Green Energy/Clean Energy - News, Documentaries, Reviews, Breakthroughs.

On SBS One on Tuesday 16 Aug 2011 at 8:30pm a documentary titled Power Surge will be airing, asking the question: Can emerging technology defeat global warming?

I haven't seen the program, nevertheless, from the preview it looks like it's worth some viewing attention.

The documentary might also be an appropriate beginning to a new thread pertaining to Green Energy or Clean Energy news, documentaries, reviews, breakthroughs, etc.

Power Surge

Can emerging technology defeat global warming? The United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in clean energy projects as our leaders try to save our crumbling economy and our poisoned planet in one bold, green stroke. Are we finally on the brink of a green-energy "power surge", or is it all a case of too little, too late?

From solar panel factories in China to a carbon capture-and-storage facility in the Sahara desert to massive wind and solar installations in the United States, we travel the globe to reveal the surprising technologies that just might turn back the clock on climate change.

We will focus on the latest and greatest innovations, including everything from artificial trees to green reboots of familiar technologies like coal and nuclear energy. Can our technology, which helped create this problem, now solve it?

Power Surge can also be viewed online.

Lets hope so... :)


  • :wave:

    Thanks for the heads up Bullseye. We will be watching. :tup:

    And yes let's hope so!!! :)

    Happy day,

    Bobbs :hug: :hug: :hug:
  • Thanks to your post Bullseye, I watched this documentary. :) I recorded it so I can watch it through later, but caught the tail end of it last night before heading to bed.

    I found it interesting how the efficiency argument was portrayed, as I feel efficiency is probably where most people can make savings without drastic changes in infrastructure. Which basically means, improving the insulation qualities of the home. On the scale of the US hall of records, saving over a million dollars per year on energy costs, said quite a lot of the value of efficiency.

    I wasn't sold on the ambiguity of the solar panels however. We can push out PV's but it doesn't say anything for the base load required to store the energy. Not much was spoken about (at least at the tail end of the doco) how PV's address the storage of energy problem. I may find out more as I watch the beginning of the show however.

    I found the biofuels through brewing beer however, a very hopeful technology. I loved how it endeavoured to borrow on old industrial technology, to reduce the cost of worldwide infrastructure replacements. Of course, the argument for purchasing a more fuel efficient car also bears a lot of thought too.

    I enjoyed how the documentary didn't shy away from the exploration of renewable technologies, but I also feel it didn't answer many of the bigger problems of making the switch. Still interesting veiwing though. :)
  • On 7Mate Now!

    "Eco Engineering"

    Explore the science behind one of Asia's tallest buildings, which is powered by a revolutionary new means for a building this size: wind.
  • Microbes, waste water, sea water with electrolysis and that means an inexhaustible source of energy!

    This is what all sewage treatment works need... :tup:

    Saltwater boosts microbial electrolysis cells to cleanly produce hydrogen

    A grain of salt or two may be all that microbial electrolysis cells need to produce hydrogen from wastewater or organic byproducts, without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere or using grid electricity, according to Penn State engineers.

    "This system could produce hydrogen anyplace that there is wastewater near sea water," said Bruce E. Logan, Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering. "It uses no grid electricity and is completely carbon neutral. It is an inexhaustible source of energy."

    Microbial electrolysis cells that produce hydrogen are the basis of this recent work, but previously, to produce hydrogen, the fuel cells required some electrical input. Now, Logan, working with postdoctoral fellow Younggy Kim is using the difference between river water and seawater to add the extra energy needed to produce hydrogen.

    Their results, published in today's (Sept. 19) issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "show that pure hydrogen gas can efficiently be produced from virtually limitless supplies of seawater and river water and biodegradable organic matter."

    Logan's cells were between 58 and 64 percent efficient and produced between 0.8 to 1.6 cubic meters of hydrogen for every cubic meter of liquid through the cell each day. The researchers estimated that only about 1 percent of the energy produced in the cell was needed to pump water through the system.

