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As oil prices continue to rise, fuel and chemical industries look for alternative ways to produce products. These products include fine and bulk chemicals, solvents, bio-plastics, vitamins, food additives, bio-pesticides and liquid biofuels such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel.
Industrial biotechnology applies the tools of biology to develop innovative processes and products in a cost-efficient and eco-efficient manner, using sustainable feed stocks.

CCRES is a member-based non-profit organization with membership open to research institutions, public and private sector organizations, students, and individuals. Every day, CCRES supporters fight to make environmental education, clean energy solutions, and the green economy a reality.

The mission of CCRES ALGAE PROJECT  is to support development of innovative, sustainable, and commercially viable algae-based biotechnology solutions for energy, green chemistry, bio-products, water conservation, and CO2 abatement challenges.

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CCRES ALGAE is vital to CCRES mission and offers entrepreneurs and companies, large and small alike, a unique opportunity to actively participate in shaping the algae biotechnology research agenda for our future.Joining with commercial partners will propel research discoveries into energy and economic solutions for Croatian sustainable future.

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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

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CCRES ALGAE TEAM

With oil prices reaching $105 a barrel for the first time since 2008, the biofuel industry is looking more attractive every day. As global demand rises and petroleum supplies diminish, countries are turning to algae for energy security.
 In smaller countries, like Croatia, where oil demand is low, and emission standards are poor, algae biofuel has the potential to significantly reduce reliance on foreign oil.
 CCRES ALGAE TEAM
works on
 
Biodiesel from MicroalgaeThe oil from the algae can be used for any combustion process. An even wider range of use for algae oil is obtained by the transesterification to biodiesel. This biodiesel can be blended with fossil diesel or can be directly driven as pure biodiesel B100.

Biodiesel from microalgae has a comparable quality as rapeseed methyl ester and meets the standard EN 14214. At biodiesel production about 12% glycerin is produced as a by-product. This glycerin is a valuable resource for the production of algae in closed ponds, the heterotrophic processes. Thus, the entire algae oil can be used as fuel.

Fish FoodAlgae provide a natural solution for the expanding fishing industry:

High-protein fish food
Replacement for existing fish meal production
Algae have nutrients of many young fishes available

The fishing industry recorded an annual growth of over 10% and, according to experts, will beat the global beef consumption in 2015.

The Technology developed by CCRES offers the opportunity to deliver part of the needed proteins for fish farming on the resulting algal biomass.

Protein for the food industryThe demand for high-quality protein for the food industry has been growing rapidly over the years.

The big growth opportunities are:

Weight control
Fitness and Sports Nutrition
Food supplements

The market volume in the protein sector is continously growing and at the rate of US $ 10.5B in 2010 and according to experts, will steadily increase to approx. $25B until 2030.

“There is intense interest in algal biofuels and bioproducts in this country and abroad, including in US,Australia, Chile, China, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and others,” says Branka Kalle, President of Council Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES).
Advantages algae has over other sources may make it the world’s favored biofuel. Algae could potentially produce over 20 times more oil per acre than other terrestrial crops.Algae avoids many of the environmental challenges associated with conventional biofuels.Algae does not require arable land or potable water, which completely avoids competition with food resources.
 “The Asia Pacific region has been culturing algae for food and pharmaceuticals for many centuries, and these countries are eager to use this knowledge base for the production of biofuels,”says Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES.Without sustained high prices at the pump, investment in algae will likely be driven by demand for other products. In the short term, the growth of the industry will come from governments and companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact through carbon collection.

CCRES ALGAE TEAM
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Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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BIOGORIVO TREĆE GENERACIJE

Bazeni za uzgoj algi

Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi

Ovisnost svijeta o neobnovljivim izvorima energije, uglavnom fosilnim gorivima, trn je u oku mnogih znanstvenika i aktivista za zaštitu okoliša diljem svijeta. Samim time ne iznenađuju globalna nastojanja da se smanji ovisnost o fosilnim gorivima i pronađu ekonomski prihvatljiva alternativna goriva i da se time znatno smanje emisije štetnog ugljičnog dioksida u atmosferu. Jedna od alternativa o kojoj se najviše priča su biogoriva. Biogoriva su zbog svoje sličnosti s naftnim derivatima poprilično dobra alternativa fosilnim gorivima i korištenje biogoriva rezultira s manjim emisijama CO2 u atmosferu. Zbog toga su biogoriva ekološki puno prihvatljivija od konkurentskih fosilnih goriva. Manje ukupne emisije ugljičnog dioksida iz biogoriva rezultat su zatvorenog ugljičnog kruga – biljke i alge uzimaju iz atmosfere ugljični dioksid da bi mogle rasti, a kad se biogoriva upotrebljavaju taj isti ugljični dioksid se vraća natrag u atmosferu. Ugljični otisak fosilnih goriva ide u samo jednom smjeru – iz zemlje u atmosferu, tj.u niti jednom koraku proizvodnje i korištenja fosilnih goriva ne smanjuje se količina CO2 u atmosferi.

