Nanaimo Green Energy

A team of researchers at MIT has found one of the most effective catalysts ever discovered for splitting oxygen atoms from water molecules -- a key reaction for advanced energy-storage systems, including electrolyzers, to produce hydrogen fuel and rechargeable batteries. This new catalyst liberates oxygen at more than 10 times the rate of the best previously known catalyst of its type.
The new compound, composed of cobalt, iron and oxygen with other metals, splits oxygen from water (called the Oxygen Evolution Reaction, or OER) at a rate at least an order of magnitude higher than the compound currently considered the gold standard for such reactions, the team says. The compound's high level of activity was predicted from a systematic experimental study that looked at the catalytic activity of 10 known compounds.

The team, which includes materials science and engineering graduate student Jin Suntivich, mechanical engineering graduate student Kevin J. May and professor Yang Shao-Horn, published their results in Science on Oct. 28.

The scientists found that reactivity depended on a specific characteristic: the configuration of the outermost electron of transition metal ions. They were able to use this information to predict the high reactivity of the new compound -- which they then confirmed in lab tests.

"We not only identified a fundamental principle" that governs the OER activity of different compounds, "but also we actually found this new compound" based on that principle, says Shao-Horn, the Gail E. Kendall (1978) Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.

Many other groups have been searching for more efficient catalysts to speed the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. This reaction is key to the production of hydrogen as a fuel to be used in cars; the operation of some rechargeable batteries, including zinc-air batteries; and to generate electricity in devices called fuel cells. Two catalysts are needed for such a reaction -- one that liberates the hydrogen atoms, and another for the oxygen atoms -- but the oxygen reaction has been the limiting factor in such systems.

Other groups, including one led by MIT's Daniel Nocera, have focused on similar catalysts that can operate -- in a so-called "artificial leaf" -- at low cost in ordinary water. But such reactions can occur with higher efficiency in alkaline solutions, which are required for the best previously known catalyst, iridium oxide, as well as for this new compound.

Shao-Horn and her collaborators are now working with Nocera, integrating their catalyst with his artificial leaf to produce a self-contained system to generate hydrogen and oxygen when placed in an alkaline solution. They will also be exploring different configurations of the catalyst material to better understand the mechanisms involved. Their initial tests used a powder form of the catalyst; now they plan to try thin films to better understand the reactions.

In addition, even though they have already found the highest rate of activity yet seen, they plan to continue searching for even more efficient catalyst materials. "It's our belief that there may be others with even higher activity," Shao-Horn says.

Jens Norskov, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and director of the Suncat Center for Interface Science and Catalysis there, who was not involved in this work, says, "I find this an extremely interesting 'rational design' approach to finding new catalysts for a very important and demanding problem."

The research, which was done in collaboration with visiting professor Hubert A. Gasteiger (currently a professor at the Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen in Germany) and professor John B. Goodenough from the University of Texas at Austin, was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen Initiative, the National Science Foundation, the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Chesonis Foundation.

Uranium. The Poisons that last Billions of Years. She is 71 years Old. Speaks like
a true from the Heart. Keep Going Dr. Caldicott. We love you.

Quantum Trapping, & Levitation using magnets and extreme cold temperatures

Solar Panels

SOLAR ENERGY FACTS AND MYTHS.... There are many myths about Solar Energy floating 
around, and lately I’ve been hearing many of them repeated in the mainstream media.  Solar power is still a young industry, so that’s understandable, but these misconceptions will never go away unless people start addressing them. If you find any errors on this page, or if you disagree with something I say here, please, comment.

Do your research. We are.

