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The Curtis-Teixeiro biomass plant is one the most important renewable energy projects in Europe. Greenalia will invest €135 million in the plant and the construction work is being carried out by a joint venture made up of Acciona Industrial and Imasa Ingeniería y Proyectos. Under the terms of the EPC contract, the consortium will be responsible for the O&M of the plant over a period of 15 years. The Curtis Teixeiro biomass plant is being built on a 103,000 m2 site and will have a capacity of 50 MW when fully operational, enough energy to supply a population of over 250,000. Once completed, this pioneer in terms of technological innovation will be the largest forest biomass facility in the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Europe, using pruning and eucalyptus wood waste.

Once commissioned, the plant will generate 324 GWh per annum and will have the capacity to treat 500,000 tonnes of forest biomass. This waste will be supplied by group subsidiary Greenalia Forest, which will collect it from FSC or PEFC certified forests within a radius of 100 km from the plant.

The plant features the latest biomass power generation technologies and complies with the most stringent European legislation. This is a highly efficient power generation facility, with low CO2 emissions. It uses dry cooling technology, which means minimal water consumption and no effluent discharges. Construction work is scheduled for completion in September and the plant is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2020.

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Acciona has created a hub in its El Romero Solar plant (Atacama, Chile) to test new photovoltaic technologies that will improve the efficiency and performance of solar energy facilities.
The hub will focus on the mechanical and energy capacity of double-sided crystalline, split-cell and thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) technologies, all of them in the development phase, with the intention of shaping PV energy’s evolution. The solar modules have been produced by JA Solar and First Solar, and a variety of solar trackers will be used, manufactured by STI Nordland and Soltec.

The innovation center, in which two of the three tracker zones have already been installed, will have a power generation facility with a total capacity of 492 kWp (180 kW rated) consisting of 1,280 modules in three series of trackers connected to nine inverters. These will be assisted by other equipment to measure and monitor parameters such as incident and reflected solar radiation, ambient temperature or the production temperature of each kind of module, among others.

Unlike conventional solar modules, which only have photovoltaic cells on one side, the double-sided modules have cells on both sides of the panel to capture reflected solar radiation and increase output per surface unit occupied.

In split-cell modules each cell is divided into two parts. This reduces energy losses and improves the durability of the panel.

Finally, the thin-film modules are made from semi-conductive materials as alternatives to conventional crystalline silicon –such as cadmium telluride- that reduce both manufacturing costs and their carbon footprint during their working life.

Advanced technologies

Advanced technologies in photovoltaic solar are one of the main strategic approaches that guide Acciona’s innovation activities in the field of clean energies. One of the most innovative projects to date is the hybridization of organic photovoltaic panels in a wind turbine tower to power a turbine in the Breña wind farm (Albacete, Spain).

El Romero Solar is one of the biggest photovoltaic plants owned and operated by Acciona, with a capacity of 246 MWp. Located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, an area with some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, it produces energy equivalent to the consumption of around 240,000 Chilean households. Part of its capacity will be used to supply Google’s data center in the country.

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Jinko Solar has been one of only four PV module suppliers to receive a “AA” bankability rating from PV-Tech & Solar Media. Jinko Solar is the only PV module supplier to have AA-Ratings for the past 12 consecutive quarters.

In its first ever quarterly PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings, PV Tech set out to create an independent, comprehensive and transparent ranking system to help investors, banks, project developers and EPCs differentiate between the hundreds of PV module suppliers that sell to commercial, industrial, and utility customers around the world.

Mr. Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar, commented, “We are extremely pleased to be recognized by such a reputable and independent organization as PV Tech. 2019 is already shaping up to be one of the top five warmest years on record. As the need for cleaner alternative energy solutions becomes ever more important, and as our industry continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly difficult for customers to distinguish between supplier claims. While we have always been focused on pushing through technological innovations and producing the highest quality modules in the market, we have also deliberately tried to balance profitability and the long-term sustainability of our business.”

Source: Jinko Solar

Iberdrola is making strides in its strategy to promote innovative sustainable mobility to fight climate change by acquiring a stake in Wallbox.

This company, Europe’s leading electric vehicle charging solutions company, has completed a 15 M€ round of capital injections – led by Iberdrola, with other co-investors and some of Wallbox’s current partners – which will allow it to reinforce its leadership and undertake global expansion.

The operation strengthens the business partnership between both companies and, fits into Iberdrola’s Sustainable Mobility Plan, which includes rolling out 25,000 electric vehicle charging stations throughout Spain by 2021 and in the company’s other global markets.

The sustainable mobility leader

Iberdrola intends to drive and lead the transition to sustainable mobility and the electrification of transport as an effective way to combat climate change.

