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Farming the Sun - Page 2
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Thread: Farming the Sun

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    Along the biofuel theme, LanzaTech in Parnell, Auckland looks to be doing very well with technology to convert polluting industrial gases into ethanol with a special strain of bacteria. The bacteria strain they developed has been patented.


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    Solar panel PV prices are still dropping, here's an article for panels being sold in 2009, others quoting US$1.65 a watt trade bulk prices in 2011.



    This chart shows the phenomenal changes in the solar PV market in the last few years. Today, you can buy a 180 watt panel in NZ at retail for NZ$3.33 a watt. Just a few years ago it would have been $10 a watt.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Just released, new detail on the Moree Solar Farm. . Starting construction in 2012, and continuing for 4 years, this PV grid will use 650,000 solar panels to supply power to the Australian national grid, and will provide enough power for 45,000 households.

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    Another solar farm, to be used for desalination of seawater.


    I also read elsewhere, that (in some Australian states at least), PV panels can send power into the grid for the same cost as coal-fired electricity. That's a great move ahead, the trade price for panels being less than AUD$3.00 a watt.

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    Ocean Nutrition Canada have discovered an algae that is 60 times better at producing oils than other breeds. It's called ONC T18 B.


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    Some good moves being made towards a large-scale reservoir for irrigation in Hawkes Bay.


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    Aquaflow in Nelson are starting to talk bigger, with plans to build an algae and biomass combined biofuel plant in USA, Australia or NZ, bypassing a smaller pilot plant they'd planned.


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    China is quadrupling the size of its planned solar farm arrays, to help use up an oversupply of solar panels, and support the price for them. This is truly big scale.


    Note that it's likely China will install 30GW of extra solar capacity by 2015. This is a lot of renewable power. In fact NZ uses 140PJ of electrical energy in a year, which is an average of just 4.4GW over all 24hrs. So this set of panels in China would be enough to run all of NZ, if the spare output was stored by say pumping water up to a head and using hydro in times of low solar incidence.

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    Here's another way of storing the energy: heating up a large tank of salt, and then using it to produce steam for a standard thermal power plant.


    Cost-effective diesel from algae looks a step closer, if sited close to a plant producing spare CO2 (a bit like Huntly Power Station for example).


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    Joule have recently teamed up with Audi, allowing Audi to be the first movers with their new fuels. Joule have a bioengineered organsim that uses CO2, light and water to directly secrete liquid fuels instead of multiplying. No shortage of funds, they obtained $70mill earlier this year.


    More than a promising technology, Joule® is advancing a platform for renewable fuel and chemical production that is expected to eclipse the scale, productivity and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today.

    The company's Helioculture™ platform incorporates proprietary, engineered photosynthetic microorganisms to directly produce infrastructure-ready diesel, ethanol and multiple chemicals with no dependence on biomass feedstocks, agricultural land or fresh water. In parallel, Joule has developed a novel SolarConverter® system to enable the direct, continuous process with productivities that will be up to 100X greater than biomass-dependent methods, which require numerous energy-intensive steps and downstream processing to achieve an end product. In contrast, using sunlight, non-potable water and waste CO2 from industrial emitters or pipelines, Joule ultimately targets productivities of up to 15,000 gallons of diesel and 25,000 gallons of ethanol per acre annually, at stable costs as low as $50/bble and $1.28/gallon respectively (without subsidies).

    This unprecedented combination of scale, cost efficiency and infrastructure readiness will allow Joule to leapfrog the incremental progress of biofuels and create an entirely new industry around sustainable, localized solar fuel production.

    Joule has successfully pilot-tested its platform for over two years, initiated operations at its SunSprings™ demonstration plant, and launched a global subsidiary, Joule Fuels, to deploy fuel production sites worldwide.

    Joule is privately held and headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts with operations in Leander, Texas; Hobbs, New Mexico; and The Hague, Netherlands.

    More background, it's a modified cyanobacteria. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group.../message/29693

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