1.-Solar power is basically a mature technology now – this is a multi-billion dollar industry with hundreds of millions in new investments pouring in every week.  The majority of that new investment is to ramp up production of existing technology, not in new research.That said, we’re developing new technology, and we’re going to have a profound impact on the CPV solar farm market as well as the BIPV market.
There’s a big space for new technology in solar, but if discoveries and new technologies stopped happening today, the solar energy market would still be thriving 50 years from now.
2 – Solar power needs storage
Solar power benefits from cheap, efficient storage sure, and on an industrial scale being able to control exactly when you get power is really valuable, the truth is for most users, solar power is producing peak electricity when people need it the most.  Storage would be great for all that cheap morning power that could be stored for use for a couple of hours after sunset, but the peak demand is 2 or 3PM to 7 or 8PM.  
3 – Solar power is too expensive to be viable
Right now, if you compare the average price of electricity today, to the average price of a solar power installation today, it takes between 9 and 16 years for the system to pay for itself.  As an investment, at today’s energy prices, it doesn’t make sense.
Factors to consider:
  • The price of electricity is going up (it’s expected to double in the next five years)
  • The price of oil is much more volatile than anyone predicted 5 years ago. Gas just went up to $1.35/liter in Nanaimo.. wow. 
  • The electricity market was mostly insulated from the recent high prices of oil but that won’t last forever.
  • Cost overruns for current nuclear power projects are running into the billions, which means higher electricity prices or massive tax breaks for nuclear.Not to mention the Japan Earthquake and Nuclear plant disaster.
  • Many proposed coal fired plants are getting blocked by concerned locals.  Concerns voiced include carbon emissions, mercury toxicity and smog.  NIMBY activism against coal plants will only accelerate the increased price of electricity.  (That makes it sound bad, it isn’t, coal plants kill, oppose them where ever and whenever you can.)
  • We’re eventually going to put some kind of price, tax or disincentive on carbon emissions.  This is going to hit us at the electrical meter unless we’re in an area with a strong renewable portfolio.
These are literally just off the top of my head examples, there are literally hundreds of factors that can impact global, national or local electricity prices and energy security.  So, in a perfect world, it’s true, solar is just too expensive. Given the reality of the world we live in, solar isn’t such a bad bet.  Of course, the fact that solar is rapidly declining in price doesn’t hurt either.
4 – Grid parity is too far away, or grid parity is some specific number
Grid parity is the point where generating electricity through solar power costs as much or less than the average price of generating electricity.I’ve seen people refer to grid parity like it’s some fixed number, ignoring the fact that people living next door to each other in California aren’t necessarily paying the same for their electricity.  Never mind the price difference in electricity between Seattle and San Diego or San Francisco and Cleveland.The price of electricity is variable throughout the day (highest between 2PM and 7PM) and variable depending on where you are.  So grid parity is a moving target, and since the price of electricity is going up, it’s a fun target to shoot for if you’re a solar power company.
Also, remember that when solar power is producing electricity, the price is at it’s highest.  If you look at total output to average price, solar is near parity right now. If you look at daytime output to compared to daytime electricity prices, some solar installations are at grid parity now.
5 – Coal power is cheaper than Solar power
Coal production in the US is so heavily subsidized in so many ways it’s frightening.  I won’t go into it here, but spend a couple of minutes at, or even just do a google image search for “Mountain top removal mining
Really, if you believe that this:
Mountaintop removal site near Blair
Mountain Top Removal Mine near Blair, West Virginia, original image found at:
and this:
A coal fired power plant
A Coal Power Plant, original image from Greenpeace Public Images:
are cheaper than this:

