Archive | Alternative Energy

Oil hits two-month low on glut fears, technical selling

Oil hits two-month low on glut fears, technical selling

On the 11th of July the oil prices fell more than 1 per cent, hitting two-month lows on extended selling after the market’s break below a key technical support level due to oversupply fears.

The market last week slumped nearly 8 per cent in its biggest weekly losses in six months and already hit a two-month low on Thursday after disappointing drawdowns in US crude and gasoline inventories pointed towards weak demand.

The rising US oil drilling rig count and cuts in bullish hedge fund bets on crude to four-month lows also added to the hard fall in prices.

“We have shifted to a bearish trading stance and off a neutral posture that we had maintained for approximately a month following transition from a bullish view in early June,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.

Brent crude futures settled down 51 cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $46.25 per barrel. The session low was $45.90, the lowest since May 11.

US crude’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures slipped 65 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to settle at $44.76 a barrel.

Both benchmarks fell further in post-settlement trade, with WTI sliding 2 per cent to a fresh two-month low of $44.42 on the back of the thinnest trading volume in five sessions.

“We have suggested the likelihood of a price downdraft in WTI and Brent to about $37 and $38 areas, respectively,” Mr Ritterbusch said, adding that the move lower could be volatile, however, with occasional rallies of $1 to $2 a barrel.

Oil prices were down since trading began in Asia on Monday as refiners in that region cut back on crude orders due to worries of an economic slowdown.

The market shrugged off data from market intelligence firm Genscape, which according to traders reported a drop of 488,625 barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for US crude futures during the week to July 8th.

A Reuters poll, meanwhile, forecast total US crude stocks fell 3.3 million barrels during the week to July 8th.

“Oil prices could drop more,” said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at in London. “In the short-term, the bulls will need WTI to climb back above $46 and Brent $47, otherwise prices may head at least towards the support trend.”

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. This grade is described as light because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its low sulfur content. It is the underlying commodity of New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts.

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Energy giant Cluff abandons Firth of Forth coal gas plan in Scotland

Energy giant Cluff abandons Firth of Forth coal gas plan in Scotland

Cluff Natural Resources has shelved plans to drill for unconventional gas under the Firth of Forth and will shift its focus to projects outside Scotland.

The energy giant had planned to build the UK’s first deep offshore underground coal gasification (UCG) plant at Kincardine in Fife, but its plans were put on hold last year in November ahead of the Scottish government imposing a moratorium on UCG over environmental concerns.

Cluff said it had now stopped all expenditure related to the project.

The company, which holds nine UCG licences across Scotland, England and Wales, claimed the £250 million scheme (€336m) could generate £603m (€810m) for the economy and create 1,000 jobs.

In a statement, Cluff commented its decision :

“While the company is confident that the evidence in relation to UCG will result in the moratorium being lifted, it has stopped all expenditure related to the Kincardine project and is now focusing its attention outside of Scotland, in particular the north-east of England, where the company believes the political situation is more favourable with regards to UCG and considerable support exists for investment in energy and industry with a view to regeneration.”

UCG is an unconventional method of producing gas from coal seams deep underground.

Its supporters argue it is a new and cleaner way of extracting the estimated 85% of the world’s coal reserves that are too deep to mine using traditional techniques.

On the other side, its opponents explain Fife would be used as a testing ground for the largely untried process, which could have consequences if toxic gases leak into Fife’s rising mine water.

According to Dr Harry Bradbury, founder and chief executive of UK clean energy company Five Quarters, this process results in 20% of the CO2 produced from traditional coal mining.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Fossil Fuels0 Comments

Cheese by-product fuelled power plant serves 1,500 French residents

Cheese by-product fuelled power plant serves 1,500 French residents

France-based compagny Valbio has developed a new power station that generates electricity from skimmed whey, a by-product derived from Beaufort cheese.

Located at Albertville in Savoie region, France, the plant has been operational since October and serving the power requirements of a local community with 1,500 inhabitants. The facility has the capacity to produce about 2.8kWh of power annually.

Left-over skimmed whey from the Beaufort production in Albertville is converted into biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, through natural fermentation procedure.

The gas is then passed onto an engine that heats water to 90°C to produce power, which is then supplied to energy giant EDF.

Valbio director general François Decker was quoted by The Telegraph as saying:

“Whey is our fuel. It’s quite simply the same as the ingredient in natural yoghurt.”

Valbio had initially built another cheese by-product fuelled power plant prototype ten years ago in the country, which is claimed to be the first of its kind.

Following that, 20 other small-scale plants have been developed in Canada, France and other European countries, with more facilities planned in Australia, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay.

A new 800m² power generation facility has been planned in France by Valbio, for which the Union for the Producers of Beaufort have allocated funds of €5m.

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Second generation biofuels ready for roll-out

Second generation biofuels ready for roll-out

Today, the vast majority of biofuels used in vehicles with petrol engines are made with first generation bioethanol produced using resources such as wheat, maize, sugar beet and sugar cane. However, an EU-funded project is creating second generation biofuel from agricultural residues, avoiding any land use conflict with the food and feed sectors which first generation biofuels can create.

