Imagine a process where underwater solar cells could one day play a key role in fighting climate change.
Importantly, writes Stanford reporter Ramin Skibba, this process might be a huge leap in remaking greenhouse gases into something good. Using the sun’s energy to combine water and carbon dioxide to create chemical products is a process known as artificial photosynthesis. In plants, photosynthesis uses the sun’s energy to combine water and carbon dioxide to create sugar, the fuel on which they live.
Artificial photosynthesis has faced two challenges: ordinary silicon solar cells corrode under water and corrosion-proof solar cells have been unable to capture enough sunlight under water to drive the chemical reactions.
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. The diagram shows how hydrogen gas can be used to store energy from renewable-energy platforms floating at sea by sending any surplus wind and solar electrical power down a sub-sea cable to power underwater high-pressure electrolysis to make compressed hydrogen to store in underwater inflatable gas-bags.
You misunderstand the nature of the surplus which sometimes appears at the location of the wind turbine when it is very windy (or in sunnier climes than Scotland) and at the location of the solar powered generators, PVs, whatever when it is very sunny. I so wish I could offer you a link to my blog Bob but my posts with links in them get held pending for moderation and you won’t see anything.
And they always seem to not understand how dispatchable loads such as EVs and storage will eat up anything extra. When there is extra power being generated, beyond what we need for current demand and to fill the storage we will need, the cost of electricity will drop. If you can’t make the math work using commercially accessed electricity then hang it up. Well I’m discussing possible steps that we can take that will get us the energy storage we will need from where we are now, without as yet all the energy storage which we will need. You aren’t effectively criticising my suggested steps towards building that energy storage capacity by discussing what happens after the needed storage is somehow built. The scheme I have proposed is a scheme which integrates a hydrogen energy store at sea under a floating platform with wind turbines and solar panels and a hydrogen-powered generator.
Whereas you are responding to me as if I was proposing a stand alone hydrogen energy store. It is the integrated scheme which provides power on demand to the customer and for that power on demand, the scheme operator can charge much more to the grid managers and customers than if the scheme only offers intermittent power.
Add in the cost of a system hardened against a marine environment and I’m not seeing much promise. High-pressure electrolysis (check Wikipedia) using a high-pressure container was not my discovery and neither was under-water hydrogen storage, although I was perhaps the first to publish a proposal of hydrostatic-high-pressure electrolysis and calculations of the hydrogen density and energy storage performance under hydrostatic pressure as a function of sea depth. My finding that 1 MW-day of electrical energy can be recovered from only 3 commercially-available 50m^3 diver’s air-bags at 2,000 metres depth filled with hydrogen gas I trust will come as something of an energy-storage revelation. This concept also lacks the research, development and prototyping of the hydrostatic-high-pressure sea-water electrolyser. A non-trivial new design is required incorporating a custom-electrolyte solution (so that oxygen and not poisonous chlorine is evolved at the cathode) separated from the sea water by a semi-permeable membrane.
Without this R&D there is no way to cost the electrolysis component with any confidence. The comparison I would invite is with adding batteries to the offshore wind turbine, perhaps in base of the tower. Then the correct comparison to be made is between the capital expenditure and operating costs of deep sea hydrogen storage compared to the same for batteries or any other energy storage method. On the other hand, by adding energy storage to the offshore generator, the integrated scheme can deliver on demand power, and for that, the grid managers will pay.
3) I gave you a cost comparison for EOS zinc batteries which are now operating on the grid.
In a 100% renewable economy, we will need some sort of rainyday dispatchable stores to energy component. I’ve been running some numbers lately on gravel + gravity as a method for achieving long term energy storage. The idea would be to use existing (electrified) railway lines, electric locomotives with regenerative braking, and lots of redundant coal cars.
If we have a train of them, 100 cars long (with some locos in between) we can do 560MWh per day. You can buy a used coal car online right now for perhaps $10,000 (we’re rounding off for the sake of calculation). For the constant loop of rolling rock as set out above, 10 trains of 100 cars each, we would thus need about $10 Million. I’m not sure exactly how much rock debris costs in various parts of the world, but here in South Africa we have mountains of it sitting around in old mine dumps. If my rough calculations are correct, we can thus achieve long term storage at a capital cost of approximately $1.00 per kWh of capacity. The advantage of this system is that the costs can be substantially amortised by taking advantage of daily price differentials.
If solar and wind are cheap during periods of over-production, as they will no doubt soon be, we can expect that producers would actually PAY US to consume their power, rather than shutting down turbines etc. I get that coal is soft, on the Mohs scale I think it comes in at around 2-3 vs 6-7 for granite. In the absence of hard data, I often try to go with something that I know, that would give a ball-park insight into the problem. The company that delivers it here has some trucks that are obviously a few years old, with no evidence of replacement of the load bin. Do we have any numbers for the quantities of long-term storage that would be required worldwide in order to go 100% renewable?
