Here’re Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide

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Here are some unique use of Solar Technologies worldwide proposed by TWC India Edit Team.

Solar Appreciation Day 2022: Here’re Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide to Combat Energy Crisis

India’s budget for FY2022-23 clearly highlights the country’s priority to double down for ‘green’ and renewable energy, particularly solar, to combat climate change and meet the emission reduction targets set for 2030.

Moreover, as the Ukraine-Russia war continues, coal and natural gas prices are surging sharply across the globe. With the soaring power bills, several European and Asian countries are seeking alternatives to Russian supplies. And using technologies based on solar energy is a comparative quick fix to the energy crisis.

Meanwhile, Solar Appreciation Day 2022 is here, which is celebrated globally on every second Friday of March. The day has become all the more significant amid the ongoing climate and energy crisis. On this day, here are some unique solar technologies that demonstrate the immense potential of solar technologies to address the needs of the modern world.

Solar trolley invented by a farmer from Haryana

Pradeep Kumar, a farmer from Haryana, has built a mobile solar plant with panels mounted on a trolley that can be moved on demand. The trolley is custom made as per the user’s requirements.

In an interview with The Better India, Pradeep said, “the devices come in two sizes and carry solar panels which provide electricity of 2 HP and 10 HP. The trolley can also be mounted to the back of a tractor and has sturdy wheels that allow it to move over uneven surfaces.”

The cost-effective technology has benefitted over 2000 farmers so far.

Bihar’s floating solar power plant

The Mithila region in North Bihar is called the ‘Land of Ponds’ and is taking complete advantage of its gift. A floating solar plant is set to be commissioned in the region, consisting of 4,004 solar modules. Each module lodged in a pond can generate 505-megawatt peak (MWp) electricity and nearly 2 MW of green and clean energy. The plant can supply electricity to 10,000 people in the state.

The main benefit of a floating solar power plant is that the water cools the solar panels, ensuring their efficiency when temperatures rise, resulting in increased power generation. It also minimises evoporation of freshwater and aids fishery.

This innovation has hit two birds with one stone: producing green energy from solar panels and promoting fish farming underwater.

South Korea’s solar shade

In South Korea, a highway runs between Daejon and Sejong and its entire bike lane on the 32 km stretch is covered with solar roof panels. Not only do they generate sufficient electricity, but they also isolate cyclists from traffic and protect them from the sun.

The two-way bike lane is constructed right in the middle of the road, while there are three other lanes for vehicles to travel on either side. This also obstructs the high beam lights of oncoming cars.

Using the technology, the country can intern produce clean, renewable energy.

Solar-powered desalination technique by Chinese and American researchers

Desalination process is considered to be among the most energy-intensive activities. Now researchers have developed a solar desalination process that can treat contaminated water and generate steam for sterilizing medical instruments without requiring any power source other than sunlight itself.

The design includes a dark material that absorbs the sun’s heat and a thin water layer above a perforated material that sits atop a deep reservoir of salty water such as a tank or a pond. The holes allow for a natural convective circulation between the warmer upper layer of water and the colder reservoir below and draw the salt from the water.

Not only is the solar-powered desalination method efficient but also highly cost-effective.

Saudi Arabia’s goal of sustainable development using solar technology

FILE PHOTO: A solar plant is seen in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Dry-climate arid regions are prone to droughts and often face water scarcity. While local food production would have been a distant dream for countries that host mostly deserts, scientists in Saudi Arabia have developed a unique solution using solar technology.

In an experiment, they designed a solar-driven system that could successfully cultivate spinach using water drawn from the air while producing electricity. This proof-of-concept design has demonstrated a sustainable, low-cost strategy to improve food and water security for people living in dry-climate regions.

“Our goal is to create an integrated system of clean energy, water, and food production, especially the water-creation part in our design, which sets us apart from current agrophotovoltaics,” says senior researcher Peng Wang.

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The top image is for illustration and is of a Solar power plant (IANS)

Three key factors shaping homes of future

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Three key factors shaping homes of future

CallisonRTKL (CRTKL), a global cultural agency specialising in architecture, planning and design, has published a report forecasting the future of the built environment and the key factors that will shape the residential market and its BTR and senior living lifestyle developments in 2022.   

According to the report, the brief for the home is changing. The need now is for productive living environments with the technological infrastructure to support residents. Consequently, a new era is driving hybrid lifestyles and hybrid working cities. Residents are working, exercising, shopping, learning and meeting in more unexpected ways, which are now being dictated by purpose and convenience rather than demand. 

