Category Archives: NEWS

Costa Rica produces 99% Electricity from renewable sources in 2015


The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said in a statement that it achieved 99 percent renewable electricity generation in 2015, as per AFP reports. Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (English: Costa Rican Institute of Electricity) (ICE) is the Costa Rican government-run electricity and telecommunications services provider. Jointly with the Radiographic Costarricense SA (RACSA) and Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL) form the ICE Group. The institute also said for 285 days in 2015 the country managed to power its grid on 100 percent renewable sources.

The path away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy in the small Central American nation is seen as aspirational for other countries wanting to cut fossil-fuel pollution blamed on global warming. Costa Rica is lucky to have a wealth of renewable energy sources to choose from. The bulk of its power generation comes from hydropower thanks to a large river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. The rest is made up of a mix of geothermal energy, which the country is also rich in, wind, biomass and solar power.

In December 2015, the UN Climate Change conference held in Paris (COP21) struck a landmark deal committing countries to cutting their carbon emissions. Whether Costa Rica’s renewable energy model can be implemented in other countries will depend on the topography and climate of the respected countries.

For Costa Rica, the more measurable results of its renewable energy success will be known by in the earlier half of this year (2016) when a full year worth of data will be available to compare with the previous year. By then, the largest hydropower plant in Central America should be in operation.

The Reventazón Hydroelectric Project, located in the eastern province of Limón, is expected to be ready for operation by end of January 2016.The ICE is currently taking measures to protect land along the south, east, and western portions of the future lake, and are reforesting a strip of land around the lake’s perimeter. This is a commendable course of action that we wholeheartedly support, but it will not be sufficient to guarantee the future integrity of this critical biological corridor. The Reventazon Hydroelectric Project aims to set a high standard for large development projects by engaging with the community and taking unprecedented environmental steps, but are they doing enough? Significantly more strategic reforestation will be required to maintain safe migratory access through the corridor.

The citizens of the country have benefited from the cost of energy actually falling by 12% this year and the institute expects it to keep falling in the future. It’s important to remember that Costa Rica is a small nation. It has a total area of about 51,000 square kilometres, which is about half the size of the US state of Kentucky, and it has a population of only 4.8 million people. Furthermore, its primary industries are tourism and agriculture, rather than heavy, more energy-intensive industries such as mining or manufacturing. Costa Rica is an inspiration as the right steps in the right direction.The Central American nation is just one of many nations around the world that is getting behind renewable energy.

Recently, India, the world’s third-largest carbon polluter, unveiled a plan that aims to make its economy more energy-efficient and to cut carbon emissions. In this significant shift, the Indian government said that it also intends to produce about 40 percent of its electricity in 2030 from “non-fossil-fuel based sources” such as solar, wind, and hydropower.

Try this Quiz to check if your opinion is informed by Science of Climate change

Thumbnail image – Arturo Sotillo(Wha’ppen) Flickr via CC

Cheap Solar Panel Using Hydrogen Ion Particle Accelerator

Solar panels which cost less than fossil fuels? Yeah! That can be reality if Twin Creeks’ photovoltaic cells created using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator become widely used. For Solar energy to become competitive with conventional grid power, the cost production — including modules, electronics, and installation – will need to drop to $1 per watt and the cost of modules will have to drop to 50 cents per watt. It is not possible with conventional technologies. Solar cells used in everything from watches to Power generators use monocrystalline substances like silicon, germanium, silicon carbide or gallium nitride. And because of the way they are manufactured all the cells contain more material than needed.

TwinCreeks Technoogy says their goal was to find a lower cost option for Solar power generation which would entail grid parity.
Hyperion is a manufacturing method developed by Twin Creeks Technologies which reduces the size of the wafer considerably and increases output. With the completion of their latest generation Hyperion 3 toolset, they have a production system that can produce ultra-thin wafers less than one-tenth the thickness of conventional silicon solar wafers. Hyperion can fundamentally change the cost structure of many other industries that rely on high-cost, single-crystal wafers for their devices.

