David Kirkpatrick

May 27, 2010

Renewable power and the US electric grid

Seems like a bit more compatible than once thought. At least for the western power grid.

From the link:

More than a third of the electricity in the western United States could come from wind and solar power without installing significant amounts of backup power. And most of this expansion of renewable energy could be done without installing new interstate transmission lines, according to a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO. But the study says increasing the amount of renewables on the grid will require smart planning and cooperation between utilities.

The NREL findings provide a strong counterargument to the idea that the existing power grid is insufficient to handle increasing amounts of renewable power. As California and other states require utilities to use renewable sources for significant fractions of their electricity, some experts have warned that measures to account for the variability of wind and solar power could be costly. At the extreme, they speculated, every megawatt of wind installed could require a megawatt of readily available conventional power in case the wind stopped blowing. But the NREL findings, like other recent studies, suggest that the costs could be minimal, especially in the West.

“The studies are showing the costs are a lot lower than what people thought they were going to be,” says Daniel Brooks, project manager for power delivery and utilization at the Electric Power Research Institute. Even if wind farms had to pay for the necessary grid upgrades and backup power themselves, they could still sell electricity at competitive rates, he says.

December 17, 2008

Video press release from Ericsson on green power

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:56 am

The release:

Video: Green Power to Bring Mobile Telephony to Billions of People

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — (NASDAQ:ERIC) By 2013, Ericsson, the world’s leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services, anticipates that there will be some 6.5 billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world, compared to today’s 3.7 billion. About 90 percent of growth is expected to come from developing markets where more than half of the population lives outside city limits. To build mobile networks in rural areas with no or unreliable power grid means that the power challenge must be solved.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/ericsson/35990/

As mobile telephony reaches billions of new subscribers, areas in the world that have never had access to communication services will soon be part of the connected society. Having reliable access to cost-effective energy supplies has long been a stumbling block for telecom operators seeking to offer services outside major population centers. Building out electricity grids has not only been prohibitive from a cost perspective, but often impossible due to geographic and environmental constraints.

Ericsson, whose technology has already provided billions of people with mobile telephony, is meeting this challenge with a combination of energy-efficient products and emphasis on network energy optimization. This supports telecom operators to develop and deliver affordable and sustainable communications services to the emerging markets in a way that makes business profitable for the operators.

Wind power is one example of an alternative energy resource for powering mobile networks located beyond the electricity grid. In 2007, Ericsson implemented biofuel as an alternative energy resource, and in 2000 Ericsson was the first telecom player to deploy a solar solution to power a Moroccan operator’s mobile network.

“Being at the forefront of innovation is crucial for Ericsson to stay in its leading market position,” says Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio at Ericsson. “I am, of course, proud to be part of a company that is behind technologies like Bluetooth, setting the standard for mobile technology GSM that half of the world’s population are using to make phone calls, as well as leading the development of the fourth generation of mobile communication. But one must also have in mind how to run mobile networks so that all of us can have access to communication services, no matter whether you live in a big developed city or in a remote village in a country with poor infrastructure.”

As energy-related expenditures, including cost for diesel, can be as high as 50 percent of total network operating costs in some markets, the next step after getting infrastructure in place is to ensure cost-efficient day-to-day operations.

“One example of what we have done to be able to offer mobile telephony to the billions of people living outside city limits, is the introduction of a unique hybrid solution where we use submarine batteries that can be recharged over and over again to power a mobile network,” Ewaldsson says. “This solution saves approximately 10 000 liters of diesel per radio site per year, which is 40 to 50 percent of the diesel needed. This adds up to large quantities of fuel that can be saved in a mobile network with hundreds or thousands of diesel powered radio sites.”

Developing green solutions to build and power mobile networks holds the key to reaching billions of people that have never had access to communication services. And the benefits of green solutions are twofold – not only does this mean telecom operators can build and operate mobile networks cost efficiently, the environment is also a winner as less fossil fuel is needed to run the mobile networks.

  Notes to editors:
  Still photos on alternative energy sources:

  Ericsson’s standard multimedia content is available at the broadcast room:

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 195 million subscribers. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of ‘communication for all’ through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70,000 employees generated revenue of USD 27.9 billion (SEK 188 billion) in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm and NASDAQ.

For more information, visit www.ericsson.com or www.ericsson.mobi.

Video:  http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/ericsson/35990
Source: Ericsson

Web Site:  http://www.ericsson.com/

November 20, 2008

Wind turbine generator improvement

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:03 pm

To quote my friend Wes:

This is the basic research that should have been funded back the 1980s and available now .

Amen. I’d even toss that ball back to the 70s. At any rate this sounds pretty promising.

From the (second) link:

While the costs of solar power have continually dropped over the past couple decades, wind power has only decreased slightly in cost, owing to a relative lack of sources of improvement.  Much of the wind power research has focused on either building larger turbines which are naturally more cost effective or trying to fit turbines into new areas.  Few looked to reinvent the base structure of the turbine.

