UPDATE 1-Panasonic to invest over $256 mln in Tesla’s U.S. plant for solar cells

UPDATE 1-Panasonic to invest over $256 mln in Tesla’s U.S. plant for solar cells

http://reut.rs/2hJLE4J


TOKYO Panasonic Corp (6752.T) will invest more than 30 billion yen ($256 million) in a New York production facility of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) to make photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies.

Japan’s Panasonic, which has been retreating from low-margin consumer electronics to focus more on automotive components and other businesses targeting corporate clients, will make the investment in Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York.

The U.S. electric car maker is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic as part of the deal, besides providing factory buildings and infrastructure.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the two companies said they plan to start production of PV modules in the summer of 2017 and increase to one gigawatt of module production by 2019.

The plan is part of the solar partnership that the two companies first announced in October, but which did not disclose investment details.

Tesla is working exclusively with longtime partner Panasonic to supply batteries for its upcoming Model 3, the company’s first mass-market car. Panasonic is also the exclusive supplier of batteries to Tesla’s Model S and Model X.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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December 27, 2016 at 04:48AM

VIDEO: 360° View from an Offshore Wind Turbine

VIDEO: 360° View from an Offshore Wind Turbine

http://bit.ly/2ixM8im

Very few people have had the chance to climb on top of an offshore wind turbine, but now everybody can do it with the help of this 360° video shared by DONG Energy. Take a ride on a crew transfer vessel and climb on one of the 111 Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines at the 400MW Anholt offshore wind farm […]

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December 26, 2016 at 08:30AM

Three interesting geothermal internship positions with Statoil in Norway

Three interesting geothermal internship positions with Statoil in Norway

http://bit.ly/2i0tuyz

Norwegian energy and oil giant Statoil is seeking to fill three interesting internship positions.

Three summer interns shall work in a project group to investigate a concept for offshore production of electricity from high temperature geothermal resources. The scope is multidisciplinary and requires a project based collaborative approach. The work shall comprise technical-economical evaluations. Technical challenges include production of high temperature geothermal resources, thermal energy processes, power transmission systems, subsea installations, environmental impact. An economic model shall be developed as part of the work.

Qualifications required:

No more then 1 year of relevant experience (please note research under a PhD are not be considered relevant experience).

Have completed at least 2 years of relevant bachelor studies and are currently enrolled in a relevant study programme.

Additional Qualifications:

Scientific knowledge within one or more of the key discipline areas thermal energy systems, electrical power engineering and industrial economics and technology management

Good oral and written communication skills in English.

Deadline is January 12, 2017.

Further details with the link below.

Source: Statoil

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December 26, 2016 at 01:29PM

Perovskite Solar Cells Have Intrinsic Instability Issues

Perovskite Solar Cells Have Intrinsic Instability Issues

http://bit.ly/2i0uX7S

Solar cell technology is now used by many industrial and government entities, but it is still prohibitively expensive for many individuals who would like to utilize it. There is a need for cheaper, more efficient solar cells than the traditional silicon solar cells so that more people may have access to this technology.

One of the hot topics in photovoltaic technology research is the use of organic-inorganic halide perovskites as solar cells because of the high power conversion efficiency and the low-cost fabrication.

But Dr. Shenghao Wang, first author of a news study in Nature Energy, suggests that the degradation seen in MAPbI3 perovskites may not be a fixable issue.

Methylammonium Lead Iodide Perovskite

Perovskites are a kind of crystalline material that can be formed using a wide variety of different chemical combinations. Of the many different perovskites formulations that can be used in solar cells, the methylammonium lead iodide perovskite (MAPbI3) has been the most widely studied.

Solar cells made of this material have been able to reach efficiencies exceeding 20% and are cheaper to manufacture than silicon. However, their short lifespans have prevented them from becoming a viable silicon solar cell alternative.

In order to help create better solar cells in the future, scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have been investigating the cause of rapid degradation of these perovskite solar cells (PSCs).

Dr. Shenghao Wang’s research reveals that iodide-based perovskites will universally produce a gaseous form of iodine, I2, during operation, which in turn causes further degradation of perovskite.

While many researchers have pointed to other sources, such as moisture, atmospheric oxygen and heat as the cause of MAPbI3 degradation, the fact that these solar cells continue to degrade even in the absence of these factors led Wang to believe that a property intrinsic to these PSCs was causing the breakdown of material.

New Materials?

As Wang explains:

“We found that these PSCs are self-exposed to I2 vapor at the onset of degradation, which led to accelerated decomposition of the MAPbI3 perovskite material into PbI2. Because of the relatively high vapor pressure of I2, it can quickly permeate the rest of the perovskite material causing damage of the whole PSC.”

