My wife showed me a piece this week in Remodelista about a gorgeous off-grid hut in Majorca HERE which included a novel power system:

In fact the architect, Mariana de Delás makes an interesting point: the wheelbarrow contains power banks which run all electrical requirements in the hut, which involves wheeling the power to the user.. As she says: “Once high-capacity batteries become lighter, the power grid and installations can travel with the user and not be fixed to the architecture.”

Company news

Custom Solar to be acquired by Mitie
Mitie Group has entered into a sale and purchase agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of rooftop PV firm Custom Solar.
The transaction – set to complete on 30 June – is set to support Mitie’s ambition of being a leading provider of end-to-end green energy solutions, with the company looking to fill what it said is a gap in the market for truly integrated solar solutions.
This is to build on Mitie’s experience in upgrading electrical infrastructure and providing grid connections, with the company having recently acquired Rock Power Connections – a company specialising in high voltage grid connections, electrical infrastructure upgrades and electric vehicle (EV) charging installations.
For the Custom Solar acquisition, the transaction consideration comprises an initial payment of £8 million, with deferred payments in aggregate of up to £4.4 million by the end of FY25, linked to performance targets.(solarpowerportal)

UK news

OVO Energy and Cornwall Council partner for whole house retrofits
OVO Energy Solutions and Cornwall Council have joined forces to deliver whole house retrofits for 400 poorly insulated homes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The homes will be upgraded to an EPC Band C or D by “dramatically improving” their energy efficiency and installing green technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps.
The whole house retrofits, which will include external wall, cavity and loft insulation, underfloor insulation, draught proofing, high retention storage heaters and double glazing, are expected to help low income householders warm their homes and reduce their energy bills.
Under the project, OVO Energy Solutions is set to deliver around 1,000 measures to more than 400 properties. (futurenetzero)

photo: OVO Energy Solutions

Green energy projects are creating a ‘buzz’ in northern England
Cleveland and Redcar is one of many areas in northern England that has suffered a decline in the heavy industry that was once its beating heart.
Decades later, it is at the centre of a new industrial revolution. But this time, it’s a green one.
There are a number of renewable energy projects in the works, including plans for a wind turbine blade factory for Dogger Bank – which promises to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm – and a pioneering domestic hydrogen-testing project.
Mary Lanigan, who is the leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, says you can feel the excitement “on the street”, with locals talking about how this booming green industry will benefit “younger generations”. (independent)

For example…

JDR gets approval for first UK export cable factory
JDR’s plans to build the first export cable factory in the UK have been approved by Northumberland County Council.
The £130m subsea wire manufacturing plant (pictured) will be capable of the end-to-end production of high voltage cables and will be located on the 16-hectare site of the former coal-fired Blyth power station in Cambois in the north-east of England.
It is set to feature a 47.5-metre high vertical laying-up machine tower and a 45-metre high catenary continuous vulcanisation tower along with cable testing and storage facilities.
Construction is due to start in the third quarter of this year and finish in early 2024. (renews)

photo: JDR

Crown Estate to invest £50m in marine protection measures
The Crown Estate has doubled its funding commitment for efforts to accelerate the UK’s offshore energy ambitions while protecting the marine environment.
The manager of the UK’s seabed announced this week it is to invest £50m in research and development of new ways to promote the coexistence of offshore wind farms with a thriving marine environment as the UK pushes to accelerate its homegrown energy independence.
The move represents a £25m boost for its Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme, which is working to gather and harness the necessary data and evidence to accelerate the expansion of the UK’s offshore wind farm fleet, “while maintaining clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas”. It is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as well as devolved governments, regulators, NGOs, and a broad range of industry representatives. (businessgreen)

ROOF buys M&S solar rooftop
Atrato Onsite Energy (ROOF) has invested £6.6 million into a rooftop solar PV system situated atop what it said is a major Marks & Spencer (M&S) warehouse.
At the time of its installation in 2015, the 6MW system was the largest rooftop solar system in the UK, the company said.
The system consists of over 24,000 panels and was designed to make the fully automated distribution centre in Leicestershire close to self-sufficient during daylight hours. (solarpowerportal)

photo: ROOF

Switching off Britain’s wind farms has added £806m to energy bills
An independent report created by Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) and commissioned by Drax suggests the cost of turning off UK wind farms to manage the electricity system rose from almost £300 million during 2020 to more than £500 million last year.
Interestingly, the authors of the report suggest enough renewable power to supply 800,000 homes went to waste in 2020 and 2021 as wind farms were asked to switch off by the Electricity System Operator.
According to the report, this was because of constraints in the transmission system and a lack of long-duration storage capacity, which is needed to manage periods when renewable power generation outstrips demand.
The authors of the report also note that this practise has contributed to higher carbon emissions as gas-fired power stations were brought on to plug gaps in supply. (energylivenews)

