Tag Archives: renewable energy

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

Total planning EV charging points at its French stations – CEO

 total2

French oil and gas giant Total is planning a network of electric vehicle charging points at its petrol stations across France, the company’s Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said on Tuesday.

“We plan to do it. We are thinking of how to equip our stations with electric charging points,” Pouyanne told journalists at the sidelines of the SER renewable energy conference in Paris.

Pouyanne said the company was looking at installing the charging points mostly outside city centres and was talking to car makers such as PSA.

“Our plan consists of looking at how to create a charging point network around French highways to have charging points every 150 or 160 km (100 miles),” he said, adding that there was demand from clients.

“We are preparing the investment for it,” Pouyanne said, adding that Total is targeting about 300 petrol stations. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Geert De Clercq)

Source: Reuters

 

The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me)

Tesla_logo

Background: My day job is running a space transportation company called SpaceX, but on the side I am the chairman of Tesla Motors and help formulate the business and product strategy with Martin and the rest of the team. I have also been Tesla Motor’s primary funding source from when the company was just three people and a business plan.

As you know, the initial product of Tesla Motors is a high performance electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. However, some readers may not be aware of the fact that our long term plan is to build a wide range of models, including affordably priced family cars. This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.

Critical to making that happen is an electric car without compromises, which is why the Tesla Roadster is designed to beat a gasoline sports car like a Porsche or Ferrari in a head to head showdown. Then, over and above that fact, it has twice the energy efficiency of a Prius. Even so, some may question whether this actually does any good for the world. Are we really in need of another high performance sports car? Will it actually make a difference to global carbon emissions?

Well, the answers are no and not much. However, that misses the point, unless you understand the secret master plan alluded to above. Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.

Without giving away too much, I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable. In keeping with a fast growing technology company, all free cash flow is plowed back into R&D to drive down the costs and bring the follow on products to market as fast as possible. When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car.

Now I’d like to address two repeated arguments against electric vehicles — battery disposal and power plant emissions. The answer to the first is short and simple, the second requires a bit of math:

Batteries that are not toxic to the environment!
I wouldn’t recommend them as a dessert topping, but the Tesla Motors Lithium-Ion cells are not classified as hazardous and are landfill safe. However, dumping them in the trash would be throwing money away, since the battery pack can be sold to recycling companies (unsubsidized) at the end of its greater than 100,000-mile design life. Moreover, the battery isn’t dead at that point, it just has less range.

Power Plant Emissions aka “The Long Tailpipe”
(For a more detailed version of this argument, please see the white paper written by Martin and Marc.)

A common rebuttal to electric vehicles as a solution to carbon emissions is that they simply transfer the CO2 emissions to the power plant. The obvious counter is that one can develop grid electric power from a variety of means, many of which, like hydro, wind, geothermal, nuclear, solar, etc. involve no CO2emissions. However, let’s assume for the moment that the electricity is generated from a hydrocarbon source like natural gas, the most popular fuel for new US power plants in recent years.

The H-System Combined Cycle Generator from General Electric is 60% efficient in turning natural gas into electricity. “Combined Cycle” is where the natural gas is burned to generate electricity and then the waste heat is used to create steam that powers a second generator. Natural gas recovery is 97.5% efficient, processing is also 97.5% efficient and then transmission efficiency over the electric grid is 92% on average. This gives us a well-to-electric-outlet efficiency of 97.5% x 97.5% x 60% x 92% = 52.5%.

Despite a body shape, tires and gearing aimed at high performance rather than peak efficiency, the Tesla Roadster requires 0.4 MJ per kilometer or, stated another way, will travel 2.53 km per mega-joule of electricity. The full cycle charge and discharge efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 86%, which means that for every 100 MJ of electricity used to charge the battery, about 86 MJ reaches the motor.

Bringing the math together, we get the final figure of merit of 2.53 km/MJ x 86% x 52.5% = 1.14 km/MJ. Let’s compare that to the Prius and a few other options normally considered energy efficient.

The fully considered well-to-wheel efficiency of a gasoline powered car is equal to the energy content of gasoline (34.3 MJ/liter) minus the refinement & transportation losses (18.3%), multiplied by the miles per gallon or km per liter. The Prius at an EPA rated 55 mpg therefore has an energy efficiency of 0.56 km/MJ. This is actually an excellent number compared with a “normal” car like the Toyota Camry at 0.28 km/MJ.

Note the term hybrid as applied to cars currently on the road is a misnomer. They are really just gasoline powered cars with a little battery assistance and, unless you are one of the handful who have an aftermarket hack, the little battery has to be charged from the gasoline engine. Therefore, they can be considered simply as slightly more efficient gasoline powered cars. If the EPA certified mileage is 55 mpg, then it is indistinguishable from a non-hybrid that achieves 55 mpg. As a friend of mine says, a world 100% full of Prius drivers is still 100% addicted to oil.

The CO2 content of any given source fuel is well understood. Natural gas is 14.4 grams of carbon per mega-joule and oil is 19.9 grams of carbon per mega-joule. Applying those carbon content levels to the vehicle efficiencies, including as a reference the Honda combusted natural gas and Honda fuel cell natural gas vehicles, the hands down winner is pure electric:

Car Energy Source CO2 Content Efficiency CO2 Emissions
Honda CNG Natural Gas 14.4 g/MJ 0.32 km/MJ 45.0 g/km
Honda FCX Nat Gas-Fuel Cell 14.4 g/MJ 0.35 km/MJ 41.1 g/km
Toyota Prius Oil 19.9 g/MJ 0.56 km/MJ 35.8 g/km
Tesla Roadster Nat Gas-Electric 14.4 g/MJ 1.14 km/MJ 12.6 g/km

 

The Tesla Roadster still wins by a hefty margin if you assume the average CO2 per joule of US power production. The higher CO2 content of coal compared to natural gas is offset by the negligible CO2content of hydro, nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar, etc. The exact power production mixture varies from one part of the country to another and is changing over time, so natural gas is used here as a fixed yardstick.