Startup ExRo is not your average wind power company, though.  This think-outside-the-box firm has reinvented one of the most basic components of wind turbines — the generator.  Its new design promises up to 50 percent more efficiency and lower production costs as well.

Ordinary wind power generators have an optimal rate which is fine tuned to local average wind conditions.  When the wind is blowing at this speed, the turbine produces electricity at an outstanding efficiency of around 90 percent.  However, when the wind blows faster or slower the efficiency significantly decreases. This is a major cause of why wind power is more expensive than coal, which burns in plants with turbines that turn at steady rates, maintaining the higher efficiency.

In the past, some have tried blades that change pitch to catch more or less wind and maintain a steady pace.  Others have used mechanical transmissions.  However, these components tend to be expensive, raise maintenance costs, and only help so much.

The new generator scraps the mechanical transmission, replacing it with an electrical one.  The new transmission still requires a bit of blade pitching when winds are extremely high.  However, it is able to extend the peak efficiency range significantly, balancing gusts and lulls, and producing, over the course of the year, up to 50 percent more power.


A rendering of the stack illustrates how two rings of rotating magnets connect to the shaft (blue) generate power by passing coils (green and red). These coils can be selectively turned on and off by the electric transmission. Multiple stacks can be collected to a single shaft for better performance. (Source: ExRo)


October 1, 2008

International Symposium on Alternative Energy

This conference begins tomorrow at Chicago State University.

The release:

International Symposium on Alternative Energy Opens October 2-3 at Chicago State University

CHICAGO, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A group of scientists and engineers from around the world will share their research on the latest alternative energy and technologies at a symposium co-sponsored by Chicago State University, October 2-3. The Center for Alternative Energy Technology’s second annual global symposium will focus on fuel cells, bio-fuels, solar cells, hydrogen (generation, separation and storage), wind power, and sustainable energy for urban and rural buildings. Sessions will be held in the university’s New Academic Library, 9501 South King Drive.

“The significance of this conference can not be over emphasized,” said CSU Professor of Physics Justin Akujieze. “Oil-based energy brings with it enormous pollution that puts our mother earth in danger. Already, signs of this danger can be seen with the overall trend in global warming resulting in the melting of the polar ice caps. This warming will produce changes in the weather that will affect prime agricultural regions and alter food production.”

Val R. Jensen, Vice President of Marketing & Environmental Programs for Commonwealth Edison, will be the keynote speaker on Thursday at 9:40 a.m. in the library’s fourth floor auditorium. Mr. Jensen is a nationally recognized expert in the field of energy efficiency, and has been affiliated with some of the most progressive programs in the United States.  He is leading various Com Ed environmental programs and initiatives, including the recently approved “Energy Efficiency Portfolio,” designed to boost Illinois into the number two spot for energy saved through voluntary customer usage reductions.

Several alternative energy experts from Chicago State University’s faculty are delivering research papers at the symposium: Fuel Cell Technology: Concise Module Introducing Students to Electrocatalysis and Integrating Fuel Cell Concepts into Undergraduate College Science (Justin Akujieze, LeRoy Jones II and Asare Nkansah); Sulfonated Dendritic Polymer Membranes for Fuel Cell (Setor Akati and Asare Nkansah); Using Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy to Investigate Electron-Transfer Processes in Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (Robert J. LeSuer and Nichole Squair); Computational Investigation of the Effect of Oxidation State on Conformational Ensembles: Applications to Possible Molecular Wires for Solar Energy Devices (A. Eastland, Q. Moore and K. L. Mardis)

In addition, representatives from various local and state government officials, including representatives from Senator Barack Obama’s and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s offices, will attend the symposium.

The first CAET Symposium was held in August 2007 at Chicago State. Leading scientists and engineers from the U.S., China, India, France, Canada and the U.K. contributed to the symposium. Activities included technical sessions and panel discussions focusing on the research and development of processes and materials for cost effective, real world energy production from alternative sources.

Chicago State University was founded as a teacher training school in Blue Island, Illinois on September 2, 1867. Today, the university is a fully accredited public, urban institution located on 161-picturesque acres in a residential community on Chicago’s Southside. CSU is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor of Illinois. The university’s five colleges — Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Pharmacy — offer 36 undergraduate and 25 graduate and professional degree-granting programs. CSU also offers an interdisciplinary Honors College for students in all areas of study and has a Division of Continuing Education and Non-Traditional Programs that reaches out to the community with extension courses, distance learning and not-for-credit programs.

Source: Chicago State University

August 28, 2008

Alternative energy meets gridlock

From KurzweilAI.net — The limits of the electricity grid are running into alternative energy goals, such as this case involving wind power.

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits
New York Times, Aug. 26, 2008

Expansive dreams about renewable energy from wind power and other sources are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

An EnergyDepartment plan to source 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind calls for a high-voltage backbone spanning the country, but it would cost $60 billion or more and would be contrained by multistate regulatory restrictions.

Read Original Article>>