Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency
Ken Novak's Weblog
Friday, July 15, 2005
New Energy Capital gets $30m: June 2005. "California Controller Steven Westly announced today that the California State Teachersí Retirement System (CalSTRS) - the nationís third largest public pension fund - and VantagePoint Venture Partners, one of the nationís largest and most active venture capital firms had co-invested $30 million in New Energy Capital Corp., a leading clean energy company. Westly sits on the Board of Directors of CalSTRS and has been instrumental in its efforts to increase the pension fundís investments in clean technology.
New Energy Capital will deploy the capital to acquire, build, and operate renewable energy and distributed generation projects in North America. .. New Energy Capital is pursuing investments in onsite cogeneration, renewable power, and ethanol and biodiesel production projects, creating a diversified portfolio in the clean energy sector." 3:25:55 PM
Natural mineral locks up carbon dioxide
: "The metamorphic mineral serpentine -- or magnesium silicate hydroxide -- is composed of magnesium, silicon and oxygen and is plentiful. He researchers used material from the Cedar Hills quarry on the Pennsylvania/ Maryland border for this study, but the mineral is available in large quantities in many places. The U.S. deposits of the minerals that can be used for this process Ė serpentine and ovivine Ė can sequester all the carbon dioxide emissions produced from fossil fuels.
"Previous researchers investigating serpentine for use in sequestering carbon dioxide have crushed serpentine very finely, to sizes smaller than beach sand, but, even at these small sizes, it takes high temperatures to speed up the reaction, "says Maroto-Valer. "With our method, we do not need to crush it that fine and we do not need high temperatures. In fact, the reaction gives off heat. Our method is much less energy expensive...
When serpentine dissolves in sulfuric acid, the silicon in the mineral becomes silicon dioxide, or sand, and falls to the bottom, while the magnesium becomes magnesium sulfate. Treating some of this magnesium sulfate with sodium hydroxide also creates some magnesium hydroxide. The researchers were able to convert large amounts of the serpentine's magnesium to these chemicals providing large surface areas for reactions to occur in solution at room temperature.
Carbon dioxide passed through the solution of magnesium sulfate and magnesium hydroxide converts both to magnesium carbonate or magnesite, which becomes a solid and falls to the bottom. This solid can be used to manufacture construction blocks and there is also a small market for hydrated magnesium carbonate in the cosmetics industry. The silicon dioxide can be used to remove sulfur dioxide from the flue gases, which can subsequently be converted to sulfuric acid to use in the first part of the process. .. [The researchers] would like to regenerate the sulfuric acid to minimize costs.
Because carbon dioxide will be the last gas in the emission stream treated, there are two options for commercial implementation. Fossil fuel burning plants could simply place a serpentine reactor as the last component of their emissions clean up and sequester carbon on site. Or, if the area is heavy with fossil fuel burning plants, each plant could pipe their carbon dioxide to a central treatment plant. "
Also found: a review of sequestration options, and the chemical formulas. 9:16:48 AM
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative (USH20)
: Solar water heating continues to be refined as a distributed renewable resource. However, by default, it is not included in RPS or renewable credits, even when sponsored or financed by utilities. Utilities claim that they produce energy service equivalent to $2/watt including installation. Potential markets are very large. 2:52:53 PM
: Good overview of the UNEP/USAID/NREL "Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment" project to map renewable energy resources in many developing countries. www.swera.net
has much information, including interactive maps, such as this demo for Sri Lanka
. Project manager listed as Tom Hamlin
. 2:47:26 PM
Zoning in Klickitat yields big power projects: A county in Washington State zones an area to encourage wind development. It includes a "programmatic environmental impact statement" (EIS) that cuts costs and uncertainty for developers. The zone covers two-thirds of the 1800-square-mile county. "Developing a clean energy overlay zone was a way to show developers that the county wants wind projects, and to map out areas that residents think are appropriate sites for wind farms. .. Permitting processes add uncertainty and considerable costs, typically about 3 percent to 10 percent of a project. .. Affected communities would often make three criticisms: that the public wasn't consulted, that an environmental impact statement paid for by a developer made people suspicious, and that such statements didn't look at cumulative impact. Klickitat County's new zone addresses those three issues, [Dana Peck, county director of economic development] said. .. Klickitat County spent about $500,000 doing wind mapping, bird studies and community outreach.
Left out of the zone were other areas where residents were opposed, or where the turbines might impact bird populations. New designs and new siting processes have reduced concerns about wind turbines killing birds, though, and the Audubon Society generally supports wind energy as long as turbines are located away from major flyways. Klickitat County will require developers and operators to monitor wind farms' impact on birds and wildlife.
Seven weeks after the county put in place the nation's first energy overlay zone with an ordinance that expedites wind farm permits, two big wind energy developers have laid plans for projects that will generate more than 300 megawatts worth of power. .. Their expansive new wind farm, combined with four other proposed projects, could eventually provide enough generating capacity to power 80 percent of the households in Seattle.. The impact of these deals, and others expected to follow, could be huge for Klickitat -- a lightly populated area dominated by resource industries such as agriculture, timber and mining. .. Wind turbines are expected to boost the county's property tax base considerably. .. "As far as our county's economic development strategy, anything we can do to keep ranchland ranchland is a good thing," Peck said. "This is our best single play to do that." [This story was also covered in the print edition of Re-Focus.] 2:37:40 PM