Alge u laboratoriju Hrvatskog Centara Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
Biogorivo može biti čvrsto, tekuće ili čak plinovito gorivo koje je proizvedeno iz biološkog materijala. Kod organizama koji obavljaju fotosintezu, kao na primjer kukuruz ili soja, biljke koriste energiju sunca i vodu da bi pretvorile dostupni ugljični dioksid u ugljikohidrate, tj. da bi pohranile energiju. Ovakav proces je zapravo dvostruko koristan: ne samo da je proizvedeno gorivo, nego je za to potrošena određena količina ugljičnog dioksida pa ovakva proizvodnja goriva ima pozitivni učinak i s energetske i s ekološke točke gledanja. Iako se biogoriva mogu proizvoditi od bilo kakvih izvora ugljika, danas se uglavnom koriste razne vrste ratarskih biljaka diljem svijeta. Postoji mala razlika između različitih biljaka u smislu goriva koje se od njih proizvodi. Na primjer etanol se proizvodi od biljaka koje sadrže puno šećera (šećerna trska, kukuruz), a za proizvodnju biodizela koriste se biljke koje sadrže više ulja (soja, kanola, uljana repica).
Biogoriva imaju mnoge prednosti, ali postoje i nedostaci. Uzgajanje biljaka za proizvodnju biogoriva zahtjeva kvalitetna poljoprivredna zemljišta a to naravno povećava potražnju za takvim zemljištima i diže cijenu. Najveći problem s biogorivima je zapravo činjenica da je proizvodnja biogoriva pretvaranje hrane u gorivo, a to loše utječe i na cijenu i na dostupnost hrane diljem svijeta, a već sad postoji gotovo milijarda ljudi koji žive na rubu gladi. Prema tome pretvaranje hrane u gorivo ne izgleda kao logičan izbor za rješavanje energetskih problema.
Prednosti korištenja algi za proizvodnju biogoriva 
Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi ima mnoge prednosti koje taj postupak čine gotovo savršenim izvorom goriva. Alge rastu 50 do 100 puta brže od tradicionalnih kultura za proizvodnju biogoriva. Dodatna velika prednost je to što su alge jednostanični organizmi koji ne zahtijevaju svježu pitku i zemljište da bi rasli, a to znatno pojednostavnjuje proizvodnju. Prema nekim stručnjacima proizvodnja goriva iz algi je najbolja alternativa fosilnim gorivima i uz dobru podršku ta bi biogoriva u budućnosti mogla u potpunosti izbaciti fosilna goriva iz upotrebe.
Gdje se mogu uzgajati alge?
 Alge se mogu uzgajati u odvojenim vodenim površinama, čak iako voda nije dovoljno kvalitetna za piće. Alge se također mogu uzgajati i u slanoj vodi. Uzgajajući alge na površinama koje nisu pogodne za proizvodnju hrane, više zemljišta i kvalitetne vode ostaje za proizvodnju hrane. Veća količina proizvedene hrane može se onda upotrijebiti za borbu protiv gladi, a ne za proizvodnju biogoriva kao do sada. Odemo li tridesetak godina unatrag, ili da smo precizniji u 1978 godinu, možemo primijetiti da je čak i američko ministarstvo za energiju (Department of Energy – DOE) pokrenulo „Aquatic Species Program“ s ciljem istraživanja moguće proizvodnje energije i biogoriva iz algi. Prema tome, proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi nije nova ideja kao što misli većina ljudi. Usprkos dobroj ideji, ovo istraživanje nije bilo produktivno, uglavnom zbog padajućih cijena sirove nafte i činjenice da je DOE bilo prisiljeno smanjivati troškove. Sve ovo rezultiralo je gašenjem programa 1996 godine.
Usprkos gašenju, istraživanja unutar tog programa dala su vrlo važne rezultate, a najvažnije od svega je zaključak da bi proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi svakako mogla dostići željene razine. U ono doba studije su pokazale i jedan veliki nedostatak: zaključeno je da postupak ne bi bio financijski opravdan sve i da se cijena sirove nafte udvostruči. Ovaj zaključak imao je solidnu potporu sve do 2006 godine u kojoj se cijena nafte gotovo utrostručila u odnosu na prošlu dekadu, a cijena nafte je i dalje rasla. Uz trenutne probleme globalnog zatopljenja i visoke cijene sirove nafte stvorile su se idealne prilike za ponovnu evaluaciju ovog izvora energije.
Tehnologije za uzgoj algi (Algal Growth System)
 
