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AUGUST 2010 VOLUME 1, NO. 3 www.AlternativeEnergyNewsOnline.com

SOLAR ■ ■

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The Most Solar Town In America Photon Solar Power Showcases Latest Solar Technology in Escondido Home

WIND POWER Honda's prototype Fuel Cell refueling station in Torrance, Calif.

Fuel Cell Technology: The Devil’s in the Details BY LORRIE BAUMANN

Fuel cells erupted into American consciousness when former President George W. Bush announced in his 2003 State of the Union speech that he was backing the effort to develop hydrogen-powered automobiles that would not only lessen our country’s dependence on foreign oil but also be nonpolluting. That dream has proven to be more elusive

than expected. Toyota Motor Corporation recently announced that the company has been so successful in improving its fuel cell technology that, when it has a hydrogen car ready for the retail market, it may be able to price it around $50,000. In recognition of those difficulties, President Barack Obama’s administration has emphasized the development of electric vehicles as an alternative more likely

to be successful within the near future. Despite that, there’s still a lot of interest in fuel cell development among the international research community, according to Kevin Loutfy of MER Corporation. MER Corp., based in Tucson, Ariz., has been researching fuel cells since the 1990s. Although widespread use of fuel cell Continued on Page 21

Consumers Energy Reaches Purchase Agreements for Renewable Energy

North Dakota Wind Farm Breaks Gound

EMERGING TECH ■

New Trends in Wind Turbine Technology BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO

As wind power continues to gain popularity as a mainstream energy source, technological advancements are essential in order to make the industry competitive with other forms of energy. Research has been done to design and manufacture more efficient, reliable and lighter blades with the goal to improve performance and lower system costs. The move

PBEC Partners with Siliken to Develop Solar Farm in Flagstaff, Ariz.

from horizontal to vertical-axis wind turbines, surges in offshore wind projects and the creation of hybrid systems are among the new advancements on the market today from some of the leading wind companies. As Jan Kjaersgaard, Vice President and General Manager of Siemens Americas Wind Business noted, the industry has come a long way. Continued on Page 18

BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO

Pacific Blue Energy Corp. (PBEC) has partnered with Siliken Renewable Energy Inc. to build a 15-MW solar farm on 154.3 acres near Flagstaff, Ariz. Flagstaff is already home to the first commercial solar power generating station, which provides 87 kW of electricity to the city. The Sunshine Solar Farm will be located 30 miles east of

Flagstaff in Coconino County— an elevation of roughly 5,300 feet. This particular site is able to support as much as 20 MW of solar electricity generation using either a fixed tilt or a single-axis tracking system, both of which have been developed by Siliken. The Sunshine Solar Farm is the first solar project for PBEC, but the founders have also Continued on Page 12

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The Search for a Better Battery New Compressed-Air Engine Shows Potential for Variety of Applications

MONEY MATTERS

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EPA Announces $10 Million for Communities to Combat Climate Change

Enhancing Short-Term Wind Forecasting

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Hydrokinetic Energy Potential in the U.S. Continues to Grow


from the publisher

www.AlternativeEnergyNewsOnline.com

Familiar Challenges in a New Energy Environment “Technology can’t get us out of a problem that technology got us into.” You’ve probably heard that comment or one like it used to assign blame for any environmental issue that comes into the conversation. It is, of course, not a serious argument: No evidence is ever offered in support of that point of view, but its expression tends to stop the conversation cold.

Lee M. Oser Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Steve Cox steve_c@oser.com Senior Associate Publisher and Director of Media Lorrie Baumann

Social exposure to that kind of technophobia made it a particular pleasure to be in San Francisco to attend Intersolar recently. There, the skies were unusually sunny, and the atmosphere sizzled with optimism that our collective intelligence and the technology that results will come to our aid as we solve the problem of what to do about our dependence on a finite energy resource. No one was arguing the point, but the exhibit hall displays and the conversations around us offered plenty of evidence to support the optimism. With funding from the U.S. government and some of the best minds all around the world at work on better ways to generate the power we need to propel our economy forward, alternative energy technology is advancing very rapidly, as was demonstrated earlier this year at Windpower 2010 as well as at Intersolar. It’s a race against dwindling oil reserves and increasing costs to exploit the resources that do still exist, and if there was any doubt, Intersolar made it very clear that the U.S. is playing catch-up. Much of the world came to terms much sooner with the high cost of dependence on oil, while many Americans have been blessed by enough wealth to blind us to its real costs. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was at the back of all of our minds as well as in the news during the conference, and perhaps the one good thing to come out of that is the light it has shed on the real costs of our failure to diversify our sources of energy. What this means for most of us is that we’re all now playing catch-up too. Alternative energy technology is developing so fast that we’re going to have to break a sweat to keep up with it. Our customers, the law and market economics are all going to be driving us in that direction. We’re going to be called on to evaluate equipment and applications that we never thought about before, and we’re going to have to figure out how to bring it in for a price. Those are familiar challenges—only the environment in which we face them is new. But what we saw in San Francisco was an overwhelming eagerness to take them on. We’re not looking to technology to get us out of our problems—we’re counting on the will to work and the brains that are behind the technology.

Lee M. Oser Publisher

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Alternative Energy News is published by Oser Communications Group ©Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. BPA Worldwide membership applied for February 11, 2010. Executive and editorial offices located at: 1877 N. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ 85715 T 520-721-1300, F 520-721-6300 www.oser.com European offices located at: Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 11 50125 Florence, Italy T 055.657.5629, F 055.657.5631

Alternative Energy News

August 2010


SOLAR POWER

“We were very fortunate Nipton was very interested in becoming solar and we were looking for a sunny place to install our special system. They liked our product and we liked their site; it was that simple.” Tim Keating, Vice President of Marketing and Field Operations for Skyline Solar

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he sleepy town of Nipton, Calif., sits on the edge of the Mojave National Preserve at roughly two miles from the California/Nevada border. During a good tourist season, the population can swell from 25 to 250, but those numbers may increase after the announcement that a utility-scale solar power plant was installed to generate 85 percent of the town’s electricity—the highest percentage of solar electricity in the U.S at approximately 4kW per person. “We were very fortunate,” explained Tim Keating, Vice President of Marketing and Field Operations for Skyline Solar. “Nipton was very interested in becoming solar and we were looking for a sunny place to install our special system. They liked our product and we liked their site; it was that simple.” That special system is Skyline Solar’s High Gain Solar (HGS) 1000 system, and the 80-kilowatt Nipton plant is the first installation of the patented HGS. Following the movement from conventional flat solar panels to HGS, Skyline Solar’s system boasts the energy cost of thin film with the performance and reliability of today’s leading silicon photovoltaics (PV). By combining the best approaches of tracked PV and solar thermal, the HGS arrays have a reflective rack with integrated tracking, four rows of HGS panels and can reportedly generate 10 times more energy per gram of silicon compared to traditional solar panels.

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“High Gain Solar uses about 90 percent less silicon cells than a normal solar system,” Keating explained. “Our high-tech tracking system and reflector arrays are what make this so unique. These low-cost, durable reflectors collect the light and concentrate it onto the HGS panels. And we’re able to reflect all that light since our tracking system can continually point at the sun during the day.” As Keating pointed out, most solar systems that don’t track are only pointed in one direction, which greatly limits the amount of energy collected. “It’s as if you were on a cruise ship trying to get a suntan,” he said. “If you don’t keep changing your position with the sun, you won’t get a very good tan, will you? This way, we get the maximum amount of energy all the time.” Another interesting feature of the HGS solar system is the option to upgrade the cells as new solar panel technology evolves over time. Since the panels have the ability to collect so much light and reflect it, the panels will prove a higher efficiency as cell technology improves year over year. According to Keating, in a matter of eight to 10 years, cells can be easily replaced with the newest technology available to increase performance and reliability. But how did a small, desert town known for being the “Gateway to the Mojave Desert Preserve” become a prime location to build an 80-kilowatt solar plant? Gerald Freeman, Principal Administrator of Nipton, admitted that he didn’t have the foresight into the town’s

Alternative Energy News

August 2010


SOLAR POWER

the

MOST

SOLAR TOWN in America Unveils New Solar Plant BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO

solar power potential when he purchased it back in 1985. He simply wanted a quiet place to live while he helped reform the town from its historic mining and railroad heyday into a more contemporary visitor center as people pass through to see Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave National Reserve. “I didn’t buy Nipton because it had a high solar income,” said Freeman. “I originally wanted to help the town take advantage of the tourism surrounding our locale. But as time passed, I was feeling the pains of the ever-increasing electric utilities that went from five cents to 30 cents over the years. I started to look into alternative energy and PV solar until it became more costeffective for our town.” After making connections with up-and-coming companies to discuss Nipton’s potential for solar power, Freeman discovered the industry’s new trend in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV). To him, CPV was a step up since the expensive PV cells are replaced with lower, costoptical systems including mirrors. Skyline Solar happened to be featuring its new HGS product at the Las Vegas conference Freeman was attending, and the technology seemed to be an improvement on traditional solar systems. “It was the perfect partnership,” he said. “Skyline Solar was just starting up in the industry and needed sites to deploy hardware coming off the manufacturing line, and I wanted to implement solar into our town’s electricity grid. They were instrumental in securing

Alternative Energy News

August 2010

financing and the permit to start building. They really went the extra mile in making this whole process seamless.” Building of the solar plant began in February of 2010 and was completed in March of 2010 without a flicker of press until the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 11. The solar system delivers energy to the town’s hotel, conference center, water system, retail operations and housing units. The reason for keeping production of the Nipton solar plant quiet was due to Skyline Solar’s philosophy to announce completed projects only. “We didn’t want our first installation of the HGS system to be another ‘brag-a-watt deal,’ ”

said Keating. “Companies are often too quick to announce their partnerships before all the financing and kinks are worked out. Sure, we have projects in the works—we’re currently gearing up for large 20-MW plant projects—but we’re not going to flag the press down until it’s a done deal.” With the successful completion of the Nipton solar plant, Freeman looks to the future of his town’s involvement in the alternative energy industry, such as a planned community development using sustainable principles and LEED green building specifications, and a new solar thermal installation project from BrightSource Energy. Its technology will use groundmounted mirrors to reflect light onto a tower, which heats up a liquid to make steam. Construction is expected to begin in August. AEN

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SOLAR POWER Photon Solar Power Showcases Latest Solar Technology in Escondido Home A

residence in Escondido has been approved by San Diego Gas & Electric to operate the latest technology in solar electric, as well as solar thermal systems by Photon Solar Power Inc. The house features 26 multicrystalline photovoltaic modules that are embedded with SolarEdge Technologies’ PowerBox DC to DC power optimizers enabling optimized Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for each module. Unlike traditional photovoltaic installations, this PV system combines the optimization, monitoring and safety shutdown of the individual module, while centralizing key functions such as DC to AC conversion and communication with the utility. Having achieved an unsurpassed 97.5 percent efficiency rating, SolarEdge DC-AC solar inverters gain recognition as the most efficient single-phase inverters in the United States. “We are proud to be confirmed as America’s most efficient single-phase solar inverter,” said John Berdner, SolarEdge General Manager for North America. “It is part of our commitment to our customers worldwide to supply the most efficient, safe, reliable and cost-effective PV systems,” he added.