The Benefits of reducing the size of the wafer is as follows:

  • Reduced Cell Manufacturing Costs – Solar cells produced with Hyperion thin Si processing are nearly 50% less expensive to manufacture.
  • Reduced Capital Expenses – Hyperion makes your existing investments in poly-silicon, ingot growing and wafering equipment up to 90% more efficient. If you need to expand, you can count on a 50% reduction in capital to make the same number of wafers.
  • Predictable Si costs – By consuming fewer materials per module, manufacturers are less exposed to swings in commodity prices. Manufacturers can better insulate themselves from fluctuations in spot and contract prices for silicon and other materials.
  • Flexible Format Cells – Solar modules produced with Hyperion thin Si lamina are bendable, allowing manufacturers to package solar directly into roofing materials to reduce packaging, installation and shipping costs.
  • The “Greening” of Solar – The solar industry consumes large amounts of energy and creates waste by-products from the polysilicon, ingot growth and wafering process. Through thin Si efficiencies, environmental “footprint” is reduced. When you make your thin Si lamina with Hyperion, your raw material is water used to produce hydrogen ions.


West African Black Rhinoceros Declared Extinct

The West African Black Rhinoceros or Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) is declared extinct by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after a recent survey failed to spot any individuals. As per the global assessment by IUCN there are no Wild Black Rhinos remaining in West Africa.

The West African Black Rhinoceros once widespread in the savanna of central-west Africa but declined from poaching. According to IUCN a subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also listed as possibly extinct.

The IUCN reports that despite conservation efforts, 25% of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction. As part of its latest work it has reassessed several rhinoceros groups.

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Veolia World Solar Challenge

The 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge has officially begun in Darwin, Australia. 37 racing teams from 20 countries around the word is competing in the event. The teams will travel 3000 plus kilometers from Darwin to reach  the finishing point at Adelaide.

According to the organizers:
“It’s all about energy management! Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle”

Solar Team Twente came first in the qualification round that was held on last Saturday and secured the first starting position in the race. Nuon Solar Team and Michigan University finished in second and third positions respectively.

The Challenge crosses the centre of Australia – stretching 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.
Enthusiast can follow their favorite teams during the challenge as satelite tracking systems are implemented in each vechichles.

The fastest teams are expected to reach the official finish line just outside Adelaide late Wednesday or early Thursday

Event Website:

The Green Car of 2011 Chevy VOLT

In early November 2010 the Chevy volt was picked as the Green Car for 2011 by the Green Car Journal. General Motors showcased the Chevrolet Volt with major fanfare at the Detroit Auto show of 2007 as a concept car, and as promised kept the launch date of end of 2010. When the Chevy Volt debuted in the Los Angeles Auto show it also won the “Car of the Year” – a first for a plug in Hybrid! This year the nominees including two hybrids, a high efficiency gasoline hatchback, and for the first time two electric cars.

The automotive press loves handing out awards, but this one is somewhat relevant because all the cars considered are practical, eco-friendly vehicles you might actually want to drive. Judges include gearheads Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby along with greenies like Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Motor Trend and Automobile magazines named the Chevrolet Volt “car of the year” earlier this week.

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

It is already on the roads in many parts of the country. The Volt looks pretty average from the outside except for the grille, but the interiors and its technology are revolutionary. The Volt charges up for a range of about 40 miles on battery power only; then the gasoline engine allows another 300 miles or so on top of that. It can be plugged in to a wall socket or a special garage recharger to “refuel”. To me it seems a tad too pricey at $40k plus.

I remember a line I read about the Volt when it first made its debut as the future of GM- the author of that article said “For GM, the Volt is meant to help change its image as a vendor or SUVs and other trucks, while giving it important technical know-how in fuel-efficient cars.” You can read the entire article here In many ways it is kind of a resurrection for the American Auto makers who were caught napping by the Japanese and other auto manufacturers in the race for a fuel efficient hybrid.

