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Smart heating system could cut bills and increase use of renewables

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

An energy efficient heating system offering efficiency savings of up to 20% could be key in the transition to low-carbon energy systems in Europe. This is according to a report commissioned by SSE (UK energy generators and distributors) and Dimplex (a global heating solutions firm).

The smart electric thermal storage (SETS) system works by storing up renewably produced energy when production is high but demand is low. The report indicated SETS could provide up to 54GW of additional flexible storage capacity across Europe by 2050, enabling renewable electricity to be stored when demand is low and used to heat homes when needed.

The system, first brought to the market by SEE and Dimplex in a product called Quantum, is intended to replace out-dated night storage heaters with something more efficient and with better room temperature control as well as being designed for smart grid integration.

The report found that if all 27 EU countries replaced storage heaters with SETS, savings of 7.4TWh of electricity and three mega-tons of CO2 could be made each year. If used in all electrically heated homes as much as 148GW could be provided by 2050.

Stuart Mackenzie, Managing Director of Dimplex, added: “Quantum offers consumers with electric storage heaters the opportunity to reduce their running costs by up to 27%. It’s also a Green Deal approved measure, so the capital cost outlay can be substantially reduced.”

Award for remotely controlled battery device

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The Tethercell battery adaptor was named the overall winner for Breakthrough Prototype in the Bluetooth SIG Breakthrough Awards competition.

With Tethercell any battery operated device can be controlled from a smart device. It is the size of an AA battery and is inserted into an applicance in place of one of the batteries. It is then remotely connected to a smart device such as a phone or tablet via an app, which allows the battery-operated device to be controlled remotely.

Devices continue to function with one AA cell substituted for the AAA Tethercell. The electronics contained in the casing also contain a temperature sensor, channel switcher and a boost for converting 1.5 to 3V.

Operating on a radio frequency, Tethercell has a range of 100feet in open space or 60feet through a wall. It costs from US$35 and lasts six to twelve months dependant on usage.

The Bluetooth SIG Awards celebrate inventions that utilise Bluetooth technology to interact ordinary devices with smart phones and tablets.

Himoinsa supplies four gensets to Gibraltar

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Spanish genset OEM Himoinsa has supplied four gensets to the British overseas territory Gibraltar on the Iberian peninsular.

Himoinsa packaged four Mitsubishi engines - two 1000kVA and two 2000kVA – to generate power at a low voltage, 400V. The presence of two transformers enables the power to be stepped up to 11kV. The customer is Gibraltar Electricity Authority (Gibelec)

With an approximate population of 29,500 inhabitants, Gibraltar has a constantly increasing energy demand. The four gensets will cover both peak demand and to provide supply when other gensets experience faults or undergo maintenance checks.

Himoinsa’s two HTW-2030 gensets are housed in a 40ft container, while the HTW-1030 units are housed in 20ft containers. The gensets are controlled by means of the SCADA system, computer software that allows remote controlling and monitoring of industrial processes; all gensets feature InteliGen ComAp control units for utility paralleling.        

A 30ft container contains two 11kV/400V 3000kVA transformers, while fuel is housed within three aboveground 10,000 litre storage tanks.

Rolls-Royce wins $40m contract to power Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Rolls-Royce has bagged a $40m contract to supply equipment and related services to power the flow of natural gas through the Uzbekistan section of the Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline.

Rolls-Royce will supply Asia Trans Gas (ATG LLC), a joint venture between Uzbekistan's Uzbekneftegaz and China’s National Petroleum Corporation, with three RB211 gas turbine driven pipeline compressor units for operation at a compressor station on the 530km Uzbekistan section of the 1,830 km Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline.

The Uzbekistan section of the Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline will transport 25 billion cubic meters per year of gas from Turkmenistan, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to China, helping to stabilise China’s consumption of natural gas.

Rolls-Royce will manufacture and package the equipment at its energy facilities in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA.

AFC Energy ships fuel cell system to ICL

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

AFC Energy has delivered a fuel cell electricity generating system to Industrial Chemicals Limited (ICL), a leading UK commodity chemicals producer.

The shipment is in advance of a 1 MW commercial-scale project to install the world’s largest alkaline fuel cell energy generation system at ICL’s chlor-alkali plant in Essex, UK. The project is being supported with a European Union grant of €6.1m ($8m), from this April.

The first delivery was for a skid-mounted (mobile) Beta fuel cell system which is expected to be installed and to commence supplying small quantities of power to the chemicals works from April 2013. It will use waste hydrogen, produced as a by-product at the chemicals works, as fuel to generate clean energy. 