The high efficiency of the SolarEdge PV inverters means not only more power to all users, but also higher incentive payments for system owners in the United States, as some incentive calculation methods are directly related to the California Energy Commisions’s (CEC) inverter efficiency rating. Being the first grid interconnected SolarEdge installation in the United States, the project has raised a lot of interest among the local solar professionals. “We are excited to have partnered with SolarEdge on this project. We see great benefits from this optimized system, and are pleased to be the first installer in the United States to offer this technology to our customers,” said Pekka Laine, President of Photon Solar Power Inc., the solar contractor and integrator for the project. “This is going to be a showcase project for Photon Solar Power in the San Diego area,” he added. Established in 2008, Photon Solar Power Inc. is a renewable energy services company engaged in the design, integration and installation of solar power systems and other renewable energy solutions to residential, commercial and government customers with offices in Escondido, Calif. and Golden,

Colo. As an installer, Laine is excited about the prospects offered by the San Diego market for the systems. He stated, “If you are planning to install leading edge solar systems in Southern California, we have a great team in place to take care of the entire process. Our team consists of professionals

who can help you design, build and even finance your solar system.” For more information about the solar systems installed by Photon Solar Power Inc., please call Photon Solar Power Inc. at 888-SUN-ACDC or visit www.photonsolar power.com. AEN

Brooklyn’s Broadway Stages Goes Green with Solar Energy Project NYSERDA funding helps Greenpoint Film Factory reduce energy costs by more than $70,000 per year

Duke Energy Commercial Solar Power Project in Texas Secures Financing

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uke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), a Duke Energy Commercial Businesses unit that owns and develops renewable power assets, has raised approximately $45 million by leveraging its ownership of the 14-MW (16-MW direct current) Blue Wing Solar Project, currently under construction in San Antonio, Texas. Prudential Capital Group provided the 25-year loan. “This financing is another important milestone for Duke Energy as we continue to build a portfolio of high-quality commercial renewable power projects,” said Greg Wolf, DEGS Senior Vice President for Business Development. “We’re demonstrating our capacity to deliver and execute on every aspect of a successful solar photovoltaic project, including the judicious deployment of Duke Energy’s capital.” “Prudential is pleased to be working with Duke Energy—a company we believe has the track record and project development expertise to be a leader in the growing photovoltaic solar market,” said Ric Abel, Managing Director of the Electric Finance Group within Prudential Capital Group, an institutional investment unit of Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU). When completed later this year, Blue Wing will consist of 214,500 ground-mounted First Solar thin-film panels, making it the largest 10

photovoltaic (PV) project in Texas. DEGS purchased the 139-acre project from Boulder, Colo.-based juwi solar in the first quarter of 2010. Juwi solar is the construction contractor for the project. The acquisition came with a 30-year power purchase agreement to sell all of the output from the solar farm and associated renewable energy credits to San Antonio-based CPS Energy, one of the largest municipality-owned utilities in the United States. Blue Wing will be DEGS’ second commercial PV solar project. The company already owns and operates a 1-MW solar farm in Shelby, N.C., and is developing other potential solar projects across the United States. In late May 2010, DEGS announced that it had secured a 15-year term loan of approximately $325 million and letters of credit totaling roughly $50 million by leveraging its interests in five of its commercial wind farms. The company owns and operates 735 MW of commercial wind power generation at seven U.S. sites. With the addition of two wind projects currently under construction, DEGS will have nearly 1,000 MW of wind power generation in operation by the end of 2010. Funds raised as a result of both rounds of financing will help fuel growth in the company’s commercial renewable power business lines. More information about the company is available at www.duke-energy.com. AEN

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is partnering with Broadway Stages in Brooklyn, one of New York’s premier sound stage facilities, on a solar energy project that will reduce the film stage’s energy costs by more than $70,000 annually. Greenpoint Energy Partners LLC is the project developer and will arrange financing for the project on behalf of Broadway Stages. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system, to be installed by Solar Energy LLC, is expected to produce enough electricity to power approximately 120 single-family homes annually, or approximately 32 percent of its power needs per year. Broadway Stages, the site for production of feature films, television series, commercials and music videos, received nearly $900,000 in financial incentives from NYSERDA for this project. NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray said, “Film production is an energy-intensive industry, and I commend Broadway Stages for its commitment to using clean, renewable energy that will reduce its environmental impact. This project represents an important contribution to our efforts to create a more sustainable future for our state and to meet the ambitious energy reduction goals set by Governor David Paterson.” Gina Jeanette Argento, President of Broadway Stages said, “For Broadway Stages, the solar project demonstrates our commitment to both the film industry and to the people of Greenpoint as a whole. We are proud to build an energy infrastructure project that provides a long-term benefit to

our neighborhood.” Since 2007, NYSERDA has provided more than $2 million in incentives to 16 commercial PV and 36 residential PV projects in Brooklyn. Among these include the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, The Pratt Institute, Metropolitan Paper Recycling and City Merchandise Inc. PV projects. NYSERDA’s PV Incentive Program has helped to increase the use of solar power throughout New York state. Last year, NYSERDA received applications for $61 million of incentives for PV installations statewide, more than double over the prior year. These incentives have benefited 882 residents, 235 businesses and 204 nonprofit institutions, while helping to increase the number of solar installers by more than 70 percent. Solar Energy Systems President David Buckner said, “Combining federal, state and local incentives, Broadway Stages is able to achieve an exceptional financial return while substantially reducing their carbon footprint. By going solar, Broadway Stages made an intelligent decision that will have a powerful environmental and financial impact.” In March, the Public Service Commission authorized $144 million in rate-payer supported funding for solar energy projects. This action, which reflects a continued commitment to support the development of solar energy technologies, will help achieve the Governor’s ‘45 by 15’ clean energy goal of obtaining 30 percent of their electricity through renewable technologies and 15 percent through energy efficiency measures. For more information on NYSERDA’s Solar Electric Incentive program, including a list of eligible installers by county, visit www.powernaturally.org. AEN Alternative Energy News

August 2010


SOLAR POWER PBEC PARTNERS (Continued from Page 1)

acquired a 52.5 percent stake in a commercial wind development project and expect to make an announcement on the utility company bid in August. PBEC is a publicly traded developer of renewable energy projects based in Arizona and was formed in October of last year. The company’s ultimate goal is to take full advantage of the southwestern United States’ abundant solar and wind resources, and become a provider of renewable energy throughout the region, according to the company’s website. “Siliken has been looking to expand its presence in the U.S. and has identified PBEC as the perfect partner to make this happen,” said PBEC CEO Joel Franklin. “We are thrilled to have Siliken join our development team to fulfill our vision for the Sunshine Solar Farm.” Siliken specializes in manufacturing photovoltaic modules installations for residential and commercial projects. The U.S. solar manufacturing plant located in Otay Mesa, Calif., began producing PV modules last year, and the engineering design group is based at the company’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. The PBEC and Siliken proposal for the Sunshine Solar Farm was developed as a response to the RFP issued by Arizona Public Service (APS) Company- Request for Proposal for Renewable Energy Small Generation Resources issued in April this year. The particular small generation RFP called for a project size between 2 and 15 MW. As noted in the RFP, APS plans to request a program budget sufficient to achieve at least 200,000 megawatt hours (MWh) annually after the

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Siliken solar farm project in Cuenca, Spain

full three year deployment of the program. As Kevin Davies, Director of Operations of Siliken Renewable Energy, said, “It was a case of networking as we continue our effort to look for the very best utility scale projects. Representatives from our companies happened to meet at a conference and the project seemed like a great opportunity for both parties. Since Siliken’s main source of business is in PV solar, the Sunshine Solar Farm proposal was in line with our goal to aggressively

pursue EPC projects in the U.S.” Coconino County’s high elevation also poses a huge benefit to the Sunshine Solar Farm because the cooler, high desert temperatures can actually increase the photovoltaic efficiencies of solar panels. The flat ground provides open sunlight and the site benefits from a 69kV transmission line and substation just half a mile away. The solar farm will border four cell phone transmission towers and is within one mile

of an interstate highway, a situation that could facilitate rapid site development. Currently, PBEC and Siliken are in the process of looking for a local utility to contract to purchase the power. "Partnering with companies like PBEC helps us to meet our goals to expand in the U.S. and it opens the door for us to develop more PV solar projects in the Southwest," said Davies. “This venture is a real team effort.” AEN

