Energy, Sustainability & Technology

The Israeli technological capabilities are known throughout the world as one of the most innovative and advanced. Thanks to a thriving Hi-tech community and a strong academia, Israel is considered a world leader in innovation and technological breakthroughs. One sector that exemplifies those characteristics is the renewable energy sector. Israel was one of the first countries to adopt solar technolgies back in the 70’s and these days is pioneering the use of electric cars as well as many others fields.

Exclusive: Renewable energy from rivers and lakes could replace gas in homes

The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has described the development as “game changing” in relation to Britain’s need for renewable energy against the backdrop of insecurity in Russia, which supplies much of Europe’s gas, and the political row at home over soaring fuel bills. In the first system of its kind in the UK, a heat pump in the Thames will provide hot water for radiators, showers and taps in nearly 150 homes and a 140-room hotel and conference centre in south London, saving 500 tons of carbon emissions from being released every year into the atmosphere. Mr Davey has asked officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) to draw up a nationwide map showing where renewable heat can be drawn from water to explore the potential of heat pumps. In theory, any body of water, including tidal rivers as well as standing water such as reservoirs and lakes, can be used as long as they are in the open and heated by the Sun. The Government has a target of 4.5 million heat pumps across Britain, although some will be using heat from air as well as water. David MacKay, the chief scientific adviser to Decc and professor of engineering at Cambridge University, has described a combination of heat pumps and low carbon electricity as the future of building heating. Water-source heat pumps have been used on an individual domestic level and are popular in Japan and Scandinavia, but have not been developed on a larger scale and have not generated sufficiently hot water for everyday use. For the first time, scientists at Mitsubishi and Mike Spenser-Morris, a local developer and director of the Zero Carbon Partnership, have created a system that can generate 45C heat and can be used on a wider scale for mass housing developments. The development is at Kingston Heights in Richmond Park in south London – a neighbouring constituency to Mr Davey’s own – where Tory MP Zac Goldsmith has campaigned for greater use of environmentally friendly energy. The first residents will move in at the end of this month and benefit from the zero-carbon technology, with savings on their heating bills of up to 20 per cent.

Hydrogen Generation & Storage Made Easy with Nano-Technology

Fuels like gasoline, based on hydrocarbon, create pollution and carbon footprint. Hydrogen has been claimed to be a good alternative to replace fossil fuel since the 1970s. But hydrogen’s potential has not been realized even partially mainly because of storage and commercial production difficulties. There have been research being done on renewable energy sources like hydrogen for quite some years. Recently, breakthrough research has been successful in creating a new method for storing hydrogen. Difficulties faced in usage of hydrogen Hydrogen is a cleaner renewable energy source if only the two problems of safe storage and easy access are overcome. The traditional way of fastening hydrogen into solids has not been very successful. Too less volume of hydrogen was absorbed while storing and too convoluted methods like too high heating or cooling was needed for releasing it which did not make it commercially viable. New way of storing hydrogen A team of scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Department of Energy (DOE), US have discovered a new material called air-stable magnesium nano-composites which can help in storing hydrogen without complex methodology. This composite material consists of ‘nano-particles of magnesium metal sprinkled through a matrix of polymethyl methacrylate – a polymer related to Plexiglas.’ Advantages of new material This nano-composite is a pliable material and it is capable of absorbing and releasing hydrogen at an ordinary temperature without oxidizing the metal. This capacity has been touted as the major step towards a better design for hydrogen storage, hydrogen batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. The scientists have been able to design for the first time successfully composite materials that are nano-scale and which are capable of overcoming the barriers that are thermodynamic and kinetic in nature. Observing the new material scientifically The team observed the material and its behavior via TEAM 0.5 microscope at National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM). They tracked the behavior of hydrogen in the new storage material.  They further studied the performance of hydrogen in the nano-composite material at Energy and Environmental Technologies Division (EETD), at the Berkeley Lab. EETD has been pioneering research about technologies about renewable energies, their generation and storage etc including hydrogen. Role of DOE – Nano-scale Science Research Centers (NSRCs) The NSRCs are a group of five facilities with state-of-art wherewithal to research in depth about nano-scale materials. The National Nanotechnology Initiative from DOE has resulted in huge investments for developing the infrastructure of these facilities. The team has put together and manufactured this new material at Materials Sciences Division.  In words of team member Urban, “The successes we achieve depend critically upon close ties between cutting-edge microscopy at NCEM, tools and expertise from EETD, and the characterization and materials know-how from MSD.” The team Jeff Urban, Deputy Director, Inorganic Nanostructures Facility, Molecular Foundry, Office of Nano-Science Center DOE, Berkeley Lab, Christian Kisielowski and Ki-Joon Jeon were the co-authors and Hoi Ri Moon, Anne M. Ruminski, Bin Jiang and Rizia Bardhan were the rest of the team.  DOE’s Office of Science supported the research work.

Latin America Report: How Chile Is Shepherding Its Renewable Energy Expansion

Chile’s renewable energy capacity soared 40 percent in 2013 to 1.1 GW, approximately 6.3 percent of total capacity in the central (SIC) and northern (SING) grids, according to figures from the Centro de Energías Renovables (CER) of the Ministerio de Energía. Renewable energy generation was just shy of 4 TWh, a 26 percent jump from the prior year and representing 5.85 percent of overall electricity generation…..

Israel Electric Corporation  opens biological waste treatment plant in Ramat Hovav

The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) has completed construction on a biological wastewater treatment system on the grounds of the Ramat Hovav power plant. The Ramat Hovav power complex produces about 100 cu.m. of wastewater a month, requiring evacuation through expensive tankers, the IEC said. Now, however, the site will be making use of a natural, biological “constructed wetlands system,” designed by Ayala Water and Ecology – a company that specializes in constructing such systems to process industrial sewage etc…

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