Hydrogen space rockets, world’s largest water turbine looks like an X-Wing, more! #42

Today from the Clean Power Hour, we discuss the world’s largest water turbine, renewable hydrogen rockets for satellites, a submarine cable connecting Morocco’s renewable energy to Great Britain, and more! This excessive commentary is brought to you by Tim Montague and yours truly – the CommercialSolarGuyJohn Fitzgerald Weaver.

First, here’s the podcast – now on to the news:

Orbital Marine Power Launches O2: World’s Most Powerful Tidal Turbine

…I’ll bet tidal power innovation leads to more avionics/space/military weapon advancements.

…successfully launched its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, from the Port of Dundee on Thursday 22nd April….the 680-tonne tidal turbine transferred from the Forth Ports quayside facility in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge…The O2 turbine has a 74m long hull structure with twin 1MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures designed to give low-cost access to all major components for through life servicing. 10m blades give the O2 more than 600m2 of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy. The floating structure is held on station with a four-point mooring system where each mooring chain has the capacity to lift over 50 double decker buses.

“We Don’t Have Time” is a social network for everyone who wants to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis.

A movement is growing, a movement of people saying: “This can’t go on–we want change.” We want to connect these people. Social media has created new spaces for collaboration and collective action. Herein lies our opportunity. Together, we are stronger than the status quo. Because the status quo is nothing without us. We own this, and we can fix this, together. We Don’t Have Time is a social media network for everyone who wants to be a part of the solution. If a large enough number of people want change, and if that energy is directed towards those in charge–change will come. The power of many enables us to influence businesses, politicians and world leaders.

Project of the week – Fiber Optic Center, New Bedford Massachusetts

This project was built by Whaling City Solar, our sibling residential solar installation company. This system was the first solar project approved by the local historical board. It uses black panels by Solaria, an inverter by Enphase, internal wiring spanning four stories, and nothing is visible from street level (as per historical society rules):

Hydrogen-powered space rockets are coming to Queensland

We’re in a weird sort of technological renaissance with energy, computing, and space. Our ability to be creative seems to be expanding again. We’re waking up.

The idea is that green hydrogen would power Hypersonix’s reusable SPARTAN scramjet engines, which can carry satellites into low-level orbit. Hypersonix received just over $1 million from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through its Accelerating Commercialisation grant program. BOC received $950,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to develop a green hydrogen production and refuelling pilot project in Brisbane.

FirstEnergy used customer money to bribe politicians to screw over customers

Think about this: you, an American tax paying citizen, granted this company a monopoly on electricity generation and delivery, AND a guaranteed return on investment somewhere near 10% in exchange for consistent electricity services to both urban a rural areas. That was nice of you, citizen! But guess what – for all of eternity – you are now going to pay this company for electricity. It’s ok though, as you need electricity. What happens if those at the company get greedy though? And what happens if they want to take more money? Well… they bribe politicians.

Well shit, where do they get all this money to bribe politicians with? You.

Submarine cable to connect 10.5 GW wind-solar complex in Morocco to the UK grid

Xlinks is planning to inject power into the UK for a CfD price of around £0.048 ($0.067)/kWh, which would be a bit more than around £0.040/kWh for current off-shore wind tenders and much less than the £0.0925/kWh for the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant Saudi energy giant ACWA Power, is planning to deploy the project, which would consist of 7 GW of solar capacity and 3.5 GW of wind in Morocco.  For underwater cable deployment, three different routes were considered and the one not touching territorial waters reached depths of 3,000 meters, so we opted for the shallowest route that goes no deeper than 700 meters. When fully completed the project will deliver 26 TWh of firm and flexible power to the UK each year. “The project is expected to generate 7.5% of the UK’s electricity demand and significantly contribute to net zero targets,” Morrish affirmed.

Volvo Group Q1 2021 sold fully Electric Vehicles

In the USA, per the EPA, light duty vehicles represent 96% of all registered vehicles, but produce only 59% of transportation emissions. Medium and heavy duty vehicles represent only 4% of the number of vehicles in the US, yet represent 26% of all fuel use and 23% of all transportation emissions. Thus.. making this tweet cool, because we are watching a blooming of the medium and heavy duty transportation market from a world leading vehicle manufacturer. These heavy duty vehicles happen to generate at least ~6 times as much emissions per vehicle (per my rough math).