Alternative Energy News

July 2010


WIND POWER “Consumers Energy’s agreements to purchase power from four new renewable energy projects in Michigan are another step forward to a clean energy economy.” Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm

Consumers Energy Reaches Purchase Agreements for New Michigan-Based Renewable Energy

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onsumers Energy has reached power purchase agreements with independent developers for more than 240 MW of new Michigan-based renewable energy capacity. The agreements support Consumers Energy’s Balanced Energy Initiative, which is a comprehensive 20-year plan to meet the needs of its 1.8 million electric customers with a balanced energy portfolio, including energy efficiency, renewable energy and customer demand management. “Consumers Energy’s agreements to purchase power from four new renewable energy projects in Michigan are another step forward to a clean energy economy,” said Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. “These projects will help power Michigan homes and businesses, build markets for our growing wind manufacturing industry and create jobs.” The power purchase agreements are for 20 years and have been submitted for approval to the Michigan Public Service Commission. The new renewable energy projects are: • John Deere Wind Energy, based in Johnston, Iowa, will develop its Michigan Wind 2 farm in Sanilac County. This wind project will provide 90 MW of renewable energy capacity to Consumers Energy beginning in 2012. • John Deere Wind Energy will develop its Harvest II Wind farm project in Huron County. This wind project will provide 59.4 MW of renewable energy capacity to Consumers Energy beginning in late 2012. • John Deere Wind Energy and Great Lakes Wind LLC, will develop their Blissfield Wind Energy project in Lenawee County. This wind project will provide 81 MW of renewable energy capacity to Consumers Energy beginning in late 2012.

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• Waste Management Renewable Energy, based in Houston, will develop an additional landfill gas electric generation facility at its Pine Tree Acres landfill near Richmond in Lenox Township, Macomb County. The project will provide 12.8 MW of renewable energy capacity to Consumers Energy beginning in 2012. “Consumers Energy is pleased to continue its progress on a balanced energy supply by adding more renewable energy capacity to our portfolio. These projects create positive local economic benefits, including jobs. We will continue to work with the Michigan Public Service Commission on moving forward with a balanced energy supply to serve our customers and benefit the environment,” said John Russell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Consumers Energy. The power purchase agreements support Consumers Energy’s plan to increase its renewable energy supply portfolio to 10 percent by 2015 to meet the requirements of Michigan’s energy reform law. Consumers Energy is the largest supplier of renewable energy in Michigan. More than four percent of the power that Consumers Energy supplies to customers comes from renewable sources based in the state. Energy from the four new projects will bring the total expected supply from renewable sources to over 6.2 percent of Consumers Energy’s retail electric sales. Once ready for construction, the new wind projects are each expected to create between 150 and 200 construction jobs. Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to more than six million of the state’s nearly 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. AEN

Alternative Energy News

August 2010


WIND POWER

Alstom Outlines Plans for North American Wind Turbine Assembly Facility A lstom, a global leader in power generation, recently announced the next phase of the company’s entry into the North American wind power market. Alstom Wind executives, speaking at the American Wind Energy Association conference, said the centerpiece of that strategy will be the opening of a wind turbine assembly facility that will create 275 full-time engineering, production and technical support jobs in Amarillo, Texas. Alfonso Faubel, Alstom Wind Vice President from their Global Wind headquarters located in Barcelona, Spain, said, “Alstom is delighted to bring utilities and developers in North America the efficiency, reliability and cost-saving advantages that our wind power technology can deliver. The North American wind power market—already one of the strongest in the world— is projected to continue to grow as legislators, regulators, NGOs and the public seek the benefits that clean, renewable wind power is perfectly suited to deliver." John White, Managing Director of the Wind Alliance, said, “We are looking forward to a strong collaboration with Alstom and believe their presence in the North American market will add value to the power sector and consumers throughout the wind corridor and throughout the nation as transmission infrastructure is further enhanced.” To support its product offerings, Alstom has decided to construct an 115,000 sq. ft. wind turbine assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas. The Amarillo facility will assemble the “nacelles”— i.e., the generator, gearbox and control systems that make up a wind turbine. The nacelles will be transported from Amarillo to sites where they will be installed together with blades and towers to create the complete wind turbine generators. Alstom will offer its North American customers a product that includes any combination of the complete unit and the engineering, design, construction and maintenance of the facility. In particular, Alstom’s offering includes the ECO 80/86 wind turbine platform (1.67 MW) and the ECO 100/110 wind turbine platform

(3 MW) to accommodate the differing wind regimes across North America. All of Alstom’s wind power offerings feature the ALSTOM PURE TORQUE™ design. ALSTOM PURE TORQUE is a unique rotor support concept protecting the gearbox and other drive train components from deflection loads, delivering higher gearbox reliability, higher operational availability and lower maintenance costs. Andy Geissbuehler, Vice President and General Manager of Alstom Wind North America, said, “Amarillo is a compelling location for our wind turbine assembly facility in North America because it is centrally located with excellent access to future wind power projects. In addition, Amarillo has demonstrated impressive foresight by investing in the real estate and infrastructure that ideally suits our operational needs. Most importantly, close partnership with the local community, a strong workforce and resources for training will be fundamental to our joint success.” Geissbuehler offered special thanks to the Amarillo Economic Development Council (EDC) and a broad cross-section of individuals at the local, county and state level who have supported the project. Geissbuehler heads Alstom’s North American wind power business, which is headquartered in Richmond, Va. Buzz David, President/ CEO of the Amarillo EDC, said, "We are thrilled to have Alstom Power in our community and look forward to a long and successful partnership. Alstom’s presence in Amarillo truly puts us on the map in the wind power industry." Alstom has almost 30 years of experience in the wind power market with more than 2,200 MW and 1,850 wind turbines in operation, primarily in Europe. Alstom’s investment in Amarillo builds on the company’s existing presence in the North America, where the company has 6,000 employees, multiple manufacturing sites and a significant investment in other clean power solutions such as hydro, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), nuclear and energy efficiency. AEN

Minnesota Power Breaks Ground at New Wind Farm in North Dakota F

ive and a half months after buying a dedicated transmission line to transmit renewable energy eastward, Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company (NYSE: ALE), is constructing its first wholly-owned wind farm in North Dakota. A symbolic groundbreaking attended by Gov. John Hoeven, nearby landowners, regulators, government officials and contractors was moved from the construction site to the New Salem Auditorium due to high winds and heavy rain. ALLETE President and CEO Alan R. Hodnik cited the advantages of building the 76-MW Bison Wind I project. “The state of North Dakota is both an energyrich and energy-friendly state,” Hodnik said. “Right here is a perfect place to help the nation reduce its dependence on foreign energy supplies and expand homegrown, more sustainable sources.” He thanked nearby residents and regulatory officials for the partnerships that led Alternative Energy News

August 2010

up to the construction of Bison. “For the many lease and option holders and government representatives who understood our vision and supported it becoming a reality, Minnesota Power and ALLETE are very grateful for helping make this day possible,” Hodnik said. Preliminary grading and road-building was started last fall, and construction began in earnest about a month ago on the first phase of Bison Wind I. A total of 33 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines will be erected on a footprint of farmland about 12 square miles in size. The first 16 wind generators should be installed and operational by December of 2010, with the second phase of 17 turbines scheduled for construction and deployment a year later. The project is estimated to cost approximately $178 million. Minnesota Power has done business in North Dakota since the 1970s, when the Duluth, Minn.-based electric utility partnered with the Minnkota Power Cooperative in an agreement

to purchase power from the Young Generating Station in Center, N. D. A 465-mile direct current (DC) transmission line was built to send Young Station electricity eastward to Duluth, Minn. In 1988, Minnesota Power purchased BNI Coal, a lignite producer that sells fuel to the Young Station. BNI, based in Bismarck, remains a part of ALLETE, Inc. Gov. Hoeven, Hodnik and North Dakota Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Cramer posed with ceremonial shovels at the event. The governor complimented ALLETE and Minnesota Power on its renewable energy strategy. “Bison 1 is a milestone for Minnesota Power and a milestone for North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “This new facility, combined with the company’s new dedicated transmission line, is helping to make North Dakota not only a leading producer, but also a leading exporter of renewable wind energy.” ALLETE purchased the DC Line linking Center, N.D. to Duluth, Minn. for $70 million

in a sale that closed Dec. 31, 2009. That purchase will allow the company to increase its use of renewable wind energy. The Bison project and ownership of the DC line are key elements of an ALLETE strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy that can be produced and transported to population centers. Several hundred megawatts of carbon-free wind power installations will be developed to satisfy a growing demand for renewable energy and meet Minnesota’s “25 by 2025” renewable energy mandate. The high “capacity factor” wind at the Bison Wind I site will allow Minnesota Power to develop an economical renewable energy source for the company’s ratepayers. Minnesota Power provides retail electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota to 144,000 customers and wholesale electric service to 16 municipalities. More information can be found at www.mnpower.com. AEN 17


WIND POWER New Missouri Wind Farm Dedicated in Atchison County

The Farmers City Wind Power Project is the largest community-scale wind farm in the state.

