News for May 2009

News Archive

Solyndra signs US$115m thin-film contract

Rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems manufacturer Solyndra Inc has entered into a US$115 million, long-term sales contract with solar integrator EBITSCHenergietechnik, based in Zapfendorf, Germany.

Intersolar: NEP Solar wins Intersolar Award for process solar heat collector

NEP Solar's solar process heat collector has won the 2009 Intersolar Award in the solar thermal category.

Intersolar: National Semiconductor wins Intersolar award and launches SolarMagic power optimisers in Europe and North America Intersolar: National Semiconductor wins Intersolar award and launches SolarMagic power optimisers in Europe and North America

National Semiconductor has launched its SolarMagic power optimisers for solar panels in Europe and North America at Intersolar 2009 in Munich, Germany.

Intersolar: Intersolar Award 2009 for photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal technology goes to... Intersolar: Intersolar Award 2009 for photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal technology goes to...

Aerowest GmbH, National Semiconductor and SOLON SE in the PV category; and NEP Solar Pty Ltd, RESOL – Elektronische Regelungen GmbH and Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co KG for the solar thermal category.

Intersolar: Solar thermal shows strong growth in Europe

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federations (ESTIF) says the EU and Swiss solar thermal markets grew 60% to 3.3 GW in 2008.

HgCapital acquires another Spanish solar PV plant

HgCapital’s Renewable Power Partners Fund together with local partners, have acquired a 5.25 MWp Spanish solar photovoltaic (PV) project for an undisclosed sum.

Virginia Tech scientist develops glass-based SOFC seal

A materials scientist at Virginia Tech in the US has invented a new glass that can be used to seal solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) modules and stacks. The self-healing glass seal will provide strength and long-term stability to the stack, according to Peizhen (Kathy) Lu, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

PolyFuel wins further DOE funding for portable fuel cell development

The US Department of Energy has awarded California-based PolyFuel a further $2.5 million in funding for its portable fuel cell development program.

Orecon and Eneólica sign 4.5 MW Portuguese wave farm deal

The wave energy device developer Orecon and Portuguese developer Eneólica are establishing a joint ventures (JV) company to build and deploy Orecon’s first full scale 1.5 MW MRC wave energy buoy.

Adaptive Materials powers UGV for 40 mile demonstration

US-based Adaptive Materials Inc, a leading developer of solid oxide fuel cells for portable power, recently completed a 40 mile (64 km), 12 h test drive of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). The achievement, completed at Camp Grayling in Michigan, demonstrates that AMI’s 150 W fuel cell system, powered by widely available propane, enables unprecedented UGV endurance capabilities.

Printable power using carbon nanotube supercapacitors Printable power using carbon nanotube supercapacitors

Portable electronic devices such as mobile phones, netbooks, and cameras are becoming increasingly more important to our society. How rarely we leave the house without our trusty iPhone or Blackberry!

Siemens to produce wind turbine parts in China

Siemens is building a €60 million wind turbine rotor blade and nacelle production facility in Lingang New City, Shanghai, China.

Suntech plans PV module manufacturing in the USA

Crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, plans to establish PV module manufacturing in the USA as part of its strategy to create a long-term presence in the States.

Meet Renewable Energy Focus at Intersolar 2009

Renewable Energy Focus will be at Intersolar 2009 on 27-29 May to talk to representatives of the international solar energy industry.

Ceres Power’s solid oxide fuel cell Alpha CHP unit passes British Gas product testing

UK-based solid oxide fuel cell developer Ceres Power has announced the successful design, build and testing of 1 kW grid-connected combined heat and power (CHP) products that meet all of the deliverables under the ‘Alpha’ phase of the company’s CHP program in conjunction with British Gas. This important milestone has been achieved within the timescale set out in the roadmap that Ceres agreed last year with BG.

UltraCell wins funding to expand fuel cell manufacturing

California-based UltraCell Corporation, a leading producer of PEM fuel cells for mobile power applications, has announced the award of $3.8 million in new funding. The company will use the new capital to scale up manufacturing at its facility in Dayton, Ohio, believed to be the first volume-production micro fuel cell facility in North America. The money will also be used to expand sales, marketing and field trial testing of its flagship product, the UltraCell XX25™ portable fuel cell.

Ebara Ballard fuel cell joint venture to be dissolved

Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems has announced its intention to discontinue operations of Ebara Ballard Corporation. The Japanese joint venture with Ebara Corporation is focused on the development, manufacture, sale and servicing of PEM fuel cell stationary power systems for the residential cogeneration market in Japan.