Prozvodnja biogoriva u Hrvatskom Centru Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi vrlo je zanimljivo područje istraživanja mnogim znanstvenicima diljem planeta, ja jedan on vodećih centara za takova istraživanja je laboratorij za pogone i konverziju energije (The Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory – EECL) na sveučilištu Colorado State University. Ovaj laboratorij usmjeren je prema tehnologijama koje bi omogućile industrijska rješenja za energetske i ekološke izazove. Glavni projekt laboratorija fokusiran je na proizvodnju biogoriva iz algi i trebao bi rezultirati skalabilnom i cjenovno prihvatljivom tehnologijom za proizvodnju goriva. Jedan od glavnih igrača na tom polju svakako je tvrtka Solix Biofuels, kompanija koje je usavršila nekoliko generacija sustava za uzgoj algi (Algal Growth System – AGS), tehnologije koja je sad operativna na pokaznom polju Coyote Gulch u jugozapadnom Coloradu.
Tvrtka Solix Biofuels je vodeća u proizvodnju tehnologija za kreiranje iskoristive energije iz algi. Njihova tehnologija usmjerena je na omogućavanje velike komercijalizacije goriva temeljenih na mikroalgama i dodatnih koprodukata. Alge se mogu uzgajati na dva osnovna načina – sustav otvorenog bazena (prirodnog ili umjetno napravljenog) ili umjetni zatvoreni sustav. Alge moraju biti vrlo otporne na nametnike za uzgoj u otvorenim sustavima jer su to uvjeti koje nije lako kontrolirati.
Bez kontroliranih uvjeta teško je održavati rast željene vrste algi, odnosno održati rast na optimalnoj razini za proizvodnju biogoriva. Ovo je glavni razlog zašto Solix Biofuels uglavnom razvija zatvorene sustave za uzgoj algi. Zatvoreni sustavi imaju nekoliko prednosti: ne samo da zatvoreni sustavi omogućavaju uzgoj određene kulture, nego se alge u tim sustavima mogu direktno hraniti visoko koncentriranim ugljičnim dioksidom iz industrijskih procesa, a to naravno maksimizira količinu „ulovljenog“ ugljičnog dioksida koji bi inače bio ispušten u atmosferu. Prvi prototip AGS sustava napravljen je 2006 godine. Od onda kompanija radi na usavršavanju tehnologije i znatno je proširila površinu na kojima uzgaja alge. Posljednji veliki uspjeh dolazi iz srpnja 2009 kad su instalirali veliki sustav za proizvodnju biogoriva na pokaznom polju Coyote Gulch.
Što su zapravo postigli? 
Započeli su s velikim izazovom: prvo je trebalo razviti procese za skupljanje podataka i kontroliranje rasta ta automatizirani AGS. Željeli su jedinstvenu tehnološku platformu koja bi podržavala i prirodne i industrijske operacije. U prirodnim uvjetima sustav treba biti prilagodljiv pa je bilo potrebno mnogo kemijskih i fizičkih senzora te kontrola protoka. Za operacije u industrijskom okruženju glavni je naglasak bio na stabilnoj, pouzdanoj i jednostavnoj platformi koja ima sučelja prema industrijskoj instrumentaciji i kontrolama. Industrijska okruženja također moraju imati sustave skupljanja podataka u zajednički repozitorij da bi se informacije mogle jedinstveno prezentirati svim zainteresiranim stranama: menadžerima, operativi i odjelu za istraživanja i razvoj. Zbog toga je kreiran cijeli sustav za nadzor i skupljanje podataka (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) uključujući i sučelje za monitoriranje i kontrolu rasta algi.
Pokusna energana uključuje raznovrsne sustave izgrađene za proizvodnju plina i tokova vode, sam sustav za uzgoj algi, sustave za skupljanje algi i konačno sustave za proizvodnju biogoriva. Svi ovi sustavi omogućuju im vrlo precizno skupljanje podataka i ispitivanje odaziva različitih vrsta algi na različite uvjete uzgoja.
Zaključak 
Alge u procesu HCOIE
Biogoriva temeljena na algama definitivno imaju potencijala pokrenuti revoluciju u energetskoj industriji i mogla bi igrati vodeću ulogu u borbi protiv stakleničkih plinova i klimatskih promjena. Naravno, da bi se došlo do toga morat će se pokrenuti još mnoga istraživanja i biti će potrebna znatna financijska sredstva. Kompanije poput Solix Biofuels su pioniri koji bi mogli pogurati ovaj energetski sektor u jedan od najkompetitivnijih na energetskom tržištu. Lobiji iza fosilnih goriva su još uvijek prejaki, ali s rastućim problemom globalnih klimatskih promjena ti lobiji bi uskoro mogli u određenoj mjeri oslabiti, čime bi se širom otvorila vrata alternativnim gorivima. Jedna od alternativa koja svakako zaslužuje pažnju u godinama koje dolaze su biogoriva iz algi. Njihov energetski potencijal, činjenica da ne pretvaramo hranu u gorivo i znatno smanjene ukupne emisije stakleničkih plinova trebali bi im osigurati dovoljna financijska sredstva za daljnja istraživanja.
Potražnja za energijom neće se smanjivati u godinama koje dolaze nego će rasti i biti će potrebna alternativna goriva bez obzira koliko će dominantna ostati fosilna goriva. Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi mogla bi biti jedna od iznenađujućih takmaca na polju alternativnih goriva u ne tako dalekoj budućnosti, osobito ako cijene fosilnih goriva budu rasle. A u međuvremenu bi kompanije i udruženja poput američke Solix Biofuels ili hrvatskog HCOIE trebale nastaviti svoja istraživanja i ukazivati na prednosti koje ovakav proces ima. Ovime bi se svijest o toj alternativi znatno proširila i implementacija proizvodnje na globalnoj razini postala bi moguća kad za to dođe vrijeme.
Hrvatski Centar Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
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Astaxanthin carotenoid

