Smart Grid Conference 2010

The electric power industry is rapidly moving beyond the smart meter to that of an information-rich networked grid. Information technology and advanced communication networks are enabling an intelligent grid infrastructure that is spawning the development and deployment of transformative applications for next-generation utility networks.

Between 2010 and 2020, power grids around the globe will be transformed through a series of stages driven by the availability of infrastructure technology and application market demand. Everything from improved power quality and reduction in peak demand to the integration of distributed renewable energy resources and PHEVs will influence the portfolio of smart grid technologies and applications to come.

The Networked Grid 2010 is Greentech Media’s premier two-day smart grid conference, covering next-generation smart grid infrastructure and applications. Topics to be covered at this smart grid event include:

  • North American Utility Executive Round Table Discussion
  • Networked Grid Communications Infrastructure: Scaling AMI and Beyond
  • The Soft Grid: Smart Grid’s Killer Applications
  • Power Forward: Grid Optimization and Distribution Automation
  • Information is Power: Meter Data Management and Analytics
  • Winning the Home Network Battle: PHYs, Protocols and Platforms
  • The Smart Home Customer Experience: Next-Generation Consumer Services and TOU Pricing
  • Securing the Networked Grid Infrastructure
  • Addressing Peak Demand: The Future of Demand Response and Smart Appliances
  • The Microgrid Emergence: Distributed, Intermittent Renewable Power & Storage
  • Utility Enterprise 2.0: Information Technology and Back-Office Systems Integration
  • The Networked EV: Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles
  • The Networked Building: Efficient, Automated “Energy LANs”

In addition, The Networked Grid 2010 will feature two in-depth workshops:

  • Power Layer Infrastructure Technologies and Network Communications Layer Architectures
  • North American Utility Smart Grid Case Studies

Stay tuned for more news about this conference!!!!!

Where:    Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa in Palm Springs, CA.

When:     May 18-19, 2010

Registration :   The Networked Grid 2010 page

The full agenda for The Networked Grid 2010 can be found here.

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New Bacterium Doubles Hydrogen Gas Production

Hydrogen gas is today used primarily for manufacturing chemicals, but a bright future is predicted for it as a vehicle fuel in combination with fuel cells. In order to produce hydrogen gas in a way that is climate neutral, bacteria are added to forestry or household waste, using a method similar to biogas production. One problem with this production method is that hydrogen exchange is low, i.e. the raw materials generate little hydrogen gas.

Now, for the first time, researchers have studied a newly discovered bacterium that produces twice as much hydrogen gas as the bacteria currently used. The results show how, when and why the bacterium can perform its excellent work and increase the possibilities of competitive biological production of hydrogen gas.

“There are three important explanations for why this bacterium, which is called Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus, produces more hydrogen gas than others. One is that it has adapted to a low-energy environment, which has caused it to develop effective transport systems for carbohydrates and the ability to break down inaccessible parts of plants with the help of enzymes. This in turn means it produces more hydrogen gas. The second explanation is that it can cope with higher growth temperatures than many other bacteria. The higher the temperature, the more hydrogen gas can be formed,” summarises Karin Willquist, doctoral student in Applied Microbiology at Lund University. She will soon be presenting a thesis on the subject.

The third explanation is that the CS bacterium can still produce hydrogen gas even in difficult conditions, for example high partial hydrogen pressure, which is necessary if biological hydrogen gas production is to be financially viable.

On the other hand, the bacterium does not like high concentrations of salt or hydrogen gas. These affect the signalling molecules in the bacterium and, in turn, the metabolism in such a way that it produces less hydrogen gas.

“But it is possible to direct the process so that salt and hydrogen gas concentrations do not become too high,” points out Karin Willquist.

When hydrogen is used as an energy carrier, for example in car engines, water is the only by-product. However, because the hydrogen gas production itself, if it is carried out by a conventional method, consumes large amounts of energy, hydrogen gas is still not a very environmentally friendly energy carrier.

Reforming of methane or electrolysis of water are currently the most common ways to produce hydrogen gas. However, methane gas is not renewable and its use leads to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Electrolysis requires energy, usually acquired from fossil fuels, but also sometimes from wind or solar power. Hydrogen gas can also be generated from wind power, which is an environmentally friendly alternative, even if wind power is controversial for other reasons.

“If hydrogen gas is produced from biomass, there is no addition of carbon dioxide because the carbon dioxide formed in the production is the same that is absorbed from the atmosphere by the plants being used. Bio-hydrogen gas will probably complement biogas in the future,” predicts Karin Willquist.

Today there are cars that run on hydrogen gas, e.g. the Honda FCX, even if they are few in number. The reason for this is that it is too expensive to produce hydrogen gas and there is no functioning hydrogen infrastructure.