WIND TURBINE (Continued from Page 1)

“The wind industry has grown so much despite 2010 being a really tough year,” he said. “The U.S. market is currently taking a big hit compared to last year but everything should pick up and start growing again by 2011. For Siemens especially, we’ve come a long way since we entered the wind market in 2004. It’s been exciting to see the changes over the years.” One recent change in the wind industry has revolved around solving gear box problems. Currently, a typical wind turbine is a geardriven system with three stages of gears. The gears have been prone to many problems and ultimately in need of regular maintenance. Researchers have tried to find ways to remove the superfluous moving gear parts and discovered that a direct-drive system might be a solution, since only the rotor remains the primary moving part. Siemens introduced its SWT-3.0-101 model, which does not use a gear box for controlling the wind turbine; instead a permanent magnet generator is used for more 18

efficient performance. With half the parts of a traditional gear-driven turbine and less than half the number of moving parts, this model requires less maintenance and increases profitability for Siemens customers. “We launched this product a few months ago and it’s been very successful in reducing the number of components by 50 percent compared to current machines,” said Kjaersgaard. “It’s now lighter, simpler and much easier to maintain. Our SWT-3.0-101 offers 25 percent more power than our current 2.3 MW machine but with a lower weight.” The Siemens model—currently available in the European offshore and onshore market—is a 3-MW turbine and has a rotor diameter of 101 m. Even with its compact design, service technicians actually have more space to operate because of the reduced number of parts, making direct-drive systems safer for maintenance workers. Additionally, direct-drive systems are capable of producing twice as many megawatts as a gear-driven turbine. “It’s one of our biggest technological steps,” Kjaersgaard said. “Even though the European

T

he community of Atchison County came together to celebrate the state’s newest and largest commercialscale wind farm, the Farmers City Wind Power Project. “We are so grateful to the community and all of our partners for helping us develop a wind farm that’s providing homegrown energy and jobs,” said Mark Stacy, Development Director at Iberdrola Renewables. Located near Tarkio in the northwest corner of the state, the Farmers City Wind Power Project produces enough renewable, homegrown energy to power 33,000 typical Missouri homes each year. The dedication event featured Atchison County Commissioner Marlin Logan, Atchison County Development Corporation Director Eileen Irvine, project landowners, local youth from the Tarkio Boys Club, 4-H and Boy Scouts, as well as guests from throughout the community. Taking its name from a historic farmers market that was located within the wind farm’s boundaries, the Farmers City Wind Power Project features 73 Gamesa wind turbines that generate 146 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy. “I am thrilled to celebrate a project that chose Atchison County as its home, not only because of the substantial benefits it has brought and will bring to this community, but because it reflects the hard work and cooperation that made it happen,” said Marlin Logan, the presiding Atchison County Commissioner. “As one of the first counties in the state to establish an enhanced enterprise zone, we were able to use powerful economic development tools to help attract the Farmers City Wind Project, which provided a real economic boost to the area and will be a symbol of energy produced right here at home.” In addition to the production of renewable energy, Iberdrola Renewables developed Farmers City with a focus on the local economic benefits of the project construction and operation. During the peak of Farmers City’s construction in 2009, up to 150 jobs were created. The project also supports the local

economy through lease payments to local landowners and tax payments to the county. “The 44 local landowners are not the only ones to benefit from the 73 wind turbine Farmers City Project,” said Eileen Irvine, the Director of the Atchison County Development Corporation. “Tax dollars generated from the project help Atchison County pay for roads, services and most notably, schools. We are proud and pleased to welcome Iberdrola Renewables to Atchison County and call them our neighbors.” “We are so grateful to the community and all of our partners for helping us develop a wind farm that’s providing homegrown energy and jobs,” said Stacy. “Farmers City is a wind farm that we can all be proud to celebrate, that so many people here today had a hand in, and we look forward to celebrating future projects with the community as well.” The wind farm encompasses about 14,000 acres of land leased from 44 local landowners, yet the project footprint covers less than one percent of the project’s total acreage. The land continues to be used for corn and soybean farming. “The Farmers City country store opened on my husband’s grandfather’s land in 1923, and even though the store is no longer around, I am happy that this wind farm will carry on the name, and that my family can continue to farm this land for generations to come,” said Lyllis Vette, one of the project landowners. Iberdrola Renewables is the world’s leading provider of wind power with more than 10,000 MW of renewable energy in operation globally, and more than 3,500 MW of that wind power located in the U.S. Iberdrola Renewables Inc. is an American company, incorporated in the U.S. and headquartered in Portland, Ore., with 800 employees, and offices and wind farms in 20 states. Visit www.iberdrolarenewables.us for more information. Atchison County Development Corporation works diligently to improve economic opportunities in Atchison County and enhance the stability of the county’s business climate. In addition to working with incentives for new businesses, the staff provides direct support to assist entrepreneurial companies as well as community organizations. Visit www.atchison county.org to learn more. AEN

markets have experimented with this directdrive system, we are one of the first major players to do this. We expect to install the first of these turbines next year in the United States.” Turbine blades are getting longer, too. Ten years ago we saw 10-meter blades, but now we’re seeing demands for 70+ meter blades. With these super-sized turbines, the main challenge is achieving sufficient stiffness and strength in the longer blades without adding excessive weight. Many engineers have relied on incorporating extremely costly carbon fiber in these longer blades to solve this problem. “At this point, there is an unavoidable acceptance of carbon fiber used in turbine blades,” explained Blake Branson, Chief Science Officer for sp3 nanotech, LLC. “It’s a well understood material and people in this industry are conservative when it comes to changes in technology. But we have found a very interesting alternative in incorporating diamond nanoparticles to improve the composite structure’s mechanical properties.” Nanotechnology—the study of small particles—has been studied by universities and governments to find different ways to disperse

the nanoparticles. Recently, nanoparticles, which are more elastic than glass or carbon fibers, have been considered as a way to toughen wind blades. Scientists at sp3 nanotech have developed Adamight™, designed to work with the standard composite construction and offer significant improvements in the composite strength, stiffness and toughness. “It’s an additive to your existing resin system that pushes the performance envelope of fiber-reinforced composites,” said Branson. “But it’s a fraction of the cost of carbon fiber! This could be the solution for wind turbine blade builders looking to build bigger and stronger blades.” He claims the new sp3 nanotech product will virtually pay for itself in material and labor cost savings. Branson also noted that in as little as five years, the next generation of wind turbine blades may be able to incorporate this new nano material. “Once engineers become comfortable with this new technology, it will push the blade length even further,” he said. “As long as we continue to develop new technologies for the industry, the possibilities are endless.” AEN Alternative Energy News

August 2010


EMERGING teCHNOLOGIES

the search

for a better battery

A

major challenge for generators and users of wind and solar energy is that the power source is intermittent. The sun doesn’t shine at night, and the wind blows as it will. Batteries are needed to store excess energy that’s produced when nature is generous and to release it for use when it’s dark or the wind isn’t blowing. Batteries operate by converting chemical energy into electricity by a galvanic cell, which consists of two electrodes of different metal compounds (an anode and a cathode) and an electrolyte solution. Most batteries used in renewable energy systems use the same electro-chemical reactions as lead-acid batteries found in a car. However, they are specifically designed for deep cycling in order to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time and discharge repeatedly. As a result, researchers began exploring ways to develop new battery chemistries that would safely and efficiently store energy for mobile and off-grid power, such as deep-cycle batteries typically used for solar electric (PV). Lead-acid batteries, like those found in cars, are not effective for largescale PV storage. They have a lower energy density, are extremely heavy for the amount of energy that they store, and do not hold up well to repeated charge and discharge cycles. The industry soon welcomed a new era of rechargeable, alternative batteries, each one with a slightly different chemistry.

Nickel-cadmium batteries use nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. They have a higher density than lead-acid batteries and are smaller and lighter as well. However, these batteries are three to five times more expensive than lead-acid, and lose its charge fairly rapidly. The batteries also suffer temporary loss of capacity known as the memory effect and its materials are very toxic, making recycling for larger nickelcadmium batteries very difficult. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are related to nickel-cadmium batteries but differ in that they use a hydrogen-absorbing alloy for the negative electrode instead of cadmium. The batteries also have a higher density than nickel-cadmium but are still susceptible to the memory effect. The batteries also have a high self-discharge rate, nearly 10 times worse than lead acid or lithium batteries. Today, the premium electric battery appears to be lithium-ion, which is typically used to power laptops and hybrid cars. Even though lithium-ion batteries have been around since the 1970s, they now have higher energy density, longer cycle life, and no memory effect, and they’re being made from materials that are more environmentally friendly. Researchers are looking at how improved materials for the cathodes, anodes and electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries can enhance the batteries’ performance, lifespan and safety.

BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO

A new discovery at MER Corporation in Tucson, Ariz., offers a different approach to the current usage of a graphite mixture in the anode and a copper substrate for coating the anode in lithium-ion batteries. Current lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made from graphite, a form of carbon. Graphite is cheap and durable, but it’s not the best material for holding a charge, and it’s lighter than the copper that’s a relatively heavy component in a lithium-ion cell. “What we came up with is a carboncarbon composite as an anode for lithiumion batteries,” explained Dr. Raouf Loutfy. “We were able to make the carbon-carbon very thin and found we didn’t need to use the copper since the carbon fiber proved to be a very good conductor not only with electricity but also heat. Additionally, the carbon fiber can charge and discharge, giving the battery a much longer life.” This new lithium-ion chemistry with carbon-carbon composite anode showed excellent performance and enhanced safety. Removal of 1/3 of the weight of copper gives the battery an increase in energy density, and the strong cycle life of the carbon fiber material improves the battery’s performance rate. This cell design is safer because it has no free liquid electrolyte. MER’s patent lithium-ion cells have been delivered to NASA, the U.S. Army and the Air Force. So which type of battery is the best option for optimal power, safety and cost?

