Tag Archives: Renewable Energy

NXP and Cherry team up to make an energy-harvesting wireless light switch

Last week, at CES 2013 NXP Semiconductors and Cherry — yes, the same Cherry that makes switches for mechanical keyboards — showed off a light switch. It might not seem like something that could stand up against huge OLED televisions or Android-based mobile gaming platforms, but after surveying the best of CES, you might change your mind about just how impressive this switch is. After all, this switch is wireless, battery-less, energy-harvesting, and parting of the “Internet of Things,” making it one of the most high-tech — and on trend — gadgets at the show.

The light switch, which looks like any other and includes a dimmer, is simply a combination of Cherry’s energy-harvesting switch and a radio. That radio communicates with a receiver that is placed inside the base of an LED light bulb (in most cases a standard E27 base). This means that the switch isn’t designed to work with any old LED bulb, unless the receiver, NXP’s ultra-low-power JN5168 microcontroller, is moved to a fixture or some other component behind the bulb. The JN5168 is designed to support JenNet-IP, ZigBee, and RF4CE networking stacks so it can work with multiple home automation scenarios, not just lighting.

The wireless isn’t the interesting component here, it’s Cherry’s energy-harvesting switch. The device, which Cherry seems to have actually named the “Energy Harvesting RF Switch,” manages to grab from 0.2 to 0.5mW from the switch activation. The force required to push the switch is 8 newtons or about 1.8 pounds-force (or, more technically, 8kg·m/s²) — basically you don’t need to pound this switch or rock it back-and-forth for a minute to generate a sufficient amount of power.

Fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems- viable option for greener future.

The Uk’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be funding five major government-backed research and development projects intended to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into everyday use. These projects will demonstrate how these technologies can be integrated into other areas of energy and transport (e.g. the generation of renewable energy, a refuelling infrastructure) to develop whole systems and how effectively they can work together.

The projects will be selected through a competitive process, and led by Air Products PLC, BOC Ltd, ITM Power, Rutland Management LTD and SSE plc with the following structure: -

- An end-to-end, integrated, green hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system (the first of its kind in the UK) which will be centred around a fully publicly accessible, state-of-the-art 200 bar renewable H2 refuelling station network across london. (Air Products PLC- expertise in atmospheric gases, process & specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment & services).

-The delivery of solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s existing public access via an electrolyser, and its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (BOC ltd- versed in thousands of different gases and mixtures, as well as related equipment and services).

-The integration of an electrolyser based refueller with renewable energy which will allow zero carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as a transport fuel for a number of vehicles (ITM Power- design and manufacture of hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production).

-The demonstration of a viable solar-hydrogen energy system, with benefits shared by multiple end users of a business park in Surrey, through the necessary provision of green electricity and heat (Rutland Management LTD- expertise in facility management)

-The demonstration of a whole renewable hydrogen system by connecting a 1MWe electrolyser to the grid, in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire windfarm. This will explore grid impacts, and the energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and provide the green hydrogen produced to power of fleet of fuel cell buses (SSE plc- UK’s best overall energy provider for eight consecutive years)

These projects will accelerate the process towards the commercialisation of fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems.

TSB and DECC R&D Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), are funding five new projects that are researching and developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These government-backed projects want to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into everyday use so they are using research and development to speed up the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen en fuel cell technologies.

They want to develop whole systems and they want to show that fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies can work together with other energy and transport component such as renewable energy generation, refueling infrastructure and vehicles. So energy and transport components can be integrated with the fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies. These technologies can also be used in low carbon energy systems and transport.

Mark Prisk, Business Minister, said that the UK has innovative business developing world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The UK wants to capture a share of the global market by developing a coherent capability and vibrant industry. If they are in the position to capture that share of the market, they will be able to attract international partnerships and inward investment. This will also cause a growth of the national economy and create job opportunities. These five new projects complement the already joint government/industry project called UK H2 Mobility. This project is currently evaluating potential roll-out scenarios for hydrogen for transport in the UK.

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, said that hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies are at the cutting edge of new low carbon energy solutions. It is important to see how these technologies can be integrated with other energy and transport products and it are these new and exciting government-supported projects that will look into that. He also said that he is looking forward to seeing the results.

The five new projects were selected through a competitive process and will be led by Air Products plc, BOC Ltd, ITM Power (Trading), Rutland Management Ltd and SSE plc. The projects will:

  • Create the UK’s first end-to-end, integrated, green hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system. This will be centered around a fully publically accessible, state-of-the-art 700 bar renewable H2 refueling station network across London (Air Products Plc).
  • Deliver solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s exiting public access H2 refueling station. This will happen via an electrolyser. And its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (BOC Ltd).
  • Integrate an electrolyser based refueller with renewable energy on the Isle of Wight. This will enable zero carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as transport fuel for a range of vehicles (ITM Power).
  • Demonstrate a viable solar-hydrogen energy system through the 24/7 provision of green electricity and heat. The benefits will be shared by multiple end users of a business park in Surrey (Rutland Management Ltd).
  • Demonstrate a whole renewable hydrogen system, connecting a 1MWe electrolyser to the grid. This is in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire wind farm. They want to explore the grid impacts and energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and provide green hydrogen produced to power a fleet of fuel cell buses (SSE plc).

