Archive: International

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DOE Funds Electrification of Transportation Sector

On August 5, President Barack Obama announced that 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects will receive $2.4 billion in funding from the Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The announcement marks the single largest investment in advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive vehicles ever made. DOE funds will […]

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Operation of World’s First Supercritical CFB Steam Generator Begins in Poland

The world’s first supercritical circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generator began successful operation at the Lagisza power plant in Poland early this July, according to power equipment and engineering firm Foster Wheeler. The new CFB — believed to be the world’s largest — replaced 1960s-era pulverized coal units at the power plant owned by Polish utility […]

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Report: Costs for First-Generation Carbon Capture Plants Will Soar

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has of late gained steam as the best way to mitigate emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel power plants, despite evidence that the approach would require much energy and increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant by more than 25%. A new study from […]

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Nuclear Developments in Europe

Recent months brought several developments in Europe’s much-touted "nuclear renaissance." Spain Extends Life of Nation’s Oldest Reactor Spain’s government on July 2 granted a four-year extension to the operating permit of the 466-MW Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant (Figure 3). The decision follows a nonbinding recommendation by Spain’s nuclear regulator in June to […]

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Swiss Solar Plane Prototype Designed to Fly Day and Night

The first aircraft designed to fly day and night propelled solely by solar energy was unveiled at Dübendorf airfield, Switzerland, in late June. The Solar Impulse has the wingspan of a Boeing 747-400 and the weight of an average family car (1,600 kg) (Figure 4). More than 12,000 solar cells mounted onto the wings will […]

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Scotland Officially Opens 100-MW Glendoe Hydro Plant

In late June, Scotland officially opened the Glendoe Hydro Scheme, a 100-MW project whose construction near Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands was the region’s biggest civil engineering project in recent times. Planning for the project began in 2001, and it took three years to build. Today, the project has the highest head — the […]

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Of Fracking, Earthquakes, and Carbon Sequestration

Hydraulic fracturing — the process of drilling and then pumping fluid deep into a formation to generate fractures or cracks, typically for extracting natural gas from shale formations — has been under fire lately, owing to concerns that it contaminates drinking water. But while Congress debates proposed legislation that would impose new restrictions on the technology, an entirely different concern related to fracturing — or "fracking" — is emerging: It may trigger earthquakes.

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Floating and Flying Wind Turbines

After months of preparation, Norway’s StatoilHydro and Germany’s Siemens in June erected the world’s first large-scale floating deepwater wind turbine some 7 miles offshore Karmøy, southeast Norway, on the 720-feet-deep waters of the Amoy Fjord. The developers are now gearing up to connect the Hywind turbine to the local grid, and it could begin producing power as early as mid-July.

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Major Scottish Coal Plant Starts CCS Pilot Program

Energy provider ScottishPower on May 29 flicked on the switch of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) pilot program at its 2,304-MW coal-fired Longannet power plant, in Fife, Scotland, marking the beginning of a seven-month test — and the first time a UK coal-fired power plant has reportedly attempted to capture its carbon emissions.