Becoming Energy Positive
I should mention that Tesla Motors will be co-marketing sustainable energy products from other companies along with the car. For example, among other choices, we will be offering a modestly sized and priced solar panel from SolarCity, a photovoltaics company (where I am also the principal financier). This system can be installed on your roof in an out of the way location, because of its small size, or set up as a carport and will generate about 50 miles per day of electricity.

If you travel less than 350 miles per week, you will therefore be “energy positive” with respect to your personal transportation. This is a step beyond conserving or even nullifying your use of energy for transport – you will actually be putting more energy back into the system than you consume in transportation! So, in short, the master plan is:

  1. Build sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

Don’t tell anyone.

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

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.

Solution

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

Solar-city_logo
Tesla_logo
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 www.solarcity.com/batterybackup to inquire about pricing or reserve a system.

Contractor licenses: www.solarcity.com/company/contractor-licenses

 

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.

Solution:

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

Gogoro The Smartscooter of the future

Gogoro unveiled it’s innovative smartscooter which features cutting edge battery technology & sophisticated charging station infrastructure at the CES 2015 show in Las Vegas.

The most interesting Gogoro-Front-Left-Quarter-Viewthing about the company is its swappable battery network it plans on building out in emerging and existing megacities.

The lithium-ion batteries have a more than 60 mile range—similar to what petrol scooter are capable of. When the rider is ready to swap the two batteries in the scooter, she is routed the nearest charging station through the Gogoro app where the charging station pops out two fresh batteries that are tailored to her driving style–if the rider is prone to going fast, they’ll probably need a stronger, fresher battery.

GoStation2

The lithium-ion batteries were developed in partnership with Panasonic using the Japanese company’s cylindrical 18650-size batteries–the same used inside Tesla’s Model S. The batteries have 25 sensors in them and report back to the cloud every 10 minutes about their status. And the battery talks to the vehicle through near field communication (NFC) technology and to your phone through Bluetooth.

All the Gogoro stations will be synced up to determine which station has enough batteries charged to feed demand at particular locations. It’ll learn the behavior of regular users and be able to manage peak energy demands to better fit in with a city’s electricity demand. Batteries will spend their time charging in hours when energy isn’t in such high demand. Blackouts are a frequent issue in some big cities as energy demands spike more and more at certain times with rapid population growth. This is an attempt to offset those peaks.

“As population grows in megacities, electricity demand is only going to increase at that peak,” said Luke. “There’s the potential of charging surplus energy at night and have them ready for the day. … Imagine a world where your vehicle is so connected to the grid that it knows who, when and how you change batteries. You can design a grid that follows that pattern dynamically throughout the day and adjust energy levels to the amount of vehicles on the road.”

The swappable battery idea may bring to some people’s minds the disastrous cleantech failure that was Israel-based electric vehicle startup Better Place, which received nearly a billion in investment. But instead of the big hulking battery swaps that Better Place had to do with its four-wheel cars with the use of robots, you simply swap out two batteries into the Gogoro scooter using your own two hands. This makes installing the charging stations cheaper. To deploy the Gogoro stations, the company said it’ll cost $10,000–much lower cost than Better Place’s $500,000 charging stations.

Of course, the entire model behind Gogoro could fall apart if it never manages to get cities on board to invest and install this infrastructure. Gogoro thinks it’ll need one station per mile in cities to build the infrastructure up enough for the Gogoro system to work. Gogoro is already in talks with several big cities around building this battery infrastructure–including at least one US city. Even though the target is young people in booming urban areas of the developing world, Gogoro plans to have some presence in Europe and the US. Gogoro said we should be seeing rollout plans around building out this charging infrastructure later this year.

No pricetag has been mentioned yet for the scooter, but the model will be centered around leasing the battery. People will buy the vehicle and get access to the charging station network. “We want to make sure the vehicle is accessible,” said Luke. “In EVs today, the battery makes up 40 percent of building costs. Batteries are that expensive. Removing that and the charging circuit reduces the cost of the vehicle. Our model is more of a mobile phone business plan.”

Before Gogoro, Luke had spent his time as the chief innovation officer at Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. But with the saturation of the smartphone market as it’s matured, it’s hard to grow in that space and major innovations soon dry up. “There’s so much money in the phone business that it’s practically like running the Olympics,” said Gogoro cofounder and CTO Matt Taylor, who followed Luke from executive positions at Microsoft and HTC to Gogoro. “You have the best teams at Motorola and Apple working on them. It’s hard to sit back and take a breath and really move things forward.”

Scooters seemed like the perfect place to move things forward—the industry hasn’t moved very far in the past 20 years. There are roughly 200 million scooters worldwide. Many people in the emerging megacities are coming into the middle class and desire a means to get around, but the transportation infrastructure isn’t keeping pace with city growth.

The long-term vision behind Gogoro is all around the battery. Gogoro hopes others will build products on top of the modular battery technology. They’re already talking about how the batteries a few years down the road could be used to serve as backup in server farms and commercial buildings.

“This company is not just about shipping vehicles but about starting a new industry and getting everybody rallied around smart energy,” exclaimed Luke. “We call it the smart scooter, not just the electric scooter. It’s connected, receiving, learning.”

The scooter can do a top speed of 60 Mph and can reach 0-30 in 4.2 seconds.