According to some researchers, there will never be a single winning technology. Dr. Loutfy recognizes a growing trend in the use of silicon anodes in lithium-ion batteries. The problem with those, he noted, is that silicon is very brittle compared to graphite and the constant charging and discharging inside the battery may crack the silicon. “Another big problem with silicon is the volume change and how to control it,” Dr. Loutfy continued. “The structure of silicon compared to carbon is very different in that the spaces between silicon atoms are very small and tight. It makes it hard to insert lithium into those spaces because the silicon will literally swell to nearly four times its original size during charging and discharging. All of that swelling and unswelling can destroy the anode.” A handful of universities, including Stanford and the Georgia Institute of Technology, are currently doing studies on silicon-based lithium-ion batteries, while other research teams are investigating lithium-air batteries that would potentially revolutionize electric vehicle technology. Using a catalytic air cathode that supplies oxygen, and electrolyte and a lithium anode, lithium-air batteries will have the capacity for energy storage that is five to 10 times greater than lithium-ion batteries. But Dr. Loutfy claims there are still technological hurdles around how to stabilize the lithium anode metal with this particular chemistry. AEN

New Compressed-Air Engine Shows Potential for Variety of Applications BY LORRIE BAUMANN

To tell the truth, the experimental prototype VS engine isn’t all that exciting at first glance. It’s about the size of a cantaloupe, and it looks barely capable of powering a lawn mower, much less an automobile. When it’s turned on, it sounds more like an ordinary combustion engine than an electric motor. It’s just plain hard to believe when you listen to it that it’s running on compressed air. But there it is, running along on its test stand, powered only by a small compressor. Watching it there, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the itch to snatch it up and take it apart to see how it works. Short of that, a look at the technical specifications is helpful. The VS engine is a rotary vane engine made from carbon-carbon composites and titanium silicate composite materials. The “VS” stands for the initials of its inventor, Dr. Vladimir Shapovalov. It has a weight-to-power ratio of less than one pound per horsepower. It will operate on fuels ranging from compressed air to gasoline and jet fuel. It features a three-stroke cycle without a compression stroke: intake stroke, power 20

stroke and exhaust stroke. During the intake stroke, an air-fuel mix, or just air, is introduced into a revolving work chamber. If the engine is operated with an air-fuel mix, it’s introduced by a fuel injector during the intake stroke. The vaned rotor rotates on its lubricantfilled tubular shaft, closing off the intake ports. Once the intake ports are closed off, the air-fuel mixture is ignited by a spark plug and explodes during the power stroke, and the rotor is forced to rotate further. During the exhaust stroke, the spinning rotor forces the combustion products out of the chamber. If the engine is running on compressed air or steam, the compressed gas is introduced during the intake stroke. Under less pressure inside the engine, the gas heats and expands to push against the vanes on the rotor during the power stroke, and during the exhaust stroke, the heated gas is expelled. The rotor continues its rotation to suck in more air for the next intake stroke. The compressed air can be stored in a cylinder or, more safely, a porous metal

block. If you can’t quite wrap your mind around the idea of a porous metal, imagine a sponge or a piece of pumice rock, both with their cavities that look like bubbles inside them and both lighter than you expect when you first pick them up. It turns out that the man who invented the VS engine also invented a way to make metal porous—that is, in fact, his real occupation, and engine invention is an avocation. Those holes in the metallic sponge are a good way to store compressed gases and then release them safely when you want them, just as you might use a sponge to pick up water and then wring it out over a bucket. With its light weight and its ability to run on a wide variety of fuels, the VS engine is being studied for military applications. The prototype is

light enough to be carried into battle in a soldier’s backpack and then set up, fueled with just about anything that’s on hand, and then used to power an electrical generator, a water pump or a robotic battle drone. Given a little more research, its inventor believes that it may someday power ordinary automobiles. AEN

Alternative Energy News

August 2010


OTHER alternatives

Berkeley Scientists Discover Inexpensive Metal Catalyst for Generating Hydrogen from Water

H

ydrogen would command a key role in future renewable energy technologies, experts agree, if a relatively cheap, efficient and carbon-neutral means of producing it can be developed. An important step towards this elusive goal has been taken by a team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley. The team has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water. “Our new proton reduction catalyst is based on a molybdenum-oxo metal complex that is about 70 times cheaper than platinum, today’s most widely used metal catalyst for splitting the water molecule,” said Hemamala Karunadasa, one of the Co-discoverers of this complex. “In addition, our catalyst does not require organic additives, and can operate in neutral water, even if it is dirty, and can operate in sea water, the most abundant source of hydrogen on earth and a natural electrolyte. These qualities make our catalyst ideal for renewable energy and sustainable chemistry.” Karunadasa holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Chemistry Department. She is the lead author of a paper describing this work that appears in the April 29, 2010 issue of the journal Nature, titled “A molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water.” Co-authors of this paper were Christopher Chang and Jeffrey Long, who also hold joint appointments with

Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. Chang, in addition, is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Hydrogen gas, whether combusted or used in fuel cells to generate electricity, emits only water vapor as an exhaust product, which is why this nation would already be rolling towards a hydrogen economy if only there were hydrogen wells to tap. However, hydrogen gas does not occur naturally and has to be produced. Most of the hydrogen gas in the United States today comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. While inexpensive, this technique adds huge volumes of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Hydrogen can also be produced through the electrolysis of water—using electricity to split molecules of water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. This is an environmentally clean and sustainable method of production—especially if the electricity is generated via a renewable technology such as solar or wind—but requires a water-splitting catalyst. Nature has developed extremely efficient water-splitting enzymes—called

hydrogenases—for use by plants during photosynthesis; however, these enzymes are highly unstable and easily deactivated when removed from their native environment. Human activities demand a stable metal catalyst that can operate under nonbiological settings.

Metal catalysts are commercially available, but they are low valence precious metals whose high costs make their widespread use prohibitive. For example, platinum, the best of them, costs some $2,000 an ounce. “The basic scientific challenge has been to create earth-abundant molecular systems that produce hydrogen from water with high catalytic activity and stability,” Chang said.

“We believe our discovery of a molecular molybdenum-oxo catalyst for generating hydrogen from water without the use of additional acids or organic co-solvents establishes a new chemical paradigm for creating reduction catalysts that are highly active and robust in aqueous media.” The molybdenum-oxo complex that Karunadasa, Chang and Long discovered is a high valence metal with the chemical name of (PY5Me2) Mo-oxo. In their studies, the research team found that this complex catalyzes the generation of hydrogen from neutral buffered water or even sea water with a turnover frequency of 2.4 moles of hydrogen per mole of catalyst per second. Long said, “This metal-oxo complex represents a distinct molecular motif for reduction catalysis that has high activity and stability in water. We are now focused on modifying the PY5Me ligand portion of the complex and investigating other metal complexes based on similar ligand platforms to further facilitate electrical charge-driven as well as lightdriven catalytic processes. Our particular emphasis is on chemistry relevant to sustainable energy cycles.” This research was supported in part by the DOE Office of Science through Berkeley Lab’s Helios Solar Energy Research Center, and in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. AEN

FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY (Continued from Page 1)

electrons. The electrons are directed out of the cell as an electrical current, and the hydrogen ions combine with the oxygen to form water. Although researchers are hard at work bringing the fuel cell from the imaginary to the practical, the basic concepts are well understood, and you can find on the Internet directions for making your own simple fuel cell. So if the basics are well understood, and building a simple fuel cell is no more difficult than a high school science project, why has it been so difficult to make fuel cellpowered cars? One of the challenges associated with fuel cells is the question of how to store the hydrogen gas safely and efficiently. Although popular imagination may recall the Hindenburg disaster and draw conclusions about the safety of hydrogen used in vehicles, it is fortunate for the future of clean alternative fuels that circumstances have changed, technology has improved, and national regulatory agencies worldwide have thoroughly vetted and approved the appropriate technologies, originally developed for the space program, to safely store hydrogen on board a vehicle. There has never been an injury attributable to the failure of an approved hydrogen vehicle’s storage system or power-train since the debut of such

vehicles, many of which now are sold and operated in Europe, North America and Asia. Beyond the possibility of an explosive ignition of leaking hydrogen is the risk that a breach in a hydrogen cylinder at the dome or manifold, perhaps resulting from a vehicle crash, can turn the cylinder into a sort of gaspowered projectile, propelled rapidly through space by the force exerted by the escaping gas, said Loutfy. MER Corp. has developed a safer cylinder from carbon fiber-wrapped aluminum that’s less likely to breach and if it does, the breach is designed to occur at the center of the cylinder, eliminating its potential to become a projectile. It’s designed to hold hydrogen at pressures of 10,000 pounds per square inch and has a burst strength of 30,000 pounds per square inch. This type of design has become the industry standard for storing hydrogen at high pressures for automotive fuel cell applications. Also, extensive safety measures via on-board electronics have been put in place by automotive manufacturers to detect and stop any leaks of hydrogen gas. Another type of cylinder already on the market uses metal hydrides to store and release hydrogen gas. These cylinders are heavy, and they’re slow to store and release

hydrogen. Other drawbacks are that the hydrides are expensive, and the cylinders have a limited lifespan because even a very small leakage of oxygen into the cylinders will stop the reaction that produces the hydrogen. The Honda second-generation fuel cell automobile, sold in California, uses this type of cylinder. This January, Honda began operating a hydrogen station prototype in Torrance, Calif. that is intended as a home-based system that will refill its cars’ fuel cell overnight. The system is powered by an array of thinfilm solar cells and produces 0.5 kg of hydrogen via an overnight refill. It is intended to provide enough for daily commuting for a driver who puts up to 10,000 miles per year on the odometer. In contrast to the rest of the auto industry employing fuel cells powered by highly pressurized hydrogen gas, BMW uses cooled liquid hydrogen stored at a much lower pressure which fuels an internal combustion engine. The challenge with this technology is minimizing the evaporation of the refrigerated hydrogen and the possibility of having no fuel after long storage times, but this system is combined with a small reserve electric motor capable of powering the vehicle to the next fuel station. AEN

technology for residences and private vehicles probably isn’t right around the corner, a few automobile companies have fuel cell vehicle prototypes, the Japanese government has undertaken a program to install fuel cells in private homes, and fuel cells are expected to provide nearly 100 percent of the electricity needed to power a 33-story commercialresidential complex in New Haven, Conn. that’s due to open this month. The complex’s fuel cell installation will be the world’s largest in a residential building. Fuel cells are similar to batteries in that they generate electricity by a chemical reaction. The fuel cell, though, is fed with hydrogen and oxygen and will produce direct current electricity as long as the fuel is supplied. Though there are several types of fuel cells, they all operate basically the same way. They’re composed of a negatively-charged anode and positively-charged cathode, an electrolyte that carries electrically charged ions from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst that accelerates the reactions at the electrodes. The hydrogen and oxygen are fed into the cell. Hydrogen molecules are split into positively-charged hydrogen ions and Alternative Energy News