The company has a Sustainable Mobility Plan that entails deploying 25,000 electric vehicle charging stations in Spanish homes, companies, urban and suburban areas with public access by 2021.The plan includes installing fast, super-fast and ultra-fast charging stations at least every 100 km on the country’s main motorways and highways during 2019, making it possible to drive all the way across Spain in an electric vehicle.

Perseo, collaboration with start-ups to design the energy of the future

Innovation is a strategic variable for Iberdrola and the main tool for guaranteeing the company’s sustainability, efficiency and competitiveness.

Iberdrola has been collaborating with start-ups for over ten years through its 70 M€ Perseo Programme. Perseo helps the company to gain access to the technologies of the future and fosters the development of a dynamic, global ecosystem of technology companies and entrepreneurs that will improve the sustainability of the energy model.

Through Perseo, Iberdrola has brought more than 2,000 emerging companies into its ecosystem, developed pilot projects, over 30 of them in the last two years, and invested in 15 start-ups in areas such as energy storage, drones, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Wallbox, working towards a change in the mobility paradigm

Wallbox plans to become a global electric vehicle charging solutions supplier (smart chargers and the myWallbox platform) and is still at the forefront of the sector with the launch of a home DC charger in the second half of the year.

The initiative will be top of its class due to its features and bidirectional technology. It has already been assessed by the market and agreements have already been signed with major car manufacturers. This new technology will bring a disruptive change to electric vehicle charging systems worldwide.

 

Source: Iberdrola

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) is financing the innovation and development strategy that Velatia will drive forward in the electrical energy sector. EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and Velatia’s CEO, Javier Ormazabal, today signed a EUR 32.5 million finance agreement that will enable the firm to incorporate new digital technologies into the products that it develops for electricity networks. The EU bank is providing this loan under the Investment Plan for Europe, known as the Juncker Plan.

Velatia is an industrial group that operates in two main areas: electricity distribution networks, via the firm Ormazabal, and telecommunications, headed by Ikusi. The EIB loan will enable the company, which is headquartered in Bilbao and has a presence in 19 countries, to improve its competitiveness in the face of the changes taking place in the energy sector. Ormazabal will drive forward projects in the areas of the automisation and digitisation of power grids, as well as the development of patents and products that enable it to enter new markets and gain new customers.

This EIB support for Ormazabal’s RDI programme will also have environmental benefits, helping to achieve the EU’s goal of decarbonising the energy system. Specifically, the project will make it possible to adapt the electricity distribution networks to a renewable and well-distributed energy mix and the electrification of transport. These aims will be achieved by developing technologies incorporating new electromechanical equipment and electronic hardware, communications systems provided with new cyber-security solutions and innovative power grid management software.

This agreement will help to safeguard quality employment and create new jobs in the firm’s RDI division. The loan is backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, which enables the EIB to finance projects that have particular value added and a higher risk profile owing to their structure or nature.

This loan makes clear the EIB’s firm commitment to supporting innovation by firms operating in highly competitive sectors that consequently need heavy investment to secure their future” said EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro at the signing ceremony. “We are therefore delighted to be signing an agreement that will benefit both the Spanish and the European economy by facilitating the development of new power sector products that will boost competitiveness and contribute to climate action”.

Our commitment to RDI is part of Velatia and of course Ormazabal’s DNA. We are facing different challenges that at the same time represent opportunities, and this is why we are committed to digitisation and sustainability as marks of our identity. The working areas in which Ormazabal is engaged are therefore energy efficiency and the development of technologies that enable achievement of the decarbonisation objectives set for Europe”, said Javier Ormazabal, Velatia’s CEO.

RDI financing

Innovation and skills development are fundamental ingredients for ensuring sustainable growth and quality job creation. Both play a key role in achieving long-term competitiveness. Financing innovation is therefore one of the EIB’s top priorities. In 2017, the EU bank provided EUR 13.8 billion for financing different RDI projects.

In Spain alone, last year the EIB supported the innovation projects of Spanish businesses with loans worth EUR 1.446 billion. This figure represents a 67% increase on its lending in this sector the previous year. Overall, the EIB Group dedicated 13% of its financing in Spain to promoting corporate RDI.

Source: European Investment Bank (EIB)

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With more than 2.2 GW supplied for projects around the world and a forecasted turnover of €200m for the end of 2017, Soltec has become the fastest growing renewable energy company in Europe.

There is no secret formula to achieving this level of corporate success. The company’s ongoing investment in R&D and the development of proprietary technologies are essential factors for winning new projects. With 14 years of experience in the development of PV energy and some 35 patents worldwide, Soltec designed its first solar tracker in 2007 and since then has continued to invest in technological innovation.

