Archive: Renewables

The Odd Couple: Renewables and Transmission

The tension between the growing number of renewable energy projects and limited transmission capacity is reflected in Washington’s legislative agenda of establishing a national renewable portfolio standard and new transmission lines dedicated to moving renewable energy coast-to-coast. Even if those ideas become law, hurdles to the happy marriage of renewables and transmission remain.

Gone with the Wind

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speaking in Atlantic City on April 6, added more hot air to the discussion about offshore wind when he stated that windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, of the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. I’m disappointed Salazar didn’t take a few minutes for fact-checking and back-of-the-envelope ciphering before his speech.

Major Advancements for Polymer Solar Cell Technology

Denmark’s Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in late April announced it had connected the world’s first polymer solar cell plant to the grid. The achievement follows years of research into the novel photovoltaic (PV) technology that has been touted as a future inexpensive, flexible, and customizable alternative to silicon crystal solar cells. The […]

Recession Reduces Demand for Electricity

When roving Contributing Editor Mark Axford attended several recent energy conferences, he found the same questions asked at each one about new U.S. generation sources and consumption patterns. Unfortunately, the experts had few good answers to those questions.

Turkey Opens Electricity Markets as Demand Grows

Turkey’s growing power market has attracted investors and project developers for over a decade, yet their plans have been dashed by unexpected political or financial crises or, worse, obstructed by a lengthy bureaucratic approval process. Now, with a more transparent retail electricity market, government regulators and investors are bullish on Turkey. Is Turkey ready to turn the power on?

Microbe Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane

Microbe Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane A team of Penn State engineers say that a tiny self-perpetuating microbe can take electricity and directly convert carbon dioxide and water into methane, potentially producing a portable energy source with a carbon-neutral footprint. Methanogenic microorganisms produce methane in marshes and dumps, but scientists thought that the organisms turned […]

Energy R&D: The Missing Link to a Sustainable Energy Future

Q: What do you get when you gather roughly two dozen top researchers from academia, government, and industry to speak on interdisciplinary energy-related issues for a week?
A: A lot of informative but crowded slides, high-octane brain power, fact-based analysis of where we are and we’re headed globally, informed questions, and surprisingly practical answers.

Solving Fouling Problems with an HRSG Upgrade

Despite being located on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Oahu, the Kalaeloa Cogeneration Plant had trouble in paradise: Large amounts of ash from #6 low-sulfur fuel oil coated the finned tubes of its heat-recovery steam generators (HRSGs). The fouling added an extra $5 million dollars a year to the plant’s fuel bill. By retrofitting the HRSG with new panels and improved fin design, the plant overcame the fouling problems, stopped tube leaks, and cut fuel costs.

Computer Simulation of HRSGs Can Improve O&M

Obtaining accurate data about the performance of a plant’s heat-recovery steam generator is crucial to ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of the equipment. Software designed to model and simulate HRSG operations can provide valuable information about corrosion and other operational problems.