August 2010

21


POWER PROFILES

The Future Looks Bright Ram Ramachandran

Gordon Handelsmani

Global Director of End-use Marketing for Dow Wire & Cable

Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of PVT Solar

AEN: Please tell our readers how you became involved in the alternative energy industry. RR: I have been involved in the wire and cable business for Dow for more than 20 years, including product development, commercialization, technology transfer and marketing. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with all entities in the value chain, such as fabricators, distributors, testing and specification agencies and most notably, end users of cables. I am a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers [IEEE] and CIGRE, and Chair of the Power Cable Standards Discussion Group of IEEE/Insulated Conductors Committee. Power delivery continues to be a dynamic industry, with many challenges and opportunities. For more than 60 years, Dow Wire & Cable has been a global leader in developing and offering solutions for electric utilities in power and data delivery. These solutions translate into the opportunities and challenges inherent in alternative energy. Dow has a strong interest in putting its technology and materials science to work, primarily in the renewable energy arena. AEN: What is The Dow Chemical Company’s main line of business and how does Dow Wire & Cable play a part? RR: The Dow Chemical Company has multitudes of high performance, specialty and basic businesses, with 2009 revenues over $45 billion. Several of these have direct interaction and impact in the energy industry. The company has several promising projects underway in the renewable energy arena including photovoltaic solar shingles, high-strength epoxy resins for wind turbine blades, as well as turbine gearbox lubricants. Dow Wire & Cable plays a part as the global leader in supplying high performance materials, formulated compounds and technology solutions to the wire and cable industry for power and data delivery. We offer state-of-the-art materials for low, medium, high and extra high voltage cables globally. We continue to set standards for high performance cables that impart enhanced system reliability at low life cycle costs. These also will offer viable solutions in the renewable energy arena, for example, in transmission and distribution of wind power. AEN: Are there any new products or projects you are currently working on? RR: We are engaged in several projects that are focused on offering new, value-added solutions to the electrical energy industry. Some of these 22

include next generation compound solutions for medium and high voltage cables that should have strong applicability in the renewable energy area. We are also looking at the broader transmission and distribution [T&D] arena for materials-based solutions. The watch words for the energy industry are enhanced reliability, efficiency in use and sustainability. Many projects we have underway are focused on these critical issues within the energy megatrend. Addressing these issues and improving efficiency, for example, will complement the Smart Grid thrust as well. This is especially important for utilities— the largest users of electricity with the T&D segment accounting for seven to 30 percent of energy losses depending on the global region. AEN: What are some challenges facing the electric utility and power delivery industry? RR: As with other industries, Dow has not been immune to the challenges of the ongoing global recession and demand destruction. The continuing volatility of energy and feedstock costs continues to be a major challenge. However, Dow Wire & Cable is well positioned with our multiple manufacturing platforms in North America, Europe and Asia that allow us to meet the varying demands for products in different geographies. We are focused on improving our manufacturing and distribution efficiencies. We are continuing to invest in developing leading edge materials and system technologies. These are poised to bring value-added solutions to the industry as the economy continues to improve, albeit slowly in the developed regions. AEN: Where do you see the industry headed in the next five to 10 years? RR: We expect that energy demand, especially electric power demand, will continue to grow. Electric utilities will have to cope with the dual demands of consistently supplying reliable power at low costs. There will be increasing focus on alternative and renewable power generation and delivery. New construction of infrastructure in developing regions and infrastructure rebuild and rehabilitation in developed countries are part of the energy megatrend. The increasing attention on efficient transportation—electric or hybrid vehicles in particular— will have a tremendous impact on generation and distribution of electricity. Projected population migration into major cities in many countries—producing a number of megacities—will stress the critical need to design systems and deliver power more efficiently, be it from conventional or alternative energy sources. In a recent survey initiated by Dow Wire & Cable, we found it interesting that the focus on environmentally sustainable solutions was higher in developing regions. It is already evident that the major wind power growth projected in the next few years is in the United States, China, India and Brazil. We expect that the trend also will continue in rapid growth of high voltage transmission lines and cables for both AC and DC circuits which will have a strong impact on alternative and renewable energy. AEN

AEN: Please tell our readers how you became involved in the alternative energy industry. GH: I’ve always had a keen interest in energy, dating back to a summer job I had working for a company trying to introduce new technologies into the energy market. After working in packaged goods, I had the opportunity to enter the clean energy industry with a position with Shell Solar, where I was the Vice President of Marketing for the global company. I also served with SEIA and PV Now, so I’ve been fortunate to receive a broad exposure to the renewable energy industry.

In fact, it harnesses more than 50 percent of the sun’s energy versus about 15 percent from a basic PV system—it’s more than three times efficient. In the end, homeowners save money and have more control in offsetting their home energy needs. We really want to empower homeowners and help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with energy costs. Another great benefit of the Echo™ Solar System is the sophisticated Control package that comes with it. Every Echo™ Solar System includes performance monitoring, but above and beyond that there is a home energy and home control system as well. Our solar energy technology actually supports the home’s HVAC system so theoretically, if someone is on their way to the airport and they left the AC on, as part of our integrated home energy package, they can switch the program from ‘work, home or away’ at the touch of a button. It’s the ultimate convenience and comfort factor built into an excellent solar energy system.

AEN: Tell us about PVT Solar. GH: It has been long recognized that solar electric or “PV” panels are actually quite a good source of thermal energy, and various means have been explored for capturing and utilizing that energy. The challenge is doing so much in such a way that the fundamental reliability and functioning of the PV panel is not affected adversely. Josh Plaisted, the CoFounder of PVT Solar, had the insight that one could capture the thermal energy using air, not water. In this way, the fundamental reliability of the PV panel is maintained and even enhanced. From his vision, PVT Solar was created to manufacture and market the most efficient integrated solar energy system on the market for residential homes. Technology development started in 2004, and PVT Solar has been working closely with the Department of Energy since that time. PVT Solar has had the Echo™ Solar System operating in diverse climates, from Maine to Hawaii, for more than three years. AEN: Can you explain the Echo™ Solar System and its benefits? GH: First, I should explain the reasoning behind the name of the system. We chose to call it ‘Echo’ because if you wrote it out on paper, it is the economical home and the ecological home. And if solar is a great source of renewable energy, then a system that typical provides more than 100 percent more energy than a basic PV system is even better. The Echo™ Solar System provides the best electric and heating needs for your home compared to basic PV systems. Although the technology is used right now in residential homes, we are looking to expand to commercial buildings as well. Echo uses a unique thermal solar technology that captures the waste heat from basic solar PV panels and uses it to provide hot water and space heating.

AEN: Are there any new projects that PVT Solar has taken part in? GH: Three projects come to mind, led by different homebuilders. In Utah, we’re working with Garbett Homes to offer the Echo™ Solar System as standard on homes targeted to first-time home buyers—Garbett has done a fantastic job leading the Utah market. In Arizona, we’ve partnered with Joseph Carl Homes on their CantaMia development for active adults; these homes offer a level of energy savings that, frankly, I don’t think has ever been offered in this kind of community. And we recently partnered with Meritage Homes to incorporate energy efficiency features in the Lyon’s Gate community. Meritage Homes is one of the top 10 home builders in the United States and is known for building quality homes; for this particular green community in Arizona, their goal was to offer 80 percent energy savings included in their homes. No construction builder has achieved this level of energy efficiency, so it was a privilege working with them. PVT Solar was proud to have the Echo™ Solar System included in every home and support Meritage in making these energy efficient homes of the future. AEN: What can we expect from PVT Solar in the future? GH: I think the future is really exciting. If you focus on the PV side, there is a lot of technology available right now to help make those solar modules more efficient and cost-effective. Today, a quality module is about 15 percent efficient. With our system, we can use any PV module and recover that wasted thermal energy. In the next few years I see PVT Solar progressing to even more efficient technology and finding more ways to put that energy to good use so we can offset those costs. AEN Alternative Energy News

August 2010


UCAP Inc. Awarded DOL—Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations Grant

U

nited Communities Against Poverty Inc. (UCAP), and five other organizations in California, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania received funding from the U.S. Department of Labor—a total award of $1.8 million. The awards will support partnerships between the grantees and currently existing Registered Apprenticeship programs to ensure that women have training opportunities and career support to succeed in non-traditional occupations in growing sectors of the economy. UCAP and consortium members (Latin American Youth Center/Maryland Multicultural Youth Center, M.C. Dean, Maryland Women Work!, National Association of Black Women in Construction, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation Workforce Services Division, Sheet Metal Local No. 100 Training Center, and Taurus Renovation & Construction) will train women for careers in various nontraditional fields such as construction and manufacturing. Educational opportunities will support preparation for numerous occupations including carpenter, cement-mason, construction laborer, electrician, energy auditor, machinist and mechanic, operating engineer, painter/plasterer, plumber and welder. More than 100 women each year, over a two-year period, will have an opportunity to receive U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Weatherization, OSHA, CPR/First Aid and Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certifications, and be placed in Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP). The Rising, Organizing, Supporting and Empowering (ROSE) support group of tradeswomen will serve as mentors to WANTO participants, along with women graduates of UCAP’s Green Industry Certification Program (GICP), and Clean and Green Communities EmPOWER Clean Energy Program. ROSE participants will share career experiences, provide support, and research information on women in non-traditional careers to discuss and share findings with Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) to provide information for successful career outcomes for women with job placement, retention and advancement. UCAP is dedicated to the development of non-traditional “green jobs” that will focus on the economy and the environment. These jobs will include all types of jobs that will improve environmental quality. A new, multi-billion dollar economic sector is emerging, bringing new opportunities in green construction, clean technology, urban agriculture and energy. Their goal: Ensure that this green economy is strong enough to lift people out of poverty, especially women and their children. GreenCollar Jobs Campaign creates opportunities in the green economy for women, poor people and people of color through policy advocacy, public outreach and an employment pipeline—the Green Jobs Corps. United Communities Against Poverty Inc. (UCAP) is the designated Community Action Agency for Prince George’s County, Md. Their mission is to alleviate poverty, improve community relations and maximize the quality of life for Prince George’s County residents through advocacy, quality services and resources. AEN

