Tag Archives: Alternative Energy

The Solar Bottle Bulb

I have been meaning to write about this project for months now, just got around to it today. Back in September of 2011 I read about Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project in Manila powered by pop bottles and bleached water! A bottle with water is enough to light up a small room. In the poor neighborhoods of Manila shacks have dark roofs and hardly any daylight. Many of the homes are not connected to the electric grid and in third world countries continuous power availability is not a given.

This year i.e 2012 is the year they plan to complete lighting 1 million homes using this green technology. The clear water disperses the light in all directions through refraction, which can provide a luminosity that is equivalent to a 55-watt electric light bulb, according to the MyShelter Foundation.

The idea behind the Solar Water Bulb is the brainchild of Alfredo Moser a mechanic from Sao Paulo, Brazil; who came up with it during the 2002 power shortage in Brazil to light up his workshop for working during the day! Like Plato said Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

MIT students have been instrumental in spreading the usage of this simple and virtually free technology to the third world countries as a remedy to light up dark areas during the day without windows! They disperse light to all the corners of the room unlike skylights which are pretty much unidirectional.

How to Make Your Own Solar Bottle Bulb?

Raw materials Needed
1. 1 liter Pet Bottle
2. Galvanized iron corrugated or flat roofing sheet size 9″ x 10″
3. Chlorine (10ml per liter)
4. Steel Brush or Sand Paper
5. Snipping tools to cut the sheet
6. Pliers to fold the sheet back
7. Rubber Sealant or Epoxy resin – to seal and attach the bottle
8. Screws to attach it to the roof securely
9. Filtered water

Directions

On the galvanized roof sheet piece cut a circle 2mm smaller than the diameter of the bottle. Make small cuts perpendicularly along the edge and fold them upwards. Take the bottle and rub the sides to make it rough enough for the glue to adhere. Pass the bottle through the hole and hold in place using the folded edges of the sheet (1/3rd of the bottle above the fold). Apply glue to the bottle and the folded edges to seal and attach them together. Now pour 10ml of Chlorine into the bottle and top it up with filtered water. Close the lid tightly.

Now cut a hole on the roof of the shack where the light is needed. Apply sealant or epoxy resin around the opening to cover an area equivalent to the 10″x9″ sheet. Press it down and secure with screws. The bottle top which will be exposed to the elements needs to be protected (use plastic tubing and sealant to protect it). The Solar Water Bulb is ready and spreading light. The bottle light is believed to have a life of up to 5 years!!

How Does it work?

Simple: water diffracts the light, letting it spread throughout the house instead of focusing on one point. The chlorine keeps the water clear and microbe-free.

Positive Attributes – One can make on ones own Solar Bottle Bulb from waste materials! It can be installed any place world over where there is a roof. It is easily portable and yes, there are a huge number of households world over which do not get enough light during the day.

For e.g 360 million people in IndiaĀ lack access to electricity!!

Negative Attributes – Does not work during night when people do need light. The bottles sticking out of the roof is not very aesthetically pleasing šŸ™‚

I am amazed at the possibilities such a simple idea provides – It is Green, Eco friendly, Cost effective and Practical! Try it out!

Things to watch out for or remember-

Make sure you seal the roof properly to avoid water damage.

Cover the bottle cap to make sure it does not disintegrate.

It only works during the day when there is sunlight.

Sources:

Isang Litrong Liwanang

Nokero N200 A Green Solution to Light Up Nights Worldover

In a world where 1 in 4 humans lives without access to electricity, and you and I pretty much can’t exist without it an economically viable solution to light up the nights is a blessing, no less. Nokero N200 is a small and effective solution for a large problem! Nokero (No kerosene!) was formed in June 2010 by inventor Steve Katsaros to develop safe and environmentally-friendly solar products that eliminate the need for harmful and polluting fuels used for light and heat around the world and most importantly, are affordable to the communities that need them.

Nokero Introduction

Nokero lamps are an all-in-one solar system that is already completely and successfully replacing kerosene lamps and paraffin candles in places all around the world whereĀ  electricity is not a given. Best of all, their lighting products are more economical than any other lights of the same kind.

Nokero performance:

  • A typical kerosene lamp emits about 10 lumens of light, similar to Nokero.
  • Nokero is made in a high-quality factory, has its CE certification, and is built to last 5+years when properly cared for.
  • Nokeroā€™s battery lasts 2-3 years, and is replaceable for about $1 US.
  • Nokero is bulb-shaped, so itā€™s easy to identify what it is and how it works ā€“ anyone can use it.
  • Pivot technology allows for maximum efficiency – the solar panel can pivot toward the sun to increase insolation rates.
  • Ā The most affordable solar light of its kind
  • Quality design and construction
  • The best commercially available solar panels
  • High-temperature battery works efficiently in all climates

About Worldwide Kerosene Use

  • A quarter of humanity still obtains illumination via fuel-based lighting, usually Kerosene or ā€œKeroā€.
  • Usage is expected to shrink only slightly by 2030 (from 1.6 billion in 2006 to 1.3 billion in 2030), and is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fuel lighting is widespread in well over 100 countries.
  • Typical kerosene users burn their lamps for 1.5 hours a night
  • The Nokero N100 lasts about 2 hours a night on one dayā€™s charge.
  • The Nokero N200 lasts 6-plus hours a night on one dayā€™s charge.