    The key to these microbial electrolysis cells is reverse-electrodialysis or RED that extracts energy from the ionic differences between salt water and fresh water. A RED stack consists of alternating ion exchange membranes -- positive and negative -- with each RED contributing additively to the electrical output.

    "People have proposed making electricity out of RED stacks," said Logan. "But you need so many membrane pairs and are trying to drive an unfavorable reaction."

    For RED technology to hydrolyze water -- split it into hydrogen and oxygen -- requires 1.8 volts, which would in practice require about 25 pairs of membrane sand increase pumping resistance. However, combining RED technology with exoelectrogenic bacteria -- bacteria that consume organic material and produce an electric current -- reduced the number of RED stacks to five membrane pairs.

    Previous work with microbial electrolysis cells showed that they could, by themselves, produce about 0.3 volts of electricity, but not the 0.414 volts needed to generate hydrogen in these fuel cells. Adding less than 0.2 volts of outside electricity released the hydrogen. Now, by incorporating 11 membranes -- five membrane pairs that produce about 0.5 volts -- the cells produce hydrogen.

    "The added voltage that we need is a lot less than the 1.8 volts necessary to hydrolyze water," said Logan. "Biodegradable liquids and cellulose waste are abundant and with no energy in and hydrogen out we can get rid of wastewater and by-products. This could be an inexhaustible source of energy."

    Logan and Kim's research used platinum as a catalyst on the cathode, but subsequent experimentation showed that a non-precious metal catalyst, molybdenum sulfide, had a 51 percent energy efficiency. The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology supported this work.
  • AN Australian bird, the Bar-tailed godwit, has become the inspiration for a hydrogen-powered jet, the Lockheed Stratoliner.

    "Mr Brown’s design also features four cryogenic hydrogen turbofan engines - which will produce no pollution and use less fuel.

    Cryogenic hydrogen has more than twice the energy of traditional jet fuels and is lighter.

    Even though The Lockheed Stratoliner is just a concept, some airline manufacturers have begun testing hydrogen-power. Boeing unveiled its first hydrogen powered plane in July 2010."

  • Sometimes I hear people claim and read that renewable energy sources can't provide base load power when the sun don't shine and the wind aint blow'n. That's incorrect.

    Here's one way base load power is achieved. :tup:

    Hydrogenics to Provide a One MegaWatt Electrolyzer for Renewable Energy Project

    Germany's Largest Industrial Scale Wind-Hydrogen Project Selects HySTAT® Technology

    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - Oct 19, 2011 - Hydrogenics Corporation (NASDAQ: HYGS; TSX: HYG), a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and fuel cell products, today announced that it was awarded a contract to deliver and install a 1MW HySTAT® electrolyzer in an industrial scale renewable energy storage project, the largest of its kind in Germany. The system will have the capacity to store up to 27 MWh of energy as hydrogen.

    The full-scale project, by the name RH2-WKA, will be located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany where the wind regimes are highly favorable. The project owner of the wind-hydrogen system is German-based WIND-projekt GmbH ( ), a leading European turn-key provider and operator of wind energy parks and stand-alone plants. To date WIND-projekt has delivered just under 300 MW of installed wind energy generation onshore and has received building permission for approximately 1 MW offshore. The electrolyzer purchase is funded by the German NIP (Nationale Innovationsprogramm f?r Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie).

    Power to operate the electrolyzer, including an integrated compressor to store hydrogen at elevated pressure, will be provided by WIND-projekt's newly installed 140 MW wind farm, harvesting wind energy from an array of 7.5 MW wind turbines. By incorporating hydrogen generation and storage in the system design, the wind's fluctuating energy is balanced. At the same time energy can be stored for long periods of time. For end-users this ensures a supply of high quality, reliable power from renewable energy sources.

    "The electrolysis of water into hydrogen using excess energy from wind and solar sources is the optimal pathway to increase the renewable content in our energy system mix," said Daryl Wilson, President and CEO of Hydrogenics. "For a renewable energy project of this scale, WIND-projeckt's choice of a hydrogen technology storage solution is great validation for this capability. It tells us that Hydrogenics' long-standing dedication to this market opportunity has been well-placed."

