Monday, July 26, 2010

IATA calls for biofuels production from Jatropha:

The global airline industry is on track to make a profit of $2.5 billion this year after 10 years of struggle in which it made a cumulative loss of $47 billion, according to Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its annual general meeting on Monday.

He said that if the industry succeeded in its campaign to remove restrictive legislation that prevented airlines from consolidating across borders and competing in the same way as normal business, it would achieve $100 billion in profits on revenues of $1 trillion in a decade.

By 2050 it would "be very near to zero accidents," emit half the carbon, process more passengers without queues, and operate with almost no delays in globally united skies.

"We will be a consolidated industry of a dozen global brands supported by regional and niche players. And we will deliver value to investors."

Outlining the steps needed to achieve this, he said that the present fragmentation of the industry, with 1 061 airlines as a result of the bilateral system that now regulates it, prevented increased efficiencies from improving the bottom line "because airlines are deprived of the commercial freedom to operate like normal businesses. Our poor profitability makes every shock a fight for survival."

Infrastructure should be shaped around the needs of airlines with airports competing for airline business through efficiency, deriving their income through commerce with airlines bringing shoppers and airport revenues funding the air traffic system.
It would be more efficient to replace the current 180 air traffic management organisations with 10, at half the cost.

And calling for government help in establishing the production of biofuels to replace jet fuel made from oil, he said these had the potential to reduce the industry's carbon footprint by 80 percent. After testing by airlines certification of biofuels was expected within a year. "Local production with jatropha, camelina, algae or even urban waste will open up economic opportunities in virtually any location."

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Green energy market 'resilient' to downturn in 2009, according to U.N.

By Matthew Knight, for CNN
July 16, 2010 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)

London, England (CNN) -- The creation of new power capacity from renewable energy has exceeded new fossil fuel power generation in the United States and Europe for the second year running, according to two United Nations reports published Thursday.
Renewables accounted for over 50 percent of new capacity in the U.S. in 2009 while in Europe the figure was 60 percent, leading the U.N. to predict that the world as a whole will add more capacity to the electricity supply from renewables than non-renewables this year or by 2011.

Globally, nearly 80 giga-watts (GW) of new renewable power capacity was added in 2009, the U.N. reported.

U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) executive director, Achim Steiner said in a statement that the story of renewable energy investment in 2009 was one of "resilience to the financial downturn," with many businesses and governments determined to "transform the financial and economic crisis into an opportunity for greener growth."

The two reports -- "Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2010" and "Renewables, 2010 Global Status" -- reveal that investment fell seven percent, from $173 billion in 2008 to $162 billion in 2009, largely due to declines in large-scale solar power and biofuels investment, which dropped 27 percent and 62 percent respectively.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

20-yr plan eyes 36K MW power.


KATHMANDU, July 15: The government has brought out an ambitious report showing the possibility of generating 36,628 MW hydroelectricity in the country within the next 20 years.The report includes a proposal to generate 2,057 MW within five years to address the load-shedding crisis facing Nepalis at present.

The report prepared by a taskforce on 20-Year Hydropower Development Plan Formulation claimed that the target figure will be attainable through the completion of three mega multi-purpose projects -- Pancheshwar, Karnali-Chisapani and Saptakoshi -- within the 20-year span. Without including these three projects, the country will be able to generate 20,354 MW.The report breaks down that figure into 2,057 MW by 2015, 12,423 MW by 2020, 5,114 MW by 2025 and another 18,034 by 2030.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Germany sets out zero-carbon road map.

Government report insists country could decarbonise electricity supplies by 2050 staff, BusinessGreen, 08 Jul 2010

Germany has become the latest country to signal that it could decarbonise its electricity network with the release of a major new report arguing that it could switch to an entirely renewable energy supply by 2050.

The study, from Germany's Federal Environment Agency, the Umweltbundesamt, says the country could phase out fossil fuel power plants and replace them with existing renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.

"A complete conversion to renewable energy by 2050 is possible from a technical and ecological point of view," Jochen Flasbarth, president of the Federal Environment Agency, told reporters yesterday. "It's a very realistic target based on technology that already exists – it's not a pie-in-the-sky prediction."

