeast Asian nations need to more than double their annual investment on renewables to accelerate energy transition and to meet climate goals, a report released on Thursday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed.

IRENA said, in the long term, average annual investment of $210 billion was needed on renewable energy, energy efficiency and to support technologies and infrastructure in the period to 2050 to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.Advertisement · Scroll to continueADVERTISINGReport an ad

The investment is more than two and a half times the amount currently planned by Southeast Asian governments to reach their goals, IRENA said.

“Coal retirement, coupled with renewables and regional grid interconnection, is an indispensable step to aligning with net-zero targets,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said.

Southeast Asia is home to 25% of the world’s geothermal generation capacity, but the region also has major coal reserves. The region’s biggest economy Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal.Advertisement · Scroll to continueReport an ad

While half of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to stop using coal in the power sector, La Camera said climate commitments required concerted and accelerated action “that must begin now to have a hope of success.”

The region aims to have 23% of its primary energy supplied by renewables by 2025, however, investments in recent years show mixed progress, IRENA said.Advertisement · Scroll to continueReport an ad

“Accelerating energy transition is crucial in order to meet climate goals and support the region’s economic growth,” said Nuki Agya Utama, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy, adding the bloc remained committed to its 2025 goals.

IRENA said countries could by investing more in renewables reduce their energy costs and avoid as much as $1.5 trillion of costs related to health and environmental damage from fossil fuels up to 2050.

Author: Fransiska Nangoy

Study finds 100% renewables would pay off within 6 years

Image: Mark Jacobson

New research from Stanford University researcher Mark Jacobson outlines how 145 countries could meet 100% of their business-as-usual energy needs with wind, water, solar and energy storage. The study finds that in all the countries considered, lower-cost energy and other benefits mean the required investment for transition is paid off within six years. The study also estimates that worldwide, such a transition would create 28 million more jobs than it lost.

From pv magazine

As renewables come to represent a larger portion of the worldwide energy mix, and as targets are put in place to increase it further still, there are plenty of worries over the cost that radically changing our energy systems will entail. And the intermittent nature of wind and solar also creates concern about insufficient supply and possible blackouts.

The latest energy system models from Stanford University researcher Mark Jacobson, however, show that for 145 countries, the energy transition too 100% wind, water, solar and storage would pay for itself within six years, and ultimately cost less than continuing with the current energy systems.

“Worldwide, WWS reduces end use energy by 56.4%, private annual energy costs by 62.7% (from $17.8 to $6.6 trillion per year), and Social (private plus health plus climate) annual energy costs by 92.0% (from $83.2 to $6.6 trillion per year) at a present-value cost of $61.5 trillion,” Jacobson said in his most recent paper. “Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than business as usual.”

He described the model in “Low-cost solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity for 145 countries, which was recently published in Energy & Environmental Science. It builds on Jacobson’s previous work by adding new countries, more recent energy consumption data from all regions, and calculations to deal with uncertainty in the future price of battery energy storage, the role batteries will play, and the development of newer technologies such as vehicle to grid. But despite these uncertainties, Jacobson is certain that technological barriers don’t present a major roadblock for the transition.

“(About) 95% of the technologies needed to implement the plans proposed are already commercialized,” he states.

The study also finds that, while jobs would be lost in the mining and fossil fuels segments, 28 million more jobs would be created than lost overall. Only Russia, Canada and parts of Africa are expected to see net job losses as a result, as these regions economies depend heavily on fossil fuels.

Though the study provides clear evidence that a full transition to 100% renewable energy is both technically and economically possible, Jacobson warns that plenty of uncertainty remains.

“Many additional uncertainties exist. One of the greatest is whether sufficient political will can be obtained to affect a transition at the rapid pace needed” he said. “However if political will can be obtained, then transitioning the world entirely to clean, renewable energy should substantially reduce energy needs, costs, air pollution mortality, global warming, and energy insecurity while creating jobs, compared with BAU.”


Agrivoltaics for rice growth

Image: Rauschenberger, Pixabay

Scientists in Bangladesh have investigated the potential of agrivoltaics in rice fields. They analyzed the economic viability of bifacial agrivoltaic projects in Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Brazil, and India.

From pv magazine

Scientists from Bangladesh’s East West University have developed a modeling framework to determine how agrivoltaic power plants could be deployed in rice fields.

“Our modeling should help policymakers and installers working on future agro-PV projects,” researcher Mohammad Ryyan Khan told pv magazine. “Very limited works have been carried out to date on agrivoltaics with major crops such as rice, wheat, corn, and maize.”