Astaxanthin carotenoid

photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
 Astaxanthin
 Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. It provides the red color of salmon meat and the red color of cooked shellfish.
photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
Astaxanthin, unlike several carotenes and one other known carotenoid, is not converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the human body. Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin has self-limited absorption orally and such low toxicity by mouth that no toxic syndrome is known.
 
photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
 It is an antioxidant with a slightly lower antioxidant activity in some model systems than other carotenoids. However, in living organisms the free-radical terminating effectiveness of each carotenoid is heavily modified by its lipid solubility, and thus varies with the type of system being protected.

photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
While astaxanthin is a natural nutritional component, it can also be used as a food supplement. The supplement is intended for human, animal, and aquaculture consumption. The commercial production of astaxanthin comes from both natural and synthetic sources.
CCRES ALGAE TEAM
part of
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis

 Astaxanthin
President & CEO of CCRES
 Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin, a member of the carotenoid family, it is a dark red pigment and the main carotenoid found in algae and aquatic animals. It is responsible for the red/pink coloration of crustaceans, shellfish, and the flesh of salmonoids. Algatechnologies produces astaxanthin from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest known natural source for astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin however, is more than just a red pigment, it is primarily an extremely powerful antioxidant. It has the unique capacity to quench free radicals and reactive species of oxygen and to inhibit lipid peroxidation. Studies have shown astaxanthin to be over 500 times stronger than vitamin E and much more potent than other carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and β-carotene.
Astaxanthin was found to have beneficial effects in many health conditions related to the Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, skin health, joint health, muscle endurance, as well as to the cardiovascular, immune, eye and other systems.

Natural astaxanthin – molecule properties

Astaxanthin (3,3’-dihydroxy-β-β-carotene-4,4’-dione) is a xanthophyll  carotenoid,  commonly found in marine environments where it gives an orange-pink coloration to several sea-species.



CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
Astaxanthin has two chiral centers, at the 3 and 3′ positions. The main astaxanthin stereoisomer (3S, 3S’) found in the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis is the main form found in wild salmon.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
 Astaxanthin consists of geometric isomers (trans and cis). the cis isomers display higher bioavailability and potency in humans This isomer is abundant (up to 20%) in the natural astaxanthin complex produced by the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

The astaxanthin in Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae occurs in the esterified form, which is more stable than the free astaxanthin form.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin cannot be synthesized by animals and humans and must be provided in the diet. Natural astaxanthin has been part of the human diet for thousands of years.


CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin, unlike most carotenes is not converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the human body.


CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis

Natural astaxanthin has no “pro-oxidant” activity – It does not become an exhausted oxidant thanks to its unique molecule structure that is able to release the excess of energy as heat.

CCRES  Haematococcus pluvialis
 Astaxanthin has been shown to actually cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers, meaning it can positively impact disorders related to brain and the central nervous system.
 