Fuel Cell Europe and VDMA Fuel Cells cooperate on commercialising fuel cells

Fuel Cell Europe, the European association of fuel cells developers and users, and VDMA Fuel Cells, a group of manufacturers of systems and components for fuel cells in the German Engineering Federation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster commercialisation of fuel cells.

RPS measure diluted in US House Bill

Renewable energy advocates in the USA were disappointed with the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) included in legislation passed by a key House committee on 21 May.

Andritz Hydro wins hydropower station order

A consortium comprising Andritz Hydro Brasil, Andritz Hydro Inepar and IESA Projetos has received an order to supply and install the electromechanical equipment for the Batalha hydropower station from the Brazilian federal utility, Furnas Centrais Elétricas.

Growth in biogas predicted in Germany

About 760 biogas plants will be connected to the German national electricity grid in 2009 - three times the number in 2007 - according to estimates by the German Biogas Association. This is around 100 times more than exist in the UK.

Aberdeen offshore windfarm scaled down

Aberdeen’s proposed offshore windfarm is likely to be scaled down in terms of numbers of turbines, but still capable of becoming a demonstrator centre, participants at the renewable energy conference and exhibition, All-Energy in Aberdeen, Scotland, was told this week.

Disagreement over Severn Estuary tidal projects

Environmental organisations say the shortlist of five potential tidal power schemes for the Severn Estuary announced earlier this year, is “seriously flawed” at the same time as the journal ICE Maritime Engineering say a Severn barrage would increase biodiversity and improve water quality.

Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd launches modular solid oxide fuel cell generator

Australian-based solid oxide fuel cell company Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd has launched a new modular generator product. The 2 kW BlueGen™ unit is a combined heat and power (CHP) system for homes and other buildings. CFCL has also signed a memorandum of understanding with VicUrban, the sustainable urban development agency for the southern Australian state of Victoria, to showcase the BlueGen units in VicUrban housing developments.

Europe’s largest onshore windfarm switched on

The 322 MW Whitelee windfarm outside Glasgow, Scotland, which could be Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, was switched on this week.

US$10m to develop Smart Grid standards

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and US Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced standards needed for the interoperability and security of a Smart Grid and US$10 million in funding under the Recovery Act to support the development of these standards.

Koenigsegg Quant runs on thin-film solar power Koenigsegg Quant runs on thin-film solar power

Swedish luxury sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg and NLV Solar AG have created the thin-film solar coated, electric car, Koenigsegg Quant.

Siemens provides 175 wind turbines for London Array

Siemens Energy will supply 175 of its SWT-3.6-107 (3.6 MW) wind turbines to the 1 GW London Array offshore windfarm owned by DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar.

Pays de St Seine 50 MW windfarm commissioned

The 50 MW Pays de St Seine windfarm in France, developed by RES Group’s French subsidiary EOLE-RES3, has been commissioned.

Viaspace, Hayman sign deal for filling, distribution of methanol cartridges for micro fuel cells

California-based Viaspace has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hayman Ltd in the UK, a packager and distributor of alcohols and solvents worldwide. Under the deal, Hayman Speciality Products will provide methanol filling and distribution services to Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corporation.

42% look to invest in US renewable energy this year - report

KPMG’s annual report into mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in renewable energy, The Winds of Change, has uncovered ‘hot spots’ for future deal activity and the implications of the recession on the renewables market.

Ballard sells fuel cell solution to FirstEnergy

Ballard Power Systems will deliver 1 MW of fuel cell power for use in a utility load management project to FirstEnergy Corp.

PG&E and BrightSource enter 1.3 GW solar thermal power deal

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and BrightSource Energy have entered a series of contracts for a total of 1310 MW of solar thermal power covering 7 projects.

Ontario revises proposed renewable energy feed-in tariffs

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has revised its proposed feed-in tariffs for renewable energy in Ontario, Canada.

SCHOTT Solar opens CSP and PV manufacturing facility in USA SCHOTT Solar opens CSP and PV manufacturing facility in USA

SCHOTT Solar has inaugurated its utility-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing facility in the USA.

Siemens opens European headquarters for wind energy

Siemens has established European headquarters for wind power sales and project execution in Hamburg, Germany.