Alternative Energy News

August 2010

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Proposed Extension of Treasury Grant Program Draws Positive Response from the Renewable Energy Industry

T

he devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raised questions once again about our country’s reliance on fossil fuels and the need for a clean-energy economy. And while renewable energy associations, environmental groups and activists continue to push Congress for a national Renewable Energy Standard, one policy program appears to be on the right track to creating thousands of clean energy jobs and deploying renewable energy projects throughout the United States: the Clean Energy Treasury Grant Program (TGP). On June 15, a group of U.S. Senators joined forces to propose extending the TGP through the end of 2012. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) along with co-sponsors Senators George LeMieux (R-FL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ben Nelson (DNE) proposed an amendment to the pending “tax extenders” bill that has the potential to create at least 65,000 jobs in the solar energy field, according to an independent study. The TGP was created as a part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is set to expire at the end of this year. The goal of the program was to promote and maintain growth in renewable energy by providing cash grants in lieu of tax credits for renewable energy projects. But with one of the worst economic recessions in U.S. history, utilities were prevented from using production and investment tax credits for clean-energy development. If extended, the TGP would prevent a hold up in the rate of project development in anticipation of its impending expiration. Nonprofit power producers would also be eligible for the TGP amendment. These nontax-paying public power producers and rural electric co-ops, which serve more than 25

percent of Americans, are currently excluded from receiving grants under the program. “The evidence is clear that the Treasury Grant Program is one of the most successful in the entire 2009 stimulus bill in terms of incentivizing industry to invest in renewable energy alternatives,” Senator Cantwell said. “Extending this program for another two years will create tens of thousands of jobs and enable enough renewable power to come online to power millions of homes. This bipartisan amendment is fully paid for, and along with a predictable price on carbon, will jumpstart America’s urgently needed transition to a cleaner, more diverse 21st century energy economy.” During the financial crisis in 2008, the TGP was an effective replacement for the “tax equity partnerships” clean energy developers had with big banks. The program provided a more effective use of clean energy tax incentives and is often credited with pulling the renewable energy industry through the most difficult part of the recession. The TGP has awarded grants to a variety of projects including biomass, combined heat and power, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electric, solar heat and hot water, wind, landfill gas, hydropower, geothermal and fuel cell. A letter from the American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association and National Hydropower Association was sent to Senators Reid, McConnell, Baucus and Grassley prior to the official amendment announcement. The letter stressed the importance of extending the TGP, stating the urgent economic challenges facing the nation today, including the immediate need to maintain and generate jobs; the associations argued that renewable energy industries continue to

be a source of growth amidst the recession, but in order to ensure continued growth among wind, solar and other renewables, extension of the TGP was crucial. Also stated in the letter were two independent studies confirming the number of jobs created from the TGP. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the TGP “has provided significant economic value” and showed strong employment levels in renewable energy industries during 2009. EuPD Research found that the TGP supported 17,000 solar jobs in the United States in 2009 and forecasted the creation of 65,000 additional new jobs by 2015 if the TGP is extended by two years. “We applaud Senators Cantwell and LeMieux for crafting bipartisan legislation that will continue a successful, American jobcreating policy, the Treasury Grant Program,” said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch. “It’s time for Congress to extend this program, which has given new opportunity for Americans in the solar industry and kept solar projects moving forward from coast to coast.” The bipartisan amendment is still being scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation, but the cost is anticipated to be minimal and more than offset by ending the ability for oil companies that have revenues over $100 million a year to count their contributions to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund as a business expense that they can use to reduce their corporate tax liabilities. The amendment is currently supported by the American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, National Hydropower Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, Large Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and others. AEN

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Selected to Deliver Technical Assistance for Federal Energy Efficiency ARRA Grantees

A

s part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, nearly $6.5 billion has been granted to states and communities across the United States for energy efficiency programs under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), State Energy Program (SEP) and Retrofit RampUp Initiative. The ARRA SEP and EECBG Technical Assistance Program has been developed to provide state and local officials access to a network of financial and technical experts for assistance with their energy efficiency policies and programs. The goal is to help eligible grantees develop and implement successful clean energy projects and programs that meet the conditions and guidelines of the federal grant programs. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) has been selected to be a part of the Department of Energy’s Recovery Act Technical Assistance provider network. As a member of the Technical Assistance network, NEEA is tasked with providing and coordinating resources and assistance to recipients of EECBG, SEP and Retrofit Ramp-up

grants. Drawing on NEEA’s well-established working relationships with Northwest utilities and other energy efficiency providers, this support will help grantees develop programs that are in support of federal initiatives, and designed to address long-term energy policy changes, environmental concerns, and the need to strengthen the economy and create jobs. In addition to working with local utilities and other regional experts, NEEA will facilitate the development and sharing of best practices, tools and resources from across the nation. “Working with ARRA grant recipients is an effective way for NEEA to advance its mission by increasing market adoption of energy efficient products, services and business practices in the Northwest,” said Claire Fulenwider, Executive Director at NEEA. “A top strategic goal of our 2010-2014 business plan is to facilitate the regional planning and implementation of energy efficiency initiatives in our region. We look forward to the opportunity to work together with Northwest utilities and other regional and national

organizations on developing long-term, sustainable energy efficiency initiatives.” NEEA is partnering with the other organizations in the technical assistance network, consisting of nonprofit organizations with a national footprint and a deep collective energy résumé: Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (team lead), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SEEP), the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA). “NEEA is honored and pleased to be selected by the U.S. DOE with the other distinguished efficiency providers in the network, as a key resource for technical assistance in the Northwest,” Fulenwider added. “This recognition of NEEA’s role in the region and of our technical depth is a positive acknowledgement of the success of Northwest utilities in energy efficiency and collaborative partnership.” AEN 23


MONEY MATTERS

EPA Announces $10 Million for Communities to Combat Climate Change T he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available up to $10 million in grants to local governments to establish and carry out initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Climate Showcase Communities program, EPA expects to award approximately 25 cooperative agreements ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, with approximately five percent of the funds ($500,000) being made available specifically for tribal governments. Local governments, federally recognized Indian tribal governments and inter-tribal

consortia are eligible for grants to create sustainable community actions that can be used elsewhere, generate cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions and improve the environmental, economic, public health and social conditions in a community. A 50 percent cost share is required for recipients, with the exception of tribal governments and intertribal consortia, which are exempt from matching requirements under this grant. The grant program is administered by EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program, an initiative to assist local and tribal governments to

identify, implement and track policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their operations and surrounding communities. Over the course of the grant program, EPA will offer training and technical support to grant recipients, and share lessons learned with communities across the nation. This is the second round of funding for the Climate Showcase Communities program. Last year, EPA selected 25 projects to receive $10 million in grants. Proposals were due by July 26, 2010. Grants are expected to be awarded in February 2011. More information is available at www.epa .gov/statelocalclimate/local/showcase. AEN

Five More States Reach Major Recovery Act Weatherization Milestone M

innesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah have weatherized more than 9,000 homes with Recovery Act funding. The U.S. Department of Energy announced that these states have reached a significant milestone under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—completing weatherization work for more than 30 percent of the homes they have planned. Now that New Hampshire, New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota and Utah have each met this target, along with completing a series of monitoring and reporting milestones, the states will have access to the remaining 50 percent of their Recovery Act funding for the program. The Weatherization Assistance Program under the Recovery Act has weatherized more than 108,000 homes nationally, saving American families more than $47 million on their energy bills and according to state reports, supporting more than 10,000 jobs in the first quarter of this year. “The weatherization program under the Recovery Act is creating opportunities nationwide—opportunities for energy savings and job growth. These states are helping to lead the way toward a stronger economic future with a sound foundation in clean energy," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The five states highlighted join seven other states nationally who met this Recovery Act milestone: Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Vermont and Washington. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income households save energy and money by 24

improving their energy efficiency. Local community action agencies or nonprofit organizations provide whole-home weatherization services under the program. This includes conducting an energy audit in the home to identify the most cost-effective improvements and implementing solutions that range from installing additional insulation and weatherstripping, sealing windows and doors, caulking cracks in the building, and replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems. According to a recent study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, weatherization services save families an average of more than $400 in energy costs during the first year. The weatherization program is also creating jobs and providing career training opportunities nationwide. Earlier this month, the Department announced $29 million in funding for 34 weatherization training centers, which will more than triple the number of federally funded training centers and lay the foundation for an energy efficiency workforce for years to come. More information on the five states that have now weatherized 30 percent of their planned homes under the Recovery Act and met a set of monitoring and compliance milestones is below: New Hampshire has weatherized 985 homes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of May 31, 2010. New Hampshire now has access to the full $23.2 million in funding to weatherize more than 2,600 total homes with Recovery Act funding. According to the state, 110 workers were employed by state and

local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year. New Mexico has weatherized 881 homes under the Recovery Act as of May 31, 2010. The state now has access to the full $26.8 million in funding to weatherize more than 2,700 homes. According to the state, nearly 50 workers were employed by state and local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year. Montana has weatherized 989 homes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of May 31, 2010. Montana now has access to the full $26.5 million in Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 2,400 total homes. According to the state, more than 110 workers were employed by state and local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year. Minnesota has weatherized 5,268 homes under the Recovery Act as of May 31, 2010. Minnesota now has access to the full $131.9 million to weatherize more than 16,800 homes with their Recovery Act funding. According to the state, more than 450 workers were employed by state and local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year. Utah has weatherized 1,402 homes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of April 30, 2010. Utah now has access to the full $37.8 million to weatherize a total of more than 4,400 homes with Recovery Act funding. According to the state, approximately 80 workers were employed by state and local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year. AEN

