Tag Archives: China

Two Chinese companies are planning to build a giant solar plant in Chernobyl

23 Nov

Two Chinese solar companies have plans to build a huge solar farm in one of the scariest places on earth, the Chernobyl exclusion zone. On the 26th April 1986, one of four nuclear reactors at the Chernobyl power station exploded. As a result, the disaster released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Much of the fallout was deposited close to Chernobyl, in parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. More than 350,000 people resettled away from these areas, but about 5.5 million remain. Scandinavia was badly affected and there are still areas of the UK where farms face post-Chernobyl controls.

After the nuclear plant’s meltdown, Soviet officials set up a restricted area around the site called the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Even though it’s been 30 years since the accident, this restricted area is still exceptionally large. A 1,000 square mile exclusion zone of forests and marshland surrounds the former Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine and has been largely off-limits since the 1986 disaster. However the site is an excellent choice for the location of a large solar farm. Not only is the land cheap and unused, but there is already substantial electrical infrastructure in place left over from the nuclear plant.

Shu Hua, the chairman of GCL System Integration Technology said “There will be remarkable social benefits and economic ones as we try to renovate the once damaged area with green and renewable energy,” Making the best of a bad situation could prove motivating to others as the global community begins the hard work of implementing the Paris Agreement.

Ukraine has been trying to find an investor to build a large solar farm in the exclusion zone for several months and now the two companies, GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI) and state-owned China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC), announced their plans to start building a 1-gigawatt solar power plant in an unspecified region of the Exclusion Zone. Comments made by a GCL-SI manager suggested that the plant would be built in an area where the radiation is under control. The site itself has already gone through several rounds of inspections by the company’s technicians. GCL will build and install the solar components, while CCEC will manage and supervise the entire project. Neither company disclosed where exactly the solar farm would be built, or how much the project will cost.

Prior to the Chernobyl project, the Chinese have successfully reformatted contaminated land into renewable energy generators and therefore are the perfect candidate for the construction. Radiation levels around the remains of damaged reactor building still remain dangerously high and are likely to remain so for thousands of years. In the 30 years since the meltdown, scientists have already seen some evidence of the radiation causing harm to local animals.

To discourage urban expansion from absorbing more farmland, China has implemented policies that encourage solar and wind power plants on damaged land. China is currently the world’s top solar power generator with 43 gigawatts of generating capacity expected by the end of the year,

Though they have become the number one manufacturer in solar power, China has been encouraged to slash their carbon footprint since they reportedly derive 66% of their energy from coal use, according to the Energy Information Administration. The nation has since announced plans to eliminate all CO2 emissions by 2030 by expanding their international solar power presence and tripling their generated wind power.

Image result for Chernobyl

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Why going solar may be right up your street

5 Jun

Are you thinking of investing in a solar powered future for you and your family? Increasing numbers of homeowners around the world are going solar, and the green energy investment not only saves money in the long run, but also helps the environment. What’s not to love?

In terms of global installed capacity, solar is the 3rd most important renewable energy source sitting just behind hydro and wind respectively. Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to work; they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

The benefits of going solar

  1. Once the panels have been installed there is no need for any fuels to be consumed. What could be greener than that?
  2. In terms of your local community – By reducing the impact on the power grid (with your house being self-efficient) power is conserved for other locations around the community.
  3. The sun must be the most reliable source of power due to the fact it will be around for the next several billion years. An abundant power source if you ask us.
  4. Get paid for generating electricity. The government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate – even if you use it!
  5. SUNLIGHT IS FREE! So once you have paid for the initial installation your energy costs will be reduced.
  6. You could sell electricity back to the grid. Basically, if your system is producing more electricity than you use, you can sell the surplus back to the grid.
  7. A typical home which operates under solar power could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year. You could be the greenest person you know considering you could save more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime!

Solar power around the world

You might be surprised to know that in 2010 Germany had the highest capacity of solar photovoltaic power in the world and still does to this day. Despite a slowdown in 2013, Germany is expected to remain the top solar market in Europe for the coming years, and still boasts a quarter of the world’s installed PV capacity 26 percent, compared to the 13 percent held by each of the next two countries, Italy and China.

China is second on the list. Coupled with a commitment to cut its coal use, the world’s biggest carbon polluter could soon also be the country powered with the greenest energy. It helps that China is a major solar panel manufacturer, and the government has had to repeatedly raise its renewable energy targets — from a plan of 20 GW by 2020 to 20-30 GW by 2020 to the current target of an astounding 70 GW of solar by 2017.

Rounding off the top three is Italy. Rising from fifth place in 2010 to third place as of the end of 2013, Italy generates more of its energy from solar than any other nation, with 7.8 percent of its energy coming from solar, compared to 6.2 percent for Germany.

As for the little island called the United Kingdom, we come at an impressive 10th. In 2013, the U.K nearly doubled its solar capacity, installing more even than Italy, the current 5th-place holder. Pretty impressive!

