Solar smelting, diesel EV retrofit, ocean renewables, & more! – Podcast #28

The Clean Power Hour – a weekly clean energy headline review and commentary podcast run by Tim Montague, and yours truly – the CommercialSolarGuyJohn Fitzgerald Weaver.

First of course, here’s the podcast – Episode 28!

Now, to the news!

Many around the world are aggressively pushing hydrogen to compliment the intermittency of wind and solar power, including the EU and China.  These offshore experiments are promising because there is a nearly infinite amount of open ocean space relative to our energy needs: 

Siemens Gamesa will adapt its development of the “world’s most powerful” turbine, the SG 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine, to integrate the electrolysis system into the turbine’s operations. Full-scale offshore demonstration of the solution by 2025/2026. Siemens Gamesa plans to invest €80m and Siemens Energy is targeting to invest €40m in the developments. –


Project costs will be €4.5 million with aims to complete in December 2023. The project will occupy a water surface owned by the Santander Port Authority (APS) and the developers will focus on the design and construction of a prototype plant for offshore hydrogen and green ammonia production, powered by floating solar arrays. – pv magazine

One common argument from clean energy haters is that mining, making metal and plastic will always need fossils…well…these people are wrong.

DEWA will supply EGA’s smelter with 560,000 megawatt hours of solar power yearly from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, enough for 40,000 tonnes of aluminium in the first year and with the “potential for significant expansion”. EGA will then supply solar-made aluminum to customers under a new product name – CelestiAL – Gulfnews

Let’s return to the subject of floating solar, because it has enormous potential. First, the rough ocean solar installation off the coast of Norway:

Equinor working with Moss Maritime to start testing floating solar in the ocean off the island of Froya, off Trondheim in Norway. The partnership will build the floating solar pilot plant in the late summer of 2021, making it the first of its kind to be situated in rough waters. The floating solar pilot plant will measure 80 metres squared and its highest point will be no more than three metres above the sea surface –

..and a picturesque Swiss mountain floating solar installation:

Large oil company Total buys a big chunk of one of world’s largest solar power developers:

Total’s new stake in AGEL follows its move in February 2020 to create a 50-50 joint venture with AGEL for solar development via a vehicle made up of 2.1 GW of AGEL assets. That figure was bumped up to 2.3 GW in October as AGEL contributed some additional projects. Total invested $510 million for its share. – greentechmedia

China, the UK, Germany, Japan, California, Massachusetts and others have legally announced that there will be no new gas cars after 2035 – this is, perhaps, sooner than we think.

Massachusetts is joining California with a plan to ban the sale of new gasolined-powered cars by 2035. Governor Charlie Baker released a 2050 decarbonization road map that includes the reduction of emissions from passenger cars, which represents 27% of the state’s emissions.Car and Driver

Amusingly, that same Governor vetoed a state climate bill around the same time as the 2035 ban on new gas cars was announced.  Governor Baker cited his objection to “net-zero” residential construction requirements, explaining that he believes strict requirements might stop new housing developments. My belief is that net zero home construction is a stealthy way of ensuring all new residential construction has some solar installed.

Retrofitting old gas and diesel trucks and turning them into EVs

This Australian MaxiTRANS vehicle was a diesel delivery truck for over 10 years with 100,000 miles. SEA Electric removed the diesel engine and replaced it with a 100% electric SEA-Drive power-system. SEA-Drive® 100a is built on a cab/chassis platform with a GVM 4.5t to 6.5t (GVWR up to 13,000 lbs Class 3-4), and a 1,000 Nm (735 lb-ft) electric motor. The 100 kWh battery pack delivers a class-leading range of up to 275 km (170 miles)*” @SeaElectric

Solar Panel Window InstallationClearVue’s solar glass installation gets green light

I love the concept of a solar greenhouse that is able to power itself, and possibly even the home that its humans live in, using transparent solar panels. Distributed food, energy, computing, and 3D printing gives me the shivers.

Data supplied by the company indicates the technology delivers a minimum of 30 watts per sqm while maintaining 70% transparency. (rough math – “30 watts per sqm while maintaining 70% transparency” – so a 60 Watt panel, ~3% efficiency) – pv magazine

China tightens rare-earth regulations, policing entire supply chain

Stricter export controls give Beijing leverage amid US tensions – Whereas current regulations focus on the production stage — such as mine development, smelting or separation — the draft law of the new regulations seeks to manage the “entire industry chain” of the precious ore, including refining, product transport and all the way up to exports. The rules state that companies are obligated to follow export control laws and regulations regarding the export and import of rare-earth minerals. This suggests that Beijing could apply its new export control law implemented in December, which strengthens state control over the flow of strategic materials. – Nikkei Asia

And last but not least – 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.