The system will test and qualify the hydrogen supply and site infrastructure ahead of the installation of the larger system in stages later this year.  By harnessing the waste hydrogen, AFC Energy’s fuel cell system will eventually provide up to 1 MW at point of consumption, reducing reliance on grid-supplied electricity by up to 20%. 

As part of the project AFC Energy is to provide electrical power to ICL under its first ESCO (Energy Supply Company) arrangement whereby ICL will provide its hydrogen and purchase power under long-term contracts. AFC Energy will own, operate and maintain the fuel cell systems.

Aggreko appoints director for Europe, Middle East and Africa

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Aggreko has announced the appointment of David Taylor-Smith as its new director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, with effect from 11 March 2013.

Former British Army officer Taylor-Smith has spent most of his career in the security industry. The 51 year-old worked for G4S between 1998 and 2012, most recently in the role of Chief Operating Officer and Regional Chief Executive of UK, Ireland and Africa.

Taylor-Smith resigned from G4S last September after the company failed to provide an adequate number of security staff for the London Olympic Games, forcing British police and the British Army to intervene. The company eventually booked a loss of $108m on the project.

The appointment follows the management reorganisation announced by Aggreko last September, with the group being split into three regional units for the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia, Pacific and Australia (APAC), each managed by a main board director.

The Americas and APAC posts were filled by internal candidates - Asterios Satrazemis and Debajit Das, respectively.

Supply deal worth $2.4 million for military experts

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Arotech Corporation is to supply the US Army with over 1500 Soldier Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System, or SWIPES, from its battery and power systems division.

SWIPES integrates force protection electronics and communication equipment, with a zinc-air battery into an army issue load-carrying vest. The system uses a modular power distribution system powered by BA-8180/U, BA-8140/U zinc-air batteries or LI-145, BB2590 rechargeable batteries for providing direct power to equipment.

The high energy density means soldiers can work for longer in the field without recharging or swapping battery packs. This enables longer missions as well as reducing the pack weight by 30%. The batteries continuously charge the secondary batteries inside various devices, such as two-way radios, GPS units and shot detection systems. SWIPES can be adapted to individual’s needs, to allow soldiers to accept new applications when they become available.

"Reducing the load on a soldier and simplifying the supply logistics promoted SWIPES to be awarded the accolade of a Top-Ten Best Army Inventions in 2011," declared Arotech's Chairman and CEO, Robert Ehrlich. "This follow-on order from the US army is testament to the effectiveness of our product and reflects its increasing acceptance among US Ground Forces."

Samsung and Xtreme Power team up for smart grid project

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power are installing a 1MW/1MWh lithium-manganese oxide energy storage system for a demonstrative smart grid project in Texas. The system, to be installed at the Reese Technology Centre in Lubbock, is partly funded by the Department of Energy.

The project aims to promote utility scale energy storage with wind energy. The battery system will be utilised to regulate power generated from local wind turbines that suffer from intermittent loss of generation.

Samsung’s lithium-ion battery technology together with Xtreme Power’s Xtreme Active Control Technology (XACT), which gives millisecond response time, will enable the wind generated power to be fed into the national grid.

This is the first project Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power have worked on together to provide energy storage solutions for renewable integration and grid support. The companies have formed the alliance to reach renewable energy goals and promote a cleaner electric grid.

Battery University in Silicon Valley

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

San Jose State University will be offering courses specifically designed for students who want to work with battery technology.

The University is partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCharge to offer the professional programme of education at the University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, which feeds more graduate engineers into the Silicon Valley workforce than any other university.

California has over 40 battery-related companies working on energy storage solutions for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and the renewable energy storage sector.

The courses are offered in response to changing workplace demands in the high tech battery industry.

European Commission takes UK to court over VAT on energy-saving products

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The European Commission is taking the UK to court over its reduced VAT rate on energy-saving products.

The UK charges 5% instead of the standard 20%. Under EU VAT rules, discounts are only allowed for social policy reasons, not environmental reasons.

In a statement, the European Commission said: "Member States themselves unanimously decided on the list of goods and services that could benefit from a reduced VAT rate, and they also insisted that this list be strictly applied, with no room for manoeuvre or interpretation. This is important to prevent competitive distortions in the Single Market and to ensure a fair and level playing field between all Member States."

The Commissions added economic studies showed reduced VAT rates "are often not the best way to achieve policy objectives" and direct subsidies could be more efficient.

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