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Google could rule in car industry

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The recent linking of General Motors and Google for a handful of services related to the plug-in Chevy Volt marks an intersection for automakers and Internet giants. The two industries — one little changed for  decades and marked by steel and manufacturing, … Continue reading

Smart Grid Symposium 2010

Smart Grid is revolutionizing the electric utility industry, transforming today’s aging electric grid into a dynamic, optimized Smart Grid that is better suited to meet client demand and the challenges of today’s economic and political climate.

Smart meters are all the rage right now, but Smart Grid is far more than just meters, and it’s coming faster than you ever expected. Driven by aggressive public policies and funding, Smart Grid is reshaping the utility industry and how utilities build and manage their information and communication technology (ICT) networks. This vital symposium:

  • Examines best practices and case studies of utilities on the front line of Smart Grid implementation today
  • Reveals unexpected effects and costs of Smart Grid on planning and development
  • Highlights new and anticipated regulations, business change drivers, and technical standards that will affect your ICT networks now and in the future

Attend this symposium for actionable information and deep insights into how Smart Grid is transforming everything in our industry.

This event is from May 23 to May26th at Indiana Convention Center , IN.

Some of the topics are :

  • Building the Smart Grid for Electric Cars—How You Can Plug in
  • Smart Networks Council Open Meeting
  • Smart Grids: Managing Data from Massive Numbers of Networked Devices—Better Planning for Better Results
  • New Wireless Options for Utilities
  • and more….

For more info click here

Mitsubishi plugs in smart grid project

Mitsubishi Electric on Monday said it will invest about $76 million in a smart-grid project, part of a companywide push into equipment for modernizing the electricity grid.

The company will create two installations–a residential-size building and a commercial facility–which will have on-site power generation through photovoltaic panels and local energy storage with rechargeable batteries. The flow of energy will be managed and optimized by power electronics and smart meters to test the performance of the equipment.

Mitsubishi Electric said the projects are part of a corporatewide push to supply smart-grid technologies for the electric power industry and meet global demand for low-carbon energy.

In one experiment, Mitsubishi Electric will set up a mini-power station built around a four-megawatt solar array. It will include equipment, such as switches and smart meters, to manage the flow of energy and a battery.

The residential-scale system will feature a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array with a home energy-management system, which uses a smart meter and network-connected appliances.

The home system recalls work being done by Panasonic in this area. The industrial giant is developing a line of energy systems for the home, including energy-efficient TVs and appliances, solar panels, batteries, fuel-cell hot water heating systems, and a home energy-management dashboard.

Samsung, another company well known for its electronics, last week announced that it plans to invest $20 billionin energy and health care over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, an executive from battery supplier BYD said last month that the company plans to supply a combination of equipment, including solar panels and batteries, to homeowners.

Data collected from these various research sites will be used to develop new products and architectures that could enhance the performance of existing Smart Grid technologies. Mitsubishi is placing particular emphasis on the photovoltaic segment of its business. It has identified China, India, North America and Southeast Asia as regions to target.

Several major Japanese corporations have taken a greater interest in the Smart Grid recently, including Toshiba (which landed a relevant partnership with SunPower in early March), Zhimizu and Kyocera. And South Korean giant Samsung also just announced that it will sink $20.6 billion into green technologies, with a special focus on solar.

But Smart Grid efforts aren’t only heating up in Asia. At the end of last month, General Electric joined forces with Nissan to research the impact electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles may have on national electric grids — and how predicted grid overload crises may be averted. Other U.S. corporations like Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel and Microsoft have also been vocal about offering Smart Grid products to utilities and homeowners alike.

However, with consumer-friendly plug-in cars like Nissan’s Leaf and General Motors’ Chevy Volt preparing to launch as early as this year, it seems like Smart Grid solutions to major challenges are needed now — not in several years.

