Renewable Energy

Norway could be Europe's green battery

Alta Dam in northern Norway, one of the country‘s 937 hydropower installations. Norway is the world‘s sixth largest producer of electricity from hydropower. Photo: Rehro, via Wikimedia Commons.

Norwegian hydropower could make Norway the “green battery” of Europe — not by building new power plants, but by further developing the hydropower installations that were built out beginning at the turn of the last century. Read more »

Shifting Winds: An Early Warning for Reduced Energy

Wind turbines close to the Rocky Mountains in Southern Alberta. The plains of Alberta exhibit an excellent wind energy resource but turbines may experience wind-power ramps due to Chinook winds. (Picture © Michael Sherry)

According to a new study in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Chinook winds can precede large shifts in wind power output from wind farms - a challenge for companies seeking to provide a constant stream of green energy to consumers. By establishing a connection between local meteorological events and power grid output, the researchers hope that they may ultimately help grid operators more accurately predict fluctuations in flow and manage the grid accordingly. Read more »

Plant cell structure discovery could lead to improved renewable materials

Major steps forward in the use of plants for renewable materials, energy and for building construction could soon arise, thanks to a key advance in understanding the structure of wood.

The step forward follows research by the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge and the unexpected discovery of a previously unknown arrangement of molecules in plant cell walls.

The paper describing this work was Editors’ Choice for the American Chemical Society for March 25th. The researchers investigated the polymer xylan, which comprises a third of wood matter. Read more »

Solar power from energy-harvesting trees

Scientists at VTT have developed a prototype of a tree that harvests solar energy from its surroundings - whether indoors or outdoors - stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs. The technology can also be used to harvest kinetic energy from the environment. Read more »

Using solar energy to improve desalination process

A new process to decompose waste desalination brine using solar energy, which neutralises ocean acidity and reduces environmental impact, has been proposed by an Aston University (UK) academic. Although turning salty ocean water into fresh water is important to benefit poverty-stricken populations, desalination has a very damaging ecological footprint. Many environmental advocates see it as a last resort for retrieving fresh water, but fast growing populations mean it is becoming the only viable option. Read more »

Electricity from wave power moves closer after Ecotricity’s successful test of British-made Searaser 'Seamill'

Alvin Smith with the Searaser © Megan Walker

Generating electricity from wave power in Britain took a step closer to reality this week after green energy company Ecotricity’s innovative device – Searaser – successfully completed first stage testing at Plymouth University’s CoastLAB wave tank.

The brainchild of British inventor Alvin Smith, Searaser is designed to overcome two of the biggest hurdles in the deployment of renewable energy on a scale that fulfils Britain’s future electricity needs – cost and variable output. Read more »

BMW presses ahead with development of systems for inductive charging of electric and plug-in hybrid cars

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Driving pleasure and sustainability are fused together in unprecedented fashion in the all-electric BMW i3 and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Their high-voltage batteries can be recharged quickly and easily by means of the BMW i Wallbox that forms part of the 360° ELECTRIC portfolio.

This sophisticated charging station with fast-charge facility for feeding cars with power either at home or at work underlines the all-embracing approach adopted by the BMW i brand when it comes to developing products and services for sustainable mobility of premium calibre. Read more »

Wood-waste biofuel to cut greenhouse gas and transform shipping industry

A sustainable biofuel made from Norwegian forest wood waste could help transform the shipping industry and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative sustainable fuels are urgently needed in the marine transport sector due to stringent upcoming regulations demanding reduced sulphur and carbon content in diesels and oils from January 2015. Read more »

The UK is failing to harness its bioenergy potential and will have to rely on imported biomass

The UK could generate almost half its energy needs from biomass sources, including household waste, agricultural residues and home-grown biofuels by 2050, new research suggests. Scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester found that the UK could produce up to 44% of its energy by these means without the need to import. Read more »

Are wind farms changing Europe's climate?

Photo © Augustin Colette

The development of wind farms in Europe only has an extremely limited impact on the climate at the continental scale, and this will remain true until at least 2020. These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by researchers from CNRS, CEA and UVSQ, in collaboration with INERIS and ENEA, the Italian agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable development. Read more »

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