The Germany-based SUNLIQUID project is working on rolling out the technology that turns wheat and barley straw, corn stover – the leaves and stalks of maize, rice straw and the leftovers of sugar cane into ethanol. This process, which extracts and then converts the sugars contained in the plant material almost entirely into ethanol, could make use of around 60% of the 240 million tonnes of residual cereal straw which could be collected from the fields in Europe after harvest every year.

Using the SUNLIQUID process, 27 million tons of cellulosic ethanol could be produced from this volume of straw, which is equivalent to almost 18 million tons of petrol made from fossil fuels, according to the project. This means that around 25% of the EU´s demand for petrol predicted for 2020 could be met by cellulosic ethanol, which would help the EU exceed its target for a 10% share of biofuels in the transport sector by 2020.

The project’s pilot plant has been running in Munich, Germany since 2009. Since 2012, a new large-scale facility in Straubing near Munich, producing up to 1000 tons of bioethanol per year, was constructed and started operation in 2012.

Today, the latest Mercedes-Benz BlueDIRECT cars can run on sunliquid20, a high quality petrol containing 20% bioethanol and produced in Straubing.

The total project costs € 224 500 000, including €23 000 000 in EU funding.

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ScottishPower Renewables joins forces with Atlantis Resources to establish the largest tidal stream portfolio in the UK

ScottishPower Renewables joins forces with Atlantis Resources to establish the largest tidal stream portfolio in the UK

Atlantis and ScottishPower Renewables (UK) Limited (SPR) are teaming up to develop a joint portfolio of projects for the fast growing tidal sector, Atlantis announced yesterday (Tuesday).

Atlantis’s Scottish project development vehicle, Tidal Power Scotland Limited (TPSL), will acquire SPR’s portfolio of tidal projects in exchange for a 6% shareholding in TPSL for SPR. As a shareholder, SPR will have a representative on the TPSL board, ensuring that the enlarged portfolio can benefit from its experience in renewable energy development and operations, and demonstrating commitment to the future of tidal power in the UK.

The SPR tidal power portfolio consists of two sites, a 10MW project at the Sound of Islay in western Scotland and a 100MW development at the Ness of Duncansby at Scotland’s north eastern tip. The projects will sit alongside the flagship 398MW MeyGen project, which is 85% owned by TPSL.

The project assets include agreements for lease with The Crown Estate for both sites, and the Sound of Islay site also has a grid connection offer and construction consents from the Scottish Ministers. The Sound of Islay project has been awarded €20.7 million of grant funding from the European Commission’s NER300 fund by way of capital and revenue support. With consents, grid connection and grants secured, this project is the most advanced commercial scale project in the UK after MeyGen, and is expected to achieve financial close in 2016.

Following completion of the acquisition of Marine Current Turbines Limited from Siemens AG in an all share deal earlier this year, the Atlantis group has agreements for lease for two further Scottish tidal sites, at the Mull of Galloway in south-west Scotland and Brough Ness, to the north of the MeyGen and Ness of Duncansby sites in the Pentland Firth. Atlantis is in the process of adding these two projects, with a combined capacity of 130MW, to the TPSL portfolio.

Atlantis, through TPSL, is the driving force behind the growing tidal sector in the UK. TPSL has the largest tidal stream portfolio in the UK, which is at the forefront of this burgeoning industry. The benefits of the increased scale of development in the expanded portfolio are expected to extend to a stronger supply chain in Scotland and the UK as a whole, attracting inward investment and diversifying exposure to the traditional offshore sector.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Finance, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, Wave Energy0 Comments

Finnish fuel cell technology to generate power from wastewater in Italy

Finnish fuel cell technology to generate power from wastewater in Italy

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Convion will be demonstrating, in Italy, fuel cell systems supporting cogeneration of heat and power, from biogas generated through waste water treatment.

The 175kW cells have been developed by the Finnish company Convion and will be presented as part of a pilot project for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) technology.

The partners will be installing fuel cell plant in the Collegno waste water treatment plant of the Italian Società Metropolitana Acque Torino (SMAT) in Turin.

This technology will enable power production from biogas that usually goes to waste or is burned for heat production only.

In terms of size and technology, the innovation is the first of its kind in Europe and is expected to offer energy self-sufficiency to waste water treatment plants.

It has been claimed to meet 30% of the power requirements for waste water treatment processes and 100% of its normal thermal needs.

As a part of the DEMOSOFC project, the technology will be delivering more than 53% electrical efficiency rate, which accounts for up to twice as much electric energy as compared to conventional technology implementations through power plants.

This fuel cell plant also offers fuel flexibility as it operates with both natural gas and biogas, is noise-free and does not lead to particulate matter, hydrocarbon or nitrous oxide emissions.

This DEMOSOFC project will extend over a five year period until 2020 and is backed with a €4.2m grant from the European Union under its Horizon 2020 programme. The estimated total cost is €5.9m.