“A first step towards a hydrogen gas society could be to mix hydrogen gas with methane gas and use the existing methane gas infrastructure. Buses in Malmö, for example, drive on a mixture of hydrogen gas and methane gas,” says Karin Willquist.

Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus was isolated for the first time in 1987 in a hot spring in New Zealand. It is only recently that researchers have really begun to realise the potential of the bacterium.

For more information click here

Second generation biofuels

For some of us that don’t know what is the second generation biofuels this , I found a simple explanation, this are made from ligno-cellulosic biomass feedstock using advanced technical processes.

Ligno-cellulosic sources include ‘woody’, ‘carbonous’ materials that do not compete with food production, such as leaves, tree bark, straw or woodchips.

However, in the longer term, many envisage biofuels being made from materials that are not even dependent on arable land, such as algal materials growing in water.

some advantages of this biofuels are

  • They have a more favourable GHG balance. Cellulose ethanol could produce 75% less CO2 than normal petrol, whereas corn or sugar-beet ethanol reduces CO2 levels by just 60%. As for diesel, Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) technology could slash CO2 emissions by 90%, compared with 75% for currently-available biodiesel;
  • They are able to use a wider range of biomass feedstocks, and do not compete with food production;
  • They could use less land. For example, a new genetically modified variety of sugarcane is able to produce up to 200 tonnes of biofuels per hectare. In this case, plant science could triple production volumes per hectare of land.
  • They could be produced at cost-competitive prices, especially if low-cost biomass is used, and;  They offer a better quality of fuel than first-generation biofuels.

With ethanol and biodiesel coming under increasing criticism for driving up food prices and putting biodiversity at risk, the EU has committed to ‘second-generation’ biofuels as a clean alternative for transportation – but many challenges remain before they find their way into our cars.

The processes for developing second-generation biofuels are much more complex than those used for first-generation fuels and both the technologies and the logistics are still at a very early stage.

While with first-generation biofuels, natural oils are extracted from the plants to produce fuel, second-generation processes, working with waste and ‘woody’ materials require complex catalysis and chemical alteration procedures to create the oils in the first place.

So far, only certain small experimental or demonstration plants exist, and production is yet nowhere near to being started on a commercial level.

As potentially the entire process of ethanol production from lignocelluloses could be carried out by the microbes within a fermentor, the use of second generation biofuels in biorefineries has generated a lot of interest. The three main economic obstacles are the high processing costs, the narrow margin between biomass and fuel prices, and the large capital investment needed to initiate a cellulosic biorefinery. This could however, be overcome by increasing the potential for the production of high-value goods alongside the biofuel, either by adding pathways for the production of oleochemicals or bioplastics to the fermenting bacteria, or by utilising the lignin. This would provide the biorefinery with a greater capital return.

for more info click here

NHA Hydrogen Conference & Expo will feature new products!

Did you know about the NHA?

The NHA is the  Hydrogen Conference and Expo is the largest hydrogen conference in the U.S. and one of the hydrogen conference in the world.

This year will be your best opportunity of the year to learn about breakthroughs, progress on commercialization challenges and network over a few days with the brightest minds and business leaders in the industry and of course see something new like zero emission cars, forklift vehicles, new cell power units, hydrogen production technology and everything related with green energy.

This Expo take place may 3-6 , 2010 in Long Beach, California.

Some topics will be:

  • Results from the First Field Test of a Microbial Electrolysis Cell for Renewable Hydrogen Production
  • Analysis of DOD’s Fuel Cell Forklift Demonstration Project
  • Environmentally Friendly HYDROGEN Refueling Station for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • HyTEC: Teaching High School Students and Teachers about Hydrogen and Fuel Cells       (that would be amazing! The new generation must be aware with the new energy for the future, huh?)

If you are interested , make a click http://www.hydrogenconference.org/index.asp


Suzuki To Launch E100 Cars In Brazil and US in 2010

The Nikkei reports that Suzuki Motor Corp. plans to develop flex-fuel cars that can run completely on 100% ethanol (E100) and launch them in South America and the US in around 2010.

As a first step, the company plans to begin selling in Brazil and elsewhere a passenger car fueled by a gasoline-bioethanol mixture that is 25% bioethanol by the end of March.

Suzuki has decided to accelerate development of ethanol cars because demand for them is expected to grow worldwide, with various efforts underway to develop technologies for producing bioethanol from non-food crops, such as rice straw.

Suzuki is also reportedly considering a hybrid option for a 3-liter mid-size car by leveraging its joint development efforts with GM, as well as launching its diesels, which it sells in India and Europe, in Japan.

source: greencarcongress