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added that these innovative, large-scale demonstrators will show how fuel cells and hydrogen technologies can be adapted, developed and integrated to provide real-time and real-world low carbon solutions. These projects will also show how the Technology Strategy Board can help the UK businesses to accelerate the development and commercialization of technological innovations.

A grant funding of £9 million is provided by the Technology Strategy Board and DECC. This means the total value of the projects, including contributions from the industrial partners, is in excess of £19 million. The projects are building on previous Government support for fuel cells and hydrogen systems, accelerating the process towards commercialization.

Smart Cities in Action

The world’s first total-concept smart grid deployment project, PowerMatching City, has been placed on the Sustainia 100list of solutions. Sustainia 100 describes itself as “More than a model and a vision, Sustainia aims to be the world’s one-stop toolbox for sustainable solutions.”

PowerMatching City, The Netherlands, is the first real-life smart grid community in the world which delivers the world’s first results from a total concept smart grid deployment project.

The city currently involves 25 households connected with each other and fitted with fully functioning micro combined heat and power systems (CHP). Systems in place include high efficiency boilers, hybrid pumps, smart meters, PV panels, electric vehicle charging stations and other smart household appliances which when combined together make up the smart energy system.

“With the share of renewable energy going up strongly over the next decades, the rising demand for electricity, and consumers who are increasingly providing their own energy supply, it is evident that smart grids will have an essential position in our future energy system. PowerMatching City plays a pioneering role in the development of smart grids and in the transition towards a sustainable energy system,” said Frits Bliek, Program Coordinator, PowerMatching City.

It is hoped that the grid will continue to grow, with the next phase set to include a further 70 homes. Follow the link below for the video!

PowerMatching City (www.PowerMatchingCity.nl)

 

 

UK as first country where companies need to measure carbon footprint

Nick Clegg announced that the UK wants to measure how quickly natural assets are being lost by recording them as part of GDP. The UK will be the first country in the world to force major companies to measure their carbon footprints. More than 1,000 companies have to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions so they realize how much they are polluting. The plan is that these companies will stop polluting and start looking for more sustainable ways to form a business.

This is all part of a concept called GDP+, where all countries have to start measuring their natural capital. The main goal is that countries start thinking about more than their material wealth. They will also need to reveal their natural wealth, like rainforests, clean rivers and fresh air. They can put a value on precious resources like forests so they understand what it means when they start chopping them down. Because keeping them would boost the GDP of the country.

GDP shows the growth of a country, but when we think about it, it only shows a little part of a country’s welfare. The GDP doesn’t take into account the quality of the growth, like the natural environment needed for a future prosperity. And an average environmental degradation costs the world around 9 per cent of GDP every year.

So GDP needs to have a broader look, it should be a measurement for individual countries to measure what is important, like the forests, so countries can make informed decisions.

Clegg spoke at the Rio Earth Summit where world leaders came together to discuss global issues on sustainable development. He said that Britain will lead the way for other countries by forcing their businesses to act first in measuring their carbon footprint. And this is the first step to managing the greenhouse gases that create global warming.

Hiding greenhouse gas emissions isn’t a good way to lead a business. Reducing them is has many positive outcomes. Not only for the planet but also for the business, they can save money on energy bills and attract companies with their green reputation.

The treasury plans to bring a ‘green tax’ in next year as part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment. But this will be a burden for lots of companies. Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Advisor, said that measuring carbon is useful for companies, but taxing carbon makes companies uncompetitive with companies abroad and less attractive for foreign investors. So he want the plans for the Carbon Reduction Commitment to be scrapped.

Starting from April 2013, the businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to start the carbon reporting. In 2015, they will be reviewed and ministers will then decide if they want to extend the program to all large companies.

The EEF, representing UK manufacturers, complained that Mr Glegg should have thought about the impact on the home economy before announcing all these new regulations internationally. British businesses already have to cut carbon and reduce greenhouse gases by 2025 under European regulations.

Glegg also believes that investing in renewable energy  is the best way for the UK to boost their economy in the future. For example he wants to boost the energy subsidies on green technology like wind energy.

The UN Rio+20 summit will probably not be as spectacular as the last Earth summit in 1992, where a large number of global agreements to tackle climate change were made. Now they want to decide on new sustainable development goals like switching to renewable energy and cutting pollutions. But environmentalist say that the summit is too weak to force actions. There is also some anger because David Cameron didn’t attend the summit himself but sent Clegg.

The idea of putting a price on nature has been protested against by many, including Sarah Reader, campaigner from the World Development Movement. She said that putting a price on nature allows multinationals and governments to buy the right to destroy landscapes without having to feel guilty because they paid for it. She said that ecosystems should be protected by law.