    The stored hydrogen will be used as needed to generate electricity for the RH2-WKA project. The system will also allow the hydrogen to be used for transport and be fed to the natural gas network. Wind energy is considered to have significant potential as part of Germany's announced commitment to phase out all nuclear power by 2020.


    Hydrogenics Corporation ( ) is a globally recognized developer and provider of hydrogen generation and fuel cell products and services, serving the growing industrial and clean energy markets of today and tomorrow. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Hydrogenics has operations in North America and Europe.
  • Yep. There's many ways of doing renewable base load. Its all about storing energy. You can use batteries, compressed gas,hydrogen or heat storage as molten salt. There are pilot plants featuring all of these up and running now and production scale salt storage plants feeding baseload power into the grid in Spain.

    Its not as hard as some people think.


  • Airgead post=327535 wrote: Yep. There's many ways of doing renewable base load. Its all about storing energy. You can use batteries, compressed gas,hydrogen or heat storage as molten salt. There are pilot plants featuring all of these up and running now and production scale salt storage plants feeding baseload power into the grid in Spain.

    Its not as hard as some people think.



    Aint that worth its salt... ;) Also, salt, is plentiful while heating it for a heat exchange solution is renewable.
  • "Airdrop Irrigation" a solar powered, moisture harvesting system from the evaporated water moisture from the air, developed by an Australian wins 2011 the international "James Dyson Award" for design.

  • And on a much lighter note, this short video is a hoot! Demolishing dirty power: way to go.
  • Hey owlbrudder, did you see in the news, the US has approved a nuclear power plant, that they haven't done so in a long while and it's already substantially under construction - at a cost of $40 Billion!!!

    What other forms of electricity generation could one buy for $40 Billion???!!!

    PS thanks for the chuckle! :laugh:
  • Bullseye post=337993 wrote:

    What other forms of electricity generation could one buy for $40 Billion???!!!

    All of them I think... Not a cheap option is it. Or quick. No output from the newly approved plant expected until 2017.

    The approval is for two new 1000Mw (1Gw) reactors. That's $2M/Mw. And that's just construction costs. Nothing there about ongoing costs.


  • Well I was thinking of powering more of the property with solar and battery storage but apparently Green Theft is really growing here in WA. Apparently professionals are targeting properties when owners are out or away. One bloke went home to find his batteries gone after they opened a freezer and found everything rotting. That is bad enough but the theft of this equipment could cause the failure of water pumping to keep stock watered.catching the thieves is difficult as it is difficult to identify the stolen items.
  • Here's a glimpse of the future for everyone on the planet, this story below shows one way of electrical energy generation, be it as a stand-alone household system, for the manufacturing industry, or corporate office facility or whatever...

    This technology can use gas from many different sources, even gas from sewage treatments works and there is-a-shit-load of human waste worldwide literally going to waste. That's just one unused source.

    New Apple Data Center to Include Fuel Cell Installation

    Apple recently released its 2012 environmental report, detailing how it plans to use fuel cell technology in the company’s data center in Maiden, North Carolina.

    The installation of a 500-kilowatt biogas-powered fuel cell project that supplies cleanelectricity to our Cupertino facilities helps us avoid more than 1.2 million kilograms ofCO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions.

    Apple is building a fuel cell installation that, when online later in 2012, will be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. This 5-megawatt facility, located directly adjacent to the data center, will be powered by 100 percent biogas, and provide more than 40 million kWh of 24×7 baseload renewable energy annually.

    The installation of a 500-kilowatt biogas-powered fuel cell project that supplies clean electricity to the Cupertino facilities will help avoid more than 1.2 million kilograms of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions.
  • Fuel cells are an interesting technology and have great potential. There are still some technical issues that will prevent widespread takeup for a while though. Particularly in third world or remote applications. The most serious is that any impurities in the fuel will contaminate of the electrodes and rapidly degrade the performance. You need either a very pure fuel source or some pretty serious purification gear which adds to the cost and complexity. It also makes them hard for non-specialists to service and maintain.