EV of the week

Polestar 3 expected in October
As headlines everywhere proclaim, the EV sector is the only bright spot in a dreadful car market, and I  would contend that Polestar is a success story within the EV sector. Although based in Sweden and visibly linked to Volvo, the brand is essentially a stand alone sub-brand of Geely, the rapidly expanding Chinese manufacturer (as is Volvo).
Their first pure EV, the Polestar 2 was the first car to compete directly against the Tesla Model 3. They beat Tesla on build quality, beat VW on infotainment quality and the cars have sold well, such that the deal to supply rental giant Hertz is said to be the biggest single EV deal yet.
Geely now move into expansion mode towards a sales target of 290,000 cars per year by 2025. First up is the announcement of the Polestar 3, a full size luxury SUV. The first undisguised picture was released this week. It will be high performance, have a range of about 375 miles and will be launched in October. Order books will open then for delivery early 2023.

photo: Polestar


One of Europe’s largest wind farms opens
The Nysäter wind farm has opened in Sweden, with 114 turbines and a capacity of 475MW – the new site becomes one of the largest on the continent.
RWE Renewables will operate the facility, which is estimated to produce enough green electricity to power 300,000 Swedish homes.
The wind farm will reduce European carbon emissions by one million tonnes per year, RWE claims. (futurenetzero)

photo: RWE

US Investor funds Swedish PV expansion
US outfit CarVal Investors has invested €100m in Svea Solar to fund the expansion of its utility scale solar parks.
The investment on behalf of funds managed by CarVal comes as Svea is expanding its Swedish utility-scale platform and taking its first steps building solar parks abroad.
It should enable Svea Solar to become an independent power producer and develop and build 500MW of solar projects, adding a substantial amount of clean energy to Europe’s energy mix. (renews)

Focus on: food waste

Leading brands set to launch a major new platform to tackle food waste
Founding partners Co-op and Microsoft, supported by technology consultancy BJSS and Team ITG, have created Caboodle, a not-for-profit digital platform that enables supermarkets, cafés and restaurants to connect with community groups and volunteers to redistribute surplus food.
In the UK around 1.1 million tonnes of food goes to waste across the food retail and hospitality sector annually, according to WRAP figures.
Whilst overall surplus food redistribution has trebled between 2015 and 20201, there are still 200,000 tonnes that could have been redistributed but has not.
Built on Microsoft’s Power Platform technology, Caboodle aims to create a single place where food retailers and businesses across the hospitality sector can connect with volunteers and community groups in every city, town and village in the UK, helping to share food when and where it is needed. (circularonline)

Food waste recycling in Ireland ‘a stunted opportunity’
Cré, the composting and anaerobic digestion association of Ireland, has published a report showing that, despite ‘recent growth and improvements in food waste collection’, Ireland has limited local recycling, causing it to fall behind on ‘delivering true climate benefits’.
Not only do these exports to Northern Ireland contribute over one million road truck kilometres a year, the report warns, organic recycling facilities in Ireland are already being ‘pushed to the brink’.
Ireland generates approximately one million tonnes of food waste, the Environmental Protection Agency report had estimated. According to Cré, Ireland currently collects under a third of this waste and recycles less than half locally into quality compost and digestate. (resource)

Scientists develop way to turn food waste into ‘edible cement’
Scientists in Japan have developed a way of turning food waste into ‘edible cement’ which could be used to build houses in the future.
Experts hope that it could help towards tackling the problems of food waste and global warming.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully made a concrete-like building material from leftover food.
It’s the first time that cement has been made entirely from food waste.
They found that a variety of foods could be used including banana peel, onions, orange peel, tea leaves, coffee grounds, pumpkin and seaweed.
Scientists dried and powdered the waste vegetables and then heat-pressed them in a mould.
Although the resulting materials varied in quality, the team said it was surprised to find most had a strength that was greater than that of concrete.
In fact, cabbage turned out to be the best vegetable, producing a material that was nearly four times stronger than cement! (bbcnewsround)

Eco – Floating community

OCEANIX Busan is the world’s first floating green community
OCEANIX Busan is the world’s first prototype of a resilient and sustainable floating community. It aims to set the model for future innovations to help coastal cities threatened by rising sea levels. Interconnected residential neighbourhoods of OCEANIX Busan total 15.5 acres to accommodate a community of 12,000 people.
OCEANIX Busan will grow from three starter platforms with 12,000 residents and visitors to reach up to 100,000 residents as needed. Photovoltaic solar panels and greenhouses on the platforms can expand and contract as needed as the community grows or shrinks.
The neighbourhood has six systems that generate energy. OCEANIX Busan treats and sources its own water. Furthermore, it recycles and reduces waste through programs to minimize unnecessary material usage. There is also urban agriculture to create vegetable and fruit gardens for residents, encouraging them to eat a plant-based diet.
Moreover, the living platform provides diverse and accessible housing options. Alleys are filled with local food vendors, bookshops and crafts. Meanwhile, the research platform is a co-working and maritime research hub. It will provide jobs for people looking for innovative solutions to climate change, including a habitat regeneration centre, maker spaces and dorms. (inhabitat)