Some analysts say that less than 10 electric cars on the same block could cause power outages. If this is true, Mitsubishi, General Electric, and the rest will need to race electric vehicle market adoption to make sure the grid can handle the next generation of transportation. This sounds dicier than it should be.

New Platinum Could be Cheaper for More Efficient Fuel Cells

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Houston are talking about a new form of platinum that might be helpful in making cheaper, more efficient fuel cells. This work has been published in the April 25th issue of Nature Chemistry.

The team is trying to modify the platinum’s reactivity. This step will enable the researchers to cut back the quantity of platinum required by 80 percent. They are also quite positive about minimizing the quantity by another 10 percent. This will reduce the overall cost of the fuel cells. Nilsson says, “I think with a factor of ten, we’ll have a home run.”

Fuel cells work much like batteries. An anode gives out electrons and a cathode collects those electrons thus forming a circuit. So what is the difference between a fuel cell and a battery? Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to complete their energy-producing reactions. The by-product is water and heat.

What metal is chosen for cathode is extremely important. Because some of the metals can’t break the oxygen molecule into atoms. And some bind strongly with oxygen so the important reactions don’t take place. Scientists are trying to attain a balance so that the number of oxygen bonds broken is maximized and the oxygen atoms attach feebly to the catalyst. Platinum helps the scientist in attaining that balance. It breaks the oxygen bonds but does not fasten to the free oxygen atoms too powerfully.

Japan’s fuel cell market estimated to expand 99 times by 2025

A research firm has estimated Japan’s market for fuel cells will expand 99-fold from fiscal 2009 to 1.61 trillion yen in fiscal 2025 due to uptake of the technology for housing and vehicles. an increase of $17.7 billion USD. Housing fuel cell systems and hydrogen cars will account for most of the increases.

From now, to 2025, the trend is supposed to reverse with the demand for hydrogen fuel cell cars overtaking the initial demand of fuel cells for housing accounting for about $1 billion USD in sales on that date.

As the fuel cell vehicle diffusion gains momentum later, fuel cell demand may reach 990 billion yen for automobiles and 507 billion yen for housing in fiscal 2025.

Fuel cells for vehicles and housing may thus account for more than 90 percent of the market in fiscal 2025. The remaining fuel cells may be used for mobile phones and other portable machines.

High costs have so far prevented fuel cell demand from expanding fast. A fuel cell system for housing now costs as much as 3.5 million yen.

The new hydrogen highway

Everyone is excited about hydrogen cars, but there is always the challenge of how they are going to fill up. Most cars are restricted by the distance that they can travel on a full tank and nothing more. Few places, especially on the East Coast, offer a refueling station to allow the cars to travel any further. If the hydrogen highway plan comes to fruition, that will finally change

The reality of the situation is that something has to change if we are going to cut back on the massive carbon footprint that is being left because of daily commuting. There has been a lot of progress in the electric cars, but there are still a lot of challenges. There is a nice little niche of green people that believe that the hydrogen powered cars are the true out to get away from gasoline powered vehicles.

The challenge of course is that they can only travel where a single tank will take them. SunHydro is trying to change all of that as they are making plans to literally create a hydrogen highway that will enable cars on the East Coast to travel from the tip of Maine to the southern-most point of Florida. All in all, the plan calls for 11 solar refueling stations.

There will need to be some public support if they are going to be successful. The stations are not exactly cheap and need public funding in order for them to be installed. At $3,000,000 each, it is quite a bit to ask from John Q. Public. For this to work, we will need private investors and companies that have the foresight to invest in something that is obviously the future of motor vehicles. Things are going to change, it just a matter of who is going to be smart enough to jump on ship and make it happen sooner.

For more info click here

Some stations location are

Phase 1

Portland, ME
Braintree, MA
Wallingford, CT
S. Hackensack, NJ
Claymont, De
Richmond, VA
Charlotte, NC
Atlanta, GA
Savanah, GA
Orlando, FL
Miami, FL