Dems push $25B for electric school buses, a Biden priority

Let’s talk about how electric busses can be used to support the power grid, add resilience, and save schools money. Yeah, then let’s also remember that fine particulate matter from old diesel engines has detrimental effects on young brains. Any delay in switching to electric busses hurts our children.

School buses make up 90% of the nation’s total bus fleet and typically carry nearly 25 million children each day. Emissions from diesel engines may contribute to respiratory illnesses in children, studies have found, and have been linked to poor academic performance. The bill introduced Wednesday would authorize federal grant money over 10 years, with 40% of it devoted to replacing school buses that serve mostly nonwhite, poorer communities. It would cover the expense of purchasing electric school buses, building charging stations and providing workforce training. The legislation also directs the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct outreach to help school districts with the transition.

Ohio AFLCIO union shows support for Biden’s clean energy plans:

As a student of political science, and someone who watches what goes on politically in the United States, it gives me some optimism to see union leaders from West Virginia and Ohio, as well coal mining managers, show support for Biden’s political actions surrounding clean energy manufacturing. There will be negotiating every day this summer between Bernie, AOC and the rest of the Democratic party to push this legislation through.

Fraunhofer ISE achieves 35.9% efficiency for III-V triple-junction solar cell based on silicon

This is cool because they’re using plain old silicon as the base, and adding exotic stuff on top. This is an expansion of the perovskite+silicon, and heterojunction product popping up. There’s gonna be a whole lotta innovation in the future.

The cell, which looks externally like a device with a two-terminal architecture, was built with III-V semiconductor layers that were connected to the silicon sub-cell on the atomic level. The key for achieving the record power conversion efficiency was the use of a semiconductor material based on gallium-indium-arsenide-phosphide (GaInAsP) for the middle cell. The cost of producing solar cells based on compounds of III-V element materials – named according to the groups of the periodic table that they belong to – has confined such devices to niche applications, including drones and satellites, where low weight and high efficiency are more pressing concerns than costs in relation to the energy produced.

History tweet: Happy birthday silicon solar cells!

So the above link is to the actual tweet that the below video came from. Below is text from tweets. Note – the video is cool as heck because it show scientists hand manufacturing solar cells. Hand sawing, polishing, etc. Pretty cool. Plus, you get to see a three cell solar panel that is amongst the first solar panels ever made.

Happy birthday silicon solar cells! Bell Labs unveiled the world’s 1st practical silicon solar cell, developed by Fuller, Chapin & Pearson #OTD 1954. This first PV cell was only 4% efficient & cost $286/W. Today’s best are >26% efficient and cost < $0.29/W….1953 sketch by Gerald Pearson from his lab notebook showing the first silicon solar cell he developed, and the forerunner of most solar cells used around the world today…The first selenium solar cells in the 19th century had PCEs of about 0.1%, then not much progress until the early 1950s when they found Si gave tenfold increase. By the time Bell released their “solar batteries” they had about the same efficiency as a steam engine.

Hevel Solar unveils 22.3%-efficient heterojunction BIPV module

First, it’s always cool to see solar panels used as building materials. Second, awesome that it happens to be heterojunction solar panels. Last – never knew the type of warranty requirements that building marterials need – and 50 years is great!

The panel can be used with operating temperatures of between -40 degrees Celsius and 85 degrees Celsius and has a 30-year power output guarantee and a 50-year BIPV solution warranty. “Hevel BIPV module has passed comprehensive testing in seven national independent accredited laboratories. The results of every test were positive, allowing BIPV to be used in any type of building.”, The price of 1m2 of Hevel BIPV is comparable to that of middle-range hinged ventilated facades. However its PV-generation capacity allows for an investment return in several years by saving on electricity costs.”

And now, the podcast:


About John Fitzgerald Weaver

John Fitzgerald Weaver is a solar developer; known digitally as the 'Commercial Solar Guy.' As a project developer and installer, he’s sold and managed 50+ solar projects, valued over $25 million, ranging in size from 5kW to 1500kW. He’s been involved in many aspects of the solar supply chain –- as a company founder, developer, project manager, manufacturer, permit runner, salesman, contractor and financier. In his free time he tries to get away and clear his mind by climbing mountains, or more regularly by enjoying an IPA or scotch, and really loves the strange connection between politics, energy, finance, and environment in the energy world.