Oil Giant Total Buys Stake in World’s Biggest Solar Developer
- LONDON—French energy giant Total SE said it would pay $2.5 billion for a 20% stake in the world’s largest solar developer, the latest move by an oil major to expand in renewable power.
- Total said Monday the investment in Adani Green Energy Ltd.
- The company, along with other oil majors including BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, has pledged to increase spending on renewable energy such as wind and solar power in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
- Total plans to spend $3 billion a year on renewables by 2030, around 20% of its annual investment budget and up from $2 billion last year.
- The Adani deal gives Total exposure to a leading renewables business in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for energy demand.
- Adani has 54 wind and solar projects in operation across the country, including one of the world’s largest solar projects in Kamuthi, Southern India.
Thermoradiative Device for Harvesting 24 Hour Daily Energy from Sun
- A thermoradiative devices (TRD) based power generator that harvests solar energy via concentrated solar irradiation during daytime and via thermal infrared emission towards the outer space at nighttime has been proposed on Arxiv.
- The model predicts that the TRD-based system yields a peak efficiency of 12.6% at daytime and a maximum power density of 10.8 Watts per square meter at nighttime, thus significantly outperforming the state-of the art record-setting thermoelectric generator.
- These findings reveal the potential of TRD towards 24-hour electricity generation and future renewable energy technology.
- Commercial solar rooftop panels are generating about 170 to 250 watts per square meter in the daytime.
- Any consistent sun light would work better to have regular solar and 150 to 250 watt hours per square meter of batteries to cover night time operation.
Wind, solar to dominate new US generating capacity in 2021
- Earlier this week, the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) released figures on the new generating capacity that's expected to start operating over the course of 2021.
- While batteries may look like short-term generating capacity from the perspective of "can this put power on the grid?", they're obviously not actually a net source of power.
- If it's actually completed, it will represent the first new nuclear capacity added to the US grid in several years, and will partly offset the closure of some smaller plants in recent years.
- But in recent years, wind power prices dropped to the point where a well-sited wind farm in the US could produce power at a price that was lower than the cost of buying fuel for an existing natural gas plant.
- But the market didn't respond to this new reality instantly, leaving natural gas dominating the capacity added to the US grid in recent years.
How solar tech could help distribute Covid-19 vaccines in Africa
- In preparation for a Covid-19 vaccination drive, the company -- with funding from Power Africa, a network of private and public groups set up by USAid -- has started providing solar-power systems to off-grid health clinics.
- When the pilot finishes in the middle of this year, Whalan hopes to use the same financing and distribution infrastructure to roll out solar-powered fridges and freezers to health clinics and immunization points.
- It's building solar-powered cold boxes for vaccine transportation that can be kept at minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be controlled remotely and monitored in real time.
- The company says it has worked with Nigeria's National Centre for Disease Control and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research during the pandemic, helping to collect and transport Covid-19 test samples from remote areas.
The 'megascale' structures that humans could one day build
- For as long as we have had mathematics, forward-thinking scholars like Grienberger have tried to imagine the far limits of engineering, even if the technology of the time was lacking.
- And scaling up our astronomical ambitions even further, others have speculated about whether future humans could terraform Mars to become habitable, or even construct a "Dyson sphere" of solar collectors around the Sun. In the very long run, we may want to perform modifications to make the Sun last longer, move the Earth into a wider orbit, or even move stars between galaxies.
- If we consider megascale engineering that has actually happened – the terracing of parts of South East Asia, the land reclamation of the Netherlands, the US Interstate Highway System, the internet – it consists of projects that can be implemented piecemeal, where work can cease and resume after learning experiences, and where the system is not dependent on every part functioning perfectly.
Chemical that makes chilli peppers spicy boosts solar panel cells
- Solar cells treated with capsaicin – the compound that makes chilli peppers hot – have been found to be more efficient at converting solar energy.
- Ultrathin solar cells made with lead-based materials can absorb light more efficiently than silicon-based solar cells, but they often can’t convert energy as efficiently because they lose some of it to heat.
- The team then analysed the solar cells with spectroscopy while conducting energy and found that the addition of capsaicin did indeed lead to a greater number of free electrons available to conduct current at the solar cells’ surface.
- Bao and his team hypothesise that capsaicin molecules react with the lead ions in the solar cell to free up more electrons to conduct current.
- Many natural organic compounds are being tested to see if they have the same effect as the capsaicin, says Tsutomu Miyasaka at the University of Yokohama in Japan, who invented perovskite solar cells in 2009.