After all these good things today morning I read a rating from the ACEEE on the Green Car Book website – they have rated the Chevy Volt the lowest amongst Green cars at 48! They judge the new models on a point scale that includes not only fuel economy and tailpipe emissions, but also such relatively arcane measures as factory pollution and ease of recycling. At first glance I wondered what changed? then realized it was just how they were looking at it skewed. The volt’s gas engine gives a mileage of 35 mpg city/40 highway, which is nothing to write home about really. But what they have not taken into account is the fact that many a volt owner might never use the gas engine! and the Volt was given a 10/10 for being green by th car connection folks too!

Motor Trend magazine said“The genius of the Volt’s powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user’s duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world’s first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”

I for one am very intrigued and would definitely take a look at the Volt before I decide as to which new car to buy, will just have to wait for the price to reach a little lower 🙂


Car connection for a Review of the Chevrolet Volt

Forbes article on the Green Car Books low rating

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 People’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.

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California’s First Molten Salt Solar Energy Project

A variety of fluids have been tested to transport the sun’s heat, including water, air, oil, and sodium, but molten salt was selected as best. Molten salt is used in solar power tower systems because it is liquid at atmosphere pressure, it provides an efficient, low-cost medium in which to store thermal energy, its operating temperatures are compatible with today’s high-pressure and high-temperature steam turbines, and it is non-flammable and nontoxic. In addition, molten salt is used in the chemical and metals industries as a heat-transport fluid, so experience with molten-salt systems exists in non-solar settings. [Source Wikipedia]

California has approved a new solar project that could revolutionize how we use energy from the sun – namely because it will be able to keep producing electricity even after night falls.
SolarReserve‘s Rice Solar Energy Project uses molten salt to store solar thermal energy. Since the salt will be able to reach temperatures over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and retain most of the heat it collects during the day, the plant will have the ability to keep churning out heat long after the sun goes down.

California has approved a new solar project that could revolutionize how we use energy from the sun – namely because it will be able to keep producing electricity even after night falls. SolarReserve‘s Rice Solar Energy Project uses molten salt to store solar thermal energy. Since the salt will be able to reach temperatures over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and retain most of the heat it collects during the day, the plant will have the ability to keep churning out heat long after the sun goes down.

Read More at Inhabitat.

United Nations Climate Change Conference Cancun 2010

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. The conference is officially referred to as the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 6th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CMP 6) to the Kyoto Protocol.

For Updates:

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 Energy 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 Fuel®, and offsetting 7% (nearly one month’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.”  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.


Green Power Inc.

Pure Energy Systems News

Low Power Computing A Green Wave in IT

IT or Information Technology and related services account for 2% of all Carbon emissions globally. The IMEC laboratory in Belgium has been developing microchips which can run on the tiniest amounts of power – like energy harvested from the slightest variations in the environment etc…

For any type of computing device to harvest this energy, its microchip must be able to work with so-called ‘sub-threshold’ voltages – voltages at which a normal transistor would turn itself off. The IMEC lab has come out with a prototype head band which monitors a patients vital signs and sends a wireless SOS in case of an epileptic seizure or a heart attack. Instead of being powered by batteries, it gets all the energy it needs solely from the warmth of the patient’s forehead. The thermoelectric generator is mounted on the forehead and converts the heat flow between the skin and air into electrical power.

Mr Gyselinkckx’s team expand the range of functions that can be achieved at sub-threshold voltages, they could revolutionize not only the market for niche headbands, but the entire world of computing.

“There is a tremendous drive today to reduce the power consumption of all kinds of electronics that we’re using – computers, cell phones, laptops”, says Mr Gyselinckx.

“The techniques we’re using to make ultra low power devices for body sensors could also be used in these applications.” It is an attractive idea – laptops that power themselves from the heat of your lap. But Mr Gyselinckx admits this is still some way off.

IMEC performs world-leading research in nano-electronics and nano-technology. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. Imec’s research is applied in better healthcare, smart electronics, sustainable energy, and safer transport.

The idea is revolutionary and when fully viable will make a huge impact on the world of electronics.
A Video from the BBC

Read the entire article here

Source –


IMEC website