Could a boiler that generates its own electricity be the answer to cutting household energy bills?
A British company is set to launch the new appliances later this year and claims they will generate around 40 per cent of a household’s energy needs.
Flow Energy, which has been developing the technology for ten years, will hand the boilers over to customers with no upfront cost because it says the savings made will easily cover the cost of the boiler.
Just 20,000 will be available in the first year – but Flow says it has plans to expand very quickly.
Wind farms can never be relied upon to keep the lights on in Britain because there are long periods each winter in which they produce barely any power, according to a new report by the Adam Smith Institute.
The huge variation in wind farms’ power output means they cannot be counted on to produce energy when needed, and an equivalent amount of generation from traditional fossil fuel plants will be needed as back-up, the study finds.
Wind farm proponents often claim that the intermittent technology can be relied upon because the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK.
But the report finds that a 10GW fleet of wind farms across the UK could “guarantee” to provide less than two per cent of its maximum output, because “long gaps in significant wind production occur in all seasons”.
Modelling the likely output from the 10GW fleet found that for 20 weeks in a typical year the wind farms would generate less than a fifth (2GW) of their maximum power, and for nine weeks it would be less than a tenth (1GW).
British wholesale natural gas prices were firmer on Wednesday 22 October on increasing demand, which was forecast to exceed supply, Reuters has reported.The price rises were down to an undersupplied system, it said. Britain’s gas demand was expected to be 202.7 million cubic metres mcm on Tuesday, broadly in line with the seasonal norm, but with supplies seen at just 193.2 mcm, the system was left around 10 mcm undersupplied, implying a need for higher imports or storage withdrawals.Today in London, the chief executives of influential businesses and charities came together to launch The Big Energy Vision, a new long-term campaign to empower UK households to take control of rising energy bills.The growing partnership committing to The Big Energy Vision included Kingfisher, John Lewis, the Home Retail Group, the National Trust, Citizens Advice, Calor, uSwitch, the Energy Saving Trust, TrustMark, Energy UK, the UK Green Building Council, Global Action Plan, Willmott Dixon, and Groundwork.
It might look like something from a sci-fi film, but this huge floating device is actually set to provide green electricity and Wi-Fi to residents of the remote city of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Designed and constructed by MIT startup Altaeros Energies, this futuristic floating marvel is a new type of airborne wind turbine dubbed the BAT – or Buoyant Airborne Turbine, if you prefer.
We’ve covered several varieties of airborne turbine in the past, including the Highest Wind power station, which works on a glider-and-tether system, and the Makani Power winged turbine, which was bought outright by Google around a year ago.
However, both of those designs seemed years away. Altaeros Energies are confident that the BAT is a green commercial energy source that’s ready for now.
The promise of generating energy with nuclear fusion is tantalizing because it would be free of toxic emissions and nuclear waste, and would have a virtually infinite fuel supply. On the downside, though, it is extremely costly compared with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.
A fresh call for an expanded energy efficiency target from environmentalists claims that the UK could boost the British economy by £62bn.
At a time where the 20% by 2020 targets are looming large over the heads of the government – in which the UK and other members of the European Union have committed to a 20% market share for renewables and 20% emissions cut by the end of the decade – the WWF has claimed that UK should be setting the bar even higher, and could see significant financial rewards for doing so.
WWF gained access to an unpublished EU study carried out by independent consultants Cambridge Econometrics, thanks to an access to information request.
In the study, figures serve to highlight the benefits of, not just bringing in renewable commercial energy sources, but the huge potential gain by engineering the economy itself to use less energy.
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The problem with solar power is storing it. Unless you use connection to an electricity grid, the power has to be used immediately in your watch or a road sign. Now the chemists of Ohio State University have produced the first solar battery. A solar panel allows air to enter the device through a mesh so that a titanium dioxide gauze photoelectrode can combine with an oxygen electrode to charge a lithium-oxygen battery.
A triiodide/iodide shuttle is coupled with the electrodes to produce triiodide ions on the photelectrode which oxidise lithium peroxide. This means that in layman terms, the lithium-oxygen batterys problem of overpotential is overcome at last by chemical oxidisation. Of course the aim has also been to cut costs, and this has been achieved, so far by 25%. Normally there is also a loss of energy (electrons) in the transition from solar cells to external batteries. By including the battery in the cell, almost 100% of the electrons make it to the battery and recharge it.
This is a breathing battery, according to Professor Wu, the professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the university. It even breathes out when it breaks down lithium peroxide into the metal. The titanium gauze has 200 micrometre holes with rods of titanium dioxide grown across them like grass b lades. Oxygen from the air can easily pass through. The lithium part of the battery is a thin plate, underneath a porous carbon sheet and layers of iodide electrolyte.
Energy comparison websites that “make the grade” can now display a Confidence Code ‘badge’ which tells consumers they can trust the sites’ advice.
Ofgem proposed making the changes to the voluntary code of practice after its research found more consumers are using comparison sites to shop around for the best energy deals and switch suppliers.
It revealed 31% of people used a comparison service to move to a different energy company this year – up from 26% last year.
We already knew the uptake by the public was less than expected, and last week we heard how small businesses were also shirking away from it, and now a parliamentary committee has dubbed the government’s Green Deal a ‘disappointing failure’.
A group of MPs was called upon to evaluate the loan scheme, which was designed to help update Britain’s ageing and energy-inefficient housing stock, and gave their verdict on Monday as part of the Energy and Climate Change select committee on Monday.
Launching in January 2013, the Green Deal started out as a loan arrangement, but even an early 2014 revamp to the payback structure of the program couldn’t turn fortunes around, the committee said yesterday.
Flawed planning, poor implementation and unclear messaging were three of the key factors that MPs said held the Green Deal back from helping drive down commercial energy costs through less draughty homes and businesses.
Greg Barker, the former energy minister who launched the scheme, said that he would have ‘sleepless nights if 10,000 households hadn’t signed up by the end of 2013’; as of the end of July 2014, less than 4,000 homes had signed up.
“With such extremely low levels of take-up eighteen months into the life of the policy, the Green Deal has so far been a failure,” the committee says.