Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Tesla to pair world’s largest lithium ion battery with Neoen wind farm in SA


The South Australian Government has teamed up with Tesla to roll out the world's largest virtual...

The world’s largest lithium ion battery will be installed in South Australia under a historic agreement between French renewable energy company Neoen, US sustainable energy company Tesla and the South Australian Government.

The energy storage systems from Tesla will be paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm and installed before summer.

Confirming the commitment from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to deliver the battery within 100 days or it is free, it has been agreed between Tesla and the South Australian Government that the starting date for the 100 days will be once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

After leading the nation in renewable energy, the 100MW / 129MWh battery places South Australia at the forefront of global energy storage technology.

The battery will operate at all times providing stability services for renewable energy, and will be available to provide emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy is predicted.

The deal will also bring other investments by both Neoen and Tesla into South Australia’s economy, with details to be announced in the future.

The selection of Neoen will also strengthen South Australia’s links with France’s high-tech sector and reinforce the State’s world-leading role in tackling global warming.


Wind power with battery storage has been recommended through the Finkel Review as well as AEMO’s recent reports to provide energy system security services – this plan delivers on these objectives.

Neoen was selected on a merit basis after a multi-stage procurement process attracted around 90 responses to the Expression of Interest, with 14 proponents invited to supply, and 5 shortlisted for detailed assessment.

The consortium demonstrated it is capable of delivering 100MW of capacity by December 1 and provided a highly competitive commercial offer with the best value for money.

Neoen and Tesla have a track record in comparable scale projects, and are committed to deliver on time at the lowest cost with a suite of value-adding initiatives.

In March, the State Government announced a plan for South Australia to take charge of its energy future, ensuring our State would become more self-reliant.

Find out more about this project at

Hytera provide Communications for Galloper Offshore Wind Farm

Supporting the Evolution of Offshore Comms Systems

Scheduled to become operational in 2018, Galloper Offshore Wind Farm is currently under construction 50km off the Suffolk coast. As Galloper will become one of the biggest offshore Wind Farms in British waters, reliable communications are essential not just to organise work, but also to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Adobe Stock 52465071

Enabling Offshore Communications

Galloper’s Principal Marine Services contractor, James Fisher Marine Services, selected Lowestoft-based Fern Communications, an authorised Hytera dealer, to develop a purpose-built Hytera radio communication solution for the area.

FernCom was initially tasked with enabling communications along the Galloper transit routes and across the Galloper Field, which they achieved by installing a multi-site, multi-channel Hytera system. Soon after however, they were challenged by other subcontractors to develop a similar communications solution, which was when they conceptualised Wavecom.

This digital trunked radio system is powered by a Hytera Tier III solution and provides coverage to all existing and future planned wind farm sites. Designed to deliver multiple operators and subcontractors with reliable communications across a wide area, Hytera’s digital trunked radio solution is intended to manage high radio traffic, maximising available capacity across user groups along the single and multi-site geographies.

Why Digital Trunking is Different

Conventional systems operate dedicated channels, each of which is allocated to a specific user group. If you want to communicate with a particular group you need to manually select the correct channel.

With a trunked system however, radio channels can be pooled by multiple user groups and if one users wants to speak to another in a different group, the system dynamically finds and assigns a free radio channel.

Integrated System

The Wavecom System is integrated with a range of Hytera portable radios with Marine VHF, data messaging and dispatcher workstations.

The chosen radio handset is the Hytera PD755, which was selected due it its digital display and rugged, waterproof design – all fundamental given the working environment.

The inclusion of the Hytera SmartXPT dispatcher console provides a centralised control hub to manage and direct the DMR radio fleet; the Management Team can also benefit from a wide range of features such as text messaging capabilities to single or multiple handsets and voice transmission recording. Another exclusive feature offered by SmartXPT is crosspatch that allows two separate companies working on site to communicate through a private channel for inter-company coms.

A Purpose-Built System that Delivers

Wavecom offers a high level of redundancy and is monitored by a comprehensive diagnostic alarm control system designed and built by FernCom to monitor the environmental conditions in which the communications equipment is kept. Sensors are set-up to identify issues with power, cables or antenna and any problems will trigger an alert to the dedicated support team who can resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Siemens Games, Wavecom’s first customer, is using the system to integrate their offshore Marine Control Centre with portables and vessel radios working in the ports, the transit routes and the Galloper Field. The users have always had difficulty operating the hand portable radios inside turbine towers at sea, but Wavecom’s unique solution and the Hytera devices ensure they can now communicate with the wider system.