For example, coffee shops are popping up in offices, ghost kitchens in hotels and healthcare services in apartment buildings. As these lines continue to blur, a different set of residential amenities are emerging and bringing with them, buildings that will play a more active role in the health and wellness of those that inhabit them. 

Obada Adra, Associate Principal at CRTKL, commented: “The residential market and the demands being placed on the home have changed. The need now is for places that are fluid, flexible and authentic. Across the region, people are demanding a more dynamic lifestyle offering that caters to new hybrid working styles and provides greater community and cultural connection. 

“At CRTKL, we are developing a blueprint for new buildings that will be more hybridised with changeable systems, structures and modules that can be adapted to suit the evolving needs of the market,” Adra said.  

According to the report, three new concepts are driving residential development:

* The Home of Things (HoT): This refers to the physical objects within the home that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks. Innovative technology in a fully integrated HoT allows endless opportunities for improved home performance and convenience. Connected and controlled through a resident’s mobile device, the HoT could support amenities by tracking, measuring and improving personal energy usage and well-being. Biometric data gathered here could then be shared with in-house practitioners or resident nutritionists, counsellors, and other health professionals that could rotate through a new type of hyper-local medical office or telemedicine pods that are built into the offer.

* The Branded Residence – Residential meets hospitality meets healthcare: New attitudes about health, wealth, and family are transforming an industry that formerly defined by medical care and home equity. Seniors are delaying entering interdependent living, choosing to age-in-place and increasingly demanding more urban settings and connections to communities and culture. As residents, they want an inner-city lifestyle, impressive amenities, luxury services, superior care, varied culinary options, and resort-like experiences where they can grow and thrive as aging individuals. Spaces that allow their lifestyles, hobbies, and pets to move with them – where they can feel at home, host others, and gain access to improved convenience and care. 

To attract the booming elderly population, development is moving in a new direction towards brand residences and a lifestyle product that blends residential operations with a hospitality approach that is based on a professionally managed rental model. These models will focus on holistic health, community integration and mixed-use opportunities, incorporating senior wellness programs across education, exercise (both instructor and technology led), health, nutrition and intergenerational connection.

* The Hybridised model or a ‘Universal Building’: There is a need for the new building typology to feature shared uses that come together to form a hub for a community of creatives, who blend living with working and socialising. The Universal Building allowing for flexible development strategies to take shape over time. With the ability to easily shift the program mix, this supports a city’s strategic goals in that it offers innovative housing and workplace options for an evolving and diverse community. It refers to a framework building with changeable systems, structure, and modules. This uniquely flexible platform can adapt program uses based on changing market needs. From the column grid to carefully considered floor-to-floor heights, the building will easily shift between residential, office and social spaces. 

– TradeArabia News Service

The featured top image is for illustration and is of Callison RTKL.

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COP27 and COP28 will accelerate MENA’s Clean Energy ambitions

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Hosting COP27 and COP28 will accelerate MENA’s Clean Energy ambitions as claimed on 28 February 2022 by Heriot-Watt University, Dubai in this article below seems perhaps to be more symbolic than realistic if the varying region’s specificities are taken into account. It is however worth getting to know how the Middle East’s peoples view their respective future.

Heriot-Watt University: Hosting COP27 and COP28 will accelerate MENA’s Clean Energy ambitions

 

The selection of Egypt and the UAE to host the COP27 and COP28 conferences in the next two years is expected to kickstart clean energy initiatives and drive international investment into the Arab World’s renewable energy ambitions.

“The Middle East remains a very important provider of fossil fuel energy to the world and will also engage [globally] on any energy transition efforts which support sustainability and a better future for the next generations,” says Ahmad Nada, President of the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA).

Nada notes that the region has played a key role in driving down the cost of utility-scale renewable energy production, with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt having all set global records for the lowest production of wind and solar energy.

As the technology continues to evolve in the clean energy space and a growing focus on green hydrogen as the potential next generation fuel of the world, hosting the COP27 and COP28 events is a massive opportunity for the region to benefit from increased investment from across the globe.

“If we can just imagine more solar projects in North Africa for example, a huge transformation to the African energy landscape can be achieved and bring African economies to a new level of internal growth and more competitive energy to Europe,” Nada says.

Economic opportunities

Others spoke of the events as platforms to boost economic development through accelerated climate action. “The opportunity to drive economic growth and job creation through climate policy is enormous and could bring several benefits to the Arab world,” says Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Deputy Principal (Global Sustainability) and Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) at Heriot-Watt University Dubai. “The Middle East is already in the process of transitioning to the use of sustainable energies.”

