In green technology news this week, a U.S.- based renewable energy company will provide technological support to a Moroccan solar energy project, the New York Hilton is taking a top-down approach to going green, Philadelphia has given the go-ahead for a net-zero -capable downtown neighborhood; and Connecticut has passed the first statewide commercial PACE financing program in the United States.
TransPacific Energy Inc. (TPE), a U.S.-based renewable energy company and an affiliate of SunSi Energies Inc., has been selected for a landmark project by the Moroccan government. As a part of a three-company consortium, TPE will design, develop, install, and optimize a one-megawatt thermal solar-driven Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) energy project. The other two partners in the project are SNC-Lavalin, an engineering and construction firm, and MITHRAS Energies Maroc.
The Hilton Hotel in Manhattan is executing a top-flight environmental plan. The luxury accommodation now boasts a 16,000-square-foot green roof, covered by a variety of trees and shrubs that have been transported and transplanted from Upstate New York. The roof garden has been created with the intention of keeping the hotel cooler during the summer months—and thus using less AC and energy.
Philadelphia, a city that has played a key role in U.S. history, is now determined to lead the country to a more sustainable future. Not only has Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced Philly’s intentions to be the “Greenest City in America” by 2015—but, with the participation of Nexus EnergyHomes, the city is now building its new reputation, one net-zero-capable downtown neighborhood at a time. Nexus’ Foundry Court project comprises five lots located at 4th and Brown St. in Northern Liberties, the Old City district of Philadelphia. The homes will offer geothermal (ground sourced) heat pumps; photovoltaic solar panels; super-insulated building shells; state-of-the-art electronic and Web-based controls and monitoring systems; Energy Star-rated household appliances; and multiple power-saving devices; as well as light towers and roof decks.
Connecticut is setting the PACE for other U.S. states. On June 15, Governor Daniel P. Malloy signed the first statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (News - Alert) (PACE) financing program into law in America. Under the innovative Connecticut (C-PACE) program, the state’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) will aggregate transactions involving funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and work with financial institutions to invest in them—enabling commercial building owners to access capital at a lower interest rate than they can today.
Pike Research (News - Alert) estimates that, by 2017, about 90,000 light-duty vehicles and an additional 1,500 medium/heavy duty trucks will be enabled with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies. The global revenue for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) participating in ancillary services related to the electric grid would grow from less than $100,000 in 2011 to more than $18 million by 2017. When V2G becomes a reality, individual consumers may be able to sell energy back to the grid during peak and periods. In addition, researchers think V2G may be a source of ancillary services for utilities—including frequency stabilization, voltage regulation, and spinning reserve. Using V2G to stabilize the grid is attractive because it can deal with instabilities close to the source and it is always available.
The New York City based IEEE (News - Alert)—a professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity—suggests that we should all experience a “sea change” in the way we harvest energy. The experts say that algae, simple autotrophic organisms, are a promising source of sustainable energy to meet increasing global demands. Commonly called seaweed and pond scum, algae are photosynthetic—like the plants that sprout above sea level. They range in size from unicellular organisms to giant kelp. According to the IEEE, algae-based bio-fuels provide a robust and clean source of energy, delivering a sustainable alternative for the production of crude oil, jet fuel, and aviation gases. Use of algae is advantageous due to its extremely high rate of proliferation.
There’s something new under the sun on the 292-acre campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in West Windsor, New Jersey —and it will save the school about $1 million annually, while it generates 75 percent of the electricity the institution needs. In a lease-purchase agreement with New York City-based solar developer and financier SunLight General Capital, MCCC is deploying an eight-megawatt (MW) solar array, the largest on any college campus in the United States. The photovoltaic solar plant, which will be ground-mounted on the east side of the college’s property, will be fully installed by the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA) before year-end 2012— offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. There is no upfront cost to the school.
Now trash and recycling collectors can tell whether a bin is half-full or brimming over without being within sight (or smell) of the pickup location. Telit Wireless (News - Alert) Solutions has announced that its machine-to-machine (M2M) modules will provide cellular connectivity for solar compactors and waste receptacles operated by BigBelly Solar. BigBelly Solar offers a patented, compacting trash receptacle that is self-powered by solar energy and software-controlled. As waste collects inside a BigBelly solar compactor, an internal sensor gauges when the bin is filling and communicates that information back to the Command Center, triggering a compaction cycle. The software service also takes the sensor inputs and communicates with the management console, providing collection personnel with real-time data on which locations are ready for pickup. According to the two companies, with connected intelligence enabled by Telit’s GE864-QUAD V2 module, BigBelly Solar’s toolkit will enable municipalities and institutional customers to reduce the operating costs associated with waste collection by 80 percent.
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