According to Raúl Morales, CEO of Soltec, “Developing a cutting-edge product is fundamental in the solar power sector and to achieve this, R&D becomes the lynch pin of any company looking for a niche in the renewable energy market”.

This year, a decade after the launch of its first solar tracker, this Spanish company has created SF7, the highest performing tracker on the market. Compared to its main rival, it is able to increase energy production, with up to 5% more output. Moreover, its design reduces the number of parts as well as installation time, thereby making its trackers the most cost-effective on the market.

Our product is the result of years of knowledge and experience in the PV sector. This has allowed us to understand our clients’ needs in addition to applying pioneering technologies to solar tracking”, comments José María Lozano, Head of Global Engineering at Soltec.

However, Soltec is not just an example of innovation in solar trackers, but tells the success story of a company that, following the crash of the PV sector in Spain, found a way to redirect its focus to become an international player. This means that today it is present in 12 countries and this year alone, has supplied its units to 15 projects, predominantly in Latin America and the USA. Soltec has thus positioned itself as the leading supplier in Brazil, Chile and Peru, continuing to gain market share in Mexico and the USA and expanding its market in other parts of the world, with new projects and subsidiaries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Soltec’s sights are once again set on Spain, now that the domestic PV market has been reactivated. “With a production capacity of 2.5 GW per year that permits supplies of over 200 MW a month and over 500 employees around the world, Soltec is the perfect partner for the implementation of large solar power projects”, confirms Emilio Alfonso, Soltec’s Commercial Vice-President for the EMEA Region. “What makes us stand out from our main competitors in Spain is that over recent years, we have maintained a very high level of overseas business”.

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The SPP Regions project has launched its website – www.sppregions.eu – to showcase the creation and the strengthening of networks of public authorities on sustainable and innovative procurement in seven European regions. The networks in Barcelona (Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat), South West England (PIPEN), Bulgaria (Bulgarian SPPI Network), Copenhagen, Torino (APE), Metropolitan Region Rotterdam – The Hague and West France (RGO) will co-operate directly on tendering for eco-innovative solutions and build capacities on the implementation of sustainable and innovative purchasing practices. The seven regional SPP networks will publish a total of 42 eco-innovative tenders focused on energy use in public buildings, vehicles and transport, and food and catering services. The goal is to achieve 54.3 GWh/year of primary energy savings and trigger 45 GWh/year of renewable energy.

By becoming early adopters of new eco-innovative solutions and technologies, local public bodies can bridge the gap between supply and demand of these products and services, and bring economic, social and environmental benefits to their cities. SPP and PPI can trigger employment creation, boost the establishment of SMEs, reduce water and energy consumption, decrease GHG emissions, encourage more efficient use of natural resources, and contribute to the improvement of air quality. Regional networks can help increase the capacity of public bodies for SPP and PPI, and send a stronger signal of demand for sustainability to suppliers.

In addition, the project aims at increasing the capacities and skills on energy issues of 460 market stakeholders. In-depth research will be conducted into European good practice relating to a series of key SPP and PPI topics such as market engagement, life cycle costing, output or performance-based specifications, and circular procurement. These resources will be made available from the project website.

Given the importance of replicating the SPP Regions initiative, the participating regions and the expert partners will identify another 10 regions that may be interested in developing their own network.

The SPP Regions project is coordinated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, in partnership with the Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale del Piemonte (Italy), Diputació de Barcelona, Réseau Grand Ouest commande publique et dévelopement durable (France), City of Rotterdam, Città Metropolitana di Torino, Bristol City Council, Gabrovo Municipality, EcoEnergy (Bulgaria), The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, University of West of England (Bristol), The Capital Region of Denmark, and Ecoinstitut SCCL (Barcelona). The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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    Wind turbine installation at Noblesfontein wind farm (74 MW, South Africa) , constructed by Iberdrola Ingeniería and Grupo Five. Photo courtesy of Iberdrola Ingeniería

    KIC InnoEnergy, developer of innovative programmes in sustainable energy together with BVG Associates, have recently published the studies “Future renewable energy costs: offshore wind power”, “Future renewable energy costs: onshore wind power”. These analyse the impact of the technological innovations that will be developed over the next 10 years and are geared towards reduced energy costs for both onshore and offshore wind power.

    The findings of these reports identify opportunities and technological challenges in onshore and offshore wind power generation.

    These reports are the first in a series focusing on renewable energy and aim to develop credible cost models for these technologies based on a comprehensive analysis of the principal technological innovations that are expected to be applied in the medium term, using a consistent and robust methodology.

    Article published in: FuturENERGY September 2014

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