Tag Archive | "renewables"

UAE collaborates with World Energy Council for ADSW

Last week, the UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Energy Council (WEC) to be the capital host of the WEC Energy Leader Dialogue (WELD) during next January’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
The dialogue will be held under the theme of ‘Energy Challenges to 2050: Balancing the need for Energy Security, Energy Access and Environmental Impact Mitigation’.

It will bring together global energy leaders to focus on critical and emerging energy issues such as the energy-water nexus, renewables and energy access, as well as the outlook and implications of the shale gas revolution.

Dr Al Zeyoudi, the director of the Climate Change and Energy Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Adding the WEC platform to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week enhances the discussion of how global energy options can be shaped and leveraged for the sustainability of the industry.”

UAE has announced its intention to bid for the 2019 World Energy Congress when the process begins in January next year.

ADSW which will take place from January 18 to 24, is one of the world’s largest annual sustainability events, drawing over 30,000 public and private sector delegates from some 160 countries. It includes the World Future Energy Summit, the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, the International Water Summit and the award ceremony of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s leading sustainable energy honour.


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Liquid air technology to boost renewables

The report, “Liquid Air Technologies – a guide to the potential”, launched in the British Parliament yesterday shows how liquid air could help balance an electricity grid increasingly dominated by discontinuous renewables. Liquid air technology could also provide an energy storage, reduce CO2 and convert waste heat into usable energy.

The report was published by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures, Liquid Air Energy Network and the University of Birmingham.

The report explains how some renewable energy could be used to liquefy air as a means of storing energy, which could then be used to generate electricity when needed, and provide a convenient and low cost fuel for vehicles including buses and lorries.

A number of UK technologies are in development and demonstration with significant Government
support, including transport applications starting field trials next year. Transportation could be the first market with a secured a grant from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, to build and test a liquid air engine fitted in a commercial vehicle.

The report summarises the environmental and economic potential of each of the various liquid air technologies currently available or being developed, and then explores how these could integrate into the wider energy system to form a ‘liquid air economy’.

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Reaching the peek

Despite decades of being thoroughly maligned by most of the world, the Oil and Gas sector still controls the majority of the planet’s energy resources. BGreen looks at the concept of peak oil and what that means for resource efficiency in the industry

The International Energy Agency’s 2012 report states that no more than one-third of existing fossil fuel reserves can be burned by 2050 if the world is to prevent global warming exceeding the danger point of two degrees Celsius. This means that short of leaving almost all of the world’s current levels of coal, oil and gas untouched, the future remains grim, with an expected onslaught of supercharged heat waves, floods and hurricanes across the world in decades to come.

Peak oil
Peak oil describes the point at which the production of petroleum reaches its final high point and starts an inevitable decline. As a limited resource, oil has time limit, although projections remain conflicted as to when we can expect to hit a global peak. Some academics suggest that the worldwide peak is merely years away, suggesting that when we reach that terminal point, a massive economic backlash may be unavoidable. Many governments and energy consortiums believe that the peak is at least a few decades away, arguing that as oil extraction becomes increasingly expensive, the free market will naturally correct the global overreliance on fossil fuel while driving the alternative energy sector.

Emissions and climate change
Following the theory that we may be close to reaching peak oil, a decline in oil production could result in economic downturn. While this would most likely cut down the global rate of carbon emissions, just as other recessions have done, but even a very severe global recession may not be substantially reduce emissions to mitigate climate change. The long-term impact of reaching peak oil could be to accelerate global warming, as scarcity of crude oil could encourage even more carbon-intensive fuel extraction, such as oil extracted from tar sands or coal-based “synfuel.”

The resource constraints of synthetic fuels production are clear, hinging on the age-old the energy water nexus. The large amount of water needed for extraction places a strain on the environment, especially in the arid regions where coal and oil shale reserves lie.
The main use of water in synfuels production is in hydrogenation to improve the hydrogen to carbon ratio of the product fuel, cooling, and mining and residuals disposal.

Peak oil and renewables
Reaching peak oil could alternatively fuel rapid growth in the renewable energy sector. Anticipating that peak point could be one of the reasons for increased global investment in alternative sources of power. According to the IEA, renewables will become the second-largest source of electricity generation by 2015, and energy efficient practices can reduce one-fifth of the world’s current demand in the next twenty years.

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Testing the water

In the face of a potential energy crisis, Ras Al Khaimah is planning to resolve its energy problem with a large-scale sea-based project that could finally realise the huge potential of solar power

While the search for practical alternative energy sources has given way to some extreme ideas, such as theories promoting cars powered on urine and exercise bikes powering gyms, the ambitious commitment to industrial growth by UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah’s is making the bizarre a reality.