DOE Announces Funding Opportunity for Enhancing Short-Term Wind Forecasting

I

n June, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for up to $6 million over two years to improve short-term wind energy forecasting. The funding will support projects that enhance the ability of utilities and electricity grid operators to forecast when and where generation from wind power will take place, allowing for improved utility operations. Electricity grid operators depend on accurate wind forecasts to predict and plan for the energy output of wind power plants in their system. By more accurately forecasting wind conditions up to six hours ahead, utilities operators can better predict the power generation of their wind plants, which reduces the cost and increases the reliability of integrating wind energy into the electricity grid. Improved wind forecasting has the potential to achieve substantial savings in annual grid production costs, and these benefits are expected to increase significantly as national wind deployment accelerates. Innovation in this area will help wind and other renewable energy sources meet more and more of the nation’s energy demand. One to two competitively selected funding recipient team(s) will work with DOE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy atmospheric measurement systems, make their data available for use in advanced weather prediction systems to improve short-term turbine-level wind forecasts, and demonstrate the value of these forecasting improvements for electric utility operations. The recipient team(s) will include wind plant operators, wind forecasting and meteorological services companies, electric utility system operators and research organizations. DOE will provide $2 million this year to NOAA to fund its technical support of the selected projects and will provide an additional $1 million to the one or two competitively selected awardees. DOE also anticipates providing an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2011 to NOAA and the recipient team(s) for completing the project. Specifically, NOAA will support the project with research instrumentation, advanced weather modeling and expertise in meteorology. NOAA will deploy and operate a network of sophisticated atmospheric instrumentation in the region identified and supported by the recipient team(s), and incorporate data from this network and other sources into an advanced weather forecast model to provide higher precision wind forecasts, allowing the recipient team(s) to improve wind plant power forecasts for more economic and reliable utility operations. AEN

Alternative Energy News

August 2010


NEW PRODUCTS

New Sun Xtender Deep Cycle Batteries

New Surge Protector with High DC Breaking Capability

Improved Flow Performance and Reduced Energy Consumption

Mass Flow Controllers for Semiconductors and Thin-film Processes

Sun Xtender®, a division of Concorde Battery Corporation, introduces advanced technology L-16 and Tall Golf Cart (GC2 Tall) batteries, the most popular footprint sizes in renewable energy battery systems. There are four new part numbers, 2 Volt PVX-9150T & PVX-12150HT and 6 Volt PVX-3050T & PVX-4050HT, substantial batteries for regular and constant charging and recharging, known as deep cycling. With increased uses for off-grid and gridtied backup power, Sun Xtender delivers energy on demand, maintains long float life and satisfies consumption requirements.

DEHN has developed a new technology and Surge Protective Device (SPD) product, specifically designed to function at DC voltages of 600 and 1,000 and 1,200 V used on PV systems. The new DEHNguard M YPV-SCI model incorporates a switched fused circuit in parallel to the MOV discharge circuit, permitting the internal disconnect to operate arc-free. DEHN’s unique SPD is UL 1449 third edition compliant, as supplemented by the CRD for these new and higher DC voltage applications, and therefore necessary for obtaining compliance to UL 1741 containing SPDs.

GF Piping System offers the new Type 514-519 High Flow Diaphragm Valve Series designed for weir style valves. It offers optimized, turbulencefree flow geometry that provides significantly increased flow rate performance and lower energy consumption. Basic versions of the diaphragm valves are operated manually with a lockable handwheel for protection against unwanted use. An operation self-adjusting electrical feedback unit can be quickly retrofitted, enabling automatic control, pipingsystem regulation and reliable process monitoring.

The GF Series from Brooks Instrument is a highly modular, user programmable, ultra-high purity mass flow controller designed for advanced semiconductor and thin-film processes. The GF Series combines exceptional flow repeatability, market-leading 300 ms flow control response time, the most comprehensive gas and flow range programmability, and long-term reliability. Recent enhancements include increasing the range of flow rates available on the GF Series from the original 3 sccm to 30 slpm, to a new full-scale flow rate of 55 slpm.

Concorde Battery (tel) 877-522-8837 www.sunxtender.com

DEHN Inc. (tel) 772-460-9315 www.dehn-usa.com

GF Piping System (tel) 714-731-8800 www.piping.georgfischer.com

Brooks Instrument (tel) 888-554-FLOW www.brooksinstrument.com

Diamond Wire Technology has the Cropping Solution

Innovative Rooftop Mounting System

Solar Tracking System with Powerful DC motors

Solar Flexrack Achieves Lower Cost-per-watt for Solar Projects

From single-yoke manual saws to a fully automated six-yoke system, Diamond Wire Technology (DWT) cropping saws cover the range of applications in the solar-grade silicon, sapphire and associated industries. The CR110 single-yoke cropping saw is used primarily in processing solar-grade silicon into ingots. A three-motor mode option is available, allowing the saws to produce two test wafers with each crop cut.

The Cooper B-Line division is a new commercial rooftop mounting system from Cooper Industries. Featuring a combination of standard electrical components that are pre-assembled to help save on installation time and costs, the system contains no loose hardware, with pre-assembled frames effectively angling solar PV panels in the right position for maximum performance. The system can be used for landscape or portrait mounting of PV panels for both ballasted and positively tied solutions.

The new Series II system from DH Solar offers a frame that adjusts to any solar panels and is available in aluminum or steel. In preparation for future systems being heavier, DH Solar has changed to more powerful DC motors and a heavy duty controller. By using a heavy gearbox and a chain drive, the system has a trouble-free life.

Solar Flexrack is a patent-pending product of Northern States Metals that can reduce installation costs of commercial solar array projects. Because of its unique unfolding design, one Solar Flexrack can be installed by a three-man crew in three minutes or less. The Solar Flexrack offers either ground-mount or roof-mount models and accommodates thin-film or framed solar panels. The versatile Solar Flexrack mounts to round post, I-beam or concrete pad. It is lightweight for easy handling and is corrosion-resistant.

Diamond Wire Technology (tel) 719-570-1150 www.dmt-inc.com

Cooper Industries (tel) 713-209-8400 www.cooperindustries.com

Are you launching a new product? Alternative Energy News

August 2010

DH Solar (tel) 608-326-8406 www.dhsolar.net

Solar Flexrack (tel) 888-380-8138 www.solarflexrack.com

Let us know about it! E-mail AENeditor@oser.com with “AEN: New Product” in the subject line for a list of what to include and deadlines.

25


UPCOMING EVENTS

INDUSTRY calendar • 2010 WHEN

WHAT

WHERE

WEBSITE

August 3-5

2010 Ethanol Conference & Trade Show

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

www.ethanol.org/index.php?id=30&parentid=30

August 3-5

Southeast Bioenergy Conference 2010

Tifton, Georgia, USA

www.sebioenergy.org

August 3-5

JORESOL 2010

Amman, Jordan

www.joresol.com

August 4-7

Appropriate Technology Retailers Association of Australia Conference

Alice Springs, Australia

+61 3 9929 4114

August 4-6

Northeast Biomass Conference & Expo

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

http://ne.biomassconference.com

August 10-13

Fifth Congresso International de Bioenergia

Curitiba, Parana, Brazil

www.eventobioenergia.com.br/congresso/br

August 11-13

Farm to Fuel Summit

Orlando, Florida, USA

www.floridafarmtofuel.com/summit_2010.htm

August 19-22

Natural Building Technologies and Solar Heating Options for Sustainable Home Design Workshop

Crestone, Colorado, USA

www.crestonesolarschool.com

August 24-26

BioPro Expo 2010

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

www.bioproexpo.org

August 31-September 2

Brazil Windpower 2010 Conference & Exhibition

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

www.brazilwindpower.org/en

September 1-2

Women in Green Forum

Pasadena, California, USA

www.womeningreenforum.com

September 1-4

Environment & Energy Tech 2010

Busan, Korea

www.entechkorea.net/eng/mn01/mn01_01.php

September 6-8

The Third IASTED African Conference on Power and Energy Systems

Gaborone, Botswana

www.iasted.org/conferences

September 6-10

25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Conversion

Valencia, Spain

www.photovoltaic-conference.com

September 7-10

Zeroemission Rome

Rome, Italy

www.zeroemissionrome.eu

September 7-8

First CSP Today Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Summit India

New Delhi, India

www.csptoday.com/india

September 15-17

Alternative Renewable Energy & Green Industries Expo

Washington, D.C., USA

www.aregreenexpo.com

September 30-Oct. 1

XVII Border Energy Forum

Chihuahua, Mexico

www.borderenergyforum.org

October 3-5

Saudi Water and Power Forum 2010

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

www.ksawpf.com

October 6-7

Energy Solutions Expo

London, England

www.energysolutionsexpo.co.uk

October 14-15

Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum

Paradise Island, Bahamas

www.caribbeanenergyforum.com

October 20-22

METALCON

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

www.metalcon.com/metalcon10/public/enter.aspx

October 21-22

Third Annual Exploration & Production Technology Summit 2010

Houston, Texas, USA

www.exproevent.com

October 27-29

Solar Power International

Los Angeles, California, USA

www.solarpowerinternational.com/sepa2010/public/enter.aspx

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

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Alternative Energy News

August 2010



Alternative Energy News 0810