Solar Panels, image licenced from Dreamstime Images.
You’re a sucker.
6 – Solar power can only exist with subsidies/tax breaks
This was actually true in most places for most solar power technologies.This is however no longer the case. There is an aggressive Canadian subsidies program that has made solar energy very profitable. It started 8 months ago in Ontario and will be in British Columbia in the very near future. We are preparing to be one of the first in line for this opportunity. 
The reason it can’t compete, yet, on a large scale, is partly because every other form of energy is heavily subsidized as well and partly because true, industry-wide economies of scale haven’t truly kicked in yet. Coal, oil, natural gas, hydro electric, nuclear… all of those industries get money from the government and lots of it. Solar companies would love a level playing field, either remove the subsidies from the competitors (not realistic), or give us a taste. Solar really only needs a little, and the ideal model is based on a feed-in tariff so the subsidies are power output driven.  Traditional energy also has decades, in some cases, centuries of industry establishment, solar is catching up, but it’ll take another few years.
That said, with the price of electricity in many parts of the North America expected to double in the next five years, and the price definitely rising rapidly everywhere, combined with the falling price of different solar technologies, solar power won’t even need a level playing field soon enough. In as little as five years, unsubsidized solar will be a cost effective way to generate electricity in most places. 
7 – Solar power needs extremely intense sun to work (solar isn’t for Canada, New York, the UK etc)
For now, the real cost considerations for solar are the regulatory environment and the price of electricity. I know this slightly contradicts what I said in myth 6, but note the clever inclusion of the words “for now“.  Barry Cinnamon, the CEO and founder of Akeena Solar, outlined this better than I ever could in thispodcast (definitely worth a listen).
If you go to solar conferences, especially conferences in the US South West and California, they’ll show you these beautiful NREL Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) maps.
NREL Direct Normal Irradiance US Map, original image URL:
They’ll talk about land speculation in the Mojave desert and write off solar development in the rest of the US.  Here’s Germany’s DNI map:
Germany DNI Map
Germany DNI Map
Germany is the currently biggest solar energy market in the world.  If intense direct sunlight was an absolute requirement for a viable solar market, then that would be impossible.  Spain and Japan also have large and growing solar energy markets, and neither has sunlight like the Mojave. Spain averages between 6.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day depending on the region.) In every case it’s not the amount of sun, but a positive regulatory environment, and expensive electricity.
Having lots of intense sun is great, but Ontario up here in Canada is going to out pace many US states for solar (including Southern states), mark my words.
8 – The only viable solar power technology is…
I’ve heard enough versions of this many times, people who latch onto thin film or Concentrated solar thermal and treat all other solar technologies like they’re trivial sideshows or over hyped non-starters. Some people have this weird tendency to latch onto a single metric and then just over simplify the market and dismiss amazing or at least viable technologies.
Thin film is cheap and getting cheaper, but it’s not very efficient and needs lots of space to generate power. Concentrated Solar Thermal can store heat for use later, but needs perfect site conditions or the price goes up. No solar power technology is a one size fits all solution; all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Basically, I’m not even going to waste my time on this one, if you really think there’s only one “real” solar power technology, then you’re wrong.
9 – Solar is a bad investment compared to other alternative energy sources
This one I’ve heard often, and it’s not as crazy as myth number 8. Solar is still the most expensive, although the degree to which that’s true is less every day.
Most solar technologies are on the high end of the price scale, but solar technology prices are falling fast so the graph below will be out of date very soon (it is already actually).
Costs of Different Renewable Energies in California
Costs of Different Renewable Energies in California
ALL renewable energy sources need to be explored, and all of them, including solar, have their strengths and weaknesses. Per watt, wind is cheaper than solar, but wind tends to produce more power in the evenings and at night than in day which doesn’t fit a demand curve as well as wind proponents would like.Geothermal is an excellent source of energy that we should explore more of, but it’s not appropriate for all locations. The beauty of solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable power sources is that once you’ve built the systems, the fuel is free.
As a society, we need all the energy we can get. Look at Google – right now they’re building data centres where the power is, not necessarily where the users are. Power availability is the key driver for them when choosing a data centre location. We need all the power we can get, and renewable energy absolutely has to be part of our power portfolio.
And finally…
10 – Solar power will save us from global warming
If only that wasn’t a myth.
But the truth is that no amount of renewable energy adoption and investment is realistically going to stop global warming. The US and the rest of the West have designed their entire economies around the idea that oil and coal are cheap and unlimited, and that burning them is a good idea. Emerging economies like China and India are working hard to copy the same model.
The fact that neither coal nor oil are unlimited, and that there’s nothing written in stone about them being or staying cheap means that we’ve built everything on a set of false premises. That we’re discovering now that there are long term environmental consequences really just means we need to examine a broken system sooner, and that the system was more broken than we expected.
Solar power and other forms of renewable energy, and the inevitable hydrogen economy that will follow in post oil days will do many things, but only a serious, wide scale and major commitment at a society and individual level will stop global warming (if it isn’t already too late). Renewable energy will help certainly, and solar power has a role to play in the solution.

1 comment:

  1. United Conveyor Corporation has earned a reputation for providing quality service and great products to their customers in every aspect of a project. They offer great customer service and provide various services and products that include silo unloading, pneumatic conveying, fly ash handling , and various other ash handling systems to help your plants performance.