Ā 

Economics:

  • The average user spends 5% of their income on lighting fuel.
  • Off-grid lighting users spend $40 billion per year (about 20% of all global lighting expenditures) yet receive only 0.1% of total lighting services.
  • Nokero pays for itself within weeks or months (depending on region) when replacing a kerosene lamp.
  • Recent market research has shown these usersā€™ willingness to pay $6-$15 for solar LED products.
  • Better light creates improved study conditions, leading to a better overall economy for the host nation. (One report stated that study time of students rose from 1.47 hours to 2.71 hours per day, with a positive effect on school performance, when using LED lighting rather than fuel lamp lighting).
  • Off-grid businesses rank ā€œimproved lightingā€ highest among a set of improvements desired for their premises.
  • Those who buy a product take more care of it than those who are given a product.
  • Traditional solar home systems cost $300 or more and require installation.
  • Typical ā€œhurricaneā€ lanterns cost about $5US in most regions.
  • Battery-powered LED flashlights are available in some areas for about $5, but 87% of users had problems within 6 months.

Health:

  • Inhalation of fumes from fuel lamps is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
  • Exposure to single-wick lamps exposes user to 10 times more particulate matter (PM) than ambient health guidelines.
  • More than 1 million people per year die in fires started by fuel-lamps and lighting materials.
  • Indoor air pollution is responsible for the death of 1.6 million people every yearā€”thatā€™s one death every 20 seconds.
  • Long-term inhalation of hydrocarbons, including kerosene fumes, results in central nervous system damage, including loss of cognitive functions, gait disturbances, and loss of coordination.
  • Other health risks include burns, complications from fires or explosions, child poisoning because of inadvertent consumption, exposure to unburned fuel, and compromised ā€˜visual healthā€™ because of sub-standard luminance levels.

Environment:

  • 1.3 million Barrels of oil per day consumed by fuel lighting.
  • 190 million tons of carbon dioxide released into atmosphere.
  • This is the equivalent of 30m cars.
  • One Nokero bulb can save 0.77 tons of CO2 during its lifetime.
  • Other fuels:
  • Kerosene is not the only fuel used for light.
  • More than 7% of households in Tanzania burn wood for light.
  • Ā 20% of homes in Ethiopia burn biofuels (non-kerosene) for light.

Kerosene facts and information are sourced from The Lumina Project

Nokero N200 is the latest from Nokero and is a simple easy to use solution for most lighting issues at home or while camping.

Some interesting facts:

In most countries, the Nokero N200 pays for itself in 15 days to 2 months by eliminating the need for expensive candles or kerosene.

The Nokero N200 also makes an ideal camping light, or a portable RV light, emergency light, or marine light.

It brings 6 hours of light per night on “low” and 2.5 hours of light per night on “high”,* but it can be charged for multiple days in a row to extend its lighting time.

The battery will last for 1.5 years, and can be replaced to keep the bulb lasting for years.

Energy production and distribution has been a costly and polluting exercise world over. We all await a day when renewable energy can be produced in a cost effective way so that the nights will be lit world over. Ā Nokero N200 is a step in the right way for more details and to buy check out Ā Nokero N200

 

Best Conditions for Generating Solar Energy

Solar panels use PV (photovoltaic) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Assessing whether your property’s roof is in a good position to generate solar power is essential before committing to installing any solar energy technology.

Roof position

Your roof will need to face south or within 90 degrees of south and should be in a relatively sunny position. If your roof is overshadowed for part of the day then this will generate less power. As well as this your roof needs to be structurally sound and in a fit enough state to be able to support the weight of the panels.
The Energy Saving Trust advises that your roof should be at a pitched angle of between 30 and 50 degrees from the horizontal for best performance. If you have a flat roof, panels can be attached to a frame tilted at the optimum angle.

Housing Energy Advisor suggests that you use free online solar angle calculator to calculate the best angle for each month of the year and then work out an average. Alternatively, you could make the most of the summer sunshine by calculating the optimum angle for June and setting your panels in that position. This would be the best option if you want to produce as much energy as possible to sell back to the national grid. A third option would be to set your panels at the optimum angle for the winter months. In this scenario, it would be likely that you would still be able to produce enough energy for the summer months, but this will give the additional benefit of reducing the amount of energy you need to buy in the winter. Unfortunately this would also reduce the amount of surplus energy you’ll be able to sell.

