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Schneider Electric makes energy use visible

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Schneider Electric now offers energy management solutions that highlight IT devices and plug load energy use online allowing it to be visible and, thus, controllable. Called EnergySTEP@Work, the system uses Cisco EnergyWise Technology to reduce wasted energy from applications such as PCs, printers, IP phones, task lighting and wireless access points.

Energy usage becomes controllable with Schneider’s StruxureWare software applications, which can manage other systems in a building such as the lighting, heating and ventilation systems.

“Today’s workplace is changing and more employees are bringing in their own devices to the office to connect to the network. Schneider Electric’s EnergySTEP@Work offers customers the ability to monitor and control those smaller plug loads that, when added together, can account for upwards of 40% of a building’s energy consumption,” said Barry Coflan, Senior Vice President, Schneider Electric, Buildings Business Offer Management.

While these devices often go unnoticed, the new software makes them visible and monitors usage in relation to the building’s wider energy usage.

UK fuel cell industry seeks government support for fuel cells

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

A campaign has been launched to obtain more support for British-made hydrogen fuel cells under a national renewable energy feed-in tariff scheme.

According to Energy and Environmental Management, the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UKHFCA) said British and European companies are lagging behind those in the US and Korea in terms of government support for baseload power from fuel cell technology.  The US Department of Energy recently announced $150m tax credits for clean energy manufacturers, including manufacturers of fuel cells, in addition to a previously announced programme of $2.3bn of tax credits.

Currently, some CHP (combined heat and power) installations are eligible for support under the Renewable Obligation scheme, but there is no support for low carbon hydrogen fuel cells across the power, transport and heat sectors. The trade association believes that small scale low carbon electricity from fuel cells should be rewarded with a £0.17/kWh ($0.26) generation tariff, up to the 5 MW installation limit set by the support scheme.

Ian Williamson, chief executive of AFC Energy and director of the UKHFCA, said: "The UK is a leader in fuel cell technology and AFC Energy wants it to remain that way," he said. "This is about both energy efficiency and UK jobs. That is why we have urged the government to extend the feed-in-tariff scheme to cover fuel cells."

UTC Power sells fuel cell unit to ClearEdge Power

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

US conglomerate United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has sold its stationary fuel cell division to Oregon-based ClearEdge Power.

UTC Power has installed over 300 of its PureCell stationary fuel cells systems in 19 countries and on six continents for large industrial clients and power grids. ClearEdge's products are focused more on the homeowner and small businesses.

The financial terms of UTC Power's sale were not disclosed.  Industry analysts have speculated UTC sold the fuel cell subsidiary for a deep discount just to unload the venture, as the unit had never turned a profit.

Gas genset installation capacity to reach 60 GW in 2018 – report

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Global installations of gas gensets from 2013 to 2018 will total 60 GW of capacity, according to a new report from Pike Research.

The installation of 60 GW capacity worldwide will generate almost $10bn in annual revenue, said the report.

“Until recently, the natural gas genset market has experienced steady growth, but a boom in unconventional gas resources and tightening regulations limiting stationary generator emissions point to accelerating growth over the next decade,” says Pike Research senior research analyst Mackinnon Lawrence.

“The number of specialised segments within the genset market – spanning power classes, applications, and end-use customers – offers a rich ecosystem of opportunities for market participants,” he added.

ABB wins contract for drilling ships in Brazil

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

ABB has secured a contract worth US$160 million with Jurong Shipyard Pte to design, supply, install, test and commission the main electrical systems for seven drill ships. The ships will drill wells in oil and gas fields off the southeast coast of Brazil.

The ships will be powered from on-board subsystems that in turn are powered by ABB’s integrated electrical package.

This will include complete electrical systems including generators, distribution switchboards, transformers, drives and motors to power the ships’ thrusters and drilling systems. All ABB solutions meet or exceed IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the customer’s standards for safety, and are in full compliance with strict IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulations to ensure uninterrupted drilling operations.

The deliveries for the order will commence this year, and the vessels are due for delivery to the ship-owner in 2015.

KiWi Power appoints former UK Department of Energy advisor Miriam Maes to board

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK demand response provider KiWi Power has appointed former UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) advisor Miriam Maes as a new non-executive director.