The researchers investigated the economic viability of bifacial agrivoltaic projects for the most common type of rice – Oryza sativa, which is also known as Asian rice. They focused on six locations: An Giang, Vietnam; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Jiangsu province, China; Damietta, Egypt; Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; and Haryana, India. They considered location-specific weather conditions, PV system orientation, panel array row spacing, financing conditions, and the economic advantages of bifacial panels.

“For a given location and bi/monofacial panel array configuration, we find the time-varying irradiance on each point on the cropland and panel surface,” the scientists explained. “Since higher PV density penalizes the crop output of an agrivoltaic farm, we do a parametric analysis to find optimal row spacing to ensure the desired amount of rice production per unit of land area.”

Locations such as Damietta and Haryana are reportedly able to provide additional gains through higher energy yield, due to more favorable solar irradiance. The scientists found that financing conditions are also crucial in ensuring the economic viability of a project. They said that an agrivoltaic project for rice growth should ensure that at least 90% of the land is used for crop cultivation.

“We predict the net profit to be 22 to 115 times higher in AVs (with 90% rice yield constraint) compared to only producing rice in those land,” they explained.

The scientists described their methodology in “Agrivoltaics analysis in a techno-economic framework: Understanding why agrivoltaics on rice will always be profitable,” which was recently published in Advanced Energy.

“We are currently planning to set up a pilot facility and demonstrate its socio-economic impact,” Khan said. “We also want to create awareness and prospects for farmland owners in Bangladesh.”


Tigo releases design quality tool for large commercial solar

Image: Tigo Energy

The US module level power electronics provider also introduced an installer certification course.

From pv magazine

US-based DC power optimizer specialist Tigo Energy unveiled a new design quality tool called the Solar PLC Signal Integrity Tool alongside expanded training material for solar engineering, procurement, and construction firms in the commercial and industrial segments.

The validation tool and accompanying training course help installers preempt powerline communications (PLC) signal integrity issues in large-scale commercial and industrial projects. PLC signals can experience “crosstalk”, disturbances in signals that can lead to reduced effectiveness of communications in large-scale PV systems. The updated TS4 Design and Installation Course now includes best practices for mitigation of PLC crosstalk issues at the design stage, preventing issues before they happen.

Tigo also released the Solar PLC Signal Integrity Tool, which can be used to identify crosstalk issues in active solar arrays. The tool is designed to be vendor-neutral and is usable for either Tigo systems or competitor MLPE products. After the PLC assessment is run, Tigo provides a performance score.

The TS4 design and installation course, integrated into the company’s education plaftorm, features a section on PLC rapid shutdown system design as well as a technical deep dive into the Tigo TS4 Flex MLPE product line. It provides best practices and practical guidance for system optimization, and installer education on how to design, install and commission a Tigo system with any compatible solar inverter. The two-hour comprehensive course earns 1.5 NABCEP continuing education credits.

“An important part of our mission at Tigo is to keep installers at the center of everything we do, and investing in tools and training is no small part of that,” said JD Dillon, chief marketing officer at Tigo Energy. “As our partners in the field raise their stakes with ever larger installations, we are supporting them with things like this new PLC Tool, Pure Signal technology, and impactful continuing education to help them design and support the highest quality PV installations.”

Last month, Tigo introduced a solar rapid shutdown device with “Pure Signal” technology, aimed at improving PLC signal quality. Tigo RSS Transmitters with Pure Signal technology are UL PVRSS certified with hundreds of inverter models from leading manufacturers. The new transmitters with Pure Signal technology are compatible with the company’s TS4-A-F and TS4-A-2F rapid shutdown product family and can be easily integrated into new projects or retrofitted into existing installations.

“Our mission is to provide high-quality, reliable, and flexible MLPE solutions to meet customers’ needs for different system configurations. Pure Signal technology delivers on that mission,” said Jing Tian, chief growth officer at Tigo Energy.


Storing renewables in soil mounds via water balloons

Image: Aahrus University

Scientists in Denmark have developed a storage technology that utilizes large underground water balloons and the pressure of the soil to activate a turbine to generate power. They are currently building a first 10 m x 10 m demonstrator to select critical technologies related to the membrane and to the construction of the “movable hill” that will form the terrain part of the battery.

