Category Archives: frontpage

What about the use of foldable technology in solar panels?

Solar energy is rapidly becoming the most popular source of green, renewable energy. There are still some issues regarding the solar panel cost-efficiency and available technologies but science is constantly developing new technologies. Can foldable technology be the one widely used in solar panels?

When we think about solar panels we have this image of an rigid, flat panels and as such they are difficult in terms of storage and integration into everyday appliances.  Now, it would be a completely different perspective if we could somehow make solar cells foldable.

We have all seen foldable mobile phone screens and this research is getting more and more momentum. Could this technology be also used in solar panels?

At this point, the conductors used in solar cells lack flexibility thus creating a big obstacle to creation of fully foldable solar cell. As Professor Il Jeon of Pusan National University, Korea, says, “Unlike merely flexible electronics, foldable devices are subject to much harsher deformations, with folding radii as small as 0.5 mm. This is not possible with conventional ultra-thin glass substrates and metal oxide transparent conductors, which can be made flexible but never fully foldable.”

Electrical generation by U.S. wind and solar set new record

Electrical generation by U.S. wind and solar set new records in 2020. In fact, it was 16.7% greater in 2020 than a year earlier, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of new data just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Similarly, annual electrical production by all renewable energy sources combined (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) reached an all-time high last year and provided more than a fifth of the nation’s electrical output.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through December 31, 2020) also reveals that solar-generated electricity – including distributed (e.g., rooftop) solar – expanded by 24.1% (compared to 2019) and provided almost 3.3% of the nation’s total. Wind grew by 14.1% and accounted for 8.3% of total generation. No other energy sources experienced similarly high growth rates.

During the year, electrical generation by geothermal energy and hydropower also increased – by 9.4% and 1.1% respectively, but that from biomass fell by 2.5%. While total U.S. electrical generation from all sources decreased by 2.7% – due at least in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, the electrical output by the combination of renewables increased by over 9.2%. Collectively, renewables provided 20.6% of the country’s total electrical output – up from 18.3% a year earlier. In fact, renewables modestly surpassed an EIA forecast, issued just two weeks ago, of 20.0% of U.S. electricity coming from green sources in 2020.

US wind and solar generated electricity continues to grow

Electrical generation by the nation’s utility-scale wind and solar plants continues to set new records. In fact, it was 35.1% greater in November 2020 than it was in the same month a year earlier, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of new data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through November 30, 2020) also reveals that, year-to-date, solar-generated electricity – including distributed (e.g., rooftop) solar – expanded by 22.5% (compared to the same period in 2019) and provided almost 3.4% of the nation’s total. Wind grew by 13.8% and accounted for 8.2% of total generation. Combined, electrical generation by wind and solar grew by 16.2% in 2020. No other energy sources experienced similarly high growth rates.

From January through November, electrical generation by geothermal energy and hydropower also increased – by 8.0% and 0.8% respectively – while that from biomass fell by 2.5%. The electrical output by all renewables increased by 8.8% and provided 20.7% of the country’s total electrical output – up from 18.4% a year earlier. Thus, renewables are now on track to surpass EIA’s recent forecast of 20.0% of U.S. electricity coming from green sources in 2020.

New, Cheap Electric Energy Storage System Like Pumped Hydro but Subterranean

Pumped Hydro Compressed Air Energy Storage (PHCAES) is a new system that can deliver stored energy at two to three cents per kilowatt-hour. This cost, far lower than that of lithium batteries, is similar to Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES), a proven technology. Although it has many similarities to PHES, PHCAES has significant advantages over PHES — including lower capital costs and significantly less land space required.

Like PHES, PHCAES uses a ground-level water reservoir and a power plant. The difference is in the pressure reservoirs. Whereas PHES uses a high elevation water reservoir to create a water pressure head, PHCAES uses a depleted underground well (gas/oil/water) that contains a reservoir of water along with high-pressure air to create its water pressure head. Both PHES and PHCAES pump/reverse water flow between the surface water reservoir and their respective high- pressure head reservoirs through a power plant to either store or produce electric power. See figure 1.

Capital costs will be lower for PHCAES because this system uses an existing well compared to constructing a sizeable elevated water reservoir for PHES. PHCAES stores energy at a much higher pressure, therefore requiring a five times smaller surface water reservoir than PHES for the same amount of energy stored.

UK takes historic step to decarbonise cars and vans

The UK has taken another historic step on the road to ending its contribution to climate change while boosting jobs in the process, as the Prime Minister, Transport Secretary and Business Secretary announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030. This will put the UK on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans.

Following consultation with stakeholders, industry and the wider public, a two-phased approach to the process was announced.

Step one will see the phase out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans brought forward to 2030.
Step two will see all new cars and vans be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.
Between 2030 and 2035, new cars and vans can be sold if they have the capability to drive a significant distance with zero emissions (e.g. plug in hybrids or full hybrids), and this will be defined through consultation.

The move is underpinned by over £1.8bn to support greater uptake of zero emission vehicles for greener car journeys. New measures announced today include more chargepoints to build on our world-class infrastructure network, alongside innovation for new clean technologies. This investment will improve air quality in our towns and cities and support economic growth right across the UK, putting us at the forefront of the zero emission vehicle revolution with vehicles built right here in the UK.

Part of today’s announcement is £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints for electric vehicles in homes, streets [across the UK] and on motorways across England, so people can more easily and conveniently charge their cars.