Maroto-Valer, who is also Director of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), mentioned Egypt’s hosting as a significant milestone that will help feature innovative solutions to drive environmental sustainability in Africa, one of the most vulnerable regions to the consequences of climate change. As for the UAE, already a pioneer and a regional model for climate action, it was the first in the Gulf to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement and the first Arab country to set voluntary clean energy targets. “Hosting COP28 will lay the groundwork for the country’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ strategic initiative,” she adds.

According to Maroto-Valer, the climate summits will have a positive effect on the prospects for sustainable energy and reducing CO2 emissions, with the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050 aiming to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25 to 50 percent by 2050. Saudi Arabia also plans to generate 50 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030 and plant 10 billion trees in the coming decades in a bid to fight the climate crisis that is causing desertification, dust storms and air pollution.

“We expect that COP27 and COP28 will result in various decisions and agreements that will further accelerate the transition to clean energy,” she said. “For example – a landmark deal was announced at COP26 to end international public financing for fossil fuels, except in limited and clearly defined circumstances that are consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement,” notes Maroto-Valer.

Although Egypt currently does not have a target for reaching net-zero emissions, it plans to increase its supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022 and 42 percent by 2035. And there are other ambitious goals: the Egyptian Solar Plan aims to add 3.5GW of solar energy by 2027, while the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has signed various memoranda of understanding worth $500 million for solar and wind projects, and large spaces have been reserved for wind energy projects.

“With an abundance of land, sunny weather and high wind speeds, Egypt is a prime location for renewable energy projects,” Maroto-Valer said. “All these efforts, in conjunction with the expectation that the next location of the COP should be in Africa, have resulted in Egypt earning the right as host for COP27.”

The UAE has also done its homework. As a part of its policy to use alternative energy sources, Dubai has developed the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to drive energy decarbonisation and ensure efficient use of energy. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to produce 75 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2050 while Norther Emirate Ras Al Khaimah has launched its Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040 targeting 30 percent of energy savings and 20 percent of generation from renewable energy sources by 2040.

“Overall, the UAE government aims to invest AED600 billion by 2050 to meet the growing energy demand and ensure a sustainable growth for the country’s economy,” Maroto-Valer adds. “With these very tangible steps taken, the UAE has also clearly earned the right to host COP28.”

As climate change continues to threaten the Middle East and North Africa more than any other region on the planet, ranking one of the most vulnerable places on earth to rising sea levels and temperatures, such a representation on the global stage is crucial. “To truly transition towards sustainable energy and emission reduction, governments in the region must continue to expedite investments in renewables, including solar and waste-to-energy,” Maroto-Valer explains. “A good example of a project that uses energy for environment protection is Al Reyadah, a joint venture between ADNOC and Masdar. As the world’s first fully commercial carbon dioxide facility, it captures CO2, compresses and dehydrates it, and injects it into oil fields to boost oil recovery.”

Yet whilst the region is home to several sustainable development opportunities, she spoke of an estimated annual financing gap of more than $100 billion in the Middle East. “Investors and banks therefore need to provide capital to promote sustainable development and green financing should grow,” she added.

For Deepa Sud, Executive Director, Dubai, of SunMoney Solar Group, a member of the United Nations Global Compact, the challenge in the region will remain to deliver energy at an affordable cost whilst decreasing carbon and emission footprint. And although she believes the UAE has always been fast in adopting significant changes in technological innovation and the need to create a more sustainable living and economic future, she said Egypt’s decision to host COP27 is significant, as Africa strives to become environmentally sustainable, particularly given its abundance of sun, wind, hydropower, and geothermal resources.

“As the population increases, the UAE and United States are leading the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate together with more than 30 other nations, further strengthening the UAE’s commitment to accelerate innovation for climate-smart agriculture,” she notes.

Ultimately, the Middle East is viewed as being on the right track of sustainability, with almost all regional countries having developed clean energy policies and law. According to Nada, free energy trade will be the next step in such a transition. “Currently, almost all MENA countries’ generation is predominantly state-owned and state owned-utilities remain the only offtake and can mostly impact major decisions,” he concludes.

Heriot-Watt University

Russia’s war will hasten the
drive for clean energy security

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But what’s in it for those countries of the MENA region? We’ll have to hang on some time to see the impacts on their grains imports. After over a Century of Burning Fossil Fuels, this drive towards clean energy seems perhaps overdue. Meanwhile let’s see The Interpreter‘s :

Russia’s war will hasten the drive for clean energy security

By FRANK JOTZO

Wind and solar is not only zero-emissions – it’s local. And that will cut Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and oil.