From pv magazine

Researchers from the Aarhus University in Denmark have conceived an energy storage technology to store large amounts of power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

The scientists said the new technology is similar to pumped-hydro storage, as it uses water as a storage medium and responds to the same basic mechanism, but explained that it can be used in a flat country such as Denmark, where no hydropower plants have ever been built. The new tech uses surplus power from wind and photovoltaics to pump water from a reservoir into giant underground water balloons.

According to AquaNamic, which is a Danish startup partnering on the project, a full-scale balloon may reach a size of 330 m x 330 m and, when buried under thousands of cubic meters of soil, can be raised up to 14 meters when the balloon is filled up with water in the charging phase. This balloon would reportedly have a storage capacity of 230 MWh. In the discharging phase, a valve opens and the pressure of the soil pushes the water out of the balloon and through a turbine to generate power. According to the scientists, this system has an efficiency of around 85%, which they say is in line with most pumped-hydro stations.

AquaNamic and the Aarhus University are currently planning to build a 10 m x 10 m demonstrator and have secured DKK 4.9 million ($674.147) from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program. “We’re about to begin analyzing, designing and testing selected critical technologies related to the membrane and to the construction of the ‘movable hill’ that will form the terrain part of the battery,” said researcher Kenny Sørensen. “Naturally, we’ll have a strong focus on abrasion testing for the membrane, and we’ll need to develop a specially designed test rig to carry out lifetime tests for representative membrane solutions.”

One of the crucial aspects of the demonstrator will be assessing the extent of possible energy losses. “We want to retain as much energy in the system as possible, and this is a complex process with such a large system, which in principle will fill up every night, when the turbines are spinning and the world is sleeping, and then empty every day, when the energy is needed,” Sørensen further explained. “But every time the soil moves, the system is deformed, and these deformations contribute to the energy loss. They’re called plastic deformations. Our job is to optimize the system, using advanced calculation models.”

The new technology is also being developed in partnership with Danish wind energy giant Vestas and renewable energy developer European Energy.


Developer plans 20 MW solar aquaculture site in Bangladesh

Image: jkijewskis, pixabay

Joules Power has said the $22 million PV project will be built on land which is submerged for most of the year and will breed fishes. The project is set to be completed in December 2023.

From pv magazine

A 20 MW solar plant being planned by Joules Power Limited in Bangladesh will be constructed on 75 acres of land which will be submerged for most of the year.

Md Nahiduzzaman, business development lead for the company, told pv magazine the solar system will be installed on a site which will produce fish as well as agricultural products including mushrooms, which will grow in the shade of the panels.

The grid-connected site in Bangladesh’s northern district of Mymensingh will cost around $22 million, according to the company, which is owned by Bangladeshi conglomerate Expo Group.

Nahiduzzaman said the company expects to start construction in January and complete the site in December 2023.

Joules Power has stated it expects funding support from the World Bank and other soft loan providers for the site.

The developer had backing from the World Bank-financed Investment Promotion and Financing Facility II for its first, 20 MW solar site in Bangladesh.

With lease agreements signed with landowners, Joules Power recently invited expressions of interest to complete a detailed feasibility study, design drawing, initial environmental examination, environmental impact assessment, and social impact assessment for the project. The tender deadline is August 21.

The plant will be connected to the national grid by a single circuit line of 33 kV from the plant site to the Muktagacha substation operated by the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board.

Industrial tender

A separate tender, to install 82 MWp of floating, ground-mounted, and rooftop PV in an industrial zone, is set to close on July 27.

Government body the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority has tendered for solar across a 30,000-acre site at the nation’s largest industrial zone, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, in the Feni district.

Applicants for the tender must prepare a technical, financial, legal, environmental, and social feasibility report and recommend suitable land and a bankable public-private partnership contract structure.


Fish farmed as part of solar-powered irrigation system

The set-up will give farmers a new revenue stream. Image: Provincial Government of Negros Occidental

A provincial government in the Philippines has installed a solar pump that will move water to a reservoir where fish can now be bred. The $124,000 system will also irrigate vegetables and high-value crops for two farmers’ groups.

From pv magazine

The provincial government Negros Occidental – the western province of the island of Negros in the Philippines– has provided farmers with a solar-powered irrigation system that can also produce farmed fish.

The PHP 6.9 million ($124,000) system will also irrigate vegetables and high-value crops for two farmers’ groups.

An aquaculture and aquaponic aspect of the system sees water for irrigation pumped to a reservoir which can produce an estimated 75 kg to 80kg of fish such as tilapia after four months.

With a farm gate price of PHP 110 per kilogram for tilapia, that would mean PHP 8,250 of extra income based on a 75 kg return and the news agency said the use of solar would remove previous pump fuel costs of PHP 19,000 per year.