The research does not rule out the probability of using perovskites in solar cells, however.

Professor Yabing Qi, leader of the Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit and corresponding author of this work, says:

“Our experimental results strongly suggest that it is necessary to develop new materials with a reduced concentration of iodine or a reinforced structure that can suppress iodine-induced degradation, in addition to desirable photovoltaic properties”.

These researchers at OIST are continuing to investigate different types of perovskite materials in order to find more efficient, cost-effective, and long lifespan perovskite material suitable for use.

Their ultimate goal is to make solar cells that are affordable, efficient and stable so that they will be more accessible to the general population. Hopefully, better, cheaper solar cells will entice more people to utilize this technology.

Original Study: Accelerated degradation of methylammonium lead iodide perovskites induced by exposure to iodine vapour

Image: Various factors (e.g., moisture, oxygen, light illumination, applied electric field, etc.) during the operation of MAPbI3 perovskite solar cells can generate iodine, which leads to degradation of solar cells. Credit: Shenghao Wang, OIST

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December 26, 2016 at 03:28PM

Oil Producers Turn to Wind Power

Oil Producers Turn to Wind Power

http://on.wsj.com/2ix4nQM

The Netherlands wants to build the world’s largest offshore wind project, and an unlikely company is helping: Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

The oil-and-gas giant is facing shareholder pressure to develop its renewable business. Add in falling construction costs for such projects, and Shell has decided to join a handful of other oil companies aiming to leverage their experience drilling under punishing conditions at sea.

Norway’s…

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December 26, 2016 at 11:53AM

Thailand will launch 1 GW renewable tender in the second half of 2017

Thailand will launch 1 GW renewable tender in the second half of 2017

http://bit.ly/2i7jCkl

News date: 
26/12/2016

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of Thailand plans to open bidding for the development and operation of 1,000 MW of renewable power capacities in 2017.

Solar, biomass-fired, biogas-fired and waste-to-power projects will be offered feed-in tariffs in the bidding round, with the first one for 519 MW of solar projects expected in the second half of 2017. Solar feed-in tariffs are expected to start at Baht 4.19/kWh (US$11.6c/kWh), slightly lower than the 2016 average of Baht 5.6/kWh (15.5v/kWh) thanks to declining construction costs. The ERC will also open bids for 400 MW of biomass-fired projects and for 63 MW of waste-to-power projects.

According to the ERC, total renewable capacity in Thailand stood at 9,263 MW at the end of November 2016 (from 8,363 MW at the end of 2015, hydropower included), or 55% of the 16,778 MW renewable target set for 2036.

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December 25, 2016 at 06:24PM

Viewpoint: Editor’s note on the future for pumped storage hydropower worldwide

Viewpoint: Editor’s note on the future for pumped storage hydropower worldwide

http://bit.ly/2hVJpxP

For context, in 2012 (the most recent data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration) worldwide pumped hydropower capacity was 104 GW: 44 GW in Europe, 33 GW in Asia and Oceania, 22 GW in North America, 2 GW each in Africa and Eurasia and 1 GW in Central and South America

And there is significant potential for new development. For example, we recently reported that two pumped-storage plants with a total capacity of more than 1,600 MW will be built in Nepal. In addition, Israel is working toward building a 340 MW pumped-storage project in Manara Cliff and the Philippines says it remains committed to developing its 390 MW Alimit facility, which includes a 250 MW pumped-storage plant. In the U.S., the Department of Energy released its Hydropower Vision report in July 2016 and it pointed to potential new capacity of 35.5 GW for pumped storage in that country (significantly larger than the existing 22 GW).

The Energy Storage Association says pumped hydro is the most common type of energy storage, employed “for the better part of the last century in the United States and around the world.” The association also acknowledges that pumped-storage hydro is “the most common type of grid-level energy storage based on megawatts installed today.”

The article on page 10 provides a discussion of a special service pumped storage can provide to energy systems with a large share of intermittent renewable resources (such as wind and solar). This service is the ability to provide the flexibility needed to compensate for errors in the forecast of availability of intermittent renewable energy sources. In the end, the authors determined that adding pumped storage capacity of 3 GW in Germany will, through the above service, provide economic benefit of as much as US$115 billion annually. That’s a pretty impressive number, and it’s only one country.

As alluded to above, there is a great opportunity for synergy between pumped-storage hydro and wind and solar generation. But how can these disparate generation technologies work together? One example is a pilot project being built in Germany that will combine 16 MW of pumped storage with four wind turbines. Another unique arrangement proposed in Chile combines a 300 MW pumped-storage plant with a 600 MW solar PV facility.

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December 25, 2016 at 01:19AM