Russia is a huge producer and exporter of fossil fuels, especially oil and gas. By waging war on Ukraine and all this brings with it for geopolitics, its energy trade will change. It will be a short-term boost to other energy exporters, but the bigger effect will be a fundamental re-think on energy security which will accelerate decarbonisation.

Russian gas supplies to Europe will fall, more immediately as a result of trade sanctions and Russian countermeasures, and over the longer term because European countries will no longer want to be hostage to Russian energy supplies. The new Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is dead in the water for now. Russia could gradually supply more gas to China and some other markets, but most of its gas is transported in pipelines not on tankers so it is not easy to change destinations. It’s a similar story for much of Russia’s oil exports.

For other gas and oil producers this is good news. Oil prices have already jumped up as they usually do in times of crisis. Prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) are on the rise too, as are coal prices. Exporters with spare capacity will fill the gaps left by Russia, to the extent of spare capacity in Europe’s LNG import terminals.

The way Russia acts now is triggering a fast and fundamental re-think of European energy strategy.

Australia’s gas export facilities operate near full capacity so don’t expect greater exports. The higher prices are an incentive to invest in extra supply capacity but this is not straightforward, and building or expanding LNG processing plants takes a long time. The main effect for now will be higher prices benefitting gas companies and hurting domestic consumers.

Some big changes however are afoot in energy importing countries, and they go against fossil fuels. Western Europe’s energy system depends heavily on gas and oil imports. More than half of Germany’s gas supply is from Russia.

This has been a strategic vulnerability for a long time, while European governments and industry by and large choose to hope for the best and trust Russia. The way Russia acts now is triggering a fast and fundamental re-think of European energy strategy.

Europe will be in a hurry to stop its reliance on Russian gas. In Germany for example, the need to supply gas for heating next winter will drive change fast. European heavy industry also relies heavily on imported gas. Europe will expand gas import infrastructure to be able to land more LNG, wherever it may come from. In some countries, coal power plants will be running harder or kept running longer before planned closure, to save gas. A similar consideration goes for nuclear power though little can be done short term.

Germany’s conservative pro-business finance minister spelt it out in a special weekend parliamentary session on Ukraine and Russia: “Renewable energy resolves dependencies. Renewable energy is freedom energy.”

Europe will be in a hurry to stop its reliance on Russian gas (Marijan Murat via Getty Images)

The big and lasting effect will be to greatly accelerate investment in renewable energy, with much more solar power and wind power both on land and offshore. Seaborne imports of fuels based on clean hydrogen are also likely to play a role, with Australia a potential supplier. Previous crises that affected oil supply (other than the 1970s oil crisis) did not have a huge effect, but this one is about gas, and the clean energy alternatives are now affordable. Europe’s heating systems are slated to be converted to electric heat pumps, and this will make efficient electric heating cheaper everywhere, driving uptake globally in future.

The fact that it has zero emissions has usually been seen as the main advantage of renewable energy. From here on, energy importing countries will also place great value on the fact that renewable energy is local energy. A zero-emissions energy system in most countries is by and large a domestic energy system. It is safe when geopolitics fray, an aspect that many now feel is worth paying a premium for.

European governments and industry will push aggressively on investments for clean energy independence. Japan, South Korea and other large fossil fuel importers may feel similarly.  By waging war on its neighbour and confronting the West, Russia will hollow out its own position as an energy exporter.

Russia’s war will therefore accelerate the global shift to clean energy. After an initial rebound in coal and diversification of gas trade, it will drive decarbonisation in electricity supply and in industry. In countries that have already subscribed to energy transition in the name of climate action, things will happen even faster. It will also extend to displacing oil imports by accelerating the electric vehicle revolution. Why be beholden to energy imports when you can run your transport system largely on electricity produced cleanly at home?

It means massive investments. They will underpin a new energy system that will be very low in emissions and very resilient against external threats. It won’t necessarily be the cheapest way to supply energy right now, but spending is not the constraint when nations are faced with what looks like near existential problems. “In the end it is only money … when the situation demands it, the necessary funds will be made available”, said Robert Habeck, Germany’s deputy Chancellor and Minister for Economy and Climate Protection.

In future, it could be that the global climate change problem will be seen that way. In the meantime, the horror of Russia’s war on Ukraine, among all the suffering and economic waste that it will bring, will promote the shift to cleaner energy. It will be painful but effective.