Weather conditions

Solar energy systems will produce energy all year round, but will produce significantly less during the winter months. Solar panels can still generate energy even on a cloudy day and the Energy Saving Trust even estimates that a system can still generate up to a 1/3 of the energy on a cloudy day that would usually be produced on a sunny day.

Regular amounts of rainfall are essential to the efficient operation of solar panels, as this cleans off any dust and dirt that could settle on them and could prevent the sunā€™s rays from being efficiently harnessed. This also helps to keep the panels cool, which benefits the panels as they operate with greater efficiency at lower temperatures.

Guest Article by Amy Catlow.

Teenie Micro Solar Cell From Semprius

Pin Sized Solar Cell from Semprius

Picture courtesy Inhabitat website

 

Semprius just unveiled anĀ teenie solar cell that is half the size of a pinhead, whichĀ when combined with powerful inexpensive lenses can concentrateĀ sunlight more than 11,000 times and convert it to electricity!

Semprius has been a leader in Concentrated solar research and development. In 2008 they had come out with a method to slice monocrystalline solar wafers thin enough to be flexible and partially transparent but still maintain their high solar efficiency. The slender silicon slices are then imprinted onto a substrate using Semprius’s patented microtransfer printing process.

Semprius’ patented micro-transfer printing technology brings for the first time, high performance semiconductors to virtually any surface, including glass, plastic or metal substrates or even other semiconductor wafers. By liberating the semiconductor devices from their traditional substrates, Semprius technology enables the construction of a wide variety of new products with large-area, thin, and lightweight form factors, high reliability and low cost. The resulting circuit devices have levels of performance comparable to the original semiconductor.

 

Smaller and more efficient! Wonderful news for Solar and alternative energy market; if only it were affordable sooner.

Read the entire article here

Artificial Leaf To Harness Sun’s Energy

 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created an artificial leaf that could harness Sun’s energy and provide a potentially limitless source of energy by the process of photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

The new device is a playing card sizedĀ silicon wafer coated on either side with two different catalysts. The silicon absorbs sunlight and passes that energy to the catalysts to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.

The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

“Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well in the form of this artificial leaf,” said Nocera, a chemist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

Read More at ScienceDaily

Photo Credits@

Spisharam

mickeyvdo

Liquid Magma as Geothermal Energy Source

Magma

Image courtesy@Ā michi_s

An Icelandic team was drilling into the Krafla caldera as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, an industry-government consortium, to test whether “supercritical” water (very hot water under very high pressure ) could be exploited as a source of power.

They planned to drill to 15,000 feet, but at 6,900 feet, magma (molten rock from the Earth’s core) flowed into the well, forcing them to stop. But this prompted them to test magma as geothermal energy source.

Krafla Geothermal Energy

Krafla caldera

“Because we drilled into magma, this borehole could now be a really high-quality geothermal well,” said Peter Schiffmann, professor of geology at UC Davis and a member of the research team along with fellow UC Davis geology professor Robert Zierenberg and UC Davis graduate student Naomi Marks. The project was led by Wilfred Elders, a geology professor at UC Riverside.

When tested, the magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius). The team estimated that this steam could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes.
That compares to 5 to 8 megawatts produced by a typical geothermal well, Elders said. Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources.

When tested, the magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius). The team estimated that this steam could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes.That compares to 5 to 8 megawatts produced by a typical geothermal well, Elders said. Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources.

A paper describing geological results from the well was published this month in the journal GeologyA paper describing geological results from the well was published this month in the journal Geology

Source: physorg.com

China Initiates Thorium Molten Salt Reactor Project

A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of nuclear fission reactor where the primary coolant is a molten salt mixture, which can run at high temperatures (for higher thermodynamic efficiency) while staying at low vapor pressure for reduced mechanical stress and increased safety, and is less reactive than molten sodium coolant. The nuclear fuel may be solid fuel rods, or dissolved in the coolant itself, which eliminates fuel fabrication, simplifies reactor structure, equalizes burnup, and allows online reprocessing. MSR is also known as a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), and pronounced “lifter”. (Source: Wikipedia)

Molten Salt Reactor

The Peopleā€™s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology, it was announced in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference on Tuesday, January 25.

Read more

Municipal Solid Waste To fuel from Green Power Inc

Energy from WasteThanks to a recent EPA ruling, Green Power Inc. will be commencing the building of municipal solid waste (MSW) to fuel plants for clients around the world, with $2 billion in contracts.

The US Department of EnergyĀ reports that in 2006 the US land filled 140 million tons of residual biomass (total MSW including inorganic was 170 million tons). According to Green Power Inc (GPI) this 140 million ton biomass resource has the potential of becoming 13 billion gallons per year (BGPY) of Fossil Free FuelĀ®, and offsetting 7% (nearly one monthā€™s worth) of our imported crude.

