Iceland drills 4.7 km down into volcano to tap clean energy

Iceland’s decision to harness the heat inside the earth in a process known as geothermal energy dates back to the 1970s and the oil crisis.

But the new geothermal well is expected to generate far more energy, as the extreme heat and pressure at that depth makes the water take the form of a “supercritical” fluid, which is neither gas nor liquid.

Source: Iceland drills 4.7 km down into volcano to tap clean energy

Tesla’s new solar energy station will power Hawaii at night

This is the first big project from Tesla and SolarCity since the acquisition. Both companies believe this station is the biggest combination solar panel and storage facility in the world. With approximately 55,000 solar cells spread over about 45 acres, it’ll be tough to find anything larger.

Source: Tesla’s new solar energy station will power Hawaii at night

GE is building America’s first offshore wind farm with turbines twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty

GE and Deepwater Wind, a developer of offshore turbines, are installing five massive wind turbines in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They will make up the first offshore wind farm in North America, called the Block Island Wind Farm.

Over the past several weeks, the teams have worked to install the turbines 30 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, and are expected to finish by the end of August 2016. The farm will be fully operational by November 2016.

Source: GE is building America’s first offshore wind farm with turbines twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty

World’s largest solar plant goes live, will provide power for 1.1M people

CSP uses either lenses or parabolic mirrors to concentrate the sun’s light onto a small point where water or another substance is heated.

The heat is used to create steam, which runs a turbine that produces electricity. In the Noor CSP, concave mirrors focus on molten salt, heating it anywhere from 300 degrees to 660 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: World’s largest solar plant goes live, will provide power for 1.1M people

Currently, the Noor CSP can generate 160 megawatts (MW). But as additional phases are completed, in two years it’s expected to generate more than 500MW — enough power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans.

A Tower of Molten Salt Will Deliver Solar Power After Sunset

Solar power projects intended to turn solar heat into steam to generate electricity have struggled to compete amid tumbling prices for solar energy from solid-state photovoltaic (PV) panels. But the first commercial-scale implementation of an innovative solar thermal design could turn the tide. Engineered from the ground up to store some of its solar energy, the 110-megawatt plant is nearing completion in the Crescent Dunes near Tonopah, Nev. It aims to simultaneously produce the cheapest solar thermal power and to dispatch that power for up to 10 hours after the setting sun has idled photovoltaics.

Source: A Tower of Molten Salt Will Deliver Solar Power After Sunset – IEEE Spectrum

The US’s First Offshore Wind Farm Will Slash Local Power Prices by 40 Percent

Five floating turbines will be built off the coast of the island, which currently relies on diesel generators for its power—and pays a dollar more per gallon than the mainland does to get it. Those turbines will be connected to an undersea power cable that links not just the island, but to the US mainland.

The result will be a huge price drop in the islanders’ electricity bills, and an influx of clean energy piped into the grid from across the sound. The 30 megawatt plant is expected be generating power for thousands of New England homes by fall next year.

via The US’s First Offshore Wind Farm Will Slash Local Power Prices by 40 Percent | Motherboard.

Researchers design bionic leaf capable of converting sunlight into liquid fuel

“We’re almost at a 1 percent efficiency rate of converting sunlight into isopropanol,” Nocera said. “There have been 2.6 billion years of evolution, and Pam and I working together a year and a half have already achieved the efficiency of photosynthesis.”

via Researchers design bionic leaf capable of converting sunlight into liquid fuel – Techie News.

Mayfield told CBS News that the exact same thing – turning electrons into biomass – has already been done many a times previously by using the same bacteria.

Can Tesla Power Its Gigafactory with Renewables Alone?

All of the calculations are for energy, not power. In other words, you might produce 2400 MWh per day, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always have 100 MW available at any given instant. Sometimes you’ll generate more, other times less. Obviously there will be no solar production at night and less wind production on calm days. To be fully off-grid, Tesla will need some form of storage. As I surmised in a previous article, Tesla is probably shooting for more than the EV market; it seems logical for them to be looking into grid-level storage as well. What better way to showcase that than to include Li-ion batteries for on-site storage?

via Can Tesla Power Its Gigafactory with Renewables Alone? > ENGINEERING.com.

Who needs sunlight? In Arizona, solar power never sleeps

In a parabolic trough plant like Solana, the mirrors are curved inward, with a glass tube running along the deepest point, or trough, of each mirror. The tube is full of synthetic oil (also known as heat transfer fluid, or HTF). The concave mirrors concentrate light onto this HTF, heating it to 740 degrees Fahrenheit. The system is extremely efficient in collecting heat and concentrating it to a blistering level; when I asked what would happen if I touched the tube, the reply was a curt “Trust me, you definitely don’t want to do that.”

Once the oil is up to temperature, about 270 miles of pipe transport it to the power block, where the HTF takes one of two pathways, depending on Solana’s current needs.

via Who needs sunlight? In Arizona, solar power never sleeps | Ars Technica.

Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power

The Oxford team, led by physicist Henry J. Snaith, made their solar cells using perovskites, a class of mineral-like crystalline materials that has recently grabbed much attention among researchers in photovoltaics. Perovskites have properties similar to inorganic semiconductors and show sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies of more than 15%.

via Solar Cells Could Help Windows Generate Power | Chemical & Engineering News.