    Advances are being made and this is certainly a technology to watch.


  • The advances mentioned that are said to be in need to be achieved, have been made, overcome already. It's the market that needs developing. The technology is here, it's the cost and the scale of volume in manufacturing the needs to be achieved to bring the price down.

    Really, in the different forms of fuel cell technology this should be or will be affordable right throughout the 3rd world. This will be able to provide electricity, clean water and heat for cooking without the CO2 emissions of burning wood, coal, dung, or peat.

    There are particular forms of fuel cells that have self cleaning electrodes. There are fuel cells that work in dirty water, in human waste water, and with those the result of generating hydrogen and electricity from sunlight, the filthy water upon the splitting off of hydrogen the water is pure clean drinkable water. That is really something, clean water for billions of people without clean drinking water.

    Lifting billions out of poverty and unsanitary environments, improving general health are just some of the benefits of fuel cells.
  • This is great, Nanotrees Harvest the Sun’s Energy to Turn Water into Hydrogen Fuel, two birds with one stone ya might say... Making hydrogen with energy from the sun while capturing CO2 in the process.

    Meanwhile at the Geneva Auto Show this week, regarding hydrogen powered vehicles, Toyota’s Didier Leroy head of European operations stated, “We are preparing to be able to produce tens of thousands per year in the 2020s". Toyota will start selling hydrogen powered vehicles in 2015 with most other major car makers.
  • I found this thoughtful article on nuclear power and its future in the USA. Evidently, the building of new nuke plants has become so expensive that they cannot be contemplated without subsidies and/or sweetheart deals on the sale of generated electricity. It concludes that nuclear power is only a step towards a low carbon future, not the magic bullet the world is looking for.
  • Solar electricity is easy to install, but our economy is not really geared to take advantage of it. For a USA perspective, look at Rooftop Revolution: How To Get Solar To 100 Million Americans.

    In part, the author says:
    We could exploit the full potential of solar, but that would require [gasp] planning, and planning is socialist, so oh well.
    So true. The political divide in the States is currently so toxic that anything hinting at Government intervention is rejected out of hand by the looney Right, especially the Tea Party.

    Here in Oz, the looney Right actively discourages attempts to move us away from our addiction to fossil fuels and regards any move to internalise the cost of CO2 emissions into the business model of the emitters to be a Communist Threat To The Capitalist World As We Know It. How dare we consider charging a polluter for the right to pollute? Outrageous! Just ask Tony "Climate change is crapTM" Abbott.
  • Here is a short article, describing an advance in the process of producing hydrogen through photosynthesis. Evidently, a novel use of cyanobacteria has resulted in producing hydrogen twice as fast as happens in nature. Commercial use is "sometime in the future", but interesting nonetheless.
  • An innovative company called Air Products will build a renewable energy plant in the U.K. that will turn landfill waste into hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas will then power about 50,000 homes, also, refuel hydrogen cars at the Heathrow Airport.

    At Heathrow airport not so long ago a hydrogen refueling station was opened which provides hydrogen for the hydrogen fuel cell "black taxis" for the Olympic Games.

    By 2015 most major car makers will be selling hydrogen fuel cell cars. RNCOS - "As per our findings, a number of automobile manufacturing companies are planning to launch Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) in the coming years, with a target of widespread commercialization by 2015."

    7 August 2012

    Billingham rubbish-to-energy plant 'to create jobs'

    A factory that will turn landfill waste into renewable energy is to be built on Teesside bringing jobs to the region, its owners say.

    Air Products will build the plant at the energy and technology business park, near Billingham, with operations planned to start in 2014.

    Around 700 workers will build the plant and 50 people will be taken on to run it, Air Products said.

    It is hoped it will create enough energy to power 50,000 homes a year.