FernCom – Industry Thought leaders

Thanks to the thought leadership and innovation at FernCom, combined with the leading Hytera digital solutions, offshore coverage for radio comms is now supported.

To recognise the outstanding work undertaken in developing Wavecom, FernCom engineer James Cleverly was recently awarded the Hytera Engineering Award – launched to recognise the skill of the top engineers in the radio industry.

Source: Hytera

NFC Transit Card The Smart Way For Payments On Singapore’s Transport System

Solar Power Could Be Harvested In Space And Beamed Back To Earth

Space Age Solar Power

Solar installations have increasingly become popular here on Earth. In some cities, it appears that almost every roof is covered by at least a solar water heater and in other locations solar electricity generation setups have sprung up like wildfire. But one idea is to move large scale power generation out into space where there is plenty of room and little limitation on the supply of solar energy.

The basic concept sounds workable. A giant power station in orbit around the earth traps ever present sunlight with the help of thousands of photovoltaic (PV) panels. 24 hour sunshine is guaranteed because of the orbit. The light is converted into electricity and then a technological breakthrough is required to transfer the power down to Earth. Obviously the idea of having a huge, dangling transmission wire connecting he space based power station and a collection point on Earth is totally impractical, in part because of the relative movement of the power station and the planet.

The breakthrough would be to beam the power down in the form of microwaves, almost like giant versions of what is used every day for communication by satellite. The power stations would be about 20,000 miles up in space which is around the same distance that orbiting satellites are located. This would entail huge antennas on Earth to capture the energy carried by the microwaves and convert it back into usable electricity. From there, the distribution to transformers and utility grids would be taken care of by existing technology.

Public suspicion of what the health issues are with microwaves emanating from space of the size envisaged should be countered by the fact that the energy levels of the microwave beams would actually be quite low.

The main obstacle that would need to be surmounted is more of a financial one. The cost of putting solar power stations would be very high and the only way to make space solar economic would be to cut down the weight of the equipment much more than it is at the moment.

Several companies are working on solar space power stations and think that the first commercially viable one may be ready for operation in around a decade.

Source: Solar Action Alliance

Lampposts to Charge Electric Cars



Street lights would double up as charging points for electric cars under a scheme to cut vehicle emissions, which is in line for government funding.

The so-called light and charge technology has been developed by BMW and is due to be tried out in Germany next year.

It could also be tested here after being shortlisted for funding as part of a £35m Department for Transport scheme to create “ultra low emission” eco-cities.

Also among the dozen ideas under consideration are smartphone-style charging points with internet access; tax breaks for employees who buy low emission cars through salary sacrifice schemes; electric car pools; and scrappage schemes encouraging drivers to swap their vehicles for low-emission versions.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We are determined to maintain international leadership on the uptake of ultra low-emission vehicles.”



“Light and Charge is a simple and innovative solution which aims to seamlessly integrate a smoothly functioning charging station network into the urban landscape,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, speaking at the official inauguration of the first two integrated street light / charging station systems. “The BMW i ChargeNow card already offers access to the world’s largest network of charging stations, and now it gives us great pleasure, in cooperation with our partners, to further expand this network with the help of the Light and Charge project. After all, a seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future.”

With its modular LED design, the Light and Charge street light is much more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and provides more effective illumination. It can be installed anywhere and its modular design can to be tailored to different locations. Up to four LED modules can be used to provide night-time lighting on main roads, while one or two modules are sufficient to provide agreeable lighting on side streets and in residential areas. As is already the case with vehicle headlights, LED technology allows more targeted light distribution with less unnecessary and ecologically undesirable “scatter”.

With the development of the Light and Charge system, the BMW Group has signalled its commitment to the deployment of a seamless charging station infrastructure for electric vehicles. The solution it is developing in cooperation with the city of Munich can be grafted straight onto the existing local authority street lighting infrastructure, substantially increasing the number of public charging stations at a stroke. The pilot project will be launched in Munich next year. EV charging stations can be set up at any location where suitable parking is available, simply by replacing conventional street lights with Light and Charge systems.

The EV charging cable connects to a standard connector on the Light and Charge street light. The integrated control panel allows drivers to start charging with a simple press of a button. The electricity used is billed via the BMW i ChargeNow network – a system already familiar to users of the large numbers of public charging stations already participating in this network. Worldwide, the ChargeNow network already offers BMW i customers approximately 18,000 charging stations. In Europe, the concept of provider-independent charging can be further optimised with the help of the Hubject “e-roaming” platform. The Light and Charge systems presented and in use in Munich have been designed from the start for integration into the ChargeNow network and the Hubject platform. That will allow these additional charging stations to be used by as many drivers as possible, regardless of vehicle model and electricity provider.