The new system also produces organic liquid fertilizer from the fish waste, which is put into the irrigation water in a process known as fertigation.

The project has been installed at a 600 m2 farm at Hacienda Myrianne in the municipality of Manapla and will benefit members of the Myrianne Farmers Development Association and the Myrianne Youth Farmers Organization.

Author: MAX HALL

New tech to produce hydrogen from tap water

The hydrogen is consumed on-site. Image: J. A. G. I.

A Spanish scientist has developed a system that reportedly produces hydrogen on-site without expensive electrolysis.

From pv magazine

Spanish scientist José Antonio G. I.  has developed a system that is able to generate and store hydrogen on-site from tap water without electrolysis.

“Until now, the most common way to produce hydrogen is by electrolysis. However, this process implies a significant electrical consumption that makes it not interesting from an economic point of view,” he told pv magazine.

The prototype consists of a water tank that is initially filled with water and two more chemical elements that the researcher doesn’t want to reveal. Hydrogen production begins when a 20 W compressor discharges pressurized air in the lower part of the tank.

“It is the air that causes the reaction between the different chemical components and generates hydrogen,” the scientist explained. “Then, the generated hydrogen leaves through the upper area of ​​the tank to be introduced into an equally pressurized tank. The water in this second tank collects the possible impurities and hydrogen comes out through the upper part of the tank.”

After the hydrogen is purified, it flows via an upper conduit to another tank equipped with closed contacts, a safety valve and an outlet pipe assisted by a solenoid valve.

“Currently, we are developing a model with a 220-liter tank that can work with a pressure of 1 kg/cm2 and a flow rate of 30 liters per minute,” González Ibáñez went on to say. “This can generate heating, hot water and electricity for a household or a small business.”

The group is also designing a larger model that can work with a pressure of 750 Kg/cm2 and can reportedly supply a thermal power plant or a container ship.

“Hydrogen is produced at the place of consumption, so transportation disappears, it only needs a water tap,” the scientist emphasized. “The system is capable of generating the energy equivalent to a liter of gasoline –30 Mjoules or 8.333333 kW– for €0.0151515 ($0.0153749).”


Industrial process for ‘mobile’ solar module recycling

With its FlaxThor recycling system, Flaxres says it can recycle a PV module with a 10 second cycle time. Image: Flaxres

German company Flaxres has developed an industrial process to recycle PV modules, and has begun operating a pilot facility at its new site where 10 tons of solar modules can be recycled daily. Flaxres plans to make equipment based on this facility available to international customers.

From pv magazine

Flaxres says it has transferred its proprietary technology to an industrial process, and is bringing its pilot solar panel recycling system to market.

The basis for the breakthrough was a successfully completed mass test with the recycling of 7.5 tons of solar modules in the “Flaxthor” production plant, it added. According to Flaxres, more than 200 kg of silicon and 4 kg of silver were recovered, as well as 4.9 tons of glass of the highest quality. The site in Dresden has a potential recycling capacity of more than 1,000 tons per year.

The new site serves purely as a development location, a Flaxres spokesman told pv magazine. There, the pilot production plant with a maximum capacity of 10 tons per day will be operated to test new and optimized process steps for full automation. The company its pilot plant achieves a cycle time of 10 seconds per module.

Based on this prototype, Flaxres wants to develop mobile equipment that will fit into a shipping container and be rented to customers, he said. “A full-scale stationary plant is rather counterproductive. The issuance of the operating license is advised for the end of 2022,” the Flaxres spokesman added. The plan, he said, is to begin constructing these new “Flaxthor” plants in 2024, and to have them available to customers by 2025.

According to the Flaxres spokesman, several contracts have already been signed with customers operating internationally. “However, the plants will not be sold, but only leased on a monthly basis with our personnel.” He also said that 100% of the total recycling capacity of the five new plants has already been allocated for 2024.

The plants are suitable for both crystalline and thin-film modules, and can process modules with damaged glass panes. All modules are separated into their main components with a low energy input. The materials recovered are of high quality due to the separation process developed and can thus enable a genuine recycling economy. The company does not rely on chemicals for its recycling process, it added.

The quantities of solar modules generated annually for recycling are still rather small. By 2030, however, a quantity of around 400,000 tons of these solar modules is expected for Germany alone, according to Flaxres. This corresponds to a number of about 20 million individual modules, and many companies and researchers are working on efficient recycling processes.