It has been coordinated by the Italian Politechnico di Torino, and multinational European project consortium comprising Finnish entities Convion and VTT, POLITO and SMAT from Italy, and the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine from the UK.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Biogas Energy, Clean Tech0 Comments

Ireland at COP21: Minister White claims Ireland is on target for 16pc renewables

Ireland at COP21: Minister White claims Ireland is on target for 16pc renewables

As Paris’conference COP21 is coming to an end, Ireland’s Minister for Energy Alex White declared, when he arrived last Monday, that Ireland can still make the objective of 16pc renewable energy production by 2020.

Speaking last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny also said that the target set for Ireland, lowering carbon emissions by 20pc by 2020, is not fair on a country that is a major producer of agricultural goods. But Minister White appears more confident of our chances of meeting those renewable energy aims.

Attending the Lima Paris Action Agenda meeting on Renewable Energy, Minister White said in advance of his talk that Ireland is well placed to meet its legally-binding EU target to source 16pc of total energy use from renewable sources by 2020.

This is in spite of the cautious news earlier this year that Ireland has only now achieved the halfway point of 8pc renewable energy production :

“Ireland and the international community face a huge task but, whatever the difficulties, I believe we can meet the challenge of global warming”, Minister White explained. He also added :

“Last week, Ireland became one of only a handful of European countries to legislate on this when the Climate Change Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas. Next week, I will publish an energy White Paper, which will set out a vision of how Ireland will achieve a low carbon energy system. We are poised to do great things.”

It does appear, however, that some of the targets that are subsections of the key target are struggling to be reached, particularly with clean energy transport accounting for only around 5pc of its 10pc target. Minister White said on the matter :

“We need to encourage much greater adoption of electric cars and we can increase the ‘biofuel obligation’, which requires minimum amounts of biofuel to be contained in petrol and diesel.”

Posted in Alternative Energy, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments

UE aims to produce biofuel from green algae.

UE aims to produce biofuel from green algae.

Ten partners from seven countries have joined in an innovative project to show that ethanol, biodiesel and bio-products can be produced from algae on a large scale.

The BIOfuel From Algae Technologies (BIOFAT) project, largely funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program, aims to demonstrate that biofuels made from microalgae can offer energy efficiency, economic viability and environmental sustainability.

Aquatic micro green algae are fast growing plants that can be continually harvested every 1-10 days, allowing for a sustainable production of biofuel with a reduced environmental impact. The algae produce oils that can be converted into biodiesel and ethanol, while the biomass residue can be used for further energy production.

Under the BIOFAT project, the European Commission is supporting three large-scale, industry-led projects aiming to demonstrate the production of algal biofuels from strain selection, cultivation and production, oil extraction, biofuel production to biofuel testing in transport.

The facilities are located in Camporosso, Italy and Pataias, Portugal, with a total cost for the BIOFAT project of €10 016 182.88, including €7 773 133.4 in EU funding.

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Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year

Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year

According to a joint press release from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden – Württemberg ( ZSW ) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries ( BDEW ), Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year.

ZSW and BDEW said there had been a marked increase in electricity produced by wind power and photovoltaic systems.

Though this is a preliminary estimate, on 31 October 2015 wind energy had already supplied 47% more electricity (63 billion kWh) than during the same time period in 2014.

Solar systems produced 35bn kWh in the first 10 months of 2015, the same as in the whole of 2014.

Frithjof Staiß, executive director of the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research ZSW said :

“If renewable energies now meet one third of electricity demand, it is clear that this element of the Energiewende [Germany’s energy transition] is on a promising path. The rising share from renewable sources makes Germany less dependent on fossil fuels, thereby helping it to achieve its climate protection targets.”

Thomas Grigoleit, Director of Energy, Environment and Resources at Germany Trade and Invest added :

“Even if we don’t hit 33%, the overall increase in Germany’s renewable energy share is terrific news. Not only does it show how important this aspect is in terms of Germany’s Energiewende and climate change targets, it confirms Germany’s pioneering position in the industry. Germany is able not only to install this capacity but integrate it effectively into the grid.”

Posted in Alternative Energy, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy, Wind Energy0 Comments

Icelandic volcanoes could power British homes

Icelandic volcanoes could power British homes

Homes in the UK could soon be powered by geothermal energy piped all the way from volcanoes in Iceland, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Thursday, following a meeting with Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

A 750-mile “interconnector” would transport the energy to Britain if the plans go ahead.

Speaking at a press conference in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, Cameron revealed a task-force has been established to examine the feasibility of the project, which is expected to submit a report within six months.

If the exploration is successful then a giant hydro-electricity cable could be built between Britain and Iceland within a decade.

However, the remote location of these sources had made energy exports difficult until now.

The talks are the latest in a series of discussions about using Iceland’s geothermal power in Britain, which have been ongoing since 2012.

Currently 95 percent of Iceland’s energy is produced by hydro and geothermal plants.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments


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