Now in the second phase of testing, 10 solar tracking modules off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah are currently floating on a raft so big it can be seen from space.
Upon completion, a series of these islands will be used to create enough energy to power the emirate.
RAK’s solar islands will consist of giant circular panels, measuring 20m high and between 500m and 5km in diameter.
Using solar thermal technology, the panels will track the path of the sun to maximise the amount of energy captured. The heat then generates steam that can be transformed into hydrogen and electricity.
As the prototype island currently stands, it is the largest and lightest high-precision solar tracking surface in the world.
CSEM-UAE chief executive Dr Hamid Kayal said: “The objective of the prototype is to make the studies on solar energy conversion yield and on running cost.
From these studies we will be able to determine the economical size of the solar islands by type of market.
“The objective is to propose solutions competitive to the price of a kilowatt of energy produced from fossil fuel.
“It’s a three step process,” pointed out Kayal. “In July we successfully completed phase one, which tested the precision of the solar tracking, and we are now ready to begin testing the technology as one module of solar collectors has been built.
“The third phase is expected to begin by the end of 2011, but could be much earlier — we will then test the thermal design of the steam circuitry.”
The technology has been produced by Swiss research centre CSEM and the government of RAK, under a division called CSEM-UAE. RAK’s government holds a 51% share in the company and the project is to be delivered in conjunction with fellow subcontractors Nolaris.
To date, the objective is to test the technology before introducing industry and academic partners in the UAE and Switzerland, to further develop the use and application of the power captured.
Despite the extensive R&D phase, this is not simply a mad hatter plot to create the biggest solar device the world has ever known. 
A report produced last year by Oxford Business Group claimed power shortages were the biggest hurdle to RAK’s industrial development.
As the primary manufacturer of the region’s cement and pharmaceuticals, industry requires 35-55% of the emirate’s entire power supply.
Energy consumption rates are so high, many businesses depend on generators and export gas may soon be needed for domestic use.
Investing in the future
The search for viable a solution falls to the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA);.
The Authority has so far donated 87,000m2 of land to CSEM-UAE to allow construction of the prototype, a photovoltaic performance test centre and a solar thermal test centre.
The site is now a hub for academic research with partners including the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology.
By 2012 it could also be used to pioneer a solar and waste heat water desalination plant, with an additional outdoor solar cool R&D facility will be fully operational by the start of 2011.
Developing solar power to continue the emirate’s industrial activities may appear to be an oxymoron, but RAKIA said it complements its “commitment to environmental causes and efforts to reduce RAK’s carbon footprint.”
A spokesperson from RAKIA told BuildGreen there is a future need to attract a different kind of business. 
“This is one of the goals,” remarked RAKIA’s representative. 
“We aim to build one of the world’s largest solar infrastructure facilities for R&D that is open to worldwide industrial and academic cooperation so as to create a platform to develop solutions adapted to the GCC region, and to attract related industrial activity.”
The science
The harnessing of solar power is categorised as active or passive capture; active capture uses photovoltaic panels to directly convert sunlight while passive capture, as is used on the solar islands, tracks the sun to capture heat which is used to create steam and drive turbines.
The main advantage of solar thermal is that it allows energy to be used when there is no sun.
PTL provide affordable renewable solutions in the Middle East and Africa and have asserted the need for solar energy to extend beyond industry and sustainability.
Muhammad Shahzad Qaiser, PTL Solar assistant manager — marketing, commented: “Our need for energy competes directly with our requirement for modern materials.
“Even without considering environmental impacts, it is clear that at some stage we will not be able to meet our ever increasing energy needs from a finite supply of these non-renewable resources.”
Studies by PTL indicate the adoption of solar technology will nurture development of micro-enterprise, create direct employment and investment opportunities and facilitate micro-lending programmes to enable homes and businesses to purchase systems.
In addition the company underlines the conservation of foreign exchange as a major catalyst for the continued advancement of the developing world; as much as 90% of export earnings pay for imported oil and the money saved can be redirected to infrastructure projects.
Reports published this year by Greenpeace predict full adoption of renewable energy will cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, creating a further 3.2 million jobs in the energy sector.
As demand for energy continues to increase, RAK’s solar islands could be the first step in changing the future.
Adding up the numbers
• The prototype island comprises 10 solar tracking modules and is so big it can be seen from space
• Theoretically, 300MW of thermal power can be produced by a single 88m diameter every year
• Tests indicate the economical diameter of a solar island would be between 0.5 and 5km
• The island has steam storage and electric pumps, called a torus, which carries the thermosolar panels
• To enable the island to track the sun, electric hydrodynamic motors are fixed around the circumference
• RAK’s industrial sector currently uses up to 55% of the emirate’s entire power supply

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Current Issue October 2013