photos: OCEANIX

Global stuff

NASA to test the world’s first electric airplane
NASA has shared details of its new all-electric plane that is set to take off to the sky this fall. The plane is designed to run fully on electric batteries, departing from the tradition of fuel-powered planes. If all goes well, this will be the first step toward achieving a cleaner, cheaper, and quieter future for aviation.
Known as the X-57, the plane is lightweight compared to traditional planes. Its weight helps it use less power over the same distance compared to its equal fuel-powered planes. Further, the plane produces less noise as compared to fuel-powered options. According to NASA, the plane is currently being prepared for initial tests, which will be conducted in the desert east of Los Angeles.
The plane borrows its design from a four-seater plane constructed by the Italian Tecnam corporation. The main reason for this is to help in comparison of the two models of the design. The experts at NASA will be collecting data on the electric plane and comparing it with the fuel-powered counterpart of the same design.
The aim of NASA is to use the X-57 to show that electric airplanes can perform much better than fuel-powered ones. The plane is expected to lower operational costs while at the same time leading to zero emissions. If the research turns out well, it could lead to a rapid transformation of the commercial aviation industry. (inhabitat)

photo: NASA

Japan Is Dropping a Gargantuan Turbine Into The Ocean
Deep beneath the waves there’s a source of power quite unlike any other. To tap into it, Japanese engineers have constructed a true leviathan, a beast capable of withstanding the strongest of ocean currents to transform its flow into a virtually limitless supply of electricity.
Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries – now known simply as IHI Corporation – has been tinkering with the technology for over a decade now, partnering with New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in 2017 to put their designs to the test.
In February, the project passed a major milestone with the completion of a successful three-and-a-half year field test in the waters off Japan’s southwestern coast.
One resource Japan has in plenty is vast stretches of coastal water. To the east, the ocean swirls under the might of the North Pacific gyre.
Where the gyre meets Japan, it’s channeled into a relatively strong flow called the Kuroshio current.
IHI estimates that if the energy present in the current could be harnessed, it could feasibly generate around 205 gigawatts of electricity, an amount it claims is in the same ballpark as the country’s current power generation.
The 330-ton prototype is called Kairyu, a word that translates more or less into ‘ocean current’. Its structure consists of a 20 meter (66 foot) long fuselage flanked by a pair of similar-sized cylinders, each housing a power generation system attached to an 11 meter long turbine blade. Next up is Kairyu’s big brother, sporting 20 metre blades and capable of generation 2MW. (sciencealert)

photo: IHI

How New Orleans neighbourhoods are using nature to reduce flooding
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the neighbourhood of Hoffman Triangle was overwhelmed by 6 feet of water. But it doesn’t take a hurricane to make this wedge in the centre of the city flood. The sidewalks, where they exist, are buckled, cracked, and overgrown from past deluges. Every time it rains, the narrow streets become rivers, the potholes tiny lakes. When the water comes — which it does, and will continue to — it makes navigating Hoffman by foot or by car feel like an obstacle course.
New Orleans is in the midst of a green infrastructure revolution, and in smaller neighbourhoods like Hoffman Triangle, residents are leading the way, house by house, block by block. A grassroots coalition called the Umbrella Group are pioneering domestic scale landscape interventions, for example at Stronger Hope Baptist Church they have constructed a small rain garden to capture runoff from the church parking lot. Once, this was nothing more than ragged tufts of grass sprouting up from a broad swath of concrete. Now, there’s rich mulch with manicured rows of shrubs and clean, permeable pavement in the driveway. It’s been raining all week, and the new garden is soaked through, but the sidewalk and driveway are dry. The front yards of the homes across the road, meanwhile, are swamped with several inches of water.
The goal of “nature-based” solutions is to reduce the pressure on pipes and pumps by using landscaping to slow the flow of water. Projects can store water so it soaks into the soil or slowly flows into a storm drain at a rate the system can handle. Plants can also absorb water into their roots, leaching out pollutants in the process. They also come with various added benefits like improved water quality, mosquito control, and increased open space to cool the sweltering Louisiana air. (grist)

photo: Umbrella

Techie corner

New Very Large Format (VLF) battery cell will enable greater EV range
Developer and licensor of next-generation high energy density battery cell technology Advanced Cell Engineering (ACE) have filed a patent application for its very large format (VLF) cell with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent filing represents a key milestone in the company’s “Project Magnus,” in which ACE will finalise cell design and chemistry for a highly efficient 1 metre cell-to-pack prismatic cell.
The VLF cell, when coupled with the company’s patented Advanced LFP (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry, will enable EV manufacturers to build vehicles offering greater range. Advanced LFP offers significantly higher energy density in any cell format than the existing LFP offerings on the market today. When used in the VLF cell, ACE’s Advanced LFP technology will achieve even greater energy density thanks to the cell’s very efficient design.
The VLF battery cell has been designed to reduce the size, weight, and complexity of an EV’s battery system. Currently, EVs contain thousands of small cells assembled into a number of modules, which are in turn assembled into a battery pack. The ACE VLF cell will eliminate the need for the module structure by integrating 80-100 1 metre prismatic cells directly into the battery pack which is then installed into a vehicle’s chassis. ACE expects the cell design to be available for licensing in early 2023. (renewableenergymagazine)