He added that there was a strong economic case for making the switch, arguing that it would create jobs and boost exports of renewable energy technologies for German manufacturing firms.

Germany's transition towards renewable energy is already under way, with the country well established as the world's largest generator of solar energy and second-largest producer of wind energy after the US.

According to figures from the German government, the country already generates 16 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and further increases in renewable capacity are planned over the next decade as the government moves to make good on its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

A number of countries such as the Maldives, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica have set a target of becoming carbon neutral, but Germany is the largest country to date to set out plans that would result in the full decarbonisation of their energy supply.

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Blue-green algae techniques for biofuel production.

Written by Sabrina Deparine
Monday, 05 July 2010 12:58

A research team from the Biodesign Institute of the Arizona State University has achieved another milestone for the biofuel industry.

In the past week, news broke out that the team has made a new discovery: optimizing the growth conditions of blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) to make these grow abundantly for biofuel production.

The blue-green algae is one of the most attractive feedstock options for biofuels because of its capability to produce 100 times the amount of clean fuel per acre as compared to other types of feedstock. Also, blue-green algae do not have any special requirements. It only requires sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. A few nutrients may be needed for it to survive and to grow exponentially and abundantly. Blue-green algae also eliminate the concerns over requiring vast lands for biofuel production. It can be grown on any location where there is sufficient supply of sunlight and carbon dioxide.

According to Raveender Vannela, a member of the research team, they had discovered the use of a photobioreactor in optimizing the growth of blue-green algae. The said photobioreactor utilizes solar photons as an energy source to convert carbon dioxide in reduced forms. This is epitomizes the cliché that goes “shooting two birds with one stone”. The bioreactor makes use of solar energy for it to run and its output benefits biofuel production. However, the process requires a more delicate and complex interplay of carbon dioxide, phosphorous and light radiation within the photobioreactor for it to optimize the growth of the algae.

For this experiment, Vannela and another researcher, Hyun Woo Kim made use of the Synechocystis PC6803 type of blue-green algae. These were cultivated in a benchtop photobioreactor and were supplied with BG-11, a customary growth medium. The carbon dioxide was manipulated along with the light irradiance and phosphorus content in the plant to boost its growth.

Based on the output of their experiment, it was concluded that blue-green algae are not able to maximize carbon dioxide in their growth cycle so they added phosphorous to the BG-11 medium. This resulted to higher biomass productivity. When the phosphorous has been consumed, the abundant growth of the algae is hampered by the light irradiation and carbon dioxide. What happens is the additional growth results to the crowding of biomass in the photobioreactor vessel so that it blocks the light. This issue can be resolved by more frequent harvesting of the reactor.

If this will be implemented on a large scale, the blue-green algae can get nutrients from other sources like waste streams or harvested biomass. This will form a close-loop, self-sustaining system that harness and produce energy from contaminants and carbon emissions.

Aside from biofuels, blue-green algae can also be used in the manufacturing of chemical-based materials like biopolymers and isoprenes which are used for industrial applications.

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Solar-powered plane lands safely after 26-hour flight. BBC News

8 July 2010
The solar-powered plane lands near Bern

An experimental solar-powered aircraft launched on Wednesday has landed safely in Switzerland after successfully flying through the night.

The feat is a step toward the makers' aim of circling the globe using the power of the Sun to fuel the plane.

The aircraft used super-efficient solar cells and batteries to stay in the air after the Sun's rays had faded.

The plane touched down at an airfield about 30 miles (50 km) from the Swiss capital Bern at 0900 (0700 GMT).

The plane landed at Payerne airport after a total flight time of 26 hours.
During the flight it reached a height of 8,700 m (28,543 ft).
Assistants rushed to stabilise the experimental aircraft as it touched down, ensuring that its huge 63m (207ft) wingspan did not scrape the ground and topple the plane.

It is the longest and highest flight recorded by a solar-powered plane.
The four-engine aircraft was steered by Andre Borschberg, a former fighter jet pilot from Switzerland.

The plane has 12,000 solar cells arranged on its wingspan which collected enough energy to power the plane for the flight.

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