"Energy and Global Warming News for June 16th — A car charging infrastructure takes shape; Siemens, Munich Re study $555 Billion, 100 GW concentrated solar project in the Sahara"
Having shipped hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations, and with repeat orders now coming in from Europe, Coulomb Technologies, a privately-held Silicon Valley company, expects to be profitable by the 2010 introduction of the Chevy Volt, according to its chief executive, Richard Lowenthal.
(Mr. Lowenthal appears in the video above, explaining the company’s ChargePoint Network.)
“Our plan was to sell a thousand stations, but we will probably double that,” he told Green Inc. last week after the company secured its third Bay Area order this year. “Our company is structured to be profitable based on early adopters.”
Founded in 2007, Coulomb is looking to crack the chicken-and-egg riddle that bedeviled the hydrogen fuel cell industry. Without a refueling infrastructure, consumers won’t buy vehicles. But no one invested in refueling stations without potential customers on the road.
Siemens AG, Germany’s biggest engineering company, and Munich Re are holding talks with utilities on developing solar plants in the Sahara desert to supply 15 percent of Europe’s power needs by mid-century.The discussions, which include German power companies RWE AG and E.ON AG, as well as Deutsche Bank AG, are in the early stages, Siemens spokesman Marc Langendorf said today. Turbines built by the Munich-based manufacturer may be used, he said.
The German companies want to harness a free fuel source that’s plentiful in one of the world’s poorest regions and sell the power to industrialized Europe. The plants may cost 400 billion euros ($555 billion) through 2050 and stretch across 130 square kilometers (50 square miles) of the North African desert, Munich Re said in a document published on its Web site today.
Note: That Munich Re document is well worth reading for those interested in renewable energy and potential European actions.
Memo to Bloomberg News: You appear to have a picture of a PV panel for your solar thermal story.
Reuters also has a good story on this here:
“We have approached Munich Re to get industrial companies on board and Munich Re organised the meeting with the other companies,” said a spokesman for the Desertec foundation, which is fostering the idea to generate solar power in Africa.
The 20 companies and Desertec aim to sign a memorandum of understanding to found the Desertec Industrial Initiative which would commission studies on possible projects, he said.
A first power station with a capacity of 2 gigawatts in Tunisia with power lines to Italy would take five years to build once it gets regulatory approval, the spokesman said.
A possible long-term project could be a 100 gigawatt solar thermal power station in northern Africa and the Middle East. It could be finalised by 2050 with power lines connecting it to central Europe and would cost an estimated 400 billion euros ($555.8 billion), he said.
Swarms of snakes are attacking people and cattle in southern Iraq as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers dry up and the reptiles lose their natural habitat among the reed beds.
“People are terrified and are leaving their homes,” says Jabar Mustafa, a medical administrator, who works in a hospital in the southern province of Dhi Qar. “We knew these snakes before, but now they are coming in huge numbers. They are attacking buffalo and cattle as well as people.” Doctors in the area say six people have been killed and 13 poisoned.
Germany’s plan to encourage car owners to ditch their gas-guzzlers to purchase newer, more fuel-efficient models was intended to lower pollution, boost the economy and put German car manufacturers back to work.
But so far, most of the government-issued $3,500 vouchers for new automobiles have been used to purchase foreign cars. One of the clear winners has been Skoda’s compact, fuel-efficient Fabia, manufactured in neighboring Czech Republic.
To be sure, Germans car dealers are selling more cars: Registrations for new vehicles in Germany were up 40 percent last month compared with the same period last year. But only 24 percent of the bonus money has been spent on German-made vehicles.
U.S. EPA has teamed up with other federal agencies to create “sustainable communities” by linking transportation planning with housing development and environmental protection in communities nationwide.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced today that the agency has entered the initiative announced earlier this year by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
“The partnership recognizes that the work of our agencies is interconnected,” Jackson told a Senate panel today. “In designing or improving our communities to be sustainable for the long term, mobility, housing and environmental issues are entirely interconnected.”
Jet streams have enough wind to power the entire planet, so some far-sighted researchers are working on technologies — high-flying kites and floating turbines — that just might harness that power.
“High-altitude winds represent the largest highly concentrated form of renewable energy available on Earth, and if we could learn how to extract energy from winds and distribute it globally, we could potentially power all of civilization,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist with Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution.
Best suited for high-altitude wind development are population centers in the eastern United States and East Asia, according to research by Caldeira and Cristina Archer at California State University, Chico.
In a study published recently in the journal Energies, Archer and Caldeira report using historical data to conduct the first global assessment of high-altitude wind power.
How much usable energy do wind turbines produce? It is a question that perplexes engineers and frustrates potential users, especially on windless days. A study published this month in the International Journal of Exergy provides a formula for answering this vexing question.
Abolfazl Ahmadi and Mehdi Ali Ehyaei of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Iran University of Science and Technology-Arak Branch, in Arak, have investigated the “exergy” of wind power. Exergy is a term from thermodynamics that measures that the energy a system that is available to do work.
At a high-level conference in Bergen last month, the oil-rich Nordic nation announced that it will work with Britain to study how the base of the North Sea could be used for carbon dioxide storage for European countries. It will also allocate nearly $200 million toward carbon capture and storage projects in the European Union.
Although some environmentalists aren’t yet convinced of the long-term prospects of sequestering carbon dioxide emissions deep under the ocean, the idea has become something of a holy grail in the effort to stop global warming.