Frequently asked questions

  • A popular question asked by someone wanting to go solar is what happens when they move home. In short, ownership of the technology is linked to the site and, therefore, in the case where a building or homeownership changes, the ownership of the technology would also transfer to the new owner.
  • Another popular subject is the questionable amount of sunshine in the UK. Well, solar panels work using light, and not necessarily sun light. This means that a solar PV or solar thermal system can function in cooler and often cloudier countries. However you will of course generate more energy at sunnier times of the year.
  • And finally, where should you installed your solar panels – Maximum output comes from south facing systems between 30-40 degrees from horizontal. Although most systems are installed on a roof, they can be installed on any surface such as facades, sunshades, garages or ground mounted. They are normally installed in locations that receive sunshine through most of the day.

If you would like any more information regarding solar power call us on 020 8883 4595. One of our dedicated team members will be happy to help!

Wind Energy Production Has A Record Breaking 2014 Across The Globe

7 May

It’s good news on the renewable energy front. It has been reported by The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) that global wind energy production increased by 44% in 2014. It appears the world’s energy worries may be actually blowing in the wind as a total 51,477 megawatts worth of wind capacity was installed around the globe.

It has taken around 40 years to get here but the total global wind capacity now stands at a huge 369,553 megawatts. 2014’s total is about one seventh of the total installed which is a good indication of how popular wind power has become.

At the end of 2013, the expectations for wind power market growth were uncertain, as continued economic slowdown in Europe and political uncertainty in the US made it difficult to make projections for 2014. Thus, you can imagine the surprise of the 2014 results.

Green news outlet, Treehugger said “This means that, in theory, even without acceleration in the rate of growth, we could double wind capacity during the next seven years.” They also speculate that the figure would double again in just five years.

China has had the largest overall market for wind power generation since 2009 and due to another remarkable year has retained the top spot in 2014. Europe had a good year earning them runner up, followed by North American, a distant third.

Zoom into Europe and we find that Germany had a brilliant year in 2014 both onshore and offshore – but rest assured, the United Kingdom also had a great year earning us second place for wind in Europe by installing a total 1,736MW, of which 923 MW was onshore and 813 MW was offshore. The UK is the largest offshore wind market in the world with total installations of almost 4,494 MW, accounting for over half of the global offshore market. The UK now generates enough wind energy to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million UK households. Not bad for a small island!

When it comes to the present a new report from GlobalData has found that Germany is set to overtake the UK as global leader for annual offshore wind turbine installations in 2015, with an estimated 2,071 MW set to be added this year. “Germany’s huge increase in offshore installations is attributable to several offshore wind projects scheduled to come online in 2015,” said Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s Practice Head for Power.

China is also springing into action and will jump into second place, leaving the UK in third position. Ankit Mathur also went on to say;

“China is also planning an array of offshore wind projects this year, which will see it overtake the UK for annual installations.”

“Additionally, the next few years will see China maintain its annual offshore wind installations around the 1 Gigawatt mark, while the UK will observe relatively lower installations until 2018, when the country’s next offshore growth spurt is expected.”

Chin up UK – this is one race where it doesn’t really matter who comes in first because everyone’s a winner.

Can we harness energy from our beautiful moon?

15 Aug

When I think of China I think advanced, innovative and creative yet their new idea sounds like the story line from a sci-fi movie set in space! They are considering mining the moon in order to meet our energy demands…say what? It is widely argued by some scientists that the moon contains so much Helium 3, that the world’s energy needs could be met for at least the next 10,000 years.

Basically Helium 3 is an extremely cherished isotope that could be used in clean fusion plants to produce energy – and it’s available in huge quantities on the moon. Now isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element. While all isotopes of a given element share the same number of protons, each isotope differs from the others in its number of neutrons. The number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) in the nucleus is the mass number, and each /isotope of a given element has a different mass number. Was that the lunch bell? In short an atom with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons.

Well what on earth is helium 3 I hear you ask? Well if you don’t you should because it’s a light, non-radioactive Isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. Making sense? It’s deposited upon the moon’s surface by solar winds, and is available in relative abundance. Helium 3 is uncommon on Earth because our planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field inhibit deposits from reaching the surface.

Fabrizio Bozzato, a doctoral candidate at the University of Tamkan in Taiwan, recently wrote that Helium 3 could be extracted by heating lunar dust to around 600°C, before bringing it back to the Earth. He estimates that the gas has a potential economic value of $3 billion (USD) a ton, and according to experts in the US, the total estimated cost for fusion development, rocket development and starting lunar operations would be about $20 (USD) billion over two decades.

China is yet to set any concrete plans regarding the farming of Helium 3 from the moon’s surface. At this point they have expressed an interest and if they do put this into action, they insist it will be for the benefit of humanity…ahh bless em’.

This in theory is a great idea but China would have a monopoly over the resource and rightly so if other countries don’t step up to the plate and take this forward as a joint venture. We only need to watch some more sci-fi movies to guess how this could end!

 

 

 

 

A super skyscraper that can reduce pollution and convert it into green energy!