Source: The Sunday Times/BMW


Ubitricity opens up new avenues in electric mobility using Vodafone M2M



Ubiquitous electricity. That’s the idea behind this Berlin-based energy company — to make electric mobility more efficient and affordable for electric car owners.

Business Need

Electricity is available almost everywhere but it is not given away for free in most places. What is missing is an economical solution for accessing the power supply and billing for the energy consumed.


Ubitricity operates a virtual grid, and has developed a billing platform and smart network as part of the package it provides. Vodafone has worked with ubitricity to develop this innovative solution, using its Global M2M Platform. A Vodafone M2M SIM card is permanently installed in the intelligent charging cables. It communicates with the ubitricity back- end via the Vodafone Global M2M Platform and controls the activation and billing of the respective charging process.

For the implementation of the innovative ubitricity concept, Vodafone individually adapted the M2M platform to the requirements of intelligent charging management to the ubitricity billing system. The international availability of the Vodafone Global M2M Platform allows ubitricity to offer and operate its solution not only in Germany but also abroad – which in turn is an important prerequisite for the acceptance of such a mobility concept.

Business Benefits

  • The intelligent ubitricity solution offers charging-point provider’s savings of up to 90 percent both in terms of acquisition and ongoing operating cost.
  • Powerful, reliable and flexible M2M platform
  • Individual adaptation of the platform to the requirements of the intelligent charging solution for electric cars has been realised.
  • International availability and Worldwide network coverage
 The flexible and powerful M2M platform of Vodafone is a central component of our solution and our business model in Germany. Knut Hechtfischer, CEO and co-founder, ubitricity

SolarCity & Tesla create residential solar battery backup system

SolarCity incorporates new Tesla battery to create turnkey residential solar battery backup system – system cost reductions are over 60% lower than previous product; cost breakthrough also results in greater savings for business and government customers.

In an important step toward the distributed electricity grid of the future, SolarCity will make more affordable battery storage available to residential, business and government customers across the U.S., and remote communities around the world. SolarCity Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive provided additional detail about the rollout tonight in a post on the company’s blog.

For businesses and government organizations, SolarCity will incorporate the new Tesla battery into its DemandLogic energy storage system to significantly increase the utility cost savings customers can realize from using stored solar electricity.  DemandLogic, which is being adopted by several of the largest retail, biotech and Internet companies in the U.S., allows businesses to reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to reduce peak demand, and can also provide backup power during grid outages. DemandLogic’s management software automates the discharge of stored energy to optimize savings on utility demand charges for customers.

For remote communities around the world, SolarCity will incorporate the new Tesla battery into its GridLogicmicrogrid service. GridLogic combines distributed energy resources—solar energy systems, batteries and controllable load—to enable a cleaner, more resilient and more affordable way of providing power. SolarCity’s microgrid service will ensure that any community anywhere in the world vulnerable to power outages and high energy costs—including remote or island communities, hospitals and military bases—can have dependable, clean power off-grid, when the grid is down. GridLogic can operate either in conjunction with or independently of the utility grid.

For residential solar customers, SolarCity will provide a turnkey battery backup service that includes permitting, installation and ongoing monitoring. Equipment includes Tesla’s home battery, the Tesla Powerwall, which consists of an advanced hybrid solar/battery, inverter and monitoring and control systems. The fully-installed system stores electricity generated from the solar power system, using that power to automatically provide backup power during utility grid outages. SolarCity’s battery backup service replaces noisy, dirty fossil fuel generators with zero-emission storage technology. Roughly the size of a suitcase, the sleek, enclosed pack can be easily mounted on indoor or outdoor walls.  When a power outage occurs, the control system immediately begins feeding power to the home from the solar system and the battery to continue operating the most commonly needed, eligible circuits selected by the customer, including the refrigerator, lighting, computer, alarm system and electrical outlets. When the battery is depleted, it can be recharged by solar power even if the outage continues for multiple days.

Incorporating Tesla’s new battery technology, SolarCity is now able to configure a solar system (along with other energy management technologies) as a stand-alone, off-grid power supply.  SolarCity plans to first offer these off-grid systems to eligible Hawaii customers that might otherwise be prevented from using solar power.