    John McGlade, president of Air Products, said the site would be one of the largest renewable energy plants in the world.

    'International firsts'

    "Air Products has longstanding expertise in building and operating large-scale industrial gas and energy-related projects on a safe, reliable and cost-effective basis.

    "The facility will also create skilled jobs in the area and we are hopeful it will provide an indirect boost to the local economy through the use of local service companies, hotels and other businesses, " Mr McGlade said.

    Work on the plant is expected to begin within weeks.

    Mr McGlade said the plant would divert 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste from landfill every year.

    Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited enterprise zone welcomed the news.

    He said: "The area is famous for delivering and supporting large scale projects and international firsts - it is our heritage and our backbone.

    "Now further expansion into new technologies and renewable energy continues to make Tees Valley one of the prime centres for significant inward investment."
  • Here's a few videos on the hydrogen powered "black cab", made by Lotus, Intelligent Energy. :)

    The Fuel Cell Taxi, Sep 27, 2010

    Fuel Cell Taxi speeds past Diesel Taxi in drag race, Jul 13, 2010

    Black Cabs go Green - CNBC Interview, May 25, 2011

    UK H2Mobility Launch, Feb 13, 2012

  • Airgead post=338934 wrote: Fuel cells are an interesting technology and have great potential. There are still some technical issues that will prevent widespread takeup for a while though. Particularly in third world or remote applications. The most serious is that any impurities in the fuel will contaminate of the electrodes and rapidly degrade the performance. You need either a very pure fuel source or some pretty serious purification gear which adds to the cost and complexity. It also makes them hard for non-specialists to service and maintain.

    Advances are being made and this is certainly a technology to watch.



    Here's one example of a useful low-cost microbial fuel cell tech project, a toilet that converts waste to compost for farming and some electricity, designed for third world populations. This is mainly to address sanitation and environmental pollution of streams and groundwater, etc, rather than a major electricity generator. The electricity from the fuel cell provides for night lighting for the toilet.

    Useful for billions of people who don't have a sanitary toilet nor a light, this is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Here's a lecture, by Dr Daniel Nocera on his artificial photosynthesis & alternative energy research, presented at Brookhaven National Laboratories.

    You might want to make a cuppa and settle in for a while it's over an hour in duration. Interesting and detailed info on the energy requirements for the global human population's energy future.

    Harnessing Energy from the Sun for Six Billion People

    Daniel Nocera, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor whose recent research focuses on solar-powered fuels, presents a Brookhaven Science Associates Distinguished Lecture, titled "Harnessing Energy from the Sun for Six Billion People -- One at a Time."

  • Here's another breakthrough fuel cell project for treating human or animal waste while generating power to run the treatment plant AND with the ability to produce excess electricity for homes and hydrogen for vehicles.



    CORVALLIS, Ore. – Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity.

    The new technology developed at OSU can now produce 10 to 50 more times the electricity, per volume, than most other approaches using microbial fuel cells, and 100 times more electricity than some.

    Researchers say this could eventually change the way that wastewater is treated all over the world, replacing the widely used “activated sludge” process that has been in use for almost a century. The new approach would produce significant amounts of electricity while effectively cleaning the wastewater Continued...
  • There was an interesting piece on the news today about a new solar powered toilet the Bill & Melinda gates foundation is putting money behind. It converts waste into hydrogen which the goes through a fuel cell to produce power.

    I suspect it may be too complex to really work in the third world environment they are aiming it at but interesting nonetheless.


  • Here's one descrition of how it works.

    After use, Caltech's winning toilet flushes down to a holding tank under the floor, where the solid material sinks to the bottom, reports The Seattle Times. When the liquid reaches a certain level, it flows through a tube into a "sun-powered electrochemical reactor." The reaction oxidizes the chloride in the urine, killing microorganisms in it. The resulting hydrogen is siphoned off, free to be used by the toilet's owners as a fuel. The treated water is filtered and reused the next time someone sits on the toilet. The whole thing is powered with solar energy.
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