 Astaxanthin
CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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CCRES Low Carbon Fuels in Aviation

 photo by CCRES

 

Biofuels are key to industry’s future

 In a bid to reduce its dependency on imported oil and tackle global warming, the EU has committed to raising the share of fuels from renewable sources in transport to 10% by 2020 – including biofuels, hydrogen and green electricity.
For the growing aviation industry, the switch to plant-based fuel is seen as not only environmentally smart, but a sensible financial move in an era or rising conventional fuel prices and worries about supply security.
Biofuel use in passenger aircraft is still a novelty, and industry officials are urging governments to help lift supplies, much as policies in the EU and United States have created a flourishing market in plant-based oils for motor vehicles.
The industry contends that sustainable fuels will reduce emissions even as passenger traffic grows. The airline sector has committed to meet 10% of its overall fuel consumption with biofuels by 2017 – though the goal is ambitious given that it is to account for just 1% by 2015…
Meanwhile, more doubts are being raised about the environmental benefits of biofuels.
The United Nations Environment Programme has warned that even though burning plant-based fuels can produce significantly lower levels of carbon emissions, production and land clearing to make way for new crops “may reduce carbon-savings or even lead to an increase.”
European conservation groups say the EU and European governments should wait to embrace aviation biofuels until there is proof of their environmental benefits.
 ”Given the right conditions, algae can double its volume overnight. Microalgae are the earth’s most productive plants –– 10 to 15 times more prolific in biomass than the fastest growing land plant exploited for biofuel production. While soy produces some 50 gallons of oil per acre per year; canola, 150 gallons; and palm, 650 gallons, algae can produce up to 15,000 gallons per acre per year. In addition, up to 50 percent (or more) of algae biomass (dry weight) is comprised of oil, whereas oil-palm trees—currently the most efficient large-scale source of feedstock oil to make biofuels—yield approximately 20 percent of their weight in oil,” says Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES
 Airlines have committed to ramping up their use of biofuels in the belief that they can contribute to achieving the sector’s pledges on carbon-neutral growth. For 2050, the EU foresees 40% use of “sustainable low carbon fuels” in aviation.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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News and Events by CCRES September 27, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 27, 2012

One of World’s Largest Wind Farms Starts Up in Oregon

Photo of wind turbines in a flat landscape.

The Shepherds Flat wind farm, one of the largest in the world, is now operating in Oregon.
Credit: Energy Department
Caithness Energy announced on September 22 that its Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon—one of the largest in the world—is now operational and generating up to 845 megawatts of electricity. The Energy Department supported the project with a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee through the Recovery Act in 2010. The company said the project in the northeastern part of the state will generate enough electricity to power 235,000 U.S. homes.
Sponsored by Caithness and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services, the project consists of 338 GE 2.5xl turbines, which are being deployed for the first time in North America. The project’s output is contracted through 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison. The project will eliminate nearly1,216,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, an amount equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 212,000 passenger vehicles. See the Caithness press release and the October 13, 2010 edition of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy newsletter.

USDA Announces $10 Million in Rural Smart Grid Funds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on September 20 the latest in a series of funding steps to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems. The agency will offer loan guarantees to support nearly $10 million in smart grid technologies.
One of the loan recipients is Nobles Cooperative Electric, which serves counties in southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. Their loan includes $850,000 in smart grid projects. The Gundy Electric Cooperative, Inc., which serves customers in Iowa and Missouri, has also been selected for a loan guarantee that includes over $700,000 in smart grid projects. Earlier this month, the USDA announced it had met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. See the USDA press release.
In 2009, the Energy Department released the first Smart Grid System Report, which examined smart grid deployment nationwide. The report noted that smart grids have the potential to dramatically change how we experience electricity in the country. See the July 22, 2009 edition of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network News newsletter.

New York Brings Energy Efficient Technologies to Market

New York announced on September 17 the launch of a $30 million initiative to accelerate the commercialization of emerging, cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies. The Energy Efficiency Market Acceleration Program (EE-MAP) is being implemented by the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The new initiative will fund research, market development activities, and demonstration projects to help leverage investments and promote business development opportunities for emerging energy efficiency technologies.
The program will focus on accelerating the market development of energy efficiency technologies by speeding their deployment and training engineers, contractors, and maintenance service providers in designing and installing energy efficiency products, among other efforts. To support the initiative, NYPA has teamed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit collaborative research organization, to catalog state-of-the-art energy efficiency products and services, identify commercial trends, and screen and track emerging technologies. See the New York press release.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov

Clean Energy in Our Community: Allegheny College and Meadville, Pennsylvania

In the third edition of DOE’s “Clean Energy in Our Community” video series, Allegheny College shows us that size doesn’t matter. Even with only 2,100 undergraduate students, Allegheny is successfully incorporating sustainability into its culture, operations, and curriculum—helping to grow the local green energy economy both on and off its Meadville, Pennsylvania, campus.
By working with students, faculty, staff, and local partners, the campus has created a composting facility that processes between 800-900 pounds of food, compostable paper, and plastic each day. The result is a soil-like, nutrient-rich material that helps to replenish the campus’s lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds without using chemical fertilizers.
The campus is well on its way to achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2020. Earlier this year, Allegheny committed to purchasing 100% of its electricity from wind generated sources, a change that immediately eliminated over 50% of the institution’s carbon footprint. Through investments in energy audits and campus-wide energy retrofits, the campus is using Energy Star appliances and EPEAT certified computers to increase energy efficiency. In addition, all new construction on campus buildings will be LEED certified Silver, and historic buildings are in the process of becoming LEED certified. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

5 Questions about the SunShot Prize for Minh Le

Recently, we announced the launch of the SunShot Prize—a new competition aimed at making it faster, easier, and cheaper to install rooftop solar energy systems. Participating teams must demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for American families and businesses. To learn more about the competition, we caught up with Minh Le, Acting Solar Program Manager at the Energy Department. In the Q&A exchange below, Le shares important details about the impetus driving this innovative competition.
Why did the Department launch the SunShot Prize?
The global clean energy race is moving forward at lightning speed, and it’s time for the United States to regain its competitive edge. The SunShot Prize is meant to inspire organizations across the nation to dramatically reduce the costs of going solar. As part of the SunShot Initiative’s larger effort to make solar cost-competitive by 2020, this new program takes aim at soft costs, which are essentially what we think of as “the price to plug in.” For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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News and Events by CCRES September 13, 2012

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

News and Events September 13, 2012

Report: U.S. Solar Market Spiked in Second Quarter of 2012

Photo of solar panels on a rooftop.

The U.S. solar industry notched its second-best quarter in history with 742 megawatts of solar panels installed in the second quarter of 2012.
Credit: Social Security Administration
The U.S. solar industry notched its second-best quarter in history, installing 742 megawatts of solar power in the second quarter of 2012, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). A record 477 MW of utility-scale installations helped the U.S. solar market expand by 45% over the first quarter of 2012, and 116% over the same period in 2011.
Eight states registered utility installations of 10 megawatts or greater: Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. For the fourth consecutive quarter, the U.S. residential solar market grew incrementally, installing 98.2 MW. California, Arizona, and New Jersey led residential installations nationally.
According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from the industry group and GTM Research, the United States now has 5,700 MW of installed solar capacity—enough to power more than 940,000 households. The report notes that the market will remain strong through the last two quarters of 2012, and forecasts a total of 3,200 MW of PV will be installed this year—up 71% over 2011 totals. See the SEIA press release.

USDA Has Reached Its $250 Million Smart Grid Funding Goal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on September 7 announced that the department has reached its $250 million goal to finance smart grid technologies, and also announced nine rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 10 states that will receive more than $27 million in smart grid loans. The funding will go to making improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implementing smart grid technologies.
As part of President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, the administration has outlined a framework for modernized electric systems that will benefit all Americans. This framework lays out a number of public and private initiatives, including a goal of $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment as part of the USDA’s Rural Utility Service, which is focused on upgrading the electric grid in rural America. See the USDA press release.

California Efficiency Measures a Success

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on September 4 reported that its groundbreaking energy efficiency programs resulted in savings of 5,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2010-2011, enough to power more than 600,000 households for a year—the equivalent of two major power plants. In addition, the estimated savings cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.8 million tons, the equivalent of removing more than 700,000 cars from the roads. The findings were based on utility-reported estimates.
In its 2010-2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Progress Evaluation Report, the CPUC summarized investor-owned utility implementation thus far in CPUC’s $3.1 billion 2010-2012 energy efficiency program. The report details progress toward meeting multiple statewide energy and climate policy objectives. It states that 89% of estimated energy savings reported through 2011 occurred in the commercial (55%) and residential (34%) sectors. The agricultural and industrial sectors combine to make up the remaining 12% of electric savings. Through 2011, the majority of estimated electric savings was achieved through lighting (59%), followed by process improvements (13%) and HVAC (10%). See the CPUC press release PDF.

EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner for Conservation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 6 it had signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations, and teams. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitates collaboration between them on issues such as energy conservation and sustainability.
The EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, in order to help Alliance members improve their environmental performance.
Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues, and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent more than 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues. See the EPA press release and the EPA’s Partnership programs website.

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)

  special thanks to U.S. Department of Energy | USA.gov

The Bright Lights in New York Could Be Solar

The big city glow of New York could be coming from more than the bright lights on Broadway. The Big Apple also is increasingly aglow with solar power, particularly from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar.
Earlier this year, the city unveiled the New York City Solar Map, a collaborative tool which gives an estimate of solar photovoltaic potential for the one million buildings in the five city boroughs. The interactive map, hosted by The City University of New York (CUNY), is based on information from flights over the city by an airplane equipped with an aerial laser system. The device, known as Lidar for “light image detection and ranging,” gathered information on the shape, angle, size, and shade of rooftops along with the surface elevations of ground, buildings, and trees. Analysis of the data showed that the city has a solar potential of 5,800 megawatts peak output—more that 40% of the city’s electrical demand at peak times if all the rooftops were fully outfitted with solar. About two-thirds of the city’s structures are suitable to house solar panels.
CUNY’s work on the NYC Solar Map was funded through the Energy Department in 2007 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

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CCRES – ALGAE BIOFUELS AND AQUAPONICS

 

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES 
(CCRES)
 
Algae, the Source of Biofuels, and Aquaponics
Algae can be used as important types of biomass materials from which the biofuels can be obtained. Algae absorb the energy from the sun in the presence of carbon dioxide and store it. A number of processes can be carried out on algae to convert it into biofuels like alcohol, biodiesel and even biogas. The biodiesel obtained from algae can be mixed with petroleum diesel and it can be used for running of trucks, cars and many types of engines that use diesel. Biodiesel can also be used as the fuel in the jets, airplanes, refineries and pipelines. The biomass obtained from algae can be used as the renewable sources of energy since it is available in abundant quantities and will be available for unlimited period of time.
One of the important advantages of algae is that it can grow in any type of water like salt, fresh, and even contaminated water. It can be grown in vast sea and river water, small rain water ponds and even commercial or domestic manmade made ponds. Algae has the potential to yield 30 times more energy than the crops grown on land, which are currently being used to produce the biofuels. This could encourage the use of algae for producing biofuels instead of the land that can be used for producing food crops. The harvesting cycle of algae is 1 to 10 days, which permits several harvests in short period of time and using the resources more effectively.

Algae and Aquaponics
As described earlier, algae can be grown in any type of water and in type of water storage system. Besides the naturally occurring seas, rivers, and ponds, it can also grow in manmade ponds. The manmade ponds can be at homes for domestic purpose or in large lands made for commercial production of algae. For the better growth of algae some nutrients may be added to water. Besides using these ponds for algae growth they can also be used for the growth of fishes and other aquatic animals.
Aquaponics is the system where one can grow the fishes and plants like algae in one integrated system. The waste given by the fishes act as important nutrients for the plants, while the cover of plants provides the natural filter for the fishes in the living areas. Aquaponics is the combination of words aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture is the cultivation of fish or other water based animals, while hydroponics is the growth of plants in water. In aquaponics one can grow the water animals as well the plants at the same time. Thus the manmade small or big pond can be effectively used for growing fishes as well plants like algae.
The plants usually prefer warm-water so the water in aquaponics is also warm. The fishes grown in aquaponics are of warm-water type and not of cold-water type. The fishes grown in aquaponics can be consumed by the owner, they can be given to the friend, can be sold in the market to earn money or they can be kept as the pets. The harvesting period of fishes ranges from 7 to 9 months. When aquaponics is combined with a controlled environment greenhouse, high quality crops can be grown throughout the year and in any part of the world.
Aquaponics comprises of the water tank where the fishes are raised and fed. There is a chamber, where the uneaten foods and other particles and solids are collected. The bio-filter converts ammonia into nitrates, which act as the nutrients for the plants. There is also a portion for the growth of the plants. The lowest part of tank is a sump from where fresh water is supplied to the tank and old water is removed.
The concept of aquaponics can be extended for the growth of algae. Instead of the plants, one can grow algae, which has the harvest cycle of one to ten days. At the same time the fishes can also be grown. In the period of about nine months, while the fishes will harvest once, algae will be harvested several times. The large quantities of algae collected this way can be used as the biomass for producing the biofuels like biodiesel.
The advantages of using aquaponics for the growth of algae is that in a single place harvesting of both, the algae as well as fishes can be done. This would increase the profitability for the owner if they already have aquaculture or hydroponics. While earlier they would get only a single product from the infrastructure, they could now get two products. Since harvesting time of algae is short, it would keep the owner busy and this could become a continuous source of income for them.
The major limitations of aquaponics are the high initial costs required for housing, tank, plumbing, pumps and bedding. One should also do thorough research for the chances of success of such project. The system also has number of points of failure and requires intensive maintenance.
CCRES 
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Escapeartist, Inc
 CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES 
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CCRES – SOURCES OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES 
(CCRES)
 Sources of Alternative Energy
Alternative energy or renewable energy is important for creating clean energy future not only for the individual nations but the whole world. It offers excellent alternatives to the fossil fuels to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. The sources of the alternative energy are inexhaustible and one can rely on them for long-term basis Here are some important sources of alternative energy:
 