Swiss municipal vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have developed a hydrogen-powered municipal street cleaning vehicle, which was unveiled recently in Basel, Switzerland. The vehicle features a 20 kW PEM fuel cell system hybridized with a 12 kWh lithium-polymer battery, and with storage of 7.5 kg of hydrogen.

Morphic wins fuel cell order from RV accessories supplier

Italian-based Morphic Exergy Fuel Cells has signed a distribution agreement with Narbonne Accesories of France, to supply its Polaris 140 portable PEM fuel cell system. The order has a guaranteed minimum value of SEK48 million (US$6m) for Exergy, a subsidiary of Swedish-based Morphic Technologies. The product has been approved by the customer, and deliveries will begin in September.

AMSC and Acciona sign contract for wind turbine low voltage ride through compensation system

American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) has received an order worth more than US$10 million for its Dynamic VAR Ride Through (D-VAR RT) reactive compensation system for wind turbines, from Spanish Acciona Energy.

US EPA proposes an increase in renewable fuels

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a strategy for increasing the supply of renewable fuels in the USA as biofuels are poised to reach 36 billion gallons by 2022 under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

UK and China set up £10m low carbon JV UK and China set up £10m low carbon JV

The UK Carbon Trust and the China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation (CECIC) have signed an agreement to develop and deploy low carbon technologies in China – a deal that could help British export of low carbon technologies into China.

Proton and Skoda launch triple-hybrid fuel cell bus Proton and Skoda launch triple-hybrid fuel cell bus

Fuel cell company Proton Power’s subsidiary Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH has launched a triple-hybrid fuel cell that can be used in Skoda busses.

Solar cell manufacturer Q-Cells’ Q1 EBIT plummets 75%

Solar cell manufacturer Q-Cells saw a 75% fall in first quarter (Q1) operating profit (EBIT) to €14.7 million as uncertainty over the financing of solar photovoltaic (PV) system hit.

Solar powered air-conditioning from DuCool Solar powered air-conditioning from DuCool

A hybrid air-conditioning system running on solar thermal energy and/or electricity has been launched by DuCool.

DoE: US$8.5m for on wind energy-focused projects and US$25m for wind testing centre

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has selected 53 projects focusing on wind energy for up to US$8.5 million in DoE funding and has announced US$25m for the Massachusetts Wind Technology Testing Center.

Siemens installs 1 MWp PV plant in Italy

Siemens Energy has built a 1 MWp photovoltaic (PV) plant north of Naples, Italy, for the bottled water company Ferrarelle under a deal worth €5 million.

Oorja secures orders for materials handling, forklifts in California

In California, Oorja Protonics has received a purchase order from Super Store Industries (SSI), to install its OorjaPac™ direct methanol fuel cells on SSI’s entire materials handling fleet operating in the freezer at its Lathrop facility. Oorja has also received a purchase order from LPC to install OorjaPac systems on all its electric forklifts. Oorja is pioneering the commercialization of DMFCs for forklift applications.

Tighter strategic focus for Morphic Fuel Cells

Swedish-based Morphic Technologies has reviewed the strategy for its Morphic Fuel Cells business unit, which now has a greater emphasis on market-driven product planning, and the subsidiaries will be given clearer responsibilities. In addition, to further strengthen the group’s fuel cell expertise, a scientific and industrial advisory council has been established.

US scientists report bimetallic PEM fuel cell catalyst

Materials scientists at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri (WUSTL) have developed a technique for producing a bimetallic fuel cell catalyst that they say is efficient, robust, and between two and five times more effective than commercial catalysts. The palladium-platinum bimetallic nanodendritic structure offers high activity for oxygen reduction on PEM fuel cell cathodes.

London Array offshore windfarm given go-ahead

DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar will invest €2.2 billion in building the first 630 MW phase of the London Array offshore windfarm in the Thames Estuary, UK.

Marine Renewable Energy Promotion Act introduced in US Congress

The Marine Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2009 looking at the development of marine and hydrokinetic energy resources has been introduced in the US House of Representatives and the companion legislation has been introduced in the US Senate.

Global small wind market grew 53% in 2008

Global sales in the small wind (<100kW) market grew 53% to 38.7 MW in 2008 representing 19,000 units and US$156 million.

Solar water heating programme in Ottawa

A solar water heating programme has been launched in Ottawa, Canada, by Canadian renewable energy electricity provider, Bullfrog Power, together with Enbridge Gas Distribution, EnerWorks, and the Government of Canada.