Sure, it would be much better if one didn’t need to ride the gravel up the hill first, but if there were a huge market for gravel at sea level.
I suspect batteries will affordably cover storage over periods as long as about three days. If one looks at the size of the mine dumps and realises that all that stuff (literally cubic kilometres of rock) has been hauled up out of there, one starts to understand why mining accounts for such a large fraction of our electricity consumption.
As mines become uneconomical, surely it would make sense to retain the headgear, winding drums, cables, skips, electrical transformers etc in place, and use them for this type of winched gravity storage, rather than just selling everything off for scrap. The one big advantage of using the existing mine infrastructure is that the physical footprint is very small, and the environmental impact has already happened. Mines do tend to flood, though, and the costs for constantly pumping out water might make it uneconomical.
I tend to try to focus my attention on systems where everything is already available and well understood. Sure, we as a society should devote resources to researching those potential options, but I tend to favour robust, cheap, third-world solutions, that can be done NOW.
Rock quarries and open pit mines are other places where PuHS can be installed, we’ve already created the altitude differential over a short distance. Sounds like the carbon eating tower and all kinds of stories that never make it to large scale production to me.
Just guessing that going underwater is required because the feedstocks for making the fuel are in there in some form (CO2, hydrogen, oxygen, etc.). Aside from collecting solar energy, this technology also faces a hurdle of energy conversion efficiency, something that was not mentioned in the article. A better approach would be to cover water reservoirs with floating conventional solar power to limit water loss through evaporation.

In the global economy, the aviation industry is a key player to support and promote trade, job creation, tourism and investment, particularly in developing economies. Although these emissions represent a small percentage of the fourteen percent global share accounted by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for all transport modalities, emissions during flight can intensify up to four times the greenhouse effect compared to ground-level emissions due to differences in the atmospheric chemistry.
However, certification under ASTM or an equivalent standard such as the UK DefStan 91-91, the Chinese No.3 Jet Fuel and others, does not imply commercial-scale readiness, as there is presently no regular production of SAF in the world.
The greatest obstacle of certified SAF is that they are more expensive to produce than fossil jet fuel.
In its 2015 Sustainable Aviation Fuel Roadmap, the IATA estimates the cost of SAF between $2 to $7 USD per litre compared to $0.80 USD per litre of fossil jet fuel.
Nevertheless, the harsh reality of numbers has not translated into general discouragement or call for inaction. On the technological forefront, innovative and promising conversion pathways are presently under ASTM certification. But while certification of this and other technologies takes place and SAF become commercially available, the aviation industry still faces the challenge of rapidly increasing GHG emissions from demand growth, for which the role of governments in providing support during the climate negotiations in Paris was key. In an open letter to the governments sent prior to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held last December in Paris, the aviation industry reaffirmed the commitments to reduce its GHG emissions, claiming significant efficiency improvements through trillion-dollar investments in research and development (R&D), in air traffic management, and in ground operations at airports. More importantly, the letter called governments for urgent actions to accelerate investment in R&D, improve intermodal transport planning and air traffic management, so as to set up adequate national and international policy frameworks and incentives to promote the creation and sustain of global markets for sustainable alternative jet fuels. Furthermore, climate efforts have recently been framed within ICAO’s No Country Left Behind Initiative to improve safety and operational standards, launched on December 7th 2015 to commemorate the International Civil Aviation Day. A new regulation coming in the province of Quebec in 2020 to banish the burying of organic residual materials forces industries to find sustainable solutions in order to manage their wastes and residues. A lot of residues are produced from agricultural activities, including crop residues, animal wastes and food wastes. Downgraded fruits and vegetables that cannot be sold on the market represent 83 350 tons year-1 in the province of Quebec. Pyrolysis, which can be defined as the thermochemical decomposition of biomass at elevated temperature (350 – 700 oC) in the absence of oxygen, could be considered a sustainable management solution for the agricultural residues. In the perspective of agricultural residues management, mobile pyrolysis reactors could be established in agricultural regions and be shared by many farmers. Because of its high porosity and high surface area, biochar has an agronomic value, including soil composition improvement, water retention, nutrient uptake increase and crop yield increase. Bio-oil produced from pyrolysis is of great interest due to its energetic potential and chemical composition. Due to a regulation in Quebec (Canada) restricting phosphorus (P) fertilisation, pig producers are required to manage their manure in excess.
In fact, pyrolysis experiments conducted at the IRDA in an auger pyrolyser demonstrated that up to 62% of the solid fraction of pig manure is converted into bio-oil and about 25% is converted into biochar.