1) Solar energy:
The energy obtained from the radiations of the sun is called as solar energy. Sun is the massive source of energy releasing radiations since billions of years non-stop. The radiations emitted by sun are vital for all the plant, animal and human lives on the earth. At present solar energy is being tapped successfully for a number of applications.

Solar cooker is small box type equipment used for cooking of the food without requiring any additional fuel. There are number of variations of solar cooker with different efficiencies and different sizes. Solar water heaters are used extensively for heating water that can be used for bathing, domestic use and industrial purposes. It saves lots of electricity costs and the burning of other fuels like wood, coal, LPG etc. Another very important application of the solar energy is the photovoltaic or PV cells. The PV cells comprise of the solar panels that absorb solar energy and store them in the batteries. The energy from the batteries can be used for different domestic as well industrial applications
Besides these, there are number of other applications of solar energy like solar street lights, solar lanterns, calculators, mobiles etc. Solar energy is available abundantly in countries like India, China, US and others. It is considered to be one of the most resourceful sources of energy for future.

2) Wind energy:
The energy obtained from naturally flowing wind in the atmosphere is called as wind energy. Wind energy is available extensively in specific geographical locations without any costs. The wind in motion carries kinetic energy and it can be converted into mechanical and electrical energy. Presently wind energy is widely used for the generation of electricity.
To tap the energy from wind turbines are used. The wind turbine comprises of large blades looking like the fan. The blades are attached to the hub, which in turn is mounted on a shaft When the moving wind comes in contact with the blades it causes the rotation of the blades, which in turn causes the rotation of the shaft at low speeds. This shaft is connected to the gear box and causes slow rotation of the input gears and fast rotation of output gears and shaft. The output shaft rotates in an alternator that produces electricity. To get sufficient amount of grid power, large number of wind turbines are required at a specific location, which is called as wind farm or wind power plant.

3) Hydropower:
The power obtained from the flow of water is called as hydraulic power or hydro power or water power. The alternative energy from water can be obtained in a number of ways, the most popular being the hydroelectric power plants. In these power plants huge dams are built across the flow of the river. The water is stored in the dam at large heights and it carries potential energy. When the water flows down the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. The flowing water comes in contacts with the large water turbines and makes them rotate in the transformer that produces electricity. Hydroelectric power plants are important source of electricity in a number of countries including US, China, India, Russia, and others.
Alternative energy obtained from the tides of the oceans is called as tidal energy. The waves in the waters of the oceans can also be utilized to produce electricity.

4) Geothermal Energy:
The heat energy obtained from the deep layers of earth is called as geothermal energy. The heat is produced continuously in the deep layers of earth, which can be utilized for various purposes like heating water, operating the heat pumps, producing electricity etc. Large amount of heat is generated in the core of earth and it gets conducted through the surrounding layers of rock. It comes to the surface of the earth in various forms like lava, hot springs etc, while other heat is stored below the surface of the earth. This heat is the geothermal energy and is available in unlimited quantity.

5) Biomass energy:
Biomass is the organic material obtained from the plants. The plants absorb energy from the sun by the process of photosynthesis so the energy is store in them. The biomass is the garbage leftover by the plants in the form of fallen leaves, broken branches, dead trees, wood chips, wasted crops etc. A number of other garbage and waste materials can be considered to be biomass. The energy obtained from the biomass is called as the biomass energy.
When the biomass is heated, the chemical energy within it is converted into heat energy, which can be used for heating water, producing steam, cooking food etc. Biomass can also be used to produce the methane gas, which can be used as the fuel. Rotten garbage and human waste can also be considered as biomass that can be used to produce methane, which is called as landfill gas or biogas. Biomass can also be converted biodiesel, which can be mixed with the traditional diesel fuel to run the vehicles.
CCRES 
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Escapeartist, Inc
 CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES 
(CCRES)
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