First Solar supplies modules for “Australia's largest solar PV installation”

First Solar Inc will supply solar photovoltaic (PV) modules to Solar Shop Australia, Pty Ltd, for a 1 MW rooftop project, said to be Australia’s largest solar PV installation.

Making wind turbines more efficient and reducing noise

A wind turbine at Tjæreborg Enge, 10 km south of Esbjerg in Denmark, has been fitted with a test blade with advanced measuring equipment to gather data on how to make wind turbines more efficient and less noisy.

Glass coating platform for CIGS thin-film solar cells from Veeco

Veeco Instruments Inc has introduced its FastLine™ platform of glass coating systems, designed for the production of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) thin-film solar cells.

Global CSP market to reach 25 GW by 2020 Global CSP market to reach 25 GW by 2020

The global concentrating solar power (CSP) market could reach 25 GW by 2020 as the CSP markets are entering a new growth phase led by Spain and potential in the USA despite the global economic crisis, according to analyst Emerging Energy Research (EER).

Australia could spend A$20bn to kick start green investment

The Australian approval of the federal government’s renewable energy target (RET) brings Australia to the brink of unleashing more than A$20 billion of new clean energy investment, according to the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC).

Greenbuild Expo launches in June

Greenbuild Expo, which explores sustainability in the construction industry, is taking place on 17-18 June in Manchester, UK.

UK Carbon Trust launches offshore windfarm foundation-designs competition

The UK Carbon Trust has launched a multi-million pound global competition to find the best new wind turbine foundation designs to support the next generation of offshore windfarms.

UK homes could have smart meters by 2020 UK homes could have smart meters by 2020

All homes in Britain could have smart meters installed by 2020, according to plans published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Anaconda rubber tube produces wave energy

A snake-like 200 m rubber tube with a hydraulic turbine driving an electric generator could produce 1 MW of wave energy, according to British Checkmate Seaenergy.

REC’s pre-tax profits more than doubled in 2008

Norwegian Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) ASA reported profits before tax of NOK4379 million for 2008, more than double of 2007.

DuPont opens PV centre in China DuPont opens PV centre in China

Chemicals-giant DuPont has opened a US$25 million photovoltaic (PV) technical centre at its China global R&D Center in Shanghai for crystalline silicon PV.

SolarWorld sees a 26% increase in Q1 group net earnings

SolarWorld has reported net earnings of €24 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2009, up 26% from the same period in 2008.

Austrian collaboration unveils hydrogen fuel cell boat

The Austrian companies Fronius International, Bitter GmbH and boatbuilder Frauscher recently unveiled their first electric boat powered by hydrogen fuel cells, at Schloss Orth on Lake Traunsee. The boat is the realization of the partners’ Future Project Hydrogen, which aims to develop an emissions-free, fuel cell propulsion system for motorboats using hydrogen as the energy carrier.

Protonex wins USAF award to extend aerial vehicle propulsion

Massachusetts-based Protonex Technology has received a $265,000 contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for advanced development of high-performance fuel cell systems for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This award expands on a series of efforts by Protonex to miniaturize fuel cells for use in smaller UAVs.

US makes heavy cuts in fuel cells, hydrogen budget

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the Department of Energy has cut $100 million from the Fuel Cell Technologies program (formerly Hydrogen Technology), reducing it by nearly 60% compared with the FY 2009 appropriation. The National Hydrogen Association and US Fuel Cell Council were quick to criticize the program cuts, saying in a joint statement that the cuts ‘threaten to disrupt commercialization of a family of technologies that are showing exceptional promise, and beginning to gain market traction.’

LEED 2009 green building certificates include regional credits

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has released LEED regional credits as part of LEED 2009, the latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

Biofuels receive US$786.5m from US Recovery Act

US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, plans to provide US$786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development, and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects.

First Solar's net income soars 253% in Q1 – seeks new CEO

First Solar reports first quarter (Q1) net income of US$164.6 million, soaring 253% from the same period in 2008. At the same time, the solar company has initiated the search for a new chief executive officer.

“Enormous potential” for solar energy in India - report

Solar energy offers enormous potential for a tropical country like India where around 45% of households, mainly rural, do not have access to electricity, according to Research and Markets’ report Indian Solar Energy Market Outlook 2012.

Siemens builds wind turbine nacelle facility in USA

Siemens plans to build a wind turbine nacelle production facility in Hutchinson, Kansas, USA, to meet the “strong demand for wind turbine equipment in North and South America in the future.”