There is no doubt that pyrolysis can be considered as a sustainable management solution for the agricultural residues, providing economic, environmental and social benefits.
With the rise of fossil fuels price, bio-oil could be a cheaper alternative to heat farm facilities. In addition to carbon sequestration and soil GHG emissions decrease following biochar amendment, biochar is expected to increase soil fertility and it could reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Why bury feedstock that can provide so many benefits when converted into valuable products through the pyrolysis process? Life cycle assessment (LCA) is essential in bringing bioproducts from R&D to commercial deployment. I have been exploring corn stover ethanol and the environmental LCA research on this biofuel. It has been argued that cellulosic ethanol may be a preferred alternative to fossil-based gasoline because of its potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provide energy security benefits. Environmental LCA research on biofuels like corn stover ethanol investigates its environmental impacts. In my LCA work on corn stover ethanol production, I evaluated the global warming potential by quantifying GHG emissions from all areas of the production pathway.
My work thus far compared different LCA modelling approaches while evaluating the same ethanol production process. While air travel is culturally fulfilling and promotes global links as well as economic development, it also contributes 2-3% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. With these issues at the forefront of the aviation industry, my research focus is to assess aviation biofuels in the Canadian context. Partnered with BioFuelNet Canada, Bombardier Aerospace, and the NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program in Sustainable Aviation at the University of Toronto, I have been fortunate to receive ample support for my research.
Artificial photosynthesis applied in underwater solar cells uses the energy from specialized solar cells that combines water with captured carbon dioxide to produce industrial fuels.
In the new paper, McIntyre and doctoral student Andrew Scheuermann show how to increase the power of corrosion-resistant solar cells, setting a record for solar energy output under water. The idea is to funnel greenhouse gases from smokestacks or the atmosphere into giant, transparent chemical tanks. ERCOT (the Texas grid) dropped from a meaningful number to almost nothing as soon as new transmission was completed. But in doing so you’ve taken the production, storage, and re-conversion to a very difficult saltwater environment where one has to deal not only with corrosion problems but difficult weather conditions. Add in the 4 cents for the original electricity and we’re under 7 cents even allowing for losses. They won’t pay anything at all if the power is offered when there is no demand on the grid. Not all of them would be suitable, of course, but we require only perhaps 1% of the infrastructure. I have guesstimated a round trip efficiency of about 50 (although I suspect it might be higher.
We sell it back to them, at inflated prices, when demand increases, simply by rolling our trains down the hill.
One of our customers wants to simulate wear of mining truck beds in Sweden, supposedly abrasion means weekly replacement. My question was about cost and hub height, whether it would cost more to move to 110 or 140 meter hub heights or to transmit electricity from the Midwest to the SE. Remember, they have to be engineered to withstand a lot of shifting forces as the car is loaded, unloaded, and hauled along uneven tracks. No point in waiting for some hypothetical magic fairy dust future technology to be developed before we take action.
But the thing that makes these potentially viable is burning (re-burning?) the fossil fuel induced new fuel products.
With an annual growth of 5 percent, aviation is indeed the fastest expanding sector compared to other forms of transport and, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it is responsible for two percent of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Furthermore, the ASTM D7566 standard requires SAF blending with petroleum-derived kerosene, which in turn increases the price gap between the alternative fuels and their fossil counterpart. On the contrary, the global aviation industry is more active in sustainable jet fuel development than ever. Amongst them, the IsoconversionTM (BIC) process developed by Applied Research Associates Inc. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) tested the novel biofuel in a Falcon 20 jet that took off in Ottawa, ON. Progress has also been made in the development of a single global carbon-trading scheme – known as market-based measures (MBM) - to be signed-off in September 2016 at the 39th United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly.

And what if a technology could be used to convert these residues into a high-energy biofuel while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestrating carbon? Currently, most of these vegetal residues (57%) are disposed in clusters or buried, causing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and both underground and surface water pollution.
Even more, biochar is considered as a climate change mitigation tool because it can sequester carbon and reduce soil GHG emissions. The produced bio-oil can be stored and substitute fossil fuel in furnace to heat the piggery. In fact, the establishment and the operation of mobile pyrolysis units can create employment opportunities in rural areas. The substitution of fossil fuels with the renewable bio-oil can contribute to reduce GHG emissions. Knowing that chemical fertilizers production and application to fields emits large quantities of GHG, this is a net gain on the GHG balance.
It investigates alternative products in their capacity to deliver technical, environmental, and economic benefits in comparison with existing products that would be displaced (like intensive fossil fuel or petrochemical based materials).
Recent developments in biotechnology have increased the capacity for effective and economical ethanol production from corn stover, the high cellulose content residue from corn crops or cellulosic biomass.