In August of 2009, GPI was shut down by Washington state’s Ecology Department who said GPI had “not provided adequate compliance with the environmental air quality regulations.” Ā This was cleared on September 8, 2010 by an EPA ruling that support’s GPI’s claim and reverses Washington state’s Ecology Department’s claim that placed the GPI process in the class of incinerators, which it is not.

Sources:

Green Power Inc.

Pure Energy Systems News

SolarTieā„¢ Efficiency for Grid Connected PV Power Plants

At the Solar Power International North Americaā€™s largest Business to Business Solar Event, American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) a global power technologies company exhibited their SolarTieā„¢ Grid Interconnection Solution for Photovoltaic power plants. As alternative energy gathers steam and becomes more available the need for large scale grid connected solar projects are inevitable.

Standardized, distributed intelligence will make the power grid smarter. However, massive new transmission capacity is needed to incorporate large renewable energy sources. Current power line technologies using semiconductors require huge towers, with huge footprints, to transmit the necessary amounts of electricity from wind- or solar-rich areas to urban areas.

SolarTieā„¢ combines two of AMSCā€™s proven and proprietary technologies ā€“ D-VARĀ® STATCOM solutions and Powermoduleā„¢ power converter systems ā€“ that are today connecting over 15 Gigawatts of renewable energy to the grid.

What is new about SolarTieā„¢ Interconnection Solution?

  • Industryā€™s First Optimized Utility-Scale PV Interconnection System Introduced at Solar Power International 2010
  • Provides Centralized Control of Real and Reactive Power at the Point of Interconnection
  • Enables Developers to Meet the Most Stringent Grid Interconnection Requirements With Proven, Cost-Effective Technology

With a base rating of 1.4 megawatts (MW) and a turn-on voltage of up to 1,000 volts (VDC), the SolarTieā„¢ solution is one of the most robust power inverter systems on the market. AMSC says in addition, SolarTieā„¢ customers will benefit from:

  • The services of AMSCā€™s highly skilled and experienced Network Planning and Applications Group;
  • Solar inverters based on AMSCā€™s proven PowerModuleā„¢ platform;
  • The ability to control real and reactive power at the Point of Interconnection;
  • AMSCā€™s proprietary Smart Grid Interface (SGI) Controller, which directs SolarTie inverters and reactive power elements to provide efficient energy production and precise regulation at the Point Of Interconnection (POI); and
  • Easy integration with STATCOMs and/or capacitor and reactor shunt banks for additional reactive support if installed as part of the system.

By coupling best-in-class power converter capabilities with AMSCā€™s world-renowned dynamic reactive compensation technology, the SolarTie product represents the industryā€™s first fully optimized solution for utility-scale PV power plant developers. The addressable market for SolarTieā„¢ solutions is expected by industry analysts to be approximately $2 billion by 2015.

Video of Jack McCall, Director of Business Development AMSC talking about the SolarTie

Source ā€“ Press Release from AMSC here

12th Annual Platts Global Energy Awards

The 2010 Platts Global Energy Awards will be announced on the 2nd of December 2010 at Cipriani Wallstreet in New York City. This is the 12th year of energy awards from Platts, the finalists have been announced out of a field of 200 from the world over.

Finalists were chosen from a list of well over 200 nominations, based on their performance for each category’s criteria within the designated time frame. The Energy Company of the Year will be selected from this overall list of finalists by the independent panel of judges including former regulators, past heads of major energy companies, leading academics and international energy experts.

Platts is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. It is the leading global provider of energy and metals information and the worldā€™s foremost source of benchmark price assessments in the physical energy markets headquartered in New York. Since 1909, Platts has provided information and insights that help clients make sound trading and business decisions, and enable the markets to perform with transparency and efficiency.

Fast Facts about the Platts Global Energy Awards:

  • Platts receives more than 200 nominations each year
  • Nominations have come from more than 30 countries including Brazil, India, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Russia, Switzerland, Argentina, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States
  • This is the eighth year in a row that Capgemini is the principal sponsor of the Platts Global Energy Awards; this is the third consecutive year that Elster Group is a co-sponsor and SolArc is the celebration sponsor.
  • Platts is proud to count former OPEC energy ministers, national regulators, former heads of major energy companies and leading academics and legislators among its judges, past and present
  • Each category has 4-6 key criteria against which the judges will evaluate each nomination
  • The Platts Global Energy Awards have been described by past entrants and winners as both the “World Series” and “Academy Awards” of energy
  • More than 500 energy industry executives attend the black-tie Platts Global Energy Awards recognition dinner.Source – Platts Global Energy Awards 2010