EU passes €5bn Economic Recovery Plan – includes renewables and energy infrastructure

The European Parliament passed the €5 billion European Union (EU) Economic Recovery Plan on 6 May 2009, which will see investment in energy projects, broadband internet infrastructure and rural development.

AWEA honours 3TIER for commercial achievement

3TIER has received an American Wind Energy Association 2009 Award for developing FirstLook - a free Web-based wind and solar energy prospecting tool.

BASF opens fuel cell components production facility in New Jersey

The new BASF Fuel Cell production facility in Somerset, New Jersey has been officially opened, as the company moves to build on its leadership in developing energy management solutions. The state-of-the-art facility uses advanced production and automation technologies to fabricate the company’s Celtec high-temperature membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs).

ACAL fuel cell system passes 1000 h milestone, plans 1 kW demo unit

UK-based ACAL Energy reports that its FlowCath® PEM fuel cell system has achieved more than 1000 h of continuous operation with no performance deterioration. The company has also confirmed operation of the complete fuel cell stack and integrated system for more than 100 h of cumulative operation at power levels of nearly 60 W, well above its design specification.

MTI Micro unveils OEM developer program for Mobion micro fuel cell platform

US-based MTI MicroFuel Cells, which has developed the Mobion portable power solution, has launched a Mobion Developers program for qualified original equipment manufacturers. The program will provide engineers and product designers at qualified OEMs with a Mobion Developers Kit, including a direct methanol fuel cell prototype, and the tools and information for them to evaluate and quickly understand how to integrate and use the Mobion platform in their product development efforts.

Protonex holds back on market launch for RV fuel cell power

Massachusetts-based Protonex Technology is deferring the launch of its M250-B fuel cell product into the US recreational vehicle (RV) market, originally planned for this year. The delay is to allow the company to focus more of its near-term technical and business development resources onto the military version, the M250-CX.

Oerlikon Q1 results hit by global recession but Oerlikon Solar brings hope

The Oerlikon Group was hit by the global recession in the first quarter (Q1) of 2009 with orders down 46% to CHF599 million, but Oerlikon Solar is set to recover by the second half of the year.

DoE gives US$41.9m to fuel cell technologies

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced US$41.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for fuel cell technology.

JatrophaBioJet and Abundant Biofuels sign jatropha aviation jet biofuel contract

JatrophaBioJet Corporation and Abundant Biofuels Corporation have executed a Jatropha crude oil source contract for exclusive use as aviation jet biofuel.

Siemens to supply 21 wind turbines for Baltic 1 offshore windfarm

Siemens Energy and EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG have signed a contract for the supply of 21 SWT 2.3-93 wind turbines for Germany’s first commercial offshore windfarm, the 48.3 MW Baltic 1.

More Hydrogenics fuel cell buses for Europe

Two additional hybrid MidiBuses powered by fuel cells from Canadian-based Hydrogenics have entered operation in Germany. In addition, Hydrogenics has made significant progress with its Rampini Fuel Cell bus project, now planned to be commissioned this month in Gladbeck, Germany, where Hydrogenics has its European fuel cell operation.

Energy frontier research center for South Carolina, focused on fuel cells

The University of South Carolina has been selected by the US Department of Energy to house a research center for a team of leading energy researchers in the College of Engineering and Computing. The center, with $12.5 million in federal funding, is one of 31 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) being set up by DOE’s Office of Science at leading universities, for advanced scientific research on energy.

Potential for wave and tidal power in England and Wales

A study will look into the potential for wave, tidal stream and tidal range technologies around the English and Welsh coastlines, according to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Sunfilm AG and Sontor GmbH merge to create thin-film giant

Sunfilm AG and Q-Cells’ subsidiary Sontor GmbH are merging to become what could be one of the world’s largest providers of tandem junction silicon based thin-film modules.

Versa Power plans fuel cell manufacturing plant

Colorado-based Versa Power Systems is making plans to build a manufacturing plant for its 10 kW planar solid oxide fuel cells.

FMC trialing Plug Power, Oorja fuel cells for automatic guided vehicles

Fuel cells are now also being implemented as a power source for automatic guided vehicles (AGVs). Texas-based FMC Technologies is preparing to operate two fleets of AGVs powered by two different types of fuel cell. One will be powered by hydrogen PEM fuel cells from NY-based Plug Power, while the other will utilize direct methanol fuel cell battery-chargers from Oorja Protonics in California.