These benefits are encouraged in government policies, in forms such as minimum GHG emission reductions required compared to gasoline, and minimum ethanol blend in gasoline. These impacts include analyses of global warming potential (from GHG emissions), ozone depletion, pollution, smog, and resource depletion, among others. Accounting for all sources of GHG emissions is a data-intensive activity, but LCA modelling software makes the process much easier. There were many similarities within the models, but variabilities exist in the data and quantification methods.
This share is continuously on the rise, since air travel demand is currently outpacing technology improvements. This evaluation looks at potential emissions reductions on a life cycle basis and supply of aviation biofuels. BioFuelNet Canada, in particular, has provided essential training and networking opportunities to develop and enhance my research project through key contacts, tools, and stimulating discussions.  Combined with knowledge and connections from the aerospace industry and its researchers, my research outcomes will hopefully inform policies and investment decisions to allow for a sustainable future in Canada to take flight.
They have provided design principles to build energy efficient, corrosion-protected solar cells. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. And you’re going to lose another 50% converting the H2 to electricity in the fuel cell?
So the budgeted cost of that energy, which would otherwise be lost, is zero, no cost and it comes for free.
So being able to take maybe 1% of the renewable output on an average day and use it to power longterm energy storage might be just what we need to cover that last little bit. It can be cycled repeatedly until it physically abrades away as a result of sandpapering of the steel.
The are notched to receive 2 x 8 boards, PVC deck boards, used fence boards, great do it yourself project, Please view my other listings, We offer several styles and other features, The Grotto, and water Fountain, please contact us for more detailsNow taking orders, Items are made as they are ordered, concrete needs to cure sometimes 30-45 days before it can be moved, contact me if you see something else you'd like a bid on.
According to the flight test results, the bio-based fuel led to emission reductions of up to a hundred percent for sulfur oxides, and to fifty percent for aerosols and particulate matter when compared to fossil jet fuel, while maintaining fuel efficiency and safety of operations. Instead of biomass decomposition resulting in emission of large amounts of GHG, pyrolysis sequesters about 50% of the carbon in biochar, which can be stocked in soil over centuries or millennia. Biochar, which concentrates and immobilize P and nitrogen (N) could be easily managed and transported outside of the regions where P excess exists. Moreover, biochar production could eventually bring incomes to farmers if there exists a carbon market that recognizes the avoided emissions and carbon sequestration due to application of biochar to agricultural soils. LCA also determines if a bioproduct manufacturing system meets benchmark criteria set by governments, either in their environmental, energy, or resource related policies. My research continues to investigate how these differences in LCA modelling affect calculations on environmental impact. In addition, this industry has historically been solely reliant on fossil fuel sources due to flight constraints and the need to utilize existing infrastructure.
To do this, I am developing an Excel-based tool to calculate the life cycle emissions of various aviation biofuels, focusing on those that do not compete with food resources.
The impacts of this research are far-reaching for the solar industry and the battle against climate change. And a big power connection somewhere along the line (preferably in the middle, one assumes, to limit transmission loss). Dunno how much research has gone into that, but certainly evaporative losses would be removed from the equation.
This would allow the price of SAF to completely decouple from the price of fossil kerosene. Products yields and characteristics depend on feedstock, pyrolysis operational conditions and the type of pyrolysis technology used.
In this reactor, the biomass and the heat carrier (hot sand) are mixed in a heated screw conveyor, which favors the heat transfer.
Moreover, many studies reported that biochar amendment to soil can help reduce GHG emissions, and particularly N2O emissions. This includes stover harvest, stover transportation, and conversion and purification processes in the ethanol plant. Ascertaining these intricacies can improve the quality of LCA results and further develop the use of LCA modelling on biofuels.
This currently represents a $212 billion market opportunity for jet fuel alternatives, such as aviation biofuels, which are considered to be the only drop-in alternative. As my work is centered within the Canadian context, the life cycle assessment results are then integrated with the potential demand and supply in Canada using geographical information system (GIS) tools. So you could probably fit ten of them onto the track and still have enough space in between for safe stopping, animals darting across, etc.
According to Uncle google, approx 50 of railway in the world are electrified, and I think it’s pretty common to have up-and-down lines on long hills. WE are a commercial location with forklifts, I can also recommend Companies, These do require Palletizing and the min. However, more research is needed to identify the exact mechanisms involved following biochar amendment to soil.
Overall, biofuels LCA work such as this will ensure that we deliver bioproducts with significant benefits to the environment. It is important, however, to understand the impacts, challenges, and cost of displacing jet fuel with aviation biofuels. With a multidisciplinary research project, I have required numerous industry and research contacts, as well as training and skill development in order to achieve my research objectives. It also considers the proportion of emissions from processes that produced the chemicals and energy used in corn stover ethanol production.
And no competition with agriculture, human consumption and recreational demands for the limited water.

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