28 Mar

Paris is currently at the forefront of a media frenzy regarding the current high levels of pollution. The city imposed a car ban for motorists with an even registration plate on the Monday, and a ban on the Tuesday for those with an odd registration plate. Although, steps were taken a group of students in China are investigating ways of avoiding this all together.

Many cities around the world have tall skyscrapers which require huge amounts of energy to heat and cool the residents living inside. The problem with this is that concentrations of buildings in cities can cause what is known as an ‘urban heat island’. This involves an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. These areas can raise temperatures during the spring and summer months resulting in a reduction of air quality.

Chinese architecture students Zhan Beidi, Yang Siqi, Zhang Tianshuo and Zhao Renbo have designed a building to combat the issue. A building called ‘Project Blue’ which is designed to reduce pollution in urban zones has been put forward. The plan was to design a building that would help reduce the high levels of particulate pollution that’s becoming a big problem within Chinese cities. The system is complex, but fundamentally their building would brush carbon monoxide from the air and turn it into methane. This methane could then be used to generate electricity or power methane fuel cells in cars.

Project Blue is planned to convert particulate matter in the atmosphere into green energy. This is achieved by simulating a huge inverted cooling tower with a system that produces nitrogen and sulphur. Once the components are combined with the carbon monoxide found in the atmosphere, the result is water coal that would be converted into methane.

As heat islands can occur in different locations throughout a city, The Project Blue Skyscraper will be able to move and bring its clean energy to whichever area needs it most. The skyscraper is not a stationary building and will ‘drift’. The ‘drifting aero-boat’ will travel through the cities of China cleaning the air and producing green fuel as a consequence.

China’s economy is booming and has been great to watch but with this has come high pollution levels. This has left many of China’s cities with a smoggy atmosphere, a side effect of being the ‘Factory of the world’. The project has not been commissioned at this point, but it’s certainly an interesting one to watch!

 

Skyscraper-turns-Air-Pollution-into-Green-Energy-2

 

And the offshore wind award goes to…

15 Nov

2013 is set to be a record breaking year for offshore wind power as it is on track to hit a seventh consecutive annual record. The world total was increased by 20% in just the first six months of the year with developers adding 1,080 megawatts of generating capacity. At present fifteen countries host some 6,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity set to exceed 7,100 megawatts before year end.

In UK waters more than 500 megawatts of new offshore wind power went live in the first six months of 2013, totalling the countries grand total to over 3,400 megawatts. The amount generated is enough to supply more than two million UK homes with power.

The London Array (Check out a previous blog called ‘London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm!’) is to thank for the bulk of this new offshore capacity after it completed its first phase. This year it overtook another of the UK’s offshore wind farms, the 500 megawatt ‘Greater Gabbard’ wind farm which was completed in 2012. In total, the good old blighty has some 12,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity under construction or in earlier development stages.

The United Kingdom is currently top of the charts when it comes to offshore wind capacity, followed by Denmark. Now back in 1991, Denmark was the first country to put wind turbines in the sea as they installed a 5 megawatt project in the Baltic Sea. Since 2008, Denmark’s offshore wind capacity has more than trebled, reaching 1,200 megawatts by mid-2013. At present Denmark gets more than 30% of its electricity from wind (onshore and offshore). They anticipate increasing the share to 50% by 2020. Denmark has the world’s highest wind power capacity per square mile.

In third place we have Belgium who in the first half of 2013 increased their offshore wind capacity by 20%. This totals Belgium’s capacity to 450 megawatts.

China is placed in 4th position after it activated its first offshore wind farm in 2010 reaching an impressive 390 megawatts. China aims to bring 5,000 megawatts of wind capacity to Chinese waters by 2015, expanding to a huge 30,000 megawatts come 2020.

Germany takes 5th position due to their 380 megawatts of offshore wind capacity and the estimated 520 megawatts by year’s end. The German offshore industry anticipates another 1,000 megawatts will connect to the grid in both 2014 and 2015.

Offshore wind is currently gaining huge attention in Japan whose future of nuclear energy is questionable. Potentially by bringing wind power to Japan they would have a huge domestic, carbon free power source. Japan’s offshore wind capacity is currently at 41 megawatts due to a new 16 megawatt project installed in the first half of 2013.

Check out the world ranking figures below!

Earth policy institute – www.earth-policy.org

The Chinese Eco-City that is Leading the Way

19 Jul

Green building is becoming so prevalent these days that it may not be enough to erect individual eco buildings anymore – the newest trend is entire eco-cities. Expected to be up and running in 2020, Tianjin Eco-City is one of these real-life sustainable communities, spanning 30 square kilometers and showcasing the finest new energy-saving technologies.

Intended to showcase the bright sparks of new green technologies and to serve as a model for future developing Chinese cities, Tianjin Eco-City is designed by Surbana Urban Planning Group. The city is being built just 10 minutes away from the business parks at the Tianjin Economic-Development Area, making for a commute that should be a breeze with the development’s advanced light rail transit system. Even cooler, the community’s expected 350,000 residents will be able to choose different landscapes ranging from a sun-powered solarscape to a greenery-clad earthscape. Exciting times.

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