The combination of solar power generation and battery storage will make the utility grid safer and less susceptible to service interruptions, and will also lower the cost to expand and maintain the grid. SolarCity’s energy storage rollout supports efforts already underway in multiple states to integrate aggregated storage capacity with existing grid resources. A distributed network of solar power systems and energy storage devices can also make renewable energy available on demand to utilities and their customers. In the future, distributed solar and storage resources are likely to become marketable assets, and homeowners and businesses may be able to collect revenues by providing self-generated, clean energy to others.

SolarCity will begin taking orders for the new energy storage systems on May 1st and expects to begin installing customers in October. SolarCity will initially make its battery backup options available only to new solar customers in the company’s current service area, and will accommodate customers on a first-come, first-served basis. The company plans to make the battery backup system available to its existing solar customers later this year. Off-grid solutions offered in Hawaii are expected to become available in the first half of 2016. Potential customers can call 888-765-2489 or visit to inquire about pricing or reserve a system.

Contractor licenses:


New lithium-ion battery design that’s 2,000 times more powerful, recharges 1,000 times faster

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new lithium-ion battery technology that is 2,000 times more powerful than comparable batteries. According to the researchers, this is not simply an evolutionary step in battery tech, “It’s a new enabling technology… it breaks the normal paradigms of energy sources. It’s allowing us to do different, new things.”

Currently, energy storage is all about trade-offs. You can have lots of power (watts), or lots of energy (watt-hours), but you can’t generally have both. Supercapacitors can release a massive amount of power, but only for a few seconds; fuel cells can store a vast amount of energy, but are limited in their peak power output. This a problem because most modern applications of bleeding-edge tech — smartphones, wearable computers, electric vehicles — require large amounts of power and energy. Lithium-ion batteries are currently the best solution for high-power-and-energy applications, but even the best li-ion battery designs demand that industrial designers and electronic engineers make serious trade-offs when creating a new device.

Which brings us neatly onto the University of Illinois’ battery, which has a higher power density than a supercapacitor, and yet comparable energy density to current nickel-zinc and lithium-ion batteries. According to the university’s press release, this new battery could allow for wireless devices to transmit their signals 30 times farther — or, perhaps more usefully, be equipped with a battery that’s 30 times smaller. If that wasn’t enough, this new battery is rechargeable — and can be charged 1,000 times faster than conventional li-ion batteries. In short, this is a dream battery. (See: DoE calls for a chemical battery with 5x capacity, within 5 years – can it be done?)

Diagram illustrating the University of Illinois' 3D anode/cathode fabrication

These huge advances stem from a brand new cathode and anode structure, pioneered by the University of Illinois researchers. In essence, a standard li-ion battery normally has a solid, two-dimensional anode made of graphite and a cathode made of a lithium salt. The new Illinois battery, on the other hand, has a porous, three-dimensional anode and cathode. To create this new electrode structure, the researchers build up a structure of polystyrene (Styrofoam) on a glass substrate, electrodeposit nickel onto the polystyrene, and then electrodeposit nickel-tin onto the anode and manganese dioxide onto the cathode. The diagram above does a good job of explaining the process.

The end result is that these porous electrodes have a massive surface area, allowing for more chemical reactions to take place in a given space, ultimately providing a massive boost to discharge speed (power output) and charging. So far, the researchers have used this tech to create a button-sized microbattery, and you can see in the graph below how well their battery compares to a conventional Sony CR1620 button cell. The energy density is slightly lower, but the power density is 2,000 times greater. On the opposite end of the bleeding-edge spectrum — increased energy density, but lower power density — thenIBM’s lithium-air battery currently leads the pack.

Energy density vs. power density for a variety of battery technologies, including University of Illinois' new microstructured anode/cathode li-ion battery

In real-world use, this tech will probably be used to equip consumer devices with batteries that are much smaller and lighter — imagine a smartphone with a battery the thickness of a credit card, which can be recharged in a few seconds. There will also be plenty of applications outside the consumer space, in high-powered settings such as lasers and medical devices, and other areas that normally use supercapacitors, such as Formula 1 cars and fast-recharge power tools. For this to occur, though, the University of Illinois will first have to prove that their technology scales to larger battery sizes, and that the production process isn’t prohibitively expensive for commercial production. Here’s hoping.