Maes was appointed delivery advisor to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from 2010 to 2011 and as advisor to the new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) within DECC from 2011 until March 2012, providing expert advice on energy efficiency issues.

Maes has worked in the energy sector since 2002, initially as a member of Texas Utilities’ (TXU) European Executive and subsequently as COO of EDF Energy’s non-regulated distribution networks business. In 2007, Miriam became CEO of climate change consultants Foresee.

Yoav Zingher, KiWi Power’s director and co-founder said: "I am delighted to welcome Miriam to the Board as non-executive director. Her experience and track record within the energy space will be of immense value to KiWi Power.” Maes added: “I am delighted to join such a forward looking company with such a great team. The demand response concept is essential to the optimisation of the energy resources in the transition to an affordable low carbon economy and has enormous potential in the UK and internationally.”

Maes is also non-executive director of the Euronext listed and BELPEX company ELIA Group (Belgium), the Belgian and part German transmission and distribution system operator, and of Assystem (France) an international energy, automotive and aerospace engineering company, listed on NYSE Euronext. Since November 2012, Miriam has been appointed as chairman of the AIM-listed Sabien Technology Group, a manufacturer and seller of a patented boiler optimisation system.

Free UPS and battery seminar in Manchester

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd and Yuasa Battery are hosting a free seminar in Manchester relating to UPS and Batteries.

On 19th March at Manchester City FC Stadium there will be a free seminar discussing the history and evolution of modern UPS systems; UPS system topology; key factors and drivers for UPS development; battery size considerations; effects of temperature on battery life and performance; batteries suitability for UPS systems.


The free event includes an optional tour of the stadium.

To register visit http://www.upspower.co.uk/manchester.aspx


Progress for Italian smart grid system

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

NEC Italia SpA has announced an agreement with Italian utility service provider Acea Spa to develop lithium-ion energy storage systems (ESS) for Acea’s substations.

NEC will provide one 180kW/ 100kWh substation and one 100kW/ 50kWh substation to Acea in Rome, due to be operational in September 2013. The ESS, which will greatly advance Rome’s smart grid system, will provide improved quality of utility services, reduce energy losses and improve the management of energy from distributed sources such as wind and PV.

The larger of the two systems will be connected to Acea’s low-voltage electricity grid to provide backup power in the event of a power outage. The smaller system will be connected to the mid-voltage grid to regulate and even out energy from distributed generators by compensating for power fluctuations.

“NEC is proud to partner with a visionary company like Acea, who understands the importance of Smart Grids for successfully meeting the demands of utility companies as well as reducing environmental burdens,” said Ugo Govigli, Vice President, Smart Grid Solutions, NEC Europe. “These ESS were designed entirely by the NEC EMEA Energy competence centre which was established in Italy in 2011. We expect these developments to pave the way into new energy market segments throughout EMEA.”?

Origin, but not cause, of Dreamliner battery fire announced

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the origin of the fire on the Japan AirLines Boeing Dreamliner, January 7th. The battery was believed to have had an “initiating event” in one of its eight cells; this was assessed using the flight data recorder and evidence form the thermal and mechanical damage.

The cell identified as the starting point “showed multiple signs of short-circuiting, leading to thermal runaway condition, which then cascaded to other cells.” The evidence suggests the cells reached 260oC.

Chairman of NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said potential causes of the initiating short circuit being evaluated include battery charging, the design and construction of the battery, and the possibility of defects introduced during the manufacturing process.

The cause of the short circuit remains unknown and further investigations will focus upon design and certification requirements of the battery system.

During its certification process Boeing considered the types of failures that might affect the battery, following tests it found no evidence that cell-to-cell spread or fire would be a problem and that smoke emitting from the cell would not occur during more than one in ten million flight hours.

Scrap lead prices creep up in US

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The price of scrap lead in the US is slowly creeping up. This is attributed to slightly higher demand, meaning the price of scrap is up by one cent per pound.

According to the American Metal Market the value of used lead-acid batteries is expected to continue to increase throughout February as smelters pay more for the scrap.

The closing price of lead on the London Metal Exchange at the end of January was $2386 per tonne, this is a continuation of the slowly rising price. Until now the scrap price has not risen but with demand growing the price is able to follow the primary trend.


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