Research paper: doi:10.1038/ncomms2747 – “High-power lithium ion microbatteries from interdigitated three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous electrodes”

Source: Sebastian Anthony

Co-Star supply Power-Sonic Rechargeable batteries 

Vodafone provides M2M connectivity for BBOXX Smart Power

BBOXX ensures reliable energy for remote communities worldwide using Vodafone M2M


BBOXX was founded in 2010 to provide “an on-grid experience in an off-grid world”. The company’s smart solar units can be activated, updated and managed centrally. It distributes to 40+ countries, though its primary markets are Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. BBOXX aims to have four million smart solar units in operation by 2020.


An estimated 1.3 billion people go without reliable electricity. This has a tremendous impact on health, education and productivity across large parts of Africa and Asia. These communities tend to be rural and hard to reach. On-grid solutions are unlikely.

Business Need:

BBOXX is the brainchild of three graduates of Imperial College, London. The final-year project to deliver electricity to a village in Rwanda has turned into a serious, global business proposition designing, manufacturing and distributing solar systems. Fundamental to this solution is connectivity and the means to manage this globally from a single platform.


The BBOXX solution is a smart solar power generator, capable of being managed centrally. Remote monitoring allows BBOXX to check for faults, install firmware updates and shut down the units in the event of missed payments. Vodafone M2M SIMs installed in every solar unit mean BBOXX can deploy quickly anywhere in the world. Five thousand units have already been deployed, there are a further 6,000 in production and 8,000 on order. BBOXX aims to have 100,000 units in the market by the end of 2016, mostly in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Business Benefits:

  • Enables BBOXX to launch robust, off-grid power unit, with means to serve rural communities
  • Single Global SIM enables the business to plan for expansion from 1,000 units to four million within six years
  • Provides a real-time view of customer usage, payments and SIM control from a single Global platform
  • Builds a detailed picture of off-grid energy use, invaluable for next rounds of funding

The units can be up and running almost out-of-the-box. Activation takes less than an hour, managed from London. We have units operational in more than 12 countries, from Ghana to Pakistan – this would not have been possible without Vodafone. Chris Baker-Brian, Chief Technology Officer, BBOXX

Source: Vodafone

Ericsson Connected Traffic Cloud to support World Solar challenge team


Ericsson supports Solar Team Eindhoven in World Solar Challenge


  • Ericsson signs partnership agreement with Eindhoven University of Technology’s Solar Team Eindhoven
  • Solar Team Eindhoven will build a solar-powered, four-seat family car capable of traveling 3,000 km while recharging only once
  • Ericsson will contribute an application that will optimize the vehicle’s route, conserve energy and increase Solar Team Eindhoven’s chances of success

Ericsson  today announced a development partnership with Solar Team Eindhoven – a multidisciplinary team of 21 students from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Solar Team Eindhoven won the inaugural Cruiser Class of the World Solar Challenge in 2013 – a 3,000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia – and will aim to retain its title in the second running this year. The World Solar Challenge is the ultimate race for solar-powered vehicles and encourages teams to push the limits of technology.

Solar Team Eindhoven will build a solar-powered, four-seat family car capable of traveling 3,000 km while only once recharging its battery from the grid. Ericsson will contribute an application based on the Connected Traffic Cloud, launched at Mobile World Congress 2015.

Connected Traffic Cloud is a managed cloud platform that enables two-way sharing of data between connected vehicles and road traffic authorities. For the purposes of the World Solar Challenge, Connected Traffic Cloud will be used to provide a competitive advantage for Solar Team Eindhoven by aggregating car, traffic and weather data, performing in-depth analytics and selecting an optimal route. By minimizing braking and acceleration, Connected Traffic Cloud will help to conserve energy and increase Solar Team Eindhoven’s chances of success.

Orvar Hurtig, Head of Industry & Society at Ericsson, says: “Partnering with Solar Team Eindhoven gives Ericsson a great opportunity to demonstrate the potential of Connected Traffic Cloud and our transport portfolio in general. This is also a great way to show how our solutions contribute to a sustainable future. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise while working with this enthusiastic team of students.”

Tom Selten, Solar Team Eindhoven 2015 team manager, says: “At the moment we are working on designing a brand new solar-powered family car with an incredible range of 1,500 kilometers. Although we will obviously benefit from having designed the winning entry in 2013, the new car is a clean-sheet design that will be equipped with an Ericsson application that enables us to optimize our route. Efficiency will be even more important this year, as competitors in the Cruiser Class will only be able to recharge once – compared to three times in 2013.”

Winning the World Solar Challenge 2015 would help to demonstrate the potential of Connected Traffic Cloud, but it is also an ideal showcase for Ericsson’s ability to contribute to a sustainable future.

Source: Ericsson